“We were not bonded at the time,” he contested softening his tone as Sookie fell to sleep in his arms.
“Not by blood,” Dr Ludwig remarked as she continued to perform the perfunctory tests. “She has shared her light with you. That is reserved only for family. You are considered hers now by the light. It was only natural that the vampire in you demanded an equal footing. Got quite the will to keep you at bay this little one.”
“Only Royal Fae possess the ability to bind by light,” Eric spoke condescendingly in a heated whisper as if the doctor lacked the proper knowledge.
“Tell me something I don’t know Viking,” she bit back to which he could only glare as he motioned pointedly at the sleeping faeling that rested on his chest urging the doctor to speak at a lower volume.
“It is true Eric,” Godric spoke in the whisper that he required of them. “She is a Brigant.”
Dr Ludwig finished up with all the in what was in her opinion completely unnecessary tests, she packed in her makeshift practice and gave Eric the necessary instructions for his newly bonded’s wellbeing in as low as a voice she possessed. He covered Sookie under her cashmere blanket placing a soft kiss on her forehead before guiding everyone out of the house as protective instincts kicked in.
“Anything important I should know,” he asked the doctor.
“This is unchartered territory. You’ll have to wait a while for the ‘So you’ve bonded to a Royal Fae’ pamphlet,” she snarked. “You might not tolerate feeding from others, but it’s a suspicion nothing more. Expect her family to come knocking on your door soon those lightshows tend to send them rushing over.”
“You’re dismissed,” Eric replied, as it seemed she had nothing more to share where his maker had clearly been holding back information from him. The doctor departed leaving the three vampires to speak on the dewy lawn.
“Eric what were you thinking?” Godric demanded as soon as the small healer was out of earshot.
“What was I thinking?” he retorted with anger. “What happened in there, was an unfortunate string of events. How could you not mention this when I asked of her heritage?”
“I had my reasons,” his maker countered. “I will contact her kin before they show up unannounced.”
“No!” Eric spoke fiercely in a tone he never dared carry for his maker before. “You will explain to me why you neglected to tell me the most important thing about her.”
“Very well,” Godric sighed. “It goes without saying you two shall not disclose this to anyone. As it stands that includes Sookie.”
“She has insight into our bond,” his child noted. “I don’t know how, but I cannot lie to her.”
“If she asks directly you may answer,” Godric acquiesced. “But you are not to volunteer this information.” With a nod from Eric he continued, “The Brigants have gone through great lengths to hide her. Adele’s Bed and Breakfast was a mere cover for those they have recruited to pledge their loyalty to the princess and see to her security. Did you not question the elite clientele that visited her?”
“Why hide it from her?” Pam enquired.
“She’s a spare heir,” he answered. “Not even full blooded at that. However, the fae do not reproduce as well as they should and the pool of direct successors has thinned in their conflicts. It was deemed safer. It was her grandfather’s dying wish that she remained unburdened unless it was necessary for her to ascend the throne.”
“Why has she been left unguarded these past few years?”
“That is down to Sookie I am afraid,” Godric mused with slight amusement. “When Adele suddenly passed we were ill prepared for the consequences. She shut everyone out, we had to see to her protection otherwise.”
“Wards were initiated,” Eric deduced remembering what Sookie had told him kept her safe from Bill Comtpon’s team of questionable friends throughout the town of Bon Temps. “This was your objection to her staying here, that she was out of that circle of protection?”
“Correct, my child.” With that the resentment towards his maker lifted slightly. “Niall Brigant finally agreed for your ridiculous little arrangement to continue when he heard of it from me. He thinks hiding her in plain sight beside you is probably a better strategy than just the wards we have now. You were set to be recruited to the Guild on your last birthday had Adele not died.”
“Ludwig?” Eric suddenly probed with the realisation that Sookie’s identity was revealed to her too.
“She is part of the Guild as well,” Godric acknowledged. “Ludwig will attest it was she that initiated the forming of your bonds unknowingly. No blame will come to you.”
“Why would vampires of your stature align yourself with the fae?” Pam questioned of their natural enemies.
“We have our reasons,” he responded vaguely. “Only those that are recruited to the Guild are privy to that information and unfortunately you lack the centuries of age for that Pamela.”
“Am I just doomed to be excluded from everything Sookie,” she grumbled discontentedly.
“You are for this night,” Eric replied. “Pam, find your grand sire a place to rest. The sun will be up soon, we will converse more of this tomorrow. Give Sookie and I some time to speak of tonight’s events before you arrive.”
“Yes master,” Pam answered sullenly. “I wish to apologize to you and Sookie.”
He pulled her into an embrace and kissed her baldhead. With pity for his progeny he grabbed at the few limp and loose strands. It was quite disconcerting to him and only added to the strange events of the night. “You acted to protect your mistress,” he said softly flooding their bond with affection. “Admirable as that may be it will be for her to forgive you for the outcome of your intervention.”
She nodded in acceptance before motioning Godric to follow her into her car. Eric entered back into the house and he watched Sookie deep in slumber on the couch. Pausing to marvel at the strange creature he had come across by happenstance that hid so much from him unwittingly. He sped down to the bedroom and his nose sang with delight at the perfume that lingered there. A mental note was made to get the artisans who concocted his ocean scented products to reproduce this as well.
He gathered up the torn and bloodied sheets, placing them in a sealed bag with no intention to get rid of them. At the sight of the dried up blood staining the mattress he flipped it over before recovering everything with fresh sheets. He wrote an extensive note and placed it with the tonics Dr Ludwig left behind on what he now considered her bedside table. She was his now to protect and he set to that task as seriously as she had taken to hers.
Sookie stirred a little as he placed her back in his bed. “Is there something wrong with me?” she asked drowsily.
“No, my sweet. You’re perfect,” he said with a soft kiss to the tip of her nose. He slipped in beside her, covering them both under the heavy duvet. “We’ll speak of it all tomorrow. We need our rest.”
She snuggled into his bare chest and quickly fell to sleep again. Despite the sun’s rise being some time away, Eric too fell into his day rest as exhaustion overtook him for the first time in many centuries.
Eric was awoken by Sookie’s hunger even though she was still fast asleep and the sun was yet to set. He started preparing her some foods from the small downstairs kitchen where she housed some food items that she ate during her usual appointments with Godric in his office. Eric loaded up a tray full of foods he had often seen Sookie enjoy unsure to what exactly she would desire now and deciding on a plethora instead.
With only a microwave to cook he sought out the cold items knowing Sookie did not enjoy her foods prepared in there. He chopped up the pieces of fruit just like he had seen her do, although he did note quite smugly that his knife skills were far more superior. The items were fanned out on the plate and he put down an assortment of cutlery beside it.
When he set down the pot of hot tea he threw out the slices of apple with annoyance. Eric grumbled about rotten apples finally understanding the much carried expression as he sliced another one when he felt Sookie slowly wake. He was by her side in an instant holding out the tray to her in offering.
“You didn’t have to make me breakfast,” she said sleepily to his expectant eyes.
“I felt your hunger,” Eric informed while urging her to sit up. “Fucking apples,” he growled out but she stopped him from yanking the plate away when she saw the cause of his objection.
“It’s ok,” she explained. “It’s normal they oxidise when exposed to the air after cutting them. You can still eat it.”
“Can I feed you?” he requested as she placed the napkin in her lap.
“Eric I’m perfectly capable of feeding myself,” she dismissed.
“I know,” Eric smiled as he brushed a strand of her hair behind the ears. “It is something I have seen human couples do. It seems nice.”
She gave him a questioning glare, “Eric we’re not a couple. You realise that right?”
“Of course my sweet,” he said with a huge grin on his face, thankful that she so easily recognised the importance of their shared blood. “We’re so much more.”
“Sweetie no,” she said softly shaking her head proclaiming the opposite. “Last night,” Sookie started with a small sigh. “Don’t get me wrong it was amazing. But it was just a reaction to the blood exchange. We’re as much of a fraudulent pretence of a couple as before.”
“Do not lie to me,” he seethed. “I can feel you. I can feel your attraction to me, your feelings.” He wasn’t lying either but he now knew the severity of keeping her beside him, of keeping her safe.
“I’m not lying Eric,” she replied with a sympathetic tone. “Yes, you’re extremely attractive. I regard you with warmth but there is no love between us.” He quieted with the word that had left him confounded about her on so many occasions. It all came down to that with her. Love. For a thousand years it had eluded him but for her he would have to. He had to believe he was capable of such an emotion for he could not fake it for her, she would have to feel the truth of it in the bond. It went without question that he would do everything for her safety, even if he had no clue what the incentive was to see to her in such a manner. For Sookie he would. Uncharacteristically that part of the equation was left unquestioned by him.
“Do not disregard what happened between us as merely lust,” he fumed finding the rage her disregard of him had caused, there would be things he had to learn to believe but this dismissal of him was one he was all too familiar with. “I know lust. I have known it for over a thousand years. This was different. You wanted this as much as I. You let me in.”
“It’s not love Eric,” she said calmly between spoons of her yoghurt. “It’s just the blood.”
“Do not trivialise this,” he barked out as his anger came perilously close to getting the better of him. “Sookie you are so young, do you even know what love is?”
“I think I have a better concept of it than a man whose heart has been cold for over a thousand years,” she retorted becoming a little hot headed herself.
“You seek romance and spit at it when it’s offered to you,” he spoke coolly knowing the fire inside her would force her reactions to speak from honesty. “I have debased myself to the likes of a human asking you out on a date. Eric Northman does not date but for you I would. You turn your nose up at it because you deem me incapable of your affection.”
“My affection,” she screeched. “That’s the least of my concerns Eric. How long is your ‘interest’ going to last till you move on to the next. I refuse to be an intermittent quench to your thirst while I’m left behind with the broken pieces.”
“I have very strong feelings for you,” he gritted out. “I have bonded to you.”
She had the audacity to laugh at him. “Yes, I’m sure those feelings will wane soon enough. Just like the bond. This is a business arrangement making what happened last night all the more seedy.”
“Will you just hear me out woman before you shut the door on all?” The rise in his voice had her genuinely frightened of him for the first time. It did not to escape him from detecting it in the bond. He urged himself to tamper down as she meekly agreed to listen to him.
“Have you ever been in love?” he requested in a calmer voice.
“Romantically?” she asked to which he nodded. “No. But the love my Gran had for me, for my grandfather and for the world. It was pure, it was acceptance. With her I was whole and without her I am less. I carry the loss of her with every ache. To me love is to suffer knowing that ache rather than never knowing the cause of it and simply ache in absence of the unknown.”
“So you understand why I have never been in love with anyone in my entire existence,” Eric enlightened as he brushed away the tears from her face that had travelled down in memory of her grandmother. He understood now that her pain was as much his and he couldn’t let it stand uncared for. “Love is not pleasant it’s a game of losses. I have seen conflicts, wars and skirmishes erupt over cattle, women, land. Think of it and I have seen man fight over it.
“At least half of those were fought in the name of love. Inaccurate of course, they fought for the idea of love. The coveting, the possession. No one fights in the name of love because why fights a battle you can only lose; yourself or what you desire. A man who stands still in time does not willingly seek a repetition of defeats.”
“It’s not loss,” she denied vehemently. It pleased him greatly that she so willingly shared what would be expected of him to portray to her. To mimic love. He would and he could for her. “It’s sacrifice. You risk it all for the chance that for that moment everything makes sense, everything fits as it should.”
“I see I have already lost,” he said dejected. “Congratulations Sookie Stackhouse you are the first to best me in battle. I absolved myself to you and everything was right in the first time of my existence. Perhaps it was simply the blood as you say. I didn’t look for it, you simply crossed my path.”
“Could you love me?” she whispered so softly he almost didn’t hear it.
“I fear the seed of it has already planted inside of me whether I wanted it to or not,” he sighed with the realisation of changed circumstances. “I know I could love you.” It was a strange realisation to them both at what had been uncovered from inside of him. Rationally he believed the statement of his intent where she found evidence of the statement through the bond.
Sookie placed her small hand over his once beating heart. “There’s love in you,” she said mesmerised as if she truly saw him for the first time. Regarding him in a completely new light.
“Only for Sookie,” he whispered back. With those words she allowed herself to feel what she had been desperately holding back with him. Kept safely hidden from him and though Eric failed to acknowledge it in himself, it found its twin inside him but he merely mistook it for her.
“Tell me you want this,” Eric spoke searching for the confirmation that the whirl of emotions that flowed through them was unable to define so simply.
“I want this.”
With that no more words were spoken. They were beyond the need of verbal affirmations. What lay between them transcended the physical. It was a heat that engulfed their senses taking them both by surprise as it engaged one into the other and back again. Foregoing the need to exhale while finding a necessity for breaths never needed all at the same time.
Her skin seared at his cool touch. Their bodies drew together on their own accord. Soft curves finding hard angular planes. The blood rushing rampantly through her body bloomed to the surface colouring her to a flushing pink. Unashamed his blood vainly put itself on display under her delicate skin as if beckoning him to join inside of her.
Sookie thought she’d surely pass out from the furnace her body was becoming, was it not for the absorption of her heat into his cool form.
“Fuck love,” he said deep from his throat. ”This is so much better.”
His lips descended on hers greedily extracting the air from her lungs. The tray of food and drinks crashed to the floor with deafening sounds. Neither one noticed as they once again lost themselves in the feel of the other. For that moment all was right again and everything fit, as it should.
Their limbs lay in tangle as her panting breaths and heartbeats slowed down to their natural rhythm. He engaged his tantalised senses by running his fingers through her tangled hair as she rested her head atop his chest.
“You’re warm,” she observed.
“You warm me,” he offered as he kissed her temple.
“Is that why you seek it out?” Eric looked at her questioningly before she supplied, “Sex.” He chuckled a little at the rising blush and strain at which the word was spoken, despite having engaged in the act mere moments ago.
“It is a reinvigoration of sorts.”
“Before I ever had… you know…”
“Sex,” he supplied with a self-satisfied grin as he stood witness to a renewed flush of her skin tinting pink.
“Yes, that.” She demurely hid her gaze into his chest so she wouldn’t have to look into those sparkly and mischievous eyes of his that seemed to see right through her defences.
“I reckoned it was the closest you came to dying while alive. The surrender to the physicality of it all.” She craned her neck upwards so she could see his eyes again. “The moment of nothingness and everything at the same time.”
“La petite mort,” he stated in definition before supplying the translation. “Dying the little death as the French say. How did a virgin come to such conclusions?”
She pecked his chest softly before drawing delicate lace circles on his pectorals. “I have unique insight,” Sookie explained as she tapped a finger at the side of her skull. “It’s quite beautiful to experience it from someone else’s mind, despite the crassness of the act.”
He looked at her slightly confused. “I should probably explain that to you when you’re not still lodged up inside of me,” Sookie noted after realising she had shared so much of herself with him in the physical sense but not of her telepathy and past. “Is that how it feels like?” she queried alluding to his experience with actual death.
“Not with you,” he replied burning her with the strength of his gaze.
“How so?” she asked disregarding that his answer was in response to a question she didn’t pose.
“It is difficult to describe… It transcends all and everything I ever hoped to experience. Like my heart beats again engulfed by the sun’s warmth.” He paused taking an unnecessary breath as he sought to match the words to the newfound sensations. “It is, as if I am alive again.”
“Life and death encompassed in one,” she concluded. “We make an odd match.”
He caressed her lips gently before placing a chaste kiss. “A perfect match,” he murmured against her pliant mouth and rested his forehead against hers.
“I didn’t know it could be like this.”
“Are you upset that it happened?” he tested carefully.
“I’m not sure,” Sookie sighed. “It’s a commitment I never intended to make with you but then I fear I would have missed out on something that has nothing to do with sex had this not happened.”
He gave an affirming nod as if communicating he felt the same but in truth he was ready to commit to this without Pam’s intervention. The same way he had unquestioningly determined to give her his protection before he knew a thing about her true status. “Pam and Godric will be here soon,” he said still holding onto her, remaining unrelated in their fixed positions. “There are things we should discuss.”
“Are they going to be here waiting every time we have sex? It’s times like these I’m glad I missed out on the overbearing father in my teenage years,” she snickered.
“I bet you were making all those teenage boys lose it at the sight of you. Tell me did you make them work for it?” he enquired as her levity infected him.
“Pfff,” Sookie blew out dramatically. “You are aware the town thinks I’m more than a little peculiar. The pool was limited, you’re only the second notch on my bed post.”
“I must kill this other notch,” he declared jokingly. “Tell me all about him.”
“Don’t you dare,” she warned. “The poor boy is dumb as a bag of rocks.”
“Why waste your time on him then?”
“It’s what I needed at the time,” Sookie shrugged. “It was an epic disaster regardless. Who was that tiny woman yesterday?”
“Supernatural doctor. You have to drink those,” he instructed while motioning to the tonics by her side.
“What are they for? You said I was fine.”
“To help recover from the blood loss. She wouldn’t disclose the fairy aspects of it to me.”
She eyed them warily as they glistened in the light. “I think I’ll stick with my iron supplements. Although I ran out a week ago.”
“How long have you been taking those?” he asked disconcerted.
“Dunno,” she replied. “I was twelve when the doctor prescribed them, I think. Why?”
“It explains your sudden eruption of power and onset of the dreams,” Eric supposed aloud. “Iron is to fairies what silver is to vampires. I think it is only your human statute that stopped it from killing you. Take the medicine, Ludwig wouldn’t prescribe something if it was ineffective.”
“You’re going to have to let go and move out of me for that to happen,” she informed pointedly while attempting to release herself from his iron grip.
“Here,” he said while holding her firmly in place as he for reached one of the vials and handed it to her.
“Damn giant wing span,” she complained with a hint of annoyance as he uncorked the tonic for her.
“Allow me,” Eric offered as he put the vial to her lips which she obediently drank down in one go. The taste was far more palatable than she imagined for such a strange looking substance.
“Is this your plan?” she asked as her tongue cleaned off the remnants on her lips. “Keep me attached to you like some giant baby björn sling while you feed me?”
“Continue,” he said in mock seriousness. “This prospect sounds most enticing.”
“Ass,” Sookie mumbled to herself as she continued in her attempt to wiggle out of his grasp. “Don’t make me blast you.”
“Please?” he mocked leaving her unsure to which of those two he was making the request of. In Eric’s case most likely both.
“I’m never going to win with a masochist am I?” she expressed in exasperation.
“Never,” he chuckled as he finally released his hold from in and around her. “Just remember I’m your masochist.”
“I’ll try to remember that when I’m trawling the supe dating web sites,” she teased as she sprinted off to the bathroom.
“Oh no you don’t,” he announced as she collided into his chest in surprise of his preternatural movements. “You chose me as I chose you. There’s no escaping me, you’re mine now.”
The blood drained from her face and he felt her despair through the bond. “Please don’t use that word,” she requested softly as her usual bravado fell away.
“Which one,” he asked carefully as he felt her anguish flooding their shared bond.
“Mine,” Sookie clarified. “It brings up bad memories.”
“Ok,” he conceded softly holding her in a soft embrace. “I might need to say it to other vampires to assert my claim.”
“I know,” she said into the safety of his chest. “Just don’t say it to me. Not like that.”
Eric nodded and started washing her body tenderly as she held on to him. Eric wanted to understand the pain but he wouldn’t prod unless she was ready to share with him.
“You’re everything to me,” he whispered in her ear as she was wrapped into a fluffy white towel by him. “May I tell you that?”
She looked up at him seeing the sincerity in his eyes. An affirmative gesture was given as she rested her head back against him. “I could love you too,” she softly admitted to his wet chest.
With that confession he finally understood the ache she had spoken of.
A/N: Poor Pam will get her hair back, I promise… I’m still trying out my new update scheduling so this story will be back in a week and a day from now.
As you may or may not have seen in the sidebar I am now also on Facebook so I can keep up with the Fanfiction Minions postings. I only post the notifications of update links so if you prefer that over the blog notifications you can now find me there also.