Ethereal Redemption Chapter 71

A/N Wow. I haven’t written anything new for this story in well over two/three years, so I apologise if I’m rusty as hell! I’ve lost all of my True Blood love, especially given how shockingly horrible the final season was and how awful the final book was, though I’ll always love Eric and Godric.

I graduated university this summer and my life is all over the place. I’m hoping my lack of job means I can get on and finish this story so I can finally put it to bed. In all honesty my passion for writing this long story has gone. Once this story is finished I’m probably going to stick with one-shots.

I’m amazed that I’ve remembered how to post chapters on wordpress in all honesty…man its been so long.

Anyway, this chapter was so long that I’ve had to split it in two. This is Part 1, and I hope to have Part 2 up within a month. After that I’ll only have one more left to go, and then an epilogue. I’m not going to post the final chapter and the epilogue until I have both of them completed as I want y’all to be able to read both at the same time. I’m aiming to have those out at Christmas as a little gift, and I feel it would be fitting to finish this story as the year comes to an end.

For those who are still reading this and have stuck around after all this time, thank you for your loyalty ❤

betad_midnightopheliac


SOOKIE’S POV
Spring is here, the sky is blue, whoa-oh-oh
Birds all sing as if they knew
Today’s the day we’ll say “I do”
And we’ll never be lonely anymore because we’re
Because goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married
Gee, I really love you
And we’re gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love
~ Chapel of Love, Dixie Cups

It felt strange leaving Vegas after spending so long there. It had become like a second home to Eric and I. Our whole nest had piled on to a plane bound for Louisiana, our luggage packed away in the hold, royal robes and wedding dresses pressed to perfection and stowed in the wardrobes on-board. Ata and Godric had curled up together on a seat, Pam and Ari to their left, Khai and Isabelle on the sofa opposite, and Eric had claimed the remaining part of the sofa for us. The rest of our nest had sat themselves on beanbags chairs scattered across the floor, all built to hold 6’+ men. Ata’s plane was just as nice as Niall’s.

Ata's Plane

There had been no wedding plans to go over, nothing to finalise, and nothing to take my mind off the fact that I would soon be walking down the aisle. The thought that I would soon have another band on my finger and a husband by my side was somewhat terrifying, yet at the same time utterly exciting. Eric and Pam had taken so much joy in planning everything, and I hadn’t had the heart to tell Eric no when he offered to take some of the workload on so that I wouldn’t have to worry and could simply enjoy all the events leading up to the night.

We’d arrived back into Bon Temps late, and it had only taken a few minutes for me to remember that the cubby in my house wasn’t big enough for everyone. The vampires in our nest hashed out the details between them as to who would sleep where. Eric and Godric were currently resting in my cubby even though they could play in the sun. My garden was a hive of activity and I didn’t want anyone outside of our family finding out about my husbands sunlight immunity. The rest of our nest was resting in the basement at Bill’s house. A letter amongst the pile of post that had accumulated while I was away contained the deed to Bill’s house, and the simply ‘C’ on a scrap of paper attached to it had made me smile. Claude thought of everything. I’d given invitations to enter to the rest of our nest after we’d dealt with a distraught Jessica, who’d felt Bill’s death and had spent the last few weeks walking around in a fog, unsure what to do without a maker, resting in the ground as she was unable to enter the house. I was sceptical in giving her an invite, in case she sought retribution for Bill’s death, but she seemed relieved he was gone. I took the liberty of locking her in one of the silver cells by herself once she’d fallen in to her day rest.

Sad Jess

The sun was high in the sky now, throwing light over my garden. Eric had called in some gardeners a few days earlier if my perfectly mowed lawn and trimmed trees were anything to go by. Damn high-handed vampire. People were milling around, setting up gazebos, tables, a dance floor, a flower arch, pews, and an aisle runner. Tara and Lafayette were down in the kitchen organizing the catering staff, no doubt sneaking mouthfuls of food whenever they could. Jason was out helping the people set up, using his years on the road crew to his advantage as he effortlessly lifted pews and arranged them in poker straight lines. Hunter was taking a nap in Gran’s old room, the excitement of the past few days tiring him out.

“Cousin…” Ata’s soft voice broke me out of my concentration. Turning away from my bedroom window to face her I offered her a warm smile. My cousin had spent the morning exploring my home and the land attached to it, fascinated with the history of my house and the people who had lived here through the years. I would be sad to no longer live here once Eric and I chose a royal home, but if another family were to be able to build a life and memories in this house, well, that was wonderful in my opinion. “There’s a dog here to see you.” Ata gestured behind her and down the stairs with a tip of her head, blonde locks falling into her face and obscuring her from view for a moment, but I didn’t miss her nose crinkle.

“His name’s Sam.” I pointed out, not needing my telepathy to work out whom my cousin was talking about. I could see the edge of Sam’s truck parked around the side of my house.

Sam's Truck

“I know, and he’s very fond of you.” My cousin teased with a salacious grin and wink before she took off down the stairs, laughter filling my house. Shaking my head at my cousin’s antics I headed downstairs, greeted with the sight of Sam stood in my entrance hall dressed in his usual snug Levi’s and plaid shirt.

Sam Merlotte

“Sook!” Sam’s gravelly voice filled me with nostalgia, along with his bright smile. No one had wanted to hire ‘Crazy Sookie’ when I’d deemed myself old enough to work and help Gran out with the bills. Sam had arrived in town only a few months earlier and had opened the bar, and though he was aware of the locals calling me ‘Crazy Sookie’ he still hired me and defended me from their cruel taunts whenever it was needed. I owed him so much, and I felt horrible for having taken so much time off over the past few years, and for having to leave entirely now that I would be ruling beside Eric. I would make sure he received plenty of support from Eric and I.

Before I had time to respond, Sam was pulling me into his arms, crushing me in his embrace, his hands sitting low on my back. My face was smushed into his vast chest and I found myself suddenly unable to breathe. Flashes of Bill moved before my eyes, his heavy weight pinning me in place, stopping me from moving away from him as he hurt me, violated me. I could hear my heart thudding loudly in my chest, sweat gathering on my body as I tried desperately to get air into my lungs. Screwing my eyes shut I felt dizzy, screaming as I pushed against Sam’s broad chest, my stomach churning.

I never felt the breeze of air whooshing past me, or the strong arms pulling me out of Sam’s grip, but the cool hands gently holding my cheeks and the concern seeping through my bond with Eric was enough to pull me from the memories momentarily, giving me the chance to find the bright eyes of the man I would soon be marrying. “Min kärlek, I’m here, you’re safe. He’s not here anymore. You’re safe.” Eric soothed me, brushing his thumbs along my cheekbones, wiping away the tears that had fallen during my struggle. He gave me enough space to breathe, our only skin-to-skin contact being his hands on my face.

Eric Comforts Sookie

“The hell you doin’ out in the sunshine, Northman? Why ain’t you burnin’ up?” I heard Sam bark in the background, but I couldn’t bring myself to look away from Eric.

“Later, Merlotte.” Came Eric’s short and sharp response, his eyes never leaving mine as gentle soothing noises tumbling from his lips, the last of my tears wiped away by his large thumbs. The memories had been so vivid, so detailed, and all consuming. They wouldn’t be leaving me for quite some time.

“I wish you could glamour them away.” I confessed quietly, spotting Ata out of my peripheral as she dragged a confused and concerned Sam away, crafting a detailed lie as to why I had reacted in such a manner.

Eric’s features softened, a small forced smile crossing his lips. “If I could then I would in one of your heartbeats, my Sookie.” He lent forward, pressing a gentle kiss to my forehead. “He is gone now though, and he’ll never hurt you again. I’m here now, as it Hunter, Pam, Ata, Godric, Ari…the whole family. No one will lay a hand on you ever again.” Eric spoke with such conviction, such belief that I would be safe now. I wanted to believe him but with my abilities, regardless of how much I mastered them and how many vampires I surrounded myself with, someone would always covet me. I couldn’t say I believed him though I wished with all my heart that I could, and my emotions must have flittered across our bond as Eric’s features fell slightly. “You don’t believe me.” His voice was soft, resigned.

Lifting my hands I wrapped them gently around his wrists, leaning into his large palms as he cradled my face. “Pam said it herself. With what I am I need to be somebody’s, or I won’t be at all. Yes you have a claim on me, and I couldn’t ask for a better man to love and protect me. I trust you to keep me safe but de Castro parted us, Edgington too. Whose to say no one else ever will?”

Eric swallowed, letting out a soft sigh. “They can try my Sookie, and they will, but I am awake in the day now too. With our new positions we’ll have heightened security also, much better than what I could get on my own as a Sheriff. We’ll take every precaution but you’ll still be free to go wherever you want, whenever you want. I won’t keep you in a gilded cage like he did.”

I opened my mouth to speak but a small tug on the side of my shirt had me looking down to my little boy, whose big eyes were upturned towards me. “Why was you frightened mommy? Daddy and I are here.”

Hunter

Stooping down I scooped Hunter up, propping him on my hip as Eric leant further into my space, sliding one arm around my waist and the other around Hunter’s back, bringing us together in what resembled a group hug. “It was just a bad memory, sweetie.” I soothed as Eric dropped a kiss to both of our foreheads.

“You know what I do to make the bad memories go away?” Hunter asked as he settled against me, letting his head rest against my shoulder, his cold button nose worming its way to the crook of my neck.

“What do you do, liten krigare?” Eric’s fingers stroked over my back, soothing me as he ensured our bond was filled with nothing but his love.

Hunter grinned, the bright smile lighting up his whole face. “I think of the first time I met mommy, when I realized I wasn’t alone with all my special gifts.” Hunter tipped his head back to look up at me properly. “You’re not alone either mommy. Daddy and I will make sure no one hurts you and that you’re never lonely or sad, ‘kay?”

Sookie and Hunter

Pressing a kiss to Hunter’s temple, I moved his head back to the crook of my neck. “Thank you sweetheart.” Eric’s eyes met mine, a promise in them that Hunter’s words were true.

Ata flitted into my peripheral, rocking on the balls of her feet. Behind her stood Godric, concern etched on his features before it vanished as he turned his head to look out of the back windows. “I don’t want to break up this moment, but there’s an angry dog on the back porch.” Ata grimaced, tipping her head back in a vague gesture towards Sam and his red, snarly thoughts.

With a sigh I let Eric take Hunter from me, watching as my fiancé carried our son on his hip towards the cubby. Godric dropped a chaste kiss to the corner of my cousin’s lips before he too returned the cubby. “I shall stay with you, Sook.” Ata offered her comfort, using our bond to push her relaxation through. My shoulders slumped under her calming influence, the tension from my panic attack all but forgotten for now at least. With a deep breath I took Ata’s hand in my own and headed out on to the back porch.

“The hell was that ‘bout Sook?” Sam was in my face the moment I stepped outside. With a dainty step forward Ata had Sam stepping back a little, giving me some space. Jason looked up from where he’d been arranging pews, giving me a look promising that he had my back should Sam step out of line.

I took a moment to look at Sam, to appreciate that this man had looked after me when no one else had, that he’d given me a job when no one would hire ‘Crazy Sookie Stackhouse’ and had made sure that no rednecks had harassed me while I was working. He’d given me so much time off over the past few years as my life had spiraled out of control. It was time to take that control back though. “Things happened while I was away, Sam.” I started gently, flexing my fingers enough to slowly let go of Ata’s hand. I needed her with me, but it was time I stopped holding people’s hands and instead dealt with things myself. “I was hurt, a lot, in the worst ways you can think of. I had a flashback when you hugged me a little too tight.” I didn’t bother apologizing. I had nothing to be sorry for, as the actions against me hadn’t been my choice; I was unable to stop them. Yes I was a victim but that didn’t make me weak or sorry.

Sam’s eyes widened a little, a paleness creeping over his features. “Y-You mean?…” he stammered, looking to Ata for confirmation.

Sam Merlotte

“Yes. Eric is helping me with it though, as is Ata.” I offered my cousin a smile, pushing love through our connection. Ata’s love came back in gentle waves, slowly enveloping me.

“That’s another thing, Northman in the damn sun?” Sam pushed a hand through his hair, starting to pace along my porch. “What’s with all the chairs and tables, the wedding arch and food?” He carried on, turning sharply to point a finger at Ata. “You gettin’ married?”

Raising her left hand, the corner of Ata’s lips quirked up in amusement. “Sorry, already tied the knot.”

Belle Engagement and Wedding Rings

Confusion passed over Sam’s face. “But, then…Sook? You gotta be jokin’, right?” Sam’s eyes swiveled to me, a mixture of horror and concern etched on his features.

Lifting my own left hand I flashed Sam the beautiful diamond on my finger. “Eric can spend time in the sunshine because of me, and this evening we’re going to get married.” I stopped Sam before he could tell me how much of a bad idea marrying Eric would be. “He’s done nothing but look after me and love me, he saved me from Bill and, when Eric takes over as King of Louisiana, I’m going to rule beside him.” I left no room for argument. “You’re more than welcome to join us this evening for the ceremony and party, but if you’re going to tell me it’s a bad idea and be a Negative Nancy then you know where the door is.”

Sookie's Engagement Ring

Sam was silent for what felt like hours but was in fact only minutes. Dozens of emotions flickered across his face, the likes of which I noticed Ata cataloging. Finally, with a heavy sigh, Sam nodded. “If you’re happy Sook, then I’m happy for you. If you’d have me I’d love to join in with the ceremony and party.” Glancing down at his attire, Sam gave a rueful chuckle. “Think I might need to go home and change though, these jeans ain’t suitable weddin’ attire.” Sam picked at his tattered jeans, looking up with a cheeky grin.

Sam Merlotte

Unable to hide my smile, I gave my old friend a playful roll of my eyes, the tension from earlier broken. Sam’s thoughts were no longer red and snarly. Instead they were blue for the sadness he felt, believing that he wouldn’t see me again once Eric and I were married, a thought I would have to change. They were also brown, representing the heaviness he seemed to feel at the realization that I had chosen the man I wanted to be with, and that it wasn’t him. I wanted to reassure him that he would find someone, and that someone would love him back just as fiercely, but that would give away the fact I’d been snooping. I’d learnt long ago to never give that away. “Go home and change Sam. Y’all better come back here in half hour or so!” I shooed my old friend away, walking him out to his truck and watching as he drove down my driveway and out on to the main road, the sun slipping behind the horizon as his truck disappeared from view.

“You handled that well, cousin.” Ata complimented, having moved silently to stand at my side. Blowing out a breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding, I gave a gentle shrug.

“He’s gonna have to get used to Eric and I being together. Might as well start now.” Turning I headed back indoors, knowing it was time to start getting ready. Everything in the garden had been set up, the smells coming from my kitchen confirming that the food was ready, and Pam’s impatient tapping of her heels was enough of a clue that I was about to be smothered in beauty products and trussed up like a doll.

“Play nice with my soon-to-be wife, Pam.” Eric warned playfully as he scooped me up from behind, spinning me around once, twice, before he gently put me down, dropping a passionate kiss to my lips. Hunter had been encased in Godric’s arms, but the moment Eric’s lips left mine he was scrabbling out of Godric’s hold and over to us, demanding that Eric lift him up so he could give me a kiss too. With a laugh I accepted Hunter’s chaste kiss to my cheek.

“Now that this mush fest is over, can I dress the bride?” Pam drawled, arms folded neatly over her chest, perfectly plucked eyebrow quirked in a mixture of amusement and annoyance. With a small snort Ata left Godric’s side, moving to stand beside Pam.

Pam

“Go on. The next time I see you will be at the alter.” Eric swatted my behind, pushing me gently towards Pam with a bright grin before he disappeared off with Godric and Hunter just as Pam’s cold hand grabbed my wrist, dragging me up the stairs to my room.

Pam was a demon with make-up and a hairbrush. She fluffed my hair, stroked make-up across my face, and held my face at all sorts of angles while she curled my hair into loose beach waves. With a soft rose gold on my lids, Pam framed my eyes with black liner. After much debate we settled on simply putting mascara on my natural lashes, and not using any fake ones. “But fake ones will truly make your make-up flawless” Pam argued.

Sookie Wedding Makeup

“But Eric prefers me natural. Plus, I don’t want them falling off halfway through the night, and we all know I’m going to cry at some point and ruin them.” I pointed out. Pam’s face hardened at my words.

“You better not cry, Princess. I’ve created a masterpiece on your face and you better not ruin it!” She growled with little heat behind her words. Forgetting about my ability to cry at the drop of a hat, Pam scooped up my tiara, nestling it amongst the beach waves she’d artfully curled my hair into before settling my floral veil over the top, pushed back from my face for the moment. I was still dressed in a nightgown, my wedding dress hanging from a coat hanger placed over my wardrobe door, my little silver shoes sitting beside them.

Sookie Wedding Hair

“Something old.” Ata declared, carrying with her a dainty box as she entered the room with Tara. Both of them were dressed in beautiful cream gowns that fell to the floor, sweeping over one shoulder and embellished with silver gems. They both looked gorgeous.

Sookie Bridesmaids

Exchanging hugs with them, I took the box from Ata. “From the 1600’s.” She explained with a wink as I removed the lid. Inside layers of soft white tissue sat a heart shaped silver necklace, a flower and swirls having been created inside the heart. A diamond sat in the middle of the flower, bright and clear.

Something Old

The twinkling lights in my back garden would make the diamonds glitter and sparkle, showing off its true glory. “It’s beautiful, thank you.” I removed it gently from the layers of tissue paper, about to offer it to Pam before I remembered that it was silver. Instead Tara took it from me, clasping it around my neck before she moved a few waves of my hair over my shoulders.

“Somethin’ blue, Sooks.” She placed a small bag on my lap, grinning mischievously. The bag was plain blue, tied with a dainty white ribbon. With a curious frown I plucked at the ribbon, watching as the satin untied. Dipping my hand in my fingers found a box, and gently I pulled it out. The beautiful duck-egg blue would have been an immediate giveaway, if not for the ‘Tiffany & Co.’ neatly stamped on it, half hidden under another white satin ribbon.

Tiffany Box

“Oh Tara, ya shouldn’t have!” I turned to my best friend, trying my hardest not to cry. Tiffany may have been easily affordable to the likes of Pam and Eric, but for Tara and I who had spent our lives as waitresses and shop assistants, such a gift was very expensive.

“Ya deserve it Sooks. You were the only one who looked out for me as a kid ‘cept Lafayette, but we’re blood so he was probably obligated or somethin’. ‘Sides, how often is it that ya best friend gets married?” With a tip of her head she gestured to the box. “Go on, open it.”

With shaky hands I returned my attention to the little blue box. Whatever was inside wouldn’t be as expensive as the gifts I’d received from Eric and Pam over the past few months and years, but this was far more special because it was from Tara. She’d saved up for it, lovingly chosen it with me in mind. Undoing the ribbon I removed the lid, finding a duck-egg blue velvet pouch inside. Opening the pouch I tipped the contents onto my free hand. A beautiful silver bead bracelet slipped out, sliding onto my palm. Attached to the bracelet sat a mini double-sided heart tag in sterling silver with Tiffany Blue enamel on one side and the Return to Tiffany design on the other. “Tara, it’s so pretty! Thank you so much!” I tried not to cry, scrambling to my feet to pull my best friend into a hug, crushing her to me. Tara’s laugh echoed in my ear before she kissed my temple.

Something Blue

“I’m glad ya like it.” She whispered, giving me one final squeeze before she pulled back, taking the bracelet from me and attaching it to my wrist.

“It’s very pretty, Tara.” Pam offered a compliment, giving me a moment of confusion. Pam and Tara weren’t on good terms, but maybe Pam was trying to extend her own version of an olive branch?

Tara’s face lit up, happy that her purchase had passed the inspection of the usually aloof and snobbish Pam who had an eye for luxury goods. “I saw it and thought of ya, Sook. The heart reminded me of how kind ya are, and the blue reminded me of the sky when we use to hang out in the yard as kids and Jason would bring us ice-cream while ya Gran planted her flowers.” I pulled Tara into another hug, crushing her to me before I felt one of Pam’s cold hands on my lower back.

“You’re going to suffocate her, Sookie.” She gave her patented eye roll, eliciting a chuckle from Ata. Pulling back from Tara I wiped my eyes gently, ensuring that I didn’t smudge my make-up, offering Tara a truly grateful smile.

Pam held her hand out to me next, a bag swinging from her forefinger. “I went for something blue too, but I think Tara’s gift beats mine.” She gave a delicate shrug of her slender shoulders. It didn’t take a genius to work out what small, lace item would be inside the bag, but I indulged Pam with a quirked lip as I untied the little blue ribbon holding the bag closed. Reaching in I grabbed at the lace item inside, bringing it out into the light and sight of all those in the room. The lace garter was a baby blue, thin and pretty, with a large blue bow on the front, two pearls sitting in the centre of the knot.

Something Blue

Ata’s laughter filled the room as I rolled my eyes at the blue garment in my hand. “You’re terrible, Pam.” I chastised playfully, grinning at my vampire friend, who couldn’t help but grin back.

“You wouldn’t have me any other way.” She pointed out, reaching for the garter. “Need a hand putting it on?” She waggled her eyebrows, looking me up and down. Tara’s eyes widened, glancing between Ata and I as if unsure as to whether this was normal or acceptable behaviour given that I would be marrying Pam’s Maker.

Tara Thornton

“Go on then, I know you’re dying to.” I relented, letting Pam have this one little lesbian moment before I was a married woman. Lifting my right leg I placed my foot flat on the chair I’d been sat on moments before, brushing my gown aside to reveal my leg. With a salacious grin Pam lifted my foot, sliding the garter along my calf, over my knee, and a little up my thigh. If her hands lingered somewhat longer than necessary I wasn’t going to point it out to her, and if she played with the garter and arranged it on my leg several times I wasn’t going to ruin her fun and bat her hands away either.

Removing her hands and grinning up at me, Pam took a small step back. “There, perfect.” She purred, watching as I put my foot down, sliding my gown back over my leg. Tara still appeared a little shocked but Ata was trying her hardest to hide her smile and contain her laugh. A sharp rap at the door broke the moment.

“Sook?” Jason’s voice floated through the wood. “Eric sent me over with a box that’s far too girly to be on my person Think ya could open the door?”

Ata had the door open within moments, gesturing for Jason to enter as she scoured the hallway to make sure Eric wasn’t around to peek in and see me before I was ready. Jason was already dressed, wearing a smart suit that had been perfectly tailored. “You look just like daddy.” I blurted out, unable to stop myself. Jason paused for a moment before a grin broke out across his face, showing off his teeth. He took a moment to look me over, and though I wasn’t even in my wedding dress yet I could see Jason fighting back tears.

“You look beautiful Sook, just like Mama.” He breathed. I had him wrapped in a cuddle seconds later, his arms tightening around me to the point where it was borderline painful. I wasn’t going to complain, as it’d been a long time since Jason had hugged me so tightly. Letting me go, he held me at arms length for a moment before he plucked a small box out of his pocket. “Eric asked me to give ya this, said something about ‘something new.’” He handed it over; shuffling a little as his other hand disappeared in his pants pocket.

The little white box was reasonably flat, a large pink bow wrapped around it with a little heart charm attached. Taking the box from Jason I removed the pink bow, handing it to Ata. I would keep it and place it inside the scrapbook I was going to start to commemorate the day.

Eric's Present

Soft white silk lined the inside of the box, and nestled in the middle of the silk sat a pair of beautiful yellow diamond earrings, perfectly matching the band on my ring finger. Inhaling sharply at the beauty of the earrings, I cracked open my bond with Eric, pushing through all the love I could muster. Eric’s amusement and love flowed back to me before I gently closed our connection, not wanting to clue him in on anything else. Placing the box down on the dresser I removed the delicate earrings, sliding the posts through my lobes.

Sookie's Earrings

“They look lovely on ya, Sook.” Tara complimented, moving to lift my hair out of the way so she could have a closer look.

Jason shuffled a little as Tara let my hair fall back to frame my face, the yellow diamonds catching the artificial light in the room, glittering a little through my waves of hair. “Got ya something too, Sook.” He declared, removing a little box from his pants pocket. “Found it after the maenad attack. I know you need something borrowed, but I’m sure she’d want you to keep it anyway.” The box was black, tied with a white ribbon.

Something Borrowed

Approaching Jason I took the outstretched box, returning to my seat in front of the vanity. If Jason had managed to salvage this from the maenad attack then it was clearly important. Pulling the ribbon open I lifted the lid from the box, and amongst the soft white tissue lining the inside of the box sat Gran’s favourite hair pin. Made of silver, the pin was adorned with countless flowers crafted out of silver, precious gems, and pearls. Gran had worn it the day that she’d married Grandpa Earl.

Something Borrowed

Lifting it from the box with one hand I used the other to try and move my hair into a position where the pin would easily slide in and be visible. Tara’s sharp slap on my hand and her fingers prying the pin from me made me return my hands to the black box. “Oh Jase! Where did you find it?” I asked as Tara fiddled with my hair, twisting strands and gathering sections before she secured it all in place with Grans pin.

Scuffing a shoe lightly along the floor, my brother gave a shrug of his shoulders. “Maenad didn’t bother with the attic, found it up there in box o’ Grans stuff. No idea why she’d store it up there, though. Too pretty t’ be kept in a box.”

Up on my feet and across the room to Jason I took both his hands in mine, placing a light kiss to his cheek. “Thank you Jase. It’s beautiful.”

A bashful grin spread across Jason’s lips and with another shrug of his shoulders he spoke. “Ain’t nothing Sook. I’m sure Gran woulda wanted ya to have it.” A sharp knock at the door captured our attention.

“Jason, my man, the scary vamp is callin’ for yo ass.” Lafayette declared through the closed door. A smirk curved at Pam’s lips as Ata and Tara chuckled together. Jason made a move to pull away, mouth opening as if to excuse himself, but I refused to let his hands go. Cracking my bond open with Eric I asked him for a moment of patience. Contentment seeped in to our bond as my vampire waited patiently.

“You’re really going to help my soon-to-be husband out when I need you here to perform the most important job?” I raised an eyebrow at my brother as Pam picked up my dress from the hanger, removing the protective cover from over it. Confusion crossed over Jason’s features and for a moment I was reminded of a little lost puppy. “Would you walk me down the aisle, Jase?” I’d planned all along for Jason to walk me down the aisle. Daddy wasn’t around any more to give my hand to my husband, and Jason was the man of the family now. I wanted my big brother to give me away.

Multiple emotions passed over Jason’s face – confusion, shock, excitement, and happiness – before finally a grin emerged. “Ya want me to hand you over?”

Jason Stackhouse

Giving the backs of Jason’s hands a gentle rub with my thumbs, I reassured him. “I wouldn’t want anyone else to walk me down that aisle.”

Jason drew me in, crushing me against his chest. Compared to my bone-crunching hug with Sam earlier, I felt much more at ease. Jason was my brother and he would never hurt me. “I’ll do it, Sook. Someone’s gotta make sure ya don’t trip over in them shoes.” Jason tried to downplay the moment as he pulled back, but the bright grin on his face, the crinkles at the corner of his eyes, the moisture gathering in them, and the slight rocking motion as he moved on to the balls of his feet told me everything I needed to know. Eric’s satisfaction as he slowly closed off our bond again helped broaden my own grin.

“Time to get in to your dress, Princess.” Pam lifted my dress on its hanger with one finger.

Jason stammered for a moment, letting go of my hands. “I’ll just go and wait outside the door…” he mumbled, disappearing outside before any of us could offer a response.

The entire time that Jason had been with us, and throughout our little gift exchange, one of the photographers Eric and I had hired had been snapping photos.

Ata and Tara moved to help. Tara stood before me, hands out expectantly. “Gown off, Sook.” She grinned, making a grabbing motion. Our photographer put her camera down for a moment and politely turned around to allow me to change. Ata helped Pam remove the hanger from my dress, the pair of them carrying it over to me. Shucking the gown off I passed it over to Tara, not at all bothered by the fact I was stood in some lacy white underwear, a blue garter, and little else.

Gathering the fabric Ata and Pam slid the dress over my head, being careful to avoid my head. The lack of straps meant my bra had to be strapless, and it took a bit of rearranging to not only get my girls in to a comfortable position, but to also get them in to a position where they looked good in my dress.

“She’s all covered up now, sweetcheeks.” Pam purred at the photographer, who blushed a light shade of pink before returning to her work. Jason, having heard Pam’s declaration, re-entered the room. He paused for a moment, looking at me slowly from head to toe.

Sookie Dress 3

“Why’d you have to grow up, Sook?” He asked a little sadly, his lower lip sticking out in a small pout.

Offering my older brother a warm smile I held out a hand to him, which he immediately took. “I’ll always be your little sister.” I reminded him, to which he nodded in agreement.

Grabbing my shoes, Ata knelt down before me, helping me slide them on. Pam fiddled with my hair, putting the final touches to it as Tara smoothed out the train of my dress.

Sookie's Shoes

“I think we’re done.” Ata declared, rising to her feet with an excited clap of her hands. “Ready to get married?”

With a deep breath I gave a nod, cracking my bond open with Eric a little to check it. Judging from our connection he was already making his way down the aisle to the alter. Jason gave my hand a squeeze, pulling me away from my bonded. I kept our connection open this time, but set it to a low level. I wanted to feel everything Eric was experiencing, but at the same time I didn’t want his emotions to overload mine.

“I’ll clear the way.” Pam declared, taking her bridesmaid role very seriously. Grabbing her bouquet of flowers she swept out of the room, gliding down the staircase of my home and out in to the garden. Through the slightly cracked open window I could hear her ushering the last few guests to their seats.

Tara handed me my bouquet of flowers, keeping hold of the smaller arrangements for herself and Ata. I’d changed my mind last minute with my flowers and had instead picked bouquets of beautiful purple and white roses, small sprigs of baby’s breath scattered amongst them. I’d swapped to purple, the colour of royalty, so that I could reuse the bouquets during my coronation.

Wedding Bouquet

Ata placed my veil over my face before she moved behind me, holding the train of my dress. Jason offered me the crook of his arm. Lafayette had already taken his seat after having scattered petals down the aisle. Not knowing any young girls I’d been unable to find a flower girl, but Lafayette had been more than happy to fill the role.

Lafayette

With our arms linked, Jason and I started the walk down the staircase. Ata had a firm hold on the train of my dress to stop any potential tripping, and Tara walked behind her with the bouquets. Heading towards the backdoor, Jason gave a nod towards the conductor, who in turn nodded in the direction of the Reverend.

“All rise for the Bride” The Reverend asked of the guests.

The orchestra struck up, the trumpets and the violins starting together in perfect harmony. After mulling it over for a while I’d picked The Prince of Denmark’s March as my theme for my journey down the aisle. There hadn’t been a Prince of Sweden’s March or else I would have chosen it to honour my soon-to-be husband.

With a deep breath Jason led us through the door. Eric turned to watch as I walked down the aisle and it took all of my willpower to not run towards him. Dressed in a beautiful black tuxedo, a single white rose sat on his lapel to match my bouquet. Though our bond sat at a low level the love from him was all encompassing, and it left me with a warm feeling inside. The moon was high in the sky, throwing its eerie light down on the small congregation of people who had gathered to watch me marry Eric. The slight sun exposure had turned my soon-to-be husbands complex a shade darker, no longer making him look so pale. The sky was filled with thousands of twinkling stars, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I knew my soon-to-be husband wasn’t capable of it I would have thought he’d hung them there on purpose, just for this evening.

Godric stood just to Eric’s side, a hand resting on the shoulder of Hunter, who had again been given the important job as ring bearer. In his small hands he held the pillow on which our wedding bands sat.

Wedding Ring Pillow

My garden had been transformed. With perfectly manicured lawns and trees, I was finally able to fully appreciate the extent of my garden. Several rows of pews sat in poker straight lines, adorned by all of our guests. On the end of every other pew sat a large round bouquet of purple flowers. An aisle runner made of white fabric led the way down to the alter, and Lafayette had sprinkled the purple petals all along each side, securing our guests in their pews with sashes of white silk laced with purple ribbon.

Aisle

Our wedding arch, which managed to contain my soon-to-be husband’s huge height, was made of pure white roses. Loose petals had been scattered around the base of the arch and just under it, creating the illusion that the soft, delicate petals had drifted to the ground.

Wedding Arch

Every step I took closer to Eric was a reminder of how far I’d come over the past few years. Not too long ago I’d been the social outcast, the girl everyone thought was crazy. I’d had vampires fight over me, humans ostracize me, been taken and tortured, but now I was finally getting a shot at a happy ending. Marriage had been a dream, but Eric was making it a reality. At first I may have been a simple curiosity to him, but he’d grown to love me even as I’d grown to love him. There’d been slaps and secrets, high-handed moves and a bout of amnesia, but we’d come through it all together. We’d fight and bicker, say hurtful things to each other and get on one another’s nerves in the eternity to come, but I knew Eric would always come back to me, and I would always go back to him. After all, when he’d been running around with no memories my home had been the first he had sought out, and it was my arms that he’d found comfort in. I was never a believer of destiny, often cursing it for giving me my abilities, but the man standing not too far away from me was more than enough of a reward for the years of aggravation I’d had before him.

Having most of the town turn out to watch ‘Crazy Sookie’ get married was a thrill. These were people who, though they had smiled at my face, had said mean things about me behind my back. I was proving them wrong now, proving to them that ‘Crazy Sookie’ wasn’t so crazy after all, and was capable of being loved. Most of all though I was showing myself that I was capable of being loved, that I deserved such love.

One of our photographers had followed me out of the house, snapping photos of guests as I’d walked down the aisle. I took a second to put out my mental feelers, capturing the inner voices of those who’d gathered. Arlene and Terry were sat together, along with Arlene’s kids. Holly and Andy were sat together, Holly’s boys sitting beside them. Hoyt and Jessica were together, Sam and Luna with little Emma. Portia and Maxine had arrived together, with Lettie Mae and Kenya taking the last two seats on the human side of the congregation.

There were several faces I didn’t recognise over on the Supernatural side of our makeshift church, but amongst them I could spot Ari, Khai, Oeri, Riei, Agmund, Pallas, and Bubba. Our other photographer was positioned at the alter, capturing photos of Eric and I.

Taking the last few steps towards Eric, silence fell as the orchestra finished their song. Ata smoothed out the train of my dress before Tara handed her the small bouquet of flowers and the two of them moved to stand at the side. It was the soft tendrils of Lafayette’s mind that made me swing my eyes to him for a brief moment. “My Sookie! Look at you, so beautiful.” Gran’s voice broke through the other mental voices around me. Eyes widening, I placed a hand on Eric’s letting him hear what was going on.

“They’re all here, Sook. Your Momma and Daddy, and Gran.” Lafayette reassured me, offering a strong smile. A grin broke out across my face before I turned back to Eric, feeling his pride and love pulsing through our bond.

“You may take a seat.” The Reverend spoke to the room. On queue everyone sat. Eric and I had spent a while sending emails back and forth with the Reverend, and after hearing Ata and Godric’s opening speech we’d asked them if we could borrow some of it. They’d been more than happy to share their words with us. “I welcome you this beautiful evening to the marriage ceremony of Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse. They stand before you today to declare their commitment to each other in front of their family and friends, and to celebrate with you on this wonderful occasion. Many of you have given them much happiness, love, warmth, and guidance through the various stages of their lives. Thank you for joining them. We realize that some of you have travelled a great distance to be here this evening.  Your presence is invaluable, and Eric and Sookie wanted me to express their gratitude for you all being here.  We would also like to acknowledge those who could not be here today as they are certainly missed but will never be forgotten.”

Returning my gaze to Lafayette he opened up his mind for me again. “We love you, sweetheart.” Momma and Daddy spoke at the same time.

Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse

With a watery smile I turned back to Eric, but not before Pam shot me a death glare, gesturing to my eyes and the impending tears. I gave our connection a shove, which Pam playfully gave back.

After a moment of silence the Reverend spoke again. “The words spoken here today are sacred, although these words are not what joins these two. Indeed, it is not I who is joining these two today at all, nor is it this ceremony. We are not here to mark the start of a relationship; we are here to recognize a bond that already exists. Eric and Sookie have joined themselves together, and we have gathered so that we may bear witness to the oneness that has grown between them. Here, they will affirm this oneness and this dedication formally and publicly, as they have already affirmed it to each other. As they now exist as one in their own eyes; so may they exist this way in yours. This union has already occurred in the giving and receiving of their love and in the myriad of ways in which they have entwined their lives together. We are here to witness their statement of love and commitment. This is an act as ancient as the human race, and as new as each morning, for it speaks of the past and of the future, of the life of the individual and the existence of the community. Marriage is a going forth, a giving up of one way in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone, risking what they are for what they might be. Eric and Sookie come now to declare their love and solemnize their commitment. Today we celebrate their faith in the continuance of that growth as they come to be united in marriage.”

The Reverend gave us a moment to reflect on his words before he continued. “We live in a world of joy and fear, and search for meaning and strength in the seeming disorder. Love is the eternal force of life. Love is the force that allows us to face fear and uncertainty with courage. The giving of yourself in love is difficult, for you must learn to give of your love without total submission of yourself. Therefore, in your giving, give your joy, your sadness, your interest, your understanding, your knowledge – all expressions that make up life. But in this giving remember to preserve yourself – your integrity, your individuality. This is the challenge of love within marriage. Sookie and Eric have not arrived at this place alone. That being said, who presents Sookie in this marriage to this man?” The Reverend continued on.

Jason stepped up with a proud puff of his chest. “I do, as freely as Momma and Daddy presented her to me.” He’d been the one to help Momma give birth to me on the dining room table when he’d been a young boy. There was a slight waver of emotion to Jason’s voice as he presented me to Eric. Removing my arm from the crook of Jason’s, my brother lifted up my veil, sweeping it back behind me so that I could gaze upon Eric without a barrier between us. Taking my hand, Jason gave it to Eric. “You take care of my baby sister, ‘kay?” He gave our joined hands a squeeze, to which Eric gave a sharp nod. Jason was well aware, after Eric had bought my house and restored it to its former glory, that my Viking vampire would do anything and everything for me.

As Jason took his seat with the rest of the wedding party, the Reverend spoke again. “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life. Eric often spoke of how long his nights were, how boring life was becoming after over 1000 years roaming this earth, until the night dear Sookie walked in to his little slice of Shreveport. His life hasn’t been dull for one moment since.” I offered Eric a shy smile, dipping my head a little at the sound of his chuckle. It was true that I’d caused quite a lot of chaos since the moment I’d walked in to Fangtasia only a few short years ago, but what I’d walked out with had been a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I’d have.

Fangtasia

“Sweet Sookie, the charming woman who never thought she would get to have her happily ever after. Well, my child, I believe you’re getting it now. For so long you have worried about being alone, worried about being an outcast, but you never were, and now you never will be. Eric shall stand by your side for the rest of time, just like you shall stand beside him.” The Reverend offered me a warm smile. I’d spoken to him briefly about how lonely I’d felt growing up, with only Tara and Lafayette for friends. Now I had Eric, and with him a whole host of new family members.

“May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less, but more. And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say “I love you”, and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another. Keeping all of this in mind, Eric, do you take Sookie to be your wife from this day forward? To live together and to comfort her in times of need? Do you promise to build a life filled with love and laughter, sharing all that is to come?” The Reverend asked my vampire.

With our cracked bond I could feel Eric’s love for me build, sweeping me up in its warmth as he offered me a blinding smile. “Sookie, I consider it an honour and a privilege to be the one you have chosen as your life mate. I promise to be a true and faithful husband, to love you respect you and be honest with you always. I promise to be supportive of your goals and as you grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, I will be by your side rooting for you all the way. Never be afraid to confide in me. I promise to be a good listener and a safe confidant. You are always welcome in my innermost world, and I promise to share my goals and ideas with you. As we grow together throughout our marriage, there are no limitations on the possibilities of our relationship and I hope we never realize just how high our high can be. I believe in you, Sookie, and I will be there for you always.” His thumb rubbed over the back of my hand, his cool skin contrasting my warmth. Lifting his eyes from mine to the Reverends, he slowly moved them back to me, letting me look in to those pools of blue. “I do.”

“Eric, I will love you forever; whatever happens. I take you as you are, loving who you are now, and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they were my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.” I gave Eric’s hand a light squeeze, pushing back the tears I could feel gathering in my eyes, not because I was worried about Pam’s wrath, but because I’d never considered myself a pretty crier. “I do.”

It was the Reverend’s turn now. “Eric and Sookie, keeping these vows in mind, please keep a hold of each other’s hands and remember these words:

These are the hands of your best friend, strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes – tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. In the hundreds of years to come, these are the hands that will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.” Smoothing my thumbs over the back of Eric’s large and cool hands, I took a moment to appreciate the simple gesture of being able to hold such an incredible mans hands. I’d seen these hands gesture for me to approach, seen them rip people apart, seen them build things, tear things down, caress my skin, and wipe away my tears.

“Eric and Sookie will now exchange rings to symbolise the promise of fidelity. Rings are derived from humble beginnings of imperfect metal to create something striking where there was once nothing at all.  It is customarily worn on the ring finger, as it is the only finger with a vein running directly to the heart. The wearing of the rings is a visible, outward sign that they have committed themselves to each other.” Hunter’s grin was blinding as he moved towards us to hand us our rings, sitting neatly on the little pillow he was carrying.

Wedding Ring Pillow

“Eric, please take Sookie’s hand and repeat these words. I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.” The Reverend instructed as Hunter handed Eric the slimmer ring he had freed from the pillow. My wedding band was much narrower than Eric’s. Such a large man needed a large band.

Taking it, Eric lifted my left hand, letting the other gently drop to my side. Lifting his eyes to mine, I watched as the swirl of emotions crossed over his features, matching those flowing through our eternal bond. “I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.” He repeated the Reverend’s words, slipping the band of cool metal onto my finger.

“Sookie, please take Eric’s hand and repeat these words. I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.” The Reverend instructed me.

Hunter offered me the thicker ring that had been stowed on his pillow and I gently took it from him, lifting Eric’s left hand up. “I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.” I slipped the band onto his finger, letting it rest near his knuckles, where it would stay forever.

The Reverend took a moment’s pause before he started again. “May these vows be forever cherished. May this marriage be full of laughter and every day a day in paradise. May they be a sign of compassion, and a seal of happiness here and hereafter. Never forget the joy of this day. Finally, may you always have enough and may enough always be more than you hoped for. By the power vested in me by the State of Louisiana, I declare that you are husband and wife. Eric, you may kiss your bride.”

A greedy grin crossed over my husband’s features before he swept me up, leaning me backwards, holding me in his strong arms as he planted the mother of all kisses on me. The opening of Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) started to play throughout my garden, but I was too distracted by the feel of Eric’s cool lips on mine. He kept the kiss chaste, given the company, but the sly squeeze of my butt as he helped me back upright was a promise of what was to come. Our guests were up on their feet once Eric had me upright, their applause standing out against the song Eric and I had picked. Though I’d wanted to follow in Ata’s footsteps with confetti, I’d initially forgone it in order to save my lawn. Ata had taken it upon herself to throw a box of biodegradable rice confetti at me, which had sealed the deal, and had red mark on my forehead.

Eric’s hand never left mine as we headed down the aisle. I could feel the cool metal of his wedding ring against my skin and it filled me with inexplicable joy. His hold on me was strong, as was the sea of confetti thrown our way by the human side of the congregation. Bubba, Khai, and Agmund had joined in and were having far too much fun smothering us in the white wisps of paper.

Reaching the end of the aisle Eric led me back inside my home just as the music started to fade out. We’d asked the Reverend to give us a moment alone, to gather our thoughts and feelings before we would have to join the rest of our friends and family for the reception.


ERIC’S POV
There’s just no rhyme or reason, only the sense of completion,
And in your eyes, I see the missing pieces I’m searching for,
I think I’ve found my way home.
I know that it might sound more than a little crazy,
But I believe I knew I loved you before I met you,
I think I dreamed you in to life.
I knew I loved you before I met you,
I have been waiting all my life.
~ I Knew I Loved You, Savage Garden

Sookie was mine. Finally mine, in every sense of the word. Marriage had never appealed to me once Godric had turned me. With all of eternity before me I didn’t feel the need to take a companion and I’d been nowhere near strong enough to look after them. Now though, with my age and power along with the new title I was to receive later on this evening, I would be able to keep Sookie as safe as possible and ensure the rest of eternity would see her showered with the love and affection she deserved. Walking down the aisle, Sookie had looked nothing short of radiant.

“You have no idea how much I want to take you now, my wife. You’re so beautiful.” I told her, knowing she would feel the truth to my words.

A pretty smile lit up her face, brighter than I ever thought it could be. “I want you too, so much. We have guests though, my husband. As soon as they have retired we are free to do as we please.” She spoke softly, reverently.

“Come, my wife. We have photographs we need to be in.” I gestured to our side, and my love turned, smiling bashfully at Elizabeth as she clicked away. I held her hand tightly as we moved together, as a team, out into the grounds of my beloved’s home. Our family and friends would join us soon for group photographs. I smiled at our joined hands, our wedding bands matching. With our third bond, our pledge and now our human marriage, there would be no one that would be able to part us.

It took a short while for all of our photographs to be taken. Our family had grown much larger than I had ever anticipated, and with multiple combinations of guests, family, Sookie, and I we ended up taking over 30 different photo variations. Through the bond Sookie and I shared I could feel her starting to tire, and we still had dinner and dancing to complete. As Elizabeth took the last photo I swept my love up off her feet, carrying her bridal style down to the table we had claimed for ourselves for the reception.

Jason and the workmen had put together a beautiful reception area in my loves garden. From the many trees hung strings upon strings of golden fairy lights, throwing warm light over the long rows of tables and chairs. The tables were dressed with soft brown cloths, the tableware set out perfectly with the silver cutlery having been replaced with stainless steel for our vampire guests. Bouquets of white hydrangeas adorned the center of the tables; lush green leaves contrasting with the crisp white. My love had insisted on candles, so scattered amongst the dishes and plants were pillar candles encased in glass lanterns. Nametags placed in a little vase with a sprig of small flowers ensured our guests took their assigned seats. A grand piano and a silver microphone sat off to one side, right next to the makeshift dance floor.

Wedding Reception

Wedding Flowers

Wedding Nametags

As our guests started to take their seats I stopped to stare at Sookie, at my wife, as she sat at the top table, her few friends and family having come together for this evening. So lost in my thoughts and admiration of my love, our family bond informed me of Ata’s impending arrival more than her footsteps or nearing heartbeat did. Turning to greet her I was met with the sight of Hunter perched on my mothers hip.

“Daddy!” A large smile broke out across Hunter’s lips as he reached for me, squirming against Ata. With a melodic laugh Ata passed Hunter over to me, my little boy wrapping me up in a tight hug. “Momma” Hunter turned, opening his arms to Sookie. She swept him up from my grip, cradling him close. “Do I get to sit up here with you?” Hunter murmured as he nuzzled closer to my beloved. Ata’s hand came to rest at the nape of my neck, a warm and reassuring presence as she gave the short hairs there a gentle rub.

Hunter

Raising her left hand, Sookie gestured to the empty seat to her left, her new wedding band catching the glow from the fairy lights above us. Another nametag sat on the table to my wife’s left, this time with Hunter’s name on it. “You get to sit right up here with us little man.” Sookie explained, causing Hunter giggle.

Ata dropped a small kiss to my temple, blowing another in Sookie’s direction. “I’ll catch up with you in a while, don’t think you’re getting away without a speech. I know my husband has something planned.” A mischievous smile crossed her features as she moved back to the family table, taking her seat beside my Maker.

“Momma, how come I don’t get to sit next to Dad?” Hunter asked, finally having squirmed out of Sookie’s hold and on to the empty chair next to her.

“Would you like to sit next to your daddy?” Sookie asked, flattening a stray strand of Hunter’s hair that had decided to be rebellious and stick up.

Pushing out his bottom lip, Hunter gazed up at us both. “I want to sit next to both of you.”

Withholding my laugh, I let my amusement flow through my bond with my wife. “You can sit between us if you’d like, Hunter.” I offered, knowing my wife would have no qualms in letting our boy sit there. Eagerly nodding his head, Hunter slid off of his chair, allowing my love to switch seats with him before I lifted him up, placing him down between us.

“We need to swap our nametags now Momma” our boy pointed out, reaching across for his own as he swapped it with Sookie’s.

“Better now?” Sookie cooed, running a hand across Hunter’s hair once more.

“Much” Hunter declared, wiggling back in the seat so he was at no risk of sliding off.

With my wife and son happy, I turned my attention back to the room. Sookie and I had thought long and hard about seating arrangements. There were vampires, humans, faeries, shifters, werewolves, and endless other creatures in attendance. Where possible we had tried to keep the shifters and wolves together, the faeries together, and mixed the humans with the vampires. There was no need for humans to figure out there were other supernatural creatures in the world just yet.

As our guests finished taking their seats a hush fell over the room, prompting my Maker to rise to his feet. Gently clearing his throat, he spoke. “Ladies and Gentleman, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for attending my Childe’s wedding. Your presence here for this wonderful occasion is most appreciated. Now before I embarrass my Childe and his new wife, I’d like to start by saying that my wife Ata has approved this speech, so if you consider any of the material inappropriate, it’s her fault.” A low rumble of laughter spread through the room, my Maker pushing mirth through our family bond, and my mother responding with the bonds version of an eye roll.

Ata

Pausing for a moment before continuing, my Maker gave our Maker-Childe bond a little ping. “Today I feel like a double agent. I am, after all, both Eric’s best man and his father. A best man often likes to recall the most embarrassing moments from the groom’s past and expose some of his darkest secrets. A father on the other hand would naturally go to great lengths in order to preserve the good name of his son. And I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. After all, Sookie did agree to marry him. A few weeks ago I had a little chat with Sookie about marriage and how her life is going to change. I spoke about the hours in front of the kitchen sink, the washing of socks, life as an unpaid secretary, social organizer, cook, etc. No need to thank me now son, but for the first couple of months Sookie said she’d be willing to help you out.” My Maker shot a grin up to Sookie and I at the top table, a little bit of playful indignation seeping in to our family bond from my wife.

“What about the bride then, ladies and gentlemen? How wonderful she looks today. Eric has scrubbed up quite nicely too – it’s amazing what a flannel and a bar of soap can do. But it’s a bit rude of him to have copied my outfit eh?” My Maker looked down at his own outfit before glancing over to me. Our tailor had ensured we were matching for the evening so that it would be fairly obvious that we were Maker and Childe. Our guests sniggered. “Wasn’t the wedding ceremony beautiful? The highlight, of course, was Sookie floating magically down the aisle. I’m sure we were all thinking exactly the same thing: How did HE get HER?”

All of our guests laughed loudly, including the vampires who so very rarely showed emotion. My wife’s laugh was soft, hidden behind her hand as she tried to subdue it, a rosy glow to her cheeks. Hunter grinned wildly, looking up at me. In a show of submission I raised both my hands, shooting my Maker a smile. Perhaps now the character assassination would end?

“Sookie and I first met under horrible circumstances. I was ready to meet the sun, knowing my Childe was prepared to take on the world without my help.” My Maker’s voice took on a somber tone as he looked up towards my beloved. “However, this sweet, beautiful young lady reminded me that there is always something to live for, and she convinced me to come down from the roof, to not meet the sun. The following months were full of discovery and ultimately led to a reunion with my sweetheart, the very woman I had loved in my human years.” Godric turned his head to look down at Ata, who took his hand in her own, giving it a soft squeeze. “It quickly became clear to me, up on that roof, that here was a woman of many attributes – beauty, brains, wisdom and, fortunately for Eric, a disarming love for dumb animals. No offence to any guests in attendance.”

Our tables filled with shifters and werewolves cracked smiles at the joke, knowing there was no real malice behind it. The somber mood had been broken. I couldn’t stop myself from being highly amused at the dig towards Merlotte and Herveaux. “Play nice, I’m yours ya big dummy” Sookie chastised me, pinging our bond to make her point. Reaching in front of Hunter for my wife’s hand, Sookie took my large paw in her small one. Hunter joined in, placing one of his tiny hands on my wrist, and the other on Sookie’s wrist.

“When she agreed to marry Eric, it totally proved to me that old adage – opposites really do attract. Light and dark, day and night, beautiful and beastly…” Godric chuckled along with our guests. “I promise I’ll stop soon but Sookie, in agreeing to marry Eric, has reinforced what I’ve always thought and lived by. That stalking, harassment and general unpleasantness will eventually pay off. But that’s the vampire way, so in some respects I’ve taught him well.” More laughter came from our guests. “I never really dived in to how Sookie and Eric met, but I’ve heard that it involved a throne, a red dress, and the cops. Don’t ask.” Sniggers came from our vampire guests while the humans looked scandalised.

“When you see Eric and Sookie together, you see what I can only describe as harmony. Their shared love of country music, Agatha Christie, and each other marks only the beginning of what I know will be a life-long love affair. If you haven’t had a chance to spend time with them, I really recommend it. Just give them a call anytime. Invite yourself over. Better yet, just show up. They won’t mind – right guys?” My Maker asked. I groaned as Sookie laughed, our guests turning their attention and smiles up to us.

“Eric and Sookie, what a beautiful couple you make. I look at you two and I see such promise and hope. There are those who say that the single life is the only way to go. They think the single life is more glamorous and a lot more fun than being married. But, let me tell you now that I’m married myself, I can only assure you that the so-called glitz and glamour is all flash and no substance. As you leave the single life behind and begin the beautiful journey called “marriage” you will discover what the rewards of life truly are.”

“I know I’ve joked a lot in this speech about Eric, but let it be known that I’m proud of my Childe and all he has achieved. I’m proud of the vampire, and the man, he has become. I couldn’t have asked for a better prodigy. So, before we all enjoy our meal, I would like to propose a toast.” Godric reached for his glass, as did our guests. Sookie and I reached for ours, filled with champagne and champagne infused blood respectively.

“There is nothing more noble or admirable than watching two incredible people come together as one in the unity of marriage. As your friends and family, we delight in your marriage and offer our encouragement and support. A toast to a long life filled with adventure, love, and cherished moments.”

“Cheers!” Our guests echoed, all raising their glasses.

Toast

That seemed to be the queue for the caterers, who flocked out of nowhere to start presenting guests with the starters. Godric took his seat again while Sookie and I took a sip of our drinks. Not having the opportunity to go up and thank my Maker for his kind words I instead pushed my gratitude, love, and affection for him through our bond. The warmth and love I received in return made me pause for a moment, savouring it, before I was presented with my meal. The menu had been one of the hardest decisions for the occasion, having to cater to a wide variety of tastes.

Most of the focus had been on our faerie and human guests, knowing that our vampire company wouldn’t mind what they were eating so long as it was blood. The shifters and werewolves could also eat similar meals to the humans. For the starter we offered our guests one of three choices, either seafood salad, fresh figs draped with prosciutto di Parma, or Tuscan garden salad. Our vampire guests were given the options of either blood-orange soup or watermelon blood soup.

Seafood salad

Figs

Tuscan Garden Salad

My wife had opted for the fresh figs, and was busy scooping bits of fig in to Hunter’s mouth, our boy chewing away happily. A quick chat to the caterers, and a blood draw from Sookie in the morning, ensured that I was only eating what my love had given me.

Knowing there were lots of vampires in the room, all able to hear even the slightest little murmur, I took to our bond. “Min kärlek, how are your shields holding up with all of these guests?” I asked my wife, continuing to eat as if there was nothing going on.

My beautiful Sookie continued on with her own actions as she responded, showing Hunter how to scoop out the insides of the figs before eating the skin. “They’re holding up strong Eric, I think the rest of our family are bolstering it for me. Hunter’s mind is completely sealed off too. Last thing we want is him becoming confused about the were and shifter minds in the room.”

Smiling to myself as I continued with my meal, I kept an eye on my wife and son. “How are you feeling, my sweet?” I asked, pushing love through our strong bond. Sookie paused for a moment, swaying a little in her seat at the onslaught of my feelings.

Putting down the spoon she had been using to feed Hunter now that both their plates were clean, Sookie turned towards me. Leaning across our son she placed one of her small hands against my cheek, stroking my cheekbone softly. Turning a little to meet her gaze, I put my own spoon down, now finished with my meal, and covered her hand with my own. “I couldn’t be happier Eric. I have everything in the world that I could ever want.”

For a moment we were lost in our own little world. My little faery letting me know just how happy she was made me want to puff my chest out in pride. I’d been able to provide everything she needed and wanted.

“You two are making me sick, and vampires can’t even throw up.” Pamela’s thoughts invaded our minds, breaking Sookie and I out of our moment. Both of us turned to look at my insolent Childe, who was sat at the table closest to ours, an eyebrow raised at us. Ari was trying his hardest to hide his smile behind his napkin as he wiped his mouth. However, Ata and Godric had other ideas. My mother was batting her eyelashes like some lovestruck fool at us, while my father was pushing his enjoyment at our very public affection through the bond.

Pam

“You’re lucky I love you, idiots.” I shut down their responses with a smile, blocking the bond temporarily so that I didn’t have to deal with their immaturity, no matter how endearing it was.

The caterers were quick to clean up, bringing out the main meal. Again we had focused primarily on the humans, faeries, were’s, and shifters. Two options had been offered this time, salmon with all the trimmings or baby rack of lamb with all the trimmings. Sookie and Hunter had opted for the lamb, avoiding the salmon as it came with a lemon dressing.

Salmon

Lamb

For our vampire guests we offered them the choice of either apricot blood soup or pumpkin blood soup. I’d opted for the pumpkin blood soup, again using Sookie’s blood to replace the donor blood our guests were being served.

Our main course was consumed with minimal distraction. Sookie and I kept our bond open, not needing words to express how we were feeling. Our guests chattered amongst themselves, most of them discussing the things they had been up to recently, and the plans they had for the future. Many of the creatures in attendance hadn’t had the chance to catch up in a while. When our plates were empty the dishes were taken away and replaced with dessert dishes. Sookie and I had decided on a light dessert, knowing that invariably most of our guests would enjoy the beautiful cake that had been prepared for us. We’d left the design of the cake in the capable hands of Ata and Pam.

Sookie and I had settled on chocolate fondue and dipping items for dessert. The chocolate fountains were placed in the centre of each table, and multiple dishes were scattered around filled with goodies. Tall glasses filled with metal skewers were also placed on each table, metal having been favoured over wood due to our vampire guests. Marshmallows, rice crispy treats, peanut brittle, sponge cake, strawberries, bananas, apple segments, chocolate cookies, shortbread, graham crackers, cheesecake bites, waffles, and donuts were all on offer for dunking. For our vampires guests we offered them a choice of either blood parfait or blood sorbet in a variety of different flavours.

With our fondue fountain sitting on our table, my wife tucked in. Placing marshmallows and strawberries on Hunter’s plate, Sookie dipped them lightly in the chocolate. “More chocolate Momma” Hunter begged.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

Sookie’s laugh was soft, “I’m sorry Hunter, but you can’t have too much chocolate because it’s bad for you.” My wife explained, giving Hunter’s cheek a gentle pinch.

“Daddy?” Hunter turned his big eyes up to me, sticking his lower lip out in a pout that would make Pam proud.

Lifting my gaze from my son to my wife, Sookie raised an eyebrow in challenge at me. Knowing when to pick my battles, I dropped my eyes back to my sons. “Oh no little man, your Momma is in charge today.” I gave Hunter’s hair a ruffle, smoothing it back down immediately after.

For a moment Hunter was silent, his lower lip still pushed out. Realising this was a battle he too wouldn’t win; he pulled his lower lip back in, shrugging his little shoulders before turning back to his chocolate covered marshmallows and strawberries. “Okay then.” His response was cheerful as he tucked in to the strawberry, managing to smear some chocolate across his lips.

With a soft chuckle I reached for an apple segment, skewing it before placing it briefly under the chocolate streaming down the fountain. Ensuring no chocolate would fall off; I offered the skewer to my wife. “Open up dear.” Sookie’s amusement was palpable through our bond, and my love didn’t object as she opened her mouth, letting me pop the small apple segment doused in chocolate in to her mouth. Returning to skewer a strawberry this time, I went to repeat my action, asking Sookie once more to open her mouth. However, this time I offered her the skewer and the moment she went to close her mouth I pulled it back, smearing the chocolate on her mouth and the end of her nose.

Our bond filled with shock as Sookie took a moment to comprehend what I’d done. Hunter, sensing something had occurred, turned to look at Sookie. “MOMMA! You have chocolate on your nose!” Our little boy laughed loudly, attracting the attention of all of our guests who cracked smiles and laughs at the sight of Sookie with chocolate on her nose. With our guests turning back to their own meals, it took everything in me to stem the flow of my amusement through our bond, but I was unable to hide my grin.

My wife took a moment to compose herself before dropping her voice down an octave. “Oh it’s on Mr. Northman.”

My grin changed to a leer as I wiggled the skewer in front of Sookie. “You promise Mrs. Northman?”

Without missing a beat my wife took the skewer from me, maintaining eye contact as she put the skewer in her mouth, sliding off the strawberry with her tongue, making sure to suck the end of the skewer as she finished. Placing the empty skewer down on her plate, my wife never took her eyes off of mine. A low growl slipped from my throat before I could stop it.

“When is it time to get rid of our guests?” I reached across the gap between us, taking a loose strand of Sookie’s golden hair between my fingers, twirling it.

“We still need to have cake, and dance, and I need to throw my bouquet, all before you remove this scrap of lace I have around my thigh.” My wife responded, her dainty hand wrapping around my wrist. Too lost in my Sookie I wasn’t paying attention to little Hunter, stuck between the two of us, looking between us with a confused expression as he tried and failed to gain access to our thoughts.

“A scrap of lace you say? I don’t think I particularly want our guests to see your thighs as I remove it from you.” The thought of the guests in attendance, especially Merlotte and Herveaux, getting to see the scrap of blue lace on my Sookie’s thigh was out of the question.

Sookie sighed, shaking her head a little. “Oh no you don’t Eric, it’s tradition.”

Pursing my lips I tried to come up with a suitable compromise. After all, marriages were about give and take right? “What if I fulfill one of your little fantasies?” I bargained.

Sookie paused for a moment, tipping her head a little in thought. “What fantasy would that be, Eric?”

Letting go of my wife’s hair I lent back in my chair, watching her expression carefully. “If I recall correctly, it had something to do with a Stetson…”

Sookie’s eyes widened comically, her cheeks burning red instantly, her heartbeat kicking up a notch. The combination of all three had our supernatural guests turning their attention back to us; ignoring their now empty plates. “Damn you Eric.”

Sookie

Letting a chuckle escape me, I thanked the waitress as she took away our plates. “What were you and Momma talking about, Daddy?” Hunter quizzed, turning his gaze up to me.

“Don’t worry about it son, your Momma and I just had to reach an agreement on something.” I grabbed a napkin, giving Hunter’s chocolate covered face a quick wipe.

Probing my bonds with our family, I picked up on Ari’s bond. “Brother, I know it’s a lot to ask but when we finally open the floor up for people to dance, could you run a quick errand for me please?”

Ari continued his verbal conversation with Pam, but managed to multi-task and respond to me. “Sure, what do you need?”

Knowing it was an unusual request had been part of why I had picked Ari to go and collect the item for me. Pam would no doubt ask me 20 questions and then proceed to tease me about it for centuries. “A Stetson.”

Ari’s confusion seeped through our bond. “A Stetson? You know what, I’m not even going to ask. I’ll get one later and place it in your bedroom.”

“Thank you, I appreciate it. Oh, and please don’t tell Pam.”

“You’ll have to ensure she’s distracted then when I go to get it, and have a suitable excuse lined up as to why I’ve disappeared. She’ll want to come with me otherwise.” Ari made a valid point.

“I’ll think of something, don’t worry. Thank you, Ari.” I pulled back from our bond as the tables were finally cleared. It was then Jason rose to his feet, clearing his throat before asking for everyone’s attention. The chatter that had been working its way through the crowd during dessert died down. I had contemplated giving my own speech but ultimately decided against it, letting Jason deliver a speech instead. My Maker had given one so it was only fair for a member of Sookie’s family to give one too.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and anyone who may have sneaked in for a free meal, my name is Jason and I’m the brother of the bride. Our Momma and Daddy passed away a long time ago, now Sook is all I have and I’m all she’s got, well, until now I guess. I hope I can do this little speech some justice. I’m sure our Daddy woulda been better than me at this.” Jason’s self-depreciating joke had Sookie a little sad, but her overwhelming love for her brother was blinding.

Sookie and Jason

“I would firstly like ta thank everyone for coming today, we have guests who ‘ave travelled in from far and wide, including places like England and Australia. I think its shows how much y’all want to be here today to celebrate Sookie and Eric’s wedding. Its been a wonderful day and even though the sun set hours ago and time is marchin’ on, we have the whole night ahead of us. Which brings us nicely on to the time that every bride fears, what is he going to talk about? Is he going to tell about the time when…?! Well as you instructed Sook, I won’t mention any o’ them times, especially not that time ya ate a whole pecan pie Gran had made and were violently sick for days, even though its cost me 99% of my first draft o’ this speech.” Jason continued, grinning at Sookie, her embarrassment flooding our bond, her face flushing once more as our guests laughed.

“At this moment in time I’m full o’ admiration and pride fo’ the commitment they’ve both made t’day and one day hope to follow in the example they’ve set. That said, I think y’all agree that Eric matches Sook very well and since I’ve known him, I’ve come t’ realise just how special he is to her; and anyone can see that they’re made for each other.” Sookie’s embarrassment faded, replaced by fondness for her sibling. Jason and I may not have seen eye-to-eye originally, but he was a good guy, only wanting what was best for his sister. Yes he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but his heart was in the right place and that counted for a lot, especially where my wife was concerned.

“Eric, I would like t’ welcome you in to the family, even though you have been part of it for a good while now. I get the feelin’ somehow that you kind of barged your way in, not really givin’ us a choice, but we love ya for it anyway. I think ya have been with Sook long enough to know what you’re lettin’ yourself in fo’, so to be honest I haven’t got any sympathy for you.” Jason turned his attention from Sookie to me, grinning in my direction. I offered my new brother-in-law a smile in return, laughing a little at his jibe. Sookie was certainly a handful, and trouble seemed to follow her everywhere, but I wouldn’t change that for the world.

“I’ll break my promise on the ‘no stories’ policy just once by reminiscing back to the early 90’s when Sook and I were in the car going to school. I ‘ave a very vivid memory of a game we played ‘bout who Sook might marry and the surnames that would be a humorous addition to Sook’s name. Most of them were Christmas themed like Bush, Tree, Day, Wood, or even my personal favourite Sookie Wookie. Little did we know that all those years later I would be standing here making this speech, introducing our very own Sookie Northman. I still prefer Sookie Wookie, sorry Sook.” Jason’s grin hadn’t left his face the whole time, and Sookie’s blush was still visible as she cringed over the memory of her childhood games with Jason. Our guests were vocal in their enjoyment over the little story, laughter filling the air around us.

“My little Sookie Wookie” I teased my wife.

Sookie shot me what Pam lovingly refers to as ‘bitch face.’ “Oh you wait, I’m sure Pam will have some embarrassing nicknames of yours for me to use.” If it were possible for vampires to pale, I would’ve. Pamela wouldn’t dare, would she?…

“I raise my glass t’ honour my sister on this, her wedding day. It’s hard to find the right words to express my feelings. She’s a wonderful sister, and I’m sure she will make as fine a wife. You’re looking beautiful today, though as your brother I think that ya look beautiful every day.” Jason’s features softened, the warmth in his expression almost palpable. Sookie looked close to tears, using her hands to cover part of her face so she could covertly wipe away any stray tears. Jason turned back to the audience to carry on his speech.

Sookie crying

“Sookie and Eric have obviously worked real hard organising everything for t’day but their hard work has definitely paid off. I’m sure everyone here agrees that the ceremony was wonderful. Although in the run-up to today Sookie and Eric did have a bit of an issue with the seating plan and who to put where. So as brother of the bride, I offered to step in an’ help work somethin’ out. I decided t’ use the wedding present list, the biggest items nearest the front table, and work back from there. So if they can hear me over in the back there, thanks Lucy and George for the box of biro’s…” Laughter rumbled through the room, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing too. Lucy and George were residents of Bon Temps, regulars at Merlotte’s. They of course hadn’t bought us Biro’s, and it was apparent all of the audience understood this, especially Lucy and George who laughed along.

“On a more serious note it seems like the done thing to offer some guidance on marriage, so I found somethin’ with a more pragmatic message – ‘ Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.’ Another one that I really liked, though somewhat less constructive, was the observation that when a man holds a woman’s hand before marriage it is love; after marriage, it’s in self-defence.” Another roar of laughter filled the air, Sookie’s slight indignation endearing as she batted at my arm, hoping to stop my own laughter at the jibe aimed at her.

“With that in mind, I know that Eric has chosen well and I believe that Sookie has too and I wish them well for a long, happy and prosperous future together. I can’t stress enough how proud I am today, and how good it is t’ have y’all here. Once again, I hope you all have a wonderful evening.”

Jason turned now to face Sookie and I, and it seemed natural in that moment to reach for Sookie’s hand with little Hunter wedged between us. “I would like t’ thank ya both for the honour of giving this speech, it has been a great night and I, like everyone here is privileged t’ share it with you. Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding an’ raise your glasses for the happy couple before they take to the floor for the first dance. Here’s to the future, for all that you look forward to together. The new Mr. and Mrs. Northman.” Jason reached for his glass as the rest of our guests did, and together they toasted us.

Toast

“Mr. and Mrs. Northman, the floor is yours.” Jason finished, taking his seat once again at the family table. Ata and Khai lent across, offering their congratulations to Jason for such a lovely speech. I would thank him for it later.

“Shall we?” I gestured towards the floor, knowing how much my Sookie liked to dance. Nodding her head, I helped her up out of her seat. Pam appeared at our sides, scooping Hunter up so that she could look after him while we danced.


SOOKIE’S POV
There’s been so many things that’s held us down,
But now it looks like things are finally comin’ around.
I know we’ve got a long, long way to go,
And where we’ll end up I don’t know.
But we won’t let nothin’ hold us back,
We’re putting ourselves together,
We’re polishing up our act.
~ Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, McFadden & Whitehead

When I was a little girl I had imagined my wedding countless times. I’d thought about who would be there, what I’d wear, what ring I’d have on my finger, and, most importantly, who I would marry. The dreams of 10-year-old Sookie were so vastly different from the reality I was now facing. At 10 I would never have guessed that I would be marrying a vampire in a ceremony attended by a vast array of supernatural creatures, knowing finally that I was Fae.

Pam took Hunter from Eric and I as we made our way to the floor, hand in hand. I had left our song choice up to Eric, knowing he had a broader range of musical taste, and because I had no doubts that he would whine if I picked a country song.

A gentleman in a suit appeared and took a seat at the piano to the side of the floor. With him was a woman dressed in a floor length cream gown, her dark hair pinned up and held in place with cream flowers. She stood before the microphone as her piano playing partner cracked his fingers, slowly starting the opening notes of our song.

Singer

With a soft twirl Eric brought me closer, wrapping his right arm around my lower waist. Lifting my left arm, I hooked it around the back of his neck, our remaining hands coming together beside us, fingers interlocked.

Wedding Dance

After a few notes the woman began to sing, and together Eric and I started to dance together.

“When the rain is blowing in your face,
And the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace,
To make you feel my love.
When the evening shadows and the stars appear,
And there is no one there to dry your tears,
I could hold you for a million years,
To make you feel my love.”

Letting go of me ever so slightly Eric gave me a twirl, the skirt of my dress billowing out to create a beautiful white fan.

Wedding Dance

Bringing me back to his chest after my twirl, this time we settled in to a more intimate hold. Eric’s hands rested on my lower back while my own looped around his neck, bringing his nose close to my throat.

Wedding Dance

“I know you haven’t made your mind up yet,
But I will never do you wrong,
I’ve known it from the moment that we met,
No doubt in my mind where you belong.
I’d go hungry; I’d go black and blue,
And I’d go crawling down the avenue.
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do,
To make you feel my love.”

Our bond was wide open, no more secrets and no more holding back. In it I could feel all of the love that Eric had for me. It was almost overwhelming that someone could love me so much, and that I could love them so much in return. It had always been Gran, Jason, and I. Of course there had been Tara and Lafayette, but never anyone else that I could say that I loved, especially in a romantic sense. I was Crazy Sookie to everyone in town, and that made falling in love even harder. Eric though, he never treated me like an idiot, never made me feel crazy for my differences, or made me question myself. He was sure of himself and sure of me, and that was enough to bolster my confidence. With everything that had happened in my life, with all of the new information I’d been given, with all of the pain and suffering and triumph, it was time for me to be happy, to be loved.

Lifting his head ever so slightly, Eric let out a content sigh. As a vampire he had no need to breathe but I would catch him doing so sometimes, more often than not when I was resting against his chest. The motion of him breathing was soothing. “Jag älskar dig” he whispered, feather-soft.

No longer needing to pull the translation for my response from Eric’s mind, I smiled, letting my eyes close to focus on the feeling of him so close. “Jag älskar dig med.”

The woman continued to sing, lulling Eric and I in to a slow dance. So lost in my dance with Eric I forgot all about the eyes on us, and Elizabeth prowling with her camera.

“The storms are raging on the rolling sea,
And on the highway of regret.
The winds of change are blowing wild and free,
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet.
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn’t do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
To make you feel my love,
To make you feel my love.”

In a sweeping gesture Eric tipped me back as the last few notes floated through the warm evening air, his strong arms keeping me from falling flat on my back. Dipping down with me, he planted a tender kiss on my lips. As he pulled back the sweetest of smiles crossed his features, blue eyes focused on my brown ones. “Evighet.”

Wedding Dance

Our moment was broken only by the sound of raucous applause. Our guests were up on their feet, applauding our first dance. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks as Eric gave me another twirl, showing me off to our audience. Turning to face our singer and pianist I started to applaud for them, our wedding guests following. The woman singing had a beautiful voice and our pianist was highly skilled. They deserved a round of applause too. A blush swept across the singers cheeks as she took in her standing ovation. Giving it a moment for the applause to die down, our singer spoke. “Thank you, and congratulations to the bride and groom. I heard a rumour that it was time for a sweet treat.” She addressed the audience.

The caterers suddenly appeared, wheeling a huge white cart adorned with vines of delicate flowers matching our centrepieces. On the cart sat our cake, vast and beautiful. Our vampire guests had been accommodated for with a cake substitute, but all our other guests were welcome to some real cake. Our singer started up again as Eric led me over to the cake.

“Sugarpie honeybunch,
You know that I love you.
I can’t help myself,
I love you and nobody else.
In and out my life,
You come and you go,
Leaving just your picture behind,
And I kissed it a thousand times.
When you snap your fingers,
Or wink your eye,
I come a running to you.
I’m tied to you, baby,
And there’s nothing I can do.
Ooh, sugar.”

Our cake was beautiful, almost too pretty to cut up and share with our guests. It was five tiers, decorated in beautiful white icing. The bottom tier had been layered with icing in a draping effect, a large flower sitting at the front. The next two tiers up were embossed with intricate lace patterns. The fourth tier matched the first, another large flower on the front. Our final tier was a mixture of the two, a plain white icing embossed with a large flower on each side. The cake was topped off with more sugar flowers, wire branches holding daintier sugar flowers poked out from the top. “The smallest possible piece for me, min älskling. I do not want to get sick.” Eric’s thoughts fluttered in to my mind. He was adamant on trying a piece of our wedding cake, but due to his vampirism human food would make him ill. The smallest of pieces shouldn’t have too much of an effect on him.

Wedding Cake

“Sugarpie honeybunch,
I’m weaker than a man should be.
I can’t help myself;
I’m a fool in love you see.
Wanna tell you I don’t love you,
Tell you that we’re through,
And I’ve tried,
But every time I see your face,
I get all choked up inside.
When I call your name, girl,
It starts the flame burning in my heart,
Tearin’ it all apart.
No matter how I try,
My love I cannot hide.”

Eric and I came to a stop behind our cake, facing our guests. Next to our cake on the cart sat a long black velvet box, a little golden ribbon covered one of the ends. Together we removed the bow, lifting the lid to reveal our cake knife and server. I hadn’t been able to find Gran’s wedding set, or Momma and Daddy’s, so Eric and I had decided to buy our own set. Opting for platinum meant the handles were a considerable weight. Fleur-de-lis adorned the top and bottom of the handle, polished to a bright shine. The blade of the knife was simple, kept that way to ensure a clean cut. The server was large enough that our guests wouldn’t be subjected to a tiny piece of cake either. Reaching for the knife first, I wrapped my right hand around the handle. Eric swamped my smaller hand with his large paw, wrapping his fingers over mine.

Cake Knife Box

Cake Knife Set

“Sugarpie honeybunch,
You now that I’m weak for you.
I can’t help myself,
I love you and nobody else.
Sugarpie honeybunch,
I’ll do anything you ask me to.
I can’t help myself,
I want you and nobody else.
Sugarpie honeybunch,
You know that I love you,
I can’t help myself.”

With two swift cuts we removed a slice from the top tier of the cake, oblivious to the flashing of Elizabeth’s camera as she documented the moment. Moving the slice of cake to a plate, Eric and I both broke off a small chunk – I made sure to break off a piece considerably smaller. Simultaneously we offered each other the piece in our hands. Eric took his tiny piece of cake and, preparing for my own piece, I went to open my mouth to meet Eric’s fingers. However, a fast flick of his wrist had cake and icing decorating the end of my nose.

“ERIC!” the squeal slipped out before I could stop it. The bright white icing of our cake was clinging to the end of my nose in a giant dollop. The laughter of our guests reverberated through the air as I stood, mouth agape, in disbelief at my husband’s actions.

The roar of laughter coming from Eric, the easy grin on his features, and the happy crinkles at the corner of his eyes was enough to sooth my initial outrage.

Eric

Distracted, I had just enough time to swipe some icing from the cake, splattering it on his face in return.

Eric’s laughter stopped, disbelief clouding his features as he gawped at me. For a moment we stared at one another, before both erupting in to laughter, much to the delight of our guests.

My sides were aching by the time I managed to stop laughing, Eric having moved closer to rest our foreheads together. Leaning down he licked the icing from my nose, giving me a quick kiss so I could take it from him. I didn’t want to risk him ingesting any more and being sick. Pulling back, I raised my left hand as I wiped away the splattered icing from his face, popping my fingers in my mouth to suck them clean. Eric’s eyes darkened.

“Slow down there Casanova.” I teased, earning another laugh from my husband. It was a sound I would never grow tired of.

A little tug on my dress captured my attention and I looked down to see Hunter stood next to me, my wedding bouquet in his hands. “Hunter!” I cooed, picking my boy up.

“Auntie Pam said you have to throw this.” He explained, presenting the flowers to me. Eric reached for the cake, offering a piece to our son. He took it without question, ramming the whole piece in to his mouth to chew on happily.

“Well if Auntie Pam says it must be done.” I played along, passing Hunter over to Eric in exchange for my bouquet. The guests who had gathered to watch as we cut the cake dispersed, leaving only the ladies behind. The rest of our family stood by the side of the dance floor watching on.

Our singer took to the microphone once more. “Ladies, I want a clean fight okay?” Laughter rippled through the room. Taking note of those stood in the crowd I turned my back on them, clutching my bouquet in both hands.

Giving me a moment, our singer then spoke. “Drumroll please!” Our guests started banging on the tables. “On the count of three…one, two, three!” With a clean swing behind me I tossed the bouquet over my head. Turning quickly to see who would catch it, a hand with pink nails shot up above the crowd, snatching the bouquet from the air.

As the crowd parted we were finally able to see who’d caught the flowers.

“Lafayette!” I laughed, watching as a flirty smile crossed his features.

Lafayette

“Oh hooker, you know I ain’t gonna miss out on no opportunity to find me a man!” Lafayette wafted the bouquet. Our family laughed, along with our human guests. Our other guests who were not familiar with Lafayette didn’t seem to understand what was so funny.

“Ladies and Gentleman, the floor is now open.” Our singer broke through the moment as our pianist started playing again, our singers soft voice ringing out.

Eric appeared at my side, Hunter clamouring for a cuddle. Lifting him from Eric’s grip, I let him sit on my hip. His small arms wrapped around my neck, anchoring himself in place. Eric’s outstretched hand entered my field of vision. “Shall we dance?”

With my son still resting on my hip I took my husband’s hand, letting him lead us to the middle of the dance floor, packed with our friends and family. We’d have to say goodbye to them soon and prepare for our coronation, but for now it was time to let loose.

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22 thoughts on “Ethereal Redemption Chapter 71

    • Glad to be back! Thank you. I want to finish this story and finally put it to bed. I don’t want to create a rushed ending though as you all deserve so much better than that 🙂

  1. A wedding worthy of Eric & Sookie, all the right touches and so much love. Very happy you didn’t give up on this story.

    • Thank you. I almost did give up, but there’s only a few chapters left and you guys deserve to have this finished. Its taken me a while, but I think I’ve found my mojo again 🙂

  2. This is one of the first stories I ever read in fan fiction and it has remained one of my favorites. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it originally- it had to have been referenced somewhere and I just clicked through and got wrapped up in the storyline right away. The fact that it had Godric and that he has a happily ever after made it an instant favorite. I also love the fact that you write such full and interesting characters and include special touches like photos and videos. I am thrilled that you’ve posted another chapter and as soon as I saw it this afternoon, I stopped what I was doing to read it. You said your not into the writing of this anymore- but you do have readers like me who are so excited to see continue/finish this story that has a special place in my heart. So, thank you for this. Cheers!

    • Aww I’m so happy that ER is one of your favourite fanfics! It makes me so happy to hear how much people like this story.
      I hated the moment they killed Godric off, he was such a fascinating character and he deserved more than he was given.
      I’m glad the photos and videos provide a special touch for you – my aim was to be able to help my readers imagine the same things I am to really make this story come to life.
      I’m so flattered that you dropped everything to read the new chapter, its been a while since I updated so I’m really happy that you’re still so enthralled with this story. I promise you that I’m going to finish this story and give it the ending it deserves. After that I may do more one shot work for varying fandoms, including TB.
      Thank you for your unwavering support ❤

  3. I love this story and am so happy to see an update (even if life got in the way from me reading it right away, sigh) The wedding was perfect, so much love, and that’s the way any marriage should start. Looking forward to the final chapters when you release them! Thank you so much for completing this!

    • It makes me so happy to hear that you love this story! I was worried about getting the wedding just right but it seems a lot of people, including yourself, liked it 🙂
      There’s only two more chapters and an epilogue to go and then this story will be wrapped up. I have it all planned out and I hope you’ll enjoy them when I release them!
      Thank you for your support ❤

  4. Could this be any more perfect? The vows were stunning, beautiful and eloquent….I really teared up. The photos/gifs did so much to add to the chapter. I’m so glad to see you continuing with this tory —I DO intent to ready it again –it’s one of the best out there. I know you lost your love for everything SVM/TB as most of us did. The disgrace that is Alan Ball/Charlaine Harris will not go away and they will never get another dime from me.

    Love –as you go forward with your life after getting your degree, I wish you health, wealth and success in your future!

    Much love –Pat

    • Awww Pat, you’re the sweetest! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, its really brightened up my day. I wanted to make the wedding as perfect as possible because I believe E&S deserve such a happy ending.
      I was so sad with the way the show and the books ended, I didn’t even have the heart to read the last book after seeing spoilers. I think the show took a turn for the worst when they killed off Godric so soon. He was such a fascinating character and will forever be my favourite vampire.

      Thank you Pat, I really appreciate your kind words ❤

      Love, Aly

  5. Well hello there- it’s great to finally hear from you and find out what’s going on with you as well as an amazing update. What a wedding- seriously, you nailed it.
    Congratulations on your graduation from University, that is a major accomplishment- also the UK job market is rough at the moment and I wish you every luck in finding a job.
    This chapter was outstanding, there was no lag or obvious signs at a long break from writing which is an incredible achievement.
    I’m terribly sad this is coming to an end and yet overjoyed it will be finished! It’s a strange combination. I’m also sad that you’re feeling uninspired but I do hope you return to writing- perhaps in another fandom or some original writing.
    Congrats on a terrific comeback!
    Take care of yourself and I can’t wait for the next chapter
    Best Wishes

    • Casper!
      My goodness, I’ve missed you!
      I’m so happy that you enjoyed the wedding. I was worried that I couldn’t do it justice and I would be super rusty thanks to my long break. I’m glad that it’s not obvious I’ve been gone for so long 🙂
      Thank you very much, I have an interview lined up in a few weeks for a really good job so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My lack of job at present though should mean that I’m able to finish this story and not disappear again for ages. I don’t want to leave you all again!
      There are two chapters and an epilogue left for ER, I have them all planned out and I’m hoping to have the story finished by the end of this year for you all. My inspiration is slowly coming back so I’m sure I’ll be doing some more original writing or one shot work – I have a whole host of prompts saved. I might stick within the TB world too. Writing such a long story is draining, but I find one shots rather fun.
      Thank you for all your support sweetie ❤

  6. I’ve just binge read this entire story after running across the first chapters on ft.net. I was addicted, can’t wait for the ending.

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