“Sookie Stackhouse,” a familiar voice interjected into their private sphere with a rather loud volume. “What has you wondering outside of our beloved Bon Temps?” Sookie shot white with the sudden reveal. Right then and there to a room full of vampires her home and true identity was known to all. She could no longer afford the option of being safe on her own again.
“So, this is the job you’ve been entertaining,” the shrill voice of his escort came. “Explains a lot, I suppose. You were awfully eager to entertain him and his child when they threw some money at you.”
“Bill, Lorena,” Eric growled in warning at the insult that denoted Sookie to the status of a prostitute. “You’d do well to address Her Highness as befitting her.”
Lorena cackled with malicious pride. “Her Highness?” she retorted disbelievingly. “You really expect me to go along in this ridiculous charade. Thank you, though, Eric, it has been decades since Bill and I laughed so much.”
It hit Sookie then with the attraction that their conversation had garnered and the whispers that ensued she would be ever dependant on Eric. The tie by blood had not made her feel as constricted as much as this realisation had. Their relationship was tumultuous at best in its early days. There was no guarantee for something long-lasting, but she would be a burden to him the rest of her life. She was a lone fairy in the backwaters of Louisiana, ripe for the picking.
“You think the wards surrounding her home are the mere workings of a talented witch?” Eric warned not just to Lorena, but all those listening in.
“Speak not publicly of your incompetence, Lorena,” the Southern drawl of the King of Mississippi bellowed out from his faraway throne. It had been spoken loudly enough for even Sookie to catch across the distance. “She is a Brigant through and through.”
She feigned innocence as best as she could. Pleading eyes begged Bill and Lorena to believe or partake in the deceit, whatever would save Eric from the public humiliation. Then it suddenly hit her as she noticed the difference of their respective states in their bond; she was acting to the best of her ability while Eric was seething in anger from indignation.
He wasn’t acting.
Sookie’s head snapped to the side, a little sharper than intended with the sudden movement, and silently she requested the confirmation with her eyes as they bore into Eric. He flooded their bond with affirmation as she tried to swallow a sob when regret soon followed in offering.
It was the one emotion she couldn’t stand and now he felt it for her. Sookie held her poker face high, the depth of her disgust only living between the two of them as she connected the words royal, fairy and Brigant from the depths of her subconscious. It was a truth she intrinsically knew but had ignored.
Her Imperial Highness Sookie Brigant, Princess of the House of Sky.
It was the only truth among all the lies.
“My apologies, Your Majesty,” Lorena replied after she immediately sank to her knees in deep subservience.
“I believe your apologies are misdirected,” Russell said coolly, glancing towards Sookie along with all the other eyes in the room that had drawn towards the minor altercation. “If you do not know how to behave perhaps you should leave.”
“Yes, Sir,” she replied before bowing deeply towards Sookie and uttered another set of apologies with the appropriate title. Sookie dismissed her for the first time genuinely responding in the appropriate form as a Princess. All she could feel was the betrayal of Eric knowing something and not sharing it with her. She knew she had to place her trust in him as he did with her but she felt so wronged in that moment and there was no outlet to express that rage.
Sensing her inner turmoil, Eric directed her to the dance floor where the music had once again started, in part to distract her, in other parts to selfishly hold on to her as he felt her slipping away from him emotionally. He knew it would take time for him to rebuild the trust he had shattered with the sudden revelation.
Eric could childishly point out she was holding a secret from him too, one she refused to reveal to him until this ball had come and gone. However, he knew she had refrained from telling him that for their safety. He had guessed that perhaps it had been this truth, but was now certain she was completely unaware as he felt the betrayal cut through their tender bond deeply. There was no other option than to trust in her and the commands of his Maker that the less truth there was the safer they would remain. As evidenced now sudden truths only left them vulnerable for the attack.
She danced monotonously through the motions the formal dance required. To the unknowing eye, she appeared as gracious and light on her feet as was in accordance to her image as a faery Princess. Eric and Pam both saw it for what it was. It killed him to experience that cold, hard shell she became, shutting the world from her and knowing it excluded him with everything else.
Eric soothed himself knowing she would need his blood the next few days. Sookie may not want him, but she had need for him. She was physically incapable of leaving him despite the emotional shut out. He didn’t think it possible but even the bond they shared felt numb. She was slipping away from him while his grasp only continued to become firmer on her form.
They spoke but a few necessary words till the announcement was made that the auction was to begin. Dutifully, Sookie slipped away at the hands of one of Russell’s staff. Pam sidled in next to her Maker having stood witness to the entire wordless breakdown between the two. Knowing them both so well by now she didn’t need any bond to know they were both hurt deeply.
“She’ll come around,” she spoke lowly to eliminate as much eavesdropping as possible.
“It won’t be the same,” Eric replied while they clapped for the first who came up under the hammer. “I will be alone with her.”
“Only if you allow it,” Pam noted sharply causing Eric to scrutinise her with a warning look that she returned with an equally heated stare. “You are a warrior; perhaps it is time to remember that.”
“What would you have me do?” he countered, the irritation barely contained through his tone.
Pam gave a small shrug as the main feature of the auction came up for bid while her eyes travelled to the Princess they had accidentally discovered in the most unlikely of places she replied simply, “You fight.”
Sookie stood stoically and regally as tentative bids were placed for a dance with her. The multitude of initial bidders soon checked out when the number started reaching extraordinary amounts surpassing any annual salary in Bon Temps. When it appeared there were but a few bidders left, Sophie Anne was the first to show her hand with a bid. The auctioneer tentatively looked towards the King of Mississippi. A disinterested look and a wave of his hand gave way for a cautious bid from the crowd to top the Queen’s bid.
Each bid was quickly topped by Sophie Anne who was already preening with Russell’s reluctance to engage in a battle of financial display. Eric’s teeth ground down with the intensity of his clenched jaw as he endured the spectacle and sensed Sookie’s trepidation of being such an object of display.
When it appeared the lone bidder who still dared to bid against Sophie Anne seemed to be running out of funds, Russell silently raised his paddle forcing the room to fall to complete silence. His future Queen stared him down intently, irritated not only that the price to pay would now exponentially increase, for their eyes carried the same intent; if one was to lose, there would be a small victory with the great cost it would bring to the other.
All other bidders dropped out instantly while the bids volleyed between the two regents. When it appeared Sophie Anne was becoming hesitant about her bids Pam nudged Eric repeatedly. He, however, refused to budge and left the two regents to their overt bidding war to prove their supposed superiority.
“Eric,” she hissed once more when it seemed Andre was trying to rein in Sophie Anne’s renewed frenzy as she refused to acknowledge her imminent defeat. Russell only appeared to become more amused with the process while Sophie Anne grew angrier with each bid. Her hand flew up instantly while Russell waited the longest time possible causing the hammer to nearly fall down once or twice, only to steal the hopeful look on Sophie Anne’s face by upping her bid with a meagre amount, and then forcing her to increase the amount by tens of thousands in an effort to stave him off.
When it appeared Russell was waiting another exceptionally long time to place his next bid, Pam glared at her Maker to intervene. He had pockets deep enough to put both regents out to shame and it was something they knew all too well. As the hammer almost hit the wood to declare Sophie Anne the victor, Pam screamed out, “One million dollars!”
A small smile escaped from Sookie’s tightly held lips when she recognised the vampiress’ shrill voice travel across the large ball room. After the gasps and murmurs were expressed throughout, the eyes naturally travelled to Sophie Anne who was arguing heavily with Andre.
“Two,” was spoken clearly and a waggle of two upheld fingers.
Sophie Anne smiled widely to the crowd below as she glanced towards Russell, the expression of her heated gaze not lost to him at all. He cackled loudly in response, “Ms de Beaufort?”
Eric gave her a warning glare; already irritated with her intervention where she was unknowingly entering a political fight for which this little bidding war had become a symbol. Pam, while disagreeing and unknowing of her Maker’s objections, shook her head obediently as she hissed a few choice curse words Eric’s way.
“Well done, Russell,” Sophie Anne acknowledged when the hammer finally came down. Her voice became highly audible to those in the room when she continued. “I was only driving up the price for the cause.”
“Of course you were,” Russell mocked. Everyone, including Sophie Anne, knew better. It was simply a foil to mask her defeat at the hands of the ancient vampire. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a faery Princess to entertain.”
Though her response was polite the resentment was yet to dissipate as her gaze followed Russell while he went to collect his prize. She loathed admitting that their intended merger was slowly beginning to resemble a hostile takeover.
“You are quite skilled, Lady Brigant,” Russell commented as she expertly followed his lead through the formal dance.
“When is the last time you danced with a woman?” she asked demurely. He chuckled in response as Sookie had ascertained that keeping him entertained made him as harmless as a three-thousand-year old vampire could be.
“I believe it is many centuries ago,” he returned. “Back when I still pretended to be a hetero.”
“Just that?” she retorted with an ascended eyebrow she had learned from Eric. An amused smile graced his leathered face.
“I must say you are better at the subterfuge than I ever was,” he acknowledged. “You play the unknowing princess quite well.”
“How many times have you been caught out?”
“In which manner?” he asked referring to his two false identities, one where he pretended to be human and the portrayal of a straight man.
“Both,” she requested, relaxing somewhat at the thought that among the supernatural hiding what you truly were was like second nature, and little embarrassment was to be found there.
“Too many times to count I am afraid,” Russell said before he spun her round with dramatic flair.
“Yet you can give me the numbers on separate accounts?” she asked coyly using his own words against him. It earned her another laugh and she exhaled a sigh of relief that could be mistaken for a laugh.
“I think I will always leave you with an answer wanting.” He twirled her at a dizzying speed before he bent her gracefully outstretched body with a firm grasp around her waist. The music had died down and the audience clapped delightedly at the display. Sookie curtsied in gratitude for the dance, but he did not let go of her hand when she pulled it back.
“I wish to give you a gift before you depart,” Russell announced and he nudged her to follow. It was not long before the evening would commence to the sleepover and Sookie would assuredly bow out in her station as Princess. She sought out Eric’s tall form in the crowd with her eyes, glad to see he was close by. “Your presence has truly elevated an otherwise mundane annual affair.”
“Thank you,” she spoke kindly. “It was enlightening.”
“To say the least,” Russell winked back.
Sookie followed him to a gallery she had not ventured to before on Talbot’s extensive tour. The atmosphere in this wing of the mansion was more informal and it was soon confirmed to be Russell and Talbot’s private quarters. Eric was hovering far enough away to go undetected but close enough to be by her side if safety demanded it.
Russell opened a velvet-lined drawer pulling an intricately worked piece of jewellery from it with gloved hands. He held the necklace to her throat admiring the sight before him. It was delicate and fine, on most adult females it would be too small, but Sookie’s features were fair and petite enough to carry it well.
“I cannot accept such a generous gift,” she said nervously knowing no gifts among royalty were truly gratuitous.
“This is not really a gift,” he countered. “I am merely returning something that once belonged to your clan. See the insignia of your clan.” He had turned it over showing what she had learned to be the mark of the Sky Fae.
“How did you come across it?” she asked, tentatively touching it; the magnetism of the item not unlike that of the warded-off wall.
“You unearth many interesting finds as one pretends to be an antique dealer,” he explained. “Please take it to your kin. The metal of the Fae burns harsher than silver upon us. I no longer have use for it.”
She knew it would be poor form to continue to refuse and hoped the consequences would not be dire in the long term. “I am sure the rightful owner would like to see its return,” she offered diplomatically. Accepting on behalf of another afforded her some manoeuvring at a later point if it were to come to that. Russell smiled with a menacing grin as he deposited the delicate necklace into a velvet pouch.
“May it return to its intended,” he agreed with a hint of threat in his voice as he placed the pouch in her opened hands.
“Thank you,” she said politely. Their conversation was of expected words after that as he guided her back to her anxiously waiting Sheriff. He reminded Eric to consider his offer once more before they respectfully took their leave.
Little was spoken between the most-talked-about couple of the evening as he shrouded her in an elegantly warm cape and led her outside.
“What about the girl?” Sookie whispered while throwing one last glance towards the mansion.
“Even if she is real, there is little we can do for her now,” Eric answered with slight defeat as he took in the pain in her eyes. “The locket is a message.”
“What kind of message?”
“It could be a challenge or admittance,” Eric answered. “To whom it belongs will be the one to understand.”
Pam stood waiting by their car doing her best to hold in the nerves that had eaten away at her all night. She had plenty of confidence in Sookie’s ability to pass as a lesser noble Fae, but revealing her as a true princess was not part of any game plan she had entertained nor prepared for.
“You did so well my little Faery,” Pam said proudly while she uncharacteristically pulled her into an embrace.
“I need to sleep,” was Sookie’s blunt reply when she took residence in the backseat. It was the truth. Her frightening dream had done nothing for her rest and recuperation. Mostly she wanted to cloister herself away from the vampires in her life. The bond Eric had created with her was firmly shut out carrying that distinct message. Pam’s face resonated with the pain it inflicted upon her Maker but chose to remain a silent witness to the crime.
Eric made Pam drive while he carefully monitored her sleeping form not wishing for a repeat of the previous night, an argument Sookie agreed to after some pensive thoughts. To his relief, her slumber was peaceful and the scraps that flittered through the bond were thankfully calm and reassuring. He cherished the scraps that were fed to him as he feared what he would go without soon. In her moment of unawareness he traced the curves and dips of her form and fingered the ends of her hair.
He placed her in their once shared bed on the basement level as soon as they arrived. Not daring to assume she would wish to share a bed right now he continued to monitor her mood from the armchair in the corner. He only let his eyes rest into downtime intermittently.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” Sookie asked sleepily when she took in his woken state with the help of the dim bedside light. The clock had informed her it was well past dawn and the bleeds had set in once again. She hated being confronted with him in his weakest form, he looked so vulnerable and she hated being the cause of it.
“I don’t know how but you closed the bond,” he offered in explanation, though if it had been open fully he would have done exactly the same. “I promised to be here to keep you safe.”
”You also promised I would be safe by your side,” she said in a small voice while she pulled the covers from the empty space he once occupied.
“I did not want to presume,” Eric replied as he sluggishly got up, wiping away the most recent bleeds with a wet towel.
“Why not?” she sighed as he pulled his lethargic form onto the bed to lay beside her. “It’s not like I have a choice in the matter anymore. I’m bound to you now in more ways than one.”
The repercussions finally set in what an innocent feeding had led to. No matter what punishment she had conjured up for Pam, nothing would repair the seal that had been broken that night. She had tied her fate to his; Eric found he could not care for her broken resignation no matter how it benefitted him.
“Please don’t view it as such,” he pleaded with pain in his eyes. She had a hard time holding his gaze as she pulled the pins from her delicately styled hair. She used his wet cloth to refresh her face and cleanse the heaviest of her make-up. He was glad to see the hard shell that she had shielded herself with disappear along with it.
She removed the tears from his eyes that the bleeds had made him shed. The light was turned off and she settled into the nook just under his chin with her cheek on his chest while she invited his arm to surround her. The bond between them opened wide again and he was utterly surprised to feel that all was right with her once again.
“I’ll never blame you,” she said as her fingers trailed his abdomen. “I stepped into your world eyes wide open. Godric warned me and I refused to listen. I just don’t want you losing any sleep over it.”
“You don’t blame me?” he asked in surprise.
“I thought you lied to me,” Sookie answered. “But you never did, the bond would have told me so. I never recognized the truth for what it was. Everyone else has lied to me my entire life, all but you.”
“I will not force you in this tie,” he offered sincerely.
“I know,” she agreed. “This wasn’t your doing, or mine.”
He hummed in accordance, understanding that the name of his Maker held great importance in this all. For whatever reason, he had elicited them both to withhold all information with possible detrimental results. Eric allowed his eyes to rest properly for the first time in two nights with the knowledge that at least something was as it was. She soon followed, resuming the sleep she had earlier embarked on.
She dreamt of her and Eric in the garden again. It was the most peaceful dream she ever had. The young faeling happily frolicked in the distance with who Sookie assumed was her mother. She was content and light hearted; the antithesis to what she felt in reality.
Her hunger woke them both, but rather than satiate the growling sounds emitting from her stomach she leaned into his mouth for nourishment instead. It was a hunger that took precedent over the other. She was tired of fighting everything around her and simply needed him.
“Feed me,” she whispered to him in the dark room. He knew it wasn’t his blood or the contents of his fridge she was referring to. Eric felt the necessity through the bond. She wasn’t horny but empty, a state which he himself had resided in much of the previous night. He too, was empty and needed to be fed by something only she could offer.
He pulled the slip dress she had worn underneath her impressive evening dress from her warmed body. The confines of her undergarments were soon lost. No matter how impressive she was in the finest silks, her painted beauty was to him incomparable to this. It had nothing to do with the physical appearance of it; it was the vulnerability that she expressed to him. Her resignation to the fact that she was his, that she had no choice in being with him. She simply was, without noticing it had happened.
His fingers traced down her curves as kisses replaced her necessity for oxygen. His touch was gentle while hers fumbled with the fabric that was still hiding his body from hers. They were too haphazard in their movement to effectively remove any of the offending items so he aided her in the removal of his shirt and underwear.
They lay in a naked embrace for a quiet pause. This hunger was different, not defined by lust or greed. Haste was absent despite the urgency they both felt.
“Why do you love me?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said truthfully, unaware how it happened. “I just do.”
“Never with anyone else?”
He shook his head though she could only hear it in the dark. “I don’t understand much of it myself.”
“Why can’t I?” she asked with a small sob. “It’s just a stupid word. Why can’t I just say it?”
“It took me over a thousand years,” he offered in consolation. “It’ll be there when you need it.”
“I don’t deserve your sacrifice,” she sighed discontentedly, finding his lips in the obscure again. “You don’t deserve this from me.”
“I would trade the best moments of my existence for this without any regrets,” he returned as his fingers invaded the warm heat hidden in her folds. “This is not sacrifice, it is reward. Perhaps I am undeserving but no less than you.”
“Love is loss,” she reiterated what he once spoke to her. She didn’t recognise it then but she did now. It was loss of self, exchanging one for the unknown of the other. It was chance. For now it was allowing another to briefly carry the burden as she had requested of him in this late afternoon. “I think I understand now.”
“Then you’re not far off,” he returned punctuating his sentence with an absolving kiss.
Her body writhed in excitement as his fingers coaxed her in compliance to his encompassing touch. She let go and her body shuddered in response.
“I love you,” he whispered for the first time in a tone suiting to the words spoken.
“Thank you,” she returned for the words and the actions. He shifted her so she sat astride him. He guided her as he was the only one with sight. They needed the anonymity of the darkness to relieve the intensity that buzzed between them. She kissed his chest softly as she explored him with hands and mouth. The ends of her long hair tickled along the surface of his skin while she moved against the increasingly needy member gesturing at her rear.
“Help me out,” Sookie requested as she lifted her behind into the air and he acquiesced by placing his erection in her hand. She stroked it a few times familiarising herself with it properly for the first time. Their other couplings had always been the result of an emotional whirlwind. This time was no different but there wasn’t a strain that existed between them anymore. It was them against the rest of the world now and she needed the physical affirmation in their joining as much as he.
She trembled in restraint as she slowly sank down till she was greeted by the cool skin of his pelvis again. She soon warmed the point of contact with her own heat as his hands guided her along, pulling at her skin, tensing the muscles of her butt cheeks apart. She rolled her hips in an endless, undulating motion in a lazy rhythm not seeking release. His or hers. She simply wanted to feel again.
Tears sprang from her eyes dropping like rivulets on his expansive chest. She cried for being unable to return the words she had demanded from him when he felt unable to give them. Yet the thought of escaping from this selfish acquisition filled her with more pain than she ever imagined. She knew heartbreak, but not love and it was wholly disconcerting. He held her close to his chest as her movements stilled and the tears ran heavy. Eric let her cry in his embrace while she released what had held her hostage for so long.
“Please,” she whispered amongst her tears. He responded to her request of his care by flipping their positions as she wrapped her legs atop his hips, scared of letting go of everything but him.
He loved her with his body and everything else he possessed. She felt it in every fibre of her being and all she could return was her inability to reciprocate, her lack of self-worth dominating her anguish. She couldn’t see what he saw in her but she could feel it, even when he couldn’t put it into words.
He continued to thrust into her desperate for her not to flee from the overwhelming emotions he was releasing into her with his touch and care. He could go on for hours like this in a languishing pace and he intended to, till she accepted what he was offering. There wasn’t a bone in his body that would allow her to leave him now.
“Lay down your shields,” he requested begging for entrance. Though his request was metaphorical, her response was equally physical as her mental shields dissipated to a fragile ground zero. It occupied a space she had not ventured to explore since birth. The depths at which he fell into her were unsurpassed; never had it been like this with his Maker or Childe. Never had she allowed herself to be so fragile with another.
She was a collection of broken pieces marred by loss. He held the same wounds in himself and he shared them with her. That sudden expulsion of life, a thousand years and the scars had remained. He understood, no one had accepted her for what she was. Not even her. He did. Even if she were to suddenly sprout three heads. That was the love she sought.
He knew those scars were points of pride, not the damaging wounds that caused them. She needed to heal and she reached out the only way she knew how. Sookie bit down on his jugular as hard as she could drawing blood as she forced the extended fangs from his mouth to her neck.
It was painful in its suddenness. She didn’t care. She felt entirely deserving of the pain, but for the first time she felt equally eligible for his love. As life grew between them the necessity of control and restraint was eliminated. They were both at their most bare and empty, needing the other to fill that punishing void. They were no longer those singular beings who stood in a room full of others feeling utterly alone.
What moved between them was passionate and raw where they met uncoordinated in their joining. It didn’t matter that the physical sensation was the least impressive of what transcended between them.
Their bodies were just that, bodies desperately seeking to emulate what happened beyond them. Time was lost between the two as their need started to invade their senses. He sweated with heat and it connected with hers while they frantically writhed with each other till they fell in harmony. Silence was overtaken by grunts and moans.
His pace was becoming punishing as she encouraged him further in. Thrusting so deeply she felt as if she were about to fall apart be it in pieces or parts. Her breasts joined the fray as he exchanged her mouth for their pleas of attention. Her heels encouraged the muscular effort in the cheeks of his ass to drive into her further, finding punishment in the pounding.
Electricity jolted through her hands, coursing through both their veins. She was so sensitised it was the mere wisp of his pubic hair that grazed over the stiff protruding bundle of nerves that set her off. He rang through the succession of roaring bells her body was expelling, fighting against the muscles that were trying to force him out. He held fast as he sat on his knees splaying her wide apart elevating her lower body from the bed. He watched, mesmerized, as he entered her again and again as if seeing it for the first time in his life.
Released from his hold she raised her torso to lie against his. She moved with him again while his hands explored the length of her spine. Distracted at the feel of her, she knew he was holding back as she dug her hands in his short locks of hair, no longer soft but wet with transpiration. She jolted him with the love he had poured into her. She couldn’t utter the words but this she could give freely. He thrust up involuntarily as he swelled and expelled his dead seed inside of her. She screamed in triumph and in pleasure at the feel of it while she pulled him further inside of her. His continual thrusts coaxed the remnants of euphoria from their bodies till they were both depleted.
Their mouths didn’t let go of one another till all sensations were lost and the only remnant was the wet physical evidence between them. They were both so unguarded and lost that in that moment they were the same age, youthful, and unharmed by life; innocent and naked as the day they were born, staring towards the ceiling as they held their hands intertwined between them.
“I’m a telepath,” she whispered, offering him the last bit of herself in confession that she had clung too.
A/N: Yes terrible point to leave you I know, I’d apologise if I felt really bad about it but ‘meh’. Don’t be too hard on Sookie she’s having a rough go with it all and her emotional field is slightly atypical. Falling looks a lot easier to do than it is.
This may sound familiar to the ones reading BOTV :
Special thanks to MsBuffy for betaing. She has been kind enough to take on the editing of my chapters on all my stories as my work is piling up. Saying that there will unfortunately only be one further chapter on this story till the new year. It’s a combination of holidays, workload and wishing to enjoy my holidays as simply holidays. There will be some stocking stuffers and outtakes but on the multi chapter stories it will be quiet in the latter weeks of December. I hope you will all understand and patiently await what’s to come.
Today’s Thanksgiving Fixin’s can be found here.