Sookie was nervous, a fact which I could tell very well, given the blood exchange we’d made the night before—the exchange which had solidified our bond.
The exchange she had chosen because she’d wanted a bond with me.
Of course, I hadn’t resisted. I’d wanted it too!
I couldn’t keep myself from growling as I recalled just how Sookie had cut into my flesh in order to take my blood. And—when she’d realized how much I’d liked it—she’d sliced into me a second time too, even as she’d called me “her naughty boy.”
I felt myself getting hard.
“What is it?” she asked me, obviously feeling my arousal.
“The hook,” I whispered, though I knew that both Hennesy and Bubba could hear me very well, though they were not aware of that object’s significance.
Sookie licked her lips and I scented her wetness, so—being a vampire—I took advantage and captured her lips in a kiss.
She moaned into my mouth as our tongues began to stroke each other as if they were fucking. I began caressing the sides of her breasts—stoking the fire within her.
“I didn’t know that there would be porno available for our entertainment during the drive,” Hennesy said dryly from the drivers’ seat.
“Now, Miss Hennesy,” Bubba said sheepishly, “Miss Sookie and Mister Eric just missed each other. You should keep your eyes on the road anyway—since you’re drvin’ and all. Mama always said that hands should be at ten and two and eyes should be forward,” he added seriously.
Sadly, the words from the front seat were enough to remind Sookie that we weren’t alone, and she pulled herself from my arms before looking at me scoldingly. “Eric Northman,” she chastised.
“Yes?” I asked innocently. “I was just trying to make you less nervous, my love,” I declared.
Of course, my statement—unfortunately—reminded her of those nerves. I chastised myself for bringing them up!
“But you’re going to be meeting Claire soon,” she said, biting her bottom lip.
“Then I’m the one who should be nervous. After all, it is I who am auditioning to be her father tonight,” I smiled softly, thinking about the little girl who had come from Sookie.
I’d felt her kick my fingers after I’d flown the most precious cargo I’d ever held away from the Pyramid of Gizeh. I’d been so worried that I wouldn’t be able to control our descent—and then so relieved when I’d placed Sookie’s feet onto the ground and felt the child’s kick as if it were approval of the job I’d done.
Sookie sniffled and took my hand into hers—my “non-hook” hand, of course.
Not surprisingly, my woman—mine—had insisted (given the naughty things she’d done with my hook) that I wear my “fake hand,” which was covered with a black glove, that night. Pam had initially covered the prosthetic with a sequined glove similar to Michael Jackson’s glove, and I was willing to go along with my child’s “joke.” But Bubba had seemed upset when he saw it (for good reason, I thought), so I’d changed out the sequins for black leather.
“You can be a perv,” Sookie whispered, “but you are sweet too.”
“Sometimes,” I smirked.
“Lots of times,” she corrected as she leaned against me.
I attempted to comfort her through the bond as she began to fret about Claire again. I knew that at the root of her worry was the fact that she’d just spent her first night and day away from her newborn daughter. And—though we’d had a lot of fun the night before—she’d missed her little girl greatly.
I pulled her closer. I couldn’t help but to be proud of the mother she’d become.
My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I glanced at the number before answering.
“Pam,” I said.
“No. Niall,” my soon-to-be-in-law said.
“Niall?” I asked assessing my bond with my younger child. She was well. “What’s going on?” I asked.
“Your child has learned that I can keep Quinn in his tiger form after he dies,” he reported.
“Oh?” I asked, trying to keep the subject of the conversation from Sookie as she looked at me curiously.
“Pamela wants a fur coat. However, I doubt very seriously that the existence of a coat of her biological father would be a good thing for Claire to see as she grows up,” Niall said casually.
“Tell him I’ll keep it at my house! Exclusively!” Pam yelled in the background.
“Ask Pamela if she would be willing to forgo futures visits from her,” I paused, “sister.”
There was a pause.
“Goddammit, Eric!” Pam yelled—again from the background. “Fine! It’s too hot in Louisiana for a fuckin’ coat anyway.”
“Ah—it would appear that your input has been enough to make her see some sense,” Niall said congenially.
“So?” I asked, still wanting to keep the content of our conversation from my bonded. “How goes it?”
“Oh—the cat is suffering greatly,” Niall said with the kind of satisfaction only a trained torturer could feel. I frowned. I’d allowed myself only an hour with Quinn before I’d focused my attention upon my beloved the night before. But I’d made sure that the tiger had been left in capable hands when I’d left him.
Yes—I wanted the feline dead.
But I wanted it to happen slowly, given what he’d wanted to do to Sookie and the child I was already thinking of as my own.
And I had priorities now—Sookie and Claire—so, since I wanted Quinn to die slowly, I’d had to outsource.
“What’s going on?” Sookie asked me.
“Your great-grandfather is playing with Pam’s phone,” I said.
“You’re lying,” she returned incisively.
“You want me to lie right now,” I returned sincerely.
She sighed and nodded.
“Quinn made his bed,” Sookie relented. “But he was given a shitty one to begin with,” she reminded.
I sighed and nodded. “Make sure it doesn’t last past the night,” I told Niall.
“Dammit, Eric!” Pam yelled from the background.
“I understand,” Niall said reasonably. “I will respect Sookie’s feelings on the matter—as you are. I will make sure that the tiger is no more before the sun rises.”
“I didn’t even get to neuter him!” Pam yelled from the background. Clearly she was pouting.
Indeed, I’d been the one to neuter the fucker! And Quinn had yelled out in agony as I’d ripped his balls from him.
“Your maker did leave the tiger’s cock for you to skewer,” Niall observed, even as Sookie seemed to be studying me.
Thank the gods she couldn’t hear the conversation.
Thus, I could laugh when my child began extolling Niall with a lecture about the necessity of having a good corkscrew on hand.
“She did open a very fine bottle of wine for me with it first,” Niall said, as if I needed to know that.
“Well—at least she did that first,” I said with a smirk.
“So—it is reasonable to posit that you wouldn’t sanction a rug for your child either?” Niall asked.
“Goddammit, Niall!” Pam yelled.
“That is safe to say,” I returned. As much as I might have loved a tiger rug in front of my own fireplace, my hearth would be shared with Claire. And it just wouldn’t be fucking right to have a rug of her father in the house! Plus, she couldn’t be held accountable for who her biological father was. And I didn’t plan on letting her in on the details of Quinn’s demise either—not ever.
“Well then—have a good evening,” Niall said. “You may tell my great-granddaughter that I will see her soon and that I beg the privilege of giving her away at her wedding to you.”
With that, he hung up. I chuckled.
“What?” Sookie asked.
“He asked if he could give you away when we wed.”
She grinned, but then frowned soon after. I felt a jolt of sadness from her.
“What is it?” I asked, drawing her tightly against my body.
“Jason,” she sighed. “He’s a bastard. But he’s my brother. I just wish things could be different with him.”
“Would you like for me to glamour him?” I asked.
She leaned up and kissed me. “No,” she said after breaking the kiss. “But thanks for offering. Jason’s decided to be as small-minded as his friend, Rene Lenier, once was,” she said severely. “And—though Jason’s no serial killer—I would never want him around Claire, even if he were glamoured.” She shook her head. “Gran was flawed, but she taught him better. He just chose not to be better.”
“If he judges you, it is because he judges himself. If he hates you, it is because he hates himself,” I said.
Sookie thought about my words for a moment and then nodded. “I think you’re right. He judged me the most when he thought that I was sleeping with more than one guy. Hell—in his mind—I should have stayed Bill’s since he was my first!”
“Down boy,” she soothed with a smirk. “The truth is that Jason’s always disliked having a sister who was different. He used to wish that he were a better person—that he would come to truly accept me—and I appreciated his effort. But—after Gran died—I think that became impossible.”
“Sounds like an asshole to me,” Hennessy mumbled from the front seat.
“He is,” Sookie sighed. “But—he’s out of my life now. And so is Sam. Almost everyone in that town is.” She smiled at me and leaned up to kiss me.
“By the way, thanks for Terry,” she whispered as if remembering something all of a sudden.
“What about him?” I asked innocently.
“It had to have been you,” she said knowingly.
I sighed and nodded my admission.
I’d learned through Pam (who’d learned through Sophie-Anne) that Terry Bellefleur had been kind to Sookie, and I’d found a way to reward him. After I’d healed enough to leave Ludwig’s hospital, I’d paid the man a visit and had invested enough money in his dog breeding enterprise so that he could quit Merlotte’s. He was now the owner of several more of the canines he preferred and was training them for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Of course, I’d glamoured him to forget the more horrifying situations in which he’d found himself during the human war he’d fought in.
I frowned. Vampire wars were often violent, but they tended to be over quickly. Terry Bellefleur had suffered for a long time as he’d faced the toils of the desert in addition to the attacks of enemies in the forms of bombs and guns.
I preferred the vampire way. The human method of war seemed to be truly brutal—comparatively. At least with vampires, it was one’s enemy who destroyed him or her—not a fucking landmine!
I was drawn out of my reverie as Hennesy pulled up in front of Sophie-Anne’s main residence, which was a plain-looking office building located near the more opulent “palace” that people thought was her residence.
The two buildings were connected via a concrete underground passage, which was reinforced with steel walls. The entrances to the passage were hidden and plated in silver. I’d been working for Sophie-Anne for almost three decades before I’d learned of them and of the bunkers where the queen could hide in times of turmoil.
After we were cleared by a security detail, Hennesy pulled into a large parking garage, and we all got out of the vehicle before progressing to another security checkpoint where we were scanned for all sorts of surveillance devices. Indeed, the queen had learned early on during the technological age that a friend could unwittingly be carrying a bug on him or her.
Once we were cleared, Sookie was literally teeming with energy as she grabbed my hand and pulled me, leading me toward an elevator which would take us to the queen’s private apartment. It was clear that Sookie had been there before.
I scented only a few individuals as we exited the elevator. Bubba and Hennesy had been left behind in the garage.
“Rasul,” I greeted as Sookie and I turned the corner which led to the apartment’s door. “Sigebert,” I nodded at the sullen-looking Anglo-Saxon.
I’d never seen him guarding without his brother.
“وقال انه يعتقد أن الرضيع لا يوجد لديه الحكم,” Rasul said in Arabic. [“He believes the infant has bad taste.“]
Meanwhile, Sookie had reached out to take Sigebert’s hand. “I like you, Sigebert,” she comforted as if she knew what was vexing him. “And Claire will too one day. I’d bet money on it,” she winked.
“I wouldn’t bet a lot,” Rasul mumbled.
If looks could have killed, Sookie’s glare would have killed Rasul in that moment.
“He’s just joking—aren’t you?” Sookie challenged.
“Uh—yes. Of course,” Rasul assured.
I chuckled at the fact that Sookie was wrangling a 436-year-old Persian vampire so that he’d be “nice” to a 903-year-old Anglo-Saxon vampire.
But—then again—nothing should have surprised me about my mate.
“You get smart—finally,” Sigebert said as he looked at me. “Wybert willing to offer many goats for this woman. I tell him goats no longer in fashion as bride price,” he added in broken English.
I chuckled as Sookie blushed. “Yes,” I said. “I have finally wised up.”
Rasul chuckled, but became silent as both Sigebert and Sookie glared at him.
“Hey—what did I do?” he asked.
“Do not speak,” Sigebert said gruffly.
Rasul huffed, and I grinned widely at the spectacle.
“My brother has the wee child swaddled, and she refuses to be from him. So I have new partner here,” he gestured toward Rasul. “Am glad you are back. Andre’s singing of the song of the spider is,” he paused, “grating.”
I snorted out a laugh. “Is that the ‘Itsy, Bitsy Spider?'” I asked.
Sigebert nodded. “I am tone deaf, yet his song makes me cringe. The child seems to laugh. But she is making feces. Is clear to all but Andre.”
“Andre’s trying,” Sookie said charitably, even as she tried to hide her own amused smile. At that moment, Sophie-Anne herself opened the door to the apartment.
“Well? Are you going to stay out here all night?” she asked impatiently.
I must admit that I was rather stunned at the sight of my queen hugging my beloved as if she were a long-lost sister.
“Hey, Soph,” Sookie said.
“Hello, Sook,” the queen smiled at my bonded. “I like your new perfume.”
The queen looked up at me. “Well, I’m glad you finally pulled your head out.” She looked back at Sookie. “You too, my friend,” she whispered before taking Sookie’s arm and leading her into the room. “I hate to say I told you so, but . . . .”
Sophie clearly didn’t finish her sentence so that a sense of drama could be created.
However, any disparaging thoughts I might have had toward my queen were ended as Sookie ran to the both small and large child in Wybert’s arms. The baby was less than a month old, so she was obviously tiny compared to the Anglo-Saxon, yet she was also large, almost twelve pounds to my eyes. Gods! She must have ripped Sookie apart at the birth of her, which made me marvel at the fact that Sookie had been so fucking tight the night before—so perfect—so healed.
All I had to say was that Ludwig was a fucking genius!
And I’d be sending her a bonus.
In the name of my penis.
Of course, in my defense, Sookie had been the aggressor the night before. I’d been willing to wait, but she’d insisted upon having me. And I’d been happy to be had.
The babbling child thrust her hands outward and Sookie took her immediately, gushing and cooing as mothers even in my day had done.
I couldn’t help my smile as Sookie cradled the little one against her bosom.
In that moment, I felt human again. I was a young man returning from a sea voyage and meeting a daughter. Yet—this time—I loved the woman holding the child as much as I found myself drawn to the baby herself.
Aude had been lovely, yet I’d never thought of her as mine. She was my brother’s wife. Of course, I’d thought of the children as mine—even those she’d had with Leif—and I’d loved them. Yet I now had a feeling I’d never experienced as I saw Sookie holding Claire.
Sookie was a woman I wanted to make my wife.
She held a child that I thought of as hers.
A daughter I wanted with her.
As the little one turned to look at me, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and quickly texted Pam’s phone, ordering that Quinn be killed immediately. It wasn’t as if he deserved any mercy, and it wasn’t as if I feared he might escape. No. It was that he’d given the beautiful child in front of me half of her DNA, and—for that alone—he would get my mercy.
Pam could bill me.
“Do you want to meet Claire?” Sookie asked in a high-pitched voice as she bounced the child in her arms.
Dumbstruck and short of words, I nodded, and Sookie passed the little girl to me.
She had large blue eyes—the exact shape and hue of her mother’s eyes. Her hair was thin, but the color of spun gold. Her lips trembled for a moment as if she might cry, but then she fisted her chubby hand around one of my fingers, even as a part of me more than a thousand years old recalled how to hold a small child.
“You are strong,” I whispered to Claire. “Like you mother,” I added as she blinked her eyes at me, as if communicating a secret code that she was certain that I would be able to decipher.
And I did decipher it.
I was her fucking father, after all!
And I was wrapped around her finger.
The End (for real this time)
A/N: Hello all! I hadn’t intended to do an Epilogue for this story; however, after reading some of your requests for outtakes/SHORTs for this world, this scene came into my head. A lot of you also wanted to catch a glimpse of Quinn’s fate. If you have read my work in the past, you know that I have a lot of ambivalence when it comes to writing scenes when the “good” vampires use torture. Ultimately, Eric limits the torture for two reasons: first, because Sookie made the good point that—although Quinn made his own bed—he was given a crappy bed to start with. Secondly, Eric “feels” like Claire is “his” even before seeing her; however, after he sees her, he decides that Quinn needs to be ended right away as a mercy to Claire.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Eric and Claire’s first meeting—as well as a bit of the comedy I tried to infuse into this Epilogue. I definitely wanted the mood to change now that Eric & Sookie have finally stopped fighting their feelings for each other. I hope I made you laugh and/or smile a bit.
So—just to give you an update—I am thinking about a sequel for this. I am outlining a few ideas. However, it will be a while before I could devote much time to it–even if I eventually write a sequel. Thanks so much again for all of your support for this story!
Thanks so much to Seph for coming through with last-minute banners for the Berts and to Kleannhouse for beta-ing this quickly!
Given Unsought .pdf Above, you will find the completed .pdf for this story. I hope you will still return to leave a comment!