As soon as Eric let go of the bond, Sookie sunk into unconsciousness, and the two exhausted witches looked at each other with relief evident on their ashen faces.
Eric had also collapsed and was unconscious on the couch. The blood that had been flowing from his body freely now began to pool and stop.
Pam, Jesus, Lafayette, and Jason all looked at each other in silence for several moments before Jason went into the circle to gather his sister into his arms.
“Carry her to the bed,” Lafayette said, the exhaustion clear in his voice.
“I’m going to go check on her,” Jesus said. Though exhausted, his nurse instincts had obviously kicked in, and he took an I.V. kit in with him to the bedroom where Jason had taken Sookie.
Lafayette had also stood up and moved slowly toward the kitchen, his own fatigue showing. He brought a damp rag back from the kitchen and awkwardly handed it to Pam. “To clean him up,” he said in a whisper, pointing to Eric.
Pam didn’t know whether to kill everyone in the house or weep. She’d never seen her master asleep before. He was older and could stay awake longer than she could. She’d also never seen him so vulnerable. She crouched over his prone position and began to clean the blood from his face and chest.
Several minutes later, the blood was wiped off of Eric’s body although streaks were still clear on his pants despite the fact that they were dark grey. Jesus and Jason walked back into the room.
Lafayette asked them, “How is she?”
“She’s okay,” Jesus answered, as a stunned looking Jason stood silent at his side. “She’ll probably need to sleep a while, but I was able to start an I.V. on her, and her pulse is strong. She is clearly dehydrated, but she is going to be fine in a day or two, I think.”
“An IV?” Pam asked, knowing that her master would be concerned.
“Yes, it’s just fluids to make sure that she rehydrates. She may need a couple of bags, but with rest, she will be fine, though she may be tired for a while,” Jesus said.
Jesus and Lafayette sat back down on the floor, just outside the edges of the circle. Jason sat in the chair to the side of the couch. All four conscious beings in the house sat looking at Eric for a while before Jason finally spoke, “Hey, I got one of them TruBloods in my trunk, in my vampire safety kit.”
“Vampire safety kit?” Pam deadpanned looking from her master to Jason. “What the hell is that?”
“Standard issue,” remarked Jason. “Silver chain, stake, TruBlood―all the things you might need to assist or subdue a vamp.” Jason said this like he was reading it off of a cue card.
“Lovely,” Pam said, rolling her eyes and then looking back at Eric.
Jesus said, “Yes, Jason, you better get that for when he wakes up. I don’t know much about vampires, but he lost a lot of blood, and he will probably be pretty weak.”
“He’s never weak,” Pam said fiercely as she looked down at her master, even as a tear threatened to escape her own eye. She quickly recovered, “But the blood would be nice.” She looked at Jason and said the next word as if chewing it, “Thanks.”
Jason rose and left the house to retrieve the blood, seemingly grateful for something to do. He felt bad that his time going through the spell had been so much easier than Sookie’s.
As soon as the door closed behind Jason, Lafayette seemed to have been woken from a tired stupor, “Sookie bought some blood today too. It’s in the fridge if you needs more.” He looked at Eric, “Why do you think he fought so hard?”
His question wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, but Jesus continued the thought. “We were saying the spell for over two hours. The longest recorded time it has taken in the past was about fifteen minutes.”
Pam looked at them, “He was going through that for more than two hours?” She turned her eyes toward Eric, coming to realize for the first time that he must really love the fairy in the next room. She vowed in that moment to do whatever was necessary to protect Sookie for her maker’s sake. This, she hoped, would make up for her disobedience. After all, Pam reasoned in her head, Sookie was not so bad for a breather. She’d gone out to save her maker from burning next to Russell.
“How long will he be like this?” Pam asked Jesus, who seemed to know about what was going on more than the others.
“I don’t know,” he said quietly. “Like I said before, the spell has never taken this long, and there was no mention of a vampire ever trying to hold on to the blood connection like that.” Jesus looked at Eric with a kind of respect in his eyes. Whatever the cause of Eric’s attempt, Jesus was in awe of the vampire’s resilience even though it had caused things to be harder for Sookie. He was even more in awe of the fact that Eric had allowed the connection to be severed by his own choice as soon as he realized what was happening.
Jesus was certain that he would do the same for Lafayette, both fight for him to the point of physical debilitation and protect him even if it meant giving him up. He reached out to take his beloved’s hand at the thought and mouthed the words, “I love you,” to him.
Just as Jason came back in, Eric stirred slightly and then sat up abruptly, immediately looking into the circle for Sookie. Without a word, he rose and walked into the room where Sookie lay, still sleeping from her ordeal.
Jason looked a bit concerned until Lafayette said, “You better warm that thing up,” as he gestured to the bottle of TruBlood in Jason’s hand.
Eric knelt next to the bed where Sookie lay. He could no longer feel his blood inside of her, and her blood was gone from him too. The bond, too, was no more, but he felt a kind of void where it had been, an empty spot. However, even if he could no longer feel her, he could still smell her, and his body still ached for her. He, more than anything, wanted to crawl into the bed and hold her to him, but he refrained.
She had initiated the severing of the blood magic, the bond between them. He knew that she had done what she had deemed was necessary. As much as that decision was now killing him inside, he also knew that he could not interfere. He reached out and very lightly traced her hairline. Her beautiful blonde hair, so close in color to his own shade, was sticking to her forehead, a product of her profuse sweating. Eric reached his other hand up to his own hair and felt the dried blood there. “Two peas in a pod,” he whispered before leaning in closer to Sookie.
“It has never taken blood between us for me to love you, min kära. I will feel the same all the days I walk this earth. It is both my punishment and my reward, Little One.” Eric rose and began to back out of the room, never taking his eyes off of Sookie. “You will find me when you are ready,” he said, sounding more confident than he felt. “I will wait. I will hope.”
Only Pam could hear his words from the other room, and as soon as she saw her maker emerge from the room where Sookie was, she was in front of him, bent onto one knee in humility. “I didn’t know, Master,” she said quietly to her maker. “I swear by my blood, which is your blood, that I will do everything I can to keep her safe.”
Eric looked down at his child, noticing the blood collected in the corners of her eyes. “It is fine, Pam,” he said to her. “You were right to try to stop me the other night. I forgot myself for a moment. I cannot very well protect her or you if I am finally dead, now can I?”
He bent down and raised his child into a hug, whispering so that only she could hear. “It is up to you to make sure that I don’t kill us all now that I have feelings. And I will try to listen.” He kissed her forehead.
She smiled up at him and then brushed a tear away from her eye before it could fall.
The humans in the room watched the vampires with curiosity, never having seen this kind of affection displayed between them before. Once again, Jason broke the silence, “Hey, I have this for you, man.”
Eric looked at Jason from over Pam’s shoulder, amusement clear in his face at being called “man” by Sookie’s brother. He smirked, but accepted the blood before he sat down on the couch, establishing control over the room without even trying. Eric downed the bottle in one long gulp.
Jesus looked at Eric with a mixture of curiosity and wonder. “Would you like another?”
Eric nodded. Truth be told, he was quite tired from the ordeal of the afternoon and night.
Pam sped into the kitchen and the ding of the microwave was heard soon after as she raced back into the living room with two more TruBloods in her hands.
Eric took them and began to drink as the others looked on. The ancient vampire moved his gaze around the room before settling on Jesus. “Tell me what happened,” he half questioned and half demanded.
Jesus looked at Lafayette a little nervously before answering, “Yesterday, we all were talking about the blood ties between vampires and humans. I told Sookie and Jason about a spell I’d come across in one of Marnie’s books that would sever the blood magic. Both chose to have this spell done.”
Lafayette continued for his boyfriend, more nervous than Jesus, “We’s had no idea that it would go so hard for her.”
Jesus got up and retrieved the book from across the room before handing it to Eric, the pages still opened to the spell and the description of blood magic that he had recounted to Sookie and Jason earlier.
Quickly, Eric read the page and closed the book. Deep in thought, Eric placed the book onto the couch beside him before speaking, “This is something Sookie felt she needed to do, yes?”
Lafayette and Jesus both nodded as Jason said, “We both did.”
Eric looked at the three and then spoke, “It is done. Now she will have her free will, and she cares about this more than anything else, I think. I made a tie with her in Dallas to try to counter Compton’s hold, but also to try to bring her to me,” he paused, “for reasons of my own.” He looked significantly at the humans in the room. “It was only after giving her my blood that I realized my error and that she would always doubt me because of it.”
He looked again around the room before continuing. “And my recent state of amnesia has surely left her confused about my,” he paused again, “feelings for her.”
Jesus noted that Eric’s tone was that of a rational businessman even as his eyes betrayed a deep sense of loss.
Eric kept speaking, “Regardless, now Sookie is completely herself, and she will be able to tell what is best for her without any influence from Compton.” He almost spit out the name.
He looked seriously at the Jason, Jesus, and Lafayette in turn. “She must not know that I was here this evening.”
“Why?” Jason asked.
Eric looked at Sookie’s brother, wondering if it wouldn’t be better just to glamour him right then. He decided against it for the moment and spoke. “The blood magic, as Jesus called it, was strong between Sookie and me. The book is right in that the severing of a blood tie is usually much easier. Tonight I felt that Sookie was in danger; I thought that she was being dragged off to the fairy realm again or that she was dying, so I used the connection to try to hold onto her. I have never heard of this kind of thing happening before, which is why I didn’t recognize that this spell was being used. I don’t fully understand why I was able to hold on to the bond for so long, but I can tell you that something in Sookie was also holding on to me just as strongly.”
“Then she should know that,” Jesus spoke up. “That kind of magic is something that can’t be ignored.”
“But ignore it you will,” Eric emphasized. “This is imperative. If Sookie’s reason for severing the blood magic within her was to start over with a clean slate, then this is what she must do. If she knows I was here and what happened this evening, then that might influence her. She must come to her own conclusions if she is to feel right about her life. You all know this,” he said, again looking around the room before settling his gaze on Jason.
Jason nodded, “He’s right.”
Happy with Sookie’s brother showing some sense, Eric continued. “I do not know what happened with Bill’s tie to Sookie or how long it took to sever, but he will likely make his way here tonight. He will no longer be able to use the tie to find her, but he will deduce that she is here.” He spoke his next words to Jason, “Jessica will probably come too.”
Eric continued, “They will likely be upset that the magical ties have been broken, but it is imperative that you not let either one in here tonight. Bill will probably seek another opportunity to get his blood into Sookie as soon as possible, and she cannot face him until she is stronger.”
He looked again toward Jesus and Lafayette. “To this end, you must help her work on her fairy magic. It is powerful, but not consistent yet. She seems to be able to use it in dire situations, but not every time she needs it. If she could control it, she most certainly could have used it to stop Marnie in the parking lot of the Moon Goddess Emporium.”
Eric continued, “She was able to harness it onto me to prevent me from killing Bill.” He stiffened a bit, knowing that it was Sookie’s love for Bill that had caused her to turn her magic onto him to save her first love. He wondered if Sookie would have been willing to kill him to save Bill, despite her emotional turmoil.
Eric looked down at his hands for a moment. Not for the first time, he was uncertain that Sookie would choose him. He flashed back to how empty his life had felt without her, an emptiness he didn’t even know he had. He flashed forward to what his existence would be like without her. She was his light―literally and figuratively. He could continue to eke out a successful existence without her, but he no longer wanted to imagine that empty world for himself. He knew that if she were irrevocably lost to him, he would choose to meet the sun.
Jesus, Lafayette, and Pam caught Eric’s momentary silence. All three were shocked to realize that Eric was worried that he would lose Sookie. Yet the vampire’s actions still indicated that he was going to give her the space and time she needed to decide what she wanted on her own. In that moment, they saw the depth of love that the ancient vampire had for Sookie.
Eric continued, “She was also able to use the power of her fairy magic to break Marnie’s spell two nights ago, correct?”
Jesus and Lafayette nodded.
“And she also shot that Maenad with it,” Lafayette added.
“That I did not know,” Eric chuckled, a look of amusement shining in his eyes.
“And she killed her meat tree too,” Lafayette said for good measure.
The mirth became even more apparent in Eric’s eyes for a moment. He shook his head before his serious countenance returned. “I know of her using it two other times, once to try to save Bill from Russell in Jackson, an act which alerted Russell to her power, unfortunately. And once to save my life.”
“She used it to shoot that bitch queen in Fairy Land too,” Jason piped in.
“What?” Eric said interested.
Jason continued, happy to finally be able to contribute, “Yeah, them fairies wanted to keep her there so that she couldn’t give her blood to no more vamps, but she shot the crazy bitch in charge with her microwave hands and then ran away.”
Eric’s amusement at Sookie’s moxie was mixed with his concern over the fairy problem. He knew that at least one fairy, the one he had killed, had pursued her since she had returned to this realm. He would have to arrange for her to be protected now that the bond was severed and he couldn’t do it himself. And since it was Sookie, he knew that this protection would have to be either invisible or palatable to her. “Good luck with that, Northman,” he thought to himself. He wondered if Bubba might not be the answer before he continued speaking to the people he now recognized and respected as Sookie’s closest supporters. He would try to work with them, especially now that he could no longer feel her.
“So, clearly she can harness this power at times, but I would like her to be able to call upon it at will.” Eric looked again at Jesus. “Do you know anything about fairy magic? I can smell what you are.”
Jesus looked disconcerted but then was excited that Eric might―at least at some point in the future―be able to tell him more about the being that inhabited part of him, the demon. Jason looked at Jesus curiously.
Jesus answered Eric’s question. “I know that there is such a thing as fairies, but I don’t know much about them. I can ask my grandfather. He might know more. And Marnie had many magic books that I could look through if I had them.”
“Good,” Eric said, contemplating his next move. “I assume you had to go to the witch’s shop to get this book.” Eric thumbed the volume next to him.
“How did you manage? Bill arranged for everything to be moved.”
Jason puffed up, proud of his role in the previous afternoon’s raid on the Moon Goddess Emporium, “I ordered these movers to desist and told them that there was an official investigation going on in drug trafficking at the business.”
Eric and Pam both chuckled before Eric turned to his progeny. “Pam, get someone over there to clear it out and have all the books brought here.”
Jesus looked up in surprise before Eric turned to him, “I will pay you to go through these books to look for information that will help Sookie develop her powers. You may tell her that Jason used his police connections to have the books brought here if you wish. She may want to help you go through them when she knows what you are looking for.”
Lafayette laughed, knowing that Sookie would want to help, and was surprised that the vampire whom he’d been scared shitless of the year before seemed to know his friend so well.
Pam immediately stepped outside, already dialing her phone and issuing orders on the way out.
Jesus had been working up to a question for Eric for several minutes and finally found the courage to ask it, “Do you know at all how you did it?”
Eric raised his brow as he looked at Jesus, “Did what?”
“How you managed to hold on to the bond for so long? What it was in Sookie that you think held on to the bond as well?”
Lafayette and Jason also looked at Eric, the curiosity clear in their eyes.
“As I said before, it was a strong connection,” Eric answered slowly contemplating what and how much to say. “It was much stronger than it should have been.” He paused, took an unnecessary breath, and decided to confide in these people, whom he trusted to take care of Sookie.
“We established a blood bond only a few days ago when I was still without my memories. A bond is much stronger than a blood tie.”
Jesus nodded, “Yes, the book helped us figure that out.”
Eric nodded and then added, “Yes, I have read what your book offered, and it was a good start, but it did not mention that this kind of bond must be the choice of both the human and the vampire in order to work, and the blood must be shared during a very close timeframe.”
“The choice of both,” Jesus whispered, taking in what Eric was saying.
Eric decided in that moment to like the young demon hybrid in front of him. Perhaps, he’d even introduce him to Catalides. He respected that the young man had not said his words as a question, but had spoken them as a statement.
Eric nodded to the young brujo demon. “Yes, it must be a choice freely made by both human and vampire. The magic protects both parties in this case, whereas in a tie, the blood protects only the vampire.
In the case of a bond, the magic must be entered into with premeditation by all involved.” Eric looked around to make sure everyone had understood the implications of his statement, that Sookie, whether she knew what was happening fully or not, had chosen him in the moment she’d bonded with him.
“The blood can also tell if there is coercion or force. The bond is not solidified if both parties are not certain. We had,” he paused a bit to make sure everyone was listening carefully, “a very strong bond considering we had only mutually exchanged blood once. I was able to feel her emotions much more intensely than I thought I’d be able to.”
“And you entered her dream,” Jesus said.
“Yes,” Eric confirmed, not surprised that Sookie had trusted the people in that room with her experience. “She called me, and I was able to come, going against all knowledge about vampire-human bonds.”
Jesus posited, “So you think that there was something in Sookie’s fairy nature that was helping you hold on to the bond.”
Eric nodded, “That is my guess.” He smiled sincerely, a look that no one else in the room had ever expected to see from him. “I once told her that there were two Sookie Stackhouses―the human and the fairy. I think that the fairy wanted to hold on as tightly as I did.”
The others in the room were trying to take all this in when Eric tensed, “A car has just turned from the road.”
Immediately, Pam came back inside, “Master, the arrangements are made.” She looked at Eric with some concern in her eyes, “You heard the car?”
“Yes, it is likely Bill.” Eric quickly began issuing orders. “Pam, you will stay in the open. Make sure that Bill thinks that I sent you here to check after I felt my tie with Sookie break. Do not let him know that I am here, and say nothing about us being bonded. And do not, under any circumstances, allow anyone inside. Bill may,” he said as he gestured toward the humans, “try to glamour them, but it is imperative that neither Compton nor his progeny come inside and see Sookie in her current state. I will remain with her just in case.”
“You,” Eric said, gesturing toward the three other men in the room, “tell Compton the truth about the spell. Tell him that it was Sookie’s decision, and tell him that she is resting from the ordeal. Do not say more than is necessary.” He directed his last statement towards Jason. “If you are asked about my scent, say that I was here earlier and have gone. Bill’s sense of smell is not that developed, so he will believe you.”
He heard the car pull up and park in the driveway and retreated silently to the room where Sookie was located, hiding himself in the shadows since the curtains would allow someone to gaze inside. He stared at the woman he loved more than ever. He’d been monitoring her steady breathing from the other room. He could not deny the comfort that her mere presence gave him.
For about the twentieth time since he’d awoken on Lafayette’s couch, he couldn’t help but to search for the bond he’d become quickly attached to in the last few days. But it still wasn’t there; only the empty space remained.
He stilled as he heard a knock at the door and recognized Bill’s and his child’s scents. He was confident that his own child would handle the situation.