A couple of days after the interviews Sookie lay sprawled across Eric’s back as he rested on his stomach upon the floor. She was reading from a book aloud, tangling a strand of his hair between her fingers. His eyes remained closed, enjoying the steady rhythm of her voice and the gentle tug of his scalp. It was their first day without Pam in the house, the vampiress having finally moved into her own residence, and Eric was elated at finally being able to completely dissolve his hard exterior.
If only those who feared him could see him now, basking in the sunlight that flowed through the window, a beautiful woman strewn across his back as if he were her personal bear skin rug while cat like purrs rolled through his throat. Their image of the fearless Viking might have taken a hit if they were to witness this.
“Eric?” Sookie stopped reading suddenly.
“Hmm?” He grunted lazily.
She giggled at his distracted noise. “What are you thinkin’ about?”
“You,” he replied, rolling onto his back so suddenly, that Sookie flopped onto his stomach when he stopped moving, “and how proud I am of you.” He captured her chin and drew her lips to his own.
Sookie smiled her shy smile that she always wore when Eric complimented her. “You were worried for a moment. Is everythin’ okay?” she pressed.
Eric sighed and shook his head. “I was just wondering what my subordinates would think if they were to see me right now.”
“I know what they would think.” Sookie smirked.
“Oh?” Eric wrapped his arms around her. “What would they think?”
Sookie crossed her arms over her chest and rolled off of him to collapse onto her back and remained silent.
“Sookie?” Eric raised an eyebrow.
“They wouldn’t think anythin’! They’re dead for the day!” She giggled and Eric shook his head amusedly. “But if, somehow, they could see you right now? I think they’d just be awful envious that you get to never lose a moment of the world like them.”
“I think that you are right,” Eric agreed, turning onto his side to gaze at her more closely. One of his hands reached out to push a stray tendril of hair from her face as he watched her. “I want to leave the house.”
“Right now?” Sookie balked. Eric never left the house during the day.
“Yes.” Eric nodded, stroking her cheek still from when he had pushed her hair back. “There is something I wish to see with you.” He slid his hand down her throat, across her shoulder and along her arm until he had her hand in his. With a swift movement, they were both standing and Eric was leading her out the door.
“Where are we goin’?” Sookie asked as Eric opened the passenger door of his Corvette and eased Sookie into her seat.
“It is a surprise.” He smiled at her.
They drove in silence for quite a while before Sookie sighed in exasperation. “So “surprise” means silence now?” she whined, becoming bored.
Eric smirked. “We may talk. What did you wish to speak about?”
Sookie pouted, crossing her arms over her chest. “Nothin’ in particular.”
Taking one of her crossed arms, Eric tugged it away from her body until he could bring her hand to his lips and plant a kiss on it. “I promise that you will enjoy this.”
Letting out another frustrated, huff, Sookie calmed down and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. After a few minutes Sookie saw the city of Shreveport tapering away and she became more confused. Just where was Eric taking her?
“Did you see that sign, Lover?” Eric asked after a little while.
“What? Which one?” Sookie craned in her seat, so lost in thought that she had not noticed anything they had passed in the last few minutes.
“Do not worry. We are here.” Eric pointed just ahead of them.
“The Gardens of the American Rose Center,” Sookie read aloud, brow furrowing. “You brought me to look at flowers?” she asked as Eric pulled into a parking spot and came around to open her door.
“Yes. It closes well before sunset, and though I have flown over it many times, I knew that it was nothing like it would be during the day.” Eric took her hand as they strolled up to the visitors’ center.
“Good afternoon, Sir,” a staff member greeted them.
“Good afternoon. I believe my employer left you notice of what will be required today?” Eric asked, already in the midst of glamouring her as he spoke. “And when you think of me, you will remember a shorter, dark haired man.”
“Yes, Sir. Mr. Northman had very specific instructions. The gardens are all yours today.” She nodded curtly before accepting her dismissal.
“Your employer, Mr. Northman?” Sookie raised her eyebrows.
“With the Great Reveal closing in, I cannot risk others remembering me being out in the day, can I?” Eric asked.
“Yes, you make a point.” Sookie nodded, allowing Eric to lead her back outside and along the clearing. Sookie could see hundreds of rose bushes and thickets. She had never known there were so many different kinds! And in so many colors! “Wow! Look at this one!” She pointed to a rather exotic looking rose. “That’s a rose?” She ran in another direction to one that reminded her more of a daisy than a rose. “This too!?”
Eric smiled indulgently as he watched Sookie weave back and forth along the great expanse of the grounds, pointing and grinning. At one point, the girl came dashing back to Eric, taking his arm between her hands and tugging him to look at the flowers with her.
“You said you wanted to see it, and now you’re just draggin’ your feet!” she nagged. “C’mon!”
“Come on,” Eric corrected gently.
“Come on!” she replied in exasperation. This was no time for elocution lessons!
“Sookie, Lover, we have all day. There is no need to rush.” He laughed. “Always so eager. What do I tell you so often when we make love? You will get there, there is no reason to rush,” he murmured, using his free hand to cup her chin and gently pull it toward him for a kiss. “I will always be sure that you get what you want,” he whispered against her lips.
Capturing her bottom lip between her teeth as Eric pulled away, Sookie released one of her hands from his and they walked side by side through the gardens, fingers locked within each others’.
“Mmm, these smell really nice,” Sookie said, drawing closer to a series of arches with roses cascading down from above them. They were a creamy pink color, and Sookie tilted her head back to try and capture the scent. Eric lifted her at the waist so that her face was right next to the flowers. “Yes, very nice smelling,” she murmured as she slowly drifted back to the ground.
When she was in the shelter of Eric’s arms, Sookie snuggled her nose deeper into his chest. “You smell nicer, though,” she mumbled, enjoying the vibrations of Eric’s laugh against her cheek. She looked up to see the light that peaked through the rose vines shining in Eric’s golden hair. The sunlight on him seemed so natural to her, as if he was always meant to stand in it with her. “So beautiful,” she whispered, reaching up to stroke his cheek, her heart beating frantically against her ribs.
Eric shut his eyes. The Bond he shared with her had allowed Eric to feel her love for him grow, but he had never felt the complete saturation of it like he did now. Whatever was going on in Sookie’s head, she was entirely focused on how much she loved him.
“Sookie,” Eric began softly, “though we have spoken about it briefly, and you knew that this was coming, I did not want it to be so simple. When your friends ask you how this happened, I wanted you to have a beautiful story to tell.” His Bonded gazed at Eric curiously, then took a surprised step back when he fell to one knee. “My love and Bonded, will you do me the honor of someday becoming my wife?” He had a velvet box in his hand, but before his fingers could open it, Sookie’s arms were wrapped around his neck and she was sobbing into his neck.
“Yes! Of course I’ll marry you! You coulda jus’ slipped that on my finger any ol’ time!” She sniffled into his neck, squeezing him so tightly that he though, perhaps, she was trying to meld their body into one… That did not seem like such an unwanted possibility, though.
“Are you going to allow me to show you your ring?” He chuckled against her hair as she continued to hug him.
“Oh!” She leaned back, resting her bottom on her heels, wiping away stray tears as she held out her left hand shyly. Eric gave the briefest, amused shake of his head before opening the tiny box and taking out her ring. He slid the platinum band upon her finger and kissed it before allowing Sookie the opportunity to truly admire it. “Wow, it’s really heavy…” She had not been expecting that as she brought her hand up to see her engagement ring clearly.
The platinum band had three stones on it, a large, round diamond in the center and two pear shaped diamonds on either side. Sookie was not well acquainted with diamonds, but in comparison to the solitaire necklace Eric had bought her months back, she knew that the quality of these were much higher. The way the sunlight reflected through them… The shattered white and gray brilliance that danced all around them… The sturdy weight that her hand was quickly accommodating… Yes, Eric had definitely spared no expense on this ring.
“It’s so beautiful, Eric,” she murmured, captivated by the piece of jewelry. Her body leaned forward to press once more against his, and her lips sought out his mouth for a deep, loving kiss.
“I want to make love to you in the sunlight, Sookie,” Eric whispered against her lips, holding her body to his as he rose from his knees off of the ground. Sookie’s legs wrapped around Eric’s waist as he carried her to the middle of the gardens and into the sun drenched, green lawns.
“No one will bother us?” Sookie asked as Eric unzipped the back of her dress before laying her down on the grass.
“We will not be interrupted,” he agreed.
“What about the photographer you hired?” Sookie grunted as her dress was yanked off the remainder of the way.
Eric smirked. “I had wondered if you noticed… He may snap a few pictures of you in all of your glory for me to enjoy later, but he will be departing shortly to begin developing them so that they will be ready when we are prepared to leave.”
“How’d you get his mind all cloudy? He’s been barely noticeable this entire time.” She gasped as Eric tugged one of her nipples through her bra.
“He is under a heavy glamour, compliments of Pam. I will release him from it when he gives us the photos. Now,” he gripped her breasts firmly, making her gasp, “no more talking unless it is to beg, or call my name as you come.” Sookie moaned at his words, rocking her hips against his.
The rest of Sookie’s clothes were soon lying on her sundress off to the side of them, Eric’s shirt, socks and shoes joining them as he kissed and licked her body to his contentment.
“Oh! Eric, take off your pants. Wanna feel your cock rubbin’ all over me.” She licked her lips before biting down on the bottom one. Eric growled before undoing his belt and fly. Sookie used her feet to push his pants from his hips, her hand reaching between their bodies to stroke him. The vampire’s hips rocked in time with her strokes, his mouth busying itself with nibbling and sucking the juncture between her neck and shoulder as they moved together.
After taking his time to enjoy Sookie’s touch, Eric took hold of her wrists, bringing both of her hands to rest on either side of her head. Sookie moaned as he held her down gently, and she arched her back to press against him. Smiling at her action, Eric continued to rock his hips, rubbing his thick length against her mound and belly until his Bonded began to squirm impatiently. He could tell that she was enjoying this: the helplessness, the unresolved want. She knew that he enjoyed making her feel that way.
Without warning, Eric’s rubbing ceased, and he pulled back far enough to begin slipping into her liquid warmth. The woman moaned as she felt every ridge and plane of his shaft sink into her; her hips rolling gently to feel him strum against the front of her inner wall and shoot electricity all throughout her body. Her movements were just as pleasant to Eric, as the jolts her body experienced caused her to reflexively squeeze his cock.
Feeling her thighs begin to tremble, Eric slowed his pace further to keep her on the edge. “Do not come yet, Lover. Wait for me.” He kissed the shell of her ear, rocking gently until her shivers subsided.
“I-I can’t!” She gasped.
“Yes you can,” he encouraged, increasing his rhythm. “There is no need to rush, remember?” He nibbled her earlobe.
Sookie took a few calming breaths, focusing on just enjoying the sensations he gave her, rather than running towards her climax. Every time she could feel the precipice, her body would stiffen and ragged breaths would keep her from tumbling over the edge. Twice this happened before the climax was suddenly upon her again. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!” she chanted trying desperately to hold on. Thankfully, Eric chose that moment to snarl and bury his fangs into her throat as he began to climax as well. “THANK GOD!” she screamed as he filled her with his essence, drinking her blood in and growling low in his throat as her body became frantic beneath his own. Intense spasms caused Sookie’s body to crash into his his, her joints stiff and contorted as profane declarations of love and enjoyment tumbled from her lips.
What lasted only a few moments, but felt like an eternity, finally left Sookie boneless on the lawn. Eric remained laying on his side, adoring the dazed expression on his fiancée’s face as tiny tremors wracked her body occasionally. Sunlight bathed their bodies, and Eric could not remember seeing anything so beautiful in his entire existence.
Sookie’s left hand rose to touch Eric’s face, sending a spotlight dancing across her naked body from her ring. “How did I ever come to deserve you?” she asked quietly.
Eric smiled down at her, kissing Sookie softly. “I was just wondering the same thing about myself,” he admitted.
“I-” A distinct *POP* made Sookie flinch, and a split second later, Eric was being thrown away from her by a burst of light. “ERIC!” Sookie made to scramble for him, but whoever had sent Eric flying had grabbed Sookie by the wrist.
That moment of contact allowed a flood of thoughts to pour into the telepath’s head. Sookie found that it was not just from the touch, but that she was dragging them out of her attacker’s head. This in itself would have been painful for the young woman, but the action was of little consequence in comparison to the pain of seeing what she saw.
“OH GOD!” Sookie screamed in terror, pain and absolute disgust as she broke the hold he had momentarily maintained on her wrist. She thrust her hands forward and tried to use her under exercised telekinesis to push him away.
What happened instead was enough for Sookie to remain kneeling in shock as her attacker exploded, much like the glass of Godric’s china cabinet. She was dripping with the man’s blood… The fairy’s blood… Her grandfather’s blood.
A deep growl echoed behind Sookie. As she trembled and turned to see what damage her Bonded had sustained, she was relieved to see him getting up from the ground. “Eric-”
Before she could ask him if he was injured, her fiancé grabbed the back of her neck and pushed her face into the ground as his other hand raised her hips to shove his swollen cock deep into her pussy. “AH!” She cried, trying to squirm into a more comfortable position, but his hold was too tight. His tongue was licking away the blood of the fairy she had killed, his fangs biting her everywhere they could manage while he fucked her impatiently.
Gripping her hands into the lush grass beneath her fingers, Sookie realized that Eric’s complete abandonment from reality was due to the blood that covered her. She remembered what he had told her about fairy blood, and the effects that it had on vampires. Luckily, their earlier love making had left her at least moderately prepared for another round, and she was actually beginning to enjoy the impromptu session.
The frenzy did not continue for long, and Sookie could feel Eric beginning to orgasm. She hoped that afterwards, the remaining fairy blood would not send him into another lust fueled debauchery. It was dire that she told him what she had seen in Fintan’s head!
With a low roar, Eric’s body curled over her back and his hips spasmed several times as he finished. Sookie was finally able to relax her death grip that had torn out several clumps of grass. “Eric?” she asked carefully as he shook against her back.
“…” She felt Eric pull away from her as if he had been burned, then came the tidal wave from his end of the Bond as the lust was finally subdued. Sookie had never experienced her Bonded genuinely regret anything, but suddenly self-loathing was seeping into the Bond. Disgust, hate, disappointment, contempt. All of it directed at himself.
“Eric!” Sookie pushed as much love and understanding to him as she could manage, but it was practically hitting a wall. He refused to accept her forgiveness. “It was the blood, not you!” She scrambled up from the ground, reaching for him as he hastily began to dress. “Eric, c’mon, this wasn’t yer fault!” She grabbed his arm desperately. “Just, talk t’me, Darlin’!” she begged. “Ya gotta hear what happened-”
“I raped you. That is what happened,” Eric snarled, making Sookie freeze in her pleading. “You survived years of hell and managed to prevent yourself from being violated, and I… I-”
“Eric, Darlin’, ya didn’t do any such of a thing!” She wrapped her arms tightly around his waist, burrowing her face into his chest. “Please, Darlin’, calm down. Give yerself a moment. It’s gonna be okay,” she soothed gently. “Let me get my clothes back on… We’ll get away from this spot and talk, okay?” she murmured in the gentlest voice she could muster. Her need to explain what was going on with the Fae would have to wait. Eric needed this. For once, he needed her to reassure him. To make all of the bad thoughts go away.
Sookie dressed at a sedated pace. Her instincts were telling her that slow movements would be best, and she made certain to keep her emotions level. The slightest hint of discomfort, fear, or anxiety would merely confirm what Eric suspected no matter what thought they stemmed from. When she was clothed once more, Sookie took his hand, leading him to a small building that looked like a deep woods cottage. They sat on the ground, leaning against the building as Sookie stroked the back of Eric’s hand.
“Darlin’, no matter what, you could never rape me,” she said carefully. “I may not have expected you to do that at first, but I understood what was happenin’ to you. Once I realized that it was the fairy blood makin’ you act like that, I knew that you would calm down soon, and everythin’ would come back to normal. I understand that you’re proud, and that the weakness of bein’ so out of control hurts you, but we all have our moments of weakness… But you trusted me to keep you safe before, and I’ll continue to keep you safe even when it’s from your own thoughts.” She brought his hand to her mouth, planting gentle kisses on the back of it. “I know it will be a while before you can forgive yourself, but just remember, you never need to apologize to me for what happened.”
“You allow me to get away with too much,” Eric spoke quietly, his tone lacking a certain assurance it always had.
Sookie shrugged. “What do you want me to do? I can’t actually hate you.”
“But I don’t.” Sookie sighed. “Would it make you feel better if I punished you or somethin’? No, you’re punishin’ yourself enough for the both of us.” Eric continued to look out across the grounds, not daring to look at her. Sookie sighed. “Are you actually goin’ to punish yourself for havin’ rough sex with me? ‘Cause, honestly, I’ve hurt worse after our hours upon hours of one-hundred percent consensual sex. I’m not even bleedin’, Eric.”
“You were scared,” he ground out.
“Not of you.” Sookie was getting annoyed. “I was scared from what I saw in Fintan’s head! I wanted to tell you what I saw as soon as possible, but I’ve had to spend the last hour reassurin’ ya that I’m not mad at ya, and it’s startin’ t’get old!”
“Fintan?” Eric looked at her in surprise. He had never had an opportunity to see who the attacker was. One second he was enjoying post-coital pillow talk with his fiancée, and the next second he was being thrown across the lawn.
“Yeah, the fairy that knocked up my Gran… Twice. He touched me, and I just got… Well… A lot. He was so desperate to take me, Eric,” she murmured.
“Sookie,” Eric’s voice became stern and powerful, causing a wave of relief to course through Sookie that did not escape the vampire’s attention, “what did you see?”
“A lot,” she whispered back. “I think we should go home where I can concentrate, and call Pam over. I’ll open a link to Godric and the four of us need to start gettin’ some plans together. Eric… This is much bigger than we thought.”
Eric did not waste another moment. Taking Sookie by the hand, he pulled her up to stand once more and barely remembered to get all of the photographs and negatives from the man he had hired before glamouring any trace memories from his mind.
As Eric drove, Sookie looked through the photos absentmindedly. She smiled at them, but paused when she found one where Eric had lifted her up to smell the cascading roses. Suddenly, sorrow enveloped the telepath. It had been such a wonderful day. Her first real day with Eric that was not confined in a residence or shared with Pam or Godric, and her late grandfather had ruined it in so many ways. Not only by interrupting them, but by sending Eric into a lustful frenzy and causing him the shame of believing that he had violated his Bonded.
“Sookie?” He could feel her sadness, and it caused him anxiety. He feared that the full extent of his actions were finally affecting her. He feared that she would begin hating him at any moment.
“I’m so mad.” She sniffled, brushing away a stray tear. “He ruined everythin’. After all the trouble you went through to make today perfect-”
“Shh, Lover, it was still perfect. We will just remember it ending after we made love, yes?” He took her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze before kissing the back of it. “The only evidence of today, is that we became engaged.”
“And the big circle of blood and body parts formerly known as Fintan Brigant,” Sookie grumbled.
“How exactly did you do that?” Eric asked.
“I was tryin’ to use my telekinesis to push him away. I didn’t have enough concentration though, and I pushed him in too many different directions at once with too much force. He just… Tore apart….” Sookie shivered at what she had done. “I did that in the dinin’ room back at Godric’s house… I don’t know why only the glass stuff blew up and not a buncha stuff, though. I’m just glad I didn’t hurt you or Godric when I did that.” The thought that she could have dismembered Godric or Eric sent another shiver down Sookie’s spine.
Eric nodded at her explanation. Despite the frightening notion that his Bonded could rip someone apart in an instant, it was more comforting than disquieting. He knew that she would never use that power on him or his bloodline, and that was all of the reassurance he needed. Knowing that she would never harm them is what made him feel elated that a fairy could not take her from them. She would take them apart before they could.
“It takes much less energy to break single pane glass or crystal than it does to rip apart flesh. You were surprised that day when you found out about your brother. You also broke the lamp, another delicate material to be around you when you were stressed. You were putting out energy with the thought of wanting to push something away. A memory, an emotion. That energy was strong enough to push the molecules of the glass and crystal away from each other and cause them to explode,” Eric explained to her. “However, you feared more than just an emotion when Fintan was coming at you. You did not wish to push something within you away, you wished to push him away. Yes, the connection to your telekinesis is beginning to make more sense. Even though you understood how to use your power, you have to admit, the random explosions were rather difficult to determine the connections.”
Sookie smiled as Eric began contemplating her newest gift. She was glad that he was calming down after the incident. In her months with him, Sookie had never seen nor felt Eric be unsure of himself. It was as if her center were crumbling to feel her source of strength so distrusting of himself. Now, he was back in command of himself, self-assured and ready to take action!
“Sookie,” Eric pulled the telepath out of her contemplation, “contact Pam and have her meet us at our home.”
Sookie was already on his orders before he could finish the thought, “Pam.”
“I bloody hate it when you do that…” Pam’s inner voice resounded in Sookie’s skull. Just as Sookie had found that Godric and Eric had a habit of accidentally thinking in their native tongues, Pam’s accent returned to an English one when they spoke telepathically. It was a source of amusement and confusion for Sookie, especially when Eric thought in Old Norse by accident; usually it was Swedish. Of course, none of them noticed when they did this unless Sookie pointed it out to them. “What do you want, Sookie?”
“There’s been an incident. Come to Eric’s place ASAP,” Sookie answered.
“I will be there shortly.”
Sookie looked at Eric. “Pam is on her way.”
“Good.” Eric nodded approvingly.
“JESUS CHRIST!” Sookie jolted. “God damn it, Godric!” She gave an apologetic blanch to Eric. “Godric.” He nodded, relaxing once more. “I wish there was an advanced warnin’ system before y’all just started talkin’ in here.”
“My apologies, Little Sookie. Might I inquire what is going on with my Child? He had me very worried for a moment,” Godric explained.
Sookie let out a sigh. “Run in with a Fairy. We’re actually gonna have a meetin’ over it once we get secure.”
“A fairy got on Eric’s property?”
“No… Eric took me out to a big rose garden place to propose. We got jumped there,” Sookie explained.
“Look, just wait ’til we’re back to the house, and we’ll do this there. I’m gonna have to link four minds, and as easy as that sounds to you, it’s kinda drainin’.”
“Of course. I will await your contact.”
Letting out a long sigh, Sookie looked to Eric. “Any reason we’re doin’ all this in our-”
“Quiet,” Eric snapped. “From this point on, I will take nothing for granted. Fintan tried to grab you when he did because you were away from my residence during the day. That means he is keeping tabs on your locations. I do not know if this is just through his blood connection with you, or if he had my residence bugged while we were out at night. Either way, I cannot trust that anywhere is safe to speak. Luckily, since shortly after the point that I spoke to Niall, we have not spoken about your gifts aloud. It will stay that way.”
Sookie nodded in understanding. The thought of someone listening in on them was upsetting in itself, but the thought of them listening to her intimate moments was down right annoying! Though neither her nor Eric cared about being seen while they were having sex, what happened in Eric’s home was so much more than about pleasure to her. There was a sense of security and safety that was tied into their love making under his roof. Sookie could not count on her hands the amount of times Eric had comforted her with his body and emotional presence when they made love, taking away the bad memories, attaching something good to them; making them bearable at last.
“Sookie?” Eric could feel her saddening beside him.
“I feel so frustrated right now.” She let out a sniffle. “I feel like our privacy’s been completely intruded upon.”
Eric took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Do not worry, My Sookie. We will be fine. I will fix everything,” he promised her. “Do you know if he was aware of my presence?”
Sookie thought hard for a moment. “No, I don’t recall him realizin’ you were there. Don’t know how he figured I’d be layin’ naked in a field without you, but he just seemed to blast whoever it was I was with. I don’t think he knew it was you. He would’ve just killed you if he knew it was you. He wanted you dead.”
“It is unlikely that our home has been compromised then.” She could feel his relief, or maybe it was her own. “Otherwise, he would have been aware of our bloodline’s ability to walk about in the daytime. That knowledge seems to remain secret.”
Sookie let out a relieved sigh now. “Why are we still talkin’ in our heads then?”
“Any time we discuss our ability to walk about in the day, or any of your gifts, we will speak telepathically. I will not take chances, especially since the Fae have made a move on you. I had hoped that my talk with Niall would deter any attempts on you, but it seems that it has not.” Eric pulled into the driveway of his residence, letting Sookie out while he parked in the garage. Pam’s minivan was on the other side of the driveway and she was opening the front door for them when they walked up the two steps to the doorway. As Sookie, still covered in Fintan’s dry blood, approached, the telepath witnessed Pam’s pupils dilate, as well as heard the distinctive “snick” of her fangs appearing. That was the only response the vampiress made in regards to Sookie being covered in blood, and it made the young woman wonder why only Eric had lost control.
“Are we on telepathic lockdown?” Pam asked Sookie and the girl nodded. The vampiress made a grunting noise, liking full conversations in her head as much as Sookie. “Let’s get this nightmare over with.”
“Let’s go to the livin’ room so I can get comfortable before we start.” Sookie sighed, making a pitstop in the kitchen for a glass of water, “Everyone ready?” she asked as she made herself comfortable on the couch. “Godric, are you ready?”
“Yes.” Sookie blanked her mind, creating mental pathways to flow incoming thoughts and other pathways for outgoing thoughts. It was strangely easy for her at first, but she knew it was only a matter of time before the fatigue set in.
“Eric and I were attacked by Fintan Brigant this afternoon. Fintan pushed Eric away with some kind of light attack and then went to take me,” Sookie began the tale. “When he touched me, though, I got a whole bunch of his thoughts. Queen Sophie-Anne is in danger. After the last Fairy/ Vampire war, Sophie-Anne wants nothin’ to do with the Fae, but she controls the State with one of the last Fairy Realm portals, as well as the control of many well respected vampire warriors. Niall offered André a bribe. He would make André King of Louisiana if he gave assistance to the Brigant clan in Elfyria. As a form of bindin’ the contract, once Queen Sophie-Anne was assassinated, Niall would allow André to take me as his Queen and form an alliance between the Fae and Vampires.” Sookie finished her explanation and the other vampires sat silent for a moment.
“The civil war in Elfyria must be getting pretty fucking desperate if the Prince is trying to recruit vampire assistance,” Pam finally spoke.
“Sookie, was this all of the information, or all of the information you could get before you accidentally blew him up?” Eric asked.
“What?” Godric was surprised.
“Think of your china cabinet, but with Fintan pieces instead of shards of glass,” Eric supplied.
“Excellent.” Pam was grinning with dark amusement.
“That’s all I got before blowin’ him up. I’m sorry. I would’ve held on longer, but… The way he wanted to give me to André… I just.” Images of what Sookie had seen in the mind of the monster Bartlett had wanted to sell her to flashed through all of their minds. Mortified at what she had accidentally shown them, Sookie broke the connection and ran to Eric’s day chamber. She only lay upon the bed a moment before a soft clicking of the door releasing once more, and then a heavy weight dipped the bed as Eric slid up behind her, “I didn’t mean t’ show ya that,” she choked out.
“I know,” he kissed her shoulder, “but you did, and now you are hiding away in our bedroom when you should be wrapped up in my arms where I can comfort you.” Sookie let out a sob and turned onto her other side to face him. Her tentative arms reached to wrap about his neck, her pouty lip quivering as many tears flooded her eyes.
“It’s so stupid.” She hiccuped into his chest. “He can’t touch me, neither of ’em can, and I’m still so scared…” Sookie took in a shuddering breath. “When will it stop scarin’ me? When will that time not be the first thing I think of?”
Petting her hair carefully, Eric thought a moment. “I do not know, but every time you become scared because of it, remind yourself that no one will ever take you from me. Not just because I would kill them for trying, but because you are more than capable of defending yourself. You liquified a fairy. That alone is reassurance that you are not an easy target.”
“André can’t take me, though?” Sookie asked meekly.
“Never,” he assured, still stroking her golden hair. “You are my Bonded, your blood relatives cannot even take you from me unless you reject our Bond.”
“Why did Fintan think he could take me then?” Sookie asked.
“Since it was daytime, he probably figured that he could take you away and try and change your mind about me.”
Sookie snorted. “Like that could ever happen.”
“I am not the kindest creature in existence, Sookie. Fintan and Niall are more than aware of my past indiscretions,” he told her.
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” Sookie asked quietly.
Eric was thoughtful. “I suppose it is all a question of morals. What some might consider unthinkable, is rather common place to others. I believe a shorter list would be: what are the horrible things I have not done.”
“Okay, what haven’t you done?” Sookie asked.
Eric groaned at himself for opening this line a questions. “I had never taken someone without their consent-”
“ERIC!” Sookie actually scolded him for his use of the past tense, and he could feel her annoyance through the Bond. “What did I tell you all day!?” she demanded.
Eric smiled at her. She would never allow him to take responsibility for his attack upon her.
“It wasn’t nonconsensual! Did I ask you once to stop?” she snapped. “Do I need to get Godric involved in this?” she threatened when she did not feel him giving in to her acceptance.
Eric growled. “Are you threatening me?” he demanded.
“Yes!” she growled right back. “You don’t punish yourself! You’re rational, and you don’t wallow. So, somethin’ else has to be up. Now, tell me what this whole thing is really about, or I’m pagin’ Godric.”
There was silence for a long moment, and just as Sookie’s patience was dwindling, Eric spoke. “Even as a fledgling, I was not impulsive. Godric stated on many occasions how little I reacted on my emotions, which is very uncommon for a newborn vampire. I have been covered in fairy blood, and consumed it many times before; especially during the Vampire/Fae wars.” He was quiet for another long period before continuing, “The way I lost control today… That has never happened. Why would that happen? And with you of all people? The only creature I have ever wanted to never lose control around. I never wanted to be the source of your fear, ever.” Nuzzling his face against her hair, he moaned sadly. “I know you have told me that you were only scared by what you had seen in Fintan’s head… That it had nothing to do with what I was doing to you, but I could feel it. I was not aware of what the origin of your terror was, and the fact that you were scared and I could not stop myself- even when I believed that you were frightened of me…” He held her tighter to himself. “That is what terrifies me. That there is something that could keep me from putting your safety above all else.” He was kissing the side of her head repeatedly. “That I could hurt you, and not even care. Does that mean that I do not love you? Have I been mistaken this whole time? If I can not stop myself from violating you, how can I say that I love you? How can you believe that I ever did?” A bloody tear formed in his vibrant eyes at this reality shattering inquiry. It rolled across the the bridge of his nose and down his other cheek to stain the pillow beneath his head while marking the path of future tears.
Sookie stroked a few strands of Eric’s bright hair, slowly, with care. He could see the contemplation in her eyes, feel the curiosity swirling inside of her. Finally, after torturous moments, that wonder changed to acceptance, and a smile alighted her lips and wide, orb-like eyes. “I can’t say that I have an answer to any of that, Darlin’,” she told him, but her smile was still big and innocent. “Maybe you lost control ’cause there was nothin’ left for you to worry about. Maybe you lost control with me, ’cause you could. I don’t know that this is proof that you don’t or never loved me, but maybe it’s proof that you do? You lost control. You lost your head and didn’t care about the consequences in that moment because you really love me, and know I love and accept you back. It was okay for some wild part of you to let loose because that part knew that it was safe, that I would never reject you, and that I would protect you in that moment of vulnerability.” She curled that strand of long, soft hair around her fingertip and gave it a gentle tug to encourage his lips to hers. After a short, soothing kiss, she finished, “Now my Sheriff’s back, and that brain of his is questionin’ and complicatin’ everythin’. You finally got to feel what it’s like to be wild, and your head just doesn’t know how to accept that, does it?”
“I have been in the throes of bloodlust many times, Lover,” Eric insisted.
“But never let your emotions rule you, right?” She pushed right back at him. “You already said that Godric was impressed at just how little you reacted to your feelin’s.” Sookie gave him another reassuring kiss. “You almost never act on a gut instinct, you always got to weigh every option first.”
Eric smirked. “Not since I met you,” he told her.
“You taught me how to use my head, and I’m teachin’ you how to follow your gut. Fair trade off?” she asked.
“Yes. A fair trade off, indeed.” Eric kissed the top of her head once more, taking her left hand in his to bring her engagement ring to his lips as well. “If I had hurt you…-”
“Eric,” she took his chin into her fingertips and drew him in for a kiss, “I would have pushed you away, but I’ll never push you away.” He nodded, pressing his forehead to hers. He opened his eyes when he felt a drop of moisture drip onto his hand. “You won’t let anyone take me from you, right?”
Eric smiled. “Never,” he promised.
“Eric,” Sookie’s eyes went big for a second. “Eric, if Fintan’s my grandpa, and Niall is his dad… You said Niall was a Prince?”
“Yes.” Even Eric’s “head voice” sounded hesitant, careful.
“And you’ve said… That I am royalty too.”
“You are, although, whether you can take the throne or not is questionable due to your heritage. You would probably only succeed the throne if you were the only living member of the Brigant family, as well as able to take on the Water Fae Clan. Seeing as they do not approve of hybrids… At all… It would be my political opinion that you abdicate your throne. However, I have my doubts that this would-”
“But other than an alliance, why marry me to a vampire? I’m not immortal, right? And it’s not like we could’ve made babies to take the thrones, so what’s the point of that kind’ve marriage?”
“The point, is unclear. There would be benefits, but, honestly, not many. The marriage would be more of a fringe benefit rather than a purpose. Aside for aid in the war, Niall or Fintan might have wished you to be under André’s protection against any fae threats. But André could do with you as he liked. Treated you any way he wished- so long as you were not killed.” Sookie could feel a slight vibration to Eric’s thoughts, as if he were grasping desperately at his brain not to show her exactly what he believed André would use Sookie for.
“So, all they ever cared about was me stayin’ alive, not whether it was a life worth livin’?” Sookie asked sadly.
“So it would seem,” Eric whispered, not trusting his thoughts not to betray him.
“Eric,” Sookie asked quietly, “can I give Jason a call?”
“Of course.” Eric nodded, needing a moment to himself as well. “May I ask you why you wish to speak to him so suddenly?”
Sookie shrugged. “Weird human thing, I guess. He’s the only family member I got left that hasn’t tried to sell me. Kinda just want that comfort for a moment.” Eric nodded at her and left the room to wash his face. When he was gone, Sookie wiped away a stray tear and picked up the phone on her bedside table, dialing her brother’s number.
“Hey, Jason, it’s Sookie.”
“Hey, Little Sis, what’s up?” Jason sounded delighted to hear from her, which made the young girl feel warm inside.
“I was wonderin’ if there was any chance we could get together tonight?” she asked gently.
“Somethin’ up? Are you okay? Did your boyfriend do somethin’ to ya?” Jason demanded in quick succession.
“Yes, somethin’s up. I guess I’m okay. No, Eric didn’t do anythin’ to me,” she answered in the same order he had asked. “It has to do with when we were kids… Well, more to do with when I went to live with Gran… I need your permission to listen to your thoughts and memories about what happened. I met someone earlier today that is makin’ me a bit confused about the past,” she explained. “I need your memories to make sense of them.”
“Anythin’ for you, Sooks,” Jason answered. “Your man gonna be there?”
“Yes… He proposed to me today,” she told him shyly.
“That’s… Woah. Congratulations, Sis! That had to have been a nice birthday surprise!”
“Oh! It’s my birthday!?” she asked in surprise.
Jason laughed. “Ya didn’t realize?”
“No, I should have, though. Eric said he wanted to ask me to marry him when I turned 18.” She rolled her eyes. “Should’ve known he’d do it on the day.”
Her brother gave another laugh, but she could tell it was a bit hollow. She asked him why. “Guess I just thought he’d ask me if it was okay is all. I mean, I am your older brother and your only relative left… Well, sorta. Linda would be the oldest one, but her and Hadley don’t give a shit ’bout us.”
“Why would he ask you?” Sookie was curious.
“Just somethin’ guys do. Yer s’pose to ask your girl’s dad if you can marry their daughter. A lot of the time, if they don’t gotta dad, you ask the next of Kin. Mother, siblin’, somethin’ like that,” Jason explained to her.
“Oh, well, to be fair, Jason. He just met you a little bit ago. Heck, I practically just met you less than a week or so ago!” She laughed. “I think it woulda been awkward for all of us if he had.”
“Guess you’re right. So, when do you want to get together tonight?”
Sookie paused for a second and called out to Eric in her mind. “Eric, can we see my brother tonight?”
“You sounded as though you were already planning to,” Eric answered her.
“Do not be. I think it is a fine idea. Tell him we will meet him in Bon Temps at nine, and ask if there is a place to eat.”
“Jason, can we meet at 9?”
“Sure, sounds good to me. Where?”
“Know any places in Bon Temps?”
“There’s a new bar and grill called Merlotte’s just opened. New comer in town, so it ain’t gotta good rep. Y’know how small towns are…” Sookie heard Jason scowl and swear at himself. “I’m sorry, Sooks. Ya don’t really know how small towns are, of course ya don’t.”
Sookie laughed. “Don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s a bunch of stuff I don’t really “get” yet, but I only start gettin’ them if I do them, right?”
Jason laughed as well. “Yeah, that’s right. Well, I’ll see you tonight.”
“See you tonight, Jason.” She waited and listened to her brother hang up before disengaging the phone and going to find Eric. He was sitting on the couch in the den. “You could hear my conversation?”
“Of course. I also heard you and Angie discussing our sex life the other afternoon.” Sookie’s face went pale. “I am not angry, Lover. You should know, I can hear everything that happens in this house.”
“I’m not used to you bein’ awake durin’ the day,” she finally admitted, obviously chagrinned.
Eric laughed. “Do you normally tell Angie about our sex life?” he asked.
Sookie shrugged. “It just came up once, and it was a topic I wasn’t worried about talkin’ about. It was nice to have somethin’ to talk about that I wasn’t worried about bein’ judged.”
Eric chuckled a bit. “Most humans are more embarrassed to talk about their sexual experiences than other topics.”
Biting her lip self-consciously, Sookie asked, “Why did you want to go to Bon Temps?”
Eric smiled. “To show that miserable little town what it overlooked.”
Sookie’s jaw dropped. “Bu-but, I’m not… I can’t… I’m still-”
“You have made leaps and bounds in your education, Sookie. You are reading with great ease, and you are definitely nearing an acceptable level of education for your age. I think that it is more than time for you to start actively socializing,” Eric told her. “All you must remind yourself of is this: no one knows everything. So, do not be shy to ask questions, and you can always ask me if you wish to.” He tapped his temple.
Sookie giggled. “It’s good to hear you say that no one knows everythin’.” Eric’s face turned very serious, and she could feel hesitation in the Bond. “What?” she asked him telepathically.
“Sookie, tonight might be a prime opportunity to take one less rat out of this cat and mouse game we have been playing. I hesitate to ask this of you, but I believe in your abilities and choices.” Eric was still reluctant in explaining his plan.
“Eric, just ask,” she prodded gently.
“I believe that you should meet with your brother alone. Aside from assuring him that you are willing and able to function by yourself, it will make you appear vulnerable.”
“You think my brother-”
“No, if I had misgivings about him, I would not even suggest this next point in our chess match. The point of him seeing you without me is for your brother’s benefit. No, the vulnerability is so that Compton will try and make his move. The only vampires in Louisiana that know that I have Bonded are myself and Pam. However, your scent alerts other vampires that you are a Bonded human. If Compton falls into our net, and disregards the fact that you are Bonded and still tries to take you; I am at liberty to kill him,” Eric explained to her.
“How will Compton even know that I’m there?”
“He resides in that town, in his old family home. Coincidentally, it is only a graveyard away from your grandmother’s former home as well. I would not be surprised if he has been snooping around that old farm house looking for information about you. Since it is currently not lived in, and not called home by any he is free to move about it. Needless to say, since it is a small town, I am certain your brother will share his plans with one of his friends and the news will reach Compton’s ears.”
“How far away are you goin’ to be while this is goin’ down?” Sookie asked carefully.
“Not far. And you can keep me directly involved telepathically,” Eric assured her.
“You want to do this?”
“No, but I would be a fool to pass up such an opportunity. You see, it will not be unreasonable for me to torture him first. That is the opening I truly need. Therefor, Sookie, no matter what you must not blow him up.” Sookie nodded firmly. “Compton is weak, and I should be able to get much more information out of him.”
Eric smiled, stroking her cheek. “I know that you do. Now come closer, I want to feed you my blood so that you are strong and smell entirely of me this evening.” Eric opened his arms to Sookie, and she crawled, happily, into his lap.