Making Heroes Ch.03

Chapter Three: Doctor’s Visit

“Sookie, your son wants you,” Eric called from down the hall. “You might want to dress.”

Sookie grunted from where she was still lying on the floor, properly fucked, and physically exhausted. “What did you do to me?” she groaned, reaching for her dress that was crumbled a few inches away from where her legs had given out.

“I loved you into a heap of flesh and bone,” Eric called back, having heard her.

Sookie grabbed the garment, slipped it over her head, and rolled half-heartedly on the floor to make it cover the rest of her body. She had just shimmied into the dress when Eric came through the archway, holding Lukas in his arm, and lobbing a bottle of hand sanitizer her way.

Lukas cooed when he saw Sookie, and she propped herself against the bottom of the couch while she quickly cleaned her hands and held open her arms for him. The baby nuzzled into her neck affectionately, and his little arms tried their best to hold onto her.

“Hi, sleepyhead. You’re up again!” Sookie said in surprise.

“We do not know what sort of sleep schedule, if any, Hadley had him on,” Eric pointed out.

“Ah, good point,” Sookie grimaced. “Well, I suppose if he’s up, now’s as good a time as any to call Ludwig.”

Eric nodded in agreement, grabbing his cell phone from his pocket, and dialing the doctor.

Vampire,” Ludwig greeted in her usual manner.

“Doctor, we have a rather unforeseen set of circumstances. Would you be able to come to our home at your soonest availability?” Eric asked cordially.

There was a brief pause before the doctor replied, “I can be by in fifteen minutes. Is there any urgency or chance it will be long? I have to meet with you between appointments unless you can wait until Thursday.”

“I doubt it will take too long, and fifteen minutes is just fine,” Eric assured the doctor.

I will see you then.”

Sookie watched while Eric snapped his phone shut and re-pocketed it. He looked down to her and smiled warmly, “She will be here in fifteen minutes.”

“So I heard,” Sookie laughed.

Eric folded his legs to sit across from Sookie on the floor. His arms rested loosely on his knees, and he contemplated the gentle way her eyes closed, and the softest smile he had ever seen graced her lips while she held Lukas close to her. The Bond was singing with contentment and satiation. The first half came from the infant in her arms, and the latter came from Eric himself. It was strange for the vampire, needing to reconcile an awkward jealousy toward a baby, but Eric had always been forthcoming about his resentment toward others pleasing his Bonded. Over the years, he had acclimated himself to the presence of others, such as Jason, Angie, and Sam. Now, he would need to do the same for Lukas.

“You’re in a rare mood,” Sookie said quietly.

“I am currently repressing my territorial nature.”

Sookie leered at him from hooded eyes, her gaze knowing, “Jealous of a baby?”

“Very…apparently,” he admitted.

The telepath tilted the small boy to sit on one of her thighs, then patted the other one invitingly for Eric to rest his head on. “This is me learning to drive all over again, you know.” Eric nodded before placing his head in Sookie’s lap. Her fingers played with his shoulder-length hair while she patted Lukas’ back with her other hand, “And the first time I protected the portal to Elfyria.”

“I know,” he sighed.

Sookie chuckled, “I never thought I would see the day when my Eric was afraid of me leaving him!”

“You were so helpless when I found you,” Eric whispered, “like a snared rabbit, or a bird with a broken wing. As much pride as I had in watching you heal, mature, and learn, you always looked to me for everything. I did not realize how much I came to depend on that.” Eric snorted at his realization, as if he were simultaneously amused and annoyed with himself, “Look what you have done to the mighty Viking, Sookie. You have him completely at your mercy.”

Sookie stroked his scalp lovingly, “You know it goes both ways. I might not need to look to you for everything anymore, but I still preen whenever you praise me. I think I’ll always look for your approval in everything I do. I’m at your mercy, too. You could break me with a single look of disappointment.”

*POP*

Eric chuckled when he heard the crystal in the room tremble with Sookie’s power. Sookie had not made anything inadvertently blow up in quite some time, as far as Eric knew, and it amused him that the doctor’s sudden appearance had almost caused her to lose control.

“And who might this little one be?” Ludwig asked, looking pointedly at Lukas.

“You will be the only one to know the truth aside from our Bloodline,” Eric began. “He is the son of Sookie’s cousin, Hadley.”

“So he is a fairy hybrid, then,” Ludwig nodded.

“He is also a telepath, according to Sookie,” Eric continued.

“Ah, let me see him,” Ludwig held out her hands, and Sookie reluctantly handed over Lukas. The baby boy whined after he was taken from Sookie, and Sookie rose from the floor to croon at him soothingly.

“It’s okay, Lukas. Mamma’s not lettin’ you go,” She played with his little hands and feet while Ludwig looked the boy over.

“Well, he is not a fairy/witch hybrid…” Ludwig began slowly. “His presence is not similar enough to yours. If I am correct,” she frowned, making Sookie’s heart flutter anxiously, “he is a fairy crossed with an Unrealized.”

Eric’s jaw clenched, and Sookie began to panic at her Bonded’s troubled emotion. “What does that mean?” Sookie asked desperately.

Ludwig patted the young woman’s hand, “It means that he is a very special child, and could grow to fulfill a very important duty when he is much older.”

“D-doesn’t he have a choice?” Sookie demanded, taking Lukas from the doctor, and bouncing him with her nervous energy. Her hand was running from the base of his skull to the middle of his back repeatedly as she kissed the side of his head.

“Of course he gets a choice, Little Gi-…” Ludwig cut herself off, and looked at Sookie a moment before smiling. “Of course he does, Young Lady.” Eric’s eyebrows rose at Ludwig’s new name for Sookie. “I should examine you while I am here. Give your Bonded the child.” Sookie handed Lukas off to Eric, and turned to face Ludwig, “Have you been getting headaches lately?” she asked, looking into Sookie’s eyes.

“Um, yeah, every so often.”

“She has taken my blood for a few of them,” Eric told the doctor.

“Gums tender?” Ludwig asked.

“A little,” Sookie was becoming concerned.

“Congratulations, Young Lady. Your wisdom teeth are coming in!” Ludwig cackled.

“This is a good thing?” Sookie asked.

“It means that your body matured quite a bit more since I first met you. It is finally hitting its late teens or early twenties once your wisdom teeth erupt. Open your mouth.” Sookie slung her jaw open while Ludwig put on a pair of gloves and took a penlight out of her pocket. “Oh, yes, they are starting to sprout. Close your mouth.” Sookie snapped her jaw shut, and Ludwig began feeling around at the hinge of her mouth. “Hmm, they’ll need to come out,” she said knowingly. “We’ll schedule a time to do that.”

“Isn’t that a surgery?” Sookie whimpered.

“You’ll be fine. I’ll numb you up, rip them out, you drink from your Bonded, and you’ll be as good as new,” Ludwig shrugged as if this should not be an issue.

“Okay,” Sookie pouted at the thought of her teeth being ripped out.

“As for your little one, I will be by on Thursday to give him a proper exam. He is in decent health right now. He could use a little more weight, though. I’ll yank out your teeth on Thursday, too, Young Lady,” She pointed to Sookie sternly. “That way I know you won’t dodge me, since you’ll have that baby on your hip for his exam.”

Sookie scowled at having been figured out as well as manipulated, but nodded in agreement without any more fuss.

“You three have a good evening. I will see you on Thursday,” Ludwig made her final goodbye, and vanished in her usual manner.

Letting out a small sigh, Sookie looked at the baby in Eric’s arms. Lukas was nuzzling into her vampire’s chest, and she could feel his brain slowing down while he succumbed to sleep once more.

“I’m going to put him back to bed,” Sookie said as she reached for the boy. Eric handed him off easily before leaning against the frame of the couch. “I’ll be right back,” she called, already in the hallway.

Eric leaned his head back against the body of the couch and closed his eyes. He listened while Sookie crooned to Lukas. He felt her heart fluttering in her chest when, he assumed, the baby made some loving or dependent gesture toward her.

Sookie returned, rubbing her eyes free from the beginnings of fresh tears, “I can’t believe how much he makes me want to cry!” she laughed at herself. “I thought that was a pregnant woman thing!”

Smiling at her antics, Eric opened his arms for Sookie to fall into, “Many women get emotional over infants, not just the ones who have given birth. As I have said, your connection to him is one made very strong by your likenesses. Empathy plays a very strong role in what causes you to be so emotional toward him.”

“I guess.” Sookie hugged him tighter as she said, “Although I feel sort of… I don’t know a word for it,” she admitted. “I think I’m afraid I only care about Lukas because of what he represents, not for whom he truly is.”

Nodding in understanding, Eric spoke softly, “He is still so very young, and his personality is new to both of us. Currently, I only have the patience for him that I do because of what he means to you. Eventually that will change, I suppose, and I will care for him in his own right. I can only assume the same will happen for you. There will come a point when your concern for him will no longer revolve around his gift or horrible parentage. You will begin to long for his laughter and smile. You will cry because he skinned his knee, or fell off of his bicycle.” Eric’s hand was smoothing her hair while he contemplated their future. “In time, I am certain we will become a family for him.”

Sookie thought about all of this while Eric continued running his cool hand through her hair.

Sookie,” the girl flinched at Pam’s voice suddenly in her head, “can you tell Eric my long-term commitment has come to a head?”

Don’t you own a friggin’ cell phone, Pam?” Sookie grumbled right back.

I do, but this is so much more convenient than going to my purse.”

Sookie swore under her breath before telling her Bonded, “Pam says some ‘long-term commitment’ has come to a head.”

The woman did not miss the way her Bonded’s shoulders tightened, and she felt anticipation blooming inside him. “What sort of commitment was it?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.

Smiling at her, Eric rose from the couch and kissed Sookie’s head, “I do not wish to tell you.”

“Any particular reason why?” Sookie asked, eyebrows now raised. When all he could offer was a shrug, Sookie shook her head, “Whatever. When will you be back?”

“It depends on some circumstances,” Eric grimaced. “More than likely, it will only be two or three hours. However, I might be detained until after sunrise.”

“Well, since it’s probably Sheriff stuff, I’m gonna assume it’s really not any of my business,” Sookie shrugged, but paused when she felt Guilt tug at her heart. “… Until you went and started feelin’ guilty, that is.”

“I have to go, Sookie,” Eric kissed her one last time before leaving.

Sookie wandered around the house, looking for something quiet to occupy her time. Normally, she would have called her brother or Angie under such circumstances, but given that she had just seen them, she opted to crack open a book and read.

Just as she was getting into the adrenaline-fueled experiences of Robert Langdon hunting for a bomb in the Vatican, she felt Eric’s end of the Bond explode. Shock, Anger, Fury, Disbelief…

The terror went on and on, and Sookie found herself clutching her heart while she screamed through the Bond, “Eric, what’s wrong?! What happened!? Are you-”

I am not physically injured. That is all I can say.”

Despite trying to get more answers from him telepathically, her Bonded had shut her out of his head, or was doing a marvelous job of ignoring her. Instead of wasting her time trying to chip away at his resolve, she next went to his Child.

Pam, what happened to Eric-”

He is not under attack. That is all I can tell you.”

Sookie growled in frustration before going to her Bonded’s Maker, “Godric-”

I have already spoken to Pam, Sookie. I cannot tell y-”

STOP IT! I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BONDED!”

You do, but he will tell you when he is able. Right now… The matter does concern you, and it is extremely delicate. Please, remain calm.”

Remain calm when I am able to feel Eric, and he seems as if he’s about to start murderin’ people?!”

It will be all right, Little Sookie. Relax. He will level out shortly, but, right now, he has a job to do,” Godric’s voice in her head sounded both concerned and sympathetic. The last time she had heard that tone from her Bonded’s Maker, it had been while she was coming to terms with having accidentally killed her grandfather, Fintan, who had only tried to protect her.

It can’t be fairies. Claudine would have warned me!”

It is not the Fae.”

Then who? No one else would come after me!”

Sookie,” Godric tried again, “please, just be patient. Eric will handle things, and all will be well once more.”

I’ll try, but someone better give me some answers soon!”

Sookie ended the telepathic conversation there, and flopped onto the couch. Every so often her heart clenched as though it were about to shred into a thousand pieces. She felt as if a knife was being twisted over and over again into her chest. Eric was so furious and dismayed that Sookie could not help but fear that someone had found a way around their Bond, and had made a play for her, trying to take her from him.

It took all of her strength not to drive to wherever he had gone. It took all of her willpower not to use their connection through the Bloodletting Blade, to be by his side instantaneously.

“Eric,” she whimpered, clutching the upholstery of the couch as another painful throb tore through her heart. “Eric, please, let me in?”

{†}

“You found him?” Eric was practically skipping into Fangtasia.

Pam nodded, “Yes, it only took me five years of scanning DMV photos to do it.” Her expression clearly stated that her sacrifice warranted certain compensation.

“What is his name?”

Holding up a printout of a driver’s license, Pam told him, “Carter Wright, age 42, resides in fucking Avon, Mississippi, which is why it took me half a decade to hunt him down. I had to sift through all of the Louisiana licenses before moving on to Mississippi.”

“All?” Eric frowned at her melodramatic claims. “You were only looking at the pictures of men, thirty to fifty-years-old, blond hair, brown eyes, over five-foot-nine.”

“That was still a fuck ton of pictures!” Pam complained.

“I am sure,” Eric agreed patiently. “Now, I have business to which I must attend.”

“Enjoy!” Pam called after him as Eric tore out of the back entrance of his club and into the sky.

Eric flew as fast as he could to Avon, Mississippi, grateful that, over the years, he and Sookie could sustain a much larger distance from each other without suffering from Separation Sickness. He had anticipated this evening for a very long time, ever since the evening he had driven home from the police station and His Sookie had told him of the man who tried to purchase her from her guardian, Bartlett Hale.

Unfortunately, information about the prospective buyer was minimal. He and his Bloodline only had the man’s image in their heads from an inadvertently shared thought of Sookie’s, but Eric had run with the information. After giving the search criteria, every DMV photo that fit the description was acquired, illegally, for Pam to sift through in her spare time during the day. Of course, his Child had huffed and complained, but Eric knew how much Pam desired the end of the monster who had bargained for ownership of Sookie.

Later in the night, Eric landed in the front yard of Carter Wright. When he knocked on the door, he could hear a TV muted within the dwelling. Soon, the door swung open, and Carter Wright stood before Eric, his arms crossed over his chest.

“Well, shit,” Carter seemed to laugh to himself. “Eric Northman really did give a shit ’bout findin’ me.”

Eric frowned, “I did not know you prior to today.”

“But I bet y’all heard a lot ’bout me,” Carter replied, almost proudly.

“Too much to allow you to live,” Eric assured with a snarl. “How do you know this?”

“Come on in, Northman,” Carter laughed, shaking his head.

The vampire was surprised, to say the least, at being openly invited inside when Wright knew exactly what Eric’s intentions were. Remaining on alert, Eric followed Carter into his living room.

There was a newspaper article taped on the wall. Eric recognized it as the article about Fangtasia’s Grand Opening, and it featured a picture of himself, Sookie, Pam, and Longshadow standing in front of the club.

“I recognized that girl pretty fast,” Carter explained. “When I knew she’d took up with a vamp, I figured my days was numbered. Tell me, she still a perfect doll?”

“Excuse me?” Eric whirled around from looking at the newspaper pinned to the wall.

“She still drift out?” Carter twirled his hand. “She did that a lot when Hale used on her. It’s what made me want her,” he explained dreamily. “That vacant, doll stare she got. Like she could just release her mind and take anythin’ Hale dished out… Fuck, I wanted to break that stare! But she got away ’fore I could take her on.”

“She never told me you witnessed her abuse,” Eric frowned.

Carter snorted, “How you think Hale found buyers?”

“Excuse me?” Eric snarled.

“Product marketing!” Carter was laughing with so much inhuman pleasure, Eric wanted to break his jaw. Instead, he watched as the sadist walked to his VCR and popped in a new tape.

There was a split second of static before the image of a young girl, suspended from a ceiling, came onto the screen. Eric’s jaw clenched at being shown such a video. The child could not have been much older than fourteen. Her blonde hair covered her face, and her rear was the main focus of the camera.

Eric reached to turn off the video when, suddenly, a switch struck the bottom of the girl’s foot and a terribly familiar voice cried out in pain, a single, plaintive note of agony, but one Eric had heard before. His eyes snapped back to the screen, and he stared at the girl with incredulity and an all-consuming need to be wrong. No, no. Do not let it be-

No more climbing trees for you, right, Sook?” Another terribly familiar voice, a voice he had made certain would never be heard on this Earth again.

No, no, no… Eric shook his head while red tears coursed down his face. His cellphone was ringing. Sookie’s voice screamed in his head. “I am not physically injured. That is all I can say,” Eric tried to placate his Bonded.

“Now this? This is exactly why I didn’t hide when I found out about you and Hale’s little doll,” Carter whispered in satisfaction. “It just feels too fuckin’ good to make a vamp cry in pain. Worth anythin’ you might do ta me!”

Eric turned his blood-streaked face upon Carter Wright, taking one step closer. Carter’s satisfaction wavered from his expression when Eric took another, slower, step toward him. “Are there more tapes? How many buyers did Hale have?” The tape was still playing in the background, escalating Eric’s rage with every sound of the switch against her skin, and every suffering, agonizing noise Sookie made in response.

“I look like his bookkeeper?” Carter demanded.

“Tell me and I will kill you much quicker than I plan to right now,” Eric snarled.

When Carter stared at him in delighted defiance, Eric quickly glamoured him for the truth. Hale had been very discrete in his sale of Sookie. This had been the only tape, created as a lure for Wright. Apparently Carter Wright’s predilections were very well known in the area’s community of monsters, and Hale had made a direct offer.

“You made me work for it. That means you will not die any sooner than I am satisfied,” Eric growled after he struck the man over the head, knocking him unconscious. The vampire extracted a pair of gloves from his pocket and put them on before taking the tape from the VHS player.

With the tape and Wright, Eric left, locking the doors behind him. He threw Wright into his own car and drove off into the slowly ascending dawn.

On to Chapter Four

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Making Heroes Ch. 02

Chapter Two: Adjustment

“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!” Sookie chanted while Lukas wailed in her ear. She balanced him on her hip as she attempted to fix a bottle of formula one-handed. “Shh, shhh,” She tried to shush him, but the boy clutched at her blouse with his tiny fists, and his cries only grew more insistent.

“Sookie,” Eric came into the kitchen, perplexed by his Bonded’s flustered state, “what in the world is wrong?” He could feel that she was becoming upset, and could not understand why.

“I don’t know how to make formula, and he won’t stop crying, and I can’t do it one-handed, but if I put him down, he gets even more upset and he won’t stop crying!” She whined as tears began streaming down her own face.

Eric chuckled at her distress once he realized what made her upset. “Babies cry, Sookie. It does not mean that you are doing a bad job,” he assured, coming to her side and taking Lukas from her arms. “Now, calm down and make the formula. There is no reason to cry yourself.” He patted the boy’s back firmly while he spoke with Sookie.

All the while, Lukas continued screeching like a banshee, and Eric stood beside her with an encouraging look once she calmed enough to read the directions on the container, mix it, and then heat the baby’s bottle. The vampire handed the child over to her, and once the bottle was in his mouth, Lukas settled quickly.

“See? Not a crisis,” Eric laughed at Sookie’s mussed up hair and patted it down, amused at the tiny puff of formula powder that erupted from her scalp when he did so. “While I finish feeding him, go take your shower, so you may meet up with Angie on time.”

“You’ll watch him while I shower?” she asked worriedly.

“Yes, I will keep an eye on him,” Eric chuckled again. “Go!” He swatted her bottom playfully after she hesitated, and Sookie ran off to the bathroom at his urging. “Well, little Lukas, now it is just us men,” he told the boy while he grabbed a dishtowel and threw it over his shoulder before bringing the baby to his chest. “You will forgive me if I am very out of practice with this. My human children were a long ago experience for me,” he told him. “Now I am only able to recollect what to do with infants from what I have seen in movies and television.” The baby gurgled, a bit of formula coming up with a tiny burp. Eric wiped his lips with the towel and patted his back carefully. “Be easy on… your mother,” It took him a moment to call Sookie that, but if they were going to do this, he would have to get used to it now. “She takes the responsibility of raising you just as earnestly as any honorable woman would with their own child.” Lukas nuzzled into Eric’s shoulder while he let the man’s deep baritone and silent mind sooth him. “She wishes for you to have not just a good life, but an exceptional one, a life filled with all of the experiences and advantages she never had.”

The vampire stood in the kitchen, holding the small boy until Sookie returned, hair still damp and clinging to her face. “Thank you!” She reached for Lukas, but Eric held the boy with no sign of relinquishing him. “What?”

“Sookie, your dress is on backward, and you are not wearing shoes,” Eric pointed out. Sookie looked down her front to see he was completely on point with his observation. “Put yourself to rights, and then let us sit down in the living room.” Eric, still holding Lukas, walked past the room divider in the kitchen to the living room and sat on the black sofa while he waited for Sookie to join them. She tucked her arms into her dress, then spun it around before pushing her arms back out and went to hunt down her shoes. When she found them, she hurried to the living room, sitting down with a grunt, and crossing her arms over her chest as she looked at Lukas and Eric expectantly.

“I already know it is pointless to urge you to relax. You will always be high strung in regard to the child,” He looked down to the boy a moment before looking back to Sookie, “but I will tell you this. You are not doing any of this alone. You need not be shocked when I take care of him, or feel so ashamed when I do. He is not just your responsibility.” Sookie nodded slowly in acceptance. “Though I accepted responsibility for him because I knew it was what you wanted, that does not mean I am not committed to taking this course with the same complete devotion as you.” With another solemn nod, Sookie waited for him to continue, “Now that you are assured raising him does not fall entirely on your shoulders, let us discuss some of your worries.” He waited for her to start, but Sookie remained silent. “Sookie?” he pressed.

“I’m scared I’ll do a bad job,” she whispered.

Eric smiled, “That is a reasonable fear. I know it is not the same thing, but I was scared that I would not train Pamela well after I brought her over. I was even scared that I was not doing the best for you when I took you in. We can only do what we know, and try and learn as we go. I admit that in my human years I had a few children, but had little interaction with them.” Sookie’s eyes widened at his admission. Eric had told her very little of his human life, but only because it never came up and Sookie had never pressed the topic. “More than many things have changed since I was a father, but I know that we will raise a fine child, and Lukas is much better off with us than a heroin-addicted mother and loathsome grandmother.” Sookie nodded. “You are already caring for him better than his biological mother. Never doubt that.”

“I’m scared that my job as Gatekeeper will… Warp him,” she continued.

“It is your duty, Sookie, and as a supernatural child raised by supernatural parents, he will understand the differences between dealing with Supes versus dealing with humans. We will be sure to explain it all to him as he grows,” Eric imparted to her patiently.

“But how healthy will it be for a kid to be raised in a family surrounded by so much death?” She asked sadly, “What if I just make his life as miserable as mine was, in a completely different but, equally fucked-up way?” She pressed her fists against her mouth as she thought of this.

“He will understand our lives, Sookie. He will know the differences between what we do and being a murderer. We are not psychopaths.” Sookie glanced at him, “The killing spree in Elfyria, not-withstanding.”

“It should be withstanding,” She frowned. “After all, what if something happens to one of us and the other goes on another rampage? What if Lukas gets caught up in the mix, and we hurt him or get him hurt?” Sookie shook her head. “Maybe I’m just bein’ selfish wanting to raise him. The right thing to do would be finding him a real home, not pretending that I’m good for him.”

“He will need you in his life, Sookie,” Eric told her earnestly. “You have thought your entire life that you were a freak. Do you not believe he may think the same thing of himself? Knowing you will assure him that he is not alone in the world.” He smiled at her now. “As for being selfish, well… If you do the right thing, and it just so happens that you wanted to do it in the first place, that does not make it any less of a gift. It is when you turn away from the wrong thing, even though you wish to do it, that you learn if you are selfish or not.”

Sookie snorted, “Then I’m one selfish lady!”

“I will wait to finalize his documents. He is young, and will only be tended to by Dr. Ludwig. We will see how he fits in our circumstances as well as how they may affect him,” Eric conveyed, “Now, I am going to secure the carseat in your car, and then you will be on your way to meet Angie.” He rose and deposited Lukas in Sookie’s lap as he passed her.

“Thanks, Eric,” Sookie called after him as he walked to the garage to install the carseat. Looking down at Lukas, Sookie tilted her head to gaze at him, “I’m goin’ to do my best, Kiddo. I hope it’s enough.” She rose and grabbed the diaper bag while she hurried to follow Eric to the garage. She was surprised to find that he had the carseat secured already, and he took his time in showing her how to strap in Lukas.

“How did you figure this out so fast?” Sookie asked him, maybe with a little bit of attitude.

“I looked up the model number last night and read the directions. It was not difficult.” Eric laughed once the baby was secured where he needed to be. “Now, have a good time out, and be careful with any information you give Angie,” he reminded.

“Well, Jason’s goin’ to hear the partial truth, anyway, and we both know how good he is at keepin’ secrets from Angie,” She grimaced, making Eric laugh.

“Yes, I suppose that is true,” He kissed the top of her head one last time, “I will see you later. Have a good time.”

Grinning at him, Sookie flung the diaper bag into the car and drove off. Her fingertips tapped the wheel nervously as she drove. Thinking about what needed to be explained was putting her on edge, nearly as much as becoming a mother overnight and without warning.

Lukas was gurgling in his carseat, his little hands holding a teething ring while he looked out the window with curiosity. His little mind was all a mass of pictures and indistinguishable sounds, but the general tone let Sookie know that he was uneasy about being in the car. The telepath wondered if he was worried she would leave him behind just as his mother had.

Opening her mind to him, Sookie projected her thoughts to the baby boy, allowing him to see her envisioning watching him grow up. She thought about seeing him off on his first day of school, helping him pick out clothes for a dance, and taking pictures of him with a beautiful date for prom. Of course, all of these Hallmark moments were just speculation on Sookie’s part. She had never had any of these for herself, and was uncertain of how all of it was supposed to happen, but she could piece together a world of youthful expectations from what she had seen in movies and television.

Pulling up into the shopping center’s parking lot, Sookie exited the car and then took Lukas out of his carseat in the back. The baby clung to her tightly when he was once more in her arms, and it made Sookie’s heart ache. He still believed she intended to leave him somewhere. A sudden tightness filled her chest that he would be so afraid she could do something her head could not possibly condone, let alone her heart.

“I got you, Baby,” Sookie crooned, bouncing gently with him while she walked toward the building to wait for Angie by the entrance. “You’re goin’ to meet Mamma’s friend, but you’re stayin’ with Mamma, not gettin’ passed off, okay? So don’t get nervous when you see her.”

The pair stood for about ten minutes before an abnormal turquoise head bobbed in their direction. Angie came to a sudden stop once she saw the baby in Sookie’s arms, and her head tilted curiously as strands of bright blue hair flit across her face.

“Who’s this?” Angie asked in a baby voice, waving her index finger at the baby boy.

“This is Lukas!” Sookie turned the boy, so that his back rested against her chest, and Angie could get a better view, “He’s an orphaned Supe, and Eric and I will be raising him.”

“Wow!” Angie gawked, “He’s got a strong presence. What is he?”

“I think he’s a hybrid like me. He has gifts, but since he’s a baby, I’m the only one who knows for sure that they’re there,” Sookie explained.

“Do you know what all he’s able to do?” Angie asked, playing with his little fingers and cooing at him.

“I really can’t say,” Sookie answered apologetically. “For his safety, it is best that we keep his abilities under wraps until he’s old enough for Eric and me to be able to train him in order for him to protect himself.”

“I can’t believe it!” Angie was still mesmerized. “How did you two get ahold of him?”

“Again, I can’t say,” Sookie grimaced, “but…does he have the same aura as me? Like a fairy-witch hybrid?”

Angie shook her head, “No… His is much more distributed. I don’t know if he’s part-witch and something else, or part-fairy and something else, but there’s a weird variant between your aura and his. His seems all-encompassing, where yours is concentrated on your third eye chakra.”

Sookie loved how in-touch Angie was with auras. The telepath could manipulate hers with energy techniques, but she had never been good at “seeing” what she did not project with intent.

“So, he’s like me, but not all the way.” Sookie nodded. “Maybe Ludwig will have some ideas. Eric and I were goin’ to give her a call tonight, but we just got the little guy last night. It was a madhouse gettin’ him settled in for the night,” she admitted.

“Understandable,” Angie nodded as they went into the mall, “So, are we shopping for him?”

“Yeah, I need all kinds of baby stuff! I have no idea what I’ll need,” She was feeling more than a little flustered at the prospect.

“Don’t worry, Sugar, we’ll get you squared away,” Angie grinned at her.

They plopped the baby in a stroller/cart at the entrance of the mall and began their wandering. Angie was as helpful as ever, letting Sookie stow away the larger items in her Scion with it’s convenient hatchback and plentiful storage space. The witch even said she would happily follow Sookie home and help set up.

“You’re the best, Ang,” Sookie sighed in relief once they had stowed the last of the big boxes in the vehicle and went to put the smaller packages in her BMW.

“No prob!” Angie shrugged before asking, “So, how are you guys workin’ out adopting Lukas? I mean, the human laws haven’t exactly worked in the favor of vamps adopting…”

“Eric is gettin’ documents forged stating Lukas is my biological child. Artificial insemination and stuff. Y’know?” Sookie explained, though Angie could tell that her friend was not happy about the farce. “I don’t interact with humans much, so it’ll be pretty easy to say I was pregnant before Fangtasia opened, and we just didn’t bring him with us up until now because we were waitin’ for him to get a bit bigger.” Once the last of the boxes were loaded into her car, she slammed the trunk down, and lifted Lukas out of his stroller, “He said Supes raise one another a lot, so we won’t get any problems just sayin’ we’re raisin’ an orphaned Supe when it comes to Weres, witches, and vamps.”

Angie was nodding in understanding, “Well, you’re definitely falling into the role with grace.” She laughed, “I’ve never seen a new mommy so put together!”

Sookie snorted, “You should have seen me earlier. I was a wreck while I was tryin’ to fix him a bottle. Eric had to take him from me and help me to calm down, but we talked after Lukas was fed, and I’m a lot more relaxed about bein’ a mom now. I’m not goin’ to lie, though. I feel like I could have a panic attack at the drop of a hat over him!”

Angie laughed, “Sounds about right. Well, let’s get you and Lukas home. It’s almost five, and you’ll want to have everything set up before Eric rises. Maybe you can get him to clean up all the assembly mess later!” she teased.

Sookie had not thought about the fact that Eric would be awake when Angie came over, and she quickly sent to him mentally, “Eric, you might want to shut yourself away in a bit. Angie is helpin’ me bring some stuff over in a couple minutes.”

I will stay in our room until she leaves, or until dark, whichever comes first,” he assured.

“Okay, let’s get movin’!” Sookie grinned.

After arriving at Sookie’s home, the women went to work unloading their purchases. Angie kept an eye on Lukas while he crawled around the floor, and Sookie went about required assembling on various pieces of furniture. It was nice to have someone watch the little guy while Sookie worked; therefore, keeping the new mother from having to worry that he might swallow one of the hundreds of pieces of hardware that were part of the assembly process. Angie offered to help, but Sookie could hear in her head just how horrible she knew she was at putting things together.

“You two have been busy.” Angie jumped at Eric’s sudden appearance in the guest room on the opposite side of the house of the master bedroom. “Is this all for Lukas?” he asked, crouching down where Sookie sat cross-legged on the floor, working part J into part A, with dozens of little screws and washers littering the area around her. There were several pieces of baby furniture already constructed, and it appeared Sookie was finishing up the last one.

“Yes, I didn’t realize how much stuff a baby needs,” Sookie grunted as she put the last pin into place, then stood to admire her handiwork. “What do you think?” she asked, wiping her sweaty hands onto her skirt and then crossing her arms over her chest.

“I think you did a wonderful job,” Eric kissed the side of her head, regretting that he could not assist her with her friend around. “Angie, would you like to stay for dinner? If you call him now, I believe you might catch Jason before he leaves the city to head back to Bon Temps,” he suggested.

“Ooh, that would be nice!” Angie grinned, grabbing her phone from her pocket and dialing her boyfriend. “Hey, Jason! Come to your sister’s house, I’m gonna make us all dinner here, and we’ve got a surprise for you!”

A surprise… Well, I’m already on the highway, so I’ll have to exit off and circle back. See you in awhile… Why are you makin’ dinner at my sister’s house?” he asked.

“It’s a long story, but Sookie’s worked real hard all day, so I decided to make the dinner and let her relax,” Angie explained.

Oh, well, that’s real nice of you, Baby. You’re the best girlfriend ever, goin’ as far as to watch out for my little sis,” Jason’s voice was a contented one.

“Well, don’t forget, I was friends with your sister long before I knew you!” Angie laughed, “Love you. Talk to you in a bit!” She hung up and spun on her heel. “I’m goin’ to go raid your kitchen!” she announced.

Eric watched the woman bounce out of the room before turning to Sookie and smiling down at her. “Did you have a good day?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her waist.

“Yes!” Her arms reached up to encircle his neck, and he had to lift her slightly up off the ground to accomplish. “Why did you invite Angie to stay?” she asked.

Eric braced her against his body with one hand while he freed the other to reach up to her face and push away a stray strand of hair, “Because you have felt so assured around her today. Since we brought Lukas home, you have not been so… Grounded…and you are enjoying it. I only wish to prolong that feeling for you.”

“I do… I feel normal,” Sookie whispered, not even noticing that her eyes darted from his face to glance at Lukas every couple of seconds. Yet, Eric noticed, and he loved how quickly she had taken to being Lukas’ protector. “I feel as though I have a great big family, one that’s carin’ and lovin’… I want that for him. I don’t want him relyin’ on just me. I want him to have an Uncle Jas and Aunt Ang, too. I know how quickly loved ones can be ripped from your life, and I need to be sure that if anything happens to me-”

“Sookie, shhh.” Eric leaned in and kissed her lips comfortingly. “Nothing will happen to you. You and Lukas will always be safe,” he assured.

With a relieved sigh, Sookie rested her forehead against Eric’s chest. The past twenty-four hours had been a blur, and Sookie felt uncharacteristically exhausted. She knew it was just the stress, and that she was not in need of sleep, but the idea of a long nap sounded very enticing.

“Yes, a nap sounds like a good idea for you,” Eric kissed her forehead gently. “Get some sleep, Lover, and I will take care of Lukas.”

“Eric…?” she asked hesitantly, her body turning toward the bedroom.

“It will be awhile before your brother arrives. I will awaken you when he does,” he assured.

With a gentle smile, Sookie tilted her head back for a kiss, “I love you.”

Eric’s own lips tilted upward to return her smile while his mouth brushed against her own, “And I love you.” He gave her bottom a swat as he pulled away from the kiss. “Now, go take a nap,” he teased.

Sookie rolled her eyes and went to their bedroom to rest. After she left the room, Eric scooped down to pick up Lukas. “Well, Young One,” he rumbled. “How did you enjoy your day with Aunt Angela?” He asked, raising the small child above his head and giving him a gentle shake. Lukas gurgled and waved his little arms around happily before Eric brought him back to his chest. “You will meet your Uncle Jason tonight as well,” he told the boy when he walked out of the room and into the kitchen where Angela was raiding the refrigerator. “Good evening, Angela,” He nodded to her as she peeked out from around the refrigerator door.

“Hi, Eric,” She smiled at him easily.

It had taken a little over a year after his attack for Angela to lose her nervousness around him. As hard as she had fought the urge to jump every time she saw or heard him, she could not shake the anxiety.

After twelve months of the panic, Angie finally became frustrated enough to ask Eric to glamour it out of her. The vampire had been hesitant, but when Sookie explained the reason why, he relented. He did not remove the memory of his attack upon her, but attached a feeling of serenity to his voice and appearance. Usually such glamours would not hold for long, but when they were requested, they were much easier to maintain.

Angela’s request that he glamour her to no longer be afraid of him had been surprising. Eric had nearly murdered her, yet, only months later, she was trying to be around him and Sookie. Regret had plagued him, and he knew that Angela remained wary of him. It would have made more sense if the witch had refused to be anywhere near him, but Angela was strong and loyal. Eric admired that greatly and went out of his way to carry on genuine conversation with her in an attempt to show repentance.

“How was your shopping?” he asked, sitting at the kitchen’s island counter, watching the witch work.

“We had a great time,” Angie beamed at him. “Lukas was a doll the whole time, too. Plus, you know it doesn’t take any prodding to get me to help Sookie spend your money.”

Eric chuckled, “Yes, whether it is clothes, jewels, food, or baby things, you certainly do not let her spare any expense. I am glad for that. I enjoy her having quality things.”

“She’d be perfectly happy with nothing,” Angie replied while putting a pot of water on the stove to boil. “As long as she had you… Of course, today…”

“Today?” Eric pressed.

Angie shrugged, “She seems really attached to that little guy already… I mean, you guys just took him in last night, and Sookie is already extremely intense about him. I’d expect it of a traditional mother, or a mother who had been trying to adopt a child, but it was surprising to see in something so spontaneous. My little empath power was tingling like crazy around those two, she already loves him so much!”

“Their likenesses made the bonding very quick and strong,” Eric agreed. “Sookie sees much of herself in the child.”

“They kinda look alike,” Angie nodded. “Same eyes and nose…” Eric could see a spark of dawning on the witch’s face, “And… Jason’s chin… Eric,” she cried, “whose child is that!?”

“Angela,” Eric’s voice was a careful warning, “drop it now, or I will be forced to glamour you.”

The witch was stiff for a moment, then she calmed enough to nod in understanding, “All right, Eric,” she whispered. “I doubt Jason will let it drop, though,” she pointed out.

“I will tell him as I am telling you now. Conjecture all you like in your own mind, but you will have no confirmations from neither me nor Sookie,” He stroked the boy’s back while Angie seemed to accept the circumstances, and she returned to her meal preparations.

Jason arrived a little over thirty-minutes later, grinning up at Eric as he opened the door, “Hey,” the man greeted as his brother-in-law stepped to the side, allowing him entry, “smells good in here!” he commented as he could practically taste the aroma emanating from the kitchen. “Where’s my sister?” he asked, putting his hands in his pockets.

“Taking a nap. She has had a very long day,” Eric told him while they walked to the kitchen. “I told her I would wake her once you arrived,” he assured.

“Oh, okay,” Jason’s grin widened when he saw his girlfriend standing in front of the stove. After he had made sure she was not holding anything in her hands, he ran up behind her and hugged her tightly, “There’s my sweetheart!” He bear hugged her tightly, bringing Angie’s feet off the ground before kissing the side of her head, “What are you cookin’ that smells so good?” He looked over her shoulder once Angie was back on her own two feet.

“Just some Chicken Alfredo,” She tilted her face to kiss the side of his chin. “It’s just about done.”

Eric cleared his throat to get Jason’s attention after the pair greeted each other. “Sookie and I have something to share with you. I will go wake her,” he said before leaving the room.

When the vampire arrived in the bedroom where Sookie was resting, he raised her with a sweet kiss to her forehead. The young woman mumbled in her sleep, and Eric chuckled before raining kisses all over her face until she awoke, giggling.

“Hey, is my brother here?” she asked with a wide stretch.

“Yes, and Lukas is sleeping in the crib you assembled. He took a bottle shortly before Jason arrived, and promptly passed out,” he informed.

“Oh,” Sookie frowned, having wanted to let Jason interact with the boy, “well, I guess he’ll just have to be quiet when he meets him.”

Eric nodded and rose from the bed, extending a hand to Sookie while she clambered up as well. The couple went to the kitchen where Angie was putting the finishing touches on their dinner.

“Hey, Sis,” Jason came over to hug his sister. “Eric said you have something to tell me.”

“We do,” Sookie nodded. “Last night we were given a very beautiful opportunity, and we took it,” she beamed, making Jason tilt his head curiously. “A supernatural child was orphaned, and we were given the chance to raise him. His name is Lukas, and he’s a fairy hybrid like us.” Jason’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Did Claudine give him to you?” he asked excitedly.

“Well-”

“Yes. She did,” Eric nodded. “That has to be kept secret; however, his parentage must never be revealed.”

“Oh, cool. So, you’re a mommy now!” Jason hugged her tightly. “Congratulations, Sookie!” He squeezed her a little harder. “When do I meet the little guy?” he asked with no wane in his exuberance.

“He’s sleeping right now, but if you’re really quiet, you could go and take a peek at him,” she said. “We’ll all get together, and you can play with him during the day soon, though. Maybe you, me, and Angie could all go out some time with him,” she suggested.

“That’s awesome!” Jason was practically jumping out of his skin with anticipation, “I’ll be super quiet. Where is he?”

Sookie lead her brother out of the kitchen, down the hall, to the spare bedroom. She opened the door quietly. The soft glow of a nightlight scarcely illuminated the baby boy, but Jason looked and grinned at the baby. “I can’t believe it! This is amazing! I’m an uncle!” he said in a hurried whisper.
They left the room after that and reconvened in the kitchen to eat dinner. Jason spent the night bubbling over his new duties as an uncle, and Angie just shook her head at her boyfriend’s antics. Jason loved kids, and spoke enthusiastically about having at least four of them. Angie felt similarly, but looking at Sookie, she became apprehensive.

After all, Jason was part-fairy, and Angie was a witch. What if they had a baby like Sookie, and it meant their baby would either have a very short life, or would need to Bond with a vampire to keep them alive? Angie shuddered at the thought. She was well aware that there were not many vampires like Eric, and that Sookie had been extremely lucky to find one who loved her and to Bond with her.

Sookie frowned at Angie throughout dinner, having heard several of her thoughts about babies. When the telepath had introduced Angie to her brother, the last thing she had thought about was the two of them having children, and what that might possibly mean.

After Jason left, and Angie was packing up to go, Sookie took her friend’s hand and said, “Angie, there’s a Supe doctor I know, and I think you should talk with her.”

“Huh?” Angie was surprised at Sookie’s suggestion. Eric glanced at the women, then quickly left, feeling as if this was not a moment to intrude upon.

“I’m sorry, but I heard some of what you were thinking at dinner. Your worries aren’t unwarranted, and this doctor might be a good idea for what you two should do.”

Angie removed her hand from Sookie’s, and she could see her friend trying to calm herself, “Sookie, I appreciate your concern, but Jason hasn’t even asked me to marry him. I want to do the marriage thing, then the baby thing,” she explained.

“I’m sorry,” Sookie expressed regretfully. “I’m really sorry for listening to your thoughts like that. It was rude, and-”

Angie shook her head. “It’s okay. I know you catch stray thoughts when you’re relaxed, and hearing me thinking that stuff probably made it difficult for you to tune me out. I know you’re worried for me and your brother,” She smiled comfortingly.

“I have better discipline than that though,” Sookie admitted. “I should have blocked you the second I-”

“Sookie!” Angie laughed, “If you can’t let your guard down in your own home, then when will you?”

Sookie laughed as well, nodding, “Okay, well, if you do ever need to talk to the doc, you let me know, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll see you later!” Angie hugged her friend before calling, “Bye, Eric!” just loud enough for him to hear, but not too loud to awaken the sleeping child.

“Good night,” Eric’s voice was barely audible as he tried to keep his volume down as well.

Sookie saw her friend to the door before going to find her Bonded. He was in the den across from the foyer, and she came to find him reading on one of the comfortable sofas in the corner.

“That was really nice tonight. It’s funny that Jason ended up giving us the perfect explanation for how we came about having Lukas,” Sookie curled up against Eric’s side while she spoke with him.

“Yes, I am glad that Jason came by before we started announcing our responsibilities to Lukas,” Eric closed the book he had been perusing. “Your role as Gatekeeper would put you in prime position for taking in a hybrid at the Queen’s command.”

“Have you told Godric about Lukas yet?” Sookie asked.

“I called him while you were out with Angie this afternoon,” he replied.

“What does he think?” she asked.

“Much what I thought. That this will be good for you, and that it is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. Godric is enthusiastic about meeting Lukas and he requested we visit New Orleans when we have time.”

“Oh, I wonder if I could teleport with a baby? I should call Ludwig,” Sookie realized. “I’ve been meaning to call her all day, and I just kept getting distracted!”

“I think it could wait a while longer,” Eric purred, leaning into her.

“What? Eric!” she giggled as his hand came up to one of her breasts, squeezing it as a request. “Really? You can’t wait for a couple more hours? I managed to work a nap in, I’m not sleeping for at least another few days!”

Eric shook his head, “No, I cannot wait. Watching my woman with a baby has been doing all sorts of interesting things to my body. Could you be angry at a man who is aroused by his maternal wife?”

Sookie giggled once more while she turned smoothly onto the couch, trapping Eric between her legs as he came to loom over her. His mouth found hers, kissing her slowly, deeply, as he pressed his body against her smaller one. Her arms and legs twisted around his frame, holding Eric close while their lips and tongues caressed one another’s.

“Eric,” she sighed after she felt a familiar hardness rubbing against her intimate area. Her hips undulated firmly to increase the pressure between their sexes, but she did not do anything more than that. After hearing him speak about how turned on seeing her as Lukas’s mother had made him, Sookie wanted to discover how long he could keep his restraint.

It was not long at all.

Before Sookie could get a rhythm between their hips started, Eric was pulling her clothes off in a flurry. She laughed and wriggled while he yanked and tugged each article away as if they offended him on a personal level. Soon, she lay naked on the couch, her tan skin contrasting nicely with the crimson of the upholstery.

Eric wasted no time tearing away his own clothing, but before returning to her on the sofa, he moved her to sit on the cushion’s very edge, tucking his shirt under her bottom.

“What are you doing?” she laughed once he had seated her on his shirt.

“I am about to make you cum over and over again, and you, my beautiful Bonded, make quite a mess when I do so.”

Sookie raised her eyebrows, “I make the mess? Maybe you shouldn’t be such a messy eater!”

Eric’s reply was to drape her knees over his shoulders and cover the entirety of her sex with his mouth. The telepath bucked and wiggled against his enthusiastic mouth, whining with pleasure as his tongue began plunging into her eager hole.
“Ah!” she keened sharply when his blunt teeth scraped against her clit briefly, causing a little pain that he quickly soothed away. “Eric, oh, not fair! Eric!” she cried, reaching between her legs to hold his head more firmly to her core. “OH! Please, suck on it!” She tried dragging his lips to her swollen, begging clit.

The vampire growled hungrily at her pleas, but then chose to ignore her demand, opting to torment her awhile longer. When frustrated tears began to build in her eyes, Eric finally complied with her need, and attacked her throbbing bundle of nerves. A single tap of his tongue against the pink pearl made Sookie’s back arc impressively, and she covered her mouth with her hand while she screamed into it. Eric frowned only momentarily when she did this before remembering they had a sleeping baby in the house. Already Eric wanted to plan an evening for Lukas to spend with his Uncle Jas and Aunt Ang, so that he would not need to be deprived of hearing his Bonded’s beautiful, pleasured cries.

By the time Eric had brought her to orgasm for the third time, Sookie was holding a decorative pillow to her chest, and crying into it. She was a gasping, sobbing ball of pleasure, and Eric determined it was his turn to experience the same joy of release.

Standing up sharply, Eric curled Sookie’s spine, so that she was balanced on her shoulder blades for support. One of his legs stepped between hers to settle his foot on the couch while he scissored her trembling thighs and thrust his cock down into her clenching channel in one, swift drive.

Sookie clutched at the back of the couch as she went frantic beneath him. He was jackknifing into her pussy at such a speed, she was near a state of delirium. Her body was shaking all over, her womanhood throbbing as though she were experiencing a single, ceaseless climax. While one of Eric’s strong hands held her by an ankle, keeping her bottom half lifted high in the air, his other hand was rubbing her clit with such vigorous attention that her thighs were shaking uncontrollably. Her hips were twitching to and fro in sharp spasms, evidence of her orgasm’s intensity.

“Eric, Eric, Eric-”
Her hips shuddered with a sharp jerk, and Eric froze when he heard her let out a cry that he knew all too well as pain. Her features froze along with her whole body as she jolted from extreme pleasure to defensive stillness.

“Shh, shh,” Eric soothed, withdrawing his cock from her as gently as he could. Noting the amount of blood on his member, Eric quickly went to work, repairing the damage. He lowered her hips just as carefully before tearing open his wrist and offering the wound to her. As she nursed the injury, Eric sliced open a finger on his unoccupied hand, and carefully slid it inside of her injured orifice.

“Sorry,” she mumbled against his wound when it began to close.

Eric chuckled to himself while he withdrew his finger and pressed tentatively upon her lower abdomen. She showed no signs of discomfort, thankfully. “I consider it a compliment when I work you into such a frenzy you injure yourself.”

“That hasn’t happened in awhile,” she realized.

“No, but I have never fucked you like that before,” he pointed out.

“That’s surprising,” she laughed. “I thought we’d done it every way known to man!”

“Oh, no, my Bonded. I have not even begun to show you anything yet. We have an eternity together; did you really think I would give out all of the surprises in a mere six years?” He wore an expression as though he was greatly insulted by her presumption.

Sookie pressed on her lower abdomen firmly, “I think I’m all healed up.” She tried to pull him atop her once more, but Eric resisted, “What?”

“Give it some more time,” he encouraged.

“Hmm,” she looked at him contemplatively.

“Hmm?” Eric repeated amusedly after Sookie took his wrist, pulling him onto the couch. Eric smiled as she sat him down, and then crawled between his knees. “My Sookie,” he purred when she took his length into her hand and began stroking him. His fingers wove into her golden hair, twirling several locks between his digits as her mouth enveloped his shaft. “Look up at me,” he told her, reveling in her big, blue eyes. They stared at him adoringly as her cheeks hollowed and lips dragged against the thick column of his flesh. “Good girl.”

As her mouth continued pleasuring him, her hands ran up and down the inside of his thighs, alternating between the gentleness of her fingertips, and the toe-curling scrape of her nails. “Oh, yes, Lover,” Eric growled when her nails dug into the firm muscle of his thigh. The hand in her hair pressed firmly against the back of her head, shoving his length deeper down her throat. He could feel the tube of her trachea fluttering against his head, and only pulled back when her nails dug a touch deeper into his leg. Sookie panted for air a moment before allowing him to perform the action again, and again.

Sookie pulled back to the head of his cock, suckling greedily while her hand began to pump the exposed base. Her eyes remained trained on his. She knew how much he liked when she maintained eye contact, but she enjoyed it more when he told her to do so on occasion. The praise that followed when she obeyed his instructions always made her heart race.

Before Sookie could pleasure him to completion, Eric tugged at her hair, pulling her mouth from his cock. “Come up here and fuck me, Lover,” he requested, and Sookie crawled into his lap, turning her back to him. “Backward?” He was surprised. Normally Sookie liked to watch his face when she rode him.

“Then I can do this,” She brought her legs together between his, and pushed her gash against his cock. The closed stance tightened her pussy around him, and Eric grunted approvingly, “That feels perfect, My Sookie.” Eric took an ass cheek in each of his hands as she rocked back and forth against him. The vampire did not propel her movements at all, but kept her from pushing too far back and re-injuring herself. At one point, her knees began to bend slightly, and her hips swiveled in a figure-eight pattern.

Losing his control, Eric’s fingertips dug into Sookie’s backside while he thrust his hips upward and held her steady as his cock pumped its spending’s deep inside of her.

Pulling the woman back against his chest, Eric nibbled on her shoulder as he drew her legs up and onto either side of his own. One of his hands began palming a breast while the other went between her thighs just above where they were joined. “I need to feel you come around my cock, Sookie,” he mumbled against her back, kissing from her shoulder to her throat. His fingers were working her over slowly at first, but then they quickly began to pick up speed.

Sookie twisted in his lap, her body twitching after coming so near to completion before his orgasm had hit. As his hand continued pleasuring her, Sookie clutched at his arms, feeling her body coiling with another release. Finally, for the last time this round, Sookie came undone with a loud cry she forgot to smother.

Her body was shaking in his lap when they both heard the distinct wail of a fussy baby. Sookie, gasping for breath, rose off of Eric to try and find her clothes. Her wobbly legs made Eric laugh, and he patted Sookie’s rear once he stood and grabbed his pants, “Collect yourself, Lover. I will check on Lukas.”

“Wash your hands first!” she called after him, sprawling boneless onto the floor.

Her reasonable command was acknowledged by a booming laugh.

On to Chapter Three

Making Heroes Ch. 01

Chapter One: Extended Family

Sitting on her usual perch on Eric’s knee at Fangtasia, Sookie Stackhouse leaned her head against his shoulder, her eyes closing while the music of the club throbbed pleasantly against her membranes. It was another laid-back evening, her duties as Gatekeeper being unnecessary over the past few weeks. Given the time difference between the two realms, the telepath had to remind herself that foolish fairies would not constantly be attempting illegal entry into her world, and that patience was needed.

“You are bored,” Eric chuckled, giving her side a firm squeeze.

His Bonded laughed in reply, “I suppose I am! Those first few years as Gatekeeper were quite active and things have now calmed down so much.”

“Your reputation deterred many of your would-be opponents,” Eric explained. “Those first few years were merely a couple of months in Elfyria. Claudine’s reign was new, and the opposition keeping an open portal was a weakness for her. Now that the citizens of Elfyria know of your position, they are much warier; therefore, they will not attempt to cross through the portal as impulsively… You will need to take great care going forward. Those who attempt to cross now will strike at you immediately.” Sookie could feel how unnerved this made her Bonded and she sent him reassurance in response.

“Those opal thieves from last month weren’t even worth my time. Colman was right behind them through the portal. He’s lucky I didn’t take his head right along with them! That fool should know better than to chase fugitives into our world,” Sookie huffed.
“Yes, but your cousin made sure to insist that he not repeat his actions. I think she was more than well aware of the danger he placed himself in,” Eric countered.

“She did give him a good yellin’ at,” she chuckled.

“Yes, right there at the portal,” He laughed right alongside of her, recalling the memory Sookie had shared through their telepathic link.

Sookie, the telepath sat straight up in Eric’s lap when she heard Pam calling for her, “let me talk to Eric.”

Opening her mind, she addressed her Bonded, “Pam wants to speak with us,” was the only warning she gave him before Pam interrupted.

Master, you and Sookie need to come to your office. There is someone who needs to meet with you… More Sookie than you,” Pam told them quickly.

The vampire rose, lifting Sookie from his knee, and they walked side by side through the club, ignoring the tiny squeals of a few fangbangers who became weak in the knees just by Eric’s proximity.

Once they entered the hallway, Sookie froze for a moment before cautiously following Eric into his office. A blonde woman was seated across the desk, her wavy hair knotted at the base of her skull. While she had waited, the woman read the framed news article on the wall of Eric’s office. It was a publicity photo of Eric, Pam, Longshadow, and Sookie standing in front of the club doors, looking rather menacingly into the camera.

The woman craned her neck to watch the couple enter the room, tensing at the sight of the vampire. Nevertheless, Sookie knew she had expected Eric’s presence. Hadley’s jaw was clenched, her blue eyes sunken, and red bags hung beneath them.

Eric could smell the heroin in the woman’s blood, yet, even if he had been unable, the physical signs were just as blatant. There was the agitated jerking of her leg, the accumulated beads of sweat in his comfortably cool office, and, the most telling of all, the long-sleeved shirt she wore on a Louisiana June evening to hide the track marks on her arms.

“Hadley,” Sookie said in a low monotone.
“Sookie,” Hadley responded, then a little head popped up over her shoulder after a child, too young to be called a toddler, but too old to be an infant, gazed up at her, his wheat hair and big, blue eyes staring at her in wonder.

“Eric,” Sookie gestured to the woman, “this is my cousin, Hadley.” She looked at her relative with clear apprehension, “Jason told you where to find me?”

“Yeah,” Hadley rose after depositing the child on the floor. She barely paid him any recognition afterward, “When I called him the other day, I told him not to tell you I asked about you.”

“I see,” The telepath heard all of the things her cousin did not wish to say, making her arms tense in exasperation. “Your son?” She asked, gesturing to the little boy.

Hadley’s lip twitched as if to keep from sneering, “Yeah.”

There was a long silence while the two women stared each other down, Hadley not knowing how to say what she needed, and Sookie trying to force her to say it, to utter her condemning request.

“He’s,” she looked down at the little boy who looked to be verge of tears, “like you.”

“Yes,” Sookie agreed, and Eric glanced at her so quickly, Hadley never even noticed.

“So I thought…” Hadley trailed off, expecting Sookie to know what she wanted, but the younger woman was going to make her say it. What words would she choose? Sookie wondered. Hadley finally seemed to find her voice, “Well, since you overcame it, he might be better off with you.”

“Overcame what?” Eric asked.

“Her mental illness!” Hadley spat, and Sookie knew that her cousin had the same aversion that her own mother, Linda, had toward the mentally-impaired, except, Hadley and Linda had never understood what Sookie truly was.

“Her what?” Eric snarled, and Sookie placed a comforting hand in his.

“How long would it take you to make him normal, like you?” Hadley ignored the vampire.

“He will never be normal,” Sookie replied in a rather empty voice. “He will always be special. Who is his father?”

“I don’t know,” Hadley squirmed uncomfortably. “There were a few guys around then. Didn’t catch all their names. You know how it is.”

“No, she does not,” Eric snapped. “Are you telling me that you wish for us to raise your bastard child for you because you do not know how to deal with his gift?”

“I can’t afford the same institutions that Sookie got!” Hadley replied shortly.

“Lucky him,” Eric chastised. “Although if he had needed medical attention, I am certain you could have afforded it had you not spent all of your money on drugs.” Hadley recoiled at Eric’s accurate accusation as if she had been slapped.

Eric…” The vampire looked to Sookie then, and he felt exactly what she felt. She was full of need and determination. “I can do it. Please… I need to…”

“Who else knows of him?” Eric asked, changing his demeanor.

“He’s seven months. I mean, my mom knows about him, and I guess the doctor and nurses… Not too many people really know him. Ma noticed he had a lot of the same tells Sookie had when she was his age, and told me to…” The single mother stopped herself, but Sookie heard exactly what Linda had said.

~ “Get rid of that thing before it destroys your life, even more than you’ve already done. That freak cousin of yours destroyed my brother’s life and Jason’s. That’s exactly what that thing will do to you if you keep it!” ~

Sookie’s lip curled at the flickering memory her cousin had recollected, “Far greater things than I could have possibly conjured are what ruined so many lives, not my ability. People ruined my family, not me.” She was reaching down to scoop up the baby boy, and, once she did, she felt him lean toward Eric after she rose and stood beside him. Of course, the baby telepath would want to lean toward the silence her lover offered, and the vampire seemed to realize the same thing when he offered a long finger to the baby boy. Once his tiny fist grasped the offered digit, they all heard him coo contentedly. “You’ll get what you want, Hadley, even more than you knew.”

“What do you-” Eric caught Hadley’s gaze before she could make her inquiry.

“You know nothing of Sookie’s telepathy. There was nothing special about your son, nothing different. He died suddenly in his sleep shortly after he was born. You have come to terms with that, and have moved on,” He glamoured her, incensed at how effortlessly she seemed to accept the alterations to her memory.

Although glamouring was very effective and rarely did it not take; it was a very delicate, difficult undertaking to erase a memory of someone close, making it disappear for all time. It was considered impossible to erase the memory of a child from a parent and, sometimes, other close relatives. There were always cases when glamour could be used to ease the despair of losing a child, but not erase the child’s existence altogether. Even though Eric could not remove the child’s existence, normally there was a profound and evident resistance to the glamouring of a parents’ memories to ‘kill’ a child. Hadley did not resist whatsoever; in fact, she seemed to welcome the alteration, and this both angered and disgusted the vampire.

“Sookie, I will return your cousin to her mother’s house and alter your aunt’s memories, too. Stay in my office with your… Stay here with the child, and lock the door until I return,” Sookie nodded at Eric’s instructions, and seated herself and the baby on the leather sofa.

After Eric left her, making certain to have locked the door behind him, Sookie turned to the baby on her lap, and stared down into his big eyes, “I know my mind isn’t exactly silent, but I promise you, Little Guy, you’ll never again hear a bad thing about yourself from someone who should be lovin’ you. Never, ever again!” She squeezed him gently to her chest, “You’re never gonna wish you were anyone other than who you are,” she whispered in his ear. “You’re gonna have an Uncle Jason who thinks you’re freakin’ awesome, and I’m gonna love you to death. You’re gonna be sick of me, I’m gonna love you so much!” She held him a bit tighter. “Eric is gonna teach you so much. You’re gonna be the smartest little boy in the whole world, and you’re gonna have absolutely every advantage I can give you.”

Sookie,” She heard Eric’s voice in her head. “please calm down. I understand, I really do understand how much this means to you. How… Important this is to you, but you need to relax. He is safe with you right now. There is no reason to be so intense.”

Thank you, Eric. I know you feel what I do, but I don’t think you understand it,” She responded.

You want to make his life right in the way yours never was. He is your reflection, and you are adamant on giving him everything you never had, right from the beginning. You do not wish for him to suffer all of his life before finally receiving his compensation,” Eric summarized.

Okay, so you might understand,” Sookie choked back a laugh.

I have never understood anyone as well as I understand you,” Eric assured. “I am approaching your aunt’s home now. I will see you shortly.”

Sookie remained seated with her ward, gazing into his big, trusting eyes, “I wonder if you liked the name my cousin gave you… I wish her thoughts of you had been glamoured in there… That something sinister caused her to feel that way about you, but the only thing that made her believe all those things was her upbringing. Linda did that to her, not you, kiddo. Okay?” She brushed his soft hair with her fingertips. “My cousin called you Hunter… I don’t know that you’ll be keepin’ your name, since Eric’s gonna be erasing your existence… I wish he wouldn’t do that. Getting my birth certificate back was a really important moment for me, but that was because I’d been swept under the carpet and made like I didn’t exist for so long, but I’m not gonna shut you away from the world. You’ll learn to control your gift real early, and get to have a whole life and a real childhood. You’ll have friends and go to school, and it’ll be fun and excitin’, so don’t be mad when you’re older that we had to give you a fresh start when you were a baby. When you’re a bit older, if you want, we’ll find Hadley again, and you can show her just how amazing you are, and what an idiot she was for lettin’ go of you.”

Of course, the child could not fathom what the woman who held him was saying, but he liked the sound of her voice, and the thoughts in her head. His gift was weak and untrained; therefore, he was not being assaulted by the inappropriate thoughts of the club-goers as he would have if she had not been blocking their musings. Thankfully, her time with Octavia had taught her to conceal her thoughts, so that they could not be read, though she never would have guessed she would have needed such a skill.

Through the Bond, Sookie could feel Eric’s mood fluctuating between irritated, then vindicated pleasure once she was certain Linda’s memories had been altered. He was in flight soon after, but she knew he would be heading toward the nearest hospital to glamour an unsuspecting doctor into filling out Hunter’s death certificate. Eric accomplished all of this quickly and soon, he was “calling” to her through their connection that granted them their ability to teleport to one another. It had been a few years before Eric understood and could manipulate this gift. He had found it much easier to drag her through time and space, rather than to do it himself. As Master of the Blade that had bound them, he could both teleport to her or bring her to him within a single realm, but Sookie could only go to him, not bring him to her location. As they had learned in her fight with the fae, he could not teleport to her between realms, only return her back to his side.

Not that it mattered, she thought, after Eric’s arms encircled both her and Hunter. As long as they could get to each other when needed, it did not bother the woman that they did not possess the same power.

“I suppose we should take the young one home,” Eric whispered in her ear. “It is late for an infant, yes?”

“Mmm,” She hummed in agreement. “He is tired.”

“How are you able to tell?” Eric asked as he helped her to her feet.

“His mind. He is processing everything very slowly, but not just slow the way a baby would. It’s a tired slow,” she explained.

“Ah,” was all Eric responded with while they walked out of his office and to the back entrance of the club. “Will you inform Pam of our plans and tell her to shut down the club herself tonight?”

“Yes,” Sookie replied, doing as he asked, not at all surprised at Pam’s response to their taking on raising a hybrid child.

Another fairy hybrid in our lives?” Pam asked mentally, trying to sound bored, but failing dreadfully. It was much more difficult for her to remain nonchalant in her head, “This is ridiculous. Your lot is supposed to be a rare breed, and now we have landed two of you in less than a decade!” She sounded exasperated.

Yes, but he is family,Sookie replied.

Family!” came Pam’s annoyed reply, and the vampiress did not have to send the telepath her thoughts on family to enlighten her. Pam believed she was more Sookie’s family than any of her blood relatives would ever be. Even though Jason was of importance to her, Sookie had to agree. In the six years she had grown to know her brother, or even all the time she had known her cousin, Claudine, Sookie felt as though Eric, Godric, and Pam were her true family.

He will be family,” Sookie corrected.

I suppose,” Pam conceded. “Tell Eric that I will do as he says.”

Thank you,” Sookie turned to look at her Bonded while she held Hunter snugly to her chest, “Pam’s on it… Could we stop by Wal-Mart first? I need to get a carseat for this little guy.”

“There is one behind you.” He jerked his thumb toward the back, “I liberated the one from your cousin’s vehicle seeing as she would have no need for it.”

Sookie craned her neck and looked the carseat she had not noticed, poking a rounded edge up behind her. “Oh,” she laughed.

“I will secure it in your BMW after we get to the house, and you may go shopping with him tomorrow for any other necessities then.” Eric was in a peculiar mood, and it left Sookie presuming.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered in apology for having placed him in such a situation.

“Why are you apologizing?” Eric asked, brow furrowed.

“I’m sorry that this is goin’ to completely disrupt our lives, and you’re only doin’ it because you know it’s what I want,” she said softly.

“You are my life,” Eric told her as he stared ahead at the dark road. “Besides, children grow quickly, especially quick for those of us who do not age. He will be an adult in a short time, and you will not have aged much by that time either. We lose nothing by taking him in, but,” he looked directly at Sookie then for a long moment, “you will gain much in this experience, of that I am certain.”

Sookie smiled at him in that instant he looked at her, “I love you, you know.”

“Yes, I do know, and I love you, too,” He gave her a quick wink before looking back at the road.

“So, what are we goin’ to tell people, or vampires for that matter?” Sookie asked.

“I have arranged that Hunter Delahoussaye is dead,” Eric replied after a moment. “I will be giving him a new identity shortly. As to the origin of his identity, and his purpose for coming to us… I have yet to make any definite decisions. This was not a possibility I was prepared for on any level,” he admitted. “Still, the child’s ability and origin are best kept secret.” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye before asking, “Do you have any suggestions on the matter? We will need to think of a name for him as well.”

“Could he keep his first name?” she asked.

“It is not advisable. I would prefer that we minimize any connections to his previous life,” Eric smiled apologetically.

“I figured you would say somethin’ like that,” She smiled back ruefully. “Guess I should think of a name, too, to put on his new birth certificate…”

“Are we going to invent a last name for him, or would you wish for him to take your surname?” Eric asked.

“I thought maybe he could take yours,” She stuck her tongue out at him playfully. “After all, if they ever allow vampire marriage, I’m takin’ your name.”

“You could take my name now, if you wished. The government cannot keep you from doing that. Only, at this time, we may not have a legally-recognized wedding. We could always have a ceremony, though, one that would be recognized by the Supernatural community,” and then Eric took her hand, kissing the back of it.

“Isn’t that what our Bonding ceremony was?” Sookie asked.

“That was not what I wanted to give you,” He frowned, remembering their rushed bonding ceremony those six years ago. “That was more of an elopement than a wedding. We could do something special, instead.”

Sookie shook her head quickly and laughingly said, “Wait, wait… How did we get on weddings!? We have a lot more to take care of than that right now!”

“Just another thing to think about and consider,” He chuckled, letting go of her hand and allowing it to return to cradling the child who had dozed off.

“Should we tell Jason the truth?” she asked, staring out into the thickets of bushes and trees along the road.

“It would be…”

“Unadvisable,” Sookie sighed. “It’s a good thing you don’t die for the day and I don’t sleep much… We’re goin’ to have a lot to figure out before dawn…”

Eric was pulling into the garage a short time later, and Sookie carried her ward into the house as carefully and quietly as she could. He only stirred slightly as she settled on to the couch, and Eric silently deposited the diaper bag he had commandeered from Hadley on the floor next to it.

“Well, Lover, shall we begin our planning?” Eric asked softly, in deference to the infant’s sleeping state, as he sat down beside Sookie.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Sookie confessed.

“We shall begin with the child’s origins,” Eric submitted.

“Well, you already worked it so he won’t be Hadley’s, and he can’t be mine, or questions of my fidelity will be called into question.” He felt her blood boil with the thought of the latter possibility.

“Very true. Then there are the legal issues of our adopting him, given that you would not be known as a blood relative, and vampires have not been approved to become legal guardians of human children,” Eric nodded thoughtfully.

“Where does that leave us?” Sookie griped.

“With a lot of red tape to cut, and a good amount of money to forge documents,” Eric breathed out.

Sookie gazed down at the boy who slumbered against her chest. He did not seem comfortable, so the woman turned on the sofa to rest her legs in Eric’s lap and her head on the couch’s arm, so they could both lay more comfortably. Her hand settled on the child’s back, feeling the gentle rise and fall of his ribs as he breathed.

“What do you suggest?” she asked gently.

“The Supernatural community is well adept at accepting one Supe becoming guardian to another with or without blood relation. It is how many of them survive and thrive. It is common practice among Were and shifter packs. Weres take care of Were children as well as orphaned shifters. They are not as much of a worry as humans.” He looked to Sookie, “We could forge documents stating that he is your child to appease the humans, but the Supernatural world would know him as an orphaned Supe.”

Eric knew Sookie detested the mere notion that her fidelity could be called into question by anyone, even humans. “It would not necessarily have to be your child through extramarital affairs…” he told her carefully.

“What do you mean?” Sookie asked.

“We could say you wished to bear a child and became artificially impregnated since I lack the capacity to perform that need for you,” He was cautious while he made this suggestion.

“Wouldn’t they do a blood test?” Sookie asked.

Eric shook his head, “No, all of his papers will need to be forged because no proof of his life remains any longer.”

Sookie nodded slowly, “I would like to have Ludwig examine him… Hadley has a drug problem. I want to be certain that he is healthy.”

“That is a good idea. I could smell heroin in her blood during our meeting with her. There is a strong possibility that she was addicted throughout her pregnancy. Although I believe he is well long past the breastfeeding stage, it would be good to know if he suffered any damage prior,” Eric was agreeable. “Shall I call her now?”

“Let’s get a bit more figured out beforehand,” Sookie closed her eyes, enjoying the fluttering heartbeat of the baby against her hand.

Eric smiled at her euphoric expression. Though Sookie had never shown a maternal impulse before, he was astonished to find she had the capacity. It awoke a primal response in him, one he had not experienced ever since his human existence.

“Mmm, you’re enjoyin’ seein’ me with a baby,” she chuckled quietly.

“There is nothing more beautiful than a woman with a baby… One who wishes to have that baby, that is,” he added after remembering Hadley’s lack of interest in the boy.

“I want to name him Lukas,” Sookie informed him after a moment.

“Lukas?” Eric asked curiously.

Her eyes opened slightly, still hooded with the sedation of holding the baby, “It means “Light”.”

“I know this,” he laughed, “but why did you choose it?”

“Because he will be my light… Maybe he will be what keeps me from fallin’ back into darkness again,” she whispered.

Eric was quiet after the admission she had made. In the past five years, they had never spoken aloud of the fear Sookie had about revisiting the darkness of her role as Gatekeeper, nor her rampage that had claimed the lives of nearly five-score fairies. He knew very well that, despite her external nonchalance over her kills, Sookie always wondered, deep down, if she was truly a monster.

~ “Did I lose my light?” Sookie asked one night, sobbing into his chest.

Whatever do you mean, my Bonded?” Eric responded worriedly.

My light. Godric told me not to lose it. I think it’s gone out.”


“You will always be
my light.” ~

“How do you know the name ‘Lukas’?” Eric asked.

“I was bored and looked up the meaning of your name,” Sookie shrugged. “’Eternal Ruler’,” she chuckled. “It works for an immortal like you. Lukas was listed right near it because they were about the same level of popularity, and I remembered seeing it’s meaning. It sort of stuck with me. Maybe this was why?”

“I like it,” Eric smiled at her. “And you wished for him to take my last name?”

“Yes,” her eyes opened fully, “and I want us to have a marriage ceremony, even if it won’t be a legal one.” She glanced down at the engagement ring she had worn for nearly six years, “This ring is getting lonesome,” she teased, wriggling her fingers at him.

Eric laughed right back and gave her leg a little squeeze, “Marriage and a baby, Miss Stackhouse, you have domesticated me more fully than I ever thought would be possible.”

“That’s me, your own personal world-upside-down-turner,” She grinned up at him.

“Life has been a great adventure since you became a part of it. When you become as old as I am, it is enjoyable to have freshness, no matter the costs,” Eric placed his hand over hers, over Lukas’ back. “What’s more, I know how much this means to you.”

Smiling at her understanding Bonded, Sookie merely nodded and closed her eyes once more. There was no more need for words. The most pressing issues had been resolved in that they had made their decisions. Now, Eric would only need time to secure the proper documents for their newest family member, and get a few points across to the Supernatural community. Thankfully, the child’s age was right in the range between negotiations with humans and the opening of Fangtasia. That meant Sookie could say he was born before the opening, but not showing at the time she had been dealing with humans. If anyone questioned why the baby had never been seen, they could merely reply that they had been waiting for him to grow a bit before bringing him near the club. Luckily, Pam had brought Hadley in through the back entrance, minimizing her exposure to the rest of their world. In the event someone had noticed her, Eric and Sookie could say she had been their babysitter.

They both doubted that any humans would ask too many questions; in fact, they counted on it.

Still, none of this made Sookie anxious. The feel of the baby resting against her body was both soothing and exciting. Nothing mattered more than him in that moment, and she was happy to keep it as such. After all, it was not every day one became a mother.

On to Chapter Two!

Do You Know What Time it Is!?

NEW STORY TIME!

Yes, you heard me! A new story will be debuting this Saturday! It is titled, ‘Making Heroes’, and is the sequel to ‘Keep Me’! It only took THREE YEARS to get the sequel out, but it happened!

‘Making Heroes’ is an eleven chapter sequel. It continues directly from the epilogue.

Now, here’s the rub.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you read my previous stories to fully experience the upcoming sequel. That’s right:

Keep Me

Trouble Maker

My Angel

Never End

These are all important facets to enjoying the full story. However, ‘Keep Me’ is the only story that is absolutely necessary to read prior to ‘Making Heroes’.

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!

Aside from starting the sequel this Saturday, I am pleased to announce that ‘Making Heroes’ will be updated THREE TIMES A WEEK! Do you know what that means? That’s right! In two and half weeks, you will have the complete story at your leisure to enjoy!

Why am I doing this, you might be asking yourself. Mostly because it is a short story, and it is already completely written, so why make all of you wait for weekly posts? However, the main reason is that after the conclusion of ‘Making Heroes’ there will be ANOTHER story making its debut! (Are you all realizing that I have no life right about now?)

I will TRY to work on the remastering of ‘My Angel’ and ‘Trouble Maker’, but they are available to read on FF.NET until I have that much free time!

See y’all on Saturday!

-Andi

The Latest

UNDER CONSTRUCTION…?

No, not really. The menu has been revamped several times today- sorry about that. However, ALL of ‘Keep Me’ is up. I added my disclaimer/summaries page to the beginnings of ‘Never End’ and ‘Keep Me’ so if you want to skip that, that’s up to you. You will no longer be forced to read a summary if you do not wish to.

Hopefully my goal of making this page easy to navigate and user friendly is going well? I know I don’t have banners and buttons and links (Oh, my!), but I would rather spend my time writing new stories (or editing old ones) for you all to enjoy.

Speaking of editing old stories, I have to decide if ‘My Angel’ or ‘Trouble Maker’ is next, and I’m having a rough time of it.  How about you guys decide? For those of you who haven’t read them on FF.NET:

‘My Angel’: Sookie discovers that someone’s been watching out for her for years, and comes to find that her Guardian Angel is actually a devil in disguise! After learning the truth about his obsession with her, Sookie struggles to let her heart open to him. Can our favorite Viking win her over? (24 chapters long- roughly 120,000 words).

‘Trouble Maker’: Sookie chooses employment over slavery, and Eric welcomes all of the trouble it brings his way when he offers to protect our favorite telepath from becoming Sophie-Ann’s pet. He just cannot fathom the way both of their worlds are about to change. Plenty of roller coasters, but a LOT of filler chapters. Slower moving plot line, many side stories. (50 chapters long- roughly 295,000 words).

Keep Me Epilogue

Epilogue:

~Five Years Later~

Sitting upon his throne at Fangtasia, Eric watched the dancing bodies on the floor before him. He had not anticipated the reception the Great Revelation had brought. Though, of course, there were zealots and arrogant people that thought vampires were an abomination, he had found his niche of individuals begging for a chance to encounter vampires.

At first, their feeding habits had only intrigued the darkest of souls that darkened his nightclub’s doorway. Eventually, “brave” people came around, and then came those who were just curious. It had taken nearly a year after the Revelation for Eric to acquire the proper licensing for his establishment, a lot of the time being reduced by healthy campaign donations, and more than a couple of blatant threats. However, once the red tape was cut, and a few toes were stepped on, Fangtasia was ready to open the second the permits were signed.

Sookie had been invaluable to him during that time. She negotiated with public servants, knowing all of their hesitations and having a palatable alternative to quell their resistances. In his club, the telepath was quick to point out cops who were looking for any means to close him down, as well as alert him of a new threat the vampires had not anticipated:

Drainers.

It had not taken long after the Revelation for humans to discover the perks of taking in vampire blood. Even some of vampires’ weaknesses had been uncovered and used against them in that short time. However, every vampire that came to display themselves, as ordered by Eric, in the club knew that they were being watched over by their Sheriff’s gifted Mate.

The role Sookie played in the club was still a mystery to the humans. They were wary of her, for many reasons, the most obvious being the sword she wore threateningly upon her hip. No one knew why the weapon was so prominently displayed, and they did not wish to find out. All they knew was that they did not wish to be at the pointy end of it under any circumstances.

A dark soul, who thought herself a greater consort to the Viking, approached his throne. Sookie had seen the girl’s intent even before she bowed before Eric, and had begun working her way to her Bonded through the crowd.

“Master Eric,” the black haired seductress, with her deep purple lipstick and Cleopatra eyeliner lilted huskily, “I wish to offer myself to you.” Her voice was practically a moan, trying to infuse as much of her devotion as possible.

“I am Bonded, and will decline.” Eric waved his hand to dismiss her.

“I have been told that my blood is exceptional,” she persisted.

“My Mate’s blood is unrivaled.” Eric refused again, not letting his impatience show just yet.

“She wouldn’t have to know.” The woman purred.

I know everythin’.” The lolita jumped at the whisper by her ear, and spun on her knees to see Eric’s Bonded leaned over her.

Rather than wilting, the woman straightened her shoulders. “Are you even old enough to be in here?” It was true, Sookie’s aging had been stunted by the vampire blood, and in the time she had met Eric, she looked as though she had barely aged a second. The most physical change she had sustained had been a rounding out of her figure as she finally put on the weight that Dr. Ludwig insisted she needed. Had it not been for her driver’s license, her presence in the club had almost gotten it closed on several occasions.

Sookie did not reply to the comment, merely straightened up and gazed down at the woman in annoyance. Her arms crossed over her chest as she waited for the woman to back down.

She did not.

“Isn’t it past your bedtime?” she taunted, and Sookie smirked and shook her head. “Aren’t you gonna say something!?” she demanded, making Sookie’s lips quirk even higher. “Bitch,” the woman muttered and spun around, stomping off of the dais.

Eric was snarling quietly as Sookie stepped up to his throne, and his arms opened to invite her into his lap. Snuggled in his embrace, Sookie rested her head on his shoulder.

“I do not know why you insist on letting them speak to you like that,” he grunted.

“It amuses me.” Sookie was still smiling. “As much talk as they have, that’s all it is. I could take their head in an instant, but it is too entertainin’ to listen to their words and compare it to what is goin’ on in their heads.” There was a strange pleasure at the lack of symmetry between their condescending words, and the constant worry that her sword would be drawn.

“You would think that with that sword on your hip, they would be more wary.” Eric was still unhappy.

“They think it is for show. They do not realize how much blood it has tasted these past years.” Sookie smiled, and then laughed as she felt the pommel of the sword vibrate against her side. “Speak of the devil.” She stood up and kissed Eric’s cheek. “I have to go to work, Lover.”

“Be safe.”

“Always.” Sookie left the dais and went outside the employee entrance. There were wards in the building to prevent teleporting, and Sookie walked through the parking lot until she was no longer governed by them before *POP*ping to the graveyard.

A male fairy with long blond hair stood just outside of the portal. He jumped when the Gatekeeper appeared suddenly before him. “Shit, don’t you ever sleep?” he demanded.

“Not often. Do you have papers?” Sookie held out her hand expectantly.

“Yes, yes.” He sighed, reaching into his pocket and producing a thick envelope. “The Queen of Elfyria wanted to give you a heads up. She is prohibiting use of the portal for the next few hours… Er, days. There was a large quantity of precious gems stolen, and she does not want them getting into this realm and sold. She has asked that any that use the portal, other than myself or Colman, be dispatched without warning or hesitation.”

“That’s always easy for me to agree with.” The Gatekeeper was quite fond of “dispatching” fairies, and had even taken to beheading them so that she could drain and sell their blood afterward. Claudine was aware of Sookie’s prominence as the only known vender of fairy blood, and had laughed at her cousin’s ambitious entrepreneurship. Though, Sookie was certain that if it had not been her duty to kill those that passed through the portal without proper documents, Claudine would not be so entertained.

Sookie tucked the envelope into her bag without taking her eyes off of the messenger. Her arms were crossed over her chest once again, and she was staring at the man expectantly, “Well? Aren’t you goin’ back?”

“Oh! Umm…” The fairy trembled slightly, looking at the sword of the Gatekeeper. He had been warned by the Queen long ago when he took the position that the blade was merely for show, and that her new Gatekeeper did not need to use it to do her job. “Yes…” He bowed and turned back to the portal, which was still swirling open at the presence of Empyrodite. “Have a good evening, M’lady.”

Sookie waited a moment before putting her sword in her bag and teleporting to Merlotte’s. Eric hated that she went to the dive bar, but she told him, it was a good place for her to go when she had Fae business to attend to, as well as wait off the lingering fairy scent with which she became infused.

“Evenin’, Sooks!” Sam called from behind the bar as the blonde walked in and waved at him. Several waitresses waved at her cheerfully when they heard Sam acknowledge her.

“Evenin’, Sam.” She nodded and went to her usual booth. “My brother been in?” she called to him.

“Not yet, still early, though.” Sam brought her over a gin and tonic; setting it in front of her as she reached into her bag for the envelope she had been given. She read through the documents quickly, asserting that she might be looking at killing a couple more fairies in the next week or so. Colman was excellent at navigating Elfyria’s underworld, and he would probably have little difficulty apprehending the culprits. The stolen gems were not anything that could cause harm in Sookie’s realm, mostly it was just opal. The telepath had been surprised that opal was an Elfyrian mineral, but its hypnotic blend of colors seemed befitting a mystical world’s resources. “Work?” Sam asked when he came with a fresh drink a little later.

“Yes. New orders from my cousin.” Sookie folded the thick parchment. “You might be seein’ me around a lot the next couple of weeks.”

“Lucky me.” He laughed, sitting across from her. “How are things at the club?”

Sam had become a fast friend once Sookie was regularly stopping into Bon Temps and checking on the portal. When she dealt with a hostile fairy, Sam’s trailer out back had given her a place to shower and change clothes on several occasions. The Shifter liked the girl. She was friendly, but fierce. He had to admit that he never thought he could enjoy the company of someone so involved with vampires, but she told great stories of adventures and intrigue. It was like listening to an old radio program, where you had to visualize the scenes being described, and Sookie was an amazing storyteller.

At first, the use of Merlotte’s had been out of necessity. Sookie had to wait for Eric to send for her before she could return home, so that she would not appear beside him in front of the humans with whom he was in business. Of course their telepathic link had made it easy for them to communicate their needs, but sometimes she was called away while he was in a meeting, and she had been left for a time in the backwater town. Not that Eric would not have excused himself from the meeting long enough to call her back to him, but Sookie liked the idea of being stranded in Bon Temps. It gave her an opportunity to meet up with Jason, or even hang out at Merlotte’s, making friends with some of the staff, or just talk with Sam. Sometimes Jason would swing by the graveyard and pick her up, taking Sookie to the bar to wait, and never asking why she always ended up stranded in the town’s cemetery.

Now that Sookie could teleport of her own volition, thanks to a power coma she went into around the time that she turned twenty, the fairy hybrid now went to Merlotte’s out of habit, or just the occasional meet and greet with Sam and Jason.

Jason and Dawn had long ago split up. Sookie had even seen the girl a few times at Fangtasia, hanging off one vampire or another. However, Sookie had introduced him to Angie, and the pair had hit it off. They had been dating for a few months now.

Despite losing his girlfriend to the vampire culture, Jason had been aware of vampires several years before the Revelation. He knew Eric was a vampire, and really had not put up any resistances to it since he knew how well he cared for his sister. The knowledge of vampires, as well as his Sookie’s own differences, had made him quite accepting of Angie’s Witch-iness, and left him open minded to the supernatural world.

A Witch girlfriend, a telepathic sister, a vampire brother-in-law, for lack of a better word, and eventually he had been told of his own supernatural connection. Sookie was surprised how bummed out Jason seemed when he found out he was part Supe, but had no gifts. She had laughed at his pout and ruffled his hair childishly then.

“Hey, Sooks!” Jason came and sat beside her at the booth. “What are you readin’?”

“Just work stuff.” Sookie placed the papers back in the envelope and shoved them in her purse. “You seein’ Angie tonight?”

“Nah, we have to work tomorrow mornin’, and I couldn’t convince her to come out. Most of my work’s in Shreveport, too, and it would make sense to move out there, but…” Sookie could see in his head that he did not want to give up their parents’ old home.

“Why don’t you just spend the night at her place then? You got to be in Shreveport tomorrow anyway…,” Sookie pointed out.

“You know she ain’t let me stay at her place since I left a beer on her altar.” Jason frowned. “Seriously, it’s a damn table. You’re s’pose to set stuff down on it,” he huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

Sookie laughed. “This comin’ from the guy who ranted about Angie washin’ his Saints jersey durin’ the playoffs?” The girl grimaced mid-laugh.

“Eric?” Sam guessed.

“He’s really annoyed.” Sookie nodded. “Darlin’, what’s goin’ on?” she asked her Bonded telepathically.

That bitch you would not let me throttle is trying to offer herself again,” Eric answered her.

Sookie’s eyes narrowed and Sam leaned back on automatic, just in time to avoid getting splashed with gin as Sookie’s glass blew up. Jason was not so lucky, but he did not seem to really mind it. “Uh…” Sam watched her expectantly.

“I need to take care of somethin’,” Sookie grounded out, rising from the booth as Jason stepped out to let her pass. “I don’t think I’ll be back tonight.” She threw down more than enough money to cover her drinks.

“Gotcha.” Sam actually blanched at her expression.

Sookie was just past the backdoor of the bar when she teleported to the Fangtasia parking lot. Pulling her sword from her bag, she had it fastened quickly at her hip. She stomped her way back into the bar, through the crowd, and once more to the dais. The self-proclaimed temptress was again kneeling before a sneering Eric, and this time Sookie was not amused. The whore had already gotten her warning.

Reaching the platform, Sookie grabbed a fistful of artificially black hair, and yanked the woman to her feet. “Get. Away. From. My. MATE!” she howled in the girl’s face before reeling her arm back and sending her sliding across the dance floor. “Eric is MINE!” she announced to the club. “If anyone challenges my claim again, I will have their head!” As if to emphasize her point, Sookie’s hand fell to the hilt of her sword, grasping it firmly.

The home wrecker was clambering back in her nine inch heels, stumbling slightly as she held her head where her hair had been pulled so roughly. Sookie could hear all the things the woman wanted to say, but was now too terrified to utter. With a snarl, Sookie squared off her shoulders, “Get. Out.”

After the tramp had scampered for the door, Sookie climbed the stage and went to Eric’s throne. He was sitting with the same posture as when she had first arrived, only his annoyed expression had transformed into one of passion and amusement. Sookie straddled his hips without a word and crushed her mouth to his as Eric’s hands grasped fistfuls of her bottom. It only took a few moments of kissing before Eric stood from his chair and carried Sookie into his office.

“I love when you become territorial,” he growled as his office door slammed shut.

“I love how hot it gets you,” Sookie grunted as her chest was pushed roughly against his desk, and Eric yanked her panties off from underneath her dress. The woman spread her legs as she reached back to flip her skirt up over her rear. Her vampire did not hesitate to ram his thick rod deep inside of her at that, and pound his flesh against hers with all of his strength. She had claimed him, now it was time to mark his territory. His fangs pierced her neck without warning, and Sookie mewled beneath him, bucking wildly at the familiar hurt that made her climax.

“Yes, Sookie,” Eric growled against her neck, “come for my fangs.” He grunted as his hips continued to crash into her. Even as she began to go limp from the intensity of the swift orgasm, Eric kept pushing harder against her backside. “Mmm, not done yet, I hope?” He was grinning now as his hand reached in front of her to play between her folds. Sookie jerked at the attention he played to the hyper sensitive spot. It did not take long for him to pull another climax from her, and then a third, before finally filling her with his own essence. “Ah!” He pushed in as deeply as he could before succumbing to his release, her internal walls flexing around him aggressively.

Sookie lay panting, half sprawled on his desk. She moaned as Eric lifted her by her hips and laid her out flat across the surface of his desk. Her breathing was harsh as her Bonded pulled the straps of her dress from her shoulders down to expose her heaving breasts. Crouching beside the table, he watched her body tremble, her chest gasping for air, and those marvelous tits beckoning towards the ceiling. He could watch her breathe all night.

As she began to calm, Sookie looked to the side, smiling at seeing her vampire watching her. Reaching out a weak hand, she stroked his cheek, eyes hooded with satiation. “I love you.”

Turning his face into her palm, he kissed it before answering, “I love you, too.”

With a feline stretch of contentment, Sookie began to sit up. She gave another long, luxurious stretch before hopping off of the desk and heading toward the small bathroom annexed off of his office for her use.

“Where are you going?” Eric asked as he rose from his crouch, straightening his pants.

“To wash up.” She giggled.

“No.” Eric shook his head, zipping between her and the washroom. “Stay just like this…” He emphasized his enjoyment at her state by taking a long inhalation of her post-sex perfume.

“Can I at least have my underwear back? Your stuff’s goin’ to be drippin’ down my leg without them.” Sookie reached up to wrap her arms around his neck.

“No. Let it.” He nuzzled her throat. “You showed your rights to me, I wish to display mine to you.”

Sookie could already feel his spendings trickling down the insides of her thighs; it did not take long for the trail to reach her knees, “Eric,” she complained softly, “you come a lot. It’s goin’ to look like I wet myself if I sit down in this dress.”

Eric growled, as he reached under the hem of her skirt, his hand delving into her recently plundered hole. “Ah!” She grabbed his upper arms to support herself as his fingers worked her.

The action only lasted a short time before his hand was in front of her mouth, coated thickly in both of their fluids. “Lick it clean,” he demanded, and her tongue made quick work of lapping up the sticky mess, even drinking down the remnants that had pooled in his palm. Eric repeated this action several times before she had swallowed down most of what he had left behind. “There.” He nipped her earlobe. “Now it will not be dripping down those sexy thighs, but you will still smell like you did not clean up.” He seemed pleased with this ultimatum.

Sookie groaned as his fingers went back between her legs to play with her again. “You are ready to go again, already, Sookie?” Eric asked with amusement before whispering into her ear, “Do you still enjoy my taste so much after these past years?”

“Yes…,” she hissed, clutching the front of his shirt.

“Then undo my pants. You can clean my cock, too.” He gave her a slightly rougher push to encourage Sookie to her knees. She fell happily to the floor, opening his pants back up and taking his semi-hard staff into her hands. Her mouth enveloped him without any more insistence, and Sookie licked and sucked him with the same enthusiasm she had since the first evening she had met him. “Uh! Min vackra brud! Din mun känns så bra!” [My beautiful bride! Your mouth feels so good!].

Sookie loved when he spoke in Swedish, not just because it sounded sexy to her, but because there was a prideful pleasure she felt when she made him forget how to speak English.

His native tongue was all he could speak in as her mouth did all sorts of wicked things to him, and Sookie found her fingers venturing between her thighs to play with herself. Rubbing her clit frantically, Sookie was bucking into her own hand as Eric was bucking against her face. A few minutes later, she was swallowing more of his essence as her hand became coated in a fresh wave of her juices.

“I cannot ever get enough of you,” Eric growled hungrily as he lifted Sookie back to her feet and flung the girl onto his leather couch. His hands yanked her thighs apart as his mouth dove down to lick and his fingers came to plunder once more.

Sookie was a wriggling, panting mass of limbs by the time he let her rest, and she was elated that he did not let her go for a long while. Every moment he spent with her like this reinforced Sookie’s belief that he would always want her.

“Of course I will,” Eric said softly, kissing the inside of her thigh gently. “I will want you for the rest of eternity.” He licked the space between her legs clean, as well as his own hand before he helped Sookie set her dress back to rights. “There will never be another more suited for me.” He kissed the top of her head now.

“I didn’t realize I was projectin’ that thought,” she replied shyly.

“Even if you had not, I know what you are thinking when you feel hope during sex.” He held her tightly. “My Sookie, I cannot wait for the day when you finally believe that I will not leave you behind.”

The telepath could feel a deep sadness in Eric as he spoke. “I’m sorry.” She shook her head firmly. “I’m bein’ ridiculous. You’ll never leave me. I know you won’t. And you’re not my past. You’re my present and future. My forever. My past is never goin’ to catch back up again. My past is dead; I made damned sure of that.” Eric laughed at the declaration and nodded in agreement.

“Yes, my Bonded, you definitely did.” He kissed the top of her head as they took one another’s hands and went back onto the main floor.

Soon, the pair was back on Eric’s throne, several vampires looking at them hungrily as the smell of sex and blood fragranced the air of the dance floor. As the pair sat, overlooking the bedlam of the Fangtasia dance floor, Eric wrapped Sookie’s tiny hand into his large one and brought it to his lips to kiss.

More had changed in his existence in the past six years than in the past 200, since after making and training his Child. Gazing at his Bonded, he saw the future as something so much more than acquiring wealth, or just existing. When Sookie entered his world, he had begun to live.

The ancient vampire thought of all of the things he wanted to give to Sookie, all of the places he wanted to take her, and all of the experiences he wanted to share with her. Yes, share. It would not be like with Pam, where he had felt a pleasant nostalgia at her wondrous adventures. He would actually get to experience the same awe and excitement that Sookie would, as if it were all new again to him, too. He would be able to look upon the wonders of the world in the daylight with her. He would be able to make love to her on every continent, in every country, in every city in the world. She had not aged a day since he met her, and he knew that she had a long, young, vibrant life to live before he was forced to turn her so that they could live out their forever.

“My Bonded, how did I ever get to have a miracle like you?” Eric whispered in awe of her.

Looking in to Eric’s eyes, the woman smiled brightly, and she arched upwards and captured her Viking’s lips with her own. Kissing him as he poured all of his hope, love, and passion into the Bond, and having it reflected back at him. As she pulled away from the breathtaking kiss, she whispered against his parted lips:

“You decided to keep me.”

~The End

Keep Me Ch. 24

Chapter Twenty-Four:

Eric and Sookie were back, once more in their new home in Shreveport. Gazing at the house once again, feeling like it was all brand new for the second time, Sookie went flying towards the door, only to be scooped up by Eric and carried inside and to their bed.

They made love for hours before they eventually ended up sprawled on the kitchen floor, Sookie’s half eaten sandwich lying on the counter, forgotten.

“It is good to be home.” Eric sighed appreciatively as he turned onto his side to stroke the long curve of his lover’s back.

Turning her head to smile at him, Sookie asked, “Do you think Angie will ever want to talk to me again?”

Eric smirked, “I believe she is more likely to have aversions toward me, not you. However, you have learned to drive, and the threat of the fae has been eliminated. You are also more than capable of defending yourself from anything that lurks about during the day. Perhaps you should invite Angie out on a daytime excursion.”

Frowning, Sookie worried her lip between her teeth, “I don’t want to be away from you again, though,” she admitted.

“Sookie,” Eric pressed his forehead to hers, “you will not be far, and you cannot expect to live your life with me attached to you so completely, correct? You wanted friends for so long, and though you and Pam are close, you are not what one would call “kindred spirits”. So, go out, be with people again.”

Smiling at him, Sookie pressed her lips to his, “Okay… And if I get in trouble, it’s not like you can’t reach through time and space and drag me back to your side.”

Eric laughed loudly, “Precisely!”

“Do you think it’s too late to call her?”

“It is still before midnight. If I remember correctly, your friend is quite the night owl. Regardless of whether or not she agrees to meet with you, I am certain she would be relieved to know that you are home and well,” Eric assured.

With a quick nod, Sookie sprung to her feet to find the house phone. She dialed the number of her Witch friend and beamed to herself when it was answered.

Hello?”

“Angie?”

Sookie!? Is that you? Are you all right? What happened? Where are you?” Angie asked in a rapid fire inquiry.

“Yes, it’s me. I’m just fine. I got abducted by fairies, but I’m home now,” Sookie explained in the order she had been asked.

Fairies?” Angie sounded shocked.

“It’s a really long story… I could tell you all about it over lunch tomorrow… If you still want to see me…?” Sookie suggested.

Lunch? Like during the day? As in, without your vampire bodyguard lover?” Angie sounded hopeful, and it made the telepath sad.

“Yes, without Eric. I’m sorry about what he did to you, are you okay?” Sookie asked carefully.

I’m not going to lie, Sugar. Your man scares the living hell out of me. I knew to be wary of vampires, but I never knew how bad they could hurt you so quickly! I mean, the bruises are fading now, but he cracked a few ribs.”

“I am so sorry!” Sookie gasped, “I could come to your place if you’re not feelin’ good enough to go out-”

No! I need to get out of this house!” Angie laughed gently, “Want to go to Danio’s for lunch tomorrow? It’s in the same square as the café from last time.”

“That’d be great. How about 1 o’clock?”

Awesome! It’ll be our first outing without a chaperone!” Angie sounded excited.

“I’ll see you there!” Sookie hung up right after Angie said her goodbyes and went to find Eric. He was sitting at the kitchen counter, still naked and watching her amusedly. “She’ll still hang out with me!”

“So I heard.” Eric smiled, “Please, give her my apologies for the way I acted last time?”

“Of course.”

“And I will give you plenty of money before you leave so that you can buy both of your meals, and perhaps you would like to go shopping with her. You will have plenty to spend on your little friend, too,” he added.

“That’s so nice of you, Darlin’!” Sookie gave him a long kiss. “I think she was a little excited about it just bein’ us. Not just because of what happened, but because we never have just been the two of us. I can tell from her mind that there are a lot of things she always wants to discuss that she holds back on because you’re there.”

“Yes, it is difficult to have a “girlfriend” when your lover is sitting right there listening. I know that there are things girls do not like to speak about when men are present,” he chuckled.

Sookie shrugged, “I’ve never had a problem with it.”

“That is because you never learned social cues growing up,” Eric smirked. “Your Witch is quite open when she speaks around me, but I can feel her hesitation. Mostly, her flippancy around me is a blatant attempt at showing me that she is unafraid of me. I have no doubt that if she were to be around me again, she would not have the same cadence.”

“So, this is one of those things everyone knows except me,” Sookie frowned.

Eric laughed at that, “No, many people who did not have your disadvantages share this trait. However, where the trait is endearing for you because of the innocence of naivety, others are more of an annoyance because it stems from a need to be the center of attention.”

His Bonded nodded slowly as she absorbed this before giving him a playful smile, “Want to take me back to bed for a while? I have a lot of time to kill before I need to start getting ready to meet with Angie.”

“Mmmm,” he purred, “that is quite appealing. I will need to get my fill of you before you leave me for the day.”

{†}

Sitting nervously in her BMW, Sookie realized this would be her first excursion alone in the car. Though Eric had let her drive them all the way back from New Orleans the previous night, again, she had never driven alone.

“Relax, Sookie, and have a good time. Do not be mad at me if I check in on you regularly, though,” He looked apologetic as she pulled out of the garage.

“I’ll probably be checkin’ in on you too!” She laughed as she craned her neck to not overrun the driveway.

“I will look forward to it!” Eric called after her as she pulled out of the driveway.

A deep pang reverberated in his heart. He hated to see her leave, but he knew that she would be only twenty minutes away, even less with the way he drove.

Pull it together, Northman. You have left her behind for Sheriff’s duties for much longer and greater distances. Eric thought this to himself as he went back into the house, but it was little comfort. Pausing by a window, he watched her drive down the street, until he could see her no longer. It would be a very long day if he did not find something to distract himself, and quickly!

{†}

“Whoa, nice car!” Angie hollered as she recognized the little blonde that pulled up near the restaurant. “And you drove yourself! That’s great!”

Sookie laughed as she got out of the car and hit to remote to lock it. “How are you feelin’?” she asked, giving the other woman a very gentle hug.

“No worse for wear now,” She shrugged softly. “Although, Goddess help me whenever I sneeze, or cough… Or sigh.”

The girl crooned sympathetically, “Eric wanted me to tell you how sorry he is for what he did to you. I understand if you want to tell him to shove it, but he did ask me to give you his apology.”

Angie smirked, “Well, I do want to tell him to shove his apology up his ass. I mean, did he just jump to the conclusion that I helped that old guy take you or something?”

“No,” Sookie shook her head, “it wasn’t that he thought you helped. Y’know how I don’t like bein’ away from Eric?”

Angie snorted, “Noooo, I hadn’t noticed one, little bit.”

Sookie rolled her eyes, but still managed a chuckle when she began her explanation, “Well, it has more than just to do with my gift. We are Bonded. I’ve told you a little bit about what that means. You know that we can feel each other from great distances,” The girls were walking towards the restaurant as Sookie explained. “Well, when that fairy took me, he took me into a completely different realm, one where the time differences were very extreme. Every hour was a day here. With that much time difference, Eric’s end of the Bond couldn’t feel me. He experienced my kidnappin’ as my death in the Bond.” Angie’s jaw dropped at that. “When a vamp loses his Bonded, he goes into a bloodlust. If it weren’t for the fact that he could logically reason that I wasn’t dead yet, he would have gone on a rampage and killed a lot of people.”

“So, you’re saying I’m lucky I’m not dead, and so is everyone that was in the café that night?” Angie asked.

Sookie grimaced, “Yes, pretty much.”

“So, how long were you gone?” Angie asked.

Sookie did not reply right away as she told the hostess that they needed a table for two. It was the middle of the lunch rush, so she handed Sookie a little electric device that would flash when they could be seated. The women went and stood in the corner before Sookie answered Angie’s question.

“For me, it was only about eight hours, but for Eric, it was eight days. By the fourth day, Eric’s Maker had to bring in other vampires to run thick, metal bars through his body and into the ground under him, just to keep him from either killin’ himself, or goin’ on a murder spree,” Sookie told her. “My end of the Bond was crazy. Since Eric was in a perpetual state of bloodlust, I was the one goin’ on a rampage.”

“What do you mean?” Angie was gaping at her friend.

“I killed a lot of people in the other realm,” Sookie admitted quietly.

Angie stared at her friend for a long time. “I… Wow… Were they bad?” she finally asked.

“Yes. There were only a few that I can’t say for sure didn’t have it comin’, but I needed to get back to Eric so badly. Unfortunately, there was somethin’ I had to do before I could even think of leavin’ Elfyria.” Her eyes became distant as she remembered taking on the Water Clan. “There were a group of fairies that want to kill hybrids like me. I had to take them down while I had the chance.”

“Did you get hurt?” Angie asked breathlessly. Looking behind her to be sure no one was looking, Sookie raised the shirt tail from the waist of her skirt, displaying the puckered scar from where she had been run through. “Holy shit!” Angie’s eyes were perfectly round as Sookie tucked her shirt back in, “How the hell… Does it go all the way through?” she asked.

Sookie nodded. “I got impaled from behind.”

“Wouldn’t vamp blood have kept it from scarring?” Angie asked.

“I asked Eric to leave it. It’s kind of my “badge of honor”,” she chuckled.

The little electric brick started shaking and blinking, and Sookie took it back to the hostesses’ stand, Angie in tow. They were seated then, and Angie leaned across the table to whisper conspiratorially, “There was quite a perk to Eric almost killing me.”

“Huh?” Sookie frowned, wondering how being beaten so badly by a thousand year old Viking could have a silver lining.

“Well, the girl who found me in the ladies’ room ran out, screaming for an ambulance, and there was a cop there who had, like, triage training. He’s a Were, and smelled that a vampire had done it to me, so he stayed with me the whole time, even at the hospital. His name’s Clay. He’s so cute, too! He’s got black hair and big hazel green eyes. He’s very muscular, and just…” Angie made a purring sound in the back of her throat, as if that were the only way to describe how attractive she found him. “Anyway, we started dating the second I was out of the hospital. Since he’s a Supe, I told him a bit about what happened. I didn’t mention Eric’s name, though,” she assured.

“So, you’ve been seein’ this Clay Were for a couple weeks now, then?” Sookie asked.

“Yeah, we’ve gone on two dates, but we talk all the time.” Angie was grinning. “I was telling him this morning about meeting up for lunch with you. He was apprehensive after what happened the last time.”

Sookie’s eyes went round at that. “You told him what exactly about me, and what happened?”

“Don’t worry, I just told him I was meeting a friend for lunch. He doesn’t know it was you I was with the last time, only that the last time I went out with a girlfriend was when I got attacked. He did feel a lot better that I was going out during the day, though.”

“I’ll probably never get to meet Clay.” Sookie frowned. “He’d smell Eric all over me, and recognize his scent from the vampire that attacked you.”

“Well, if things go well between him and I, and we give the relationship thing a run at the long haul, I’ll explain to him how things really went down. I don’t think he’ll ever trust Eric, anyway, just because Weres and Vamps don’t really trust one another to begin with.” Angie laughed.

“That’s true. They’ll work together under the right circumstances, or with proper compensation, but they don’t really like each other,” Sookie agreed.

After they had their drinks and were waiting on their food, the two women chatted animatedly until Sookie went rigid and began looking around the restaurant.

“What!? Don’t you freakin’ do that look! What’s wrong!?” Angie demanded in a low hiss, her body thrumming with adrenaline. She really could not stand to get beaten up again so soon.

“There’s two fairies in here. I felt them appear just outside the buildin’. They’re comin’ in now…” Sookie concentrated, but kept her eyes wide open, watching for a threat.

‘What is wrong, Lover?’ Eric’s voice was in her head, and she could feel him becoming aggressive.

‘Hold on, Darlin’, I need to concentrate,’ Sookie sent back to him distractedly, but then relaxed. ‘It’s my cousin. Don’t worry, she’s not here for anythin’ bad.’ Sookie smiled at Angie reassuringly. “Don’t worry, it’s family. They’re not here to hurt us.” Angie did not relax her rigid posture, and Sookie could see that the woman was breathing fast and shallow. “You’re goin’ to hyperventilate if you don’t calm down… Or your ribs are goin’ to really ache,” she pointed out, and the jolt of humor managed to shake Angie out of her panic.

“Should I leave?” Angie asked, looking around for a fairy, but not spotting any, that she could tell.

“No. She’s not approachin’. Claudine knows I’m telepathic, so she’s just thinkin’ at me right now. If anyone leaves the table, it will be me,” Sookie explained.

“Are you listening to her now?”

“Yes.”

“And holding a conversation with me?”

“Yes.”

Angie laughed. “Now that’s some serious multitasking.”

“I’ve gotten used to it.” Sookie smirked. There was no way of telling Angie that linking minds between three vampires and herself took far more concentration than just listening to Claudine and Angie simultaneously. “Ah… Yes, I will have to leave the table for a minute. You’re safe, but stay here until I get back… Just in case.” Angie groaned at the suggestion. It was not that she wanted to leave her seat, but the prospect that she could be in potential danger if she did was not appealing.

Walking over to the hostess stand, Sookie saw Claudine and Colman standing in the far corner of the waiting area where Sookie and Angie had stood not too long ago.

“Your Majesty.” Sookie nodded at her cousin. “Colman. You are both well?”

The female fairy nodded. “Yes, and it is thanks to you. You seem much nicer now that you are under control. I am glad to know that you are usually a calm person.” Sookie smirked at Claudine’s remark, “Colman and I have managed to take control of the kingdom. It only took a couple of hours to get the guard under proper command; Niall’s head was very motivating to the troops. Thank you for it.”

“It was my pleasure.” Sookie grinned. “Now, what about this Gatekeeper business?”

“Are you interested?” Claudine asked cautiously.

“I wouldn’t have left my table if I weren’t,” Sookie pointed out.

The new queen of Elfyria smiled, “There was once a bloodline in Elfyria that lived to protect the portals through the realms. The mark of the Gatekeeper is a rather impressive saber.”

“If you hadn’t noticed, I don’t really use weapons often,” Sookie reminded her cousin.

“No, but it will serve another purpose. The pommel of the Gatekeeper’s saber is made of Empyrodite. Whenever the portal is accessed, the Empyrodite will resonate. You do remember where the portal in this realm is, yes?” Claudine asked.

“Yes, it’s in the graveyard next to my Gran’s old house.” Sookie remembered the surprise, though it had been tempered by the nausea, when she recognized where Niall had first taken her after the café. “You expect me to move out of Shreveport to guard the portal?”

“Of course not.” Claudine laughed. “You know that you need Empyrodite to use the portal, right?”

“Yes.”

“What makes the Gatekeeper’s Saber so special is that the blade points to Empyrodite,” Claudine explained.

“But they can teleport, and I can’t… Yet…,” Sookie argued.

“True, but I am sure that you will come into that power soon. Besides, I will make a point to tell any crossing over to your realm, in non-aggressive terms, to check in with you before they go about their business,” Claudine assured. “That should lessen your time hunting most down. If they are entering your realm illegally, you will know because they will not wait for you.”

“I suppose I can always place an instantaneous passage marker at the portal. Octavia, my witch friend, showed me how to do it, but it takes a lot of energy to do, even for me.” Sookie shrugged. “That would give me reason to go to Bon Temps and visit my brother often, though.” Nodding to herself, Sookie held out her hand in agreement. “Okay. I’ll take the job. Where’s my sword?”

Claudine laughed and took Sookie’s hand, shaking it. “I have it here. There is a temporary reduction charm on it so that I could give it to you inconspicuously. It will wear off in about five hours, so be sure that you are either home, or somewhere out of view. It would probably be advisable that it lie flat on a surface so that it does not cause you or anything else damage when it returns to size.” The queen reached into her pocket and handed Sookie a miniature sword, no longer than the telepath’s pinkie finger. Drawing the tiny blade, from the its equally tiny scabbard, Sookie just chuckled and re-sheathed the blade before inclining her head to Claudine and Colman. “I will be in touch, Sookie. Be well, Cousin.”

“Be well.” Sookie smiled back and watched the pair leave. Before long, she felt their minds disappear outside the building. With a sigh, the new Gatekeeper went back to her table, and to her awaiting lunch, “Well, that was an unexpected turn of events.” She smiled at her friend.

“No bloodbaths, beat downs, or wars today?” Angie asked hopefully.

“Nope.” Sookie laughed and shook her head. “I just got my first job.”

“Oh?” Sookie explained her position to Angie, the best that she could. “So, your cousin, who was a prisoner of the guy that took you, is now queen of the fairies, and she asked you to guard the portal between our world and hers because you killed a revolutionary group that was a threat to you?” Angie recited, wondering if she managed to cram all of the provided information into a single sentence.

“Pretty much.” Sookie nodded as she finished her lunch, setting her fork on her plate, and pushing it away ever so slightly. As Angie finished up her own dish, Sookie asked, “Did you want any desert?”

“No, that was a big plate. I am so full.” Angie chuckled, patting her belly.

“Did you want to go shoppin’, or catch a movie?” Sookie pressed.

Angie giggled a little bit. “Well, that sounds really nice, but you’re getting frayed around the edges. I think you should get home to your man. I know he’s dead for the day, but it probably still makes you anxious to leave him alone when he’s so vulnerable, right?”

Sookie gave her a bemused smile, partly because Angie would have been right if Eric had been dead for the day. “It is hard bein’ away from him for long,” she admitted.

“Well, we’ll have our girls’ shopping day another time. Besides, I don’t want to go to the mall and get jostled with my ribs healing, and sitting through a movie after eating all that food doesn’t sound appealing either.”

“Okay, let me just get the check, and I’ll walk you to your car.” Sookie smiled. “Lunch is on Eric.” She laughed as she flagged over a waitress and asked for the check.

“Ooh, I wonder how many free meals I can get out of him.” Angie grinned. “We should go somewhere expensive next time.”

Sookie laughed as she took the black, leather binder, shoved a $100 bill in it and handed it right back, “No change, thank you.” She smiled at the waitress, and Sookie relished in the excited gratitude she heard in the server’s head. Sookie could get used to becoming a big tipper. The happiness she gave people when she curried such acknowledgements was very gratifying for her.

{†}

“Welcome back, Lover.” Eric scooped Sookie into his arms before she could even get out of her car. “Mmmm, you smell of fairy.” He groaned, nuzzling his face into her throat as he held her even tighter against him. She felt his body rocking gently against hers and she moaned in response.

“Yes, Claudine came and visited me at the restaurant while I was with Angie. Colman was with her,” she added.

“What did they want?” Sookie looked around Eric’s shoulder to see Pam standing in the doorway of the garage. Apparently Eric had gotten bored and called his Child over to entertain him while his Bonded was out.

“To offer me a job,” Sookie answered Pam’s question.

The vampiress sneered. “They want more from you?”

“I think Claudine only offered me the job because she knew I would like what it entailed,” Sookie said slowly as she thought it out.

“Oh? And what will you be doing?” Eric asked.

Sookie grinned. “Killin’ fairies.” Eric laughed at that. “I will sort of be like a Fairy Sheriff. I’ll guard the portal between our world and Elfyria, and fairies that aren’t hostiles will check in with me, and I guess I could give them a sort of visa. Log their time here, their activities, that kind of stuff. And fairies that don’t check in with me, I can call hostiles and kill at my will. I thought I might be able to collect fairy blood from my kills. You could probably sell it to other vampires for a pretty penny.”

Pam snorted. “What a little entrepreneur you’ve raised, Master.”

“I suppose I would also give passage back into Elfyria to fairies that have gotten stranded in our realm. When Claudine was thinking at me, she had a vague thought of her brother, Claude, and how she wondered if he would ever come home now that Niall is dead.”

“And how will you know when fairies cross through the portal?” Pam asked.

“Oh! I almost forgot!” Sookie dug the tiny sword out of her pocket. “With this.”

“A toothpick?” Pam raised her eyebrows

“It’s a sword,” Sookie huffed.

“It is a needle,” Eric remarked.

“It’ll get bigger,” Sookie ground out.

“Swords have a tendency to do that around you, Lover. I know mine does,” Eric growled in her ear huskily. Sookie could feel the truth to his statement, proving itself against her backside, and she involuntarily wriggled against it. “So, you will be a Fairy Sheriff? We must get you appropriate attire for your new position.”

“Actually, I’m called ‘The Gatekeeper’,” Sookie told them.

Pam cackled. “Would that make Eric the Key Master? Because that is a gate only one man will ever open!” She could not help herself, merely because Eric looked about ready to shove his “key” into the new Gatekeeper at any moment.

Sookie giggled at her vampire kin’s comment. “I wouldn’t mind Eric workin’ the lock as often as he likes.”

Pam could not stop the laughter bubbling over in her throat as she let loose a marvelous cackle. Once she had calmed a bit she told Eric, “I will head back home, now that your Sookie has returned. Have a pleasant evening, Key Master.” She chuckled her way out the garage door.

Gathering Sookie into his arms, Eric nuzzled her neck as he lifted her up and carried his Bonded inside the house. They lay out on the floor of the den while Eric gazed at her appreciatively, “You smell strongly of fairy right now,” he told her again.

“Mmm,” Sookie sighed happily as Eric continued nudging against her shoulder with his nose, trying to inhale as much of the lingering scent as possible. “I wonder if it will enhance the taste of my blood?” She licked her lips seductively.

Eric pounced on her at that, pulling her dress up until he could press as much of his body against her bare skin as possible. Sookie was tugging at his shirt, wanting the feel of his own flesh pressed against hers.

Soon they were naked on the floor, and Eric was between her legs, his mouth licking and tasting her perfumed skin until his lips were level with her mound. He breathed deeply, enjoying the intoxicating aroma of her arousal. His tongue journeyed outward to taste her, and he groaned in pleasure at the flavor. It was many orgasms later on her part before he came back to her lips and kissed her passionately.

“Eric,” she groaned, using her legs to pull his hips between her thighs. “Need you…,” she moaned with a plea. He did not hesitate to push his entire length deep into his fairy’s inviting hole.

“Ah! Min vackra brud!” [My beautiful wife!] he grunted as he filled her with enthusiasm, always marveling at how familiar, but somehow new it felt to be inside of her.

“Uh! I love it when you speak Swedish!” she cried as his thrusts grew increasingly persistent. Soon, he flipped her onto her stomach, but kept her lying on the ground as he plundered her. “Oh! Yes!” She arched her back, moving onto her elbows, but keeping her hips to the floor. Her legs spread slightly to accommodate his movements, and she cried out as she felt another orgasm forming. “Ah! Drink from me!” she begged, flipping her hair over one shoulder to offer her neck.

Eric happily obliged, his fangs elongating and his face lunging for the exposed flesh to mark it and be sated.

Her blood was more potent after being around fairies. He had not noticed this when she returned from Elfyria, merely because he was so relieved to have her back that he could not have been more overjoyed with her presence than he had been.

The vampire nursed slowly, but for a long time. He savored every drop she could spare, knowing that it would only be this powerful when she interacted with another fairy.

When he knew that Sookie could not give another drop without feeling the strain, Eric withdrew his fangs and lapped at the wound to help seal it. Her inner walls were still squeezing him rhythmically and Eric tore open his wrist to offer her his own blood. She drank him eagerly when the bleeding wound was before her, and another extensive climax had the fairy rearing back against him as he rode out his own bliss.

A few minutes later, still lying on the den floor, Sookie hugging one of Eric’s arms, and his free hand tracing her curves, Eric asked, “Did I take too much blood?”

“Mmm, not at all. Just enough to make me a little tired, but it’s a good tired. The kind where you feel like everythin’s right with the world, and it’s safe to go to sleep,” she explained.

“Perhaps you should take a nap?” he suggested.

“Only if you stay in bed with me.” She yawned before continuing, “I have to set up an instantaneous passage tonight, and I want you to come with me.”

“Oh? Where?” he asked.

“At the site of the portal to Elfyria. I’ll need to be able to get there quickly,” she told him.

“The graveyard?”

“Yes, how did you know?” Sookie turned in his loose embrace to look at him curiously.

“It was the last spot I could feel you at before you were taken to Elfyria.”

“Oh, well, at least its hallowed ground. It’s less likely that my Marker will be disturbed there.” She shrugged.

“That is true. What will you use?” He leaned forward to nibble her shoulder with blunt teeth.

“There’s a band on the Gatekeeper’s Saber that I can remove and leave in the graveyard. I will need to carry the saber at all times, anyway.” Sookie giggled as Eric rose from the ground, taking her with him and to their bed.

“You will probably need to call Octavia and see if she can teach you a reduction charm like the one your cousin used on the blade. It would be impractical for you to carry it openly in public.” He chuckled at the mental image.

Sookie had to laugh as well as she snuggled into their bed. “Actually, Octavia did teach me an interesting spell. I called it “The Mary Poppins Charm”.” She giggled some more. “I can put a charm in my bag to give it extended capacity.”

“That is a good idea.” Eric nodded. “And can the charm be transferred between your bags?”

“Yes.”

“That will be an optimal alternative.” He was smiling down at her proudly. “How much longer before the blade returns to normal?”

“Another hour or so. I should probably get it back out of my dress pocket before it gets destroyed!” She went to rise, but Eric pushed her back onto the bed.

“I will take care of it,” he assured, moving at vampire speed and returning with the little blade in his palm. Setting it on the floor near their bed, he climbed back onto the mattress with her. “All taken care of.” He smiled. “I am interested in seeing your new weapon at its normal size. How would you like to pass the time until then?” His eyes were all too telling on how he wished to make the hour or so pass.

Pouncing on top of her vampire, Sookie straddled his hips. “I can think of a few things….”

On to the Epilogue

Keep Me Ch. 23

Chapter Twenty-Three:

“ERIC!”

“CHILD!”

Pam and Godric stood frozen in the door of Eric’s cell, disbelieving what they saw before them. The mentally unstable vampire’s arms were elbow deep in the wall, though the wall was undamaged, save the blood that painted its surface.

They remained staring in awe as the Viking’s arms seemed to grasp something, and pull it through the wall and into his chest.

“Sookie…?” Pam took a tentative step into the room, her brain not trusting what her eyes claimed. The overwhelming aroma of copious amounts of fairy blood had both vampires holding their breaths to resist temptation.

The little blonde collapsed into Eric’s body, and his broken, bleeding arm was against her mouth instantly, while his uninjured arm drew the sword that impaled her from its gruesome sheath. Crimson floods spilled from the wound for a moment before the gaping hole began to close.

As Sookie weakly nursed on the elixir of Eric’s essence, the pair of vampires in the doorway only continued to watch in apprehension. They could feel her now through her connection to Eric, and what they felt was not promising. Her life force was still fading, despite the consumption of the ancient vampire’s blood.

“Sookie, my Bonded,” Eric murmured, rocking the boneless body against his sturdy frame. He was trembling, but his fingers against her wound gave him hope. It was closing. Her heart was growing stronger. Her breaths were less labored between the weak mouthfuls of his blood she was swallowing.

The sword that had done the unspeakable damage clattered to the floor as Eric shifted his weight on the formerly unused bed to better hold his beloved, and Godric took an even closer vantage point than Pam. A soft “snap” rented the air as the bones in Eric’s forearm reset themselves from his earlier escape, and the vampire sighed as if the relief of the break healing took a huge burden off of him. However, both Pam and Godric knew that the relief came when Sookie’s eyes slowly opened.

“You called me home.” She smiled up at him, her eyes slowly returning to their natural color as his lost the ethereal glow they had maintained for a short time.

“Yes,” was all Eric could answer. The sweet relief of having her against his body was slowly subduing days worth of torment and insatiable rage. Though the depression persisted, he had to wonder if it was not fear that she could be taken from him again that made that despondency linger.

“I love you,” she murmured, reaching up to stroke his cheek. “Thank you for givin’ me all the strength you had left to fight.”

Eric’s eyes squeezed shut, bloody tears trailing down his face as he buried them in her hair. She smelled strongly of fairy, was coated in fairy blood, but all he wanted was to hold her in his arms for the rest of eternity. After spending several days in a state of perpetual bloodlust, it was quelled easily by just the feel of her familiar, little body in his arms. It was scream or sob for him in that moment, and he chose the latter. Who knew that the mending of the heart could be so painful?

“They will be well,” Godric put his hand on Pam’s shoulder. “Let them be alone for now,” He smiled at the younger vampire before bestowing a relieved smile on his Child. Days of agonizing over ending his Child’s existence were lifted, and he could focus once more on living out his own.

The pair left quietly, and Eric lifted Sookie into his arms. He carried her out of his cell and back to the room that they had shared the last time they lived in Godric’s royal estate. Though it seemed ages ago that they had resided here, Eric thought with vacant amusement that it had been little over a week or so since they thought they had left it behind for good.

Crawling onto their borrowed bed, Eric laid Sookie out before him as he curled up beside her, not daring to take his eyes off of his Bonded. He would never let her leave his sight again, he vowed silently. Sookie chuckled.

“You’re not goin’ to want to watch me use the bathroom for the next couple centuries, are you?” she teased, and Eric realized he had felt that thought so intently that he had projected it at her. “Our enemies amongst the Fae are dead, Eric. I saw to that.” She cast her eyes down with sudden shame. “I’m so sorry, Darlin’. I could’ve come home sooner. I could have spared you days of pain, but I killed the Water Clan while I had the chance,” she admitted.

Eric’s lips quirked in the smallest of smiles. “I am proud of you,” he told her quietly. “The suffering is worth the insurance you have provided us.”

“I wanted to come back to you so badly once I knew how,” she whispered, tears building in her eyes. “Oh, God!” She sobbed. “It hurt so much! It hurt even worse when I knew I could come back to you, and turned away… Like in that horrible dream! I had to… I….”

“Shh, you did what you knew you must. Do not apologize for that.” He pressed a finger to her lips to stop her objection. “I am going to call Ludwig. I want to be sure that you are all right.”

“Nooo,” she grabbed his healed arm, “stay.” She hugged that limb tightly.

“I am not going anywhere.” He lay back down, placing an arm around her waist and pulling her close. “Telepathically ask Godric to call Ludwig,” he suggested.

Sookie nodded, liking that plan much better, ‘Godric, can you call Ludwig to check us out?’

‘Certainly, Sookie,’ Godric’s reply was quick, and Sookie nuzzled deeper into Eric’s chest.

*POP*

Every glass object in the room shattered at the sound. The mirror, the window, the vase on the dresser; all were destroyed as Sookie instinctively reacted to the sound of someone teleporting near her.

Ludwig merely laughed, “Thank you for not blowing me up, Little Girl.” She chuckled as she sat on the bed, “Have you two made love yet?”

“No,” Eric shook his head. “She was badly injured when she returned to me. My first instinct was to give her my blood.”

“That is something, at least,” The doctor laughed. “Neither of you is any worse for wear now. Make love. It will help you both disperse the lingering depression. I promise it will all feel better afterwards. And, Little Girl, I want you to eat heartily once you have had your fill of your vampire. I can tell by your life force that you used far too much magic while in such a state. You are lucky you had the strength to make it home. I will be by tomorrow to give you a thorough exam, but I promise to call first.” She chuckled again. “Now, have plenty of sex before you do anything else.” With that, the little doctor teleported back out of the room.

“Sookie-”

“Shh.” She leaned into his lips. “Sex first, words later.”

“You are healed enough?” he pressed.

“Mmm, go gentle for now. I’ll let you know if anythin’s wrong,” she assured, wrapping her arms around his neck and slowly pulling him atop of her. The woman realized quickly that Eric was being more than just gentle. His hands ghosted across her skin as though she was made of sugar, and he seemed hesitant to try and remove her clothes at first. Sookie sighed and undid the belt of her dress, before wriggling her way out of it, going so far as to ignore the ripping sound that occurred when she got a little too aggressive with the garment. The dress made a disgusting, slopping noise as she flung it to the floor, layers of grime, blood, and flesh clinging to it.

“I have never seen something as beautiful as you are right now,” Eric murmured as he grabbed the side of her panties and yanked them with a primal tear.

Sookie giggled. “I think that’s the separation sickness talkin’,” she teased, craning her neck upward to capture his lips. He kissed her hungrily as his fingers went between her thighs to prepare her. His impatience was growing as he stroked the center of her nether lips, his thumb circling the little bundle of nerves that caused her leg to strain and jump reflexively. “Oooh, too slooooow,” she complained, arching her hips against him.

“You are not ready yet,” Eric answered, leaving her lips to let his teeth toy with an erect nipple. He captured the rosebud with his teeth and gave it a firm, sharp pull. In turn, the action brought a gasp from Sookie’s lips, as well as increased the moisture between her thighs. “I have been waiting for you all week, where you have needed me only a few hours. We need to be even, do we not?” He gave her other breast the same treatment and his fingers began to slide effortlessly into her wet channel. “See? Now that little pussy is begging the way I like.” He brought his dew coated fingers to his mouth and licked them clean, his eyes rolling back into his head. “Ah, I had forgotten your period was about to start before you were taken.” His mouth trailed down her abdomen, taking a moment to kiss the angry, raised skin where she had been wounded. Finally, he engulfed the surface of her womanhood with his mouth. “It has not begun yet,” he gave her slit a long, penetrating lick, “but I can taste the change.” His tongue delved as deep as it could, wriggling and sending Sookie into an agonizing pleasure.

“Oh, Eric!” she groaned. Her fingers tangled in his hair as her body shimmied along with his movements, effectively grinding Eric’s mouth harder against her needy center. As he felt her getting closer and closer to oblivion, he slowed down and began to rise above her once again. “Noooo,” she moaned, reaching down between them to stroke Eric even as she protested.

“I need to feel you come around me,” Eric told her as he took his member from her hands and guided it to her entrance instead. The head of his cock traced the slit that coated him with its juices. It caused him to revel at the sensation momentarily before sliding deep inside of her inviting warmth. “Go-Gods!” he gasped, thrusting slowly, enjoying every tremor and squeeze of her inner walls. “Sookie, my Bonded,” he groaned while burying his face in the blood smeared hollow between her neck and shoulder.

“Eric!” she moaned, her legs wrapping firmly around his waist, climbing his chest with her knees to let him in deeper. There was no way to get him far enough inside her body and it made her crazy.

Lifting his head from her shoulder, Eric captured her lips, his tongue delving deep into her mouth. His hands found their bounty in her own, tangling their fingers, their palms pressed firmly to one another’s as his hips stayed close to hers with hard, deep thrusts. Their chests smashed together, her legs hugging his sides. Eric could not imagine how their bodies could get any closer in that moment, but their souls found a way.

As their bodies moved harmoniously, Eric could feel a pounding against, no, in, his chest. It was her heart beating inside him, it was her blood flowing within his stagnant veins, and it was her soul making love to his own. Between his roar and her scream as they came, a balanced melody sang throughout the estate as two spirits clung to one another, vowing to never let go again.

“I love you,” Eric whispered in Sookie’s ear as she panted beneath him.

The days of torment were lifted off of the vampire’s chest. Assurance that he would never need to feel that way again were silently vowed between them. He was finally at peace.

“Mmm… I love you, too,” she murmured happily. “Eric?”

“Yes, my Mate?” Eric kissed the shell of her ear.

“Wash me?”

“With pleasure.” He climbed off of the bed, pulling Sookie into his arms as he made their way to the bathroom. He was holding her against his side as he felt her legs go limp, and he started the water in the shower. The grime that covered her body required that they shower, but he would make it quick and have them in the bath once all of the gore rinsed away.

While Eric held his Bonded in his arms, soaping a wash cloth one handed, he felt a strong nostalgia, for he had bathed her in such a way the first night they had met. Of course, she was much more aware than she had been in that first shower, but her body was just as boneless.

Once they were clean, Eric wrapped Sookie in a towel as he let the bathtub begin to fill, and as it did, he came back and sat on the tiled floor, pulling Sookie into his lap as they waited.

“A bath too?” Sookie asked tiredly.

“Yes. I want to be warm and holding you. I have felt so cold these last few days. I have not felt the cold in so long, but without you, it was as if there were arctic winds blowing around inside me,” Eric whispered.

A tear fell down Sookie’s cheek as he admitted this, “I am a horrible a person. I let you suffer to exact my vengeance.” She choked on another sob.

“You knew that I was suffering,” Eric said, not asked. “Which meant that you were suffering, too. You fought on despite the pain, and did what you had to do to keep our family safe. It was a sacrifice we both had to endure, but it made us stronger. It gave us more power and security. Do not berate yourself. I am proud of you, and I do not hold you responsible for our suffering.” He kissed the top of her head as he stood up and carried her into the tub. “You did kill Niall while you were at it, yes?”

Sookie nodded. “Yes, and when I did, it was like an explosion in my gut. All I wanted after I killed him was to keep killin’. It was like the only time I felt remotely sane was when I was covered in a fresh coat of blood,” She sounded unsure, maybe even a little frightened at the realization. It had been easy to go about her murder spree in Elfyria, under the influence of despair. Now, in Eric’s arms, it did not feel so justified.

“Yes, that is genuine bloodlust. Vampires experience it in battle and in extreme anger. Those of us who have dealt with these situations have better control of it, and are not so easily seduced by the impulses. You, however, would have been like a fawn in an open field. You would have run amok, oblivious to the dangers.” Eric kissed her neck as his hands left her hair to play with her breasts absentmindedly.

“I don’t know about “oblivious”, I took pretty good precautions while I took down the Water Fae…” She pouted.

Eric smirked, giving a nipple a hard pinch and earning a yelp of surprise from Sookie. “And those good precautions are why you returned to me with a sword through your belly?”

Sookie reached under her arm and gave one of Eric’s nipples a hard pinch as payback, but he did not even bat an eyelash at the retribution. “I killed over fifty people a few hours ago and only got touched once. I think that’s pretty freakin’ spectacular,” she huffed, and Eric chuckled before tilting her chin back to kiss the side of her mouth.
“Tell me how you disposed of Niall. I want to bask in the glory of your kill.”

Sookie shrugged. “I ripped his limbs off one by one and then blew out his chest. I gave his head to Claudine as proof of death. She will be the new queen of Elfyria, I guess.”

“Claudine?”

“One of my last livin’ relatives. I’m not quite sure what kind of relative she would be. Niall was her grandfather, and he was my great grandfather.” She felt puzzled, and it made Eric laugh.

“We will refer to her as your cousin. Technically she is your second cousin, but we will not split hairs,” Eric told her.

“So, if Claudine is my second cousin, if my cousin Hadley had a kid, what would you call them?”

“A first cousin once removed,” Eric answered, playing with her damp hair.

“That’s confusin’,” she grumbled, making Eric chuckle and kiss the back of her head.

“That is why we will just call Claudine your cousin,” Eric told her. “What was her involvement in regards to you?”

Sookie grimaced, “None. Not really, anyway. You remember how we thought Niall wanted to use me as a brood mare?” Eric growled at the memory. “Well, he didn’t. He was usin’ Claudine for that for about a decade. She doesn’t know how long she’d been a prisoner, so her memories couldn’t really tell me how long it had been goin’ on, but Niall locked her in a cell a long time ago and just had male fairies comin’ in and rapin’ her over and over. I don’t know if she’ll be able to have kids after all that,” Sookie thought sadly. “I don’t know if even a fairy’s body can come back from what hers was put through.”

“It is good that Niall is dead,” Eric grunted. “He had no honor. Not even towards his own kin.” Sookie nodded in agreement. “What was it that he wanted of you, then?”

“A weapon. Claudine’s sister, Claudia, was a Seer, and she foresaw me as bein’ able to destroy all enemies of the Brigant line. Of course, Niall just thought that meant HIS enemies… I guess he didn’t realize that he had become his own family’s worst enemy of all… Anyway, Niall went out of his way to make my life a complete misery so that he could come and be my “savior”. He wanted to be to me, what you are, but not with the love.” She hid a stray tear by nuzzling Eric’s arm as it tightened around her. “He thought he could control me that way.

“The Water Fae were only a minor concern to him,” Sookie told him. “Niall had many more enemies than just them. He wanted me to take care of the remainin’ revolutionaries as an example of my power, and in turn, his power. But he would’ve made me his personal guard. Hence why he wished to make me his concubine. He wanted me to be devoted to him, so that I would protect him at all costs. He was goin’ to train me to be his personal, royal guard and sex slave.”

“But how could he think that would work? How could he think that you would agree to any of that when you are mine?” Sookie craned her neck back to look at Eric, she could feel his confusion and sadness.

“Niall was gifted at magic. He was goin’ to perform a spell specifically to transfer my imprint of you onto him. When I saw his face, I would see your face. That was much easier to do than trainin’ me to like him,” Sookie explained.

“Why didn’t he do that when he first caught you?” Eric asked.

“He had begun. The haspberries that he poisoned me with were the beginnin’ of the spell. They would lower my cognitive abilities, and make me easier to manipulate. However, he was lettin’ me remain myself for a time so that he could revel in knowin’ how you agonized over losin’ me. He was enjoyin’ watchin’ me suffer, as well as knowin’ that it meant that you were sufferin’ just as bad, if not worse. He was a rather sadistic fucker.”

“I have known that,” Eric grumbled. “If you were never meant for André, why did Niall agree to let you out of the mental institution?”

Sookie sighed, “It was more of a point André had made. Niall hadn’t considered what livin’ my entire life in that place would do to me. When André pointed it out, Niall gave the go ahead about gettin’ me out. If I became too mentally damaged, even fae magic couldn’t fix it.”

“And your uncle? If you were not meant as a brood mare, why keep you untouched?” Eric pressed.

Sookie made a disgusted face, “Eric wanted that… uh….”

“Do not even speak the word,” Eric hushed her. “I have only just ceased my raging, and could not take another bout of it.” He kissed her crown and held her tighter. “So the entire thing was a dog and pony show. None of our information about Niall was correct.” Eric did not know whether to be impressed, or livid.

“Maybe not accurate, but some of it was true. Just… Not in the context we thought. Niall wanted to demonstrate my power by killin’ off the Water Clan, but he couldn’t keep me in Elfyria indefinitely. He even said himself that hybrids can’t stay in that realm for very long. At least not in a functionin’ sense.” Eric gave her an inquisitive look. “He was goin’ to force me to drink a draught when my abilities weren’t needed. It’s a suspended animation potion, kinda like cryogenics, but magical not scientific. Then, he’d put me in a box and store me away until he needed to use his weapon again.”

“He should be grateful that he is dead. If he knew what I would have done with him, he would beg for a second death,” Eric was snarling quietly under his breath.

They were quiet a moment before Sookie asked in a whisper, “Is Angie still alive?”

Eric was slow to answer, “Yes, but she was left more than a little worse for wear. I am regretful to admit that I did not take your abduction well, and became violent toward her. I left her alive, but I could not tell you how bad the damage I inflicted was.” He looked down at her. “Are you angry with me?”

“Not angry. It’s a difficult emotion…” She shook her head confusedly. “I feel upset that you hurt Angie, even though none of this was her fault, but I have felt your despair and bloodlust. I killed a lot of people while I was in Elfyria, some without considerin’ if they deserved it before it was too late to change my mind. I understand what happened to you, and even though it hurts me to know that Angie suffered at your hands, I also know that… That it must have taken a lot of self control to leave her alive in the state you were in. I’m just glad that Godric kept you from goin’ on the same rampage that I did.”

“It was not without difficulty. My Maker was forced to call in a favor. He contacted the King of the Mississippi to send over three vampires older than myself so that they could secure me to the ground, and prevent me from either going on a rampage, or giving myself the final death,” Eric told her quietly.

Blanching at Eric’s admittance, she asked, “How… How did they secure you?”

“They impaled several steel re-barb through my body, and several feet into the concrete ground beneath me. I am not certain, but I believe I spent four or five days like that. However, a few hours ago, something came over me. It was not the Bond, but more of an intuition, perhaps? Something inside of me was telling me that you needed to come home, and that I could bring you back to me.” Eric was stroking her hair absentmindedly, staring off through the steam in the air from the hot bath. “My blood was already spilling, and I covered the wall with it, just calling you over and over again in my head until my hands passed through the wall, and then… There you were. In my arms.” He looked down at her with a smile, “It was a miracle.”

“It was the Bloodletting Blade,” Sookie replied gently.

“Pardon?” Eric’s brow scrunched.

“Remember the names of the blade? Vampires called it The Bloodletting Blade. The dwarves called it Ong Zan, which is One Blood. The fairies called it Erfea, which is One Soul. The angels called it Coueretella, which is To My Heart. It was a knife forged by dwarves, enchanted by fairies, and blessed by angels. A pair that united themselves with the blade could never be forcefully parted. If they wish to be together, wards, spells and even realms can’t keep them apart. One of the pair is called the Master of the blade, and he’s like a lighthouse. I can always find you, or you can forcefully bring me back to you. We just have to want it,” Sookie explained to him. “Claudine said it’s easier for me to go back to you, than it is for you to bring me, because it’s easier to follow than it is to lead, but also because you wouldn’t know how to do it. Either way, you figured it out.” She turned against his chest, her hand reaching up to stroke his face. “But you can figure out anythin’,” she laughed.

{†}

Godric was in his study, relaxing against his chair, and feeling the weight of several days of anguish rising off of his body. As he sat in quiet reflection, he realized that he should call the King of Mississippi, and let him know that all was well within his bloodline once more.

Godric,” Russell’s voice sounded politely sympathetic as he answered his phone, “I am so sorry for the loss of such a promising progeny,” he crooned.

“What do you mean?” Godric frowned at the condolences he was receiving before he realized what Russell meant and then laughed. “Eric is not dead. In fact he is very well. His Bonded has made it back to us. A little frayed around the edges, but she is recovering from her ordeal, and Ludwig has already been in to see them. She advised that they be left alone for quite some time; apparently part of recovering from such extreme separation sickness is re-consummating the union several times over,” he chuckled.

Alive? Your Child’s Bonded made it back from Elfyria alive? Who assisted her?” Godric could hear the uneasiness in Russell’s voice.

Godric could hear the conversation that took place between his Child and Sookie, but chose not to divulge the true happenings of Sookie’s return. “She fought her way out, found an ally, and managed to obtain passage out of Elfyria,” he summarized, not lying, but not being entirely forthcoming.

The little hybrid did all of that? My, Godric, your nest has become quite formidable. I am grateful to be in good standings with you. A vampire could not have done what she did if this is the truth,” Russell sounded a little nervous.

“Sookie is very gifted, and well trained by her Bonded and our bloodline as a tactician. I am grateful that my Child managed to tie himself to one such as her. Not only can Sookie protect herself, no matter the foe, she will do what she must, even if it means sustaining great agony to accomplish it,” Godric praised. “It will be a grand evening when she is brought over.”

Will that be soon?” Edgington asked.

“No. With her fae heritage, and her regular consumption of Eric’s blood, her youth and longevity will be extended greater lengths than a normal human’s would under the same circumstances. She wishes to remain as she is for a time, and Eric wishes the same thing. Sookie is very young still, and Eric wishes for her to have more human experiences before bringing her over,” Godric explained.

That is quite sentimental. You do not oppose such carelessness?”

“Not only do I not oppose it, I encourage it!” Godric assured. “Even as a mortal, Sookie is a force to be reckoned with. I do not see any sort of disadvantage by proceeding this way. In fact, I find it very beneficial to my bloodline.”

Well, it is your bloodline, and I know you protect it fiercely. If you see no harm, but actual benefit, then I more than trust your judgment. Thank you for calling me, as well as updating me on the happy reunion,” Russell sounded genuinely appreciative. “I would fancy meeting this charming creature when she is up for a journey.”

“I will be sure to extend your invitation to them once they are recuperated and willing to leave their bedroom,” Godric laughed.

Fair journey, Godric. May our paths cross again in good favor.”

“Fair journey, Russell,” Godric replied and hung up.

{†}

Eric groaned as Sookie raised herself slightly against his chest and sunk back down on his erect phallus. She hummed happily as he filled her, but her movements were unhurried and gentle. Eric’s arms wrapped about her waist, assisting her in her sedate movements, merely enjoying the sensation of her warmth wrapped around him as they continued their soak in the tub.

“Sorry,” she gasped, “I needed you inside of me so badly.” Her nails dug into the flesh of his arm. “Even though it was only a few hours for me bein’ away from you, I need to feel close to you.”

“Never apologize for that, my Bonded.” Eric nipped her earlobe as he flexed beneath her and gave a bit harder of an impact where their bodies were joined. “I felt the same, but…”

“But you’re still worried that I might be injured?” Sookie guessed.

“Yes.” He rocked her body against his slowly, kissing and nibbling her shoulder the entire time. Looking down between their bodies, he could still see the dark scab of her healing wound. “I should give you more of my blood soon; perhaps even cover the wounds with it. Otherwise it will scar.”

“Part of me wants to let it scar,” she admitted. “A reminder of what we have endured.”

Eric shook his head, “I never want to be reminded of this week.”

“I do.”

“Why?” Eric asked breathlessly.

Sookie was quiet a moment, enjoying the feel of him moving inside of her, before she answered, “Because, don’t get mad at me for feelin’ this way, but I feel like I proved somethin’ over this time. I feel like I proved, and earned the right to stand beside you. That I’m not with you for protection. I don’t need you standin’ over my shoulder, or Pam or Godric. I earned the right to stand and fight alongside all of you.”

It was Eric’s turn to be silent as he absorbed her claim, and he found it to be not only true, but reasonable, “When we took Sophie-Anne’s throne, you felt like you were tagging along. Nothing more than a lock pick and radar for threats. You felt like a tool, not a comrade.”

“Yes,” Sookie confessed.

Eric squeezed her tightly, “Would you like me to let it scar?”

“Not if seeing it will hurt you.” Sookie shook her head.

“Perhaps it will be a good reminder for me, too.”

“How so?” Sookie’s eyes squeezed shut as another delicious impact took her breath away.

“It will remind me of your strength and perseverance. Sometimes, I find myself needing a reminder that you are not the frightened little girl I brought home a year ago. You became a self-assured woman who can handle herself in battle. You became my equal so quickly in so many ways. What you lack in experience, still, is something that will fill in over time; of which we have more than enough. Every time I resist letting you leave my side, this scar will remind me that it is the last one you will ever receive.” His hands came to her breasts now, reacquainting himself with their weight and shape, not that he could forget an inch of her body, especially in such a short time frame where all he could think of was her.

“So you’ll leave it?” Sookie asked, moving a bit more frantically now.

“Yes.”

“AH!” She bit her lip as he pinched her nipples hard with his fingertips. His movements became just as hurried as hers now, and his thrusts more demanding. As they raced for their climaxes, she begged, “Drink from me!” and his fangs did not hesitate to puncture the base of her throat and swallow her blood greedily.

{†}

Pam was lying on her bed once more, though in much better shape than the last time. In her hours spent mending on this mattress, she had discovered something about herself, and come to enjoy the peaceful reflections that came to her. Was it a human thing to meditate like this? She did not know, nor did she care. In fact, it seemed to offer an environment of solitude that was both insightful and psychologically expanding.

She reveled in the peace coursing through her connection with Eric. After days of torment, either from his accidental experiences that he shared, or the torture of not knowing what was happening with her Maker at all, Pam felt subdued and content with what he offered her now.

A portion of her longed briefly for the same connection her Maker had found in Sookie. Was she too broken or cynical to ever have that? Did it bother her that she may have to wait a millennium or longer to find it, and recognize it when it arrived like Eric had so swiftly in Sookie?

Letting out a long sigh that she felt all the way to her toes, Pam grunted and sprung from her bed. That was enough melancholy sensitivity for one day, she decided. Now, she went in search of Godric.

“Master Godric,” Pam announced herself before approaching her Maker’s Master.

“Good evening, Pam,” Godric nodded to her and she made her way the rest of distance to him. “Is there something that you needed?” he asked.

“No.” She sat gracefully in the plump chair in front of his desk. “I was considering going out, now that Eric has recovered. Did you wish to accompany me?”

“I have a great deal of work to catch up on now that Eric is no longer in danger, and I can once more concentrate on my obligations,” he admitted with disappointment.

“How long will you remain a Regent, do you think?” Pam asked.

“It is not all that difficult to handle. I may consider keeping the position for some time. Perhaps until the time Sookie is brought over,” Godric became thoughtful. “She could be a very interesting vampire, and I might like to enjoy her newborn stages alongside Eric. However, I would hate to impose, or take away from his enjoyment of raising her into a promising Bonded Child.”

Pam grimaced, “She could remain mortal for a very long time between Eric’s blood and her heritage. Perhaps a few hundred years before she truly begins to age, and wishes to halt the process. I know that Eric wished for her to look closer to his own age before transforming her.”

“Yes, he does have an appreciation for more developed women, and given the rounding out her figure made in the last few months, I have no doubt that she could be quite luscious… Given time to mature, that is,” he added.

“I suppose that with such a mate, he will need the enforcement of his Regent to keep them left alone. Especially by the Council,” Pam continued.

“That is always a possibility, but even the Council cannot cause too much trouble for a Bonded couple. It would be an infraction against magical law if they were to cause them an unjust difficulties or restrictions,” Godric reminded her.

“Yes.” Pam was thoughtful a moment before asking, “What do you think of her Fae relative that she came to free while in Elfyria. Any potential threat there?”

Godric shook his head, “The Fae have a rather extensive history for favoring those that have saved their lives. I am certain that her cousin will try and honor Sookie in some way, and actually poses a great alliance to us.”

“I am glad that you feel that way. It was a Fae that you saved that gifted you the Bloodletting Blade, yes?”

“Ah, the former King of Elfyria bestowed that upon me during the Vampire/Fae war that I fought in during my fledgling days. I was a mere 100 years old. I protected a fleeing female fairy that was with child. It was obvious to me that she would be but a casualty of war. She was not fighting, but trying to save her unborn child. When the war ended, she told her husband, who I did not know was King of Elfyria, of the young vampire warrior that had not only spared her, but gotten her to safety. The King came to me, at great risk to his person, to gift me the blade. He only told me that if a vampire were to use the blade during their Bonding ceremony, that it would offer a protection that would never let their souls be parted from one another. I did not understand what it meant until I saw Eric pull Sookie from another realm, and back to his side.” Godric became pensive as he sat across from Pam. “That female I saved gave birth to Niall’s future wife. Of course, he had already had Fintan with a human woman before Dahlina’s birth, but Dahlina is the one who made Niall royalty by marriage.”

“I wonder if it was destiny,” Pam was a bit distant as she spoke, her mind several miles away.

Godric smiled, “Destiny… Yes. I believe it was. Myself, Eric, and you. All made for a girl thousands of years in the making… Yes. I believe the universe foresaw Sookie, and banded together a strong bloodline to protect and love her.”

“But why is she so special?” It was not a snide or disbelieving inquiry, but an awed one.

“Because sometimes, the world needs a little extra light in the darkness.”

On to Chapter Twenty-Four

Keep Me Ch. 22

Chapter Twenty-Two:

You recovered from the berries faster than I thought you would, my child.”

Sookie was blinking in quick succession, trying to clear the fog of her fainting spell. Who the hell was calling her their child? She squinted at the blurry silhouette, but she did not need the image to come in focus to recognize that long silver beard and hair.

A flare of rage much more potent than she had ever experienced before was coursing through her. Murderous intent was swirling tumultuously in her veins as she looked at the lines of the face that was slowly resolving into a less blurred image.

What did you do to me?” she grumbled, holding her chest painfully. An ache was building so quickly there that it nearly took her breath away, but it also fueled her previous anger. “Where am I?” Sookie demanded.

A cell in Elfyria. I know that iron will not hold you, so I have spent the last few weeks having this special chamber made up,” Niall was grinning at her through the thick slits of the bars. The spaces between the bars were so narrow that the woman did not think she could get more than her fingertips through them.

Sookie crossed her arms over her chest in agitation, “Godric will never help you just because you kidnapped me,” she spat.

Niall let out a sharp exhale from his nose as if to snort in amusement, “Help me? Dear girl, for what reason would I need his help?”

Don’t call me those pathetic pet names. I’m not your child, or a girl. I am Eric Northman’s woman, and of no relation other than biological to you,” she shot back at him. “Call me “you” or call me “woman”, but don’t pretend to be familiar with me, you diabolical asshole!”

What language,” Niall tsk’d, “Not very becoming of Northman’s woman.”

I owe you nothin’, especially any type of good manners. You took away my entire life, and for what? To become a baby factory?” Sookie’s lip was curling ever higher with distaste.

Niall actually laughed at that, “A what? You think your offspring, even if their sire was 100% fae, would be worth a pittance to me? As far as breeding stock goes, you are absolutely worthless.”

Sookie frowned with confusion, “But… Fuck,” She sighed, realizing the truth. Just like Eric rarely gave away true information, neither did Niall. An entirely fabricated backstory had been made while Niall pursued Sookie. The question now, was why did he pursue her at all? “Well, you needed me for somethin’. Apparently you don’t need an army, because takin’ me from Eric would just piss Godric off, and he wouldn’t give you what you want. So I’m not a bargainin’ chip. I’m what you wanted, but not for breedin’.”

Apparently you were not the slow minded girl I was lead to believe you were. That fool Compton misinformed me about your whit,” Niall sighed in mild irritation.

Keeping her face poised, and an ever present check on her emotions, Sookie listened in on Niall’s thoughts. His were difficult to read, but her training over the last year let her navigate the conversation just right to pick up the pieces she needed. The real answers to the questions she asked flitted through the ancient Fairy’s mind as his lips spoke flippant brush offs to her spoken inquiries.

How was it that you even came to know of me? Fintan didn’t tell you. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried to take me away like he did,” Sookie pressed.

How did my son meet his death? You were there were you not?” Niall had his first real spark of interest in what she had to say.

You will learn in a moment,” Sookie held her ribs tightly as she felt like they were about to shatter at any moment. She felt like crumbling from the weight of Eric’s end of the Bond, “First, tell me what you did to Eric. He’s in so much pain. It feels like I might die.”

Ah, yes, I almost forgot that you were Bonded to a vampire,” The look on his face spoke volumes of how he felt about one of his kin, as far removed as she was, being linked to a vampire. “All I did was take you to Elfyria. I never laid a hand upon him. However, there is quite a time difference between here and your former realm. One hour here, is one day in your realm. You have been out for nearly three hours since we came through the portal, so it has been three days for your vampire,” A tell tale smile was curling Niall’s lips. “I suppose you are currently feeling three days of the Viking’s emotions all lumped together, where he can probably not feel much from you, if at all. In fact, he probably thinks that you are dead. I am curious if he let your silly little friend live after I took you.”

Sookie blanched. If Eric suspected Angie being involved in the abduction, he would have killed her without hesitation, “How did you know I was goin’ to be where I was if she didn’t help you?”

Niall snorted, “I gained access to Northman’s phone records. There were a few calls during the day time. Some to your brother, the others to your Wicce friend. I found her residence and tapped her phone, waiting for you to call her; waiting for you to go somewhere public where I could hide in plain sight and finally strike. Your vampire did a very good job keeping you secure, but lying in wait has its advantages. Time can make anyone drop their guard in opportune situations. Thankfully, I had someone monitoring the calls so I could spend my time here while your life zipped by in the blink of an eye. Time can drive one mad, after all,” He was grinning with delight now, “I wonder how long your vampire can last before giving in and meeting the sun?” She could see how much pleasure he took in the thought of her Bonded being in such agony, and it twisted her gut with rage.

You know that I am a telepath, right?” Sookie ground out, wanting to change the subject and wipe that sadistic grin off of his face.

Yes, but you have met fairies before and were unable to read them,” Niall smirked, calling her supposed bluff. “I saw that you came in contact with a few so that I would be aware before I left you to rot for a while.”

Too bad for me,” She sighed, “Did you ever find out what else I can do?”

You will not be able to teleport out of your cell. I saw that wards were placed to prevent it,” Niall crossed his arms over his chest proudly, as though he believed that he had thought of everything.

I can’t teleport yet,” The woman rolled her eyes, “Eric bluffed about that.”

I thought so. It seemed improbable that you would have come in to that power already,” He seemed slightly relieved at the news.

So, what is it that you think I can do that you want to use?” Sookie tugged firmly at her hair, unable to control her fidgeting. Her body felt coiled and ready for a fight. She had already been unconscious for three hours before this little pussyfooting tournament began, and it had almost been an hour of dialogue now. The internal odometer that she had discovered the only other time she had been separated from Eric, could apparently also count the seconds she spent away from him, too.

Admittedly, I am uncertain what it is you can do. Normally, I do not take these sorts of gambles, but when I was informed that you alone could take down the all of my enemies, well, that is an opportunity you do not pass up on.”

Sookie sneered at him, “You should have passed,” Niall laughed at her. “If you tell me the truth, about how you knew about me; about why you had those things done to me- I will destroy the Water Clan.”

That is all you want?” Niall asked, eyebrow raised with distrust. “But how will you know if I am telling the truth?”

I have seen the truth and lies of faces all my life. I will know,” Sookie assured.

Niall shrugged, “My granddaughter Claudia was a Seer. She foresaw one of our kin growing into a powerful force, one that would vanquish all of my enemies, including the Water Clan. That is how I came to know about you. I knew about you before my son Fintan did.

When I discovered that you were telepathic,” he continued, “I did not think that would be very useful in overthrowing my enemies, but Claudia assured me that you would be able,” Niall looked at her a moment. “As for why I had those things done to you… Well, when you use a person as a weapon, you need to have their complete loyalty. Since, it is well known that fairy hybrids cannot survive long in Elfyria, I had to make specific plans. My hope was to destroy your spirits to the point that when I showed up and offered a friendly hand, you would see me as your savior and devote your life to me,” The Prince shrugged disappointedly. “Unfortunately, your vampire beat me to that move; the lucky bastard. You are quite beautiful. How unfortunate that the fruit has already been spoiled,” He sighed, and Sookie recoiled when she saw just what he had intended for her.

You sick son of a bitch,” Sookie growled.

You were not very hesitant to jump into the Viking’s bed once he saved you, and I have little doubt that it would have been any different if it were I that had found you instead,” Niall smiled smugly.

You know what Niall, I really am goin’ to kill the Water Clan,” She looked up to gaze into her great grandfather’s eyes, “You just won’t be around to reap the benefits.”

What do you- ARGH!” Niall screamed as his left arm was ripped from its torso, followed swiftly by the right.

This is my gift you wanted. Enjoy!” She cried as his left leg was torn away, and then his right once he toppled to the ground. Without hesitation, she blew out his torso, and watched delightedly as her great grandfather’s head rolled across the floor. Internal organs littered the dungeon floor, his intestines dangling like a grim streamer from one of the hinges of her cell’s door.

All that kept the girl contained was a single door, and she had become well practiced at using her telekinesis to open locks. Soon, she was free and crouching down to pick up Niall’s head by its silver hair.

Now, how do I get out of this realm?” She frowned as she gazed at the old fairy’s horror frozen expression. “I suppose I can ask the water fairies,” Sookie carried the head by its long hair, swinging it lazily like a basket of flowers as she walked through the dungeon. She paused momentarily at the archway, seeing her kin’s heart still trembling, trying to continue beating without purpose. Her foot stomped it flat, any remaining fluid oozing out under the sole of her shoe. It served him right. Crushing his heart as he had tried to crush her soul.

Grandfather?” Sookie stopped at the call from another cell she passed in the stockade, “Please, Grandfather, please let me go…,” A pitiful voice moaned from behind the iron door. “I can’t do it….”

The telepath reached into the mind beyond the door and grimaced. A female fairy was behind that door, and from the memories the poor creature was recalling, she had been behind that door for a very long time. So long, that she could not remember when she had last been free, or what it was like to bed a man willingly.

Apparently Sookie had not been the only victim of her great grandfather’s greed. Also, it seemed that his want for breeding stock was not complete fiction; it just had not involved Sookie. Instead, Claudine, a relative that Sookie was too irritable to care about discerning a title for, had been bound and raped repeatedly over the course of several years. Never carrying to term, and less frequently conceiving at all in recent attempts.

Using her ability, Sookie unlocked the door and gave it a kick open, “Claudine,” she husked in a grim greeting.

Who’s there? Who are you?” The weak voice did not even sound nervous, instead it sounded relieved. Perhaps because a woman was calling to her and thoughts of a reprieve from the attentions of her usual visitors was inviting.

My name is Sookie Stackhouse. Your sister Claudia put me on Niall’s radar, and he brought me here to use as a weapon,” Sookie told her impatiently, blowing apart the manacles around the older fairy’s wrists and ankles, “I can’t offer you any clothes, but I’m sure we’ll find somethin’ for you to wrap up in on our way.”

Way?”

You’re goin’ to show me how to get to the water fae,” Sookie announced.

What?” The alarm in Claudine’s voice was apparent.

Spinning on her heel, Sookie stared into the sunken eyes of her fellow, former prisoner, “You heard me. Now take me to the Water Clan, or you can join your grandfather,” She held up Niall’s head and Claudine recoiled in reflexive horror.

You did this?” Claudine whispered, staring at the agonized face of her deceased grandfather.

He wanted a weapon. I showed him what happens when you don’t read the consumer warnin’,” Sookie sneered.

You’re…,” Claudine gasped as she stared into Sookie’s eyes. The blue irises were purple, almost turning red, “You’re Bonded to a vampire, aren’t you?”

Yes. To Eric Northman. He is Mine,” Sookie ground out with increasing impatience.

Sookie,” Claudine took a tentative step back, keeping her voice gentle, “if you have been separated from your Bonded, you are going to become very dangerous to me.”

I am very dangerous to everyone,” Sookie grinned so darkly that it sent a shiver down Claudine’s spine. The fairy was no longer sure if she did not prefer her imprisonment over being at the mercy of a manic hybrid with powers that Claudine found incomprehensible, and immunities that left the older woman with little chance of overpowering the other. “Now, take me to the Water Fae, and if you make me ask again, well… I won’t.”

Yes, I’ll take you,” Claudine breathed anxiously. Sookie smirked at the tremble that wracked the woman’s body, delighting in her fear and servitude. The show of submission fed the churning bloodlust for the time being.

Good,” Sookie stomped up the stone stairway, out of the dungeon, Claudine on her heels. Once they were on an inhabited floor, Sookie grabbed the fabric of a drape they passed and yanked it free from its bar, “Make like Scarlett O’hara and put that on.”

Who?”

“Just cover up,” she grunted.

The telepath knew very well that this aggressive attitude she was emulating came from none other than her distressed Bonded, but it gave her reassurance. If Eric was this enraged, it meant that he had not given up and tried to kill himself. As long as she could feel his rage, she had time to do what needed to be done.

Reaching out with her telepathy, Sookie took a quick account of the bodies in the building. There were several minds in the dungeons below from which they had just escaped. She could feel twenty minds on the floor they traipsed through now, and there were another forty minds scattered above her on the higher floors. Spreading her mental reach outward, she counted another fifteen guards on the outside grounds.

This place is crawlin’ with fairies,” That dark grin of bloodlust was curling Sookie’s lips again, and Claudine could not resist pulling away from her relative ever so slightly once more.

Two of the guards on their floor were approaching around a corner, and Sookie did not even break her stride as their bodies exploded, showering the women in a fine mist of blood and sinewy pieces. Sookie felt the woman beside her cringe and grasp at her when she became entangled in entrails, but the hybrid just laughed and licked her bloodied lips. The taste of the crimson fluid intensified the need to rain more of it down.

If it had not been for the boiling rage Eric was providing her through the Bond, Sookie might have been mortified of her actions thus far, but every kill from the inside of the palace to its outer gates was reveled by the fairy pariah. She did not know that every kill made her eyes glow that much more with a violent, scarlet hue, nor would she have cared if she had known. All she knew for sure was that basking in the glory of her murder spree kept her sane enough to remain focused on her agenda, and that was the only reason she did not massacre the entire castle.

Kill as many of Niall’s supporters as she could.

Kill the Water Clan.

Most importantly, but unfortunately the last errand on her itinerary:


Return to Eric.

By the time Sookie and Claudine were off the palace grounds, they were both bathed in blood and had several pieces of flesh sticking to their skin and hair. Claudine looked ready to be ill, but Sookie gave her a firm shake and urged her on.

As the pair continued, Claudine staring nervously at the telepath’s back, the older fairy could see the younger one losing steam.

Are you okay?” Claudine asked tentatively, more concerned about her own wellbeing in such close proximity to someone as unbalanced as half a Bonded couple.

I’m fine,” Sookie snapped back, but it was a lie. That storm of bloodlust was receding, and now her heart felt like it was shattering a million times over. Her breaths were more like pants as each one felt like a cold stab to her chest. Tears that she had not summoned were building in her eyes, and an underlying frustration was making it harder to keep them from falling.

How long have you been in Elfyria?” Claudine asked softly.

A few hours,” Sookie felt in her heart that it was so much longer, “maybe five?”

Your Bonded would be without you for five days, now,” Claudine told her.

Yes,” Was all the blonde responded with.

He is still alive?”

Yes.”

That is something, at least,” Claudine sighed. “Are you-”

Listen,” Sookie spun around, “I have no patience for any conversation with a fairy, unless it is a way to get me home, or lead me to the Water Clan.”

What is this obsession with the Water Clan?” Claudine demanded.

They want all hybrids like me, maybe even my brother, dead. It’s kill or be killed, and I’m not fancyin’ lookin’ over my shoulder for the rest of eternity,” Sookie snapped, “Now shut up and show me the way, or go back to your dungeon and rot.”

You have killed Niall,” Claudine gestured to the head of which Sookie’s hand was still fisted into the long hair, “You have made me ruler of Elfyria.”

So it was your guards you let me blow up without a bat of the eye?” Sookie was confused.

Yes, but I would have them killed for treason, anyway. Most of the royal guard has raped me by now. You saved me a lot of trouble,” Claudine shrugged, “That is why I will show you the way to the Water Clan. So that you can pave a way to peace for our people-”

Your people!” Sookie sneered as she emphasized her personal disassociation with the realm she was trapped in, “I want nothin’ to do with the fae other than exterminatin’ them,” She followed Claudine as she walked on ahead.

I could give you that job.”

As an executioner?” Sookie asked, a twinge of enjoyment eclipsing the burning of Eric’s agony for the briefest of seconds.

Not quite. There are only a few Fae that exist in your realm, and they are of no threat to you. The only threat from the Fae would come from Elfyria,” Claudine explained.

A discussion for after I remove the cretins of this realm,” Sookie grumbled, “What can you tell me of them?”

“Not much. The past decade or so, I have been Niall’s prisoner, and have been out of touch with the goings on in the moving world,” Claudine frowned, “Their last known headquarters was in a tavern in the eastern city, but they have probably moved since then.”

Sookie rolled her eyes, “Then how is it you are goin’ to help me find them?”

Claudine had an amused look on her face, “I may be out of touch with the world, but I know a lot of things,” She gazed around at the terrain, “If he is still living, he will teleport once we clear that line of stones,” Claudine pointed to what looked like a knee high, stone fence. “That is the teleportation barrier. Once we pass it, we can move through the realm freely,” She glanced at Sookie. “Do not blow him up if he appears. He is not a threat to you or me.”

Sookie was wary, but tried to resist her instincts to “shoot first” and ask no questions after. As they hopped over the stone wall, both paused and waited a moment.

He is dead,” Sookie frowned.

Give him a moment, he may not realize….”

They were silent another minute before a loud *POP* rented the air, and Sookie had to use all of her will power not to respond in her usual way.

Colman!” Claudette exhaled in relief, opening her arms and flinging them about the neck of the tall, dark haired stranger. “By the Gods!” She wept in his disbelieving embrace.

Claudine,” He breathed in her hair, his dripping eyes pouring out years of withheld tears, “My love. You are free,” Colman sobbed into her shoulder as he lifted her from the ground and rocked her gently in his embrace.

A deep pang rang through Sookie’s body, something more powerful than the rage that fueled her up until this moment. Longing coursed throughout her, and her heart seemed to reach through lands and realms, searching desperately for its other half.

Left alone in her despair as the reunited lovers hugged and kissed, Sookie felt a vaguely familiar thrumming in her chest. Looking down at her breasts, expecting to see a dagger plunged through her ribs and its blade being clenched by her crumbling heart, she instead saw a light. The familiar glow sparked a memory. It was the same glow her heart had emitted when she was trapped in her dream so many months ago. The beacon of light she thought would lead to Eric.

Sookie,” Claudine was looking away from Colman now, her gaze transfixed on Sookie’s chest, “Your Bonding ceremony, did you use any special artifact?” Her inquiry was hushed, disbelieving.

The Bloodletting Blade,” Sookie held her hand over her heart. “I think I remember y’all called it Erfea?”

Erfea!” Colman gaped, “That blade was gifted to a vampire during one of the last vampire fae wars. The king himself gave it to a vampire who spared him a great loss. The young one of Ghal.”

Yes, Godric of Ghal. I am Bonded to his Child,” Sookie nodded, “You can see the glow?”

Yes,” Claudine nodded, “Sookie! This is wonderful! Even if I cannot find the Gatekeeper’s Saber, you can still go home!”

Really?” Sookie asked hopefully.

Claudine nodded, “Ong Zan, Erfea.”

One Blood, One Soul,” Sookie nodded, showing that she was aware of the translation.

Ong Zan, Erfea, Coueretella,” Claudine whispered.

Coueretella?” Sookie repeated.

To My Heart,” Claudine explained, “It is the Angelic language. A blade forged by Dwarves, enchanted by the Fae, and blessed by the Angels. A pair united by blood and that blade cannot be parted. The Master will always be a beacon to his other half and she can be by his side if she follows the light. Even dimensions cannot keep them parted if they do not wish to be.”

So, I just follow the light coming from my chest? Why did it only appear now?” Sookie wondered; feeling despair as the aura began to flicker.

You were not focused intently enough on him,” Colman explained, “When your heart reached for his, it began to open the portal to his side. Even wards and spells cannot keep you from teleporting to him.”

Sookie let out a sigh of relief, “I can go home whenever I wish.”

Are you leaving now?” Claudine asked.

I should…,” Sookie gazed down at her chest, seeing the light pulse stronger now, “He is hurtin’ so badly. In our world, he will have been without me for nearly six days now.”

I understand, Sookie,” Claudine smiled at her reassuringly, “You have already done more than enough for me, for Elfyria.”

Sookie swiped at a tear she had not meant to shed, “Can’t he come to me? He and I could kill the Water fae so fast together.”

No, he cannot,” Claudine shook her head, “He is Master of the blade, he can only call you, he cannot come to you.”

Call me?”

He can force you to teleport to him,” Colman explained.


“Then why hasn’t he?” She sobbed, giving in to the pain, losing more and more of her bloodlust as despair robbed away her fury.

He probably does not know how. He will have to do a blood call, and I don’t know that he would know how to do that without knowing the blade’s power,” Claudine smiled at her sympathetically, “Go, Sookie. You need him just as desperately.”

Sookie was still staring at the light radiating from her chest, silent tears streaming down her cheeks.

Is that…,” Colman’s voice broke the thoughts of Sookie’s deliberating, “Niall’s head?”

The pulsing light diminished quickly at Colman’s question, and she looked at the head clutched in her hand by its hair. Pushing down Eric’s despair, she instead focused on the constant rage he was suffering under.

Yes,” Sookie straightened up, “and it is the first of many heads I have and will take this night.” Looking at her relative’s beau, Sookie told him firmly, “Take me to the Water Clan’s headquarters.”

What?” Colman was shocked.


“I am goin’ to kill them all,” Sookie explained simply.

You can’t be serious,” Colman was shaking his head, not daring to believe this woman could accomplish such a feat.

I destroyed Niall and several guards to get you your Claudine back to you. Do you think a few Water fairies scare me?” Sookie raised her eyebrows, that demonic glow raging once more in her eyes and causing Claudine and her lover to take an automatic step back, “Do you know where they hide?”

I know their headquarters,” Colman nodded slowly.

Do you know anythin’ of their numbers?” Sookie demanded next.

About thirty,” he answered quickly now.

And their security?” she continued.

Modest. Niall’s been hitting them hard, and they have not recovered from his last bout,” Colman went on, “Their numbers were nearly a hundred earlier this year, but they are waning. They are running low on supplies.”

And the structure they have made their haven?”

An old, abandoned Inn at the center of the Queen’s Village.”

Are there tunnels?” Sookie raised her eyebrows.

Yes.”

What are Fairy weaknesses?” Sookie pressed.

Iron will weaken fairies as silver weakens vampires. Lemons are fatal,” Colman offered willingly.

Sookie snorted, “Lemons?” The two fairies nodded, “I will not need either of those, but it’s good to know.”

She won’t need either?” Colman whispered to Claudine curiously.

You do not want to know. It is… Unsettling,” Claudine replied weakly.

Perhaps that is all the explanation I want. Seeing that you are covered head to toe in blood… I was so relieved to see you, I did not realize you were bathed in it!” he hissed to her.

Sookie interrupted them, “I have a tentative plan,” She looked at her relative’s lover firmly. “Take me to an access point to the tunnels under the Inn. Once you have taken me there, leave with Claudine to the edge of town. You will be safer there. You will know that it is over when you see the Inn fall.”

Fall?”

To the ground,” Sookie assured.

Then we come back for you?” Claudine guessed.

No, then I will follow the light back to Eric, and you fairies will leave me alone. Forever,” Sookie declared.


“Sookie,” Claudine cried, “I have something for you, though. The role of Gatekeeper,” she reminded.

I want nothin’ to do with any of your political crap. I want nothin’ to do with Elfyria, or fairies. I want you all to leave. Me. Alone,” Sookie snapped, but she could already hear Claudine planning to offer her the job once she was no longer suffering separation sickness. Still, she resisted.

But-”

Nothin’, Claudine,” She stomped her foot with finality, the vicious red glow in her eyes making the older fairy quiet.

The group was silent until the male fairy finally spoke up, “I will teleport you as close to the Inn as possible. Have you ever teleported before?” Colman asked.

No.”

Oh,” He grimaced, “Try to relax. It is very disorienting when you are being taken along for the ride. It isn’t as bad when you teleport yourself, though,” he told her. “Claudine?”

I will move myself. I know where you will appear,” She nodded for him to go ahead.

Colman took Sookie’s hand and she had to resist the urge to recoil at a man other than Eric touching her. In a flash of bright light, she felt as though her entire body was breaking down into tiny particles, and when the flash swallowed itself, those particles came back into formation. Now, she was standing on a cobbled street, old buildings like those you would see in a Dickins novel movie remake lining those roads.

Ugh,” Sookie doubled over, her stomach doing flip flops, “you weren’t kiddin’.”

The access point is there,” Colman pointed to a grate in the ground. A loud *POP* sounded beside them, and Claudine stood next to Sookie, between her and the grate.

Pushing past Claudine to get towards the grate, Sookie asked, “Which building is the Inn?”

Colman pointed down the road. There was a dilapidated old building standing at the end of the street, that Sookie found befitting a small, failing revolutionary headquarters. “You will come upon it quickly once you are below. I can assure you that there will be resistance in the tunnels.”

I figured that much. But they can’t sneak up on me,” Sookie lifted the grate with one hand.

Sookie,” Claudine called after her, “Niall’s head. May I have it?”

Proof of death?” Sookie guessed as she lobbed the head at her relative.

Precisely,” Claudine nodded, catching the head and fighting the urge to shiver.

Good luck, Claudine,” Sookie nodded at her as she began to lower herself into the hole.

Best of luck, Sookie,” Her relative nodded back, taking Colman’s hand as Sookie descended into the pit.

It was a slightly deeper drop than the telepath had anticipated, and she felt a jarring in her ankles that seemed to radiate all the way to her knees. Shaking off the little shock to her joints, Sookie took a deep, steadying breath and decided to try out one of her tricks that Octavia had taught her.

With a bit of concentration, Sookie focused her aura outward, ensconcing herself in a thick, blue glow. The ghostly light did not illuminate the din, but created a physical barrier that would trigger any traps that might have been set, giving the woman time to react before she was snared. It was a simple energy work that Sookie had taken to quickly, and one that Eric thought very useful. Right now, Sookie had to agree.

Now that her aura was set, Sookie reached out with her mind, searching for any thoughts and potential threats. She could sense two minds several yards ahead of her, standing a stationary post a couple feet before the subterranean entrance to the Inn.

Approaching the sentries without hesitation, Sookie managed to get close enough before they could react, and killed them instantaneously as she walked through the shower of blood that rained around her.

Though weapons were not really needed by her, Sookie grabbed the saber that clattered to the ground and decided that it might at least pose an intimidation if necessary.

Branching out her mind again, she could sense another guard standing on the entrance just above her. Sookie slid the sword she held into the belt of her sundress and began to climb the ladder to the cellar of the Inn. As she approached the trap door, she used her telekinesis to fling it open and send the guard flying across the stone floor. She was through the entrance and on solid ground before her foe could rise, and she quickly dispatched him like the others.

As the telepath went to the stairs, she felt something new from Eric’s end of the Bond, and it took her breath away. Clutching her chest, she leaned against the cool brick of the wall and calmed her breathing, trying to quell the sudden pain.

Please, Eric,” she whispered painfully, “just a little longer, Darlin’.” She groaned, slouching down towards the floor, “Please, Darlin. It’s all almost over,” Tears were rolling down her cheeks, and she felt that familiar light begin to pound out of her chest again. When the agony began to abate and the desperation in him became strong once more, Sookie could cling to that desperation and use it to fuel her vengeance.

Able to move once again, Sookie finally ascended the stairway, feeling five people in the room directly above. She had never tried to tear apart such a large number of bodies simultaneously, but she was growing more and more frantic, and she hoped that it would be enough.

Flinging open the door, Sookie did not spare a moment before bodies around her erupted in crimson geysers. The carnage was plentiful, and Sookie wasted no time delighting in it. She wanted to finish this mission and get back to Eric.

Fuck,” She grunted, stumbling and taking her balance against another wall. She berated herself for thinking of Eric. As desperate as she felt, thinking of her Bonded brought the wretched tortures he experienced into her body, and it was making it too difficult for her to continue. The woman needed to discipline her mind and prevent herself from taking such lapses. Despite how well she was doing, every moment of weakness put her in peril, and her death would not help Eric. “Damn it,” Thunking her head firmly against the wall, she resolved not to think of anything but the next kill.

The next room had another collection of revolutionaries in it. Sookie was glad that the liquefaction of their comrades was quiet enough not to alert others. Another six were in this room, and after disposing of five with such ease, she was confident on this next room. It was as easy as she thought it would be, and she did not feel fatigued at all yet. Still, part of her mind idly wondered if the overpowering stench of the dismembered corpses would not alert the others to the attack. So far she had gone undetected, but a part of her knew that it was only a matter of time, and that she needed to diminish their numbers as swiftly as possible before she was discovered.

There was only another pair of two just before the next staircase, and Sookie barely acknowledged them as they fell in her wake. On the second level, she encountered three more groups in sets of four, seven, and three.

That was thirty so far, but the telepath could sense that there were still others in the Inn. They were on the third and final floor. Three of them, and by their minds, they knew she was there. Sookie was uncertain if they knew she was there all along, or if they had only just discovered her presence. Either way, there would be no sneaking up on them.

My name is Sookie,” She called up the stairway, “I am here to kill you. Either fight me like men, or try and sneak up on me like cowards. I do not care which, but let’s get this over with.”

*POP*

Sookie pushed her telekinesis in every direction at the arrival of her assailant, not daring to be wrong about the sound’s origin. A fairy with long black hair went tumbling backwards into an end table, and recovered in time to stare into the demonic eyes of his killer. Those red, glowing eyes were the last thing he ever saw before his body was torn apart, and his life ended.

There are two of you left. Now what?” Sookie called.

*POP*

Again, Sookie pushed out with her ability, and another fairy crumpled. However, before she could dismember like the last, she felt a blinding hot pain begin in her back, and penetrate into her stomach. Looking down, she saw a blood coated blade gleaming back up at her tauntingly.

‘Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm,’ Sookie repeated to herself over and over in her head, ‘Eric can heal you as soon as you kill these last two!’

With a terrible, agonized cry, Sookie managed to blow up the fairy she had swatted down in the first blitz, but the one that had run her through teleported away before he could receive the same treatment.


“You won’t wait me out,” Sookie shouted to the last remaining threat.

You will bleed to death before you catch me,” he mocked, and the constant *POP*-ping as he flurried around the room seemed to add insult to injury.

‘Not if I leave the blade in.’ She remembered Eric telling her that if she were ever impaled like this, not to remove the weapon, that it would stunt the bleeding until he could heal her.

Following the sound of the troublesome fairy, Sookie let out little telekinetic blasts, hoping to disorient him long enough to catch him. When this did not work, and she could feel her power waning, Sookie expanded her blue, physical aura, filling the entire room with it until only a small space remained, and her tormentor was forced to go in the area she left for him.

In a brief instant of surprise and fear, the fairy looked up at the creature that had toppled his revolution and raised his hands as if to plead for his life. No bargains could be uttered, though, for Sookie took her last shot at him. The last of the threats against her was vanquished in a satisfying burst of blood and flesh.

With her remaining strength, Sookie pushed the blue aura out as far, and with as much power as she could muster. The walls around her buckled and began to tremble as they crumbled around her. The foundation shook beneath her feet, and she knew that the structure would cave soon.

Finally…,” Sookie sighed, falling to her knees, an ethereal blue light encasing her eyes, “…Eric….

On to Chapter Twenty-Three

Keep Me Ch. 21

Chapter Twenty-One:

Pam was glancing sideways at her Maker as she drove. Part of her expected him to punch out the window and fly off into the night sky at any moment. He was fidgeting. That was never good, she decided, since she had never seen him do such a thing. His eyes were closed, and his hands were clasped as his elbows rested on his knees. Was he contemplating the shackles she insisted he wear? They were not enough to completely immobilize him, but they were forged from the same stainless steel that the aerospace industry used. They would at least slow him down.

Hazarding another glance in her Maker’s direction, she noted that his lips were moving, but his voice was not making a sound. Was he praying? The Child’s lip curved with a sneer of distaste. After two hours of this torture, Pam arrived at Godric’s royal estate and pulled up to the guards’ stand.

“Miss Ravenscroft,” The Were guard nodded to her as he glanced in the window. Seeing his boss’s Child in the passenger’s seat, tethered, set him at unease, “Mr. Northman…?” he asked carefully. Eric’s eyes opened long enough, and his head tilted far enough, to cast his hollow, dead gaze upon the guard, causing the Were to recoil, “Has he been hexed?”

“Worse,” Pam snarled and gunned the engine to get up the remainder of the driveway in a short second.

Godric was standing in the entrance of the manor and came to greet Eric at his door, “You have done well to control yourself up until now,” he murmured appraisingly, “I will take on that responsibility now,” he promised, stroking Eric’s long hair paternally.

Eric did not say a word as he rose from his seat, the clinking of his bindings singing to the night sky as he made his way into the entrance of the estate’s main building.

“This is controlled?” Pam snapped once they were inside, “He can’t even form a sentence! He was praying all the way here! For what? I’ll tell you what I’m praying for!”

“Pam,” Godric’s voice was a warning in itself.

“I’m praying Niall just kills the stupid witch so the Bond finally is severed for-!”

There was barely a sound before Eric’s bindings burst apart and he was atop his Child, striking her repeatedly with all the strength in his body. He destroyed her face with his fists, shattering the beautiful, delicate bone structure of her cheek and jaw. Once here face was unrecognizable, he grabbed Pam by her wrist and whipped her body to crash into the hard marble of the grand entrance.

By the time he was done, Pam was a whimpering, broken heap on the floor, and Eric’s needless breath was ragged to hear.

“That is your only warning, Pamela,” Godric spoke for his Child, “I will send someone to collect you once I have seen to my Child.”

A loud *POP* sounded near Eric’s side, and it took all of Godric’s strength to keep his progeny from striking the little doctor that now walked beside him.

“I will need to test to see if all of your immunities are intact,” Ludwig explained hoarsely, “Hopefully they are not, or he will be nearly impossible to restrain until his Bonded is recovered.”

“Test them on me,” Godric requested, “I do not know that I could restrain him if he feels threatened at this point. Do you know what is happening to him?”

“His Bonded has been taken to Elfyria. The time difference has caused interference with his end of the Bond. Her body is experiencing time at a much slower rate than his is, therefore, he cannot feel her. Your Child is experiencing the shocks of his Bonded’s death, though she is still quite alive. The opposite is happening for Sookie. She is feeling his emotions at several levels higher the intensity. If Niall did not find a way to restrain her before taking her, I fear that Elfyria will be in ruins shortly.”

Godric gave little care for what would happen to the Fae race, “What will Eric do?”

“Every vampire that Bonds experiences the loss of their other half differently. Some become suicidal, others become homicidal. Given Eric’s outbursts, I would say he will be a lot of both. He’s too controlled, which is frightening. If he were burning down villages and slaughtering townspeople, I might feel a little better. Even if he were trying to stake himself, I would feel better. But he just stands there in that daze, keeping it together,” Ludwig shook her head, “Your Child has much self-control.”

“He knows that she is not actually dead. I believe he is taking solace in that,” Godric smiled sadly.

“Yes, unfortunately, he will not feel when she dies if she does so in Elfyria,” The doctor grimaced. “This calm will not last, Godric. He will not be able to keep up this demeanor for long,” She looked at the Viking a moment before adding, “Every moment he stays like this is a blessing. Every hour he survives up until this point, will be his best hour.”

“Survives?” Godric gaped.

“He will try and kill himself at some point. It cannot be avoided. Not even a Maker’s Command will stop him,” Ludwig was digging into her bag and came out with a ring. She pressed it to Godric’s skin and sighed when there was no affect. “Damn it. I thought when…,” Ludwig’s eyes lit up and she stopped walking; making the vampires halt as well. “Viking,” She handed him the silver ring, “you will not feel when your Bonded has died. You know this now,” Eric nodded solemnly. “But you will lose your extra gifts if she loses her life,” She pressed the ring into Eric’s palm. “Wear this, and until it burns, do not lose hope,” The large vampire held the ring in his palm a moment before slipping the small loop around his pinkie finger. In a very un-Ludwig move, the little doctor reached up and patted the large vampire’s chest reassuringly, “Be strong, Northman, for her. She’ll come back to you.”

“I did not know you were such an optimist,” Godric’s eyebrows rose as he murmured to the doctor once Eric was, again, ahead of them.

“One does not hand a loaded gun to a suicidal person,” Ludwig sighed, “He will be more difficult to contain in the next few days.”

Days? You think he will go days without searching for her?” Godric asked in disbelief.

“He has no choice but to wait. Without Empyrodite, he cannot breach the portal to Elfyria, and that mineral no longer exists in this realm. No, if his Bonded returns, she will have to find her own way back,” Ludwig shook her head.

You can get to Elfyria,” Godric pressed.

“No,” The doctor scowled, “It would conflict with the sanctity of my oath to treat all creatures as equals, and to take no personal or political preferences. The Pantheon has ladened you with this strife. If you wish to beseech a Deity for relief, then do so, but do not ask it of me,” She glanced at Eric’s back with consideration. “When he begins to resist your commands, you will be forced to secure him. The only thing that will immobilize him at this point is being driven into the ground,” She gave a long stare at the giant of a vampire, assessing him. “Four foot re-barb might do the trick so long as it is curved at the ends that he cannot easily bring his wounds through. Palms, elbows, shoulders, torso- take care to stay far from his heart… Two in each thigh, and one in each ankle. You might need to call some assistance of some older vampires than him to manage such a feat. It will take no less than three of you when the bloodlust begins to drive him,” And with another *POP* Ludwig was gone.

Godric’s face was grim as he regained his pace with Eric. His Child was suffering immensely, and it weighed heavily on the ancient vampire. What frightened Godric the most was the realization that Eric’s agony was only a fraction of the actual experience. It had to be, for Godric was managing, where his Child was not. He did not understand why his tie to Eric’s emotions was being diluted, normally he felt exactly what his Child felt, and Eric could not cut that bond. Then, he remembered what Sookie had said about “cutting the pain in half” when she had been parted from Eric all those months ago so that he could meet with Sophie-Anne. Had Godric done just that? Had he cut the pain of Eric’s agony in half to cope?

With a somber gaze, Godric brought Eric to the room in which he would be staying. That stare stayed trained on the giant of a vampire as he crumbled to the floor, resting his cold cheek to the cool wood.

“Eric,” Godric began gently, “I am going to tend to Pamela. I will be back shortly. Do not leave this room. Do not stake yourself, or make any attempts on your existence in my absence,” He breathed an unneeded sigh of relief when he felt his command take root in their connection.

At vampire speed, Godric was back in the entry hall. Pam had not yet moved, but he could see the damage her Maker had done slowly reversing, “Pam, can you rise?”

“Yes,” she whispered, gritting her teeth when bones began to grind as she moved.

“Get yourself to your old room. Stay there until I call for you. Perhaps you should take that time to consider what your Master is going through,” Godric told her sternly.

“Yes, Master Godric,” Pam limped to her room, internally groaning at the stairs.

Godric was back to Eric in a flash, his cell phone in hand as he called in a favor, “Russell,” he breathed, “I am in a situation, and only one as old as you can assist me.”

Oooh, I have waited so long to redeem myself of the last favor you performed for me. Tell me, Dear Godric, what can I do for a fellow King?” Russell Edgington’s silky voice flowed over the line.

“My Child is Bonded.”

The Viking bonded to a human?” His surprise was not unwarranted, “I had heard through the grapevine that your dear Child had taken on a captivating pet, but I did not think he would Bond.”

“It is more complicated than that. His Bonded is not entirely human, and she has many gifts. His Bonded is part fae,” Godric hesitated to admit this, but it was necessary, and Russell had proven his loyalty to the Ghal line for many centuries.

Really? Now that is interesting! And how might I assist the happy couple?” he asked sweetly.

“His Bonded has been abducted by the Fae and taken to Elfyria. In respect to the Bond, Eric is going through the situation as if she has died. I have consulted Ludwig, and have been instructed to spike him to the ground to prevent him from taking his life, or going on a rampage,” Godric told him quickly. “He is still obeying his Maker’s Command, but I have been warned that as the days pass, this will not last. I will need at least three older than him to subdue him.”

Is there no one that can retrieve her?” Russell sounded shocked.

“Empyrodite is non-existent in this realm. Unless you know a creature that can walk through realms and is not wary of taking on the Fae, it is pointless. There is hope that, because of the time differences between our worlds, Sookie will not have succumbed to the severing of the Bond, and might be able to come back of her own power,” Godric had a hard time believing this, but he prayed. Gods, how hard he prayed!

Of her own power? You said she was gifted, but do you honestly believe that a part fairy can overcome her abductors, obtain a fragment of Empyrodite, and find the portal back to our world?” Russell sounded more than a little doubtful, “If that child can accomplish that, then even I will fear your bloodline,” He laughed mirthlessly.

“We are trying to keep hope,” Godric could not bring his voice to match that optimism. “I would appreciate if you could send three others that are between mine and Eric’s age. I would prefer that none be older than I, so that if they think they might try their own hand at running a Kingdom, they will know better than to try me. I warn you. Right now, my instincts to protect my bloodline are fierce. If I have any suspicions, I will end them.”

I know just the three for you,” Russell assured, “They are entirely loyal to me, and will follow my command.”

“My greatest thanks. I will be indebted to you for a long time to come,” Godric sighed appreciatively.

We will consider ourselves even. That spot you got me out of during the incident in Greece was more than you should have had to shoulder,” Russell’s voice was smiling.

“Thank you, Russell.”

{†}

Pam cringed on her bed as another bone in her face began to reset. She was not used to broken bones. She could only remember once that one had been broken, and that too had been by Eric. However, that incident was part of her training as a vampire. Eric had broken her arm to teach her how to continue fighting through pain if they were ever in battle and she sustained such an injury. Thankfully, her Maker had always watched out for her in such situations, and she left most with hardly a blemish on her cheek.

It was killing her to feel so out of touch with Eric. He was blocking her from their connection, and in his time of despair, it gave her great unease to be so detached from him. Could he not see how unequipped she was to deal with him? Did he not understand that keeping his agony from her, made it more difficult to help him?

Once more, Sookie had made her Bonded suffer. Just being born the way that she was should have placed her name on Eric’s “avoid” list. Instead, he had given the ratty little thing shelter, education, and, despicably, love! Now, he was paying for it with his own sanity. How could love be so moving that her Maker- HER MAKER! The VIKING. The broadsword wielding demon! Eric Northman, succumbed to the scourge of LOVE, and paid for it with all of his strength and reputation!

The little fairy might be nice to look at. She might have a moment or two that amused Pam. Sookie might have even felt an eerie fondness for her, though she blamed that on the weak link she had to her from Eric’s Bond.

However, Pam admitted sourly, she too had cried for the little creature. She had heard the runaway’s sorry tale, and even felt the crimson tears in her eyes form at the damnation of the hybrid’s entire existence. The girl had survived agonizing years, and with much disinterested coaxing, Pam had pressed her Maker’s Bonded to telepathically share the experience. Pam had seen much, though she knew that Sookie held some of the darker torments in the deep recesses of her damaged soul. Locked in shadows that her mind could not bare to dig back up and expose to the light of her new, hopeful life.

Hope.

Hope, Pam thought as she stared dazedly at the ceiling, not even flinching as her cheekbone puffed and snapped back into place. Maybe that was what Eric saw in her; in Pam. Hope in something he found worth existing.

The vampiress knew that Eric had created her a few more than two hundred years ago, with the attempt at placating the darkness of his journey through immortality. They had enjoyed the centuries together sharing in carnage and carnal pleasures. They had explored the world together, Eric delighting in how she was swept up in the big, wide world she never dreamed of beholding in the dowry purchasing, child bearing existence she had been destined for as a mortal. Eric had been given the opportunity to relive that fresh excitement through her.

Now, he was not just reliving a life he had walked through several times already. Eric was LIVING again. Sookie had given him a gift, given all of them a gift. She had returned the light to their lives, both literally and metaphorically. She had stood by them in battle, grown up and back down. Pam realized, as her jaw reset, that even the concrete façade of her own exterior had begun to crack, and she had learned to relish the day with new enthusiasm.

So quick to blame…, Pam thought sadly. She had been so quick to thrust all of Eric’s problems on Sookie’s shoulders. It was not the forsaken fairy that deserved her hatred. It was Niall, André, Compton, and Bartlett. They were the demons that stalked and threatened them. They were the ones that put Sookie through agony, and in turn destroyed her Maker.

With a long sigh, Pam curled onto her side and stared now at the wall. She closed her eyes after a moment and prayed aloud, “Please, let us have one more shot at dawn.”

{†}

Godric sat staring at Eric. His Child had not moved for what felt like an eternity. Eric continued to stare at the wall, lying on the floor. Every so often his hand would reach out to stroke the wooden floorboards, engraining the texture of the smooth surface into his memory. Godric wondered if he was considering if it would make a sturdy stake.

Clasping his hands in front of his face, Godric brought his fists to his lips as he considered the possibility of ending his Child’s existence. He could not let HIS Child commit his own final death. It was unacceptable, but he knew that Eric would detest an act of pity being taken upon him. Even into the afterlife. But a part of Godric feared for Eric’s soul. Would Eric’s spirit be permitted to be with Sookie’s in the afterlife if the Viking fell by his own hand? Perhaps Godric could hire an assassin or a warrior of old to do the deed if it came to that.

A glimmer of light flashed from Eric’s hand and Godric’s eyes snapped to the silver ring upon the larger vampire’s pinkie finger. He let out a sigh of relief when he saw that the flesh was not smoldering. The light above them was merely shining off of the smooth, cool metal.

After that moment of fear, Godric went back to thinking about how and when he should put his Child out of his misery. The ancient vampire had known of a few others that had been Bonded, and what had become of them when their mate was lost. It was a hopeless cause trying to prolong their existence much further past their other half’s demise. They became shells of the formidable creatures they had once been; a true walking corpse. They had all fallen upon their own swords shortly after, sometimes within the hour of the loss.

An ache. A deep pang of worry and despair rang through Godric’s body. The world without his Child did not feel like a world at all. It felt of mockery and dominance. As if the world decided that happiness was undeserved by them, the living dead….

{†}

It was the third day since Sookie had been taken that Eric began to rebel against his Maker’s command. All through the morning, Godric had strained and struggled with his Child to keep him from plunging a stake into his chest.

A fully healed Pam had taken it upon herself to clear a room in the estate free of any wooden objects, and even replaced the door with a thick steel one usually used in industrial warehouses. Eric was forcefully moved into that room, with its concrete floor, and cinderblock walls.

That very evening, Russell’s subordinates arrived to witness the Viking snarling and squirming on the ground where Godric had him pinned, but could do little more than keep him from leaving the room. Pam stood in the corner holding several steel rods in her tightly fisted hands.

As Godric restrained his Child, the other three vampires went to work using the rods to pierce Eric’s body and drive the bolts into the floor beneath him. Three feet into the ground, leaving enough metal free to curl around itself, even the other ancients in the room had difficulty stomaching the task they were performing.

One of their own, revered and respected Eric Northman was being crucified. His snarls and spitting made the dealings even worse as he cursed at them in his Nordic tongue, vowing their death and dismemberment once he was free.

Pam remained in her corner, face turned away from the scene before her. She could not bear to watch what was being done to her proud and beloved Maker. She feared each day as it passed, not wanting to see him become worse. Soon, she began to fear the passing hours, for they became as terrible as the days had once been.

By the seventh day, Eric had seemed to breach the point of despair. His only movement consisted of rubbing his silver ring against its neighboring finger, as if anticipating a burning that never came. She knew now, that he prayed that some sign of his Bonded’s death would finally let him have reason for his agony. To give him just cause for his decline. All he wanted anymore was a reason, a reason to stop fighting.

Every fiber of Eric’s being was straining against his bindings on the eighth day. He needed to be freed. He needed to be with Sookie. In the afterlife, in Elfyria, anywhere. He needed his blood, the blood that still ran. He needed the other part of his soul, the part that sang. He needed the other half of his heart, the half that could still beat.

Eyes snapping open, Eric strained against the posts that skewered him to the floor. He felt the tearing of his flesh, felt his hand release, but not the pain. Pain did not exist anywhere but in his broken spirit now.

When that part of his appendage was free, he rotated his wrist sharply, snapping the bone like a toothpick before ripping it from its station as well. Now he could bend his elbow, and it was little work pulling the barb from his shoulder and then all of the others in quick succession.

Blood flowed across the floor to the center drain of the room as he managed to crawl to his feet. Going towards the east facing wall, Eric placed his crimson flowing hand against the wall. Making broad, circular strokes, he painted the area red; his lips trembling in a low staccato:

“My blood, my soul, my heart. My blood, my soul, my heart. My blood, my soul, my heart. My blood, my soul, my heart,” Over and over as his eyes began to shimmer. As his blood continued to paint and drip, coat and stream away from his body, he continued, “My blood, my soul, my heart. My blood, my soul, my heart. My blood, my soul, my heart,” Until those shimmering eyes turned phosphorescent, and glowed with a cyan hue that illuminated his dark prison.

On to Chapter Twenty-Two