A/N okay guys, I was going to blend Eric and Godric’s POV’s together but the Viking threw a 6’4 size tantrum and demanded that he have a chapter for himself, and who was I to say no? 😉 Godric’s POV in the next chapter!
I know a lot of you were looking forward to the unblocking of her mind reading ability but I really wasn’t sure how to go about it, so I just let my hands wander across the keyboard and that was what came out…sorry if it disappointed you!
Onwards into the jaws of death!
Give me the light when the sun goes down, cuz what goes around comes around.
Give ’em a fight yes it’s proper bound, you see what goes around comes around.
Now the gloves are off and the talk is done, I see clearly now what must be done.
Go back to the place, back when you were young, you weren’t afraid of anything, you weren’t afraid of anyone.
So wake up, got no money when I wake up, strong and then another worry comes along.
I found a light ‘n imma turn it on, so wake up wake up wake up.
All of my teachers’ told me I was wrong, but what don’t kill you will make you strong.
What I found was I was right all along, and if it don’t kill you it make you strong.
Yes I realize just what I’ve become; I take that shit head on, oh however it comes.
Got my direction back, all my friends are around, I feel the change, I feel alive, I feel the lights, I feel the sound.
~ Wake Up, Pepper
To say I was worried about this evening’s event would be an understatement. Sookie has no idea what she’s getting herself in to. While being able to hear vampire minds has been useful for Ata over the years, it’s only recently that it has become a useful thing for my beloved to have. My Sookie grew up hearing others nasty thoughts, heard them thinking about how ‘crazy’ she was. Ata grew up knowing how to control her shields; she had contact with Niall at a very early age. I would have protested against Sookie undergoing this ritual if Ata wasn’t present. I know Ata will teach her how to strengthen her shields so that she’ll be able to keep vampire minds out. As vampires are a naturally secretive race she’ll probably hear and see things she really doesn’t want to. I myself have a few things I don’t wish for her to witness. While I’ve survived this long it hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to kill hundreds, possibly even thousands, and I’ve drained my fair share of humans and faeries over the years. I don’t want my Sookie to see any of that, I don’t want her to judge or be frightened by it. I’m different now; she’s made me a better vampire.
I couldn’t help but appreciate the fact my Maker was taking Pam and Isabel out of the apartment. I loved Pam and I cared for Isabel, due to her friendship with Godric, but the last thing I wanted was for them to be around during the ritual. I had no idea what was going to happen so to have them out of the way meant that Sookie would have my full attention, as she should.
Ata took Sookie’s hand, leading her up the staircase to the training area we’d been in the night before. Upon entering I was surprised with the changes that had happened. Though surprised I was also a little wary. In the middle of the vast open space was a table with a delicate white cloth placed over it. The cloth reached the floor, where a pentagram had been created with what looked like, and smelt like, salt. A small cool box and trolley sat a little way to the side. Upon the trolley sat several jars of different substances, candles in green, yellow, red, purple and blue, a curved knife, a glass of water, a packet of pills, a tall lit black candle and a golden chalice. The only light in the room was from hundreds of pure white candles scattered across the floor in strategic places and across the few surfaces of the room. The windows had been blacked out and thick, lined curtains covered the glass surface, light-proofing the room. I assumed this was just in case the ritual went on into the early hours of the morning. While my age meant I could fight the pull of the sun it would be difficult to stay awake longer than an hour or two after sunrise.
Oeri shut the door behind us all, pushing it firmly so it locked. I could hear the click of the mechanism and I had to admit that I was pleased no one would be able to get in. The last thing I wanted was any interruptions. Ata took a moment to observe her surroundings before she turned to my beloved. “Sookie, you can back out still and none of us will think any less of you. However, once you do this there will be no way to go back. The ritual will ensure that no one will be able to suppress the ability you have ever again.” She warned Sookie one last time. A part of me was screaming out for Sookie to back out. While opening her mind would be useful it would make keeping her safe a harder task. I was up to the task, of course, but I could see it being difficult at times, especially considering my little fae’s stubbornness.
Sookie gave a nod of her head. “I’m ready, I want this. I want to hear what’s going on in Eric’s head.” She stated firmly. I couldn’t help but smile at her reasoning. There had been so many times over the years I had known her that I had wanted Sookie to be able to read my mind. A prime example was when I had chained her up in the basement of Fangtasia to use against Russell. If she had been able to read my mind then we wouldn’t have had the whole misunderstanding. Then again, her anger at the situation was beautiful, keeping her in the dark had made the story more believable.
Giving Sookie’s hand a squeeze, Ata offered both of us a warm smile. “Okay Sook, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to need you to sit down on the table on top of the cloth, but try not to disturb the pentagram on the floor. Once you’re on the table I’m going to cast the circle in salt and place each of the coloured candles, once lit, onto the points of the pentagram. You and I will be the only ones allowed in the circle, no one is allowed to enter. I’m then going to ask you how you enter this ritual. Your answer is your own and cannot be influenced by any others, but it must be the truth. You could say you enter it honestly or with trust. It’s totally up to you. Once that is done you need to blow out the black candle and then I’m going to use the Boline, that’s the curved knife, and I’m going to make a mark in the black candle. I’m going to say some words and then I’m going to make an incision in my wrist and empty some of my blood into the chalice. Once I’ve handed you the chalice you’re to drain it. I’ll take the chalice back from you and then I’m going to leave the circle. No one else can get in. You’ll probably start to feel light-headed; such a vast quantity of my blood will be a shock to your system and your spark. I want you to then lay down and close your eyes. My boys and I will stand at each point of the pentagram and while holding hands we’ll utter the ritual that should open up your mind and my subconscious will enter yours. I have no idea what you’ll experience, so I want you to keep your bond with Eric wide open all the time. Once we start we can’t stop, however should your emotions start to overpower you I need you, Eric,” Ata paused as she turned to look at me, “to take the negative emotions from her and smother her in all the positive emotions you hold for her. Can you do that for me?” She asked.
I nodded in confirmation, wondering just how much pain Sookie would be in. While the thought of my beloved being in any pain worried me, knowing I would be able to take it from her and push her all of my love and adoration eased my mind. Sookie would need me for this and I would happily help her. The situation reminded me of when she’d taken me in, looked after me during my bout of amnesia. I hadn’t exactly shown my concern for her upon her return from Faery very well, but I hadn’t been able to put into words how I’d been feeling. Instead I had reverted back to my leering ways. I’d told her I’d bought her house and that I owned her. Before that night the last time we had truly spoken to one another had been the night I had told her of Compton’s betrayal. Yet when she had spotted me running down the side of the road she had taken me in and cared for me. I’d needed her and she’d helped me, even though I had annoyed her and caused her pain – both mentally and physically.
Ata’s voice broke through my train of thought. “I have no idea how long the ritual will last for or how long it will take for Sookie to start hearing your thoughts. I had the room light-proofed however and there are plenty of bags of relatively weak fae blood in the cool box should you need it in order to stay up past dawn. My boys have my blood in their veins so can fight the sun for much longer. I don’t intend for this to go on past sunrise and hopefully the Gods will see my reasoning and agree with me.” I nodded in acknowledgement. I didn’t want this ritual to go on past sunrise but once it was started there was no way for it to be stopped, so I really had no choice in the matter. The fact Ata had gone to such lengths to ensure I would be able to stay up with Sookie warmed me. Of course I was well aware of the effects of fae blood, after all, I’d been able to play in the sunshine for hours after draining Claudine. Thinking of that day caused me to both grimace over the death of Sookie’s faery godmother but also smile. I’d witnessed my Sookie in the sunshine. When I’d been burning in the parking lot of Fangtasia I hadn’t paid much attention to her appearance. I was more concerned with getting inside and killing off Russell, so to be able to see her outside and observe her properly had been magical. I was unsure if Sookie knew the effects our third bond would have, that I might be able to day-walk forever, but I would keep the information to myself. The last thing I wanted was for my Sookie, known for her kind and caring heart, to bond thrice to me simply because she wanted me to see the sunlight after 1000 years of darkness. Our third bond would be formed out of our love for one another when the moment was right, not because of the gifts and abilities either of us might receive.
Ata nodded towards Ari who suddenly appeared at Sookie’s side, holding onto a soft cotton nightie. “I thought you might like to change out of your day clothes into something softer and more comfortable, just in case we are here for a while.” He offered, holding the clothing out to her. I could feel Sookie’s surprise through our bond.
Taking the clothes from Ari, Sookie nipped into the small private library, leaving me alone with her cousin. “She’ll be okay, yes?” I asked quietly as Ari handed Ata her own little bundle of white clothes.
“She’ll be fine. I’ve never done anything like this before but I can’t imagine it’ll be too difficult. She might be in pain which is why I need you to take the pain from her, and she may need some of your blood afterwards to speed up the healing process should anything happen. But yes, I believe she’ll be okay.” Ata offered me a compassionate smile, removing her shirt to place on the white cotton one Ari had handed to her. I had always found it amusing how immortal creatures didn’t particularly care for any form of nudity. We’d all lost our morals years and years ago, but I was sure Godric would have my fangs should I witness his bonded in the buff. He was fiercely protective of her. Was that how I was with Sookie?
Kicking off her shoes Ata wiggled herself out of her pants, before pulling on a pair of matching white cotton ones. Using a hair tie from around her wrist she pulled her blonde locks up into a ponytail. Taking a moment to observe her outfit I quirked an eyebrow. “Those aren’t yours.” I pointed out playfully.
Trying to suppress a smile, my beloved’s cousin shook her head. “No they’re not. I raided Godric’s wardrobe, and they’re kind of cozy.” She ran her hands over the soft fabric before she buried her nose in the material on the sleeve, inhaling deeply. “They smell like him too.” She murmured to herself.
“Sookie trusts you with this. I trust you with this.” I figured it was time I reassured Ata. We were, after all, relative strangers. We knew little about each other before our meeting, but we both had Sookie and Godric in common, so I would give Ata the benefit of the doubt. I was remembering Claude’s earlier comment that she wished to see me as her Child too, as I was already Godric’s. Although I had lived my vampire life and half of my human life without female guidance, it would be nice to have a female figure now. I had no idea how human minds worked and Sookie was still very much human regardless of her fae heritage, so having Ata on hand to help me out would be useful. Pam and her love for Dear Abby was only useful to a certain extent. If Ata hadn’t of mentally told me to take Sookie for dinner when we’d had our little misunderstanding then we probably would have continued to verbally attack one another for longer, and it would have been harder to make it up to one another.
“Thank you. I know that trust has to be earned and I hope to earn your complete trust in the future.” Ata’s soft response resonated against my eardrums just before Sookie emerged from the library. Leaving her clothes by the door into the training room Sookie swiftly made her way to her cousin, wrapping her up in her arms.
“Thank you, cousin.” She whispered in her ear. I could feel her gratefulness through the bond.
“It’s my pleasure.” She whispered back in response, rubbing Sookie’s back for a moment before she pulled away from her embrace. “Go and give your vampire a few cuddles and kisses, this might not be easy on the pair of you.” She told Sookie quietly. Of course my vampire hearing enabled me to pick up on her words, and I knew Ata was referring to the pain Sookie may have to endure.
My bonded took one step towards me and I couldn’t wait to have her in my arms any longer. Vamping towards her I pulled her into my embrace, crushing her against my chest. I knew she disliked me using my advanced speed around her, her reaction to it when I had informed her I was her new landlord was enough evidence of that, but I wanted her as close to me as possible right now. Russell was still out to get us, Felipe was after Ata and someone had tried to blow up Caesar’s Palace, probably hoping we were still inside. We weren’t clear of any danger yet and while the opening of Sookie’s mind would help get us out of danger, the ritual itself was putting her in more danger. There would never be a moment in her life when she would be clear of chaos, she would always be in the middle of it. She couldn’t go back to when she was a child, when she didn’t have a care in the world, when vampires had no knowledge of her existence, when she wasn’t scared of anything.
“I love you, my Sookie.” I told her gently, wanting her to know that whatever was about to happen wouldn’t alter my feelings for her. Knowing vampires thoughts was probably a scary thing, our thoughts were organized and well planned but due to our lack of morals they usually consisted of murdering, killing, fucking and everything else most humans found distasteful. I could feel her smile against my neck and I had to bite down on my lower lip to stop myself from groaning at the sensation. My little faery was well aware of how much her lips against my neck did it for me. It was ironic really, that although I was the vampire I found Sookie brushing her lips against my neck and nipping it to be a complete turn on. She tucked herself into my arms and I wrapped her up in them, holding her close, listening to the reassuring thudding of her heart.
“I love you too, my Eric.” She whispered in response, pressing a kiss to my clavicle. Finally she pulled back to look up at me. I towered over her tiny frame and yet she wasn’t scared of me. She’d never been scared of me. Intimidated at times yes, but never completely scared. Most assumed from my height and build that I was a brute, and in the past that would have been an accurate description, but my Sookie was softening me up inside. While emotions could be a vampire’s downfall, as Godric had once told me, they were in fact working in my favor right now. My need to protect Sookie meant I was doing everything in my power to ensure her safety, that I was willing to put 110% into everything in order to keep her by my side. I had the one thing my enemies didn’t have – the unconditional love of a woman. While some of them may have pets I had a lover, an equal, and because of that I was the stronger vampire.
“I’ll be here for you when this is all over, I promise. If you’re in any pain then let me take the emotions from you and replace them with all the love I hold for you.” I ordered her gently. Her smile and amusement informed me that she still thought of me as high-handed. With Sookie my hand-handedness would never change. I hadn’t lived for over 1000 years by being careless.
Leaning down I met her lips in a tender kiss, pushing all of my feelings for her through the bond, allowing my kiss to show her how much I loved her. I could feel her lust rising and it took all of my self-restraint not to call off the ritual, grab her and drag her to the bedroom to have my way with her all night. Her soft lips molded to mine perfectly, her slender frame pressed up against my larger one. Pulling away I scattered open-mouthed kisses across her jaw line, nibbling on her earlobe, which elicited a giggle from her. The sound was blissful, beautiful, a reminder of just how perfect my bonded was. Chuckling against her skin I met her lips once more for another kiss, allowing my hands to wander across her back and down to the base of her spine, pulling her closer to me. All too soon she was pulling out of my embrace, crossing the room to her cousin who had positioned herself near the salt pentagram.
“Yes, they’re the same. Apparently he owns many of these.” Ata laughed gently, rubbing her hands over the soft fabric. For a moment I was stumped as to why Ata was talking to herself. As if sensing my confusion Riei tapped his temple and I immediately understood. Sookie had wondered too if Ata’s clothes were Godric’s. It was oddly sweet to see her wearing my Maker’s clothing.
“I’m never going to get use to that.” Sookie muttered under her breath with a laugh. I had to stop myself from laughing; soon she would be hearing my thoughts too.
“Let’s begin.” Ata started, silence falling over the room. Offering Sookie her hand she took it happily, using Ata for support as she stepped over the salt pentagram to the table in the center. Hauling herself up, Sookie sat neatly with her legs dangling over the edge. I could do nothing but watch. Moving myself to the side of the room I lent against the wall, refusing to take my eyes off of the two females.
Ari handed Ata the five coloured candles, the lit black candle, the knife, the chalice and the pot of salt, all of which she placed on the table beside me. Picking up the pot of salt Ata gracefully moved to the eastern side of the pentagram, where she slowly started to pour the salt in a circle, capturing the points of the pentagram within the circle line. “I welcome the air to my circle,” she reached the southern area of the circle, “I welcome fire to my circle,” she moved on to the west of the circle, “I welcome the water to my circle,” and finally she reached the north of the circle, “I welcome the earth to my circle.” She finished in a whisper, joining her salt circle together. Having finished, Ata sealed up the salt pot and placed it down beside Sookie.
Ata’s words caused me to pause in thought for a moment. Hadn’t Niall said there were four kinds of fae? I’m sure he mentioned sky, water earth and fire. I found it fitting that their fae heritage was being included in the ritual, especially considering it was a faery that had suppressed Sookie’s ability. While I could understand Niall’s reasoning behind it, it would have saved Sookie an awful lot of grief and heartache should she have been able to read our minds. She would have left Compton, we would have never been involved with Russell, I wouldn’t have had to tell her about Compton’s betrayal, she would have never gone to Faery for a year and perhaps, just perhaps, she would have agreed to be mine sooner.
Picking up the green candle, Ata held it out to Sookie. Immediately she took it in her hands, watching as Ata placed the flame of the black candle to the wick of the green one, instantly setting it alight. Exchanging candles with Sookie, Ata placed the green candle at the northern point of the pentagram. “Green for the earth we walk upon.” She murmured, returning to Sookie a moment later. Handing her the yellow candle they swapped and repeated the lighting process. Ata placed the yellow candle on the eastern point of the pentagram. “Yellow for the air we breathe in.” She returned to Sookie once again and they lit the red candle. “Red for the fire that burns all it crosses.” She placed the candle down on the third point. The purple candle was next and Ata placed it on the following point. “Purple for the spirits of those of our royal bloodline.” Finally Ata handed Sookie the blue candle, which they lit together once more before Ata placed it on the western point. “Blue for the water that hydrates our bodies.” She finished.
Although I had walked the earth for over 1000 years and witnessed my fair share of ritual work, both good and bad, I had never witnessed something like this. I was aware of four of the five candles. The purple one had me stumped. I could only assume their heritage was the reason it was needed. It wasn’t every day that those of the royal fae bloodline were directly involved with any setting up of religious ceremonies, they usually observed, or were having the ceremony conducted by others for them.
Returning to Sookie, Ata stopped right in front of her. “How do you enter the circle?” She asked.
Sookie didn’t even pause to think, she was so confident in her answer that I could practically feel it radiating off of her. “In perfect love and perfect trust” She replied, her voice even and strong. Ata’s affectionate smile was enough confirmation for both myself, and Sookie, that my beloved had chosen the right words. Sookie blew out the black candle moments later.
Ata picked up the Boline she’d spoken of earlier, removing the black candle from Sookie’s hands. Slowly she started to carve something into the wax. Although my immortality had given me incredible vision I was unable to see what exactly she was carving. I would look over the candle later when all of this was said and done.
“Bes, I welcome you to my circle and thank you for providing your energies to our ritual. I ask for your protection towards both my cousin and I, and I ask for your luck as we enter into the unknown.” Ata’s tone was steady and slow as she finished up her carving. Over the years I had heard of many deities from lost of religions all over the world, and yet I was unsure as to whom Bes was exactly. I assumed she, or he, was one of Ata’s Egyptian Gods. Perhaps it would be useful for me to pick up a few books on the Egyptian’s and read up on them, it would make things a bit easier and I would understand everything more. I hated being out of the loop almost as much as I hated being wrong.
With her carving finished Ata placed the black candle down on the table, near to where Sookie’s head would be. Raising the serrated edge of the blade to her wrist Ata made a deep incision. Sookie grabbed the chalice and placed it beneath Ata’s wrist. Ata allowed her blood to flow steadily into the chalice and, pressing her fingers to the vein in order to slow the blood flow, she finally pulled her wrist away, giving Sookie a nod. The scent of her fae blood hit my nostrils and I couldn’t help but inhale deeply, my eyes rolling back into my head at the strong scent. How on earth Godric could restrain himself around her was beyond me. Ata wasn’t suppressing her scent, which I found rather strange, but I was able to restrain myself anyway, knowing that Godric would have my fangs should I harm her. Her blood smelt incredible, intoxicating even, but not as incredible as Sookie’s. Nothing would be able to replace my bonded’s blood.
I hadn’t thought Sookie would have a problem drinking her cousins blood, Odin knows Compton forced a vast quantity of his blood into her before she knew all the effects, but the trepidation seeping through our bond made me rethink my thoughts. I knew I had given her my blood not that long ago in all actuality, but it was different with us. Sookie had chosen me. I had given her the option of my blood. I hadn’t forced it into her. Pushing reassurance and strength through our bond, I let Sookie know that it was okay for her to take her cousins blood, that it didn’t bother me. Finally she raised the chalice to her lips and downed Ata’s blood.
The surprise through the bond had me wondering what exactly Sookie could taste, how Ata’s blood compared to my own. Surely it wasn’t as nice as mine? Wait, was I getting jealous over the fact she was enjoying someone else’s blood, the blood of her own kin? Get a grip of yourself, Northman. I mentally scolded myself, shaking my head at my stupidity.
Ata pried the chalice from my beloved once it was empty and I could feel through the bond that Sookie was a little light-headed. It was how I imagined one would feel if they were drunk, not that I had ever felt a drunken Sookie through the bond before, though that would be mighty amusing. Sookie started to sway slightly on the table and I pushed myself off of the wall, taking a few steps towards the salt circle. I was concerned, worried even. This was an unknown for me and I didn’t deal with the unknown very well. I had always prided myself on my battle skills, on having a variety of contingency plans in place for every situation and outcome. I didn’t have any plans for this though and that frightened me. I wasn’t easily frightened.
Ata’s hands shot out and she slowly helped Sookie lower herself onto the table. Although we had only exchanged blood twice I could feel the confusion from Sookie and it felt like my own. I was dizzy. It was a rare sensation for a vampire given our perfect balance and lack of blood flow. Watching as Sookie closed her eyes I found myself doing the same, willing away the dizziness that had overcome me. I couldn’t bear to think of how Sookie was taking all of this. Moving back to the wall I used it as support, allowing it to hold my weight up as I started to pull the confusion and the nauseous feelings from my bonded, pushing through my love and strength instead. I would take every negative feeling from her if I could.
“Submerge yourself in your bond. Let go of everything in the world, let it all go.” Ata soothed as she brushed Sookie’s hair back from her face. I doubled my efforts to remove her nauseous feeling, pulling it from her and replacing it with all of my adoration and strength. I could feel her emotions shift, a peace falling over her as she allowed my emotions to take her over.
Although I was focusing on keeping Sookie’s negative feelings at bay I watched as Ata left the circle, taking her spot in front of the yellow candle. Quickly I went back through my memories, remembering that the yellow candle represented the air. I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that the air was part of Sookie’s fae element – the sky.
Ari, Khai, Riei and Oeri had taken their positions at the other four candles. Ari stood before the green one, Khai before the red one, Riei before the purple one and Oeri before the blue one. The vampire males had already taken each other’s hands to create a circle and the moment Ata took Ari and Khai’s outstretched hands the circle was complete. With the circle complete a small white light left each of Ata’s hands, travelling through her boys until they returned to her. I could feel the power in the room. Ata had shared her fae powers with her children.
Exchanging glances, the vampires nodded at their Maker and finally they started to speak in unison.
“Invoco te, O Hapi, Archangelus Neptuni et rector Clariuidens vires.”
A burning sensation hit me through my bond with Sookie and her whimper alerted me to the pain she was enduring. Promptly I began pulling the pain from her. I had no idea how much I was taking or how much was left behind for her to deal with, but I knew I had to try. Sookie’s scream of agony sent me over the edge and I crumbled against the wall, landing on the ground with a thud. Gritting my teeth I continued to pull the pain from her, dealing with it myself as I sent her tsunami waves of love. I was concerned for my beloved, agitated even. We’d had no idea how much pain she was going to go through. I’d willingly allowed her to go through with this. I hadn’t stopped to really think of the consequences, to sit down with Ata and her boys and find out what exactly was involved in this ritual. It was my fault she was experiencing such brutal discomfort right now. Her emotions shifted from peaceful to horrific and her back arched clear off of the table. I tried to stand, tried to haul myself off of the floor. I couldn’t do it, I was taking the brunt of her hurt and it was overwhelming. Crawling across the room I managed to move myself halfway to the circle. I had never crawled in my life, apart from when I had been a babe, as crawling was often associated with those who were weak. In that moment though I didn’t give a shit. I pushed my pride aside. I would gladly be called weak for the rest of eternity if I could take away my Sookie’s pain.
“Quaeso te ut aperiet tertia oculus et ostenderet occulta lux. Videat futurum. Videat praeteritum.”
Sookie cried out in agony again as the communal voices of Ata and her boys carried on, and I tripled my efforts, taking from her and returning as much love, reassurance and adoration as I could. I wanted her to know that I was here for her, that I loved her. Her back was arched up so high on the table that I was surprised she hadn’t slipped a few disks in her spine. Another scream. More panic flooding her system. I couldn’t help but let the red tears that had been circling my eyes flow freely. She was in so much pain and there was so little I could do for her. Abruptly she was gasping for breath, struggling to breathe. I could hear her heartbeat slow to an abnormal pace and the sound of her blood changed to move sluggishly through her veins. It sent me into a state of utter panic. She was dying. There was no other explanation for it. I couldn’t lose her, not now, not that she had finally agreed to be my bonded, my equal. Not after everything we’d gone through together over the years.
Using all of the strength I could muster I hauled myself up onto my feet, staggering forward towards the circle in a panic.
“IT’S KILLING HER!” I roared, taking a few more strides towards the circle.
“DON’T CROSS THE CIRCLE! SHE’S FINE, ERIC!” Ata screamed back to me in response. That was all right for Ata to say, she wasn’t currently feeling everything Sookie was. She had no idea as to the amount of crippling pain Sookie was going through. I was angry, angry that I had allowed Sookie to go through with this. I was angry that I had no clue what was going on, angry that Ata had allowed her cousin to suffer. Looking down I noticed that I had almost crossed the salt circle. Sookie’s panic turned to terror and I realized then that she had heard my little outburst, and Ata’s response. Swiftly I took a few steps back, putting some distance between the circle and myself, not wanting to risk crossing it and putting Sookie into any more possible danger.
“Percipere divina regna ignota. Intelligere sapientia fortium universi. Ita mote sit!”
Their voices went up a few octaves as they recited the final sentence of the Latin chant and the burning sensation finally overtook me completely. I howled out at the sensation, more bloody tears slipped down my cheeks. There was only two other times that I had cried in the past – when Godric had been so adamant on meeting the sun and when I’d had the ‘bad dream’ regarding Godric during my stay at Sookie’s in my bout of amnesia. I was still unsure as to why I’d had those visions of Godric during his travels. Perhaps it was because our bond was so stretched that my mind was trying to call him back? Or perhaps I was subconsciously worried that he was going to try and meet the sun again, so I’d tried to mentally reassure myself? I would have to sit down and have a conversation with him about it, and numerous other topics.
Sookie wailed out once more and I pushed more love through the bond, including some pride with it too. I wanted Sookie to know that I was proud of her for going through this, proud of her for making her own decisions and taking her life back into her own hands. For so long others had dictated to her how to live her life, told her what to do and how to go about it. The fierce and sassy blonde I’d once met had disappeared, replaced by a woman tormented by her past, running from everything and everyone, allowing others to make choices for her. She was taking it back now, being her own boss, making her own choices, and I loved her even more for it.
“Succumb to it, Sookie.” Ata’s tender voice called out. I could feel Sookie sink further and further into our bond. She was still experiencing pain and I was still pulling it from her, replacing those emotions with love and adoration.
It was times like this I wished I were the telepath. I wanted to know what was going on inside my bonded’s head. I wanted to know what was causing her such pain, what she was witnessing from behind her closed eyelids. Sookie’s emotions suddenly changed. Her pain was gone and in its place sat curiosity and a strange sensation I couldn’t name. My bond with Sookie snapped shut and instinctively I roared. I couldn’t feel her any more! If it weren’t for the fact she was flat on her back on the table before me, and that I could hear her breathing and heartbeat, I would have believed her to be dead or back in Faery. Prowling towards the circle I wanted to be as close to Sookie as possible, wanting reassurance she was okay. Now that Sookie and I were bound together tightly I could feel the start of the bonding pain. If she didn’t come back to me soon Ata and her boys would be feeling my wrath. There was nothing worse than a vampire who’s bonded died. It drove us insane and thirsty for revenge. It was why so few of us bonded. If our other halves died, we soon followed.
Ata’s hands were still holding her boys, her eyes screwed shut in concentration. I didn’t know what was going on with her either but the looks of concern her boys were sharing had me worried for the older fae woman.
Prowling around the circle I kept guard, my eyes never leaving my beloved as I took in her from every angle, making sure there were no marks on her body. She’d relaxed now, laying flat on the table, her hands open by her sides and a neutral expression on her features.
I don’t know how long I was wandering around for with the pain building up inside of me, but the sound of the training room door opening captured my attention. In an instant I’d vamped over, fangs down, snarling at the intruder. Ata’s boys couldn’t break the circle, but they’d snapped their own fangs down too and were snarling in the direction of the door.
“It’s only Pam and I, my Childe.” Godric’s gentle voice broke through my possessive haze. The sound of his voice broke me back to reality and I stood aside, allowing them into the room. Stalking back over to the circle I continued to stride around it.
“Eric, how long have you been doing that?” Pam interrupted the silence, quirking an eyebrow as she took in the sight before her.
Taking a moment I paused in my stride to refer to my internal body clock. “Two hours.” I stated in surprise, not realizing how long we had been working away for, how long my beloved had been out of it, how long our bond had been shut down for.
“Did you enjoy your shopping?” I asked, wanting a distraction for a moment from the pain. I felt Godric open our connection and start to pull the pain from me. My shoulders slumped. I felt a little lighter and I silently nodded my thanks.
“Yes, Godric bought Ata a beautiful dress and Isabel bought her a pair of matching shoes.” Pam responded, directing a small smile at my Maker. They seemed to share a look that suggested there was more to the tale but that they weren’t willing to share with me just yet, not that I could blame them. I wasn’t exactly 100% sane right now.
For a few more minutes I prowled the circle, Godric and Pam watching me curiously. Suddenly Ata screamed, the piercing noise breaking through the silence. Her boys were howling out at her pain, but they were unable to aid her. Godric was first to her side and all of us watched in horror as the fabric over her left side started to turn crimson, the smell of her blood seeping into the air. Pam’s fangs were down, her eyes hazing over with blood lust. “Pamela! As your Maker I command you not to bite her!” I ordered quickly, rushing to join Godric at Ata’s side. Pam sunk backwards until her back was flat against the wall, putting herself as far back from Ata as possible.
“We can’t break the circle.” Ari wheezed, watching with burning concern and sadness as his Maker’s side continued to bleed. Without thinking twice Godric ripped the shirt from Ata’s torso, casting it aside. We took a split second to observe the wound, a deep gash all the way down her side, bleeding profusely.
Dropping to his knees Godric’s tongue flicked out, licking up the blood running down her side. I’d been holding myself back, knowing it would be a bad idea for me to help, but Ata’s whimper was all it took for me to be right by Godric’s side, helping to clean her up. It wasn’t fair for her to be left in pain, and though my Maker was capable of taking care of her himself I felt responsible. Although working quickly at licking up the blood running down Ata’s side, Godric’s eyes turned to me and he gave a small nod, giving me permission to help. Immediately I set to work sealing up the wound, allowing my saliva to help stitch the skin back together again. There was no way to stop Ata’s blood from entering my system and the moment it hit my tongue I groaned. She was utterly delicious! How on earth Godric could hold himself back around her was beyond me! It took all of my self-restraint to stop myself from slipping into blood lust. Working quickly, Godric was soon helping me to knit her wound together. Although lost in whatever was transpiring within the ritual, Ata whimpered at the pain.
“I’ll need to give her my blood when this is over.” He commented once we’d finished healing the exterior wound. “She lost a bit of blood. I don’t want it to have a negative impact on her.” He added quietly, his cold hands moving to the area where she’d just been injured, checking over her freshly healed skin.
“What caused that?” I demanded, looking to each of Ata’s boys in turn.
All of them shrugged, looking to Ata with concern. Her eyes were still screwed shut in concentration and it was difficult to read anything from her. “We don’t know, but we can find out when she snaps out of this.” Khai murmured quietly. Still holding her hand. He rubbed his thumb over the back of it in a reassuring gesture. It wasn’t missed by any of us. The love they held for the female fae was rather touching, if I could say so myself.
Another hour of silence followed. Godric stood behind Ata, his arms wrapped around her waist and his chin resting on her left shoulder. I could feel him pushing his love for her through their bond and I found myself doing the same for Sookie. Pam had approached us now that there was no free flowing fae blood in the room, and the look of concern on her features amused me. Never had Pam cared for anyone other than Godric and I, so to see her worried over Sookie and Ata was an interesting if not rare sight.
“Sunrise is in thirty minutes, Pam. Please go and rest.” I ordered her gently, not wanting to risk her staying up past sunrise. Although my progeny was stronger than most she was still unable to fight the pull of the sun.
“I don’t want to leave, not until I know they’re both okay.” She whispered, taking another cautious step towards the circle. Her eyes flickering from my beloved to my Maker’s. The care in her voice made me smile and slowly I approached her, pulling her into my chest for a hug.
“They’ll be fine, I promise you. Please go to rest Pam, I can’t risk you being exposed to any sunlight.” I murmured gently as her arms encircled my waist. I dropped a kiss to the top of her head, letting her know through our Maker-Childe bond that I loved her and, while I wanted her here with me, she needed to seek shelter.
“If anything happens to them while I’m not here, I’ll kick your ass.” She muttered against my chest, pulling back to look up at me with a small smile. Pulling back from my embrace, she gave a nod of goodnight to Godric, giving our two fae women one last lingering look before disappearing down the stairs to seek shelter.
“Blood?” I grabbed a few bags from the side, carrying them back over to my Maker. “I have a feeling we might be up past sunrise.” I sighed as I offered a bag out to him.
Untangling himself from Ata, Godric took a bag. He scrunched his nose up at it. “The thought of taking sustenance from anyone else, even an anonymous donor, doesn’t sit right with.” He told me flatly, looking up from the bag to me, and then back to the bag again.
“I don’t like the idea either. Ata mentioned it being weak fae blood so that we’d be able to stay up past dawn and, should any sunlight make its way into the room, be able to survive it.” I explained, dropping fang and sinking them into the bag. My Maker followed suit and together we drained down several bags. It had been a while since we’d fed together and it was something I realized only now that I’d missed. I supposed you could relate it to human families dining together every night. When they go a long time without it then it feels strange to them when they come back together.
With the bags emptied I checked my internal body clock. It was half an hour past sunrise. The blood had stopped me from feeling the pull of the sun and the blackout curtains and other light proofing methods were holding back the harmful UV rays. It was then my bond with Sookie tore wide open and I gasped at the sensation, doubling over. Godric’s hand landed on my shoulder and he hauled me upright, pushing strength through our bond.
I believed I was going to have some peace from Sookie now. I assumed the ritual was over. I was wrong. Her screams broke through the silence and her pain flooded our bond. This pain was nothing like it had been before though and instantly I was on my knees, crumbling to the floor. Godric moved down with me, tearing into his wrist and offering his blood to me in order to provide me with the strength I would need to help Sookie. Immediately I lent forward, pulling his wrist to my mouth before I started to take in his life force, letting him smooth my hair back from my face as I fed. The fae blood may have allowed me to survive in the sunshine but it was so weak, weaker even than Sookie’s blood, that it wouldn’t provide me with much strength.
For three-quarters of an hour the pain continued. I’d finished taking from Godric after five minutes, not wanting to take too much as he would need it himself. Ata would need some too. I was greedy at times but the blood was sacred. Finally Sookie’s pain stopped, her cries were silenced and Ata’s eyes snapped open. She gasped for breath, her hands falling from her boys as she crumbled to her knees. Promptly my Maker was at her side with his arms around her, offering her strength and support. “Thank you Bes for joining me in this ritual. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.” I heard her whisper.
Shakily she rose to her feet, a death grip on Godric who was supporting her small weight. Looking in my direction she nodded. I needed no other encouragement. Rising to my own feet I vamped to Sookie’s side, running my hands over her face, her throat, her arms, her legs, every area of her skin I could get my hands on, checking her over for injuries.
“She’s fine. She’ll need water though.” Ata rasped, picking up the small glass of water that had been on the table with the candles. Opening Sookie’s mouth Ata started to pour the water in, her hands shaky. Sensing she would need some help I started to massage Sookie’s throat, encouraging her to swallow. Once all the liquid was gone I placed my arms under my beloved to lift her from the bed, but I was joined by Ata’s boys’ moments later.
“Let us help, please, you’ve been taking the brunt of her pain.” Oeri murmured and I could do nothing but nod. Although I was feeling mighty possessive of my beloved I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry her all the way to the bedroom alone. Accepting help wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.
“She needs to rest, to bed with her.” Ata whispered. She dropped her head forward, pressing a kiss to Sookie’s forehead before she pulled back. Gradually we shuffled our way over to the door, not wanting to jolt Sookie. Ata was still rather unsteady on her feet at the moment too. Scooping her up, my Maker carried her down the stairs. Upon entering the living area I was surprised to find the windows in there had also been blacked out, and Egor and Agmund were still awake. Oscar had clearly gone to rest as his young age wouldn’t allow him to stay up past sunrise.
“How is she?” Agmund asked, taking a few cautious steps towards us.
“She’ll be fine when she wakes, her throat might be a bit scratchy from shouting out all evening but other than that she should be okay.” Ata responded, glancing over her shoulder to her cousin.
“Are you okay?” Egor asked as he took in Ata’s lack of shirt and the faint scar across her side. We’d been able to knit the wound back together again but the scar would remain until Godric had his blood in her system.
“Just a scratch. I’m fine.” She reassured him, lifting a hand to pat him tenderly on the cheek. “Go to rest, I’ll see you this evening.” She ordered. Both blonde vampires bowed to Ata before disappearing off to their room.
Carrying on through the penthouse, everyone entered the room I was sharing with Sookie. The light tight shutters had already covered the windows and carefully we placed Sookie down on the bed. Removing their arms, Ata’s boys bid us all goodnight before disappearing off to rest for the day.
Ata seemed to linger, checking over her cousin one last time before she slinked out of the room with Godric, closing the door behind her. Stripping myself down to my boxers I removed Sookie’s clothing too before going to the bathroom, where I washed the dried blood from my face before returning with a clean cloth to wash my beloved. I cleaned her from head to toe before settling in the bed beside her, pulling her into my side. Unable to resist, I let my lips meet hers in a feather-light kiss. “God natt min älskade” I whispered, pushing her hair back from her face.
I watched her sleep for a few minutes before I heard the sound of knuckles brushing against our door, a heartbeat on the other side. Rising from my spot on the bed I crossed the room, opening the door to see a very pale looking Ata. She’d changed into a black nightie, which only further added to her pale complexion. “I didn’t know it would cause her so much pain, I’m so sorry. I just want you to know that if I had known how long it would have taken, or how much it would have hurt the pair of you, I’d have never allowed it to happen. I hope you can trust me again after this.” Her head dropped a little and I knew she was beating herself up about it.
So, in a move completely out of character for myself, I pulled Ata into my arms, holding her against my chest. She was ridged for a moment, the shock practically pouring off of her, until eventually she relaxed and her own arms wrapped around my waist. “I still trust you, why wouldn’t I?” I asked rhetorically, smoothing her hair down with one of my large hands in a gesture I usually reserved for Pam and Sookie. “We asked you to do this for us and you did, so thank you. Besides, you were hurt in the process too. I appreciate it. Sookie appreciates it. You have welcomed us into your home, taught Sookie everything you know so that she can protect herself, expanded my little family, helped us uncover hidden truths and gave Godric a purpose again. I owe you, so don’t think for one moment that I don’t trust you.” I reassured her, continuing to stroke her hair soothingly. I could smell her tears and I could feel them against my bare chest. Surprisingly it hurt me to see her upset. I dropped a chaste kiss to the top of her head, hoping to soothe her. I had something to fight for now, a family that needed me, friends who needed me, and I would do everything in my power to keep them safe. Sookie was my light in the dark, and when she had given me her heart she had also given me everything I had been missing in my undead life – a family, friends, a feeling of belonging, of home.
I regretted my earlier emotions, feeling angry with Ata for allowing the ritual to happen. She’d been as clueless about it as I had. It wasn’t fair for me to blame her when Sookie and I had asked her to help us.
Raising my eyes from the top of her head they landed on my Maker, who was stood against the doorframe leading out into the living area. He’d heard our entire exchange and the smile on his lips and the pride pulsing through our bond told me he was exceptionally happy. Glancing from my father to the woman in my embrace I realized that perhaps accepting Ata as my mother wouldn’t be a difficult thing after all. She had a fierce heart, a strong spirit, and so much unconditional love for someone who was so old, so coveted, that I couldn’t help but admire her strength. We stood in silence for a little while longer until she eventually pulled back, having contained her emotions.
“Sorry I cried all over you, I’m just overcome with emotions.” She gave a weak laugh, causing me to offer her a small smile.
“It doesn’t matter at all, just know that everything is fine with us.” I pressed one last chaste kiss to her forehead before she turned on the spot, moving back to Godric who had offered his hand out to her. With a small wave in my direction, which I uncharacteristically returned, Ata uttered her goodnight before she disappeared off with my Maker.
Shutting the door I clambered back into bed, scooping my Sookie up in my arms and holding her close. I had no time to think about the events of the evening, or the moment I’d just shared with my beloved’s cousin. The fae blood in my system wore off and finally I succumbed to my day slumber.
Invoco te, O Hapi, Archangelus Neptuni Et rector Clariuidens te ut aperiet tertia oculus Et ostenderet occulta lux. Videat futurum. Videat praeteritum. Percipere divina Regna ignota. Intelligere sapientia fortium universi. Ita mote sit! (Latin) = I call upon thee, O Hapi, Archangel of Neptune and ruler of clairvoyant powers. I ask you to open the third eye and show the hidden light.
See the future. See the past. To perceive the divine. To the realm of the unknown. To understand the wisdom of the mighty universe. So mote it be!”