The next morning, Sookie rose to see the sun shining high in the sky. She turns her head to find Claudine sitting in her room, a ball of yarn in her lap and her hands moving steadily as she knits. Claudine looks up when she hears Sookie stretching in the bed.
“Good morning sleepyhead. Did you have a good time last evening?” Sookie nods shyly. Claudine sets her knitting to the side, and then climbs on Sookie’s bed. “No; you don’t get to be coy about this. I want details.”
Sookie pushes herself into a sitting position with her back against the headboard. “We talked about Jackson; I told him how I felt. Believe it or not, Pam already told him he had messed up by going after Bill first. We decided that we aren’t going to dwell on the situation; we are trying to move forward. He held me as we talked; it was all very sweet and innocent.”
“Sweet and innocent are definitely NOT two words I would associate with Eric Northman,” Claudine says with a laugh, causing Sookie to giggle as well.
“I know, right! But he was. When I started getting tired, he carried me up here. He laid in bed with me, holding me until I feel asleep. He was very tender; it was wonderful,” Sookie says with a dreamy sigh.
“Did he feed last night?”
“No; I didn’t see his fangs at all,” Sookie says with a shake of her head.
Claudine looks thoughtful for a moment. “He is probably worried about you panicking if he shows his fangs. You will need to make the first move.”
Sookie frowns as she thinks. “He will probably refuse even if I do offer. He might think I’m not ready. Maybe I should have Dr. Ludwig visit while he is here to prove everything is ok.”
Claudine smiles, “She will be here tomorrow afternoon. I can call to see if she can come later.”
“Why is she coming tomorrow? Did I forget about an appointment?” Sookie frowns as she thinks back to her last visit with the no-nonsense doctor.
Claudine puts her hand on her stomach lovingly. “You haven’t been her only patient when she comes here. She has checked on me and the baby to make sure everything is progressing smoothly.”
Sookie’s eyes widen before she screams in delight. She lunges forward to embrace Claudine. Sookie pulls back from her cousin and demands, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You had enough to think about. Besides, I didn’t want to say anything too soon… I didn’t want to jinx it.” Claudine’s eyes fill with tears as she thinks about her earlier miscarriages. Sookie embraces her cousin again; she knows how Claudine has longed to be a mother. She prays everything works out for her.
When Eric rises for the evening, he finds everyone gathered in the outdoor dining room. They are finishing up dinner. Eric nods his head in greeting to everyone as he moves to Sookie’s side. He wraps his arms around her, nuzzling the side of her neck. “Good evening Sookie.”
“Good evening Eric. Are you hungry?” She wants to test him to see if he will feed from her willingly.
“No, Lover. Giselle stocked the refrigerator in my room with bagged blood. I fed before leaving my room this evening.” Eric leans in to kiss Sookie; she tastes sweet like she had eaten something with mangos and coconut. “Did you enjoy your dinner this evening?”
Sookie tries to smile at Eric, but she is concerned that he won’t feed from her. “Giselle and Izaiah have fixed some of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had. I wish I could take them home with me when I go!”
Giselle smiles at Sookie’s compliment. “As much as I adore you Sookie, I have no wish to live in Louisiana while Sophie-Anne is the Queen.”
Fintan leans back in his chair, “I don’t think you will have to worry about that for much longer.”
Everyone turns to stare at Fintan. “What do you know Fintan?”
Fintan looks at Eric with a hard expression. “All you need to know is that everything will be resolved at the trial of Compton and his maker.”
Sookie and Claudine look on in confusion. “Compton and Lorena haven’t met their True Death?” A look of panic crosses Sookie’s face. Why had no one told her?
Eric moves Sookie so that he can look into her eyes. “Sookie, I promise you, they will never harm you again. Compton and Lorena are being held by the Authority; they are awaiting trial. The Guardian has assured that they will meet their True Death. The trial is a formality, but a precedent must be set and it needs to be public.”
“I’m not worried about Bill. He didn’t hurt me; he offered to help me escape. He was planning to glamour the guards to help me escape.”
Eric’s hands tighten on Sookie possessively. “Sookie, I could smell your blood on him. He fed from you.” The beast inside him threatens to break free thinking of another tasting the nectar of Sookie’s blood. It is for him and him alone.
Sookie places her hand on Eric’s cheek. “He didn’t bite me. He came into the room; he said he had a plan. He positioned his body around mine so it looked as if he was feeding from my neck. But he bit his own lip to have blood dripping down his chin. I swear to you, he DID NOT BITE ME. He is guilty of many other crimes, but he had nothing to do with Jackson.”
Fintan pushes back from the table and rises. “Honey, it doesn’t matter what he did or did not do in Jackson. Bill is guilty of crimes against the Brigant family. Now, is not the time to discuss this. Wait until we return to Louisiana.” Fintan moves to Claudine’s chair helping her rise. They say good-night to everyone and teleport away. Giselle and Izaiah had cleared everything from dinner. They too make their excuses and retire for the evening, leaving Sookie and Eric alone.
“What shall we do this evening min kärlek?” Eric hopes to take Sookie’s mind off their recent conversation; her shoulders are still tense and her eyes are shadowed with worry. They weren’t supposed to let any of this intrude on their time together.
“I’m not dressed to go out. We could go down to the beach or hang out around the pool.”
Eric looks Sookie’s body over hungrily. “You may not be dressed to go out, but I definitely approve of this outfit. I would be perfectly content to see you dressed like this always.” She is still wearing one of her bikinis with a white sarong. Eric inhales and his eyes roll back in his head. She normally smells of wheat, honey, and sunlight; her time on the island has intensified the smell of sunlight and the smell of coconut from her tanning lotion clings to her skin.
Sookie teases Eric by leaning forward to nip at his neck. He growls and she pulls back to grin at him. “Would you really want anyone else to see me like this? You don’t exactly strike me as the sharing type.”
Sookie hops up from her seat and saunters towards the pool. Halfway there, she stops walking and turns her head to look over her shoulder at Eric. She winks at Eric as she drops the sarong to show the rest of her bikini, which barely covers her luscious backside. She blows him a kiss and continues walking to the pool. Eric silently rises from his chair, undressing at vamp speed until he is completely nude. He is rock hard; he wants to drive both his fangs and cock into Sookie. But he knows he needs to cool off. Grinning wickedly, he vamps to Sookie who is standing at the side of the pool. He wraps his arms around her as he pushes them into the pool.
Sookie comes up sputtering, trying to push the hair out of her face. Eric is treading water a few feet away from her, a wide innocent grin on his face. “You are going to pay for that Buster!”
The two lovers play like children. Sookie may not have the physical abilities Eric possesses, but she is able to use her Fae gifts to keep things interesting. Sookie finally calls for a truce; she is tiring. She flips on her back and floats lazily in the water. Eric swims around her, circling like a shark stalking its prey.
“Don’t even think about it Cowboy. I’m not in the mood to play anymore,” Sookie says with her eyes closed and her arms moving slowly through the water. Eric surfaces to tread water close to Sookie. Her eyes open and she finds him wiping the water away from his face. Her eyes focus on the rivulets of water that slide down his beautiful body. He raises his hands to push the hair back from his face; all the muscles in his body flex with the movement. Sookie flips over to swim to Eric. She comes up behind him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.
“You look like Ægir, my god of the sea,” she murmurs as she kisses his shoulder.
Eric turns around in her arms, pulling her legs around his waist. “Then that would make you Rán, my sea goddess.” He leans down to kiss her lips. “You would put the goddesses to shame, Lover. Freyja herself would be envious of your beauty.”
Sookie pulls Eric’s head towards her for a heated kiss. She pours every ounce of need into the kiss. Eric groans into the kiss, his arms pulling her flush against his body. Sookie moans as she rubs against Eric’s body. She wasn’t immune to the fact he was naked in the pool. Eric pulls away from the kiss when he feels that Sookie needs to breathe. His lips trail down her neck to suck on the skin along her clavicle.
“Bite me, Eric.” Sookie tilts her head further to the side to give Eric more room. Feeding from bagged blood and True Blood has left his skin paler than normal. As time progresses, his body will begin to be affected in other ways.
“No,” he says against the skin of her neck before placing a last kiss there. He pulls back to look at Sookie and sees her frowning. “What is it, Lover?”
“Why won’t you feed from me?” Sookie stands with her arms crossed over her chest, anger and hurt warring on her face.
“Because I do not think you are ready for that,” Eric says gently.
“And what makes you think you can decide what I’m ready for?” Sookie angrily pushes away from Eric and teleports out of the pool. She grabs one of the towels to dry off, and then wraps the towel around her body. Eric vamps out of the pool, grabbing the towel to wrap around his waist.
“Sookie, I do not want you to run from me. You have already done that once,” Eric mutters quietly.
Sookie gasps and stomps towards him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Did you ever stop to think about how I was feeling when you left?” Eric looms over Sookie, all the pent up emotion of the past weeks finally being released. His face is one of pure anger and hurt. “I know you were tortured; I understand you needed to heal. But you RAN from ME! You left me, and it felt as if I was being punished! I know that was not your intention, but that is how I felt. The longer I did not hear from you, the further into despair I sank. I honestly thought you were going to leave me, and it shattered me. A thousand years on this Earth and you have the power to end it all. Do you understand that Sookie?” Eric asks as his voice breaks. “Do you understand the power that YOU have over ME?”
All the fight leaves Sookie as Eric’s words sink in. He’s right; she’s been so focused on herself she failed to think about how all of this affected him. She reaches out to put her hand over his non-beating heart. “I am sorry, Eric,” she whispers. “I never meant to hurt you.”
Eric places his hand over Sookie’s and lifts it to his lips. “I know that was not your intention. I cannot help how I feel any more than you can help how you feel. I do not like having feelings.” He drops Sookie’s hand and takes a few steps away. His back is to Sookie as he looks up at the night sky. His voice is very quiet when he begins speaking again. “You make me question myself Sookie. Everything I thought I knew, everything that I have believed in has changed. To be a vampire, one must be selfish, cunning, and vicious. Allowing emotions into the mix makes one vulnerable. The relationships I have with Pam and Godric are atypical, but you will notice I am rarely emotional with either of them.” Eric turns around to walk back to Sookie. “And then there is you, my sweet Sookie. You are my weakness, and that worries me. I have already seen how you can be used against me.”
Sookie does not know what to say. Eric’s words worry her; it almost sounds as if HE is the one that wants to end their relationship. Sookie remains immobile so it is easy for Eric to cradle her face and raise it to his for a slow lingering kiss. The kiss is full of love; it makes Sookie feel warm all over. Eric pulls back slightly to stare at her. His eyes glow brightly with his emotions, “But I will not give you up. I love you far too much to let you go. Together we are unstoppable,” he says as he recalls the words of the Ancient Pythoness.
After their fight by the pool, Eric carried Sookie inside to his bedroom. They had showered together, washing away the smell of the chlorine from the pool. Nothing sexual happened; it was about caring for each other. After drying each other off, they climb into his bed. He was lying on his back; she was nestled into his side where Sookie had fallen asleep shortly after.
The ringing of an alarm wakes her at noon. She remembers asking Eric to set the alarm so she would not spend her day sleeping. She reaches over to turn the alarm off, but then resumes her place nestled against Eric’s side. Her head rests on his chest over his non-beating heart. She thinks about what she needs to carry out before Ludwig’s visit this evening. With a sigh, she places a kiss on Eric’s chest and climbs out of bed. Rather than risk exposing Eric to any sunlight from opening the bedroom door, Sookie teleports to her room. She takes another shower, carefully pampering her body. Once she is finished, she spreads moisturizer over her skin. She dries her hair and spends time curling the ends, pinning the hair back from her face. She removes the nail polish on both her fingers and toes, repainting it with OPI’s Over and Over A-Gwen.
Once her nails are dry, Sookie checks the time; it is after 4:00 pm. Throwing on her robe, Sookie runs out of her room looking for Giselle. She finds her in the kitchen.
“Giselle, I need your help,” Sookie says while gasping for breath.
“What’s wrong?” Giselle comes around the island with concern. She takes in Sookie’s appearance, and gives her a knowing grin. “What are you up to?”
Sookie smiles back at her. “My mate is being stubborn; he refuses to feed from me. Dr. Ludwig will be here soon to give him the report that I am perfectly fine and it is ok to feed from me. I want to up the ante to make sure he won’t try to back out when I insist he feeds from me tonight.”
Giselle nods her head. “I see. And what do you need my help with?”
“Could you help me set the stage? I want everything to be perfect.” Sookie proceeds to tell Giselle exactly what she wants. The older woman nods her head in approval, makes a few of her own suggestions, and assures Sookie that everything will be ready for her by sunset. Sookie thanks her friend by giving her a hug before rushing back upstairs to finish her preparations for the evening. She wants to make sure she looks irresistible for Eric tonight.
Dr. Ludwig is finishing her exam of Claudine when Eric rises for the evening. As usual, he is confined to his light-tight space until the sun sets, but he is content to lie in bed thinking. It has been an exhausting two days emotionally between him and Sookie. He had not intended to tell her about his feeling of abandonment, but it is done. Perhaps it is best that they have everything out in the open.
Sookie pops into his room and Eric appreciate the sight before him. Sookie is wearing a black sundress, her hair is pulled back from her face which is hanging in loose curls down her back, and her nails are a blood-red color. As usual, Eric finds the sight of Sookie arousing. “Have you come to join me in bed, Lover?” He moves to the edge of the bed so he can better reach Sookie.
She wags her finger at him in warning, “Ah, ah, ah! None of that; Dr. Ludwig wishes to speak with you.”
“Is everything alright?” Eric rises in concern. He worries that last night triggered a setback in Sookie’s recovery. Panic and worry build quickly inside him.
“Stop it; everything is fine! She just wants to talk to you. I suggest you put on some pants.” Sookie’s eyes caress every inch of Eric’s naked body. “She may be a doctor, but she isn’t here to give you a physical exam. And I don’t think I want her to see what’s mine. Come find me outside when you two finish up.” Sookie leans up to brush her lips against his before teleporting away.
Eric throws on a pair of track pants before calling out, “Come in Dr. Ludwig.”
Dr. Ludwig pops into the room, finding Eric seated in a wingback chair. She is wearing her usual outfit of hospital scrubs and tennis shoes. She sits on the bench near him, a scowl on her face. “Why the fuck won’t you feed from your mate?”
Eric raises an eyebrow at her. “I did not think it was a good idea. She has been traumatized. I did not want to cause her to have another panic attack like in Jackson.”
Dr. Ludwig waves a hand in the air to dismiss his concern. “She wouldn’t have offered if she wasn’t ready. I know you want to protect her, Viking, but you can’t coddle her. Sookie has always been the type of person to attack a problem head-on. Her running away to Barbados was atypical for her, but I understand why she did it. Her control was destroyed, including her shields. She may not be able to hear vampire thoughts, but she is able to infer your moods. Being in Russell’s house, to her, was like standing inside a football stadium filled with screaming fans. The moods of the vampires, the thoughts of the Weres and humans were too much for her. And given how those sadistic fucks messed with her mind, it is no wonder why she was scared.”
“And what if she panics while I feed from her?”
Dr. Ludwig smiles sympathetically at Eric. “I don’t think she will. Has she panicked once since you have been here? Has she acted any different from the girl you first met in Bon Temps?” Eric shakes his head no. “I think you feeding from her will be good for you. It’s an intensely personal connection between the two of you that binds you in more ways than one. And when the two of you are ready, you will complete your bond. But I must agree with the Ancient Pythoness; the sooner you bond, the better off the two of you will be.” Dr. Ludwig teleports away, leaving Eric alone sitting broodingly in his chair, while reflecting on everything the doctor has told him.
The sun has set by the time Eric resolves his brooding over Dr. Ludwig’s advice. The house is once again empty, save one heartbeat. Rather than walk through the house, Eric opens the doors on his balcony to float down to Sookie. It is not often that a thousand-year old vampire is surprised, but the scene before him does that. Candles and tiki torches light the path leading to a four-poster bed with white linens and white curtains nestled in the corner of the deck. On a table next to the bed sits a chalice and velvet pouch. Eric walks over to the table to inspect the chalice. He raises an eyebrow as he realizes where he has seen this chalice before. If the chalice is here, then that means inside the pouch is…
“Fintan brought those to me when he escorted you down here,” Sookie explains as she appears on the deck. She has changed her outfit. Instead of the black dress, she is wearing a red silk negligée with black lace at the top and bottom. The red matches the red of her nails, which is also the same shade as her lips. Sookie moves forward so that she is standing at the foot of the bed. Eric’s nostrils flare as he catches her scent, sunshine mixed with fairy. Eric growls in appreciation as his fangs click into place.
Sookie stops two steps from Eric. Her hand rests on her hip and a smirk graces her lips. “See something you like Cowboy?”
“Lover, what is all this?” Eric gestures towards the scene around them. Her scent is even more potent than he realized. It takes every ounce of willpower not to yank her body against his, sinking his fangs in her neck.
“I want to complete our bond. Will you drink from me Eric as I drink from you?” Sookie looks up at him with all the love she feels in her eyes.
Eric is undone. He yanks Sookie to him, crushing her body against his as he claims her lips in a searing kiss. He has neither the will nor the desire to refuse her. The feel of the silk and lace of her negligée torments him. The smell of sunlight and fairy weaken him, but when combined with her arousal, it brings him to his knees.
Sookie moves her mouth eagerly against Eric’s. As her tongue duels with Eric’s, she pushes him back towards the bed, stopping only when his legs hit the side. Sookie pulls away from his mouth, pushing against his body so he sits on the bed. Eric quickly complies, reaching for Sookie to sit on top of him. Her knees rest next to his hips; her wet core pressing against his rigid shaft. Eric thrusts upwards, rubbing his cock against the front of her lace thong. His hands rub against her breasts, using the silk to tease her nipples into hard peaks. Sookie’s head is thrown back, her back arched as she grinds against Eric’s cock. She reaches blindly for the velvet bag on the table, pulling out the ceremonial dagger to complete their bond.
Panting with need, she slices the dagger against Eric’s skin causing a thin red line to form on his chest. She surges forward to seal her lips around the wound, sucking hungrily. Eric grunts in ecstasy as he feels his blood moving inside Sookie. He angles his head so he is able to sink his fangs into her shoulder, greedily pulling on the wound. As the first drop of her blood touches his tongue, Eric feels an intense heat surrounding them. The more he pulls on the wound, the more intense the heat. Sookie’s hips move faster against him as she sucks hard on his wound, using her teeth to force more blood out.
Suddenly, a white light engulfs the two of them as the bond forms, linking the two of them together for eternity. The bonded mates stop feeding from each other as the emotions swirling through the bond overwhelm them, bringing each of them to the most intense orgasm of their respective existences. Once the light fades, they collapse on the bed nestled in each other’s arms.