Chapter Eight: In This Place
After six months, Sookie still found herself listening for her son’s voice calling for her. She would be pouring over her records for the Gate, and suddenly stop, her ears perked, listening for a voice calling out to her. Seventeen years of Lukas’ voice calling to her were like phantom pains. She still heard her son needing help or advice. She still yearned to guide him, even though he was long past any need for her counsel.
Eric looked up from his laptop to see his Bonded’s neck craned as she looked over her shoulder for the boy who would not come. Today was harder for her than most. It was Lukas’ birthday. Smiling sadly, he closed the top of his computer and dropped it on the sofa. She was still looking away from him as he came to the desk and placed his strong hands over hers. She looked up and returned his melancholy grin.
Even with the knowledge that Lukas was well and doing profound work, it could not ease a mother’s heart, never knowing when she would see her son’s face.
“Sookie?” Eric’s smile became more joyous, “let us go for a drive.”
“A drive?” she frowned, looking at the high noon sun. Despite that Eric could go into the sunlight, he rarely ventured off their property to enjoy it. People sighting him were too probable, and he did not often take chances.
“Yes,” he nodded. “One hour?”
Nodding, curiosity growing in her, Sookie looked back to her reports while Eric left the room to make preparations for their outing. When the hour was past, she stacked her books neatly and placed them in the fireproof safe recessed in the wall.
“Are you ready to go?” Eric asked when he poked his head into the study.
“Yes. Whenever you are, Darlin’,” Sookie agreed as she went to their room to slip on a pair of shoes. Eric took her hand and lead her to the garage. Smiling while the large door opened, he pulled out into the warm sunlight.
They drove for some time before Sookie felt a vague sense of nostalgia creeping inside of her. Something about the journey seemed distantly familiar, and it was not until she saw the marker for the Gardens of the American Rose that she realized where it was he was taking her.
“Eric,” she whispered breathlessly.
“Yes?” was all he replied, feeling her recognition.
“We haven’t been here since you proposed.”
“Yes,” he agreed with a laugh while he pulled onto the exit, and began traveling the access road to their destination. He could feel Sookie’s anticipation growing in the Bond, and he took her hand, bringing it to his lips to plant soft kisses along her knuckles.
When they arrived at the gardens, Eric came around to Sookie’s door, opened it, and took her hand to assist her out of the car. She beamed up at him as they made their way to the tourist booth, and Eric signed in for their private viewing time. He glamoured the woman at the desk and she nodded with a politely blank expression while they proceeded to the grounds.
“Wow,” Sookie whispered. “This place has changed a lot….”
“It has been over twenty years since we were last here,” Eric reminded. “There are all manner of new hybrid roses that have been created since then.”
Sookie pointed to the large arbors with their cascading blooms and pulled him in their direction, “That’s where you proposed to me!”
Eric nodded with a large smile splitting his lips, “Yes, I remember lifting you to smell them. When I pulled you back into my arms, you were so focused on your love for me that I knew it was the perfect time to ask you to marry me.”
“And nearly six years later, you finally got the second ring on my finger,” Sookie teased when they were once more beneath the cascading petals.
“I enjoyed those six years,” He lifted her high above his head, so she could bury her noise in the heady aroma.
“Mmm, they smell better than I remembered,” Sookie sighed as she felt herself being lowered back to the ground. When her feet were firmly on the earth once more, Sookie pressed her cheek into Eric’s chest and whispered, “You still smell the best, though.”
“If we relive this moment much more, I fear we may invoke a fairy to pop in and ruin everything,” Eric murmured against her crown.
Sookie laughed, “Yeah, well, this time I have a better handle on my telekinesis.”
“True,” Eric agreed. “Does that mean it is within reason to make love to my wife in the sunlight, on the very lawn I made love to her after she became my fiancée?”
Sookie’s reply was to take his hands and place them on the hem of her dress. With a pleased smile, Eric lifted the garment while Sookie’s hands rose above her head. Throwing the dress aside, Eric made quick work of removing her bra and panties.
Shivering, Sookie confessed, “November is chillier than May.”
“I will warm you up,” Eric assured her, grasping her bottom and pulling her in close before dropping to his knees and laying them on the grass. His mouth rained kisses along her jaw to her throat, and his hands squeezed her bottom until they glided up her torso to clutch gently at her breasts. “Warming up?” he asked playfully, giving her nipples alternating tugs.
Sookie’s reply was a moan while her hips arched up to push against his, “Get naked with me, Darlin’. Even in November, the sun feels good on my skin.”
Eric growled in agreement as he pulled away to yank off his shirt and begin taking off his boots. Sookie’s hands slowly began to undo his pants to hurry their afternoon tryst along, but unsurprisingly, Eric batted her fingers away. He always liked doing things his own speed, and Sookie would not have wanted it any other way.
“Twenty-six years with me, and still not an ounce of patience!” Eric teased when he was finally naked and layering himself over her. “I have half the mind to take this even slower!”
Sookie whimpered and arched beneath him, “Don’t you dare.”
His reply was to shove his pants down and swiftly enter his wife, earning a pleased moan.
“Oh, yes!” she cried, wrapping her arms and legs around his body, and holding Eric close as he thrust passionately against her. “See? Sometimes impatience has its rewards!” she moaned as his tempo increased and her arms released him to clutch at the soft grass beneath her.
“Being inside of you is always a reward,” Eric rumbled as he held onto her tightly and pushed himself deeply. “Knowing you, loving you, being yours… They are all rewards I never deserved!”
Sookie moaned louder at his impassioned claims. Her back arched to force him deeper inside. Her legs flexed against his rear to push that much harder. “I love you, I love you!” she chanted as he clutched savagely at her breast. His thumb plucked at her nipple roughly, earning another frenzied cry as her hips twisted in delight.
“I love you, My Sookie,” Eric growled, nipping at her throat while his hand drifted from her breast, down her belly, and to the pleasure point above where they were joined. As she climaxed, his pace slowed, and his hips lulled gently while she pulsed around him. “I want to savor and enjoy you over and over, Sookie, here in the sunlight you have given me.”
As her breathing calmed, Sookie wrapped herself around him once more, letting his cock stoke the flames of her passion anew. She climbed slower this time, enjoying his lips against her skin, and his hand caressing her body. When her next orgasm coiled inside of her, she let out a resounding sob as she heard him groan and felt him fill her with his ardor, joining him in bliss.
While the pair lay in the sun, upon the sloping greens of the gardens, the soft ringing of a nearby wind chime filled their ears. Both smiled contentedly at each other until a blinding flash stole their vision.
Eric snarled, looking for a threat, anticipating a fairy once again encroaching on their intimacy. What he found was his son standing above them, looking mischievously amused.
“You are over seven hundred years old, Lukas! Yet, you still manage to interrupt me while I am inside of your mother!” Eric growled at his son.
Lukas laughed and shook his head before looking away to allow them the privacy to redress. When they stood before him, his mother flushed in embarrassment and his father scowling in annoyance, Lukas chuckled again, “Let’s go for a walk,” he suggested.
Rolling his eyes, Eric took Sookie’s hand in his and followed his son through the gardens.
“I did not arrive at this time to be a nuisance,” Lukas told them.
“Well, you are succeeding at what you did not intend,” Eric snapped.
“Happy Birthday, Baby,” Sookie interrupted her husband’s grumbling to smile warmly at her son.
Lukas blinked before laughing, “I did not realize! Thank you, Ma!”
“You are a manipulator of time and space, yet you forgot your own birthday?” Eric raised his eyebrows in amusement.
“Ironic, yes,” Lukas nodded bemusedly. “Actually, I came here over a very serious matter.”
His parents stopped in their tracks, “Divine Intervention?” they asked in unison.
Lukas shook his head, “If only.”
“What is it, Baby? You know we’ll help you any way we can,” Sookie encouraged.
Lukas turned to his father, his expression solemn, “Dad, do you know of Chronus?”
Eric stared a moment at his son before slowly saying, “The Titan. He was the originator of the bloodline that protected the Door of Time and Space. Technically, he is your relative.”
Lukas nodded, “Yes. He is also the sire of Oceanus, the one who actually resides in the Void of Time and Space. She is the wielder of the Time Key that opens the door to any time, in any dimension.”
Eric nodded, “Oceanus’ mother also bore a tribe of Cervine who were sworn to guard the Door in Elfyria, particularly to protect Oceanus from those who would do her harm.”
Lukas waved his hand to stop Eric from continuing, “Oceanus is in danger.”
“Who breached the Cervine!?” Eric demanded frantically.
Shaking his head, Lukas told him, “No one. It is Chronus. When he tried to take the Time Key from Oceanus, he was banished by the Pantheon to the depths of the Void. He has wandered there for millennia, searching for the Door, intent on thrusting it open, and releasing its mists onto all dimensions.”
“What does that mean?” Sookie asked breathlessly.
“No one knows for sure. The Doors have never been opened all the way, but it is believed by releasing the mists of the Void, all dimensions would become frozen for eternity. Chronus would rule over land upon land of statues. The King of all, and without mortal will and spirit keeping the Pantheon in existence, they would disappear. Forgotten by time and man,” Lukas whispered. “The other possibility is just as grim. The obliteration of all past, present, and future. A complete reset, or completely erased. As you can guess, no one really wants to know.”
“What could we possibly do?” Eric asked, a frown drawing across his face. “Only descendants of Chronus may enter the Void without being erased. You are not our biological child. Obviously we are not part of your bloodline.”
Lukas licked his lips, “No, but… The Void may be entered very briefly by those not of Chronus’ lineage.”
“How briefly?” Eric asked sharply.
“Thirty seconds,” his son replied.
Eric rolled his eyes, “Your mother and I are great warriors, Lukas, but an entire army of us could not destroy a Titan in thirty seconds!”
“How, pray tell, does one destroy a Titan?” Sookie asked in bafflement. “Aren’t they descendants of Gods? Hell, we couldn’t even stop Endymion from taking you!”
Lukas ran his hand through his hair, “I am about to tell you something that…frankly, is not something I should be telling you.”
Eric’s ears perked, “What is it, Lukas?”
Taking a deep breath, their son whispered, “There is a dimension where mother is a descendent of Chronus.”
“What?” Eric reeled.
“How!?” Sookie yelped.
Lukas grimaced before mumbling, “I used your mother’s father as a vessel, and Selene fused with her mother. Your mother was conceived during our…union… So, technically, in that dimension, you are umm… My granddaughter?” Sookie’s eyes widened further and further during her son’s explanation. “Not biologically, of course, but on a magical level… Yeah….”
“Oh My God,” Sookie groaned, her face going red. “Lukas! How could you!? That’s wrong on so many levels!”
“I had to!” Lukas protested. “It was part of my duty in Divine Intervention. It wasn’t incest. I was with Selene!”
“Selene who!?” Sookie demanded angrily.
“The Goddess of the Moon, Dear One,” Eric explained. “She is the lover of all Endymions.”
“Great, my son’s part of a harem!” Sookie shouted, making her husband laugh.
“Ma, the point is, there is a you that can remain in the Void without being erased from time!” Lukas told her desperately.
“Fat lotta good that does us. I’d still disappear.”
Lukas was shaking his head again and his mother wanted to shake him. “In another dimension you have the ability to grant perfect wishes.”
“Am I a fucking genie, too!?” Sookie growled.
“You are an angel,” Lukas explained. “An angel’s feathers grant perfect wishes.”
Sookie took a long, slow breath, “Lukas, what is it you want me to do?”
“In the dimension where you are part of my magical line, your power is immense. I mean, way more powerful than you are now. You are infused with the divine magic of a Goddess. You are a powerhouse. In the dimension where you are an angel, you have Living Immortality. You literally cannot be killed. I want you to fuse your spirits into one, so you can fight Chronus. End him once and for all, the way none of us ever could,” Lukas finished in a whisper.
“If Angel me and Powerhouse me have all that going for them, what do you need actual me for?” Sookie asked, a confused crease burrowing into the middle of her forehead.
Her son bowed his head, “You are the only one of the four with a warrior’s spirit.”
“Four? You’ve only mentioned three,” Eric pointed out.
Lukas cleared his throat uncomfortably, “Yes, the fourth is more advantageous than necessary. She is vampire, so you will have the speed you need to go all out. Also, she is very… Levelheaded?”
“Are you saying I’m a loose cannon?” Sookie raised her eyebrows.
“Maybe too over-confident?” Lukas offered in consolation, making his father laugh and nod in agreement. “I grew up watching you come home from the Gate with wounds you would not have sustained if you hadn’t been so impulsive and cocksure.”
Sookie grumbled to herself, knowing he was right, but too proud to admit it.
“Will I be assisting in any way?” Eric asked.
“Passively,” Lukas told him apologetically. “You see, other than being the same person, the Sookies of all four dimensions have something else in common. They’re all Bonded to you. That is the catalyst I need for them to be able to cooperate in a single body. Also, I need you to escort Ma to the door. Well, the Cervine will actually escort you both, but I can’t have Ma going into Elfyria without you because of the extreme separation sickness you would both succumb to instantaneously.”
“What about when I enter the Void?” Sookie asked worriedly.
“Time stops on the outside,” Lukas assured. “Dad won’t be affected, and the yous will only feel whatever emotion he was offering once you entered the Void. Dad, that’s why it’s very important that you give out the strongest emotion you possibly can. Love, confidence… Something positive. It has to be powerful though, because that’s what Ma’s gonna be fueling on during her fight.”
Sookie took another deep, calming breath, “You still haven’t told me how we kill a Titan.”
“Each one is different. Chronus feeds on the darkness of the Void. Imprisoning him there was a double-edged sword. It was the only place he could be contained. Oceanus tricks him into going deeper into the Void when he gets too close to the Door, but being kept there has made him stronger than ever. The only way to destroy him is with a source of light.”
“Great, I’ll pack some matches,” Sookie grumbled.
“Sookie,” Eric looked at his wife excitedly, “Fairy Light!”
His wife groaned, “I’m still terrible at that, Eric.”
“But the Sookie from my magical line has amazingly powerful Fairy Light!” Lukas told her. “Only… like I said, she isn’t a warrior. She’d never be able to unleash that kind of power, and you’ll still have to physically weaken him in a head-on battle, but focus the energy, and destroy him.”
Sookie glanced at her watch, “Lukas, you’ve been talkin’ with us almost an hour. You can’t stay much longer.”
“I know, I know, but I need to know if you’ll do it.”
Sookie’s expression softened, “You’re my son, and you’re asking me for help. Of course, I’ll do it.”
Lukas sighed in relief and handed his mother a piece of paper, “This is the exact time and date you need to enter Elfyria. It has instructions on what you are supposed to do when you arrive at the Door. The Cervine will take you to it. Two of them will be waiting for you in Elfyria.”
“I’ll see you again soon, Baby,” Sookie pulled her son into a hug, kissing his cheek. “Consider this your birthday present for the next fifty years.”
Lukas pulled away, grinning, “Thanks, Ma.”
Eric enveloped his son in his own embrace and mumbled in his ear, “I feel like your mother is constantly kicking more ass than I am.”