Eric stands with his arms wrapped around my waist, holding me flush against his body as we watch the fire consume what I had once thought of as a beautiful antebellum home. I had foolishly thought that Bill’s home could have been my version of Tara. But unlike Scarlett O’Hara, I wasn’t too late in realizing who the man I loved really was. I squeezed Eric’s hands with my own as I said a silent prayer of thanks for allowing the two of us to find our way back to each other. There had been twists and turns, highs and lows, and more than one dead body along the way, but here we stand, a united front with a common enemy. There is no one else in the word I would rather have by my side than the viciously beautiful Viking vampire that is nuzzling his face against my hair. The rumbling purr of contentment that is coming from his chest warms me more than the heat from the flames ever could.
There is a loud groaning noise followed by the sounds of the roof collapsing in on it. Fresh flames shoot up in the sky and thousands of tiny embers descend on the ground surrounding the house. Fortunately for us, the Bon Temps Volunteer Fire Department is on the scene to prevent the blaze from becoming uncontrollable. The fire fighters had shown up shortly after the entire house was engulfed in flames. Jason, with Godric’s help, explained that we were burning the mansion to prevent the Hepatitis V virus from spreading. The way Jason talked you would think the house was contaminated with the Hep V virus, smallpox, a plague of locusts, an alien invasion, and the second coming of the Yankees invading Louisiana all rolled up in one. But I have to hand it to my brother; the urgency and gravity of the situation he conveyed to Catfish Hunter and the other volunteers allowed the fire to rage on. My exorcism of Bill Compton can continue until there is nothing left but ashes and debris. If only I could say the same about the vampire himself.
Eric’s arms tighten fractionally around me and I turn to look back at him over my shoulder. I can tell nothing by his expression and the bond is calm between us. “What’s the matter?”
“I wish Bill was inside. I want him to be nothing more than a bad memory,” he admits as I watch the shadows cast by the fire dance across his face. His handsome face looks even more beautiful in the light of the fire, but his eyes show the weariness of his age. Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that he has walked this earth for a millennium; to me he is simply Eric, the man I love. The beautiful thing is that I know to him, I am merely Sookie, the woman he loves; Eric doesn’t see me as a telepath or a part-Fae hybrid. We only want each other because of who we are, not what we are or what we have.
“Come on,” I tell him softly. “Let’s go home.” Suddenly, the need to reaffirm our love for one another is overpowering. Not sure if I am doing it correctly, I try to push all my feelings of love to Eric. I want him to know that no one will ever love him like I do. I try to push to him every wonderful feeling I have for him, and I’m sure more than a little of the ever-present lust I feel for him gets sent too because I feel his body responding against mine. Without saying a word to anyone, Eric picks me up by hooking my knees over one arm while supporting my back with the other. He nods briefly to Godric before lifting us gently in the air and heading towards our home. I’m not a fan of flying in a plane, so the idea of flying in his arms freaks me out.
Sensing my unease, Eric tightens his hold on me. “I will never let you go,” Eric whispers softly in my ear. “I will always protect you.” I know he is talking about more than our simple flight, and tears sting my eyes as I grasp the enormity of his words. His love humbles me while empowering me; I feel unworthy of his love yet I will guard it as the most precious thing in my life. The dichotomy of emotions swirling through me makes Eric pause during our flight.
“What’s the matter Lover?” His voice is concerned and the expression on his face is somber. Those beautiful expressive eyes that I get lost in are shadowed, the color hidden by the darkness of the night.
“You overwhelm me Eric,” I say quietly. His expression becomes concerned and I hurry to reassure him that I mean that in the best way possible. “The love I feel for you, it makes me stronger, more confidant, and yet I know without it, I will be reduced to nothing. You encourage me, you make me want to be the best version of myself possible for you, but I also feel I am nowhere near good enough for you. I love you with everything I am, everything I will be. Without you, I am nothing; I do not want to ever exist again without you!”
“Will you complete the bond with me tonight?” Eric and I are resting our foreheads against each other, basking in the joy we each feel at being in the other’s arms. The bond between us hums happily and I can practically feel the bond stretching like a big kitty cat after licking a bowl of cream.
“I want nothing more Lover but I don’t think tonight is the right night,” he says before resuming our flight to our home. He lands lightly at the base of the porch steps and sets me carefully on my feet though he continues to hold me.
“Why not tonight?” I am more than a little hurt by his words. What difference does it make if we complete the bond tonight, tomorrow, or a thousand nights from now?
Eric brushes his hands along my body, showering me with his affection. “I do not want us to bond tonight because we are both reeling from the extent of Bill’s deception. I want us to bond because it is what we want; a sign of our love for each other. This will be for eternity; there is no breaking a blood bond. This type of bond is not something to be entered into lightly. There can be no doubts,” Eric warns me.
“I have no doubts Eric,” I say with conviction. “I’m not doing this because of Bill’s lies. For the first time, I am doing exactly what I want, and that’s to give myself completely to the man I love. Eric Northman, I want to be your bonded mate for all time. My life is incomplete without you in it. Those six months apart were the worst of my life, though I am grateful to have had them because they showed me exactly what you mean to me. I never want to be without you again. Will you bond with me?” The love I feel for him shines brightly in my eyes and radiates from every pore of my body. My hands hum with the energy I know is a precursor to my light forming. When I pull my hands up they have a warm golden glow around them. Without thinking, I press my hands against Eric’s chest. His eyes widen in wonder before rolling back in his head. I feel his body jerk and shudder with pleasure as a low moan leaves his lips. His knees buckle slightly as my light slowly fades from my hands. However, I feel the hum of my light inside his chest; it’s almost as if his heart is beating against my hands.
Eric’s eyes slowly open and they are lit up with his love for me. “What have you done Lover?” Eric’s arms tighten around me, pulling me even closer so he can place feathery kisses along my neck and chin. My right hand rests on his neck, playing with the soft ends of his hair; my left hand rests on the small of his back, toying with the waistband of his pants.
“I think I shared my light with you,” I breathe out against his ear. Eric leans back to look at me, concern shadowing his azure eyes. “Niall told me that when a Fae finds their mate, they can share their light with each other. It’s extremely rare in the Fae realm; Niall only knows of a handful of such bonds in all his years. Never has he heard of it occurring between two different species, nor has he ever heard of a Fae hybrid having this ability. I guess it is another sign I’m a freak,” I admit glumly.
“You are not a freak,” Eric says slowly through clenched teeth. His face softens and he brings his hands up to cup my face. “You are the only woman in all of my existence that I have loved with my entire being. Sookie Stackhouse, you are my mate; the keeper of my heart. Everything you are is perfect for me. No one will ever love you as I will. It will be an honor to bond with you. I am humbled that you have chosen me.” Eric lifts me in his arms and carries me as if I am made of the most fragile material on earth. To him, I suppose I am breakable. Our journey takes us up the stairs to our bedroom. His eyes never leave my face. The intensity of his gaze has me blushing and lowering my eyes to my lap.
“Do not look away from me Lover,” Eric’s voice brings my eyes back up to his face. “You need to get used to me looking at you this way. I am never hiding my feelings from you again.” He lowers me to the bed before placing an innocent kiss on my lips.
“Do not move,” he orders me as he brushes my nose playfully with his finger. Eric moves to the fireplace, quickly and efficiently building a fire for us. It reminds me of the night I had foolishly told him there is no such thing as forever. Looking at the beautiful man squatting in front of the fireplace, I no longer feel fear or uncertainty when it comes to Eric’s love for me. Now my only concern is if forever will be long enough for us.
Rising from the fireplace, I turn to find Sookie watching me with a smile on her face. I pull the shirt over my head and drop it to the ground. The smile fades from her face and her eyes glaze over with lust. I smirk as I hook my thumbs in the waistband of my pants, teasing the fabric down my hips, allowing the tip of my erection to peak out over the pants, giving my lover a little strip tease. She licks her lips hungrily and shifts on the bed so she is leaning towards me. Watching her watching me is a heady aphrodisiac and my body reacts instantly. In truth, my body is always in a state of semi arousal around Sookie. I wonder if in time the passion between us will be tempered or if it will always burn brightly. Part of me still finds it incredible that Sookie is actually willing to bond with me, that she is willing to spend forever with me. For so long, she denied the emotional connection between us, saying that it was only the blood that made us feel as we did. I hated her for saying that, for cheapening what I felt for her. Knowing what I do now about all of her interactions with Bill, I can see why she would have thought that, but that still doesn’t make the hurt I felt at her rejection any easier to bear. But I will never have to question her feelings for me again, nor will she ever doubt my feelings for her. The blood bond as well as her Fae light signifies that we belong to each other.
Not wanting to tease her any more, I remove my hands from the waist of the pants and they drop to the ground. Sookie’s breath catches as she takes in my naked form and I move towards her confidently. I am reminded of another time when I walked towards her in all of my naked glory. I leer at her, placing my hands on my hips so her eyes are drawn down to my cock. “See something you like?”
” I do,” she says hoarsely. She slips off the bed to her knees bringing her pink lips level with the head of my cock. Her finger slips the foreskin back and her lips kiss the tip of my penis, collecting the small amount of pre-cum on her lips. She licks her lips after kissing me, moaning appreciatively as she samples my flavor. That perfect, pink tongue of hers slides out to lick the underside of my manhood before swirling around the head. As much as I want to feel her talented mouth on my aching shaft, I feel the sun beginning to rise. If we are to complete our third and final blood exchange, we need to do it soon before I succumb to my daytime rest.
“Lover as much as I love the feeling of your mouth around my dick, we do not have time for that,” I moan regretfully. With a last lingering kiss, Sookie uses my outstretched hands to rise to her feet. When she is on her feet again, she lifts the shirt above her head while my hands work on ridding her of her pants. She unhooks the bra she is wearing and slips if off her shoulders so it falls on the floor with the rest of our clothing. Capturing her lips with my own, I once again lift her in my arms and place us on the bed so that she is seated on my lap.
“I want you to bite me as hard as you can Lover,” I pant as I lower her on me. We both groan as her body adjusts to take all of me inside her and she slides all the way down my sizable length. “Are you ready?” She nods her head, and I lower my lips to her neck, priming the area for my bite. Sookie mimics my movements though she has no need to prepare the area she is choosing to bite. With a last kiss to her golden skin, my fangs slide into her flesh and I suck on the wound, drawing her intoxicating blood in my mouth. As I swallow the first mouthful, her teeth sink hard into my neck and I moan loudly at the duality of sensations overwhelming me. Pain and pleasure, light and dark, lethargic and energized; all these sensations are swirling inside me as I feel the final bond slipping into place between us. I can feel the bond weaving its way between us, creating an intricate pattern that the most talented tapestry makers would have envied. When the bond is fully in place, I withdraw my fangs from Sookie; my blood already in her heals the tiny puncture marks. Sookie laps the last of my blood from my skin before lifting her head to look at me. Her lips are a darker red and a thin trickle of my blood stains the corner of her mouth. Seeing my blood on her lips, feeling her tight heat around me, and feeling every inch of her love for me has a devastating effect on me. I am overcome by emotion and cannot express what this moment means to me. Sookie sensing my emotional overload brushes her lips across my brow, whispering for me to let go, that she has me, and loves me. Those are the last thing I remember before we are swept away by our final bonding trip.