“No,” she assured. “I saw you for you and you saw me for who I was. It’s as simple as that.”
“As simple as that kiss,” he grinned.
“Something like that,” she smiled before she took him by surprise and kissed him as if he were the man holding their oldest boy in his lap across the small lake.
“That’s not simple,” he replied in surprise once he dared open his eyes and saw her expecting gaze.
“It’s what we are now,” she grinned. “It’s different, but it’s good. We love, we learn, and we make plenty of mistakes along the way. It’s complex, deep, and rich.”
“You’re happy,” he repeated, understanding the warmth she was planting inside him. It had nothing to do with the idyllic scene before them with giggling, shouting children and an extensive family, it sat even deeper than that.
“We’re happy,” she corrected while waving at the kids when they yelled to her, wanting to show off a newly-learned skill. She yelled back with encouragement before her tone fell more serious, “You’ll have to wait for her. Be vulnerable, love her from afar, and wait. Love will ultimately see you far. She’ll come to you when it’s time.”
“What do you mean she? We’re talking about you, aren’t we?”
“Sort of,” Sookie said with a pat to his knee before giving it a soft squeeze. “Just trust me.”
He caught her gaze; seeing the memories of the past play out in her dark eyes before confessing in a whisper, “Always have.”
“You kissed him!”
The accusatory tone as it had been there earlier had faded somewhat, nevertheless, it was still present, and abundantly so through the bond.
“And he’s wearing my swim trunks!”
“Don’t start with me!” she snapped. “You did far more when there were two of me than kiss one of us.”
“I took what I could get,” he grinned, sensibly not revealing more of the fantasies he had entertained himself with of there being two of her and one of him. “Was hoping for a little more.”
“Maybe I’ll do the same,” she winked before fluttering off towards the house with little apology.
“Sookie!” he yelled after her in outrage, thoroughly miffed, going completely ignored before Viggo was at his leg demanding attention instead to swim with him. Reluctantly, he followed his son to the end of the dock where Little Spike was unsuccessfully trying to push Pinnie in the water who managed to just stick out her tongue before popping away. His former self was already in the water, having been lured in by Eva whose fluttering blue eyes were all the encouragement necessary to have any adult do her bidding.
“Come to Pappa, sweetheart,” Eric beckoned to his daughter while the other Eric tossed her in the air with a disconcerting amount of strength that would have him clutching at his heart had it still beat. With squeals of excitement she bonded back into the arms of the other man, ignoring the plea of her father, and instead clasping onto the identical shape, hugging him tightly with her slippery limbs.
Eva breathed out a contented sigh against his neck before looking up at the displaced figure. “I love you too,” she smiled. He didn’t reply, instead burrowing his nose into the crook of her neck as he held her even tighter, drowning in her scent momentarily before spinning her round, tossing, and releasing her into the water to her great delight.
Fuck! He’s going to cry.
The younger Eric quickly splashed some water in his weepy counterpart’s face that quickly erupted into a water fight instantly drawing the lines of loyalty among the children, the girls naturally going for the displaced Eric as they battled it out with sprays of water.
“Oi! The coat stays dry!” Spike complained from his observing position on the dock, and with a mere shared look between the two Erics it didn’t take long, with many encouraging yells and a single form of resistance from Little Spike, that Spike found himself in the water, leather duster and all, yelling choice obscenities that could only be understood by those who spoke his accent of choice.
“Room for one more?” Niall chuckled from the side-lines in his plush, and very pink, bathrobe.
“You best not be starkers under tha`!” Spike protested. “That thing is downright unnatural and traumatisin` to the kiddies!”
“Feeling a little insecure, Spike?” the unknowing Eric grinned.
“I have a huge…” he instantly retorted defensively before several sets of enlarged children’s eyes set on him causing a reconsideration of words. “Knob, peddly stick, whatever,” Spike grit out with warning while the other Eric remained looking sceptical. “Don` say I didn’t warn you, mate,” he mumbled on with a knowing look as Niall proceeded to disrobe with little shame.
Spike couldn’t help but laugh mockingly when eyes grew wide as saucers and his jaw came unhinged, giving him the perfect opportunity to extract partial revenge on one of the culprits who had dragged him into the water. “No worries, the Big Bad is here!” he yelled in triumph as he forced the vampire under the water with a spluttering of noises, and naturally Little Spike came to assist.
Spluttering obscenities in ancient Norse, he finally managed to surface, purging the inhaled water with little success till he made it to the water’s edge where a worried Willa helped get the worst out of his system with encouraging taps to his back. With a gentle smile, she handed him a towel while enquiring if he was okay. With a nod, he came to sit beside the unknown vampire trying not to scrutinise her too much openly, noticing how uncomfortable it made her. Willa’s presence, however, was an easy one to bear, perhaps since she was just as much an outsider as him in the large scheme of things.
“Gonna help me too, Doe Eyes?” Spike yelled from across the water in play as Niall and Pinnie chased him with far too much ease, the platinum blonde vampire obviously indulging the little girl her success of conquest.
“That is not normal,” he whispered.
“Spike?” Willa questioned with a bit of surprise. “He’s an acquired taste, sure, but relatively harmless.”
“No,” he shook his head. “Whatever that foreign object is that’s attached to the Prince of the Fae’s groin. If he floats on his back he’ll put a submarine to shame.”
Willa couldn’t help but snicker a little at her flabbergasted pseudo-Maker, her voice falling even softer than normal, she shared, “There’s a Jacuzzi tub at Maison Brigant that no one dares to use except the Prince and Mrs. Brigant.”
Eric shuddered visibly at the possible imagery before falling uncharacteristically silent again, feeling no necessity to dominate the narrative, Willa’s gentle nature seemed to illicit it in him.
“Didn’t think there was ever going to be a moment that I would be dreading the onset of the night.”
She turned to face him, finding his hand to hold in hers, an odd thing since with her true Maker, there barely was any physical contact beyond the night he held her to him in turning. “It’s a rare gift to have this much,” she agreed. “Treat it as such rather than concerning yourself with what comes next.”
“That’s very counterintuitive for a vampire,” he grinned.
“It’s what you told me when I struggled being what I became,” she elaborated. “Things weren’t easy for me in the beginning. I adapted, but the mentality was always lagged behind. This, though,” Willa gestured, highlighting the sun on their faces that had slowly started it’s decent and towards the children in the distance, “has nothing to do with being a vampire. We’re more now.”
“I can see why I turned you,” he smiled, squeezing her hand softly. “I’ll be proud to call you my Childe one day.”
“Thank you,” she whispered from behind a curtain of her hair.
“Has Pam ever tried persuading you to cut your hair?” he asked while tucking the veil behind her ears.
“Once or twice,” she grinned. “I’m the only one who refuses to submit to her will.”
“Lucky you,” he laughed.
“I heard that, Northman!” Pam growled, coming to stand before them offensively. Eric knew that look well, and found that he was slightly fearful. She picked at his hair momentarily before sighing, “What was I thinking with these highlights?”
His hair had long been ancient code between the two of them, he would submit to her expertise and any existing discord would vanish with the same ease as colours interchanged. With little protest, he sat in the kitchen in a hairdressing gown while she worked on the individual strands of hair till she was content mumbling and musing as she went along. He asked appropriate questions while she rambled on about everything and nothing and by the end, all was well between the two of them.
Pinnie had already long forgiven him, but he had quickly become her favourite adult when he helped her make the floral crown that would sit upon her head the rest of the day and night while the products on his hair worked in. With a small amount of whining and pouting, the little girl was allowed to help her mother wash the other Eric’s hair, causing him to suffer a few stings of shampoo to the eyes, something that any other would probably be grievously harmed for.
“Much better!” Pinnie announced when Pam tucked away the blow dryer. Clumsily, the little girl fingered some wax through his hair. “Next time we’ll do pink!”
“She really is yours,” Eric smiled as the little girl ran off with the announcement they would finally start the dance around the Maypole as all of the guests from Faerum had arrived.
“Of course she is!” she retorted with mild outrage. “I suffered for those babies! It was awful, Eric, the pain! I’ve never experienced such cruelty, not even at the hands of the Magister! That was only after months of pregnant insanity! I was crying all the time, but when I held them in my arms…” she whimpered before falling to tears again as the memories of the traumatic birthing surfaced.
Fuck, she’s crying! Again!
He panicked, pulling Pam into his embrace. While it was not unknown for Pam to sniffle over something once in a decade, the sight of the blubbering and unashamed sobbing was very unfamiliar to his former self. “Maybe you’re pregnant again,” he joked, hoping with all hopes that cracking a smile would put an end to the waterworks. However, instead of laughing along with him, her wracked frame stiffened and he swore she heated up with a sudden jolt.
“NO!” she cried out aghast before stomping off repeating the word over and over again. He followed at a careful distance as she grumbled about burning a certain witch named Niall Brigant before she came to stand before Sookie with an angry glare.
“You knew and didn’t tell me!” she growled out.
A guilty look sat on Sookie’s face before she gave a brief nod. Her telepathy had identified her altered state with ease now that she actually had experienced it once before, and an informing look from Niall had told her enough to keep this quiet from the vampiress in question, experience had taught her enough not to interfere in their relationship despite her opinions.
“I’ll kill him!”
“You could stand to be a bit more like him.”
“Really?” he questioned while placing the pillows back in place. A complete replacement of all the sheets on the bed were a non-negotiated fact that both had automatically seen to as soon as they entered their bedroom despite the long day and night of celebrations.
“Well, a bit,” she offered conciliatorily when she noticed his pensive look. “He knew how to be fun with the kids. He was as you were without memories, playing in the water yelling about those ancient sea gods of yours.”
“Of course you are,” she smiled before kissing him softly on her tippy toes. “You’re also responsible.” He growled before being silenced with another kiss. “It’s what I love about you,” she assured. “It’s good to let go now and then too.”
“Like kissing another vampire,” he grumbled.
“He’s not another, he’s a part of you!”
She’d expected to see another scowl grace his stupidly handsome face; however, she found a smug grin in its place instead. “So you admit you loved me before I loved you.”
She rolled her eyes, “Everything is just a competition with you, isn’t it? No, I didn’t love you then, you were an ass coming to my home claiming me as yours as if I was part of the furniture!”
“You need to get mad more often,” he spoke huskily while he relished in the raw passion on display. “Loved it then, love it even more now.”
“Argh!” Sookie yelled in frustration before tossing a pair of pyjama bottoms to his face that only amused him more. “What I was trying to say…” She took a deep breath before continuing in a calmer tone. “I could have loved you then.”
“You win then,” he conceded with a kiss and a playful squeeze of her ass. “I was obviously already lost to you.”
“Don’t you forget it,” she beamed with triumph before her face fell sad again. “Where do you think he is now?”
The melancholic look had flitted on her face several times that night. From the moment his collected memories in a corporeal vessel had simply dissipated with the setting of the sun, she assumed no one was looking, but he always was.
“I know exactly where he is,” Eric offered while settling in the bed beside her. “I remember now.” He was quiet for a long time before his tone fell into one of confession, “When I had that bad dream while without my memories I dreamed of this, of us, of our family and I woke up having nothing, only knowing there was a woman I adored and I had done nothing but hurt before. I loved you then, probably well before that too, but I knew it with a certainty and I knew to wait.”
“All this time?” she whispered with tears staining her eyes with the realisation. “You waited all that time because I told you to in a dream?”
“No,” he assured, pulling her to him just as he had then and easing the tears that flowed with simplicity. “It was a dream, the memories vague mixed with my past, with Godric, but like Niall said, I remembered the sensations. I knew to wait and you would come to me eventually.”
The tears were wiped from her eyes as she smiled up at him. “And I did.”
“Lucky me,” he grinned.
“No,” she whispered with a small shake to her head. “Lucky us.”
A/N: Much thanks to msbuffy with her editing and encouragement on this, she really is the best!
I know you all were all very sympathetic to past Eric, hoping he’d catch a bone somewhere but he does… it just takes a while… *snickers* I did genuinely feel bad for turning Eric into an overbearing father during the course of EAM and its outtakes but even when his past-self stepped into the future it seems those little hybrids can work their magic lickity splick quick… Anyhow I hoped you enjoyed this little outtake and its conclusion. I think I vowed with the last one that I was done but if inspiration ever strikes again, who knows…
In case you missed the memo in the announcement post last time: It’ll be quiet from me in terms of updates on all my stories until at least mid-August due to holidays and real life things. I might toss something random out now and then but don’t count on it too much.
Thoughts welcome as ever 😉