Chapter 16: A Certain Ring to It

NOTE: INNER-Lude #2 comes before this chapter in the INNER-Verse chronology. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope that you will.

I woke up to find my bonded sitting next to me—actually on top of me. She was nude and glorious, and her eyes and hands were lit up. Obviously, she’d been waiting for me.

As soon as I smelled her, felt her, and saw her, I was ready for her. Hell—my dick had likely “risen” before I had!

She lowered herself onto me, and we both moaned. Her lightened fingers settled onto my chest, offering ripples of pleasure to me. Gods—the things this human—this fairy—this mate—did to me!

She rode me slowly for a while, her eyes literally digging into mine, conveying extreme love and ownership. I’m sure mine held a similar message.

“My mate,” I finally said, muttering the first word of the night between us.

“We will put added security around this room if you are to sleep here,” she said roughly.

My eyebrow rose, and I wondered what had brought on her concern.

Even as she continued to move on top of me, giving us both physical pleasure, she told me about the fairy-hybrid, Ben Flynn, and his accusation against a vampire fitting my description. Even though I was balls deep within my bonded, my mind was still coherent enough to understand her worry.

And her need to possess—to own.

“We’ll reinforce the walls around this room,” I swore. “We’ll make them as difficult to breach as the cubby, so that you and our börn can be safe with me too! And I’ll get a Were guard in the meantime to secure us in the daytime. Do not worry, my love.”

She sighed with relief above me and relaxed. She moved faster. “You are mine, Eric Northman. And you will be safe with me!” she declared as if reading an edict from the gods themselves.

“As you are mine, Sookie Stackhouse. And you will be safe with me!”

I pulled my body up so that I was sitting and she was sitting on me. Helping her movements with my hands on her hips, I brought us to a faster rhythm, and—even as my tip touched her inner “spot” with each upstroke—I brought a finger down to stimulate her clit. Not to be outdone, my mate reached a hand behind her backside and caressed my tightening balls. But it was when she leaned forward and bit my shoulder that I lost myself.

And found myself.

Dazed, I emptied into her, even as I felt her walls contract around my cock. And then I bit into her flesh.

One flesh. One body. One spirt.

It sounded like a marriage, and that reminded me of something I needed to do that night.

Something I’d wanted to do for a while. Before the babies. Before the Authority nonsense. Even before she was in Faerie for a year.

There was another secret compartment in the cubby, though I knew Sookie wouldn’t be angry about what it held.

At least I hoped that she wouldn’t be.

After Sookie and I showered, I fully examined the changes that had been made to her body that day before needing to make love to her again. And after we quickly showered again, I left Sookie to make her dinner so that I could make some calls. The first one was to Brady.

“I see that you wanted to keep me around in Louisiana,” he flirted. “You know—this time—you should act upon the spark between us.”
I laughed loudly. “Sorry, old friend, but you wouldn’t want to see the spark that came from my bonded if we did that.”

“When last I saw you, I smelled that she’d had your blood, but I didn’t smell a bond,” Brady responded seriously.

“We hadn’t completed it then, but we have now,” I informed.

“Congratulations,” he said. And I could tell that he meant it. He might want to get into my pants, but he had been a friend—first and foremost—for years. “I never thought I’d live to see the day when you committed yourself to just one person.” He clearly meant that statement, too. “A black day for many,” he said dramatically—before giving way to a chuckle. “Oh well. Do you happen to know where I can find that delicious blond morsel from the other night?”

“Sookie’s brother?” I laughed. “Yes. In fact, I’ll be seeing him soon.”

“Some people have all the luck,” he pouted. “You’ll pass along my love to him?”

“I’m sure he will appreciate that,” I chuckled. “But perhaps you might want to do that in person—soon?”

“How do you mean?”

“After the Vamp Camp is taken care of, I’d like to keep some Were guards on duty—to protect my bonded and my daytime resting place. And others too,” I added enigmatically.

He considered for a moment. “I will contact my packmaster. I think that one of the people with me would be well-suited to the job too, and you know that I’d be willing to work with you—especially with that blond around.”

“Good,” I said with a chuckle. “So—what have you learned today?”

“That Burrell’s a sick motherfucker!” Brady intoned.

“Old news,” I responded.

“Yeah—but I got to see it all close-up. Given the activity around the Vamp Camp, it was easy for us to slip in posing as workers. They use ID badges, but those were no problem. We followed an employee home, and the idiot left his badge in his car. I was able to make perfect replicas for me and my team—and I had his back where he’d left it within two hours. He never knew it was missing.”

“Careless humans,” I commented.

“Convenient for us,” he returned.

“Indeed. So what did you learn?”

“Like Pam said, there’s a lot of activity around the camp. The facility’s scientists will be in residence by tomorrow night, but the lead scientist arrived today: a twisted bastard named Overlark. He walked a team of workers—which I made sure that I was a part of—though various structures still being completed. His favorite? A little arena where they will basically pit vampires against each other as if they were gladiators. They are especially interested in seeing what will happen if a maker fights his or her progeny. And—if the two refuse—there will be punitive damage. I drilled holes for silver arrows myself. And the whole top of the structure is made to open in the morning, so if one isn’t dead by then, they are both going to die in the sun.”

“Fuck,” I frowned.

“And that’s just one of the doctors’ little playgrounds,” Brady said with disgust. “Each scientist will have his or her own little pet projects of study—some related to sexual behavior, some related to age behavior, and some testing starvation consequences. Hell! There’s even to be a vampire shrink!”

“Pam would love him,” I intoned.

“She’d fucking eat him alive,” he chuckled, but then sighed. “Eric, what I saw doesn’t even count all the labs where they will experiment with your blood. The irony is that they want to find a ‘fountain of youth’ from you, though they think you’re unnatural. Talk about hypocrisy!”

“Twisted motherfuckers indeed,” I reiterated.

“My team and I want to make things a lot more twisted tomorrow night,” he said, his voice suddenly chilly and reminding me what a ruthless Were he could be.

“Yes. Sooner would be better,” I agreed.


“And you have confirmed that there are not yet any vampires being held there yet?” I asked.

“The first are due to arrive the night after next. There are six young ones—none older than ten years slated to arrive; three are being detained in Dallas and three are in holding in New Orleans until their ‘quarters’ are ready.”

“And the doctors will all be there by tomorrow night?” I clarified.

“Yep. So if we blow the fuck out of the joint then, we’ll get those motherfuckers and their research, and no vampire will ever see its doors.”

“When tomorrow?” I asked.

“Dr. Overlark said that the others would all arrive by 9:00 p.m. I’d like to set the charges for midnight since that’ll offer some leeway, but I’ll control the initial trigger, so the plan can be flexible.”

“Sookie would want innocent humans to be spared,” I said.

“Innocent?” he scoffed. “It seems crystal clear to me that—not only do all the workers know about what’s happening here—but they also are embracing it! Hell—me and my team were asked if we were the ones sent from the Fellowship church in Phoenix! And when we said that we were from Colorado, they didn’t even question it. Apparently, the Fellowship is sending Burrell workers from all over the place.”

“Thanks to Sarah Newlin, I bet.”

“Yep. I heard her name plenty today,” Brady confirmed.

“So—do your men have all you need?” I asked.

“Yeah—no worries there. With our access to explosives and the humans’ ignorance to the fact that they might have enemies walking around during the daytime, we’ll plant all the charges tomorrow as we are ‘working.’ We’ll concentrate more on the labs and such, but the whole structure will crumble by the time the explosions are done.”

“Collateral damage?” I asked.

“Some nearby warehouses might suffer structural damage, but they are abandoned. Of course, with the amount of blasting we are going to be doing, anyone within a certain radius will feel it, but it won’t do much more than jolt them out of their sleep.”

I nodded. Sookie would be comforted by that.

“And there’s good news,” Brady said. I could hear the smile in his voice.


“The mainframe was installed today, and guess who’s been running a piggyback program to copy everything on it?”

“Santa Claus,” I intoned.

“Care to sit on my lap, Eric?”

“For this? Maybe. Do your worst, and I’ll see you in two nights’ time if all goes well.”

“I’m already looking forward to it,” he said, before hanging up.

Since I could still hear Sookie puttering around in the kitchen, I called Pam next.

“Is the line secure?” I greeted.

“Yes,” she responded.

“Have you seen your spy tonight?” I asked.

“She is here now,” Pam said. I could hear a smile in her tone. And was that pride?

“And?” I asked.

“Willa overheard her father speaking to his personal attorney earlier. Apparently, Governor Burrell was raging mad because Sarah Newlin has disappeared with most of the paperwork related to what Burrell calls his “vampire policies.” Willa reported that her father was planning to start the search for Sarah in Dallas, where Sarah still has many contacts.”

“Good,” I smiled. Hopefully, it won’t occur to him to look in the Shreveport area.

“I want you and your child to leave for Shreveport tonight. Rest in safe house four—unless you hear from me otherwise,” I said, indicating a number and not an address, just in case. I knew that I was on an untraceable phone and out of the hearing range of others, but—still—I was cautious. And Pam was cautious, too. However, when it came to resting places, one couldn’t be too cautious. Pam would know which house I had in mind.

“What of Willa?” Pam asked, her tone suddenly anxious.

I sighed. “If she has made the decision to become your child, bring her with you. You can provide her with new clothing and toiletries later. Letting her go back to get her personal things, however, would add a layer to the situation I wouldn’t want.”

“And if she hasn’t decided?”

“Get two throwaway cells, and tell her that you can return for her in one week’s time if she contacts you,” I instructed.

“I wouldn’t want to leave her for that long,” Pam sighed. “The pull is even stronger tonight.”

“Maybe it is the same for her,” I comforted.

“Maybe,” she said wistfully. “Why tonight?” she asked.

“Tomorrow night, Brady’s team is going to do their job,” I relayed cryptically. “I want you and Tara to have nice, strong alibis. Who knows what Burrell might do after his plans are destroyed and the evidence against him is turned over to the government. That is why it would be best—for your peace of mind—if Willa leaves there with you tonight.”

“And you? Will you be in Shreveport, too?”

“No. I have another alibi in mind,” I smiled to myself. “It is an alibi that I’d prefer for you to share in, but I’ve yet to put everything into place.”

“What alibi?” my child asked.

“I will let you know if it becomes applicable,” I said cryptically. “Meanwhile, I’ve already arranged for human contractors to meet you at Fangtasia at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow. So be sure to be there if you don’t hear from me before then. Keep them with you until at least midnight, but do not be seen outside the building at night. If anyone asks, say that you are staying at Fangtasia and take the tunnel out before dawn.”

“Okay,” Pam sighed. “I’ll speak with Willa, and then we’ll be on our way.”

“Tomorrow night, it would be better to make sure that Willa is visible with you, looking human, and looking happy. Pretend she’s your human secretary or something, but don’t address her by her full name.”

If she comes,” Pam said wistfully.

“I have a feeling she will, Dottir,” I comforted.

Indeed, once Willa Burrell became Pam’s child, it would be best if their association was traced to before the bombing of the Vamp Camp. The actual night of the bombing was already cutting it close. However, with Willa’s vampire rights activism well-known, hopefully Burrell and the media wouldn’t make an associated between the Vamp Camp bombing and the disappearance of his daughter.

“Pam,” I reminded, “no matter what Willa decides, you will have to wait to turn her until after the moratorium on turnings has been lifted by the Authority. But I also recognize that you will desire to keep her close—as well as safe. And—if you are certain of her—you may begin to teach her about our ways so that she is readier for her new life when it comes.

“Thank you, Master,” she said evenly, though I might have heard a sniffle in her voice too. I didn’t comment upon it.

Though I was no longer Pam’s master, I liked hearing her say the word; it showed me that—despite everything—I had her loyalty and respect. And—now—she was choosing to give them rather than being compelled by a maker-child bond.

Listening again for my wife, I heard her moaning. And I moaned. She was likely eating—something salty. With difficulty, I kept my impulse to go watch her eat—and then to eat her—in check as I made my next call.

“Northman,” was Tray Dawson’s greeting.

“Dawson,” I said in kind. “Report.”

“The Most Annoying Human in the World Pageant occurred here today,” he intoned.

“Jason win?” I grinned.

“Almost. Actually, he’s not too bad when he’s not being an idiot.”


“That bitch bit me though,” he snarled.

“Gotta rabies shot handy?”

“Nah. If I get rabies, I’ll shift and bite her back though. Speaking of which—you are planning to kill her or to glamour her right?”

“Yes.” I didn’t specify which.

He didn’t ask.

“Good. I enjoyed shifting in front of her several times. Pissed herself each time.”

I chuckled. “I always knew there was a lot to like about you. The first thing I’ll do is glamour her to shower.”

He laughed with me. “I liked this,” he said almost off-handedly.

“Making her piss?”

“Nah. Just bein’ useful again. Been lost for a long time,” he said with a rueful laugh. “Just living off my land, planting, hunting, fishing—I even let my motorcycle shop go a few years back. Felt nice to be back in the world a little, even if Jason was my only real company.”

“Want to be back more?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“My mate. My human children. They need a guard.”

“Human? Your mate have in vitro or something?”

“Something,” I said ambiguously. Tray would learn the full truth only if he accepted the position. But I could see him being a good guard, and he was trustworthy. I figured that Brady and he would get along, too.

“A week-long trial period?” he asked. “Just to make sure I’m up for it?”

“Yes,” I agreed.

“Then I’m in,” he said after a short pause.

“Good. We’ll see you in an hour, and I’ll introduce you to Sookie. Meanwhile, make sure that Sarah is secure—and that Jason doesn’t do anything stupid.”

“Already giving me impossible tasks?” he asked.

We were both chuckling again when I hung up. Yeah, I figured I could grow to like Tray very much.

I was looking forward to dealing with Sarah Newlin—or, at least, getting started. After that part of the night was done, Sookie and I planned to meet up with Claude at Andy Bellefleur’s house. Surprisingly, my and Sookie’s children would have fairies “their own age”—sort of—to interact with. I took this as another sign that Bon Temps was a good place for us to raise our sons.

Sookie moaned again from the kitchen. I was halfway there when I stopped myself. I wanted to worship my wife’s rounding body—preferably tongue-first, but there wasn’t time at the moment. However, that task was definitely going on the night’s docket.

Amending the direction of my steps, I went down to the cubby, both to call Ian and to retrieve the item hiding in there.

Once I had the ring box in my hand, I opened it. I’d gotten the ring on the same night that I’d first seen Compton’s ring on Sookie’s finger—the night I’d killed the Were who’d been sent by Russell to kidnap her.

That was also the first night that Sookie and I had spent more than a few minutes in each other’s company—at least alone. I found myself sharing some of my life-story with her, regarding the tattooed Weres. And I found myself attracted to her even more as she listened with intelligence and that spunkiness that was so unique to her. I’d wanted to protect her. I’d wanted her as mine that night. I’d wanted so many things.

Most of all—I’d wanted Bill’s damned ring off of her finger. It had been all wrong for it!

I cannot say what it was that made me scour the Internet before I let myself fall into my day-rest that morning. Maybe it was that the ring Compton had gotten for her was so blatantly inadequate. His ring might have been stereotypically what a girl might want, but Sookie was not a stereotypical young woman.

She was so much more: the fairy and the human. But beyond both. And I felt strongly that the ring given to her by the man she would marry ought to reflect her dual nature. Of course, at the time, I didn’t allow my mind to wander over the fact that I wanted to be that man who made her my bride. No. I convinced myself that finding the right ring for her was an intellectual exercise—a way to secretly one-up Bill. Anything but what it really was: a sign that Sookie had already captured my un-dead heart.

The ring itself was as unique as the woman I hoped would wear it, crafted more in the style of the early 1900s as opposed to the early 2000s. Its central stone was a yellow sapphire—more “gold” in color than a yellow diamond would have achieved. Around it was a circular cluster of diamonds—all brilliant and almost flawless, even to my eyes. Instead of a plain band, the major stones were set around an ornate design of gold leaves and swirls, reminding me of Sookie’s Fae nature and light. More diamonds and yellow sapphires made up “stepping stones” around the path of the band. It hadn’t been the largest ring I’d considered during my shopping, nor had it been the most expensive—not by a long shot! But it seemed to be the perfect one for the complicated, amazing woman who’d agreed to be my mate, and—hopefully—would soon agree to be my wife.

I dialed Ian.

“Hello, my friend,” he greeted.

“Are you secure?” I asked.

“Perish the thought! I’ve never been insecure,” he joked.

“Can anyone overhear us?” I clarified. “Ass,” I added under my breath.

“Of course we have a secure connection,” he relayed with a chuckle.

“How are things?”

“Final preparations are being made for the Authority members to leave for California tonight,” he informed. “However, I must say that your earlier text to rush has intrigued me.”

“The Vamp Camp is being obliterated tomorrow night. I expect Pamela told you all about Burrell’s little ‘fun house’ for us?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied with a growl. “Nora wanted to go off half-cocked, of course, but I’ve talked her down and convinced her that it’d be best if we didn’t seem to have a hand in it. Most of the Authority members and staff—including Nora—are leaving by midnight.”

“And you?”

“I’ll be the last one out—leaving only an hour or so before dawn—in order to make sure that all that is left is as it should be in case the humans ever raid the space.”

“And General Michaels?”

“Congenial and cooperative—so far. I like him! I think he’ll work out well.”

“What of Nora?”

He sighed. “Ninety-five percent of the time, she’s an ideal Guardian—efficient and clever. She is also far-sighted. She could be very good for our kind.”


“But I’ve caught her asking Jessica and Isabel about Sookie. And she’s asked me about how I know you. Could be curiosity. Could be more.”

It was my turn to sigh. “Keep watching?”

“Of course. Now that we’ll be half a country away, perhaps her fixation will end.”

“That’s my hope. Meanwhile, how hard would it be for you to get on a plane to Rhode Island, rather than to California?”

“Not hard. My jet is private and I’ll be alone—except for Jessica,” he said suggestively.

“Good. I am not one-hundred percent sure whether or not I’ll need you there, but I’m hopeful. I will contact you to confirm a few hours before dawn.”

“Hey! Rhode Island? Isn’t that the newest state to allow vampires and humans to marry?”

“Yes. Oh—and make sure you bring your ministerial garb and a pledging knife.”

And with that, I hung up.

I’m sure I left him with a gaping mouth.

I smirked as I went up to join my “hopefully” soon-to-be “official” wife, who was fortunately—and unfortunately—done with her meal.

I knew that I’d mentioned going to Vermont when I’d first broached the topic of marrying her according to human tradition; however, I’d rethought that plan. Bill had initially planned to marry Sookie in Vermont, and I wanted for my bonded and my wedding to be totally our own.

Of course, Sookie hadn’t exactly said, “yes,” to me when I’d mentioned a wedding; she’d been too busy crying. And then she’d cried even more after learning the genders of the children she had just learned that she was carrying.

Still, I hoped that—by the end of the night—I would have a ring on her finger.

A/N: Thanks to everyone who joined me for Andy’s “INNER-Lude” last week. If you haven’t, it does offer an introduction to the Warlow/Ben Flynn character, so I hope you will check it out.

I hope that you enjoyed this chapter. It’s fun to imagine Eric feeling a little nervous about “officially” proposing to Sookie. I also wanted for this version of Sookie to be the one to bring up guards; it shows how protective she is over Eric’s daytime safety too. She is, indeed, just as protective as he is in this story—and that’s fun to write. If you are reading my UN-iverse, you know that Brady is a character there too—though he’s straight in that story. Why make him gay in this one? Why not? The actor I have casted as him is gay in real life, and I can totally imagine him flirting with Jason. Heck—I might even hook up Brady with Lala eventually. Now that might be fun!

Again, I hope that you are still enjoying this story. Be sure to leave a comment if you have the time. I do love to read them all, and they always make me smile!

Until next time,


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Ian Bowles

Back to Chapter 15

Back to INNER-Lude 2–Andy


17 thoughts on “Chapter 16: A Certain Ring to It

  1. Excellent. Love Sookie’s wake up of Eric. I don’t think Ben’s motives will go well. I hope doesn’t get to kill the fairies. Brady harassing Jason is funny.

  2. this was a great chapter, they are both protective of each other. love it. love Brady and i think it would be a hoot having him chase after Jason but end up with Lala. KY

  3. i love the the way Eric is planning. and his interaction with all the players. very professional and efficient. a true leader. and damn! Sookie is so protective of him….just the way it should be. 🙂
    great chapter. 😀

  4. Aw! The big bad Viking is nervous! I love it!!!
    Brady teasing Jason would be a riot, but the idea of him with Lala is genius. Hoping that happens!
    As usual, I can’t wait for next update.

  5. Eric has good people around him that will look out for him and Sookie. Tray will be a welcome addition, I think sookie will like him too. Looking forward to Brady making Jason twitch.

  6. Loved how Sookie wants to protect her bonded!
    Eric ,being nervous about his marriage proposal,is so so sweet.
    That ring sounds so unique just like Sookie.
    Brady teasing Jason …wow I would love to read in the next installment!

  7. Loved this chapter! The interactions between E&S were great. The ring sounds like one of a kind, just exactly what a fairy should have. Can Sookie fly to Rhode Island now? It’s fiction, of course she can! I always love Brady; he’s a beautiful man to look at! HIm & Lala, nice! So great that Pam is really feeling the pull to make Willa her child, and showing real respect to Eric. Can’t wait for the big boom! Great job by you & the team as always!

  8. Looking forward to the proposal. Wish we had a picture of the ring – it sounds gorgeous. hopefully we’ll all be travelling to Rhode Island next chapter. 😀

  9. Ugh Nora still plotting… Hopefully distance and Ian’s overseeing her will keep her away from Eric and his new family….

  10. Another wonderful chapter – I always enjoy seeing Eric interact with other males as it makes his humourous side shine. Tray is going to be fun – he’ll get on great with Brady and Sookie. Poor Jason won’t know what is up with all them around him lol. Nora is going to be a severe irritation.

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