Ethereal Redemption Chapter 38

SOOKIE’S POV
Don’t you know that you can call on me baby, all you gotta do is say you will
Coz I’m ready just to love you and put an end to all your doubt.
I know we can work it out, coz I don’t want to be with nobody but you.
No, no I don’t want to be with no one but you.
I want to be wrapped up in the arms of my loving man, rock me in your arms like I know you can.
Man, I love you, so put an end to your fantasy or you just might, you just might blow it all.
Get yourself together and, baby, when you do, you’re going to see I’ll be true to you.
~ Nobody But You, Wendy Matthews

My telepathy had meant that I had never been able to fully appreciate school while I’d been growing up. Of course, I had graduated, and I had a high school diploma to show for it, but lessons were difficult and large groups of people had caused numerous headaches over the years. It was only once I had perfected my mental shields that school became easier, but by then it was too late to learn anything.

Ata’s story had been interesting, to say the least; I hadn’t the first clue about the Egyptians. I knew that they built the pyramids and that they mummified their deceased but that was as far as my knowledge went. The introduction of numerous Egyptian Gods and Goddesses had me baffled, how on earth could Ata remember them all? I knew I’d love her story the moment I asked her for one, and I was certain little Oscar would have adored it too, given how much he seemed to worship the ground Ata walked upon. However, I hadn’t been anticipating my Viking’s reaction. He had been just as enthralled with the tale as I had been. My Viking had a thirst for knowledge or simply loved to be told stories, maybe both.

I hadn’t anticipated the affection I had developed for the young vampire, he already held some affection for Ata and Godric, given the manner in which he spoke to them, but he had readily accepted Eric and me and had even stood up to my vampire. Although some would have seen the act as foolish I saw it as brave, after all, I had stood up to him to on many occasions.

As Ata and Godric bid us goodnight, I caught a stray strand of Ata’s thoughts. There was going to be some making up this evening for the little spat earlier on. The thought pulled a smile from me. A year ago, I would have cringed hearing Ata thinking about sex, but I had learnt, now that I had experienced it, that it was a natural part of life. The fact that Godric cherished Ata so much, and she returned that same adoration and love warmed me. It was nice to see them enjoying one another.

Eric’s eyes swung to me the moment my cousin and Godric left the room. “What is it you wish to speak about, lover?” Eric questioned his face a mask of calm. Our bond gave him away, though; I could feel his worry, his fear, concern, and his anger? What had made him angry?

“It’s nothing bad, Eric. I just think we need to discuss a few things about the past and what we want for the future. I know now isn’t a great time, given the threats coming our way, but I have this feeling that if we share our worries or our thoughts with one another then we’ll come out of this stronger.” I explained, refusing to tear my eyes away from my Viking’s. A few years ago, I would have run away from such a conversation, but I felt this was too important to simply brush under the rug.

Leading my Viking into the bedroom, I decided that it would be best to change out of my day clothes. I hadn’t even made it to the closet when Eric’s anger boiled over, “Sookie,” he hissed at me, “have you lost your mind? Me? Mentor a vampire? One I barely know? One I did not choose for myself?”

I turned to face Eric. This was what he’d been angry about earlier? I just wanted to give poor Oscar the best chance possible to survive in such a cutthroat world. It’s not like I’d volunteered Eric to dance in a Broadway play wearing pink spandex or anything!

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“I…I…I’m sorry Eric! I didn’t know,” I started to say, not entirely sure where I was going with my response, but he interrupted me before I could say anything more, the anger painted on his face. I could feel the tears gathering in my eyes, and I so did not want to cry. Not right now, not in front of an angry vampire.

“You did know Sookie,” Eric snapped back. I could see him barely managing not to shout. “You want what Ata has. You see how happy she and her boys are, and you want that for yourself. You want a large family of people who like you for you, who will treat you as you deserve to be treated, and I have no argument with that. What I find fault with is you volunteering me to mentor the young vampire instead of talking it over with me first and letting me decide for myself if it is something I want as well.” I was confused. What? He thinks I want what Ata has? Maybe, she had all those people loving her before, and she’s got vampires who love her now. And Godric. What do I have? Jason? Hah! He may be my brother, and I love him, but my wants and needs don’t even come in second place in his life.

“As you have not so gently pointed out to me many times since we met, a relationship is not one sided, it is about compromise, it is give and take, it is making decisions TOGETHER, not separately. Why is it I must consult you when a decision needs to be made, yet you, you…” Eric’s anger was rising; I could feel it in our bond. He turned and stalked to the window. I moved to stand beside him, not bothering to hide my tears, in a hope of offering him comfort, but he turned suddenly, startling me with his speed. Damn vamp speed. “Sookie,” he growled, “You are the one who throws around words such as high-handed when I do things without discussing them with you first. I am calling you high-handed for the very same thing. When you learned it was I who bought your house and fixed it up, you didn’t thank me or even take the time to appreciate the time and work put into the restoration: You called me high-handed instead and tried to rescind my invitation.” Me? High-handed? I shook my head at his words. I’m not high-handed. Sure, maybe I could have talked to him first about mentoring Oscar, but the baby vamp needs the help.

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“At every turn, when I try to do something nice for you, to show you that I care, to show you that I want to take care of you, you throw it back at me and make me wonder what I could have been thinking of. Doing something nice for a human?” He scoffed, stalking out of the room.

I ran after him as he left our bedroom, tears still streaming down my cheeks, but before I could reach him the elevator door was closing between us.

It felt like forever as I waited for the elevator to come back up, but once it did I entered and pounded the button for the ground floor, which didn’t make the thing move any quicker. I sighed in frustration as the doors finally closed and I started to descend. As soon as I exited the elevator a wall of werewolves and vampires met me. “And just where do you think you’re going, Sookie?” Egor asked.

I growled as I try to shove my way past the wall of flesh, but none of them would get out of my way! “Move!” I almost screamed at them.

Agmund smiled and shook his head. “You’re part of our responsibility while you’re Ata’s guest. Your vampire is not with you and we have not received notice that you are leaving so,” he put a hand on my shoulder and turned me around so I was facing back into the elevator, “we will accompany you back upstairs.”

“But…” I started, but Agmund and Egor simply stepped into the elevator and blocked the entrance as one of them pressed the button for the penthouse.

Private Elevator

When the door opened again, they stepped aside and waited for me to exit before they got off the elevator. They stood there like stone statues in front of the door so I couldn’t slip past them and go back downstairs.

I gave Egor’s chest a light thump, wanting him to let me past, but I realised that he might not be as forgiving as Eric. I didn’t think my cousin would like it very much either.

I slumped my way into the living room and slouched down into one of the chairs facing the elevator; I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at my jailors. They just stood there, offering me blank expressions. Their lack of interaction left me alone with my thoughts.

Have I chased him away? Is he going to come back? Will I get a chance to apologise for my behaviour?

Angry tears ran down my face, but I wiped them away with my hand, not caring about how I looked, or the fact that two vampires were seeing me at my worst.

Great going, Stackhouse! You may have just run off the best thing to ever happen to you, and you have no one to blame but yourself!

I growled at my conscience. Shut up! I screamed inside my head. It’s not like I don’t already know that! Tell me how to fix it if you’re so smart.

The stone statues moved aside suddenly as the elevator dinged. I looked up and practically flew at Eric as he stepped into the room. “Eric!” I yelled as I jumped into his arms and buried my face in his neck, relieved that he’d come back and angry with myself for making him leave in the first place.

He stroked my back and held me to him as he walked, and I found myself being set on my feet in our bedroom. I couldn’t stop the hitch in my voice as I asked him, “Where were you? I was so afraid you’d left for good.” The tears were subsiding now, but I still had the sniffles and I was sure my eyes were bloodshot. I no doubt looked a hot mess.

Eric didn’t seem to care though as he reassured me, “No, Sookie. I have no plans to leave you, but I did need time to cool off before I said or did something I would later regret, so I went for a quick flight to cool down.”

My voice shook as I asked him, “Eric, please, please promise me that when you need to leave you’ll tell me? I’ve lost so many people, been made fun of all my life because of this,” I pointed at my temple to let him know what I was referencing, “this curse,” I spat out. “I couldn’t stand it if you left me too. Losing you would absolutely break me. I don’t think I would ever recover.”

He opened his arms to me and I practically became a part of him. “I promise you Sookie, I will tell you when I need to calm down,” he vowed.

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I turned and gave him a smile and a peck on the cheek before I moved to the closet to get my pyjamas. I looked up for a moment, and all I could see was a quick flash of Eric’s gorgeous butt as he swayed his hips and climbed into bed. He laughed at me as I turned bright red. “It’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before min kära,”

I shook my head as I headed for the bathroom, “I know Eric, but still…” I said as I closed the bathroom door behind me. I changed quickly, leaving my day clothes in the bathroom. I would deal with them tomorrow.

“But still, what, Sookie? Do you think you were born wearing a robe and slippers?” I could hear Eric tease through the door.

I remained silent. Of course, I knew I hadn’t been born wearing a robe and slippers, but a naked Eric was a distracting Eric!

“No Eric,” I mocked as I opened the bathroom door, having finished changing. “I don’t think I was born in a robe and slippers. I do, however, have some modesty and prefer not to see others in their birthday suits! Thank you very much!” I playfully huffed as I threw back my side of the covers, getting into bed and curling up against Eric’s side, but not before flicking the lights off.

We were quiet for a short while, but our earlier conversation was still stuck in my mind. I was tired, but Eric deserved an apology. “Eric,” I whispered, knowing he would hear me.

“Hmmmmm?” He hummed, his hand moving to play with my hair. I noticed that he did it a lot, always played with my hair or stroked it. Must be some crazy Viking thing.

“I really am sorry for volunteering you without asking first. It was high-handed of me, you were right. I’ll try to talk to you about things before I volunteer you to do something from now on,” I vowed, raising a hand to cover my mouth as I yawned.

Eric’s love and reassurance through our bond were confirmation that my apology had been accepted. “Aren’t you cute, all cuddled up next to your vampire?” He teased, not dwelling on our argument. Fingers splayed across his stomach, I lightly dragged my nails over his pale skin, enjoying the way he shuddered.

I looked up, finding Eric’s eyes in the darkness. “Not really,” I sassed as I suffered from another yawn.

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Eric’s deep chuckle reverberated through his chest and I settled, resting my head on his chest and closing my eyes.

My eyes opened slowly; the room was as dark as it should be. The thought of any light entering the room and hurting Eric as he rested terrified me. I stretched languorously and looked at the clock. What? I slept the whole day away!

I rolled over and smiled, my gorgeous vampire was beside me, still asleep. I sighed contentedly and ran my finger down his well-defined chest to the start of his happy trail; my bladder decided to be a bitch and had had enough of being ignored. I sighed. Later, I’ll carry on later.

By the time I had finished my morning business, even though it was almost dark, I felt much better. I smiled as I left the bathroom, and when I caught sight of Eric an evil smirk settled itself on my lips.

It was nearly time for him to wake so I tiptoed across the room, eyeing my destination and licking my lips in anticipation. I pulled back the covers and my breath hitched. He was so beautiful. Whether he was awake or asleep made no difference, he was beautiful to me all the time, but right then, with what I had in mind, he was absolutely breath taking.

I stood there, watching my vampire sleep, and my hand decided to speed things up a little. I reached out and lightly scraped my fingernails along Eric’s manhood, being careful not to hurt him. I giggled a little as it twitched under my touch, which only brought my thoughts about what I wanted to do to him into clearer focus.

Again I lightly raked him with my fingernails before I sighed happily, climbing up onto the bed and settling myself on my knees between his legs. I eyed him, trying to decide how I was going to go about waking Eric in the most pleasurable way possible. My smirk widened. I leant over and very gently placed a wet kiss on the tip of his member, feeling it twitch again, which only served to encourage my lascivious thoughts.

I grasped his length and ran my hand up and down, enjoying the feel of his silky softness sliding along my palm before I took him in my mouth and played my tongue over the tip, before taking him in deeper as I continued to stroke my hand along the length not yet in my mouth.

I groaned at the feel of him in my mouth, and was surprised when he twitched harder than before: He must be waking up. I slid my mouth further down his shaft, still stroking slowly, and began to suck ever so gently, relishing in the thought that Eric would no doubt enjoy being woken in such a way.

As my head bobbed up and down in sync with my hand, which was still stroking his hard length, my other hand gently grasped his balls and started gently rolling and squeezing them.

I heard a puff of breath coming from the head of the bed and smiled around his length as my tongue stroked him.

“Mmmmm,” Eric growled. “Sookie,” his voice was raspy as our bond snapped to life, filled with his lust. My name was the only coherent thing I heard him say for quite some time as I continued to play and experiment with my Viking. When he finally roared my name with his release I swallowed, not wanting to waste a drop.

Sitting up, I smiled, and was greeted with a content grin from my vampire, “Mmmmm, Sookie,” he said as he reached down and pulled me up against his body, nestling his now spent member between my thighs. “You can wake me like that anytime you like.”

Blushing, I pulled the sheet up over us; it was a little chilly in the room. “I’m glad you liked it.”

He shook his head and his grin widened as he wrapped his arms around me, holding me close. “I didn’t just like it, min kära. I loved it. Now, I believe you wanted to have a talk last night, but my anger got the better of me. Why don’t we do that now, before we go and meet up with the others?”

I nodded and rolled off him, sitting up a little and leaning back against the headboard. I wanted to remain sprawled across Eric’s chest, but this conversation was important.

“You’re starting to worry me, lover,” my vampire confessed, his voice laced with a multitude of emotions I couldn’t even begin to fathom. I took his hands in mine, offering some physical comfort.

“I don’t want to worry you, Eric. You have nothing to worry about, I’m here with you and I wouldn’t change that for the world okay? There are just a few things I’d like to know and get off my chest,” I told him honestly; rubbing my thumbs over the back of his large, cool hands.

With a nod Eric slipped into silence, waiting for me to go first. I decided that I would start with the biggest topic, the one thing that had been nagging at me ever since Ata had mentioned it. “The third bond,” I started cautiously, last night’s argument fresh in my mind. “Why did you never mention that it would be practically like marriage?” I asked, hoping I had removed all hints of accusation from my tone.

My Viking sighed, a very human-like gesture, and clenched my hands a little tighter in his own. “I was going to discuss it with you after you and Pam had sorted things out between you, obviously, you did that last night, so this conversation comes as no surprise to me. I didn’t mention it before, however, because, I guess, I was worried about your reaction,” Eric shrugged. Was he worried about my reaction? Well, at least he was starting to understand that I didn’t take too kindly to high-handedness. Last night’s discussion hit me full force again, and I knew, without a doubt, that I could be just as high-handed as he could. I sighed in frustration. I was about to open my mouth to tell him how I felt when he let go of one of my hands, holding his hand up in a gesture asking me to wait for a moment: Shutting my mouth, I complied.

“I was worried about your reaction and how you would take it. I love you Sookie, you know that, and I’ve never wanted to bond with someone even once as much as I do you. I know, though, that to you, marriage is different.” He gave me an affectionate smile before continuing.

“In my human days, I was forced to marry, it was an obligation: It was never for love. With you though it’s different. I want to bind myself to you, and you to me, in every possible way, be it a marriage of my kind, a marriage in the way of the fae, or a human marriage. I will not allow anyone to take you from me.” His voice took on a firm and slightly aggressive tone as he ended his speech. It felt good to be wanted so badly, to have someone as beautiful and strong as Eric want someone like me. I’d grown up being called a ‘freak’ or ‘crazy Sookie’ and now my life was so much better than any of theirs. With supernaturals I no longer felt like a freak, nor did I feel crazy: I felt accepted and cherished, and Eric always made sure to tell me how much he loved me every day.

“You don’t know how much it means to me, to know someone like you wants to bind themselves forever to someone like me. It’s just a lot for me to take in. I grew up with very few friends, listening to people’s taunts and name calling every day, I had to listen to how boys thought of me and at a young age I simply accepted that I would never get married, I would never have children, I would never get to have my white picket fence. The fact that you’re giving me a chance to get married, after believing for so long that it would never happen for me, it’s a lot for me to take in and believe.” I dropped my gaze to my lap, I went to pull my hands from Eric’s so I could fidget with them to work off some of my nervousness but his grip on me tightened a little: He wasn’t ready to let go, the thought of which caused a small smile to appear.

“I would give you the world if I could, my Sookie. Although bonding three times would be seen as a marriage of sorts, only by pledging with the knife would it be official and recognised by all supernatural beings all around the world. Should we bond three times no one would be able to take you from me on pain of death, no one would be able to taste you, or hurt you, or bond themselves to you. You would be mine, just mine” Eric explained.

Sighing, I shook my head. My Viking never learnt. “I don’t want to be possessed Eric, I’m not an asset.”

Something akin to anger flared across Eric’s eyes before disappearing, his displeasure reverberated through our bond, “I would never think of you as an asset, Sookie. I’ll admit that at first, I did, but no longer. You are your own person and I respect that about you, I love you for it. At the moment, though, those in the supernatural world see you as a possession. Only by bonding three times and pledging by the knife would others treat you as their equal. I’m sure, though, that there are times where you like to have your body possessed, yes?” he leered. Trust Eric to take a serious conversation and throw in a sexual innuendo.

Rolling my eyes at his comment, I chose to ignore it and focus on the seriousness of the subject. “Don’t take this the wrong way, I love you so much, but why would you want to bind yourself to me? I’m sure over the years you’ve had countless women, all far more beautiful and skilled than me. I’m just a waitress from a backwater town in Louisiana, nothing special,” I shrugged. I wasn’t playing the pity card or the guilt card, I was simply telling the truth. Eric had probably been with supermodels and heiresses in his 1,000 years, yet he wanted to spend the rest of eternity with me. I wasn’t unfortunate looking if I did say so myself, but I wasn’t supermodel material either. I wasn’t particularly skilled in the bedroom, heck Bill had been a bit of a prude in the bedroom and we had only ever engaged in your regular old normal sex. The one night I’d spent with Eric, during his period of amnesia, had been far better than anything else in the world, far better than anything I could have imagined or pictured over the years.

“Oh, my Sookie,” Eric cooed, taking my face between his large palms, “I would have never thought that you would have believed so little about yourself given your fiery and passionate nature. Do you want to know why I want to bind myself to you? Why I love you?” he asked, stroking his thumbs across my cheekbones, his cerulean orbs blazing with compassion.

Giving a small nod of my head I felt a little embarrassed by my insecurity, but my Viking launched into the many reasons he loved me, and why he wanted to be with me forever. “You were tormented by your peers for your whole life, you were bullied and thought of in such cruel terms, yet you are still a good and honest person. Your heart is in the right place, you’re unselfish, you’re compassionate, and you’re affectionate to those you don’t know very well. Let us not forget that you’re always smiling, always making the best out of situations. My kind have done nothing but drag you into trouble, covet you and abuse you, and you still stand strong, you’re still willing to put up with us, you even rescue vampires who are complete strangers from the true death.

“You told me there was goodness in me that broke your heart, well; the goodness in you breaks mine. I merely existed before you, my Sookie, but now I’m living. I look forward to every night, unsure of what adventure it will bring. You surprise me and keep me on edge, and although at times you can infuriate me, as I infuriate you, I could never hate you, I could not love you. I don’t care that you believe yourself as ‘unskilled’ as other women because it means I get to teach you everything. No other has ever been able to wake me as you did tonight, because I have never shared a resting place with another, other than my Maker and my Progeny, and I will always treasure that. As selfish as it may seem, I will be the only one to ever be on the receiving end of your lovemaking, and that makes me a very happy vampire indeed,” he whispered, pressing a tender kiss to my forehead, another to my nose, and to each cheek, until finally he captured my lips with his own. There was no rush, we were simply savouring one another, and I could feel my tears as they rolled down my cheeks. Bill may have claimed to be romantic, but Eric was stealing his crown. I snorted, there was nothing to steal, really, since Eric was the King of the romantics. Bill could only hope to be in his shadow.

As we pulled away from our kiss, I couldn’t help but smile. Eric looked at me intuitively as his thumbs swept away my tears, which he popped into his mouth, groaning in appreciation at the taste.

“Is there something funny about what I just said, my Sookie? He asked, truly curious.

I shook my head, “Not really. A thought just flashed through my mind, that’s all,” I was too embarrassed to tell him my thoughts.

“Just what was this thought, my love?” He asked anyway, quirking an eyebrow.

I sighed and covered my face with my hands as I shook my head, “It’s too embarrassing.”

He took my hands in his again, and pulled them away from my face, “It’s just you and me in a soundproofed room, Sookie. There is nothing you could say or do which could make me think less of you.”

I sighed, “You really want to know?” He nodded his head as he brushed my knuckles with his thumbs. I sighed again, loudly, “Alright, you asked for it. I was just thinking that you are the King of romantics, Bill could only hope to be in your shadow.”

He laughed. I jerked my hands from his and scowled, but he took my hands back into his and captured my gaze, “I wasn’t laughing at you Sookie. I was laughing because I’m happy. I’m pleased that my woman is happy, and that she enjoys the attention of her vampire as much as I enjoy giving it to her.”

“Man. My man enjoys pleasing me,” I corrected him gently, causing him to frown.

“You don’t think of me as a vampire?” He asked, his curiosity almost palpable through our bond.

Shaking my head, I locked eyes with my ancient vampire. “I know you are one, and I love you for it, and would never change what you are, but to me, you’re more man than a vampire. You have feelings, even if you don’t like to show them and you always do the right thing, even if it means putting yourself in danger. You didn’t have to walk out into the sunshine and silver yourself to Russell, you didn’t have to die out there with him and yet you were willing to do so, not only to rid the world of him, but also to stop him from getting to me. It wasn’t your place to save everyone else, yet you did so because you have a good heart. During the day, to me, you’re sleeping. I don’t think of you as ‘dead for the day’ and you most certainly don’t look it. When you’re sleeping, all the worry lines around your eyes and mouth are gone, your bangs fall into your face and you look so peaceful. Seeing you in your day sleep when I wake is the best start to my day. You think the best of me all the time, even when I’ve done something wrong, and I will always think the very best of you,” I told him truthfully, pushing all the love I had for my beautiful man through our bond.

Eric swooped in, his lips capturing mine in a searing kiss. Moulding us together his tongue swiped across my lower lip before he drew the flesh into his mouth, sucking on it. Unable to stop my groan, he swallowed the sound before sliding his tongue into my mouth. Meeting it with my own, my arms found themselves around his neck. Curling my tongue upwards, I brushed it behind Eric’s front teeth, his fangs popping down with the action. “There they are,” I breathed, peeling my lips from my Viking’s. The moment Eric offered me a fangy smile I couldn’t help but lean forward and kiss each sharp point, drawing a groan from him. Knowing I could elicit such a sound from such an ancient being was empowering. There was more to be discussed, however, so I moved out of his grasp, much to his dismay

“Tell me about why you called me in to read your employees, surely you could just glamour them, why did you need to bring me in?” I ordered softly. It was time for us to lay our cards on the table and be open and honest with one another, deal with the events of the past and move forward.

An almost embarrassed smile ghosted over Eric’s lips as he retracted his fangs, the little click of them sliding back into place gave me shivers, the good kind. “I’d already glamoured them. Ginger’s mind was too scrambled for me to be able to get a clear answer from her though and Bruce was a nervous wreck: Those who are too nervous are difficult to glamour,” He explained.

“I also saw it as an opportunity to see how your telepathy worked, to spend more time around you. I’ll admit that back then I wanted you as my own, as my pet, more than a true companion.” He almost seemed nervous to tell me that.

“Why didn’t you just take me from Bill? He said you could do that,” I asked, frowning at the thought of being taken from someone as if I were a piece of property.

Eric’s features hardened and he leant in close to me; there was no aggression on his face, instead he was a picture of firm honesty. “I wanted you to come to me of your own accord, I wanted you to want me. I would have never forced you to be mine, even though I may have threatened it on occasion. I’m not that sort of vampire.”

“Man.” I corrected

Another smile ghosted over Eric’s lips, “man,” he corrected his earlier statement.

“See,” I said with a brilliant smile, “That, right there is why I love you.” At his look of confusion, I clarified. “You would never have taken me by force. You wanted me to make up my own mind about whom I wanted to be with.” He smiled and nodded so I continued, “What did you and Bill discuss when I was in the ladies room having Pam pull pieces of vampire out of my cleavage?” I quirked an eyebrow challenging him to tell me the truth, even if it was something I didn’t wish to hear.

“Pam was pulling vampire from your cleavage? What a shame I wasn’t there to witness it.” He gave me his signature smirk, which I felt the urge to slap off his handsome face if he continued to dodge my question. Shuffling on the bed, Eric propped himself up against the headboard, his long legs stretched three-quarters of the way down the bed. “We were discussing his punishment for staking a vampire.”

“If Bill hadn’t saved me, would you have swooped in like a white knight and rescued me?” I interrupted, batting my eyelashes at him in a teasing gesture.

With a roll of his eyes and a small smile, he responded, “I would have pulled Longshadow off you and dealt with him in my own manner away from witnesses. Bill’s mistake was having witnesses, which is why he was forced to create Jessica. If he had staked Longshadow in private, then it would have been a completely different case,” he responded nonchalantly.

“Did you at least offer him an alternative?”

At that question, Eric cringed, “I told him I would let it slide if he were to give you to me,” he confessed.

Red-hot fury poured through my veins at his words, I was not something to be passed along from vampire to vampire. I couldn’t be owned, I was my own person, and yet every vampire I had ever met had wanted to use me, to treat me like an object rather than the woman I was. “You wanted to take me from Bill as if I were a piece of property that could change hands?” I snapped, not realising that my anger was pouring through our bond.

“Something about you being with him was wrong,” Eric’s answer was sharp and I immediately felt my anger dial up another notch.

“Oh? So my being with him was wrong, was it? What made you think being with you would have been any better?” I hissed, unsure where this anger had come from. Eric had just told me that he no longer thought of me as a pet, as property.

Before I had time to realise what was going on my back was to the wall and Eric’s large frame was holding me in place, his faces inches from mine, fangs down. “Because I would not have betrayed you! Because I was not sent by the Queen to procure you, to take your innocence under false pretences!”

As his words sank into my brain I froze, “You knew…you knew he was sent to procure me and yet you never did anything to stop him, you never even warned me,” I whispered, the hurt stabbing at my heart like a knife. He’d known that Bill was after me, yet he’d sat there and let it happen, even though he was claiming that back then he wanted me.

“It took me a while to figure it out, but once I knew what was going on I tried to get you away from him, or are you forgetting the fact that my blood ended up in your system and, as you put it, you ‘started to question Bill from that moment on’ hm?” There was no space between our faces now; Eric’s nose was pressed against mine, his blue eyes staring into mine.

“You knew in Dallas? You knew then, and you waited another month to tell me?” I raised my voice, using my one free hand to thump him on the chest. Of course, my punch did nothing to him, but it relieved some of the anger inside of me.

“I’m a vampire Sookie, an opportunist. I waited for the right moment and acted. You cannot fault me on that!”

With a speed I didn’t know I possessed, I brought my hand up, slapping him in the exact same manner I’d done the moment I’d woken from the maenad’s poison in Fangtasia. A low growl of frustration from Eric only spurred on my anger. “You prolonged my fake relationship, and therefore my agony, for your own personal gain? Do you have any idea how angry and upset I was when I found out! If you hadn’t been such a fucking ass and just swallowed your pride and told me the moment you’d found out I wouldn’t have gone to faery and lost a year of my life, I would have left Bill sooner and who knows, maybe I would have been your pet sooner too, if that’s all you care about.” I had to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall. I would not cry. I’d cried far too much these past few weeks.

“Do not assume that all I cared about was having you as my pet, I could have anyone in the world as my pet,” he hissed and I felt a stab of hurt, not only because he had referred to me as an asset once more, but also because he had told me he could have had anyone. Surely, he could remember how much the thought of him being with someone else hurt me, how I had fretted moments ago over why he had wanted me over them. “But instead I wanted you as my companion, my bonded, my everything. I still do and, for God’s sake woman, you infuriate the hell out of me sometimes but that doesn’t mean I love you any less! You had to see what Bill was really like, you had to leave him of your own accord so you could close that chapter of your life and move the fuck on, and I’m sorry you were hurt in the process. I’m sorry you lost a year of your life and, for fuck’s sake,” he growled, “I’ll spend the rest of God damn eternity making it up to you if that’s what you want!” He roared, his once calm blue eyes now a stormy sea of emotions. He’d partly closed our bond, and without thinking about it I prodded it before ripping it open, wanting to feel everything he was feeling, and for him to feel everything I was feeling.

“Do not hide your emotions from me! If we’re going to bond permanently I want no secrets! No hiding from me anymore! I want to feel everything!” I ordered angrily.

“You want to feel everything? FINE.” My clothes were gone and with an angry thrust, Eric pushed inside of me. I hadn’t been ready for him and there was some pain, but I had no time to recover from it as Eric took up a sharp and quick pace, pounding into me with everything he had. My head tipped back involuntarily, a strangled groan leaving my roughly parted lips at the combination of both pleasure and pain. “Feel. Everything,” he grunted, forcing his current emotions through our bond.

Anger, hurt, need, want, lust, frustration, fear, awe, adoration, and love. Pure and utterly unconditional love.

Unable to hold back my tears any longer, I allowed them to travel down my face as I met every roll of his hips, every thrust. We moved together, perfectly in sync. There was no sweetness to this sex, it was claiming and aggressive, needy and angry, but it was still as wonderful as always. “You. Are. Mine. No one will ever take you from me!” Eric growled out, continuing to pound into me.

With every thrust I felt my insides coiling, shoving me closer to the golden edge. His lips attacked mine, possessing my mouth, and our teeth clashed, our tongues fought for dominance. His hands went to my hair and he grabbed hold of me firmly, knotting his fingers into the blonde strands. My own hands knotted in his golden mane and I tugged sharply, causing my Viking to growl loudly. One of his fangs nicked my bottom lip and he drank greedily from the wound, his tongue laving over the small incision moments later to seal it. Tearing my mouth away from his I panted, moaning as his every thrust brought with it delicious friction.

“Come with me,” he ordered, one of his hands sliding down between us to furiously rub at the little bundle of nerves at the apex of my thighs. Feeling his cool hand on my heated core was my undoing; the coil inside of me tightened a little more before it finally gave out, snapping apart.

“Eric!” I screamed, my orgasm ripping through my body, tearing away at my control. My mental shields were blown to shreds, my body trembling and quivering. In a flash, Eric’s fangs were buried in my breast, ripping another orgasm from me, which caused me to howl out. This time Eric’s own release joined with mine, and his lips and fangs left contact with my body long enough for my own name to tumble loudly from his perfect lips.

Still trembling with the aftershocks of two intense orgasms, Eric bent his head to seal the marks he had left behind. “Drink,” I ordered, raising a shaky hand to run it through his messy hair. Without sparing a moment, Eric’s fangs sank back into their previous puncture marks and he started to take deep pulls. Gasping at the sensation, I encouraged him to take more, feeling a primitive need to not only nourish him but to have as much of my blood as possible in his system, to claim him as he had claimed me.

After a minute or so his pulls stopped, I felt a little light-headed but it was worth it to see the pink tinge to his cheeks. Piercing his tongue, he sealed the puncture wounds before kissing the tender spot where they had just been. Looking up at me from under his thick lashes, he soon nuzzled into my neck, inhaling my scent. Wrapping my arms around him, I used him as support to keep me up against the wall. A thought occurred to me and it amused me. I was using Eric for support. I’d been using him as support all along, every time I had been in danger he had come for me, every time I had needed him he had helped, he’d kept me grounded and treated me as an equal when I’d been thrown into the supernatural world. Snorting lightly at my sudden epiphany, I couldn’t help but smile. “I love you, my big idiotic Viking,” I whispered.

Pulling his head back from my neck, a warm smile graced Eric’s perfectly pouty lips, “I love you too, my feisty little faery,” he responded in a murmur, leaning in to press a kiss to my lips. This time the action was soft and gentle, filled with tender adoration and caring.

“Thank you, by the way,” Eric whispered against my lips.

“What for?” I asked just as quietly, a light frown crossing my face as I stroked his cheek gently.

“Rescuing Godric, bringing him back to me. I never thanked you for it. Sending you into the Fellowship was a risky move; I regret that you were nearly tainted. I love Godric and I love you, I couldn’t have dealt with it if either of you had of been hurt, be it physically or emotionally.” His fingers brushed through my hair, removing the knots from our rough lovemaking.

“It’s nice to know you would have felt bad had I been raped,” I forced a smile, trying to forget the memory.

Eric raised a finger to my lips, silencing me. “Shh, please don’t speak of it. I don’t like to think of what could have happened to you, min älskling.” He pressed another kiss to my lips. Sliding his hands beneath me, he supported my small weight before carrying me over to the bed, slipping out of me in the process. As my back hit the soft duvet, I pulled Eric down with me, his weight offered me a sense of security, and I couldn’t help but kiss his strongly defined collarbones.

“You protected me from the bomb, thank you,” I whispered, remembering how Eric had thrown himself over me to stop me from getting hurt. While he had then used the situation to get his blood into my system, he’d acted on impulse, and to know his impulsive actions were to protect me was heart-warming and showed his true colours.

“I would take every bomb in the world, and every bullet, if it meant you were kept alive and safe,” he murmured, his lips ghosting over my forehead. I could feel the sincerity of his words through the bond; though even without the bond it would have been obvious just how much he meant it.

“And I would do the same for you,” I told him honestly, sealing my words with a light kiss and roll of my hips. Eric suddenly growled lowly, screwing his eyes shut and burying his face in the dip of my throat. “What’s the matter?” I asked in slight panic, stroking his hair reassuringly.

“If you do that once more, I’m going to have no choice but to fuck you again.” He whispered, looking up. His gaze was lustful, and I could see the sharp ends of his fangs peeking out from behind his lips.

I smiled, trying to hide my arousal, and lifted my hands to trace his features. My fingers dipped between his lips, caressing the smooth front of his fangs. Eric shuddered, eyes closing at the contact. “You know, Godric isn’t the only one who can do wonderful things with his tongue,” He purred, flicking his tongue out to lave at my fingers before he sucked on the digits. Sinful. He was utterly sinful.

Moaning at the sensation, Eric’s breathy chuckle caressed my ears, my fingers sliding from his mouth “We still haven’t finished our conversation,” I pointed out quietly, trying with all my might to remain focused. That was difficult, however, with a 6’4, 200 pound Viking completely naked on top of me, his stirring manhood resting against my thighs.

Sighing, he slid his fangs back, only to then start trailing wet kisses along my jaw line, down my throat and to my breasts. A strangled moan escaped me as he sucked one nipple into his mouth. “Eric,” I breathed, trying furiously to reclaim my breath and my focus.

“Don’t fight me, lover. Let go,” he murmured against my skin. My back arched at his ministrations as he expertly palmed my other breast.

“Our talk,”

“After you’ve screamed my name again,” Eric ordered, shutting down the conversation. His tongue was working its magic on my dusky nub and after spending a minute or so working me into a frenzy he swapped over, taking my other nipple into his mouth, working it perfectly. His large hand cupped my free breast, rolling and pinching my swollen nipple. Crying out at the sensation, I knotted my hands in his golden hair, tugging at his scalp. Eric growled, his chest vibrating against my stomach, adding to the tightening sensation in my lower abdomen.

Finally freeing my breasts from his hands and mouth, he grabbed my wrists, slowly moving my hands to my chest. “Touch yourself,” he ordered in a husky voice as he laved kisses down my stomach. I felt self-conscious: I’d pleasured myself before, of course, but never, ever, in front of another. I’d never touched myself, in that way, in front of another. Sensing my tinge of embarrassment, my Viking raised his head, looking up along my body. “For me,” he whispered pleadingly, guilt tripping me as he dropped kisses to my hipbones, his eyes locked on mine. Nibbling the inside of my lip, I slowly started to fondle myself, rubbing my nipples between my fingers. My embarrassment started to decrease as I looked at Eric, his eyes locked on mine, hungry with need. I felt desired, wanted, treasured. “My beautiful, good girl,” he whispered, his eyes leaving mine for a moment to watch as I touched myself before he continued on his downward trail, stopping to kiss the little bundle of nerves at the apex of my legs.

I quivered under his lips, feeling the coil inside myself tightening. His cool hands brushed against the inside of my thighs and slowly he parted them, his lips moving downwards to my heated core. Suckling at my tender flesh, my Viking groaned in what I assumed was pleasure, if the feelings bouncing through our bond were anything to go by. My hands stilled as my back arched, Eric’s name tumbling from me like a mantra as he used his lips, tongue and teeth to bring me indescribable pleasure. Bill had never done anything like this for me; he was far too much of a prude. Feeling in need of some more physical contact with my beautiful Viking, my hands left my chest, knotting themselves once again in his soft hair. I pulled him closer.

Without warning, Eric’s tongue plunged into me and I screamed out at the sensation, digging my nails into his scalp. My actions caused him to growl and the sound vibrated in his mouth, transferring to my aching core. Tipping my head back, I felt myself racing towards my release, Eric’s tongue, lips and teeth continuing their merciless torture. “I want to taste you. Come for me, lover,” he grunted, raising a hand to rub his calloused thumb vigorously over my little bundle of nerves.

That was all it took to send me over the edge and, screaming out Eric’s name, my release took over my entire body, coursing through my veins. He lapped up everything I gave him and, as my body shuddered and quivered with the aftershocks of my release, my Viking looked up at me with a roguish smile, sliding back up my frame to press his lips firmly to mine. “Taste yourself,” he whispered, encouraging me. Pressing his lips back to mine, his mouth opened and I took the invitation, sliding my tongue into his waiting mouth. Groaning at the intimacy of the action, I felt my Viking smile against my lips before he slowly pulled away, rolling us over so I rested on his chest, my head right above his still heart.

“Carry on with the conversation, min kärlek?” Eric stroked my hair, moving it off my slightly sweaty back. That was the one thing I disliked about sex with vampires, they didn’t tire as easily or sweat. I always felt disgustingly human around them during, and after, lovemaking.

Trying to get my breathing under control, I finally managed to gasp out my thoughts, “I can’t remember what I was going to say,” I confessed.

Eric’s laughter was beautiful, and his chest rose and fell with the sound, the deep rich sound truly intoxicating. “Good, that means I’ve done my job right.”

Feeling a little nervous, I once again nibbled on my lower lip, “Will you let me return the favour?” I asked shyly, looking up at him from under my eyelashes in what I hoped was a demure manner as I allowed one of my hands to trail down his perfectly sculpted body, over his flat stomach to his hipbones before continuing downwards. Grasping his manhood, he hissed at the feel of my warm hand on his cold flesh, I could almost feel his conflict over the situation. Sure I’d woken him up in a pleasurable manner, but the fact Eric had been resting when I’d started had soothed my nerves.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Most women don’t,” he grunted, thrusting his hips up into my hand. I harrumphed at the thought of Eric with other women, but I pressed kisses along his jaw line, nipping his neck as a moan escaped his lips. I smiled as I recalled how much he enjoyed having his neck kissed and nibbled. Spending some more time on his neck, I left wet open-mouthed kisses on my way down, licking his collarbones before continuing downwards. Dragging my nose through his light smattering of blonde chest hair, my free hand ghosted down his side, tracing his firm muscles. Watching Eric as I worked, his head tipped back as he moaned out my name, thrusting his hips upwards once more into my waiting hand. I felt powerful. I had my beautiful thousand-year-old Viking as putty in my hands.

Finally, I reached my destination, my free hand resting on Eric’s hip. I wasn’t completely naïve, Eric’s wake up call was case in point, but Eric was known for his sexual prowess and I didn’t want to disappoint him. Flicking my tongue out, I gave him a lick, the groan tumbling from his lips encouraging me further.

Giving him several more licks, I took as much of him as possible into my mouth. Eric hissed at my actions. “Fuck, Sookie,” his breath came out raggedly. His hips moved upwards and I was forced to place a hand on his stomach in an attempt to keep him down. It was futile given his immense strength. Bobbing my head, I moved my tongue over him, taking as much of him as possible into my mouth. It was Eric’s turn to tangle his hands in my hair and the groans falling from his lips were encouraging me. Feeling brave, I decided it was time to pull out my secret weapon.

Slowly I took all of Eric in, controlling my breathing so that I wouldn’t suffocate. It had been an accident, discovering my lack of gag reflex. Gran had taken me to the doctors for a suspected throat infection, and when the doctor had used a tongue depressor to see the back of my throat I hadn’t gagged. Gran had been worried about my lack of reaction, but the doctor had told her that quite a few people had a lack of gag reflex.

I knew I’d done something right the moment Eric started to chant my name, his head tipped backwards further than it had before, and his eyes were screwed shut. Swallowing hard, I could feel Eric’s manhood pulsing in my throat as he howled out. Pulling back slightly, I kept only the head of him in my mouth, licking it insistently, covering it in kisses as my hands worked his shaft. I could feel him start to pulse in my hand, the salty taste of his pre-cum coating my tongue.

Monitoring the bond, I could feel that he was fast approaching his release, so after a few more bobs of my head, I took all of him into my mouth once again, swallowing. With a roar, Eric let go, his body arching as his orgasm swept through him. I pulled back up quickly, letting the taste of him fill my mouth. Swallowing everything he gave me, I slowly lifted away from his shaft, kissing his sensitive flesh several times before letting him go. As a vampire, he had no need to breathe, but he was panting heavily: It was flattering to my ego.

Crawling back up his body, I straddled his waist, leaning forward and resting on my arms, which sat on either side of his head. “Your turn to taste yourself,” I whispered, capturing his lips with mine in a passionate kiss. Pulling back, I let my head fall onto Eric’s broad chest.

“And there I was thinking you were a good little Christian girl,” He chuckled quietly, looking at me in awe.

“I was a good little Christian girl, but a certain Viking corrupted me,” I sassed playfully. “My Gran would be rolling in her grave if she saw me now,” I laughed. I was joking, of course, Gran would be happy for me, she would accept my choice and she would understand my need and love for Eric. She wasn’t in position to throw stones, given her affair with Fintan.

“Tell me about your Gran, she was the lady who helped to take Marnie away wasn’t she?” Eric whispered, sweeping my hair away from my face so he could press a kiss to my forehead, holding me close in his cool arms.

A small smile played across my lips as Eric asked about my Gran. This was one of the major differences between pre-amnesia Eric and post-amnesia Eric. Before his memory loss and his acceptance of our love, he probably wouldn’t have cared about my family.

Nodding my head in answer to his question, I wrapped my arms around his strong frame, allowing myself to reminisce for a while. “My Gran was always cheerful and completely honest all the time, she was caring and loving too. After my parents died she took in Jason and me, she raised us as if we were her own kids, not her grandkids. She always saw the best in people, she supported my choices and everyone in town loved her. When Tara’s mom would hit the bottle, Gran would let her stay over and would make her pancakes for breakfast, Tara pretty much lived with us, and Gran thought of her as another granddaughter. She didn’t have to take care of Jason and me, let alone take care of Tara too, but she did. She never made me feel bad about my telepathy either. If anything, she was the only person who ever thought good things about me, not once did I hear her think anything negative. She was the only one who didn’t judge me when I first started seeing Bill, I think she liked him ‘cause of how much history he’d seen,” I shrugged, snuggling into Eric.

“I wish I could have met her. You loved her very much,” he stated gently, stroking his thumbs over my forehead.

“She would’ve loved to hear about the past from you, she was fascinated with history.” I sighed, drawing patterns with my fingers on Eric’s alabaster skin. “I think she saw from Heaven how often we lock horns, though. She told me through Marnie that I shouldn’t give you my heart. At least, I think it was you she was referring to.”

I felt a tinge of sadness through the bond and looked up to Eric in curiosity. “Do you think she would have liked me, with time?” He asked quietly, his eyebrows furrowed together in thought.

“Yes,” I answered immediately, knowing Gran would have loved Eric if only she had been able to spend some time with him. I prayed she was up there watching us, not necessarily during our intimate moments, but at every other time. I found myself hoping she’d witnessed his rescue of Godric and me in the Fellowship, the moment he’d offered himself up for our freedom, how he’d protected me from the bomb in Godric’s nest, when he’d silvered himself to Russell in order to save me from him, when he’d bought my house to repair it and all the time he had spent with me during his amnesia state. Sometimes Eric’s actions were questionable, but he’d always protected me. Gran had to at least love him for that. “I’m positive of it,” I added adamantly. Although Eric wasn’t the Southern gentleman that Bill had acted like, my Viking was just as honourable and well mannered, if not more so.

“Tell me about the rest of your family.’ Eric requested, sliding his arms under my butt to pull me up on his chest, my hand now resting on his shoulder, my nose buried in his neck.

“Well, you know about my brother, Jason. He isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but he’s a good man. Whenever people used to bully me or make fun of me at school, he would stand up for me, beating up the bullies and taking their beatings himself so they’d leave me alone. He was always wary of my disability, he was always a little worried about what exactly I could hear, but I heard from his head one day that it didn’t alter how much he loved me. If anything it made him love me more ‘cause he knew that I’m special, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Everyone else used to call me ‘crazy Sookie’ and think I was mentally deficient, but Jase never did. He’s always believed there was a reason for my disability,” I explained quietly, Eric’s fingers tracing patterns over my bare back.

“Please don’t refer to your telepathy as a disability, lover. If anything, it is a gift. What I would give to know what people were thinking all the time…” He sighed wistfully, moving his hands to play with my hair.

“That’s the thing, everyone thinks it would be great but it isn’t. Knowing at the age of thirteen, when you have your first kiss, that your high school crush thinks your thighs are fat is horrible. Knowing that the towns’ residents think you’re mentally incompetent and think of you as an ‘idiot’ all the time, and more recently as some ‘fangbanging whore’ really isn’t pleasant either.” I could feel Eric’s anger flare to life through the bond but I carried on anyway.

“I’ll admit that it has its perks. I can read humans the moment I meet them and decide how much to tell them, I can figure out what species people are, it’s why I was able to tell that Ata was like me since her mind was shielded off, it has a bunch of other good uses too…” I trailed off, not really seeing any other benefits to it; I chose to keep that information to myself, though.

“Do you regret it?” Eric’s voice was a whisper, and if I didn’t know any better I would dare to say he sounded frightened.

Looking up into his beautiful blue eyes, I frowned lightly. “Regret what?” I murmured.

“Us, getting involved with my kind. You hardly spend any time in your own home these days, you hardly work anymore, and all of those rednecks think such horrible things about you,” He expanded on his question, watching for my reaction.

“I regret getting involved with Bill because of what happened, the truths that came to light, but I don’t regret being with him because he introduced me to you, and I certainly don’t regret that. Those nosy so-and-so’s in Bon Temps will think what they want regardless of the way I act, the way I dress, or the person I choose to date: That can’t be helped. I love you too much to ever even think of letting anything, or anyone, come between us,” I whispered, hiding my face back in the crook of his neck as I poured my heart out to him. “They’ve done nothing for me. You’ve done more for me in the little bit of time we’ve known one another than they’ve done for me my whole life. I don’t even think they missed me the year I was gone,” I confessed, feeling angry about the fact that no one apart from Eric, Jason, Tara and Lafayette had really, honestly cared about me during my absence. Bill only pretended to care because he was a suspect in my disappearance.

“What did you do in the year I was away?” I asked, wondering what my Viking had been up to. Eric stiffened and our bond was flooded with fear and sadness, almost like depression, and it tried to suck me down with it. Gasping, I screwed my eyes shut, fighting back by pushing love and happiness, adoration and comfort through the bond. For several minutes, we battled until finally, I felt the negative emotions inside of Eric start to recede. Continuing to push my feelings across the bond, I slowly opened my eyes and gasped at the sight that greeted me. My Eric, my beautiful Viking warrior, had blood tracks down his cheeks from his tears. Scrambling up, I cupped his face in my hands, resting our foreheads together to stare into his endless eyes. “Tell me what happened,” I ordered gently, stroking his cheeks with my fingers.

I could see and feel his inner battle, so I sent a large wave of determination and strength to him. He gave me a small smile, whispering his thanks before falling silent for a moment. “I first realised I was strongly attached to you when I felt the compulsion to get my blood into your system. I didn’t want you with Bill, I felt like you were mine, and not in a possessive way. It felt, to me, that we were supposed to be together, enjoy one another. I refused to acknowledge my feelings, though, which is why I probably came across as a bit of an ass at times. I won’t apologise for that, though, it’s part of my charm,” he offered me a small smile and I couldn’t help but return it.

“The year you were away, though, it was the hardest year of my life, and that’s saying something given how old I am. It was during that year that I realised that I was in love with you, or ‘whipped’ as Pam told me. I bought your house and turned it into my own little project. I built the cubby first so I wouldn’t have to leave for the day; I conducted my Sheriff duties from your dining room table. If I couldn’t be around you, then I wanted to be around your things. I had allies all over the world looking for you. I told them you were my bonded because I was worried that, should one of them find you and smell you, they would want you for their own. Jason was calling my bar every night to see if I had found anything, he came over to your place once or twice a week to bring me some donor blood he’d managed to grab from the hospital. He helped me pick out things you’d like and, I’ll even admit, he told me some stories from your childhood,” he confessed, wearing a smile that a naughty schoolboy would be proud of.

Groaning at the realisation that Jason probably exposed all my embarrassing secrets to Eric, I hid my face away from him. Eric chuckled and his chest vibrated beneath me before he pulled my face up, his eyes lit up with mirth. I would take the embarrassment if it meant I wouldn’t feel such deep depression from my Viking ever again. There were something he wasn’t telling me but I wasn’t about to push him for it, at least not now. “Don’t worry, lover, they weren’t that bad. But I do wonder, how on earth did you manage to get a bean sprout stuck up your nose?” I was mortified, utterly mortified. Jason had told him about the time, when I’d been six, that I’d shoved a bean sprout up my nose because I didn’t want to eat it and I thought that by covering it in boogers mom and dad wouldn’t make me eat it.

Sensing my growing embarrassment, my Viking moved on with the topic. “Who else is there in your family?” What prompted my next actions was beyond me, but I moved so I could easily reach Eric’s face, straddling him. With gentle kitten-licks, I cleaned the blood from his cheeks. Eric’s eyes fell shut, a sense of relaxation seeping into our bond. I worked for a few minutes while we sat in comfortable silence, Eric’s large hands rubbing circles on my hips. When I’d cleaned off all the blood, I pressed my lips to his in a chaste kiss. Eric returned my kiss, giving my hips a gentle squeeze before I pulled back. I watched as his eyes opened, traces of blood long gone.

“There’s Hadley, but you’ve already met her. Why did you send her to me by the way?” I carried on our conversation. I frowned, remembering how frightened Hadley had been, how worried she’d acted. I’d learnt that night that it was her fault I’d ended up in this vampire mess, and while I was angry at her for blabbing about me, I couldn’t blame her entirely. She was a lost soul and thought she could find some happiness with the Queen. I had no idea where she was now that Sophie-Ann was truly dead.

“It was daytime. I had to stay up and catch her when she was away from Sophie-Anne. I also knew, at that point in time, that you’d hear her out more than you’d hear me out,” he responded without even a tinge of misdirection or deceit. I was pleased that we were being open with one another; it was a wonderful change from the deceit and manipulation I had experienced with Bill.

“How did you know we were related?” I wanted to know as much as possible.

“I went to speak with Sophie-Ann when you had the maenad problem. Your cousin recognised Bon Temps when I mentioned it and asked me how you were, referring to you as her cousin. She’d already told Sophie-Ann, or she’d been glamoured into it. When Russell went to propose to Sophie-Ann, to form an alliance, your cousin was still there. I wanted to know why Sophie-Ann had such a keen interest in you so I used Hadley against her. I tasted her in front of the Queen and she sat back and watched, refusing to tell me anything. Your cousin’s survival instinct kicked in and she whispered to me what she’d heard from Sophie-Ann, that you were part fae. I knew then I had to protect you from her,” Eric explained. I couldn’t help but feel angry that he’d bitten my cousin and strangely jealous that he’d tasted her. I loved Hadley dearly but she was a mess. She’d been a drug addict, had gotten herself tangled up with vampires and had taken little care of her son, preferring to spend time with Sophie-Ann The thought of Eric with his fangs in her neck frustrated me.

Quirking an eyebrow at me, I could feel Eric’s amusement and love for me through our bond. “Jealous?” He teased.

Deciding to ignore him, knowing full well he could feel how jealous I was, I carried on with the conversation. “Tell me you healed her fang marks?” I demanded, wanting Eric to show courtesy to my family, even if said family member was a little undeserving.

With a nod, he gave me a warm smile, “I healed her and gave her my blood so that I would be able to track her should you ever wish to speak with her. The connection is very faint, though, almost unidentifiable.” He frowned.

My emotions were a jumble of jealousy and appreciation; Hadley had my Viking’s blood in her veins when it shouldn’t have been there, but at the same time he had thought of me when giving it to her.

Not wanting to talk about Hadley and her fucked up past, Eric continued. “What about your other family members? Any Uncles and Aunts?”

It was unstoppable; the mention of my Uncle caused my whole body to tense and my blood ran cold. Instantaneously our positions were flipped and I was beneath Eric, his strong body above me, his hands holding my face, and his eyes full of concern. “Sookie, what’s wrong? Tell me, please,” he begged, stroking my face, his eyes never leaving mine. Although I was looking at my Eric, all I could see was my Uncle Bartlett, the way he’d thought such disgusting things about me, how he’d wanted to abuse me, how he’d threatened me about telling someone on the few occasions he had touched me. Unable to stop the memories from playing through my head, I choked back a sob.

Promptly I was sat upright, Eric kneeling in front of me. His strong arms were wrapped around me, holding me to him, my face buried in his chest. Pulling my emotions under control, I focused on my breathing and the rhythmic stroking of my hair courtesy of Eric. “I don’t want to push you, min kära, but please tell me what the matter is,” he asked me gently, brushing his lips over my forehead.

“I had an Uncle. Bill killed him,” I croaked, pulling my head back from Eric’s bare chest to wipe my tears. Eric stilled my hands, leaning in to lick away the moisture. What was it with vampires and human body fluids? I guess I was no better, given my earlier licking of Eric’s tears.

“Why did he kill him, min älskling?” He smoothed my hair from my face, lifting my chin so I was forced to look at him.

“He used to think inappropriate things about me, h-he acted upon those thoughts a few times. He threatened me, told me not to tell anyone, but I eventually did. My parents didn’t believe me when I told them; they thought I was being stupid and acting out for attention. Gran believed me, though; when she took me in, she chased him away and told him to never come back. She chased away her own brother Eric, her own flesh and blood, because of me.” I babbled, wanting to get it all out in the open. Bill’s blood had influenced my initial confession, but this time I was telling Eric of my own accord, and it felt good to confide in someone.

The rage and anger pouring through the bond were crippling, and I cried out at the feel of it. I felt our bond shut down a little and sobbed in relief. I didn’t like our bond being closed so much, but Eric’s emotions were overpowering. “At least Compton did one thing right. I just wish I could bring the fucker back so I could kill him for you all over again,” he snarled, every piece of my innocent and sweet vampire gone. He was pure menace, pure anger and aggression. He was beautiful, both when he was sweet and when he was angry. He was the perfect vampire. I found myself distantly thinking that once again Godric had chosen his progeny well.

“It’s done, Eric. I can’t go back and change what happened. He left me some money in his will but I gave it to Jason, I didn’t want it and he had some nerve leaving it to me,” I muttered, curling myself back up against Eric’s sturdy and reassuring chest. His arms wrapped back around me and he nuzzled me, slowly opening our bond up once more. He was still angry but the anger had subsided a little.

“I’m sorry I mentioned it, min älskling. I had no idea. I’m so sorry. He can’t get to you now, though, no one will ever get to you like that again,” he vowed, pressing a kiss to the top of my head.

I felt safe in Eric’s arms, loved and cherished. He knew how to take care of me even though it had been so long since he had been human, and it made me feel warm inside knowing he was trying his best to keep me happy. As if reading my mind, my Viking broke the silence. “What will make you the happiest in this world, my Sookie? You deserve every ounce of happiness on this planet.”

I couldn’t help but smile at his level of concern and honesty; I had never thought that such a beautiful and caring man lay underneath the cold and tough vampire Sheriff. I was honoured that Eric allowed me to see that side of him, but I was well aware it would only occur in private. He had an image to maintain, and I had no problem with that: I was used to pretending to be something I wasn’t.

“You. You make me happy. You’re all I want,” I stated, knowing it was cliché, but it was still true.

“I know I make you happy, as you make me happy, but what is it you really want? Deep down? Do you still want to marry, to have children, to have your white picket fence?” He moved and stretched out on the bed and pulled me down beside him, pulling the covers over our naked bodies before drawing me close to him, our bodies moulding to one another’s.

“Every Southern girl wants those things,” I responded cryptically.

“I have plenty of money Sookie, let me buy us a white picket fence house, we can decorate it to be just as you like it, I’ll even get a Viking-sized bed in the new cubby so we can sleep with one another every night.” His hands roamed over my hips and I found myself struggling to hold back tears, feeling overly emotional because of the raw feelings in our bond.

“You want to buy a house with me? Move in together?” I whispered, unsure if I had heard him correctly.

With a nod, Eric confirmed my thoughts, “I want to fall asleep beside you every sunrise, and rise every sunset with you by my side. I want to go out into the garden at night and see all the flowers you’ve planted in the day. I want to smell cookies and cakes and everything else you create with your hands.” He took my left hand in his own, raising it to his lips to brush a kiss across the back. “I want to be surrounded by your things and wash my clothes with yours so they carry your scent.” He kissed each of my fingers, pausing at my ring finger. “I want to put a diamond on this finger, to introduce you to everyone as my wife,” he told me. His honesty and sincerity were palpable, even without the bond. His statements left me slack-jawed, unable to form a coherent sentence. Was Eric Northman proposing?

“Once we are pledged, I vow to you that I will find the most beautiful diamond in existence and have it crafted for your hand. We won’t go to Vermont. Instead, we’ll go back to the old world, to my home country. Marriages between vampires and humans are legal there.” His eyes lit up with excitement, and I was pretty sure mine looked just the same. Ata had told me that Eric loved me dearly, that he wished to spoil me and show me how he loved me, that he wasn’t buying me things to make me feel bad but to try and make me feel good. I could see now why she had told me all of that. If Eric had been offering to marry me even a week ago, I would have run for the hills. Now that I was able to think about it, though, knowing the depth of devotion we shared, I realised how foolish it was of me to try and run in the first place. Any man who would throw all his time at me, all of his plans and dreams too, and risk his life for me was someone I wanted by my side for all time. As my friend, my confidant, my husband, and so much more.

The topic of marriage was starting to get a little heavy for my liking. While I was excited deep down about the prospect of fulfilling two of my childhood dreams, I still felt cheated. I would never be able to carry a beautiful bundle of blonde haired, Viking-blooded joy in my womb. I would never be able to pop out to the store at lunch with my beloved for fear of him burning up and truly dying. It was as if God was playing some cruel joke on me, giving me my perfect man, and then placing rules and stipulations around him.

Sensing my inner turmoil and frustration, Eric pressed our hips and chests close together, allowing us to feel one another’s bare skin. “Promise me something?” He asked me, his voice low and husky.

Looking up, I captured the seriousness in his eyes. “Anything.”

“You’ll survive whatever happens to us in the next few weeks, whatever comes our way I want you to fight and never give up. Should I meet the true death I want you to continue fighting and when you’re finally free, I want you to marry a nice human man, have his children, go to college and get a degree in whatever takes your fancy? What’s mine will be yours, you’ll have lots of money so you’ll never have to worry again, and you can live happily ever after,” his voice was hoarse with emotion.

My heart broke at his expression and his words; he wanted me to continue living after he was gone, to fight every day to stay alive and to make something of myself, to be happy. I could do nothing but shake my head, denying him his promise. “I can’t do that,” I whispered after a moment, making sure Eric’s eyes were locked with mine. “There would be no one else I would want to marry, I wouldn’t want anyone else’s children. Without you, I’d be miserable at best,” I responded honestly, knowing Eric would eventually appreciate it; I would never create a false promise with him.

Closing his eyes for a moment, Eric seemed to be lost in thought and I couldn’t help but worry after a few minutes. “You would be loyal to me, even after my true death?” He asked, opening his eyes. His voice was flat, though the bond screamed of his awe and his love.

“Yes. You see, no one could ever replace you, my handsome Viking.” I raised a hand, stroking his cheek affectionately. The action and my words made Eric’s whole face light up like a Christmas tree and I couldn’t help but be in awe at how human he looked right at that moment. His hair was tousled from our lovemaking, his body warm from my own body heat, his skin tinged pink from my blood, the bedside lamp casting a warm glow over his alabaster skin and his perfect 1000-watt smile, showing no fang whatsoever. I realised then just how completely ‘whipped’, as Eric had so eloquently put it, I was.

Shifting slightly, I gently tugged Eric over me and he moved at human speed to lay protectively over me. “Promise me something in return,” I demanded softly, to which Eric nodded. “Should something happen to me, carry on. Go back to your home country and do everything you have ever wanted to do. Take Pam with you and just enjoy a life together away from politics and bureaucracy. Keep Pam by your side, she would be distraught without you, and keep in close contact with Godric and Ata,” I instructed, wanting Eric to understand that he had a life, even after I was long gone. He had people to stick around for.

Shaking his head, he sighed. “I cannot promise you that, my love. If you go, I will meet the sun the next morning,” he stated. It was clear in his voice, and through the bond, that he had already accepted that course of action.

I hadn’t.

“No, Eric!” I exclaimed, but his lips came down on mine to silence me, and after a moment he pulled back, his eyes roaming over my face.

“As you said, no one could ever replace you. Our bond has done more than bind us by blood, my Sookie; it has bound our souls together too. Without you, half of myself will be missing. Besides, I can always torment you in Hell,” he smiled cheekily, though I noticed it wasn’t as wide as before.

“I’m not going to Hell, Eric, and neither are you,” I stated firmly. “I know there’s a little spot for your Viking butt, okay a big spot for your glorious Viking butt, in Heaven.” Eric preened as I complimented him.

Eric was silent for a moment as if thinking. “I like to think there’s a place for me there, but I’m yet to do anything to earn it. However, I think, that you’re my chance of getting there. If I do right with you, perhaps you can redeem me enough that I’ll be able to share a cloud with you.”

The talk of redemption dragged me back to the conversation I’d had with Ata the other day, where she had told me about hearing Godric thinking she could redeem him. It seemed with our two ancient vampires, that redemption was a serious subject, something they believed heavily in.

“If there is anyone in the universe that I would love to share a cloud with, then it’s you, my Viking,” I reassured him, leaning up to press my lips firmly to his. Our kiss was slow and gentle, filled with the care we had for one another. Our bond sang with the love and adoration we were pushing back and forth to one another, wanting to reassure the other that we would survive the next few weeks and that we would come out fighting. Heck, I’d even, in a way, agreed to marry my blonde vampire should we both come out of this mess alive. I’d just agreed to marry Eric. Sookie Northman. It did sound good… Whoa, hold on to your horses there, Stackhouse!

Eric’s tongue sweeping across my lower lip pulled me from my thoughts, and I found myself parting my lips. I could never deny my Nordic God anything. His tongue probed my mouth, brushing across my own, tracing the outline of my teeth and gums. I shivered. Gently I pulled Eric’s lower lip into my mouth, sucking the plump flesh. A guttural groan fled from his mouth and I had to restrain myself from smiling with joy at my ability to make such noises leave him. Our kiss soon turned passionate, and with a tip of my head Eric was able to deepen his assault on my mouth and my hands locked themselves at the base of his neck, rubbing the smooth skin there and playing with the short hairs. I was reminded briefly of the long hair he had sported when I had first met him.

His hands were everywhere, kneading the flesh on my hips, rubbing my thighs, sweeping over my breasts. He was playing me like a finely tuned instrument, and I was complying with his every wish, my spine arching with his touches, my breathing laboured as I peeled my lips away in need of air. He attacked my neck with wet kisses, licking and nibbling periodically, causing pleasure to course through my veins. If he weren’t careful, he’d leave a hickey. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t mind.

Lining us up, he slowly pushed inside of me once again, filling me, stretching me. My internal muscles caressed him as he slowly began to pump in and out, pulling himself nearly all the way out before sweeping back in fluidly. The delicious friction between our joined sexes caused us both to moan in appreciation though we never broke eye contact. There was no need for us to verbally tell one another of our love, it was shouted through our bond, destroying every other emotion within us for the time being. The build-up was slow, my Viking’s stamina was immense, and he moved in and out, his thrusts fluid. My legs wrapped around him, holding him close, pulling him in with each thrust. I wanted, no needed, for him to go deeper. Each time I would reach the edge he would pull back for a moment, leaving a trail of sweet kisses down the valley between my breasts. I was in dire need of my release, but I would wait for Eric. I’d wait until he was ready. I’d always wait for him. He’d never failed me before and I knew, right then, that he never would fail me.

The sound of our combined moans was the only noise in the room; Eric’s movements were so gentle, so tender, that there was no sound of skin meeting skin. Kissing his way up my neck, his lips found mine, and for a moment we shared a tender kiss before his lips moved to my ear, his hands travelling to my breasts, which he palmed with the expertise only years of practice could give. “Come with me, min kärlek,” he whispered. As if on cue my release took hold of me, winding through my veins, causing my back to arch and my heels to dig themselves into my Viking’s perfect behind. As I met my release, Eric met his, and in a husky voice he breathed out my name as his cool release tamed the burning heat inside of me.

At a human pace, he turned us over, and I rested my head against his chest, his arm wrapped around me protectively, holding me to him. I had no problem snuggling up to him, I felt safe in his embrace. “I love you,” he said softly, giving my hip a gentle squeeze.

“I love you too,” I reminded him, dropping a kiss to his chest as he sighed in contentment.

“Rest for a while, lover. We aren’t in any hurry.” He soothed, playing with my hair as he hummed a small unfamiliar tune, his chest vibrating with the soothing sound. After our long conversation and my Viking’s lovemaking, I was tired. My eyes fluttered closed. A nap doesn’t sound too bad right now…

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8 thoughts on “Ethereal Redemption Chapter 38

  1. I agree with everyone…I switched over after Ch 14 once I found you had this site including pics…it adds to the story so much. That little detail means so much to us readers! I love your story can’t wait for more! Thank you.

  2. Cool chapter. Oscar its too cute

    Hope you get the story switched over totally soon. Hate reading on FFn anymore esp with the bullying and censorship. Pics are cool

  3. This is going to sound crazy, but the picture of the “Bon Temps High School” is actually Franklinton Junior High school in Franklinton Louisiana. I know this because I went to school there. I even goggled the picture to make sure. I have to say I was totally floored when I saw this picture. Where did you get a picture of this school? Oh and love your story by the way! 🙂

    • Hi there!
      That is super crazy! What a small world eh!? I think I googled something like ‘bon temp school’ and I went back and watched old episodes from the first couple of seasons and this image appeared every time, so I figured Franklinton Junior High was used by HBO as inspiration for the school! 🙂
      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, thank you for liking the chapters as you read them, it makes me super happy ^_^
      ~ A x

      • It is possible they used our school as inspiration although they never gave us credit. Franklinton is about 5 hours from Shreveport and 2 hours from New Orleans so they may have run across the school while scouting for locations for filming. But I never even noticed until I saw your picture in this story. It is indeed a small small world, Franklinton is an extremely small town just like Bon Temps not more that 8 to 10 thousand people. Crazy, Crazy!

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