It was swift, over almost before it started. I managed two minutes with a few seconds to spare. Unworthy of the occasion, but it was as she said more than we had ever had and somehow that satisfied the longing of ages. She was a little tighter than most, I was a little larger. She didn’t orgasm. I did. I apologised profusely and she informed me she could care less and our newly formed bond confirmed as much. My pride, however; ensured she got off three times with a torture of fingers, fangs and tongue. Was it the most impressive orgasm I ever had? No, neither one of us cared for we were together now, panting hot breaths of aftermath as one of two hearts tried to find a steady beat while we lay on the creaky wooden floor with a house full of guests below. Judging by Jason’s interruption Pam’s attempts at distraction were apparently not as successful as I had hoped.
“What are you thinking?” she asked, eyes finding wonder in the direction of the ceiling. “First time I ever wanted to know what happens inside someone’s mind and now I can’t.”
I held her closely, stealing a bit of her warmth and offering her some with my still present clothes, the tips of my fingers tracing every bare swell and valley in an effort to commit it all to memory. What for I wasn’t sure, we had just consummated forever as far as I was concerned.
“I love you doesn’t seem to cover it anymore.”
The sparkle in her eyes found me again, even more alluring with the shade of darkness that surrounded her. Years had gone by and that sparkle pulled me in once more, to something that had nothing to do with the satisfying way my cock had driven into her with a feverish madness, how my hands had held onto everything soft, or where fingertips had gently caressed and teased out the knots that had formed in her hair. She was beautiful in my mind, maybe not always in hers, but it wasn’t what had drawn me in. Not then, not now. This openness, unguarded warmth, which was uniquely her. She only grew more beautiful with a smile and when she spoke these words, her voice still raspy from stifling her screams and moans, “It’s enough.”
“Sis, I’m gonna need an advance on next month.”
Eric and his calming influence had worked a little too well when I merely hummed in agreement rather than fighting him on his extravagant spending and moved back to the kitchen, leaving the door ajar, the conversation escaping me in the process.
“Pam, am I seriously going to be lusting after shoes for the rest of my life?” Jason complained without getting much of an answer from her shrug while Eric moulded his body to mine. Every glass in the cupboard was scanned for a spot out of place, the prospect of these long lost kin visiting without a moment’s notice causing me to fester with worry that somehow my surroundings didn’t measure up.
The conversation continued while we were silent. Eric’s gentle and coaxing hands, ones that had delivered more pleasure than I had ever known to be capable, smoothed away at the worry in my shoulders.
“I can’t believe you willed your intent of shoes while feeding him your blood,” Kristian chuckled for probably the second time that night.
“You try thinking of something appropriate while gorging on faery-laced blood,” she huffed petulantly in return before mockingly squeezing her Maker’s cheeks. “You know even you come second to my love of shoes.”
It struck me as odd that he didn’t answer or indulge her like he usually did, simply stood up and moved to the garden instead where he pretended to engage with Shahbaz, but his mind was clearly elsewhere. It went unnoticed by Pam, she had simply diverted her attention to Jason and the purchasing of shoes online.
In the end, three glasses didn’t measure up to my exacting standards and while Eric softly continued to kiss my neck to calm I polished profusely at the watermarks till the crystal shone to my content, losing my thoughts to the preoccupation with manual labour while catching Godric’s appreciative gaze through the slit of the door. He was smiling again and we had put it there, even Aelia seemed slightly unnerved by its continued presence on his face. Weird.
A particular stubborn stain continued to annoy me till I sought the bottle of vinegar in a cupboard below, and, forgetting the seamless fit Eric had measured on me, I tumbled instead of making the graceful swoop I intended it to before it came to a crash. Glass fell to pieces on the hard stone floor, not thanks to our diametrically opposed movements, but the white-haired man that had suddenly appeared outside the window above the sink. Any other man and I would have screamed out in fright, but like with the dark shadows that had invaded our evening earlier I knew he was kin and with equal recognition he smiled warmly, placing the palm of his hand on the glass. My hands soon touched his without a thought and current travelled through, despite the thin barrier in between.
We stood there in my kitchen for a long time, what we were doing I was unsure of, but I couldn’t help but love the man. Just as I couldn’t help but love Eric when my eyes had first fallen upon him though this was distinctly a familial connection, as if my doting father was roaming this earth again. The wondering eyes that had surrounded us, inside and outdoors, had gone unnoticed till the man’s eyes moved to take in the sight of a nervous Aelia, who shifted on her feet like a little girl in fear of a reprimand rather than the calm and in charge Alfa of her own House.
I broke the silence, which had only gone interrupted by the distant song of cicadas, with an offer. “Maybe you should come in?”
He nodded, I still didn’t know his name, and he leisurely strolled to the back door looking around as if the home was somehow familiar to him. Everyone stood regarding us curiously, the brigade of black clad nightingale’s behind him making him with his white hair and suit shine all the more effulgent. We hadn’t exchanged a word before I released myself from Eric’s tentative hold, and stepped into his embrace finding Jason beside me in the process. For whatever reason, the three of us wept salty tears. He felt like home, like Gran’s house had once eased every ache with her loving presence. A piece we never thought to recover was found once more.
“Let me look at you,” he whispered seeking out our faces with his palms, smiling with joy as if he just locked his eyes on new born babes. “Blood of my blood. A Prince and a Princess.”
The grins on our faces were as large as when we were children in Gran’s doting arms, the thought of her only making my heart swell further. There was nothing to stop it from happening, it was involuntary; I loved this man without a choice about it. I couldn’t hate him if I tried, up until that point I had. This man who decided my fate within seconds of knowing I was alive. All of it washed away.
“Sit, please,” I whispered when I felt Eric’s anxiousness invading the moment of comfort and complete contentment. He nodded momentarily before beckoning Aelia to him, tears already running from her otherwise composed face.
“My sweet Aelia, still scaring the mortals with your looks,” he grinned while holding her hands in his between them.
She countered a sound that spoke of the opposite, but she really wasn’t fooling anyone with the immodest denial. “It has been long, Niall.”
“Not too long I hope?”
The sadness on Aelia’s face spoke volumes and if one had missed that, the familiarity between them would have given it away. “One is destitute without family,” she whispered with a sentiment I felt as my own. “Of course I missed you, dear cousin.”
He bathed her with a light I had never witnessed before while she silently wept in his hold. I hadn’t noticed till it was there that Eric’s hand found mine, as if by instinct, a soothing thumb caressing me to his attention. I startled at the use of the word cousin, wondering if it was like with the Sanguine where blood allies became family or if there was more to it.
“We have missed you too,” he grinned while affectionately petting her flawless hair. “It has not been the same.”
Aelia shook her head in agreement before sitting down, foregoing the assumed formality and pulling him right along with her acting not unlike siblings. The man I had deduced by now was called Niall, Prince of the Realm of a land or world I never knew about, regarded us with careful scrutiny clearly weighing the words that were to be spoken.
“You did not wish to come home,” he spoke evenly, the tone, however, betrayed a minor crack of hurt. It was slight, but I needed to squeeze Eric’s hand regardless with the cutting impact of it and, in reassurance, he squeezed back.
“This is our home.” It was the best answer I could provide, it was the truth, and somehow that seemed to gain importance in his presence as if he would know instantly of any lie I would dare utter in his presence.
“I suppose it is.” His hand fell to his lips, holding back words he truly wanted to speak next, a hard gaze falling on the man, or rather Sanguine, beside me. “He is your home now?”
It was a whisper, volume weighed down by inexplicable guilt with the admission, when I answered plainly, hiding behind lowered lashes, “Yes.”
“I see,” he replied with that same even tone. “Shame.”
Eric’s hold around me tightened while I desperately tried to keep it together, a traitorous tear ran down my face regardless. Godric’s hand came to caress my knee while Pam gently petted my shoulder. They understood that pain intrinsically and, in turn, I came to understand that pivotal tie a Sanguine felt to its Maker, where a single word could devastate and cut deeper than any physical wound.
“Dear girl,” Niall whispered, suddenly kneeling in front of me, holding out the most pristine handkerchief and carefully wiping away the evidence of my single moment of weakness. “I do not disapprove, I simply mourn the possibility of life.”
His other hand came to rest against my stomach, and then I understood what he meant, in the heat of anger I hadn’t given much thought to Oren’s proclamation that I was the last of the line. “You need not mourn,” I returned softly, finally finding the courage to look him in the eye again. “There is much possible in the field of science.”
“You must tell me about it sometime,” he smiled frugally. “If you will allow it.”
The smile grew wider and a matching grin appeared on my face. “Let us count the blessing to have found kin at all,” he murmured good-naturedly. “If you do not wish to come to me, I shall have to come to you.”
“I’d like that,” I whispered with a sigh of relief, not quite sure the cause was of his promised return or his approval.
“Aelia, we should discuss,” he announced in a sterner voice when he stood with rickety knees, to which the woman in question seemed all too happy to oblige. His tone softened once more while he regarded Jason and I, “I should like to spend some time with you during the day, the night is no longer our friend. You will remain here?”
I nodded and in a repeat of moves he held us tightly to his chest, kissing the crowns of our heads before bidding his goodbye and taking Aelia out with him to walk leisurely in the protected barrier of the yard, discussing whatever truly ancient beings discussed amongst one another.
“You should all go,” Eric announced when I couldn’t muster up the polite words to say the same.
“Of course,” Pam interjected when it appeared Godric was about to protest. “Come along, Jason, we can talk some more shoes in the car.”
“See ya tomorrow, Sis,” he greeted with a quick peck on the cheek before happily bouncing after Pam and Kristian.
“I am staying to guard the perimeter with Shahbaz,” Godric declared with more intent I had ever witnessed come from his mouth. Eric seemed irritated, albeit on my behalf. I was too tired to fight Godric on it, recognising it was more for his peace of mind than ours, so I simply acquiesced for the both of us before Eric could argue.
The house was quiet then, except for the two of us. Minds that I had detected before in the distance had doubled but remained far enough away. Eric held me in his embrace for longer than should be comfortable, humming a song from his childhood. His hand came to rest on my stomach in wonder.
“Science?” he questioned.
“I hope I wasn’t too presumptuous,” I whispered in return, gathering my courage. His gaze found mine again while his thumb stroked softly over his cheek, wonder written all over his face. “I’d like for us to have children someday, when things settle down.”
“When it’s safe,” he agreed settling an otherwise extensive discussion between us. “Let’s get you to bed.”
“I always deemed you a brilliant strategist but this surely is your greatest feat,” Niall chuckled, my head in his lap while we stared at the plane of water that stretched out in front of us. We always did enjoy watching it ripple languidly, but never would we wet ourselves with it unnecessarily.
My eyes shifted to meet his, while my fingers ran over the cloth whose tactile sensations I had been forced to experience as a memory for so long as the last remnants of it were eaten away by friction and time. “I wish I could claim this as mine, but alas I had nothing to do with it.”
He scoffed with disbelief. “You forget I know all your tricks, Aelia. I found the note with instructions for Oren. So many years and that boy still will do anything to please you.”
Niall held my cheeks, protruding my pursed lips till the poorly held laugh of my small victory was unleashed. He laughed too then, letting me know all was well. I shrugged, “Instructing him to think the worst was all I did.”
He eyed me warily but I had no retort. Even to my ears the tale of Eric and Sookie seemed too good to be true to simply have relied on chance. “Had I known of Sookie and Jason’s presence, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have schemed and manipulated for a result like this. To return you to my side there is little I would not have done.” In truth the pair had always been far ahead of me, the moment Shahbaz alerted me there was more to Pamela’s seemingly human friend I had started to scheme, but found myself lagging behind while the pawns shifted into place without my intervention.
“You never did allow anyone else to play with your toys,” he grinned which caused me to revert us both to those tender ages and shove him a little harder than pleasant while he continued to laugh at me.
Niall regarded the stance of the moon, surely estimating the time already spent, letting his tone fall more serious. “So does this Northman understand what he is, that he is not a Sanguine?”
“No,” I informed, expressing the warmth I felt for the youngest of my children. “It is probably for the best for now. Times are difficult between us and the impure.”
“You mentioned that in your letter,” he nodded while his fingers gently swept through the weight of my hair. “With Sookie’s intent to stay on this plane we should consider realigning as one again.”
“What is there to consider?” My tone was harsher than intended, I never could quite reign in the more volatile of myself around my dear Cousin.
“We have lost so many already.” His shoulders sank with discouragement, and through our many ages together I had never seen him this downtrodden.
“We’ll lose more without each other,” I implored, not willing to give him even a taste of hesitance over a decision that seemed so simple to me. “We have not fared well without one another. History has proven this to me already, why is Oren not married?”
“He no longer ranks,” Niall finally admitted after an extended sigh. “The females that are still fertile are few, the standards have changed. The breeding program has reverted to what it was.”
“You worked so hard to change that.”
“You know what it is to rule, circumstances determine the followed path.” I nodded in agreement, the thought that we simply dictated our ideals was a farce believed by too many. Our power has always lain in the ability to adjust, tweaking the details that can be pivotal to success or failure.
“Indeed,” he agreed while patting my thigh lightly, motioning for us to get up.
A/N: Special thanks to msbuffy for all the great editing she always provides.
So lots of stuff is happening and I’ll be blunt: ask away on Eric but don’t think you’ll be getting an answer. So did we like Niall or is the hesitance around Aelia starting up again… speculation, random conspiracy theories and comments all welcome and make sure to read the accompanying outtake too! Find it here or use the next button.