Ethereal Redemption Chapter 72

A/N WELL THEN. My initial aim to have this chapter out by Christmas was an epic fail.

I have a Beta though! Everyone say hi to Robin McAllister! This story is undergoing a serious clean-up and some chapters are being tweaked. Hopefully, once the story is finished in its entirety you’ll be able to go back and read the whole thing from the beginning and it’ll be perfect. In the meantime, chapters waiting to undergo the beta treatment will have a banner at the beginning. 

I also have a few one-shots and short stories in the pipeline, linked to Ethereal Redemption. I’m excited to share those with you in the future.

Here’s the second part of the previous chapter! After this, there’s one more chapter and the epilogue. I want to release the final chapter and the epilogue together so the wait for those might be a bit longer though…

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SOOKIE’S POV
I won’t just survive, oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story, I’m beyond the archetype.
I won’t just conform, no matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots – they run deep, oh
Oh, ye of so little faith, don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins, I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate, I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform
When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,” but still I rise
This is no mistake, no accident, when you think the final nail is in,
Think again. Don’t be surprised.
I will still rise.
~ Rise, Katy Perry

We danced so much that my feet started to feel like they were on fire. Eric had offered Hunter to Pam a while back, forcing Ari to move aside. Speaking of Ari, I hadn’t seen the Egyptian vampire in a while. Where on earth had he gone? Ata seemed not to mind her eldest being away, lost in dancing with Godric and her children. Eric’s gentle hand rested against my cheek as he pulled me from my thoughts. “Earth to Sookie.” My husband chuckled, stroking his thumb across my cheekbone. Finding my husband’s eyes I offered him a warm smile. “There you are.” He cooed, letting his hand drop to take mine. “It would appear that you have several people who want to speak with you.” Eric’s eyes drifted to our left, where Sam kept glancing in our direction while dancing with several residents of Bon Temps.

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“I’ll go and speak to him,” I whispered, knowing my husband would hear. Sam and I had settled a few of our problems this morning, but I had a feeling that Sam had more to say.

Eric’s grip on my hand tightened a little, before relaxing. “I know you’re more than capable, but if there are any problems please use our bond and call for me.”

Raising my free hand I cupped Eric’s cheek, smiling softly as he leant into my palm. “I will don’t worry.” I placed a chaste kiss to his lips before tearing myself away, crossing the room towards Sam.

Seeing my approach, Sam let go of Maxine Fortenberry’s hands, stepping away from her and ending their dance. With a smile and a few words, he left her, crossing to meet me halfway. Our singer was still crooning, a slower and much softer song than the ones before it. So as to not look strange on the dance floor, Sam offered me his hand. Together we start to dance, Sam’s hands resting just above my waist, my arms around the back of his neck. Our posture reminded me of prom. “You look beautiful, Sook.” He complimented, a fond smile on his features as he glanced at my dress up to my face, our eyes locking. I could feel a blush heating my features. I loved Sam, I had since the day he offered me a job at Merlotte’s, but I wasn’t IN love with Sam. So few people seem to understand that difference. Sam offered me a job when he opened up Merlotte’s, willing to take on ‘Crazy Sookie’ and never sneering at me or making rude comments behind my back, thinking I wouldn’t know. His kindness over the years made him the best employer and the most wonderful of friends.

“Thank you, Sam. I’m glad you’re here. It wouldn’t be the same without you here.” I told him sincerely, giving the nape of his neck a gentle rub. It didn’t feel strange to offer Sam affection especially as I was aware of his shapeshifter status, and his preference for changing into a sweet border collie.

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“Aw shucks Sook.” A blush crossed Sam’s features. “I know it might not seem like it but I’m happy for ya Sook, I truly am. I know I’ve said mean things about vampires and you might think I’ve been bein’ mean to you too, but I only want ya to be happy. I guess in some sense I thought I would make ya happy. “ A rueful smile graced his features, pulling at my heartstrings. In another life, Sam would’ve been the perfect boyfriend, with his loyalty and kindness. I could feel Eric pulling away from the conversation through our bond, gently closing it down to allow me some privacy for this conversation. I could feel too that he was no longer eavesdropping, respecting my need to speak with my friend. “After today, though, seeing all these vamps here for your special day, seeing how Northman’s face damn well lit up the moment you appeared at the top of the aisle, all the kind words they have for ya. Well, it makes it hard not to see how much they all love you, how much Northman loves you. I’d be a damn fool if I didn’t see how happy he makes you. Where you’re concerned, Northman and I see eye to eye. We both want you safe and happy. I see now that he’s the better man for the job. I respect that, and I’m glad he’s taking care of ya. Just promise me ya won’t shut me out of your life, please?”

I’d never expected such a confession from Sam, such a long speech about his feelings. It rendered me speechless for a moment; finally understanding the level of care and affection Sam had for me. My reaction was instinctual as I pulled Sam into a tight embrace, burying my face in the crook of his neck. In stark contrast to Eric’s coldness and winter scent, Sam was warm and smelt like summer with a sliver of earthy dog scent to him. “I’m never going to shut you out, Sam. When this whole town thought I was crazy and wouldn’t give me the time o’ day, you offered me a job and friendship, and you’ve watched out for ever since.” I whispered, tightening my hold on my old friend. I could feel the thudding of his heart against my chest, and though I respected his mind by not prying I could feel the contentment rolling off of him. “Thank you for taking care of me, for taking me in. Thank you for caring about me. You’re a good man, Sam Merlotte, and you’re going to make some wonderful woman so very happy one day.” I carried on in a whisper, moving my hand to the back of Sam’s head where I gently stroked his hair.

We stayed like that a while, silently embracing in the middle of the busy dance floor. Sam was the first to pull back, his kind brown eyes finding mine. Tears had gathered along his waterline, but he blinked furiously to push them back. “I guess with your new status comes a vacancy at my bar eh?” He tried to lighten the mood, keeping a gentle hold on me.

“I’m sorry Sam.” I apologised sincerely, knowing that I’d spent more time away from work as of late.

“It’s alright Sook, don’t worry about it. I’ll find myself another beautiful waitress.” He laughed, shaking his head. His face became serious for a moment, though. “There’s always gonna to be space for you there though Sook, should anything ever happen. You’re always welcome at Merlotte’s, even if it’s just for lunch.”

Leaning in, I gave Sam’s cheek a soft kiss. “Thank you, Sam.” My gaze lingered for a moment, ensuring Sam knew that I mean every word.

A blush swept across Sam’s cheek again at my kiss and he cleared his throat, bobbing his head towards the other side of the dance floor. “Go on, Sook, Northman looks lost without you. I also think Portia Bellefleur is eyeing him up…” He teased.

Giving Sam’s chest a gentle thump I shook my head. “You’re a menace Mr. Merlotte. I’ll come see you later.” I said goodbye, giving Sam’s arm one last squeeze before I crossed back to Eric. Ari was stood beside him, the pair of them deep in conversation. Stopping their conversation as I neared, a smug smile crossed Ari’s face before he disappeared off to find Pam.

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Frowning as I watched Ari go, Eric welcomed me back by sweeping me into his arms. “Everything okay, min kärlek?” His nostrils flared a little as he inhaled Sam’s scent all over me, but our bond cracked back open and told me that Eric wasn’t in any way jealous or angry. In fact, he seemed perfectly content.

“Hey, Sookie.” A soft voice from my left captured my attention. Turning in Eric’s arms as best as possible in my dress, I found the source of the voice.

Smiling softly, I offered my hands out to the woman before me. “Hey, Jess.” Her cold hands slipped into my warm ones and I give them a gentle squeeze. Eric, sensing that Jess wanted to speak with me, planted a kiss on my temple before extracting himself from me, crossing the room to speak with some of our other vampire guests. Jess was unusually quiet, chewing on her lower lip. “What’s up, sugar?”

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With a sigh the young vampire captured my gaze, freeing her abused lip from the clutches of her teeth. Sadness was painted on her face, a stark contrast to our surroundings. “I’m so sorry about Bill, Sook.” Jess dropped her voice to a low murmur, hoping to keep as many Supes as possible out of our conversation. “He had no right to hurt you. I didn’t even think he was capable of such mean things.” Jess continued, her eyes pleading with me to not be angry. Sensing the need to hold this conversation elsewhere, I pushed against my bond with Eric, letting him know where we were going. Eric’s acceptance and caution swept back through our connection. Stealing a quick glance around the room I pulled Jess along with me, weaving through the crowds of people until we were stood together on my back porch, leaning against the railing.

“He was always quite controlling.” I started off gently, knowing that Bill was a father figure for Jess. I wasn’t about to be cruel to him regardless of how much he deserved it, and the bastard wholly deserved it, in front of the one person in the world who still loved him. “I didn’t see it at first, though. I thought that was how all vampires were. His blood in me did nothing to help either, it gave him more control over me.”

A small smile crossed Jess’s lips as she looks out over the other guests. “He was controlling with me too. I probably deserved it, though; I was a little unruly initially. You should’ve seen some of the stuff I tried to wear out of the house…”

I snorted, remembering the awful mini skirts and fishnets Jess had tried to wear on occasion. “You didn’t deserve it, sweetie, no one deserves to be controlled. What he did is inexcusable.” I answered quietly, reminding myself of how much better off I am now.

“I’m still so sorry Sook. He had all these plans and I never once picked up on them. I wish I had, I might’ve been able to stop him from hurting you. You’ve always been kind to me, even when I was freshly turned. What happened doesn’t change how much I care about you. I was taken away from my mom, but you were able to fill that role while I was still learning how to be a vampire.” Jess carried on, standing beside me as she too looked towards the other guests.

“Thank you, Jess, I’m glad I could offer you some comfort when you were turned.” I took Jess’s cool hand in my own, giving it a gentle squeeze.

We were silent for a short while before Jess spoke again, this time with confidence to her voice. “It wasn’t your fault, none of it was. Bill made his bed. My momma used to say that if you live by the sword then you die by the sword. You survived Sook and now look at you. You’ve got this big new family now and you’ve gone and married the scary Sheriff.” Jess teased, bumping her shoulder against mine. I couldn’t stop my soft smile at the mention of Eric. “I want to return all the favours you’ve ever done for me Sook. So if you ever need anything I’m more than happy to help. I’m here to listen too, to as much or as little as you want to share when you’re ready.”

Touched by Jess’s kind offer, I pulled the baby vamp into a hug. Initiating a hug didn’t seem to trigger any sort of flashbacks, much to my relief. “I’m glad you’re married to Eric. During my first few days as a vampire, he and Pam took care of me, and they were never cruel. I see the way he looks at you too, and it’s so much different than the way Bill looked at you. I’m so happy for you Sook.” Jess quietly confessed, being careful not to crush me with her immense strength as we embraced.

Pulling back from the young vampire I saw her wipe the blood tears from her eyes before they could fall. Raising a hand I placed it against her cheek, smiling as she leant into my touch and closed her eyes. She reminded me of a small boat, thrown out into the rough sea. “Thank you, sweetheart.” I gave her cheek a light stroke. “I’m more than happy for you to spend the rest of eternity in Bill’s home. You can do whatever you like to the place and decorate it however you want. I’ll be keeping the house in my name though for your safety, and if you want any strange vampires over then please run them past me first. I know you can take care of yourself, and that being a vampire means you have all these abilities, but your years as a vampire are limited and that makes you more susceptible to being hurt by older vampires. I don’t want to see you hurt.” I explained to her, watching as her eyes snapped open. Jess was quiet for a while and though I refused to snoop I could almost feel her mind working overtime. A familiar mind was slowly approaching us, having broken off from the rest of the wedding party.

“I’m done with it.” She declared. “I’m done with strange vampires and acting like a child. I don’t have a Maker anymore and though that means I can do whatever I want, I want to start acting like a grown up. I know I’m trapped in this teenage body forever but I gotta grow up now.” She paused for a moment, contemplation on her face. “I think I might try and reconcile with Hoyt. I know I can’t give him children, or spend the day with him, but he does make me happy and I think I can make him happy too.”

Offering Jess a reassuring smile I glanced out towards the familiar mind, the moonlight capturing their face. “You should ask him yourself.” Jess turned, following my gaze to see Hoyt approaching us.

“What if he says no?” Jess whispered, sadness crossing her features.

“Then if you truly feel like he’s your soulmate you work at it, together. But if it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant be.” I offered her a final piece of advice before I dropped a kiss on her temple, moving back down the porch steps and across my lawn to Hoyt. His eyes were focused upon Jess. “Have courage, and be kind,” I advised him, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze as I passed, returning to the marquee.

Eric was there to greet me, a smile on his lips as he took my hand. “Seems the baby vamp and your brothers friend are getting on well?” He quirked an eyebrow, glancing over in the direction I had just come from.

“I’ve told Jess that I’m keeping Bill’s house, but I’m happy for her to spend eternity in it if she wishes. I think she’s going to try and work things out with Hoyt.” I explained, glancing over my shoulder at the figures on my back porch.

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“Good, it’ll offer her some stability,” Eric responded, sweeping my hair back from my face.

“Sook.” A male voice called from behind Eric. An unpleasant frown appeared on Eric’s face, his lips pursing together to form an irritated expression. Alcide appeared from behind Eric, dressed in a smart shirt and black jeans. “Northman.” Alcide greeted my husband.

“Herveaux,” Eric responded, schooling his features and shifting his gaze to Alcide.

Alcide’s gaze was focused on me, ignoring my husband. “Sook, you got a minute?”

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Deliberating my options I offered Alcide a quick nod, feeling Eric’s annoyance flair through our bond. “I’ve got this, don’t worry,” I reassured him.

“If he tries anything, min kärlek…” Eric’s voice rumbled through my mind.

Raising a hand I let it rest against my husband’s silent chest, offering him a soft smile. “I’ll slap him silly and send him running with his tail between his legs, trust me.”

“Of that, I have no doubt.” Eric returned my smile, swooping down to press a kiss to my lips. Though I appreciated his kisses, a part of me knew this one was all for show, for staking his claim. I couldn’t find it in me to be mad about it, though; at their core vampires and werewolves were possessive creatures.

“Play nice with my wife, Herveaux,” Eric warned before disappearing off to join our other guests. Watching him as he left, I spotted Ata keeping an eye on me from across the room. Blinking slowly I drop my head in a small nod, assuring her that I was fine. Pleased with my actions, Ata turned her attention back to Godric.

Waiting until Eric was out of sight, Alcide stretched out his arms to pull me in for a hug. Throwing my hands up I stop him in his tracks. “Sorry.” I apologised, offering him a smile in the hopes of placating him.

My words only seemed to cause Alcide to frown. “What happened when you were away, Sook? You get in trouble again? Something changed I can tell, and rejecting my hugs?” The werewolf pushed out his bottom lip.

Guessing from my earlier embraces that initiating a hug didn’t cause my flashbacks to rear their ugly heads, I offered my outstretched arms to Alcide. “When am I not in trouble? Lots of things happened while I was away. Hugs are fine, so long as I initiate them and you don’t squeeze so damn hard.” I braced myself, letting Alcide muzzle his way between my arms, wrapping his own around me. His hold was loose enough that I didn’t feel trapped, and it felt nice to hug my friend. Letting my eyes close as I enjoyed the embrace, feeling Eric lightly tug at our bond. Taking the opportunity to tease my Viking I tightened my hold on Alcide a little more.

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“Lover…” I felt Eric warn, though I could feel that he wasn’t angry.

Hiding my smile in Alcide’s shoulder, I give my bond with Eric a playful tug before I let go of the werewolf, letting my arms swing back down to my sides. Alcide didn’t leave them there for long, though, grabbing them and bringing them between us. “You look beautiful Sook. Hell, you always do. More so today, though.” Though my walls were up, the physical contact with Alcide was enough to allow me a brief glimpse into his feelings and thoughts. The blue tinge to his emotions informed me that he was sad. “Northman is a lucky bastard to have you. If you ever want out, though, you let me know okay? I’ll protect you.” Earnest brown eyes found mine, and I knew he meant well.

“Thank you, Alcide. You don’t have to worry, though; I know that I’ll never want to leave Eric.” I assured him. His offer was sweet but he needed to know that I would never leave Eric. Sure he and I would fight, and the high-handed vampire would drive me crazy at times, but I was absolutely positive that we’d overcome every obstacle together.

Sighing in a mixture of sadness and defeat, Alcide conceded with a nod. “In that case, it’s probably wise for me to tell you that I’ve become the Shreveport pack master.”

Eyes widening I squeezed Alcide’s hands. “That’s so great! Congratulations.”

Looking a little bashful, Alcide shrugged his broad shoulders. “I didn’t really want the job, but Marcus killed Sam’s brother, kidnapped his own daughter, and then tried to run off with Debbie. Carson took his place after his death but that bastard was addicted to V, wanted to get the whole pack on it. He had to go too. Job kind of fell in my lap then.” As he explained the circumstances leading up to his new role I couldn’t help but feel sad that I’d missed out on so much while away.

“You’ll be a great pack master Alcide, I’m sure of it,” I assured him, giving his hands another squeeze. “Perhaps we can all work together now, with Eric and I ruling Louisiana we could do with some strong ties to other Supes.”

Alcide’s eyes widened. “You’re becoming the Queen? Sook, that’s a dangerous job, you could end up hurt…”

“You’re preaching to the choir, but it can’t be helped. I learnt a lot in my time away, trust me when I say I’m better at defending myself than I use to be. Eric and I need all the allies we can get, think you’d be up for that?”

Alcide seemed to mull over my proposition for a moment before he nodded. “You might be on to something there Sook, and if means we get to still see one another then I’m happy to oblige. I’m sure the rest of the pack will be happy to help wherever possible.”

Pleased to have formed at least one alliance, I pulled Alcide into another hug. “You’re a great guy Alcide, thank you.” Letting him go he gave me one final nod, giving my hands a final squeeze before he returned to the rest of the wedding guests.

“Mrs Northman.” I didn’t hear my name being called, too lost in the thoughts of everything I’d missed while away. “Sookie.” My name whispered in my ear made me jump, Eric’s tall frame pressed to my back.

Startled, I turned to face my husband. “Stop spooking me, Mr. Northman.” I admonished him, gently thumping his chest with my fist.

A grin was plastered on Eric’s face, his arms wrapped around me, pulling me against him. “It’s nearing 3 am min kärlek, I think our guests are ready to depart. The Ancient One has arrived to officiate our coronation too.”

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Resting my head against his chest, I enjoyed the silent moment with my husband, his large hands played with my hair. “I guess we should say goodnight to everyone then, and it’s far beyond Hunter’s bedtime.” I broke the comfortable silence, tipping my head back to look up at Eric.

Still stroking my hair, Eric stole a kiss before speaking. “I believe Jason has volunteered to put Hunter to bed, min älskling. We need to say goodnight to the other non-vampire guests, though.”

Untangling myself from Eric, I took his hand in mine and together we returned to the marquee. Our non-vampire guests, who were unable to present for our coronation, were slowly pulling on their jackets and coats, grabbing their handbags and saying goodbye to one another. Eric and I took up positions at the exit, passing our thanks to our guests as they departed. Eric left it for me to accept kisses, though he did accept handshakes from the men. Eventually, only our vampire guests and our family were left.

“C’mon then little man, time for bed.” Jason had Hunter in his arms, balancing him on his hip as he approached us. Rubbing at his eyes, I could see Hunter fighting to stay awake. Spotting me, Hunter started to squirm in Jason’s grip, stretching his arms out towards me. Taking him from my brother I held him close, smiling as he buried his face in my neck.

“Hi, Mommy.” He mumbled, wrapping his little arms around my neck.

“Hi baby, did you have fun?” I rubbed his back as Eric came to stand closer, placing his own large hand on Hunter’s back too.

Nodding, Hunter turned his head so he could see Eric and I. “I did Mommy. Auntie Ata danced with me, which made Uncle Godric pout, and Pammy got me some cake.” He removed his arms from around my neck, this time reaching out towards Eric.

Taking our son, Eric held him close to his chest. “I hope Pammy didn’t give you too much cake, min son.”

Shaking his head, Hunter looked up at Eric. “She didn’t Daddy, don’t worry. She said if she did you’d take away her shoe pri-vi-le-ges” Hunter sounded out the word, smiling as he got it right.

“That I would. It’s bedtime for you now, though, min son.” Eric rubbed Hunter’s back, offering our son a gentle smile as Hunter tried to stifle a yawn. My heart felt full seeing them interact, seeing how affectionate Eric was with Hunter. While the sight warmed me it also saddened me. Eric would never get to hold his biological child. I knew that wouldn’t stop him from loving Hunter with every fibre of his being, though, but it saddened me all the same.

As if sensing my sadness, though unsure of the cause, Hunter turned to me. “You look pretty Mommy.” He offered with a small smile, his little eyes half closed in exhaustion.

“Mommy does look pretty,” Eric repeated, his eyes catching mine, softening with affection as he caught my trail of thought.

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“Thank you, Hunter.” I pressed a kiss to his temple, Eric mirroring my actions before Jason swooped in and took Hunter from him.

“Goodnight Hunter,” I called out after him, waving as Jason carried him inside the house.

“Night Mommy, night Daddy!” Hunter called back over Jason’s shoulder before he disappeared inside. With only vampire guests and our nest in attendance now I took a deep breath. I’d been present for Ata and Godric’s coronation and had spent several hours talking through the coronation with Ata, so I was feeling somewhat prepared.

“It’ll be fine lover, trust me,” Eric reassured me. The third bond had made understanding one another so much easier. Taking my hand, Eric leads me a small area cordoned off, just around the side of the main marque. I could hear Ata, Godric, Pam, and Ari rearranging furniture, setting the area up for our coronation. Our vampire guests were busy in their own conversations, filling the time before they would be made to sit through the ceremony.

“Once I’m ready I’ll come back for you, I promise,” Eric vowed, dropping a kiss on my head before he disappeared back into the house. Unlike our wedding earlier in the evening there was no need for us to dress separately, but Eric had been adamant that we changed into our robes away from one another, then come together before walking up to the alter.



ERIC’S POV
Once I was eleven years old, my daddy told me,
“Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely.”
Once I was eleven years old.
I always had that dream, like my daddy before me
So I started writing songs, I started writing stories
Something about that glory just always seemed to bore me
‘Cause only those I really love will ever really know me.
Once I was twenty years old, my story got told
Before the morning sun, when life was lonely.
Once I was twenty years old.
I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure,
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major.
I got my boys with me, at least those in favour,
And if we don’t meet before I leave, I hope I’ll see you later
~ 7 Years, Lukas Graham

Sookie and I had spoken at length about our coronation. After witnessing Ata and Godric’s we were certain in what we wanted. As America had no monarchy, my Sookie had asked for our coronation to resemble the coronations of my home country, she’d even asked for it to include elements from coronations during my human life. Her thoughtfulness continued to surprise me. I’d tried to explain to her about coronations in my human life, but many elements were difficult to transfer to the modern day. One element that I was adamant on was that Sookie and I prepared separately, and then came together again at the end of the aisle before we were taken to our thrones. It was a feature of coronations in my home country today, and it was something I wanted to uphold.

I took a moment to prepare the front bedroom for later, using my vampire speed to my advantage. I then changed quickly, pulling on cream linen pants, forgoing underwear, and the matching shirt. In my pocket, I placed a length of purple silk for later. Sliding on a leather vest I tightened a thick brown leather belt around my waist. Given the history of our ceremony, I hadn’t wanted to wear a suit.

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Knowing it would take my Sookie a little longer to change, even with Ata helping her, I took the opportunity to think about what was about to happen. Back when I had been human, in order to be accepted as a candidate for the royal office, a man had to be a patrilineal member of the royal lineage whose divine origin marked him off from the rest of the population; he also had to be without physical or mental blemish. With Godric sworn in as King of Faery, I had my vampire royal lineage. My human lineage meant little when ruling over the vampires, they did not care that I was the son of a Chieftain, or that my father wore a crown. Royal descent alone was not sufficient back when I’d been human, though. It needed to be reinforced by the acclamation of free men. It was for this reason I had asked the Ancient One to ask those present if they were willing to accept Sookie and me as their King and Queen. The Ancient One had smiled fondly at me and indulged my request.

Glancing through the window I could see into the marque, and The Ancient One was busy preparing the space. Back when I had been human, a fire was carried around the borders of the site and a lawman blessed the public court as a sacred place and sacred institution where profane activities of daily life, such as fighting, were forbidden. This consecration marked off the events at the site from the time and space of normal activity. It made the event special and otherworldly. The Ancient One was walking through the space, a wooden torch in her left hand as she blessed the area. As she finished, she handed the torch to one of her handmaidens, entrusting it into their care.

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Taking that as my cue, I vamped from the house to stand at the end of the aisle, at the entrance to the marque. Sookie emerged from around the corner to join me. She looked beautiful, exquisite, dressed in a floor-length grey dress, layers of delicate lace swirling in endless patterns. The dress was off-shoulder, small cap sleeves covering the tops of Sookie’s arms. She wore no jewellery other than her wedding and engagement bands, and her makeup was simple, her hair free and loose. My Sookie could wear a garbage sack and she would still be beautiful.

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Raking my eyes appreciatively over her body, a blush swept across my lover’s face, turning her skin a little pink and flushing down her exposed throat. “Beautiful, just beautiful.” I complimented. Before Sookie could say anything else The Ancient One was before us, holding out her old hands for us to take. While Sookie took her left, I took her right. With a gentle squeeze of our hands, she moved her sightless gaze between us, offering us both a smile before she let go of our hands.

Turning her gaze to me first, she spoke so our guests could hear her. “Blessed be he who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our King and his government, to all in positions of responsibility, the guidance of your Spirit. May they never lead the state wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind; so may your kingdom come and your name be hallowed. Amen.”Turning to face our guests, The Ancient One spoke once more. “Please rise.” Our guests, the vampires of Louisiana, all rose from their seats. Sookie and I had spoken over the phone with The Ancient One on several occasions, and she’d talked us through the ceremony at Sookie’s request.

Turning to face our guests, The Ancient One spoke once more. “Please rise.” Our guests, the vampires of Louisiana, all rose from their seats. Sookie and I had spoken over the phone with The Ancient One on several occasions, and she’d talked us through the ceremony at Sookie’s request.

Walking ahead of me, The Ancient One led me to a throne at the end of the aisle, ensuring I was seated before turning back to walk down the aisle towards Sookie. Approaching my love, The Ancient One stopped before her. “Blessed is she who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and her government, to all in positions of responsibility, the guidance of your Spirit. May they never lead the state wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind; so may your kingdom come and your name be hallowed. Amen.”

Leading Sookie down the aisle, The Ancient One waited while Sookie took the throne next to me. With my lover seated, The Ancient One turned to the crowd. “Those who have gathered here this evening, if the prospect of Eric and Susanna Northman being King and Queen of your great state pleases you, may you lift your left hand and declare your allegiance.”

Our family were the first to raise their left hands, and every other vampire present followed their lead. “The people of this state have unanimously agreed to the appointment of Eric and Susanna Northman as their monarchs. You may be seated.” Our guests finally took their seats, falling silent once more.

The Ancient One turned to one of her handmaidens, who presented her with a thick leather book – the Book of the Vampyr. Allegedly other than either testament of the ‘Holy Bible’, the Book of the Vampyr chronicles the creation of the universe, all life in it, the demise of Lilith, and the beginnings of The Authority. Despite its prominence and central role in our society, many vampires, myself included, dismiss its authenticity and accuracy. However, the symbolism of the book is considered important. Three more handmaidens stood to one side, one holding the cloak I would be shrouded in, one holding my family sword, and the last had my family crown, resting on a red silk pillow. Seeing my family crown on the pillow I swallowed, pushing my love for my wife through our bond, touched at her surprise for me. We’d planned to have matching crowns, but my love had switched mine out for my family crown. Gods, I love her.

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Sookie’s warm love came back through our bond. Not wanting to delay proceedings, I moved forward to kneel before the throne, facing our audience. As The Ancient One presented the Book of the Vampyr to me, I placed three of my fingers on the leather cover. “Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the vampire of Louisiana and any of your possessions and other territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?” The Ancient One asked me.

“I solemnly promise so to do,” I vowed.

“Will you use your power to cause law and justice, including mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?” The Ancient One questioned.

“I will. The things I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.”

“Here is Wisdom; this is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.” The Ancient One cracked a small smile as she finished.

With my oath complete The Ancient One swapped the Book of the Vampyr for the cloak her handmaiden had been holding. The cloak was the same as the one used to shroud Godric at his coronation – red and gold, a short trail and a fur-lined edge. Placing the cloak around my body, The Ancient One fastened it shut with a fang brooch I’d had made – Bill’s fang to be exact. The information wasn’t common knowledge but for me, it was a symbol, a symbol that I had defeated the enemy and won.

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Lifting her left arm The Ancient One dropped fang, piercing her wrist. With her right hand, she scooped some of her blood onto her pointer and middle fingers. Bringing her fingers down to me she anointed my forehead and temples. Lifting my arms I flipped them so my wrists were facing upwards, The Ancient One anointing them too. “The Almighty everlasting God pours out His Holy Spirit into your soul and mind, plans and undertakings, by whose gift may you so rule land and kingdom as to redound to the honour and glory of God, maintain justice and equity and be for the good of the land and people.”

Rising to my feet I moved back to my throne, sliding back onto the seat. The handmaiden looking after my family crown stepped forward. Taking it from her, The Ancient One moved to stand behind my throne. Carefully she lowered my family crown until it came to rest upon my head. “God the Almighty who of His divine providence hath raised you to this royal dignity, grant you to unlock treasures of wisdom and truth for your people, to lock out error, vices and sloth from your kingdom and to provide for the industrious prosperity and increase, relief and comfort for the suffering and afflicted.” She spoke clearly, another handmaiden presenting her with my family sword. The Ancient One moved to stand before me, offering me my unsheathed sword. “Now Eric Northman has been crowned king over the lands of Louisiana. May his reign be long and prosperous.”

One of the handmaidens approached us, offering The Ancient one the Book of the Vampyr once again. This time my Sookie moved to kneel before her throne, and when presented with the book she too placed three fingers upon it. I could see the tension in her shoulders as our guests all focused on her. “Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the vampire of Louisiana and any of your possessions and other territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?” The Ancient One asked her.

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“I solemnly promise so to do.” she vowed.

“Will you use your power to cause law and justice, including mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?” The Ancient One questioned.

“I will. The things I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.” Sookie’s voice was strong and sure, and with a gentle push of pride through our bond her shoulders dropped, easing her tension.

“Here is Wisdom; this is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.” The Ancient One finished. Though the move was subtle I watched as she ran one of her wrinkled fingers over the back of Sookie’s hand in a reassuring gesture as she took the book away, giving it back to her handmaiden.

Three more handmaidens moved forward, one carrying Sookie’s cloak, one carrying her crown, and the other carrying a small item on a red pillow, the item concealed beneath a red cloth. Frowning lightly at the hidden object, Sookie eased my curiosity with her reassurance, though her mirth and excitement tinged her reassurance.

Taking the cloak from her handmaiden, The Ancient One placed it around my wife. Sookie’s cloak was the same as the one used to shroud Ata at her coronation, therefore making it the same as mine. Placing the cloak around Sookie’s body, The Ancient One fastened it shut with a brooch engraved with the rune Inguz. Sookie and I had initially thought about her having a brooch in the shape of the sun, but she’d insisted on having something linked to my heritage. It had been an easy choice to make given the meaning. Inguz is named after the Norse hero-god Ing, who came from across the sea to unite his people of Viking Jutland, and returned whence he came leaving peace and harmony. Inguz, therefore, symbolises peace, unity, harmony, agreement, togetherness, and undying love between romantic partners. Inguz is also associated with a strong affectionate family, and a safe, secure hearth and home. It also symbolises protection and contains the idea of a beacon, a light shining in the darkness. The meaning of the rune was perfect for us, for our family.

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Lifting her left arm once more, The Ancient One dropped fang, piercing her wrist. With her right hand, she scooped some of her blood onto her pointer and middle fingers. Bringing her fingers down to Sookie she anointed her forehead and temples. Mimicking my actions from earlier, Sook lifted her arms, flipping them so her wrists were upwards, letting The Ancient One anoint them too. “The Almighty everlasting God pours out His Holy Spirit into your soul and mind, plans and undertakings, by whose gift may you so rule land and kingdom as to redound to the honour and glory of God, maintain justice and equity and be for the good of the land and people.”

Feeling Sookie’s slight panic as she realised she would have to stand by herself while wearing a pair of heels, I leant forward and offered her my hand. Graciously taking it, my loves gratitude flowed through our bond as she stood. Maintaining my hold on her until she sat back on her throne, a light blush sweeping across her features, I reluctantly let her hand go.

The handmaiden looking after Sookie’s crown stepped forward. The Ancient One picked up a small pair of leather gloves from the pillow first, sliding them on to her old hands. We’d had Sookie’s crown made out of silver, not only for its beauty but for protection and to serve as a reminder that the crown was hers alone. Lifting it from the pillow, The Ancient One moved to stand behind Sookie’s throne.

Carefully she lowered the crown until it came to rest upon Sookie’s head. Her crown was a simple band, decorated with ornate flowers and engraved with the runes of my people. “God the Almighty who of His divine providence hath raised you to this royal dignity, grant you to unlock treasures of wisdom and truth for your people, to lock out error, vices and sloth from your kingdom and to provide for the industrious prosperity and increase, relief and comfort for the suffering and afflicted.” The Ancient One’s voice rang out around the marque.The handmaiden holding the red pillow and concealed item stepped forward, offering the item on the pillow to Sookie. My wife took it, keeping it hidden under the cloth. My curiosity peaked as Sookie’s excitement became tinged with nervousness. The Ancient One turned to face the crowd. “Now Susanna Northman has been crowned queen over the lands of Louisiana. May her reign be long and prosperous.”

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The handmaiden holding the red pillow and concealed item stepped forward, offering the item on the pillow to Sookie. My wife took it, keeping it hidden under the cloth. My curiosity peaked as Sookie’s excitement became tinged with nervousness. The Ancient One turned to face the crowd. “Now Susanna Northman has been crowned queen over the lands of Louisiana. May her reign be long and prosperous.”

The Ancient One moved aside, gesturing with her right hand for Sookie to take the floor. Rising to her small stature, my wife moved to stand before me, the hidden object held in the palms of her hands. My confusion through our bond made a smile cross my love’s lips and she gracefully sank down into a kneeling position, removing the red cloth from the item in her hands as she went.

The pledging knife.

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Stunned at my loves gesture, especially considering our marriage through human customs was more than enough for her, I leant forward, stretching a hand out to brush a loose strand of honey blonde hair from her face. I wanted to be tied to this beautiful faery in every way possible. The fact that she knew this would bind us ever tighter; make us an unbreakable force in the eyes of all those under our reign, made my chest tighten. My love slowly lifted her palms, offering the knife to me. The golden handle was the colour of sand, decorated with rich blue sapphire stripes and ornate detail. The blade was flat and made of bronze, dulled from the years, the vampire symbol forged into the blade.

Capturing my gaze my Sookie spoke, her voice sure and strong, her love pouring through our bond. “I can’t bring you the stars or sail you across the seven seas. I can’t reach out and grab you the moon. I have little to my name, and my name means little. But I can love you until the end of time with no regrets, no limits, and no fear. I want us to feel the freedom to express our needs and our hurts without ever having to raise the tone of our voices. I want us to fight for our love and never consider being apart as the answer to the problem. I want to grow with you, deep into the autumn of our lives. I want to tell you that being with you is simply the best way for me to spend my life. And I want you to know that I love you today…and for all of my tomorrows. The 100 years of this pledge would never be enough, so, if you’ll have me, I instead pledge eternity to you.”

My beautiful Sookie was pledging her eternity to me. She had already given me things I would never have had without her – family, companionship, love, and a home. They were things money would never be able to buy. The overwhelming love through our bond as my beloved offered me the blade, offered me her eternity, was astounding. Just when I believed I couldn’t love her anymore, she proved me wrong. If I were to take this from her she would be mine completely, no one in the whole of the vampire world would be able to take her from me without the penalty of the true death. She would be my wife by vampire custom. The emotions she had unlocked within me were hard to contain, but I pushed back the blood tears that threatened to fall with her declaration of love. Instead, I forced all of my love, my affection, my care, for the beautiful woman before me through our bond, letting her know without a doubt that I loved her back just as fiercely.

“Eternity sounds perfect, mitt hjärta” I assured her softly, feeling her happiness soak our bond. Taking the knife from her I lifted it to my lips, pressing them against the flat surface of the blade, accepting her pledge.

Keeping hold of the knife with one hand, I offered the other to my Sookie. Without a second thought she took it, the most beautiful smile I’d seen in my 1000 years painted on her lips. Pulling her to me I captured her lips with my own, offering her a gentle kiss.

“Susanna and Eric are now pledged by the knife, for all of eternity. An extremely rare bond has been forged here tonight. They are now married according to vampire custom.” I heard The Ancient One announce to the crowd, primarily for the benefit of the younger vampires, as I pulled back from my wife to stroke her face, absently noting that one of the handmaidens had gingerly taken the knife from me, placing it back on the red pillow.

Sookie took the throne next to me, holding my hand. It wasn’t common practice for vampires to applaud, instead, my family left their seats, approaching Sookie and I. My Maker came to us first, drop to one knee, dipping his head. Ata followed, taking the space to his right. Pam kneeled to his left, dipping her head too. Ari, Khai, Riei, Oeri, and Egor soon joined them, all showing their respect for our new positions and us. Our guests rose to their feet before dropping to their knees too. Sookie and I would have to remain seated for a short while, all the vampires present would need to swear fealty. We would have to hold court soon and summon all of the vampires in the state so they could swear fealty too. We would also have to assign Sheriffs to the various areas. There was a lot to be done.

Looking towards my love, I gave our bond a gentle prod. I wanted her to speak next. Though not a vampire, her title held weight. “You may rise,” Sookie spoke clearly, addressing the vampires and faery gathered before us. Our guests stood, our family offering us their smiles before they moved back to their seats. One by one the vampires of Louisiana moved forward, kneeling before Sookie and me to pledge their fealty. This could take some time…

It took another hour for all of the vampires present from Louisiana to pledge their allegiance. I had taken great pleasure in watching Jessica swear fealty to Sookie and I. Though it wasn’t the poor girl’s fault that Bill had been her Maker, it still made me feel smug that his offspring was now under my rule.

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Ever the gracious host, Sookie had taken some time to say goodbye to our guests. Vampires were not known for niceties, but they seemed to make an exception for my wife. The Ancient One departed with her handmaidens, wishing us well, a soft smile on her lips as she hugged my wife and Ata. Our family were the only ones left in the marque and Ari turned to us with a smirk. “You two should get going. We can take care of this, you have other things to take care of…” he gave me a pointed look, and I felt my wife’s momentary confusion.

Knowing he’d fulfilled my earlier request, I wished everyone goodnight, ushering Sookie out of the marque and towards the house as she continued to call out her goodnights over her shoulder.

I had contemplated taking Sookie to the cubby for the remaining of our evening, but our family was in need of the light-tight space more. Able to walk in the sunshine, I wanted to relish the opportunity to be exposed to it. Holding Sookie’s hand, I lead her up the stairs. Jason had since returned to his own home, leaving Hunter tucked up safely in the back bedroom. Pausing outside his door, Sookie and I took a moment to peek inside, checking he was okay. Satisfied that he was fine and that he was fast asleep, I led my wife to the front bedroom. Stopping outside the door I released her hand, producing the silk fabric I’d concealed in my pocket earlier in the evening. Taking a moment to admire my wife, I couldn’t stop my smile. Dressed in her coronation robe, her crown on her head, and my ring on her finger. Magnificent.

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“Do you trust me, lover?” I whispered, giving her cheek a gentle stroke with the hand not holding the silk.

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“With my life.” She responded, not missing a beat. I could see some trepidation in her eyes and through our bond as she took in the silk.

“As a blindfold, lover. I will not restrain you, ever.” I promised her, letting her feel my honesty through our bond. Sookie’s shoulders dropped as she relaxed. “I’m going to monitor our bond closely, but if at any point you want to stop please do not hesitate to tell me. This is all about you. We’ll use the traffic lights – green if you’re happy, yellow if you’re uncomfortable, and red if you wish for me to stop.” I spoke, letting her feel my unabashed love for her through our bond.

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Sookie and I had been somewhat vanilla in our lovemaking up until this point, and though I would happily spend the rest of eternity with vanilla sex if that were all Sookie wanted, I was hoping to introduce her to something a little more colourful. Her mistreatment in Russell’s basement was still fresh, though, so I’d been careful in my choice of activities. No restraints whatsoever.

My wife mulled over my offer for a moment, I could feel her indecisiveness. If it were too much for her I had no doubt she would tell me. Finally, her emotions settled and she nodded, offering me her consent. “You must promise me, lover, that you will use the system. If you’re uncomfortable or wish to stop I will not be upset or angry, not in the slightest.” I reassured her, maintaining eye contact, needing my wife to see that I truly meant what I was saying.

Sookie took a deep breath in, exhaling slowly, her eyes never leaving mine. “I promise.” She vowed, the sincerity of her words seeping into our bond.

Content with her words, and being careful not to touch the silver crown on her head, I doubled over the length of silk, tying it around her eyes so she couldn’t see. There was a little room in it, not enough for it to slip down, but enough slack that if she wanted she could remove it herself. Holding both of her hands I pushed reassurance through our bond, backing into the bedroom door to open it, leading my wife into the room. The door softly swung shut behind us, clicking closed. Leading Sookie to a space in the centre of the room, I again reassured her through our bond, marvelling at its solid strength.

“I’m not leaving the room, but I’ll be back. Wait here, please.” I asked her softly, letting go of her hands. I’d prepared the room earlier but now I grabbed the candle lighter I’d set aside, using it to light the dozens of candles I’d scattered around the room. I kept an iPod in my Corvette and I’d spent some time creating a new playlist on it, filled with songs I thought my wife would like. Plugging it into the small speaker Pam had given me the other night I hit play, letting the soft, somewhat quiet music fill the air. It had taken some research to come up with a suitably romantic atmosphere. The romance was new to me, but my wife deserved it. Pam had sniggered when I had asked her for advice, pointing me in the direction of Dear Abby. Apparently, women liked sweet smelling candles and soft music when being wooed, and for some reason, they enjoyed rose petals scattered around the room and across the bed. Personally, I couldn’t see the attraction, but if it would please my wife…

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Hopefully, I’d covered everything.

Sookie was calm through our bond, her head tilting ever so slightly as the music started, her nostrils flaring as the wax of the candles started to slowly melt, releasing a sweet scent. Her arms had dropped to her side, and I took a moment to admire my love. She was magnificent, beautiful, strong, and all mine.

“Eric…” my wife spoke softly, one hand stretching out before her in a feeble attempt to locate me. Her impatience through our bond made me smile.

“Patience is a virtue, lover.” Her head snapped in my direction as I spoke, her hand falling back to her side. The sweetest of smiles crossed her lips.

Moving to stand before her, I reached for the brooch holding her cloak shut. Removing it, I placed it down on the chest of drawers to my left, sparing a glance to the rune engraved in it and taking a moment to reflect on its meaning. It was fitting. Sliding my hands under the cloak I pushed it from Sookie’s shoulder, letting it fall and pool at her feet. My wife stood in her beautiful grey dress and crown, a small pair of grey heels on her feet. Appreciating the view, I knelt down, stroking her left ankle. Lifting her left foot, my wife placed a hand on my shoulder to steady her. Unclasping her shoe, I slipped it from her foot. Repeating the action with her right foot, I placed her shoes aside, letting my hands roam across Sookie’s supple body as I stood up.

Monitoring our bond closely, I gave it an encouraging stroke. Using it as her cue, Sookie’s hands moved towards me tentatively, having to rely on her other senses to find me. Her small hands found my chest and crept upwards, curious fingers finding the fang brooch holding my own cloak together. Removing the brooch, my wife offered it back to me. Taking it from her, I placed it on the drawers with her own. My wife’s hands continued upwards at a slow pace until she was cupping my face, her thumbs stroking my cheekbones. I allowed myself to close my eyes, leaning into her touch. For a moment we stayed that way, silently enjoying one another.

My wife grew impatient, though, and her hands withdrew, returning to my cloak. With a gentle push, it fell from my shoulders, hitting the floor with a soft thud. Nimble fingers found the leather belt around my waist and with mirth in our bond my wife gave the fabric a gentle tug. A rumble of laughter escaped me and a beautiful smile crossed my love’s lips. Hands trailing down, my Sookie used me as a guide to kneel. Though she couldn’t see me she tipped her head back slightly, looking up at me. My wife, on her knees before me, blindfolded. My fangs ached. My linen pants were suddenly very tight. Son of a…

Teeth nibbling on her lower lip in a kittenish gesture, Sookie returned to her task, making short work of removing my shoes. She placed them aside, wavering for a moment in uncertainty as to where to put them now she couldn’t see. Pushing reassurance through our bond I helped her stand. Letting go of her, I moved to stand behind her. Pressing myself to her back, I let her feel exactly what she was doing to me. The gasp that fled her lips was beautiful, and I hoped to pull more of the sound from her. Careful of her silver crown, I nuzzled her neck, peppering the skin with kisses. Her whole body quivered. Grasping the zip of her dress I slid it down, revealing the tanned skin of her back. Slipping the fabric from her arms I leant back enough to allow it to fall, letting it join her cloak on the floor. Left in her underwear and crown, I licked my lips. My love flushed a light shade of pink at my lust. “What’s your colour?” I pressed myself against her again.

“Green,” Sookie responded, not needing to think about it. Dipping my head down I peppered more kisses across her neck and the top of her left shoulder. Unhooking her bra, I threw the offending item aside. Cupping her ample breasts in my hands, my wife leant back against my chest, a breathy moan slipping past her lips. Rolling her dusky nipples between my thumb and forefinger, I continued to lave her neck with kisses, stopping every now and then to suck lightly at the skin and bite gently, hoping to leave a small mark. The air was heavy with the scent of the burning candles and my wife’s arousal. Feeling her lust rising through our bond I smiled. Taking away her sight had forced her to rely more on her other senses, heightening them.

Satisfied that Sookie was suitably riled up I reluctantly removed my hands from her skin, her whimper making me laugh lowly. Standing before her once more I took her hands in mine, placing them on my chest. Taking the hint, her hands move downwards and she removed my soft leather belt and vest. Fingers still shaky from my ministrations, Sookie popped open each of the buttons on my shirt, taking her time to run her fingers over my skin before she divested me of the garment. Not wanting to lose my pants just yet, I took her hands in my own.

Quietly I lead her to the bed, the soft sound of music filling the air still. With the gentlest of pushes, my love sat on the bed. Her hands resting beside her as she sucked in a breath, her fingers stroked the fabric she was sat on. I smiled, watching as my wife ran her fingers through the soft furs spread over the bed, occasionally catching on a rose petal. Tipping her head back a little, my wife looked up at me. Though her eyes were hidden behind the silk blindfold, I couldn’t help but feel like she was seeing right through it – seeing right through me. “Eric…” She breathed, our bond flooded with her love and surprise at my gesture. Dipping down I captured her face with my hands, pressing my lips to hers in a deep kiss.

“Jag älskar dig.” I reminded her, pulling back to stroke her cheek.

“Jag älskar dig också” my wife returned, and the sound of her speaking in my language had me scooping her up, depositing her in the middle of the bed, the soft furs and petals surrounding her as she sprawled out. She looked divine, clad in only her panties and her crown, resting on a bed of furs and flowers. If I had to breathe, she would take my breath away.

Standing at the end of the bed I took my time to admire her. I started at her feet, eyes raking up her long, tan legs, the white of her panties such a beautiful contrast to the warm colour of her skin. From there I continued upwards, the curvature of her wide hips, her flat stomach, up to her ample chest, nipples raised from my attention and her arousal. Her hands – hands that have held me, defended me, loved me, carried me – grasped at the fur, fingers ruffling then flattening the soft material. Her neck exposed, begging for me. I wanted to bite and feed and claim, but this night was about my wife, about her pleasure. There would be time for biting and feeding later. My loves face, eyes shielded with silk, looked so open and trusting, her jaw relaxed and her lips parted, begging for my kiss. Golden hair fanned around her like a halo, her silver crown adorning her. So beautiful.

I’d been silent for a little too long, it seemed, though Sookie could still feel me through our bond. “Eric…” She called out gently, our bond spiking a little with her worry.

“I’m here, min älskling,” I reassured her, gently taking her left ankle in my hand. Sookie visibly relaxed, our bond calming. Using my free hand I removed my father’s crown, leaning over to place it on the chest of drawers. Returning my attention to Sookie I leant over her, grasping the elastic of her panties. Giving them a gentle tug, my lover flexed her hips, giving me the opportunity to slide the offending fabric down her tanned limbs. Pleased she couldn’t see me, I surreptitiously sniffed the fabric but failed to hide my barrelling lust at her most intimate scent. Using the fabric in my hand, I carefully lifted my loves crown from her head, setting on the bedside table. I didn’t want her to hurt herself on it.

Casting the fabric aside, I lifted her left leg, pressing a kiss to the inside of her ankle. My actions caused her to laugh, a musical sound I would never tire of. Slowly I peppered kisses up the inside of her leg, laving the skin with my tongue in places and nipping with my blunt teeth in others. My wife alternated between breathy moans, sighs, and gasps, to light laughter when I found a particularly ticklish spot. Moving up the bed with my actions, I reached her core. Swapping over, I mirrored my actions on her right leg until I was back at her centre; her legs spread either side of me.

Sookie was shaking, our bond alive with her lust. My pants were far too tight, but the needs of my wife trumped my own. Hands caressing the inside of her thighs, I dipped down, allowing myself to lie between her parted legs. Peppering more kisses to the soft, smooth skin I found there, I dropped fang. Letting the flat front edge scrape across my lover’s skin, Sookie’s hands were soon in my hair. “Bite, please.” She panted, strung out. Already so needy, and I hadn’t even reached the good part yet.

“Not yet, lover. Later.” I rumbled against her skin, sliding my fangs back. The tinge of disappointment in our bond was soon gone when I turned my attention to her core. Her hands scratched lightly at my scalp, turning into gentle tugs, as she grew impatient. She would have to wait a little while longer, though, there was no way on earth I was going to rush this. Though the light in the room was low, the candles being the only source, I took in the sight before me. My wife’s sex, glistening with her arousal, flushed the same dusky pink as her nipples.

My right hand parted her folds, giving me complete access to her, while my left crept up to hold her hip, my thumb rubbing circles on her hipbone. With her hands in my hair, my wife led me to her core. The scent of her arousal was heady and again my fangs ached, but my years of restraint enabled me to focus on my wife’s needs. Flicking my tongue out I lapped at her core, catching her clitoris. Sookie’s thighs quivered, her hands tightening in my hair as she tugged me closer, a sweet moan sliding from her lips. Pleasantly satisfied, I went to town.

Licking, sucking, and kissing the soft flesh of my wife’s sex, Sookie’s moans were the sweetest sound. Removing my hand from her hip I took a moment to dampen my index and middle fingers, before pressing them into my love, my tongue gliding along the silken flesh at her entrance. Sookie thrashed, nails digging into my scalp as a low, long moan escaped her. One of her hands left my head and she grabbed at her breasts, rolling and pinching her nipples. The sight, looking up her body from my position between her luscious thighs, nearly had me coming undone. Our bond was filled with her lust and love, her wanton need, and I had to rein in my own lust to stave off my release. I crooked my fingers, finding her sweet spot. The taste of my wife intensified as she hurtled closer towards her release.

Dropping fang once more, I pressed the flat front of them against my lover’s skin, either side of her clitoris. Licking the sensitive bundle, I continued to rub against the sweet spot inside of my Sookie, and, with a quick suck, Sookie’s hand left her breast to cover her mouth, her scream of my name muffled as she came. Taking the opportunity I sank my fangs in, prolonging my loves climax and enabling me to taste both her blood and release at the same time. After two quick pulls, I healed the puncture wounds, pulling up my fangs as I removed my fingers from her. I licked my fingers clean as Sookie came down from her high, her body glistening with a light sheen of sweat, her chest heaving as she caught her breath. Unable to resist, I gave the sensitive bundle of nerves between her thighs a gentle tap, and Sookie’s whole body shook with aftershocks.

Spent, my wife’s hand fell from her mouth and she reached out for me lazily. I was disappointed to have not been able to hear my love scream out my name with her release, but with Hunter sleeping down the hallway I figured my wife was conscious of her noises. It was a novel concept. In my human day’s whole families slept in one room, and children understood the sounds coming from their parents some nights. How times have changed. Perhaps Amelia would be able to soundproof our bedroom? Northman, you really are full of good ideas.

Licking my lips clean, not wanting to waste the taste of her, I leant back first; scooping up the item Ari had so kindly retrieved for me. Placing the Stetson on my head I momentarily felt silly, the emotion piquing Sookie’s interest. Hoping to soon satisfy her curiosity I leant over her body to kiss her, my weight settling on her.

She went rigid, our bond spiking as she panicked. “Yellow.” She managed to choke out. Using my speed I was up and off of her, kneeling between her thighs, my hands resting on her ankles, stroking the soft skin there.

Her breathing was laboured as she tried to fight off her impending panic attack. “It’s just me, min älskling. I’m here.” I soothed, mentally berating myself for allowing my full weight to rest on her and pin her in place. “If you want to stop, let me know.” I reminded her, not at all angry. Her breathing a little more under control, my wife shook her head.

“N-no, I want to carry on. You owe me another orgasm, maybe even two.” Her determination was almost palpable and I was immensely proud of her. With time her panic attacks may reduce, the memory of the basement would fade to the background, and she would once again link my steady weight above her to pleasure, not to that bastard and his abuse. For now, though, the memories were still a little too fresh. My wife needed love and understanding, and I was prepared now more than ever to offer her that. Finding her hands, I linked our fingers, locking them together.

“Will you sit up for me, lover?” I asked gently as she calmed.

Sookie sat up slowly, using me as a counterweight. The slight sheen of sweat on her skin had cooled a little and she shivered. Grasping at one of the furs I pulled it from the bed, wrapping it around her shoulders. Though a shame to hide even an inch of her naked skin, her comfort was my priority. Besides, seeing my woman wrapped in animal furs stirred a deep longing in me.

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“I’m going to remove your blindfold now, open your eyes slowly so you can adjust to the light,” I instructed, not missing her disappointment as I untangled our hands and went for the blindfold. “We’ll play with this again lover, I promise you.”

“Can I use it on you?” My wife didn’t miss a beat, no shyness to her tone, but a kittenish smile on her pouty lips as her hands found my chest, stroking fondly. The thought of my Sookie having her way with me while I was powerless to see her and her actions had me throbbing in my pants. No other would ever get to deprive me of any of my senses.

“Hmmm,” I rumbled, working the knot in the silk loose, Sookie’s head having dropped to allow me better access. “I like that idea very much, lover.” The silk fell from her eyes and I placed it on the bed beside us. Blinking slowly as she adjusted to the light, I watched as Sookie’s eyes focused. I watched as she raked her eyes up, starting at my tented pants, across my abdomen, up my chest, and finally to meet my eyes. Her double-take as she noticed the item on my head would’ve been comical if it weren’t for the barrelling lust that would have no doubt knocking me flat on my butt if I’d been standing. Pupils dilating, Sookie licked her lips, the smell of her arousal hitting the air. Gotcha…

“Eric, why are you wearing a Stetson?” My wife asked slowly, her eye moving from the hat back to meet my gaze before she took in the whole ensemble.

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“I heard that a very naughty faery has a thing for cowboys. Apparently, you should save a horse and ride a cowboy.” I hoped I’d gotten it right. The forums online and the lyrics of that one annoying Big & Rich song suggested that was the right thing to say.

Sookie’s eyes closed as she held back a laugh, her mirth mingling with her lust in our bond. Shit, maybe that wasn’t right?

“Eric,” my wife started, her eyes slowly opening as her smile disappeared, her expression suddenly very serious and her mirth had gone from our bond. “Lay on your back. Now.” Well well, faery Sookie was coming out to play. I liked when she came out.

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Obeying my wife, I swapped our positions, placing my love at the foot of the bed as I reclined, watching her kneel between my legs. The fur that had been around her shoulders was now in her hands. “Lift your hips” Sookie instructed me. Doing as I was told, she slid the fur underneath me. With the fur back in place, I dropped my hips. “Now these, my dear husband, look mighty tight.” Sookie played with the string holding my pants up.

“Perhaps you should do something about that then, lover.” I challenged.

Wagging a finger at me, Sookie shook her head. “Good cowboys don’t sass their wives unless they wish to lose special privileges now, do they?” I kept my mouth shut, enjoying this bold and in control side of my wife. “Good boy.” Sookie purred, leaning up to offer me a kiss. Hungrily accepting her offer, Sookie pulled back too quickly for my liking, and she laughed lightly as my disappointment coloured our bond.

“Patience is a virtue, my dear husband.” Sookie threw my earlier words back at me as she started to tug down my pants, my hips flexing to help her along. Finally divested of the material, Sookie’s gaze travelled up my body. Starting at my feet she worked upwards, small hands caressing my skin as she went. Her eyes raked over my throbbing member, deep red from lack of attention. I was reminded of how anxious I was to sheath myself in her glorious body. With my wife able to openly stare and take her fill, I felt oddly exposed. Vulnerable. Licking her lips in a gesture I was sure was subconscious; my wife continued her appraising sweep upwards, eyes softening as we met one another’s gaze.

“How did I get so lucky?” She mused quietly. Dipping her head down quickly, before I had a chance to respond and argue that I was the lucky one, my wife gave my member one long lick from base to tip, her mouth sealing over the end to give me two gentle sucks. Hands flying into her hair I groaned at the sensation of finally having those perfectly pouty lips wrapped around me. Urging her on, I growled in frustration as my wife pulled back, instead she dropped a wet kiss to the tip.

“I need you in me, now.” She demanded, rising to straddle my waist.

“Fuck yeah.” I was totally onboard with the idea. Grasping Sookie’s hips I lifted her, letting her lower herself onto my throbbing member. She sank down slowly, stopping every now and then to roll her hips, knees resting either side of me. It was sweet torture. Her warm, wet heat enveloped me and it took every ounce of my 1000-years of restraint not to rush her and take control myself.

Finally seated flush, my wife gave an experimental roll of her hips. Hissing at the sweet friction, Sookie’s moan of pleasure mingled with my own. Hands still holding her hips, I let her lead. Though not prompted, I bent my knees slightly to ensure that my wife wouldn’t fall backwards and to give her something to rest upon should she grow tired. From my position I admired my wife’s beautiful form – her bountiful chest right in my line of sight, her head thrown back as small mewls escaped her, her hips rolling as she chased pleasure. In an unexpected move, Sookie squeezed her internal muscles, applying sweet pressure to me. Rumbling, I let go of her hips with my right hand, reaching up to grasp at her breasts. Sookie’s hand came to rest on my chest as she gasped, pitching forward, giving herself some leverage and providing me with better access.

This time, rather than rolling her hips, Sookie lifted herself from me, leaving just the tip of me inside her. In a smooth motion, she sank back down, muscles fluttering around me. I groaned at the sensation and a wicked smile crossed Sookie’s lips. She set a rhythm, rising and falling, her hands grasping for purchase on my chest, blunt nail dragging against my skin to leave red marks that soon disappeared. Head tipping forward, her eyes closed as she sank her teeth into her lower lip. “Don’t close your eyes. Look at me, lover.” I murmured, watching as my Sookie followed my request, lifting her head, eyelids sliding back, her beautiful blue eyes finding mine. Perfect. My right hand continued to fondle her breasts, fingers tweaking her nipples to elicit breathy moans and sighs. She picked up the pace, rolling her hips every so often, keeping our gazes locked. Something about eye contact really flicked my Bic. The sinful movements of her body had me on edge quickly. Releasing my left hand from her hips, I slipped it between us, finding the bundle of nerves at the apex of her legs. I could feel her approaching her climax, her muscles fluttering around me, her heightened pleasure in our bond, which only served to push me ever closer to the edge. Rubbing and rolling the sensitive bundle between her thighs, Sookie’s moan rang through the air. Such a sweet sound.

Right hand sliding from her breasts, I tangled it in her hair, pulling her down for a rough kiss. Her tongue fought for dominance with mine. Sliding her lips from mine, my wife scattered kisses along my jawline, stopping to nip at the skin occasionally. Her lips found my ear, her internal muscles rippling as she gently squeezed, her pace slowing. The addictive sensation of her tight, wet heat constricting around me was unbearable. Gods, she’s perfect. I wanted, no needed, her to quicken her pace just a little, to let me come. I was like a violin, and my wife knew exactly how to play me. Voice whisper soft, Sookie spoke, “I’ll give you what you want Eric, all you have to do is beg for it.”

Beg…I’d begged for very little in my long life. My pride usually stopped me from doing so. Sookie had other ideas, though.

“Sookie, please.” I started, my right hand moving from her hair to grapple at her back. Pulling her impossibly closer, my left hand continued to work her. Sookie’s breath hitched, a low grumble slipped from her lips.

“Eric,” she warned lowly. “Say pretty please.” Throwing my head back in frustration I growled. I need to come, damn it!

“And I’ll let you, as soon as you ask nicely.” My wife purred, scraping her blunt teeth across my earlobe. Too lost to care about her answering my mental plea, I grabbed her butt, kneading the firm flesh. Fuck pride. I need to come. Now.

“My beautiful wife, pretty please. I need it. I’ll do anything. Let me come. Please.” I gave in, begging my wife for release. The things she does to me.

Satisfied, she silenced me with a deep kiss. Her tongue curled up and pushed at the sensitive spot just behind my front teeth, causing me to drop fang. My bonded ran her tongue over the flat front of them, lifting her hips and sinking herself down on me again. Her lips trailed back to my ear as one of her hands rested on my chest, glowing a soft red. The pleasure in me built as the glow intensified, hurtling me towards the edge. My wife spoke softly, breathy moans sending shivers down my spine. “Come for me, please come for me, fill me up. I need it.”

My release hit me like a freight train. Roaring out at the unexpected rush of intense pleasure, I pressed my hips upwards, forcing myself as deep as possible into my wife. Shuddering as I came, I gave Sookie a fiery kiss. As my shudders subsided her muscles tightened and with a muffled scream she climaxed. The immense pleasure in our bond, the heat and wetness surrounding my throbbing member, and the erotic sensation of my wife’s tongue against the sensitive front of my fangs pushed me over the edge again. Shaking with the strength of my orgasm I panted, a very human gesture. Sookie’s walls stopped fluttering, our fiery kiss turned soft and slow. My love had to pull away for a moment to catch her breath, and I took the opportunity to run my hands over her body, to stroke her hair. Where had this dominant, demanding Sookie come from? I was in awe. It was hot, hotter than I’d imagined. I couldn’t even find it in me to be ashamed for begging. My wife’s little trick with her fae powers was something wholly worth exploring further. Intense was the only word I could find to describe the feeling of being on the receiving end of it.

“If that’s the sort of reaction I get, I should wear a Stetson more often.” I mused aloud. A hint of Sookie’s embarrassment trickled into our bond as she moved to rest against my chest, slipping me free in the process. “Hmmm, lover, no need to be embarrassed,” I reassured her, stroking any part of her bare body I could get my hands on. “We all have things that excite us, it’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

Propping herself up so she could see me better, Sookie tipped her head in curiosity. There was no embarrassment in our bond now; she felt no shame for her dominant behaviour. Good. “What excites you?” She asked.

There was too much choice. The thought of Sookie pleasuring herself while I watched, the thought of spanking her butt until it was red with my handprint, of taking her from behind, taking her while she was dressed in that little virgin white sundress, marking her with my release…the list was endless. I finally settled on one, though, one that hopefully wouldn’t be too much for her as we were only just beginning to explore a more colourful sex life. “The thought of you spread out in front of my fireplace at home, the flickering light from the flames dancing over your naked body as you lay spread out on a bed of furs, pleasuring yourself. It stirs something primal in me.” I confessed, not at all ashamed.

I felt intrigue from my bonded, and I watched as she mulled over my words. “I’d let you watch. No touching me or yourself, though.” She offered, moving her left hand to stroke at my chest, her right hand still propping her up. Surprised at her answer I rumbled with pleasure, the thought of my wife spread out on furs, her hand between her thighs, as she drove herself to climax while I watched, was perfect, absolutely perfect.

“You’ll have to wait until we’re settled in our new home, though. Think you can wait that long?” Sookie teased as I stroked her back, stopping every now and then to gently squeeze her butt.

“Oh lover, the wait will be worth it.” I leered, earning myself a sweet kiss and my wife’s laughter.

Sookie’s hand moved from my chest to cover her mouth as she yawned. No longer subject to the pull of the sun, I tipped my head to glance at the small clock on the bedside table. 7 am already?

“Get comfy, lover.” I cooed, slowly prying myself from Sookie long enough to blow out what little remained of the candles, turning off my iPod. Moving to the curtains I pushed them back slightly, letting a sliver of light in, illuminating the bed. I would get to watch my wife sleep in the sunshine. Smiling, I returned to the bed, moving the furs aside to help Sookie crawl under the sheets. Joining her, I lay on my back. My bonded moved, resting her head on my chest, her body pressed tightly to my side. Wrapping my left arm around her I held her close, relishing in the heat of her body and the smell of sex in the air. Taking her left hand with my right, I lifted it to my lips, pressing a kiss to her ring finger, right above the space where her wedding and engagement bands sat.

“I love you, my wife.” I couldn’t get enough of calling her by her new title, pride swelled within me as I remembered her pledging to me.

“I love you, my husband,” Sookie mumbled sleep quickly overtaking her. I lay in silence for a while, watching as the sun rose, spreading more light across the bed. The rays no longer harmed me, and I relished in seeing my wife in the sunshine. During my state of amnesia, I’d been worried I would never see her in the sunshine again. How wrong I’d been.

Eric in the lake

Sighing with contentment I closed my eyes, figuring some rest was needed. Claude had told us yesterday that he planned to stop by this evening with Niall’s will, and then Sookie and I would leave for our honeymoon. Ata and Godric had picked our destination and had relished in keeping it a secret from us.Happier than I’d even been before, I played back the events of the night one last time before I let sleep pull me under.

Happier than I’d ever been before, I played back the events of the night one last time before I let sleep pull me under.

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10 thoughts on “Ethereal Redemption Chapter 72

  1. A wonderful evening with family and friends turned into an incredibly hot night!
    Looking forward to more even as I dread the epilogue coming.
    Can’t wait to read the entire story once all the tweaks have been completed.

  2. Lovely ceremony. I’d be a saucy Sookie too, if presented w/ cowboy Eric. Happy to see this wonderful story continue.

  3. I have just finished reading this chapter and am hoping there is one more. I just found this story and it has taken me awhile to read it all as I am a slow reader but I have loved every single one of them chapters that is. great story.

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