Sookie and Eric spent the next few moments in comfortable silence before Eric spoke up, “I think that given the strength of our bond, it will be very easy for other supernaturals to sense it, just as Alcide did. This could be good or bad, depending on the situation. On the one hand, it will make others recognize more quickly that you are mine, which is good. However, it will also hint at the strength and unusual nature of our bond, which might spur some to ask questions about you. I think we should consider asking Jesus for help with dampening our scents from others. Regardless, the fact that you smell so strongly of me will make things―more difficult―with Bill tonight.”
“I’ve been thinkin’ about that too,” Sookie sighed, pulling back so that she could look at Eric. “I’m a little afraid.”
“I know, min kära. I can feel that.” He paused. “I also know that you hate it when people tell you what to do, but . . .”
“Lemme guess,” Sookie interrupted. “You insist on being with me when I tell Bill.”
Eric smirked playfully, “I was going to say ‘strongly suggest.’ I thought those words might work better than ‘insist.’”
Sookie chuckled, “Well―at least you are learning not to seem so high-handed, mister vampire sheriff.” Her expression turned serious, “But after Alcide, I was gonna insist that you are with me too. Right now, I trust Bill about as far as I can throw him.”
Eric nodded, “Yes―I am also having a hard time anticipating how Bill will react. After the attempt on our lives the other night, I entered into a bargain with him that if you chose him, I would back off. He agreed to do the same if you chose me; however, . . .”
Sookie picked up, “. . . however, Bill has proven himself to be dishonest in the past, especially where I’m concerned, so he’s a wild card.”
Eric nodded again. “That is why I intend to be with you the whole time as you confront Bill. He will not touch you―I promise.”
“If he tries, I plan to zap the hell out of him,” Sookie added.
Eric’s eyes lit up lustfully. “I love it when you are feisty, lover.” With a twinkle in his eyes, he added, “It makes me want to pillage you.”
Sookie laughed, “Be good, Viking!”
After another few minutes, she gave Eric a kiss on his chest and went to get up. “You sure you’re still okay?” she asked her beloved.
Eric nodded. “Okay,” Sookie said, looking him over. “You stay here where it’s darkest, and I’m gonna go get the others and let them know everything’s fine.”
A few minutes later, Sookie came back into the room, a warm blood for Eric in one hand and an iced tea for herself in the other. She was trailed in by Jason and the boys.
“Wait,” Jason said. “ Before you start talkin’, Sook. I’m gonna go get the beer out of my truck. I have a feeling I might need one.”
Sookie chuckled. “Bring one for me too. I could probably use somethin’ stronger than iced tea myself.”
Jesus and Lafayette agreed and soon Jason had returned inside; he tore open the twelve pack and brought each of them a bottle of Dixie beer.
Once everyone was settled, Sookie began, “Last night, Eric and I decided to re-bond. We shared our blood twice, and with one more time, the bond will be permanent.”
“You sure ‘bout this?” Jason asked, keeping his tone even so he didn’t risk offending Eric.
“Yes,” Sookie smiled, putting her beer down on the table and grabbing Eric’s hand in both of hers. “I realized that I have loved Eric for a while now―even before the amnesia thing―and we have decided to be together. And at least for the time bein’, he’s gonna move in here.”
“So y’all are together together now?” Lafayette asked.
“Yes,” Eric answered, putting his TruBlood down next to Sookie’s drink and adding his second hand to the pile on Sookie’s lap. “I love Sookie, and we are now bonded by even more than vampire blood.”
Sookie explained, “Jason, Jesus told me the other day that the fairy blood I have also has the magic to make a bond, one that was already permanent between me and Eric even before we removed the vampire blood with that spell last Monday.”
“Can I do that kind of bond too?” Jason asked, looking at Jesus.
“I don’t know,” Jesus answered meditatively. “So far, you haven’t really manifested any fairy qualities like Sookie has, but who knows what might happen in the future.”
There was a brief moment of silence before Layette spoke. He was looking directly at Eric when he did. “You’s called her your wife earlier. What’s with that?”
At this, everyone―including Sookie―looked at Eric, who chuckled under the scrutiny. “Yes―perhaps―that was a bit premature, but it sort of slipped out.” Eric now looked at Sookie closely and then turned to face Jason.
Eric bowed his head a bit to him before speaking, “Jason Stackhouse, you are the oldest remaining male of your family, I believe.”
Jason nodded, looking a bit confused.
Eric went on, “Then, I believe it is a tradition in your culture that I seek your approval to marry your sister. In my time, the family of the groom had to provide a brudpris―a bride price―but I believe this tradition is no longer the case. I wish to marry Sookie in any way that I am able―by both vampire and human customs. I vow that I will take care of her and secure her safety. I am willing to do whatever I must to earn this right.”
From the other side of the room Lafayette sniffled, even as tears formed in Sookie’s eyes.
Jason was silent for a moment as he took in what Eric was saying. “Well, I appreciate your askin’ me and all, but Sookie’s sorta the smart one in the family, so I reckon that if she wants to marry you, then it’s a good idea.” Jason’s tone got more serious. “But you better take good care of her, or it won’t matter that you’re no vampire.”
Eric bowed his head to Jason again and looked at Sookie penetratingly before dropping to one knee before her. Her tears were dripping down her face freely now.
“I gave myself fully to you last night, and now in the light of the day―a light that I am able to survive in only because of you―and in front of your friends and family, I vow that I will always love you and stand by your side. After our bond is complete, I wish to be pledged to you by vampire custom. It will make us married according to vampire law, and no vampire―not even a king―could separate us then without the true death being brought upon him or her as punishment. Then, as I told you before, as soon as Louisiana accepts vampire-human marriage, I wish to marry you according to human custom. Will you agree to be my wife, Sookie?”
Sookie sunk onto her knees and into Eric’s embrace before he had finished his question, “Of course! I told you I would last night, you silly vampire!” She kissed him fully on the lips. And then pulled away from him, “You still okay? No burns?”
Eric chuckled again and wiped the tears from Sookie’s eyes. “I’m still fine. I’m not going anywhere.”
Tears had also formed in Lafayette’s eyes by now, and he rose to his feet, “Damnit you two! Stop all your bein’ all crazy in love shit before my face gets all ruined.”
Sookie laughed as she and Eric sat back up on the couch.
Lafayette added, looking straight at Sookie, “And he better gets you a kickass ring too. The man’s loaded; he up and gave me a car once. You better get somethin’ real fine.”
Sookie grinned and looked right at Eric, “I already have something real fine.” She kissed him softly on the lips.
Lafayette rolled his eyes as Jason shifted uncomfortably, not liking to see his sister kissing on anyone.
After a few moments, Eric looked at Jesus, “I would like to speak to you about the spells you think you can perform to protect this house, as well as your privacy spell.”
Jason interrupted, “Well, while you are doin’ that, I’m gonna turn the grill on and get the steaks goin’. I’m starved after all this drama!”
Lafayette added, “I’ll help you while these three talk shop.”
Sookie smiled gratefully. “Hey, Jase, check to see if the potatoes in the oven are ready to come out. There’s also a salad made in the fridge and the steaks are already in there marinatin’. Oh, and Lala, look under the towel in there. There’s an apple custard pie with your name on it!”
“Oh,” Jason said sheepishly. “We found the pies earlier, Sook.”
Sookie smiled knowingly as Lafayette and Jason grabbed what was left of their beers and went to the kitchen. Sookie assured Eric, “Don’t worry. I hid away a piece of the peach for us for later.”
A sincere, appreciative smile lit up Eric’s face as he looked at his beloved.
Jesus looked at Eric, still a bit shocked by the transformation of his own opinion about the vampire. When he’d first met Eric because of Lafayette’s troubles, he would never have thought that he would see him with such a smile on his face. He couldn’t help but shake his head at the funny way the world worked.
“So,” Eric began, “it is clear now that our bond doesn’t work like a normal bond between vampire and human. We have made only two exchanges thus far, but even after the first, Sookie could tap into my emotions, and for humans, that happens only after the bond is complete with three exchanges.”
Jesus nodded. “That matches what I read too. The bond between a vampire and a human is very rare, but in all known cases, it took three exchanges to make it permanent and give the human access to the feelings of the vampire. Humans with a full bond are also able to sense and find their vampires. But I think that Sookie can feel you because of her magic, not yours. Or maybe because her magic has strengthened the bond? I’m not sure; there’s never been a case of a fairy and vampire bonding that I know of, so a lot of what I’m saying is pure conjecture.”
Eric nodded. “Godric’s books mention no vampire/fairy bonds either. To be honest, pure fairies do not live long around vampires. The compulsion to take their blood is too great.” He looked at Sookie a bit guiltily as they both remembered her fairy godmother.
Jesus asked a bit nervously, “Would you be willing to tell me what else has happened with you since you remade the bond and how it is different? Maybe then I could figure out more about it. I have been reading all I can about fairies and their magic. To be honest, there’s not much since most thought they were myth.”
“Figures,” Sookie mumbled.
Eric chuckled and then looked at Jesus seriously, “Sookie trusts you brujo, and you have already proven yourself to be a formidable ally to both of us. I find it hard to believe that I would align myself with a part demon, part human, and part brujo, but stranger things have happened, so if Sookie agrees, then we will tell you.”
Sookie giggled a bit at both Eric’s words and his formality, and then she looked at Jesus, “Of course we can trust him. And I’m speaking from my own instincts as well as from what I see in his head right now.” She tapped her forehead and then looked at Jesus a bit apologetically.
Jesus smiled at the couple and took them in. Sookie was now leaning against the arm of the sofa with her half-finished beer propped up on her stomach and her feet in Eric’s lap. Eric had been absentmindedly stroking Sookie’s bare feet since they’d arrived in his lap a few minutes before. Every once in a while, he would gaze at Sookie and a look of utter contentment would cross his face as he seemed to drink her in. For her part, Sookie was going back and forth between enjoying both her beer and her massage and leaning forward to check on Eric’s skin, making sure it wasn’t turning pink.
Eric took in an unnecessary breath, “First, as you know, when the vampire blood was removed from Sookie, I could no longer feel her, though an imprint of a fairy bond was left behind in the form of that empty space I told you about. Sookie had a similar space, but I was able to smell no vampire blood in her at all.”
Eric continued, “Last night, as Sookie said, we decided to reform the bond. It was an extreme experience to say the least,” he added grinning mischievously at Sookie, who gave her obligatory blush. “After we had exchanged, I felt our bloods and our magics meld together, literally filling that empty spot from before. After that, it seemed like a white light entwined our shared blood and welded itself to the magic in my blood.” Eric paused, “I cannot explain the feeling any better. It was like a fusing of the two magics. After that, I felt Sookie more than I had ever felt her before, even more than after our previous first bond. And she was able to sense my emotions too. Then, later, when we exchanged a second time, my ability to feel Sookie grew exponentially, which is why―I think―I was able to feel her fear even in my daytime sleep earlier.”
Sookie added, “Oh, and then there’s the whole shared drunken high thing.”
Jesus looked confused as Eric continued. “Yes, when Sookie and I exchanged our blood last night, it was almost as if we shared a kind of fantasy plane for a while. We were together at the lake in broad daylight. It seemed as real as us sitting here now. One of Godric’s books describes that a state of euphoria is achieved at the first bonding between a vampire and a human; I think that this is what occurred, but I’m certain that Sookie’s fairy blood caused the experience to be more―intense.”
Jesus contemplated what Eric had said before asking, “Did any of these things happen last time when you made the first bond?”
“Well, we did have a little fantasy trip thing together. Only that time, it started snowing in my shower, and we were in the sunlight and in the snow too,” Sookie said. “But I wasn’t able to feel Eric’s emotions then. And I know I couldn’t locate him because when he was taken by Marnie, I couldn’t feel where he was.”
Jesus thought for a moment before asking about the literal elephant in the room, “Eric, you are awake in the daytime and you are sitting in a room that has sunlight―not much, but some. How are you doing that?”
Eric looked at Sookie and then at Jesus, “Well, as you may know already, when a vampire takes a fairy’s blood, there is a kind of tolerance to the sun passed along. One of Sookie’s fairy relatives came to take her away again, and in my state of amnesia, I simply drained her. After that, I felt drunk―or at least that’s the only human memory I have which I can compare it to―and I was able to be up in the day for a while until the effects of the fairy blood began to wear off. In fact, that morning, I spent at least an hour in the direct sunlight without suffering ill-effects, nor did I feel the pull of the sun. After drinking from Sookie last night, I was able to stay awake well after dawn this morning. As an old vampire, I can choose to do this anyway, but I cannot stay in the light, nor can I prevent myself from feeling a pull. Also, vampires who stay awake past the time our bodies order rest get the bleeds. And I had none of that this morning. Even when I awoke from my sleep due to Sookie’s fear, I was not struggling against the day as I normally would. And in the sun when we were on the porch, I should have been burning a lot more and a lot quicker.”
Sookie sat up and returned her beer on the coffee table. She repositioned herself so that she was tucked in next to Eric; her anxiety over having seen Eric’s skin being damaged by the sun was apparent through the bond.
He held her close and comforted her as he went on. “And as you saw, after Sookie shot me with her light outside, the minor wounds I had developed healed immediately, and now I feel even more secure than I did this morning―as if the sun could not harm me. It is unheard of for a vampire, even the oldest of our kind, to be so easily awake in the middle of the day, but here I sit.”
Jesus inhaled deeply, trying to form his thoughts. “I think most of the unusual stuff happening is related to your fairy magic, Sook. Or maybe it’s the combination of fairy with vampire magic. Either way, in the fairy bonds I have read about,” Jesus looked at Eric since he’d previously told most of what he was about to say to Sookie,” it seems that the two bonded ones are able to share each other’s power in some ways, thus becoming stronger together than apart. Maybe Sookie can feel your emotions already because she’s sort of piggybacked onto your own magical ability. I also think that the healing light in her, or the light that you say is sealing your bond, is working as a kind of protection for you. It is possible that after the vampire bond is complete, especially if you continue to share blood, that you will become more and more resistant to the sun’s rays, though I doubt that you will ever be fully immune to them. In fairy bonds, the two sort of pool and share their magic in order to strengthen and protect the bond.”
“Fuck,” Eric muttered.
Sookie looked confused. “What’s wrong? Don’t you like the idea of being less susceptible to the sun?”
“Of course, min kära. This gift would be wonderful, but the price if found out by others would be too high. Right now, several people and vampires, including Bill, already know that your blood can protect them from the sun for a short while. But if you make me more and more resistant to sunlight over time, or even less susceptible as I am right now, it would be very bad if other vampires found out.”
“But I couldn’t do this for them. I am bonded only to you. I’d have to choose; I couldn’t be coerced, right?” Sookie asked looking back and forth between Eric and Jesus.
“Yes,” Eric answered. “But that would not prevent some from trying to take you or trying to force you to bond with them. I can think of one vampire right across the cemetery who might try to do this. It is better if no one beyond a small circle knows about your ability or the gift you have given me.”
“You can glamour us,” Jesus volunteered, “so that we wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Eric nodded, “Thank you.” He looked at Sookie, “With your permission, my love, I will send Pam to do Alcide too.”
Sookie nodded regretfully but agreed. “What about Jarod and Miranda? You called them in the day time.”
“They will agree to glamour,” Eric said reassuringly.
“Okay,” Sookie said. “So basically, we are sharing our gifts with each other to some extent. What else could we do? Do you think I could fly?” she asked excitedly.
Jesus shrugged. I don’t think so, but after the third bond, you could try things out to see what you can share.”
Eric nodded and then changed the topic slightly, “From what you have said, as well as from what my own instincts tell me, Sookie and my bond will become even stronger over time. And even after two exchanges, you saw the effect that it had on the Were. Is there a spell that we could use to dampen the way others perceive the bond, especially what they would smell?”
“Hmm,” Jesus contemplated. “I don’t know. There are all kinds of spells about hiding or cloaking things, so I bet I could find something. The privacy incantation I’ve been doing is a spell of this type. I’ll have to do a bit more research, however.
Eric followed up, “The privacy spell, Jesus. Tell me exactly what it entails.”
“Well, it lasts the cycle of the sun―or a day―right now, but I can change the language easily enough to extend it―to say, the cycle of the moon. It basically prevents anyone from knowing someone is within the confines of a specified area unless they show themselves voluntarily. For the last two days, I’ve been specifying the inside of this house as that area.”
Eric nodded. “So that is why Bubba could see Sookie from the door―because she was ‘showing herself.’”
Jesus continued, “Yes. Right now, the spell also includes words that allow those inside to see the world outside even as they are not seen.”
Eric posited, “So the spell could be adapted to allow those inside to hear and smell as well?”
Jesus nodded, “That’s what I’m thinking too, but I still need to work on the exact language before I attempt it.”
“Good,” Eric said. “For now, I think it’s best if we wait to redo the spell.”
Confused, Sookie looked at Eric, but then he gave her a look that told her that he had a plan, so she relaxed.
“What is the other spell―the protection spell―that you told Sookie about?” Eric picked up.
Jesus’s eyes lit up. “This one is cool! Basically, this spell will work to ward anything that is your property, Sook, anything you own―this house, the land around it, your car! It works to repel or keep out those with bad intentions. They would not be able to pass the barriers of the ward.”
Eric asked, “This is a powerful kind of magic, Jesus. I have heard of it before. Do you think you can do it?”
“Well,” Jesus said, “normally, I would say no, not even with my Demon blood, but Lafayette is extremely powerful, so if we do it together, I think it will work.”
“You make a good team too,” Eric complimented even as he looked at Sookie. “When can you do that one?”
“I got the ingredient I was missing this morning, thanks to your person Bobby. We brought everything we needed with us, so we can do it today if you want.”
Eric looked at Sookie. “Do it,” Sookie said.
Jesus looked a bit uncomfortable. “Sookie, anyone inside the property whose intentions are bad will be expelled as soon as the spell is completed.” He looked at Eric and then back at Sookie.
She tightened her arms around Eric, “It looks like you have one more test to pass, my love.”
He laughed. In mock exasperation, he added, “Always little tests with you, min kära. Never a peaceful moment.” He touched his forehead to hers and they embraced each other as Jesus looked on. Without turning toward Jesus, Eric asked, “What if someone’s intentions change after he or she is already inside the barrier?”
Sookie knew that Eric was talking about Bill, and she sighed, lamenting that she too had major doubts about Bill at this point.
Jesus thought for a moment, “They’d be immediately expelled from what I can figure.”
“Good,” Eric and Sookie said simultaneously.
Jesus could tell that their conversation was done, and he rose out of his chair and went into the kitchen, giving the two some privacy.
“You still okay?” Sookie asked Eric.
He smiled and pulled her closer, cradling her onto his lap. “You agreed to be my wife in every way a little while ago. Okay isn’t even close.”