A/N Now for the tying up of loose ends really, I have all this planned out on my phone (amazing what inspiration comes to me when travelling!) so I hope I’ve captured all of the loose ends over the next few chapters. If there are any I haven’t covered PM me and let me know, and I’ll squeeze them into chapters…somewhere! 🙂
I love you all, my pretties! This chapter is a little short and I don’t think it’s too great because I’m trying to find my mojo. Our guys are a bit OOC here, sorry, and with the strength of the women in the last chapter I only felt it right they be allowed an emotional outburst each, but it won’t be the last time either of them lashes out/cries/becomes distant – it wouldn’t be an honest representation otherwise. Subsequent chapters should be back to former length/quality though.
I’m thinking of making a facebook group where all my readers can throw ideas around, discuss things, promote their own stories or ones they enjoy etc. I’ve seen a few others do this sort of thing (kittyinaz and invertedmeridian for example, both of whom are GREAT writers and I really recommend them) – what’re your thoughts on this? Would ya’ll join in or d’ya think it would be a wasted effort? I know ya’ll get email updates whenever I post (I think ya do anyway) but this could be another platform to use? Drop me a comment and lemme know what ya think!
When this story is over I’m also going to be moving into other fandoms too (The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints are calling out for me…my Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, & Sean Patrick Flanery love is get too much!) but I’m still going to be writing TB stories – much shorter ones though! ER is gonna be around 80 chapters!! I might even start writing original pieces of work – I have some ideas up my sleeve already.
Ohhh and I also like the idea of prompts for one shots! If you have any ideas then throw them at me (maybe on the facebook page if ya’ll like the idea and I get that going? If not, on the comments here) and I can start working on them between updating ER and real life! Prompts for True Blood, The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints, Game of Thrones, and even Hemlock Grove (because Bill Skarsgård deserves some love too!) are greatly appreciated! I don’t really watch much else, but I’m open to other one-shot suggestions for both TV and movies and I’ll see what I can do 😉
ENJOY AND PLEASE LEAVE ME A REVIEW/COMMENT! 🙂
It’s been a long hard ride, got a ways to go, but this is still the place that we all call home
Free, nothing feels like free
Though it sometimes means we don’t get along
Cause same, no we’re not the same, but that’s what makes us strong
From the mountains high to the wave crashed coast
There’s a way to find better days, I know, it’s been a long hard ride, got a ways to go
But this is still the place that we all call home
Brave, gotta call it brave, to chase that dream across the sea
Names, and they signed their names for something they believed
Red, how the blood ran red, and we laid our dead in sacred ground
Just think, wonder what they think if they could see us now
~ Home, Dierks Bentley
As the youngest of the nest I should have succumbed to the suns pull the moment it had breached the horizon and burnt Compton to a crisp. I couldn’t deny the fact that I had fought the initial small tug in order to watch the fucker burn, and it was one hell of a satisfying sight. I’d always liked Sookie, even when she’d caused friction between Eric and I as she’d been nothing but loyal to him, and that went a long way in winning me over. I didn’t think she’d had it in her to kill him, but when she’d tied him up with silver, shoving her panties into his mouth to silence him before she let him meet the sun, I had to say I was proud of her. I had no idea how I was still able to fight the pull of the sun, but I wasn’t about to question it.
Our two fae/human companions were silent for the whole journey back to Caesar’s Palace, neither of them letting go of each others hands, or their other hands which were holding on to their respective bonded’s. With Khai in the front seat, Oeri and Riei were left to tend to Isabel. Her blood flow to her severed hand had stopped thanks to Khai’s blood, but Oeri was in the process of bandaging the wound up. Though vampires couldn’t get infections, as our bodies would naturally fight them off, it was still widely accepted to cover our wounds so as not to frighten humans.
Thinking of wounds had me turning to look at Ari. He was trying his hardest to not let me feel any pain through our second bond but I already knew him well enough to know he was in agony, even with a few mouthfuls of my blood. I wasn’t his family directly by blood, so though my blood helped it wouldn’t do as much good as his brothers would. He’d lost an arm and a leg in the fight, and it gave an all-new meaning to the phrase the humans used. I’d heard one of the fangbangers at Fangtasia say it once. ’I’d give an arm and a leg for…”
I could do nothing but sit tight, holding on to his remaining arm, letting him know I was there through our bond and occasionally I would push his bangs from his forehead if they fell into place as we rounded a sharp corner. It was so stupid of him to let his emotions get the better of him. If I hadn’t moved so quickly in killing his enemies then he could be without any limbs right now, or he could have met the true death. Shaking myself from those morbid thoughts I spared a glance to my Maker and Grandsire. Both were still and silent, but I could feel the flurry of emotional activity occurring between them through their bond. Relief seemed to be the most dominant emotion and I couldn’t blame them for it at all. Both of them looked physically fine, as did Ata and Sookie, but I could tell the four of them had a few issues they needed to work out in their respective pairs. The things that happened to them would undoubtedly leave a few scars, but I’d be there and support them all for however long it would take.
I glanced to Riei and Oeri, still fussing over Isabel, and was pleased to see that the hole where Oeri’s ear had once been was healing up, a new ear slowly starting to form. Ears, noses, fingers and toes were easier and less painful to grow back than full limbs. Ari would have quite a struggle ahead of him. Finally I stole a glance to Egor, who was sticking close to Ata’s side, his head tipped to rest against her shoulder as he gazed down to the floor. In his hands he held his brothers and I myself felt like weeping for the losses of all those involved. It seemed though that I had been one of the only few to not be injured in this battle, physically or emotionally. I would need to be the glue to hold them all together.
The feeling of the van coming to a stop, and a quick glimpse outside, told me that we had made it back to Caesar’s Palace and that we were currently parked in the darkened car port. “Felipe and Marc let you drain us down because they wanted to turn us. They wanted to turn us against you and make us think you were monsters. They wanted us to think that you had both tricked us all along and it was some elaborate scheme that you had been asked to take part in by Niall because we were abominations to the fae race due to the company we keep.” Sookie’s flat voice echoed around the van. She had everyone’s attention, but a slight incline of her head was the cue Ata needed.
“They wanted to wait as long as possible to turn us, which is why you were to drain us just before sunrise. They thought if we remained lifeless for 12 hours and were turned that we would be as damaged as Bubba, and would be in constant need of their guidance and the Maker-Childe bond they would have with us.” Ata picked up where Sookie had left off, neither woman breaking the eye contact they had with one another. I could feel Eric’s fury, and Godric’s, but it did nothing for their women, who flinched under the strength of it. Knowing their emotions were overkill, I felt Eric and Godric pulling back, restraining themselves.
“How do you know this, min kära?” Eric asked Sookie softly, sweeping some of her matted hair up to tuck behind her equally grubby ear. Godric’s fingers were sweeping over Ata’s knuckles in his own comforting gesture.
“It’s amazing what people think of right before they die.” Sookie’s detached voice regarding the death of Felipe and Marc, and even Bill and Russell, was something I was proud of and worried about at the same time. I didn’t want her to lose her tenderness, or her sweetness. It was what made her the annoying little telepath that I was so fond of. Not delaying any further, or offering anymore information, Sookie opened the back of the van by letting go of Ata’s hand, breaking eye contact long enough to leave the confines of the vehicle. The sunlight was unable to penetrate Ata’s private carport so we were safe for now, and the stairs led up to Ata’s private elevator. I had no idea how Khai got inside without me noticing. The huge 20ft fences covered in what smelt like silver, iron, and an array of dangerous looking explosives and spikes should anyone try to force their way in were truly terrifying.
Ata followed Sookie out of the van before she offered her hand back to Egor. He took it eagerly, cradling his brothers with one arm as he left the vehicle. Slowly we all started to emerge from the van, each of us stretching our legs. It was Ata and Sookie’s simultaneous yawns that reminded us all of the mostly human women in our group, and the fact that none of us were yet to succumb to the pull of the sun. Soundlessly, Ata and Sookie moved towards the door. Eric, having caught up with Sookie, placed his hand in hers as a silent show of strength. Godric approached Ata, placing a hand on her lower back. The elder fae jumped at the contact and spun around to face him. “Please don’t do that.” She asked in a timid voice, forcing a meek smile before she entered the code that allowed the door to open. She kept her back to us all, gesturing for us to go ahead of her as she sidestepped out of the way. Perturbed by her actions I frowned, but it wasn’t my place to question her. Helping Ari hop through the door I realised he would need a lot more blood before going to his day rest.
Silently we all entered the elevator. Egor, at a loss without one of his Viking brothers, took Eric’s outstretched hand. I had seen Eric caring before, after all he had taken care of me for so long, but seeing him interact with another man, a man he had known back when he had been but a mere human was a strange though not unwelcome surprise. Egor couldn’t rely on Ata for support right now. The poor girl was barely supporting herself. With a ding the elevator doors slid open and once again Ata allowed us all out first. Godric lingered however, instinctively taking Ata’s hand as he passed her to exit. Feeling some comfort coming from her through our weak bond, it occurred to me that this was her defence mechanism – shutting people out. She had excluded herself from us by remaining silent, not looking any of us in the eyes, acting as if we were more important than her by letting us enter and exit the elevator first.
Colton stood in the middle of the living room, a lethal blade in his hand and the bleeds running from his nose and ears. I cracked a grin when I saw him and he returned it with ease. He was an honourable Sheriff and had helped us immensely during the battle. “I came back here to return this blade, figured it belonged to one of you. I came across these two trying to get into the penthouse and I thought I’d guard them for you until your return.” He nodded to the sofas where a frightened Flo and agitated Amelia sat. The scent of their fear was strong in the air and in any other situation I would have relished it. This morning however I was annoyed. These two women had caused my little family a considerable amount of pain. Yes they were glamoured but they shouldn’t have been so stupid as to look a strange vampire in the eyes!
“Miss Ata! Miss Sookie! Oh my goodness you’re alive! Thank God and Jesus that you’re okay!” Flo pulled herself up from the sofa, dashing to the two women. Both accepted her embrace, neither of them feeling an ounce of anger towards her. Instead they both felt relieved, happy even. “I am so sorry Miss Ata. I came back to gather up my things and be on my way! I had no idea that nasty man was gonna make me do what he did! I could barely remember any of it until Miss Amelia here used her witch powers to make me remember!” The cook looked to be on the verge of tears. Ata and Sookie took pity on the woman, offering her small smiles.
“I have no idea why you would be gathering your things, Flo. I’m going to need you to stick around for a while.” Ata confessed, glancing to Sookie who nodded in affirmation.
Surprise was evident on Flo’s features. “But I thought, after what –“
Ata shook her head, holding a hand up to cease the conversation. “I would never fire you, Flo. You were glamoured by a bad man who can no longer touch us.” Sookie took one of Flo’s hands in her own, offering her a smile.
“I would kill, again, for some crawfish étouffée.” Sookie’s attempt at a joke tugged at the corners of my lips, but went right over Flo’s head.
“Oh most certainly Miss Sookie! I’ll do that right now!” She bustled off into the kitchen, gathering pans and ingredients from every cupboard.
“Could I please have besara with baladi bread, Flo?” Ata asked as I placed Ari down carefully on the unoccupied sofa. Amelia’s eyes were darting around the room nervously.
“Yes Miss Ata. A little taste of home hm?” She gave Ata a fond smile before returning to her cooking.
“I need to bathe.” Sookie announced, heading off towards her bedroom. Eric was hot on her heels, not wanting to leave her alone even for a minute.
“I do also.” Ata commented quietly, heading off in the other direction to her bedroom. Godric followed her, though he lingered a little behind her, watching her every movement.
Riei and Oeri were dealing with Amelia, debriefing her on the events of the past few days. Khai was holding on to Isabel, discussing with Colton the plans for the meeting tonight with every vampire who had helped with the rescue mission.
I turned my attention to Ari, whose eyes swung to meet mine. “Can I get you anything?” I offered softly, placing my hand on Ari’s chest.
“Some blood would be great, thank you.” He rasped out. Nodding I vamped to the fridge. Flo didn’t even bat an eyelid at my speed, having dealt with several vampires for her entire life. Grabbing several bags of donor blood I took them to Ari, dropping fang and piercing them before I handed them to him. He still had his fangs, he was still capable of feeding himself, but I wanted him to focus on healing and not worry about anything else.
Somethin’ in your eyes, makes me wanna lose myself
Makes me wanna lose myself, in your arms
There’s somethin’ in your voice, makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feeling lasts, the rest of my life
If you knew how lonely my life has been and how long I’ve been so alone
And if you knew how I wanted someone to come along
And change my life the way you’ve done
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong
~ Feels Like Home, Chantal Kreviazuk
Sookie was unusually quiet and more withdrawn than before. I had known that the events of the past few days would affect her, but I hadn’t been prepared for this. Sookie had always been a runner though, and by withdrawing she was running away from her emotions. I should have seen it coming. Sookie entered our bedroom but seemed at a loss with what to do with herself now that she was there. “Let me run you a bath.” I offered gently. Though I hadn’t had much experience with women who had suffered such abuse over my 1000 years I was aware that Sookie simply needed reassuring right now, she needed someone who would be there for her and listen to her. I wasn’t going to downplay what had happened to her however; I would simply help her overcome it.
Turning the bath taps on I tested the water. My cool skin meant that working out the right water temperature for Sookie was a challenge. During my amnesia I had learnt that when the water felt burning hot to me, it was just right for her. Browsing the bath salts dotted around the tub I plucked out one that smelt like peaches, pouring a generous amount into the running water. I heard Sookie’s soft footsteps as she approached. Turning to glance at her I turned the taps off, knowing that the tub was now full enough. Sookie was still carrying herself with the grace she’d always had, but she seemed a little shy of her body now, hiding herself beneath a silk robe. Realising that my hungry gaze was making her uncomfortable I averted my eyes to the sink. Taking a step back as Sookie approached the tub I moved to the door to allow her some privacy. “Please, don’t go.” She rasped out.
The tone of her voice tugged at my heartstrings and I turned back to her, noting that she had shed the silk robe and was now submerged in the water that filled the tub. Her knees were bent, hiding her bountiful chest from view. Crossing to her I crouched by the side of the bath, grabbing the sponge from the side. Sookie shook her head, moving back in the tub to create a large space before her. Her gaze swung from the vacant space to my eyes, silently begging for me to join her. I could have used my vampire speed to remove my clothes but I was apprehensive to do so. A man who had used the benefits of his vampirism to overpower her had just defiled her. Removing my clothes at a humans pace, I pried our bond open a little further. My Sookie was still frightened, she was feeling guilty and unloved. Her emotions stirred the animal inside me, the Neanderthal who wanted to avenge his woman. I tampered it down though. Now wasn’t the time to go cave man on her. Now was the time to help and soothe her. Sookie would no doubt want to talk about it at some point, but I would not pry, I would simply listen. Easing myself into the tub before her, I left my body language open. I kept my eyes on hers, not letting them drift down her beautiful body even though I wanted to explore every inch of her. She was still as incredible as she had been before she had been hurt; she was still as beautiful in my eyes. If anything, she was even more incredible than before. She knew no bounds with her strength. My blood had healed her of the physical aliments of her abuse, but it couldn’t erase the memories. If I could glamour her I would have done so by now. She didn’t deserve to live with such memories.
Grabbing the sponge from the side again I lathered it up with some rose scented body wash. “May I?” I asked for permission gesturing to her folded arms, which were holding her knees to her chest. The size of the tub meant that I’d been forced to stretch my legs out and they were resting on either side of Sookie. With a nod Sookie unfolded her arms, slowly lowering her legs so she sat in the tub, her own legs were stretched up towards me, the mid-point of her calves brushing my hips, her feet behind me. Keeping my eyes on hers I gently took her left arm, lathering it up using gentle circles. Taking her other arm I repeated the lathering motion before I returned the sponge to the side. Cupping water in my hands I rinsed her skin off. My internal body clock told me it was around 8am now, and yet I hadn’t succumbed to the sun. I couldn’t feel the bleeds nor was I feeling tired. With her arms washed I gestured to her legs, silently asking for permission again. I figured, given that Sookie had always liked being independent and in control, that by giving her the option to say no I was giving her back the control she had lost by Bill’s hands.
Washing her legs, I noted the light hair growth. I had no problem with body hair. My people had kept neat appearances, but we had never expected women to rid themselves entirely of their body hair. It was nice to find a woman with smooth legs, but not expected. I’d loved bathing back then but had only been able to do so in lakes or streams, or within the bathhouses found on every large farm in the area. Cupping water over Sookie’s legs I cleaned the soap off. Stretching over the side of the tub I returned the sponge, taking up her razor instead. Her skin, damp from the water, would allow the blade to slide over the surface and not cut her. Pam was forever shaving her legs after not doing so before I turned her. She would live forever with hairy legs. I taunted her about it mercilessly.
“You don’t have to do that Eric. It’s gross.” Sookie’s voice broke me out of my reverie. Bringing my eyes to hers I shook my head, dipping the razor into the water to dampen the blades.
“I want to, Sookie. You take care of yourself this way. I’ve seen it. I want to take care of you this evening, if you’d allow it?” I once again gave her the option to say no. I had no problem shaving her, taking care of her. She had taken care of me in my state of amnesia, and without her I would have met the true death. Shaving her legs was the least I could do for her. Through our bond I could feel Sookie weighing up her options. After a few minutes of silence, in which I kept my emotions and features neutral not wanting to influence her in any way, she finally gave a firm nod.
Offering her a smile I took the blade to her leg, using my sharp vision to spot every hair. I worked quickly, removing every hair all the way up to her hips. I realised as I was nearly finished with her left leg, that there was a spot close to her centre that would need my attention. Struggling for a moment I finally decided to let her know and be the judge. She could always get it herself if she was uncomfortable with me doing so, but I silently prayed that wouldn’t be the case. “Min kära, there’s a small spot of hair on the inside of your thigh. Would you like me to get that or would you like to get it?” I gave her the options. Rather than verbally giving her permission, Sookie turned her leg, exposing the creamy skin on the inside of her thigh. Working quickly I removed the hair there before I shifted to her other leg.
With her legs hair free, I took her hands gently, keeping my motion slows. Raising her arms above her head, I took the blade to her underarms, removing the small hairs that had started to grow there. Placing the razor back on the side I picked up the sponge. It was still a little soapy but I placed more of the rose body wash on it to be sure. I realised I now had to clean her chest and her centre. Sookie, realising what I was contemplating, started to pull her legs back to hide her chest. “No min kära.” I ordered gently, putting a hand on her knee in a light gesture to stop her from running from her feelings again. “You are not responsible for what happened. The blame sits solely at his feet, but you know I am not like him. I would never hurt you.” I cringed as I recalled how I had almost drained her, shutting my eyes at the memory.
Sookie’s hands on my face drew me from the painful memory. Her eyes were focused on mine and I could feel her probing the bond, probing my mind. I opened both to her, letting her feel and hear my sincerity. “I trust you.” Her voice was stronger than before, and I could feel that she felt more secure, surer in herself. Turning, I placed a soft kiss on the palm of her hand. I was unsure how she would take to affectionate gestures, but she seemed to accept my small kiss. The bond told me she felt secure with me, comforted even. Her hands fell from my face and I resumed cleaning her. I wanted to be clinical with my touches to reassure her that I wouldn’t hurt her, but at the same time I wanted her to know I still desired her, that I still found her beautiful. Pam had once told me that women sometimes felt unloved and dirty after such an attack. My Sookie was neither.
Washing Sookie’s flat stomach first, I paid attention to the crease where her hips met her thighs. Dipping the sponge between her legs I felt her tense for a second. “It’s alright, min kära. It’s just me. I won’t hurt you.” I reassured her softly; watching as the tension started to fade from her body and her shoulders sagged. Cleaning her centre properly I let my forefinger brush across her clit as I removed my hand, and the way her body shuddered at my touch, the little mewl that left her lips and the love and lust that entered our bond reassured me we’d be okay. Her breasts were next and I paid attention to the crease underneath them, where they rested against her torso. I took the opportunity to be somewhat cheeky and slide my thumbs over her nipples, which had peaked with the cooling water temperature and the small fragment of attention I had paid to her centre Sookie’s little body shuddered once more and her eyes fluttered shut. I kept a check on our bond. The moment she felt it was too much, too soon or if she started to feel guilty or dirty again I would stop. This was about her happiness and her pleasure, not mine. Cupping my hands I scooped up water, washing away the suds. Sookie’s eyes were open now and the vibrant blue was back watching me. “Turn for me, min älskling?”
Sookie complied happily, giving me access to her back. I soaped her up and washed the suds off. Leaning forward I placed a soft kiss to each of her shoulder blades, relishing the fact that she relaxed against me. I washed her hair, using one of my large hands to shield her eyes so as not to get water or soap in them. With Sookie clean I placed the sponge back on the side as Sookie turned between my legs, picking it back up. She didn’t need to ask about cleaning me and simply took my right hand, lifting my arm to start washing.
She took her time cleaning me, stopping every now and then to reapply the rose body wash to the sponge. I was comfortable enough with my masculinity not to turn my nose up at the scent of the body wash. With me clean and suds-free, including my hair, Sookie placed the sponge back on the side of the bath. We hadn’t spoken for the past 20 minutes or so and I was in no rush to break the silence between us. It was comfortable, Sookie was content, and so was I. Shifting herself, my bonded placed herself in my lap, her legs either side of mine, her body pressed to me. Tucking herself under my chin, into my chest, she wrapped her arms around me in an embrace. Wrapping my arms around her I held her to me, stroking her hair comfortingly. “Thank you.” She murmured against my chest, moving one hand to my chest where her fingers played in the light dusting of hair I had there. “Thank you for taking care of me, for asking me before doing anything.” She continued on in a soft voice. With each word her resolve through our bond grew, she felt stronger and safer, especially when I tightened my hold on her ever so slightly.
“It is the least I can do for you, min älskling.” I reassured her, dropping a kiss to the top of her head. Craning her neck, Sookie’s lips found the underside of my chin. Her lips moved upwards slowly, reverently. Finally her lips found mine and she planted a firm kiss to them. I couldn’t help it, the feel of her warm little body against mine, her moist lips kissing mine. Sookie felt me stir between us and pulled back, her eyes dipped between us. Her small hand went to grasp me but I grabbed her wrist. “It’s okay, it’ll go in a moment.” I informed her, not wanting her to feel like she owed me anything.
Shaking her head, her teeth sank into her lower lip. Her other hand removed mine from her wrist and she continued on her path, taking me in her hand. Several pumps of her hand later and I was struggling with my control. I was vampire, and male, so sex and all things associated were my weaknesses. Deciding this wasn’t the right location I used my speed for the first time since we had returned home. Removing us from the tub I pulled the plug, grabbing a towel before I vamped to the bedroom. Sookie had wrapped her legs around me during our quick movement, her hand having stilled. Throwing the towel down onto the bed I laid down on my back on it, letting Sookie straddled me and thus have control of the situation. Tears sprung to her eyes and I panicked. I hated to see her cry and I assumed she was suddenly remembering the events of the past few days. I moved to comfort her but she violently shook her head, pushing me back down with surprising strength so that I was flat on my back again. “You’re letting me have control.” She had obviously read the motivation behind my actions. I couldn’t blame her for having her shields down. Sookie’s hands left me and came up, covering her mouth and cheeks as fat tears disappeared beneath her hands to run down her face.
Nodding, I offered her a reassuring smile as I swept away the tears I could get my hands on. “Of course, min älskling.”
Sookie’s confidence flared to life through our bond and so did her comfort, security and the love she felt for me. She was grateful also, and the smile that lit up her face at the moment her happiness transferred to me through our bond was worth every cent I had in all of my bank accounts, even the offshore ones. Leaning down, her lips captured mine. For a moment I thought that it might be too soon for her, that we should stop before it went any further, but I felt no negative emotions through our bond. I wondered briefly if Sookie was simply going to use sex to numb the pain, as so many humans did these days, but I was quick to realise that she simply needed to feel wanted and loved again, to feel desired, sexy and in control. I gave myself up to her, letting her do with me as she willed.
With Sookie straddling me I placed my hands lightly on her hips, helping to navigate her as she aligned herself up with me. I kept my touch gentle, not wanting to trigger any painful memories. Sookie was still damp from the bath and the tenderness between us, coupled with our gentle kisses, ensured that I entered her easily. She sat down on me slowly, taking me in. She was still as perfect as before, still as warm and as tight. Keeping one hand on her hip I placed the other over nub. Stroking it slowly my bonded threw her head back in abandon, letting go of her inhibitions. The events of the past few days, and our need to find comfort in one another, meant that Sookie was thrown over the edge within minutes. Her rocking motion, the swirl of her hips and the rise and fall of her body, coupled with the contractions of her inner walls as her orgasm ran through her caused my insides to tighten unbearably. With a groan I let go, finding my release by spilling inside of her. Sookie’s body fell forward, shaking with after tremors as she collapsed onto my chest, heaving in gulps of air.
“Thank you.” She whispered, finding her voice after several moments of silence. A light sheen of sweat covered her body and I knew we would have to wash again soon.
Trailing my hands over her back, I chuckled lightly. “That was only round one, min kära.”
Half an hour later we were a tangled mess in the sheets, Sookie’s warm, slightly sweaty body draped over my cold frame. Sookie’s fingers were dancing over my rib cage, a smile painted on her lips, her eyes closed in contentment. I probed our bond silently and found her happiness there, her confidence and her love towards me. I could detect the undertones of her sadness though, her guilt and her shame. I hadn’t deluded myself into thinking that the events of the past few days had been dealt with. There was still a long way to go and I was aware that Sookie would need a soundboard when she decided to open up about her experience and deal with whatever issues it had left behind. “I’m lucky to have you. Thank you.” Sookie’s soft Southern lilt drifted up to my ears. Leaning down I kissed the top of her head.
“No min kära, I am very lucky. I don’t know why I was given such a treasure as you.” I corrected her gently, sweeping my hand up and down her spine, causing her to shiver. The sound of Sookie’s stomach grumbling reminded me of the food that Flo had been preparing when we’d left. Sookie giggled at the noise, bringing a hand down to rest on her stomach as if that would silence it. “Lets get you fed, min angel.” I lifted Sookie from the bed, placing her down once I had removed myself from under her. Kissing her forehead I vamped to the closet where I pulled on a pair of track pants and a black wife-beater. I grabbed a soft nightgown for Sookie on my way out, handing it to her along with a pair of panties. She dressed quickly and took my hand, leading me out of our bedroom and back into the living room where the incredible food smells were coming from.
If you leave me tonight I’ll wake up alone,
Don’t tell me I will make it on my own.
Don’t leave me tonight
This heart of stone will sink ’til it dies, if you leave me tonight.
Sometimes I stare at you while you are sleeping, I listen to your breathing,
Amazed how I somehow managed to sweep you off of your feet girl,
Your perfect little feet girl,
I took for granted what you do, but I’ll do better.
I know, baby I can do better.
~ Stay Close, Don’t Go, Secondhand Serenade
I could understand why my beloved was letting a simple mark affect her so much. I had been branded in my human years and I was aware of what it felt like to be marked as a piece of property. It didn’t make me love Ata any less; after all she had loved me when I had first been branded, so I was finding it difficult to understand what the underlying problem was. I gave her some space as she walked to our bedroom, but not even the end of the world would have been able to keep me from her. I followed her into the bedroom, purposefully keeping my eyes off of the mark on her shoulder blade. She was already conscious of it and didn’t need me adding to that. Ata moved to the bathroom and I moved to follow her, but rather than finding myself in the beautiful marble room I found myself face-to-face with the closed door. The tumble of the lock was the kiss of death.
I would NOT allow her to stew on this. I would NOT allow her to feel bad about this. I didn’t give a shit about her brand. It had happened and that was that. It didn’t detract from my love. Snatching a bobby pin from our dresser I opened it up jamming it into the lock mechanism as I heard the shower start running.
It took me seconds to pick the lock, years of experiencing having made me an expert at the craft. Throwing the door open I was before Ata in an instant, grabbing her arm to stop her from entering the shower. She wore no clothing; the only items on her body were the rings I had bought for her. Jumping at my closeness and quick approach, a squeal escaped her lips. My hold on her was firm, but not rough. She’d had enough rough treatment lately for the entirety of her life. My other hand grabbed her face, turning her and forcing her to look at me. Her blue eyes were filled with sadness and vulnerability. “What’s going on?” I gritted out between my clenched teeth. Running had been one of Sookie’s traits, as Eric had once informed me, and it wasn’t something I had expected from my wife. “Do you really think so little of me that you would question my love for you simply because your skin is marred?” I demanded, not letting her go until I had answers.
Rather than answering my question Ata fired her own. “How could you love someone who carries the mark of another? I don’t want to be hurt again.” She answered, her voice wavering only once as she refused to meet my gaze, her eyes falling to the floor between us. Silence enveloped us; the only sound was that of the shower in the background. Her withdrawal from me, the closure of our bond and her distance all fell into place. She’d been steeling herself for the moment I would leave her. How could she think I would leave her? Even if I wanted to I knew my body would betray me and I would always feel compelled to be near her. She was my companion, my lover, my bonded and my wife. Marc’s words in the basement had hurt her. She had lost nearly everyone she had loved. She had nearly lost me to. She would never risk losing me again. I would take every precaution necessary to cover my ass. I was the oldest vampire in America now that Russell was finally dead.
My shoulders sagged. “Please look at me, hayaati.” I addressed her in Arabic, reminding her that she was my life. Her blue eyes finally met mine and I let go of her, gently moving to caress her cheek. She didn’t flinch from me and I let out a breath I’d had no idea I’d been holding. “I love you with or without your mark. Our bond is still there, wide open. Explore it. You’ll find nothing but my love for you. There’s no need to be so uncertain, my darling. I love you.” I pushed all of my love for Ata through our bond, knowing she felt it when her knees trembled. I raised her left hand to my lips, kissing both the promise ring and her diamond engagement ring. “You are my wife in the vampire world, my darling. I would like you to be my wife in the human world to.” I could feel Ata probing our bond, and my mind. I opened both to her. I had nothing to hide. She needed this emotional bolster and she needed some reassurance. I’d left her before, albeit not of my own accord, but I could see why the thought of me leaving scared her so much.
Letting go of her I stripped myself of my clothes. Opening the shower door I stepped in, offering my hand back to my wife. Ata took my offer and followed me into the shower. We stood under the shower together, letting the warm water flow over us. Ata stayed facing me but took a step closer, resting herself against my chest. Wrapping my arms around her I held her close, tucking her in under my chin. My fingers skimmed over her back and I purposefully kept my fingers away from her brand. I wanted her to relax for now. I already had a plan for helping her heal and it would involve a phone call and a favour.
We washed one another slowly, the warm water bringing up the temperature of my usually cool skin. My wife needed comfort and I would do everything possible to give it to her. Turning the water off I grabbed a fluffy white towel, wrapping Ata up in it, drying her off. Grabbing her lightly fragranced body lotion I slathered it onto her body, tenderly ensuring she was coated in the rich cream. While drying her I air-dried.
“I’m sorry I doubted you, that I doubted us.” Ata’s voice was soft and full of remorse. I could feel her sorrow through our bond, how angry and upset she was with herself for even suggesting that I would no longer love her. Yes I had messed up in our relationship, but so had my wife, and she was woman enough to admit that, just like I was man enough to admit my shortcomings. Relationships were new to both of us. It had been 2000 years since we had been with one another exclusively, shared ourselves with one another. 2000 years most certainly changed a person.
Not wanting my wife to dwell any longer I pressed a kiss to her forehead, murmuring an acceptance of her apology. I couldn’t hold a grudge against her, I never would. I would forgive her no matter what her sin, and I knew she would forgive me forever to. Maybe that was wrong in a relationship, to forgive regardless of the pain we caused one another, but then our relationship wasn’t conventional in any shape or form.
Scooping my wife up she squealed in surprise before she laughed happily. I could feel her giddy happiness through our bond and the corners of my lips tugged up into a smile. That was much better than her sadness and her withdrawal. Placing my beloved down on our bed I flicked the covers back, scooting her over so she was swathed in the silk sheets. Sliding in beside her she clung to me, wrapping her lithe frame around mine. Usually we spooned, my stronger frame encasing hers protectively, but it seemed my wife was still upset with the brand on her shoulder and didn’t want me to see it, even though it didn’t affect my love for her.
“I love you.” I reminded her softly, holding her to me. My wife had never been one for flowery words but I felt like using them, if only so she would feel the sincerity behind them through our bond, to know that I still loved her. She was hurting from the abuse at the hands of Marc and Felipe, and from the loss of Agmund and Oscar. “You are my entire world, the centre of my world. You are the sunshine of my life, the blood that rushes through my veins. You are my strength, my soul, and the love of my life. I couldn’t love you more if I tried.” I whispered in her ear, caressing her body. With her head resting on my chest I felt the warmth of her tears as they rolled down her cheeks. Rather than saying anything else I let the bond fill with my love, and I felt it all come rushing back from her. She didn’t need to utter the words. I could feel her love.
We laid in silence for twenty minutes, simply enjoying each other’s presence. “Let me go and get you some food.” I offered. I felt how much she appreciated the gesture and she moved from me, giving me space to get up and out of bed. Throwing on a clean pair of linen pants I grabbed my phone from the bedside, slipping it into my pocket. Ata’s eyes were shut so the action went unnoticed. Slipping out of our room I stayed in the windowless corridor. Pulling my phone out I scrolled through the contacts list that I had gathered when Eric and I had been creating an attack plan with the Nevada vampires. Scrolling through I found the human girlfriend of Aurel, the Sheriff of Area 33.
The phone rang for a minute or so before finally someone answered. “Georgie Bray speaking.”
Grinning, I responded. “Georgie it’s Godric, Ata’s husband.”
“Godric! Aurel tells me that the rescue mission was a success and that our dear Ata is back with you safe and sound. What can I do for you?” The tangible gentleness of Georgie’s Atlanta accent was unmistakable. There was a musicality to it. It wasn’t hick or over-the-top Southern belle. The vowels were more rounded.
“You work at University Medical Center in the burns unit yes? I’m going to need your help…”
I can be bad if I want, I can be wrong if I want
I can live fast if I want, I can go slow all night long
I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want
They love the way I walk ’cause I walk with a vengeance
And they listen to me when I talk ’cause I ain’t pretending
It took a while, now I understand just where I’m going
I know the world and I know who I am
Bout time I show it
~ Grown Woman, Beyoncé
With Ata, Sookie, Godric, and Eric gone from the room I was left with Ari and his brothers. Ari had nearly finished feeding from the blood I had given him and Flo was bustling around in the kitchen, cooking up a storm for the fae/human women who were in need of nutrition. Amelia was squirming on the sofa still, her eyes darting around the room. “We’ll see you this evening, Pam.” Riei excused himself and his brothers. Riei and Oeri left together, taking with them several bags of donor blood. Khai took Isabel away to his room, taking donor bags with him also. Egor stood awkwardly in the middle of the room still clutching the two crystal decanters.
“Egor, perhaps you could help me move Ari into our room?” I asked, giving him something to do, something helpful that would take his mind off of his fallen brothers for a few minutes. Nodding, Egor gently placed the decanters down on the coffee table. Taking hold of Ari on the side where he was missing an arm I lifted him up, allowing Egor to slip under Ari’s one good arm. Together we carried him through the apartment to our bedroom. Positioning him on the bed I gave Egor my attention. “Could you stay with him for a while, please? I have a few things I need to do.” I asked, remembering that Dear Abby had once said that being nice to people got you places. Egor nodded quietly, dragging the spare chair in the room to Ari’s bedside before he sank down into it. Asking Egor to stay served two purposes – he would feel useful and would more than likely be able to talk to Ari and maybe even start to feel better about the nights events, and it would also allow me to grill Amelia and use her to start working on the damn riddles our nest had been given by both The Ancient Pythoness and Ata’s parents.
Slipping from the room I entered the living area. “Now then Amelia.” I took the seat opposite her, noting how she dropped her eyes to the floor. Maybe she had learnt her lesson. “As much as I want to dish out a punishment to you for betraying my Mistress and Grand-Mistress when they have been nothing but accepting and kind towards you, it is not my place to do so. I have no political footing here in Nevada and I do not wish to overstep my mark. Believe me when I say, however, that I will be having words with both women regarding my idea of a suitable punishment for you. You picking up what I’m putting down?” I quirked an eyebrow even though the young witch wouldn’t see it, her eyes still fixated on the floor. With a quick bob of her head she responded. I could feel her fear, taste it in the air. Ata and Sookie wouldn’t punish her as much as I would want them to, both were too good for their own wellbeing’s, but it didn’t hurt to strike the fear of God into Amelia’s heart.
Using my speed I grabbed a pen and some paper from the desk in the room, placing it down on the coffee table alongside the jars containing Agmund and Oscar. I’d also grabbed the piece of paper with the riddles written down on. “Now then, you’re going to help me solve these.” I ordered before I held out one pen to her. With shaky hands she took it, finally bringing her gaze up to the table, refusing to meet my eyes still. I hid my smirk.
Sookie entered the room, Eric following behind her. Both reeked of sex and I held my tongue. They’d both been through so much over the past few days that the last thing they needed were any of my catty comments. The simple fact that Sookie smelt of sex and Eric and that she had actually engaged in any sexual act after what had happened to her was a miracle. Dear Abby had responded to plenty of women over the years that I had been reading her column who had been abused in such a manner and most of them were unable to be intimate with another for months, sometimes even years. I was proud of my fae Mistress.
Flo plated up Sookie’s crawfish étouffée and poured her a glass of orange juice. I wasn’t sure the combination tasted wonderful but the Vitamin C would do Sookie’s immune system some good, I’d also once read during a medical night-class that Vitamin C is useful in wound healing of all types. From cuts and broken bones to burns and recovery from surgical wounds. Although Eric’s blood had healed Sookie completely I could understand why she felt the need to consume the orange juice anyway. After all, old habits died hard. Sookie slipped herself onto a barstool, tucking in to her food. Eric took the seat beside her, offering me a small smile and nod before he brushed some of Sookie’s blonde hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear.
Amelia was refusing to look at Sookie and it didn’t take a blood bond, or being a telepath, to know that she was ashamed of her actions and embarrassed that she had allowed herself to be ensnared so easily. Before she could dwell any further though Godric entered the room. “Is Ata’s meal ready?” He asked Flo, stopping at the raised bar that Sookie and Eric were sat as. As he passed Eric he placed a hand on his back and now, stood beside Sookie, he kept a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Through my connection with Sookie I could feel her love for Godric and her appreciation. He was a father to her now, a father she had never had. Her own father had been frightened of her and had died when she had been so young. The only man in her life had been her brother, and he was dippy at best. Hunter and Jason were still locked away in the safe room, and Bubba had joined them inside when the sun had started to rise. With both humans having been up all night I expected for them to sleep the day away. Sookie needed uninterrupted rest. She didn’t her brother suffocating her with his need to take care of her. She already had Eric for that.
“Miss Ata’s besara with baladi bread is all done, Mr. Godric.” Flo answered with a timid smile, plating up the food. I could see it from my seat on the sofa and it looked awful, almost like green sludge. It smelt great though, much to my chagrin.
“Ata isn’t eating with us?” Sookie questioned once she’d finished her mouthful, glancing to Godric who was tucking a fresh bottle of cold water in his pocket to take back to Ata.
“I’m afraid not duxtir. She’s a little tired and not quite feeling herself.” Godric explained. We all caught on to the underlying meaning. Ata was still ashamed of her mark. I wanted to grab her and shake the stupidity out of her. I guessed that she’d never been mistreated so much; she’d never been claimed in a physical manner before that couldn’t easily be removed. Fang marks could be removed with blood and male essence with a bath.
“Give her my love please, ater.” Sookie responded softly before she returned to her meal, leaving Godric in stunned silence. I had no idea what she’d just said but it sounded very similar to the language Godric had used moments before. “My shields are down, sorry.” Sookie apologised with a sheepish grin in Godric’s direction.
“It is no worry, my duxtir. It pleases me that you can speak to me in my own language, albeit one word.” Godric chuckled, moving his hand to the side of Sookie’s head, pulling her down to him ever so slightly and pressing a kiss to her temple. “Rest well, all of you.” Godric’s eyes scanned all of us, giving us small nods before he picked up the plate of food and left the room, shutting the door behind him.
I was starting to feel the pull of the sun, but I was surprised by how long it had taken for it to eventually set in. I had no idea what had allowed me to stay awake long past the rise of the sun but I wasn’t going to squander the opportunity. Leaving Sookie and Eric in peace I turned back to the riddles before me, mentally going over them.
“’If one tries to navigate unknown waters one runs the risk of shipwreck.” I muttered to myself. Writing it down on a clean sheet of paper I wrote down the conclusion we had reached earlier in the week. Oscar had been sent into Felipe’s mansion to gather useful information for us, as Felipe was blissfully ignorant of Oscar’s loyalty to both Ata and Sookie.
“The key to solving problems is the problem of consciousness” I carried on quietly, rolling the statement around in my head. Lost in my thoughts I hadn’t noticed Sookie finishing her meal and padding over to join me on the sofa until she was sat beside me, her knees touching my leg as she curled up at my side. Eric took up the last seat on our sofa. The three of us were facing Amelia, who was still looking down at the paper with all the riddles scribbled on, no doubt working through them all.
“When Ata and I became unconscious, when Godric and Eric almost drained us down completely, I met Niall and Claude in Faery. I asked them if I was dead but they told me I wasn’t. They told me they would come to me and Ata and give us their healing light.” Sookie recounted what had happened in her unconscious state. “If I hadn’t of had their healing light I would have probably died. I was conscious when I came back from Faery, but I was weak. I needed their light. Ata needed their light.” Sookie explained, answering the riddle. The problem of their deaths needed to be solved, and by falling unconscious and asking for Niall and Claude’s help they were able to solve the problem. Nodding I jotted down the answer.
Eric had stiffened when Sookie mentioned that he had almost drained her down. I couldn’t blame my Maker, I would feel guilty too if I had nearly caused my bonded to die. Feeling Eric’s emotions as she brought up the events in the basement, Sookie took his hand and drew circles on the palm of it with her forefinger, soothing the animal inside of him.
“For every joy there is a price to be paid.” I reiterated the final riddle, knowing that I would call it a day after this. It was getting increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open and I had no doubt that Sookie was in need of her rest also. Godric reentered the room, placing the empty plate in the sink and the empty plastic bottle in the bin.
“Thank you, Flo.” He offered the cook a small smile before he moved to join us in the living area. “Niall gave his life so that I could live.” I turned my head up to look at my Grand-Sire. I wasn’t aware that Niall had done such a thing, or how that was even possible. Godric answered my unspoken question. “I needed a spark to survive, he gave up his spark and passed it on to me so that I could stay with Ata.” He responded, glancing between us all.
“How is that even possible?” I voiced the question on everyone’s mind. I didn’t need to be a telepath to know that everyone was just as curious as I was.
“It was Ata’s second fae gift. She can take sparks from the fae and give them to others.” Godric answered, moving to shift a strand of Eric’s hair from his face. Thanks to his shower, lovemaking with Sookie, and lack of hair gel it had fallen into his face in a manner similar to how it had been during his bout of amnesia.
We were all silent for a while, letting the information sink in, reflecting on the implications of Ata’s second gift, before I finally felt like I had to sleep. “I’m sorry ya’ll but I’m going to retire for the day. I’ll see you at first dark for the meeting with the other state vampires.” I rose to my feet, casting a glance around the room. Rather than admitting my love aloud, especially with Amelia in the room, I pushed it through the bonds I shared with my two vampires and fae/human hybrid, even pushing some through to Ata as she rested in her bedroom. I could hear Sookie offering Amelia a spare room on the lower floor for the day, telling her we would speak to her in the evening. Amelia left the room, taking the elevator down to her floor. As I entered the room I shared with Ari I could see Egor in his day rest on the chair he had been sat in earlier. Ari had already succumbed to the sun. Deciding it was unfair to leave Egor on the chair I lifted him up, placing him on the other side of the bed. There was a narrow gap between the two vampires and with a little bit of manoeuvring once my filthy clothes had been removed, I settled in between the two vampires for the day.
She’s my light, my shining star, she’s so dear to me yes she is yes she is
My rabbits foot, my lucky charm, yes she is yes she is
Every time that something good happens in my life
You’re always there for me, looking good by my side
Picture you now, pulling up your panty hose
And you always got that sexy underwear on
So much good has come my way since she came in my life
I’ll never push you away or brush you off to the side
~ Good Luck Charm, Jagged Edge
Sookie’s tiredness swept into our bond once Pam had left us. Amelia had since moved on downstairs to her own room and Flo had finished up for the day, disappearing upstairs to the library. I could hear her footsteps up above. At least she was staying close incase she was needed. Offering Sookie my hand she rubbed at her eyes, wishing Godric a pleasant rest. Giving my father a nod over Sookie’s head I washed him with my love. It was happily returned.
Locked away in our bedroom, Sookie stripped down until she was naked, sliding in under the sheets. Her lack of inhibitions would work to my advantage. No more ripped panties for her and no more barriers between us for me. Curling up with Sookie under the sheets I noted that she was theoretically my wife now we were thrice bonded. Pulling her smaller frame towards my chest I tucked her against me. She buried her face in the crook of my neck, one arm thrown over my side while the fingers on the other tangled gently in the light dusting of blonde hair over my chest. Stroking a hand through her slightly damp hair I could feel that though she was tired she was also restlessness. Deciding to share my past with her in a hope that it would help her sleep I kissed the top of her head.
“Before the dawn of time and before the world was created there was a place called Niflheim. Niflheim was the darkest and coldest region, and consisted of ice, frost and fog. Niflheim was in the northern region of Ginnungagap. To the south of Ginnungagap there was a place called Muspelheim, which was the land of fire. In Muspelheim there was a giant named Surt, he was the ruler of the land. Muspelheim was the home of the fire demons and fire giants. When fire and ice met, they combined to form a giant, named Ymir, and a cow, named Auðhumla, who nourished Ymir. She survived by licking the salty ice blocks. From her licking emerged Búri, the grandfather of the Æsir. Æsir is the term denoting a member of my principal pantheon. The pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Balder and Tyr.” I used the Norse pronunciations of as many people and places as I could, hoping my Sookie would be able to pick up on it. It was my goal to teach her my language properly. She could pluck words from my head but I wouldn’t always be able to be a dictionary for her. Sookie’s breathing had evened out slightly but I could tell she wasn’t asleep just yet. She was relaxed and content, interest coming through our bond. It made me proud that she was interested in my past.
“Ymir, father of the frost giants, had unusual procreative techniques. He sweated a male and a female from under his left arm. Then, Odin killed Ymir. The blood pouring out of the giant’s body killed all the frost giants Ymir had created, except Bergelmir. From Ymir’s dead body, Odin created the world. Ymir’s blood was the sea; his flesh, the earth; his skull, the sky; his bones, the mountains; his hair, the trees. The new Ymir-based world was Midgard, and the humans would roam this world for the rest of time.” I stroked Sookie’s hair, untangling the few tangles there with my fingers. Sookie’s shoulders were relaxed and her small body was pressed tightly to mine. I could feel her on the precipice between consciousness and sleep.
Knowing Sookie was soon to drift off I softened my voice further, murmuring my words as a whisper into her ear. I’d finished my story for now but there were plenty more stories I wished to share with her in the future, over our eternity together. “You were so strong in the basement, so brave to fight off Russell, Marc, Felipe and William. I’m in awe of you my tiny warrior, du är vacker. You are my fierce shield-maiden, my little Valkyrie.” I dropped a light kiss to her forehead, tightening my hold on her ever so slightly. “I love you.” I reminded her just as she slipped away from me into her sleep. Our bond became a silent hum, our mental connection silent. I vowed that one night I would force myself to stay awake through her REM sleep in a hope to catch a mental glimpse of her dreams. The sun was high in the sky and though I felt no pull to rest, something that both excited me and worried me, I forced myself into downtime. Our enemies were defeated for now and Sookie was safe, locked away in my arms for the day. I hoped she would be there when the sun finally met the horizon.
A/N Please review and let me know what you think!
I’M SO EXCITED. We get to all the good stuff now and all the rewards and happiness for suffering through the events of the basement and everything that lead up to that. I wanna thank all of you who have stuck with me so far and I hope that future chapters wrap up this tale sufficiently for you!
Ater = Father (Gaulish)
Duxtir = Daughter (Gaulish)
Du är vacker = You are beautiful (Swedish)