It was several hours later when Sookie and Eric settled into bed, the kitten quickly joining them.
Sookie rested on Eric’s bare chest for a moment and then looked up at him. “You had fun tonight, didn’t you?”
Eric’s mouth turned up slightly, and he nodded. “You?”
“Tons,” she confirmed as she settled into him again, smiling into his chest and then giving it a quick peck. “Still―I wonder if,” she paused, and uncertainty filled the bond.
“What is it?” Eric asked.
“I wonder if we should have done that to Bill. I’ll admit that it felt good at the time, especially given all that he did to me and wants to do to you—to us—but that bet was kind of mean. And my helping—well, that was really mean.”
Eric nodded, “It was―as you say―mean. But, then again, he does want to kill me and/or use Lillith to seduce me. And he’d like nothing more than to take you from me and to control you with his blood, so I have a hard time being sympathetic. And Pam does enjoy her little wagers. I’m afraid that with Miranda here, their twisted senses of humor will feed off of each other.” Despite the seriousness of his words regarding Bill’s intentions, he couldn’t help grinning at the thought of Pam and Miranda teaming up against his monarch again―an action which earned him a little swat from Sookie.
He grinned wider.
“It’s just that I don’t want to antagonize him to do something dumb—or more dumb than usual,” Sookie said. “Plus,” she paused, “I might have inadvertently encouraged him when I asked him to stay longer. I don’t wanna encourage him at all.”
Eric pulled her closer. “I know.” He sighed. “I know that you do not like playing with people. It is not in your nature to enjoy that kind of game.”
“What did Bill do when he got home?” Sookie asked. “I know you had Pam leave early to go check.”
Eric nodded. “He sulked a bit to Lillith and then asked about how her own evening at Fangtasia had gone before Pam left; he was not pleased by her lack of progress. Pam has decided to play ‘hard to get,’ so Bill has asked Lillith to redouble her efforts to bed one of us―preferably me.”
Sookie shook her head angrily. “Maybe I’m not so upset that Miranda and Pam had their fun with him, after all.” After a few seconds, she asked, “Anything else?”
“Bill is anxious to get you alone at Merlotte’s.” He sighed. “Tonight, he revisited the idea of trying to get you to take his blood. After seeing us together, he is even more convinced that I must have tricked you into taking mine again. He has decided that my tricking you is the only way you would have chosen me—the only way that you could be happy with the likes of me. He sees the renovations that we are doing on the house and the fact that you are letting me deal with him about your employment as overwhelming evidence of my controlling you through a blood tie.” Eric paused and sighed again.
“What else?” Sookie asked, raising herself up so that she could better meet his eyes.
“He said that although he hates me, he finds my ability to control you―admirable. He said that you are learning to heel nicely and thinks that will only be of benefit to him when he creates a new tie with you.” Anger flared through the bond from Eric’s end. “He said that it would make you more pliable to him.”
Eric sat up abruptly, disturbing both Sookie and the kitten. The perceptive kitten, sensing the vampire’s dark mood, jumped down. Sookie sat up next to Eric and lifted her knees to her chest as she pulled the blanket up to cover herself. She then pulled Eric to her, and he rested his head on her raised knees. Comfortingly, she tilted her cheek so that it was resting on his forehead and then began to caress his shoulders.
Emotion raged in Eric’s voice as he tried to steady himself, “I will not lie, Sookie. I hate Compton. And every time he says things like this, I hate him more. I want to kill him with my bare hands.”
“But you know I don’t believe anything he says.”
He looked up at her, his blue eyes wide and open to her. His emotions spilled out of them. “I know. But he would have you be what you’re not. He would kill your spirit—snuff out your fire—and take away everything that is rich and wonderful about you. The thought of that,” he stopped and gripped her knees tighter.
“He’s never gonna get to do that,” she said as she continued stroking his shoulders and his long neck with light touches.
“I know,” Eric nodded, as calm slowly returned to his side of the bond. “Still, I want to kill him for even thinking it.”
Sookie chuckled ruefully, “You’re not the only one who’s bloodthirsty. When Bill talks about killin’ you, I just wanna get it over with and take him out. I can’t believe I can even think like that, but,” she squeezed his shoulder, “when it comes to you, I can’t help myself. It’s like it’s an instinct or somethin’.”
“It is the same for me, min kära,” Eric said quietly.
They were quiet for a few minutes as Sookie kept up her comforting strokes. “Promise me something?” he asked, breaking the silence.
“I’d promise you anything,” Sookie smiled trustingly as Eric raised himself up a bit to look at her. His eyes shone with shades of cerulean and cobalt. There was almost desperation in them.
“Promise that you’ll never say that to Bill again.”
“Say what?” Sookie asked, racking her brain for something she might have said that had encouraged Bill unduly or that might have hurt her beloved.
Eric put his head back down on her knees. “Nothing,” he said, shaking his head.
Sookie felt his uncertainty through the bond. “Eric, tell me. It’s not ‘nothing.’ I can feel that it’s something—something that is important to you.”
“What is?” Sookie probed. “You know I’m too stubborn to let you get away with not tellin’ me now.”
Eric looked up at her again, this time with a half-smile. “I do know you are stubborn.”
“Good,” Sookie grinned at him. “Then you know you can’t win, so you might as well tell me―juvenile or not.”
“It’s just that,” Eric paused.
“Just that what?”
Eric continued after another moment or two, “It’s just that there’s a word that you have used at certain times, and I think of it as my word, but you used it with Bill tonight.”
“What is it?”
“Wait,” Eric said after a few more moments.
“Wait for what?” Sookie asked.
“No,” Eric said. “The word is―‘wait.’”
“Wait?” Sookie queried, confused. “Why would you think of that as your word?”
“I told you it was juvenile.” Sookie could feel hesitation—almost embarrassment—from Eric through the bond.
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” Sookie asked softly as she began to caress his hair. “Tell me.”
Eric sighed and then chuckled. “You have, I’m sure, said this word to me in many contexts and on many occasions, but there are five times that made me think of it as mine.”
Sookie pushed him a bit so that he was sitting up. She wanted to see his eyes. “What are they?” she asked, the curiosity thick in her voice.
Eric stroked her cheek. “The first was when I had amnesia. And you didn’t actually say the word, ‘wait,’ but your eyes spoke it to me.” Sookie tilted her head in question as Eric continued, “Your friend, Tara, had just confronted you about me.”
“Tara was angry,” Sookie said quickly.
“Perhaps she had some right to be,” Eric responded. “Either way, I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t know a lot about myself at that time, but I knew that much.”
Sookie touched Eric’s cheek lightly, mirroring his own action. “You were gonna leave.”
“Yes,” Eric said, “but you came out onto the porch. Your hair was golden in the moonlight, and the yellow of your dress was beautiful next to your skin.”
“I yelled out for you,” Sookie recalled.
“Yes,” Eric said. “You called out my name. Your eyes and your voice told me to ‘wait.’
“And then I told you not to go,” Sookie continued.
Eric nodded and brought her hand to his lips. “And then I came to you.”
“When were the other times, Eric?” she asked, even as she fought a tear to keep it from falling.
“The second was when you called me into your dream the night before you severed the blood tie and the bond.”
“I was dreaming that I was lost in the dark and running from Bill. You found me and took me home.”
“Yes,” Eric kissed her hand again. “When you were safe, I went to leave, but you told me ‘wait,’ so I stayed as long as I could. That was after I remembered everything—after you’d told me that you loved Bill too; however, you wanted me with you then. I know that it was a dream for you, but it was real for me. It was hope for me.
“Me too,” Sookie said in a whisper. “When else?” She raised her free hand to his chest and then stroked his collar bone.
“After you broke our first bond with the magic spell, I came to drop off the envelope with the house deed to Lafayette or Jesus.”
“And I was on the porch dozing.”
Eric nodded, “Again―you were so beautiful in the dim moonlight. I had not expected to see you that evening.”
“But I woke up.”
He nodded again. “And then once I’d given you the envelope and I went to leave, you said, ‘wait.’”
“And you sat down and we talked.”
“Yes―you asked me what language I thought in.”
“You told me about your time in England as a transcriber.”
“And then when you grew tired, and I got up to leave again,” he began.
“I told you to ‘wait’ again,” Sookie completed with a smile.
“Yes. You asked me to carry you inside to your bed.” He touched her cheek again. “It was so difficult not to lie down in that bed with you in that moment. It was so difficult not to keep hold of you in my arms.”
“But instead, you sat next to me until I went to sleep. You recited ‘The Seafarer’ to me.”
“Yes. I stayed all night watching over you.”
Sookie smiled. “I didn’t know that.”
“Well―you were asleep,” he grinned.
“What about the fifth time?”
“It was on the phone. You called me after your pseudo-date with Compton―after you questioned him about blood ties, just as you questioned me the next night.”
“I missed you,” Sookie smiled as she bent forward to kiss his shoulder lightly.
“I missed you too. When I went to hang up the first time, you told me ‘wait’ once again.”
“I wanted to see you that night. I wanted to tell you that I knew I loved you.”
Eric smiled. “I wanted to come to you.”
Sookie leaned into him more, this time putting her head onto his shoulder. “When I told Bill to wait tonight, I felt you get sad for a moment.”
Eric chuckled a bit. “It was my word. I didn’t like it used for him, not even in a game.”
Sookie looked up and pulled his mouth to hers. “You’re right―it is your word,” she whispered after she kissed him. “It’s your word, and you’re my beautiful man.”
Sookie kissed him again, this time putting her arms around his neck so that she could pull herself into him more forcefully. Slowly, she began pushing him down onto the bed until he was on his back and she was above him.
She ran her fingers lightly along his collarbone again and then around his pecks. She smiled down at him, “Do you have any idea how much I love you, Eric Northman?”
Her fingers slid down to his abs and then under the covers until they grasped his quickly hardening cock. “Do you have any idea how much I lust for you?” she whispered as she began moving her hand up and down his shaft, making sure to moisten her grip with the pre-cum that was quickly pooling on the tip of his penis.
He groaned at her ministrations, “Sookie.” She heard his fangs click into place and smiled at the sound.
She straddled him, placing her moist center over his erection and dragging the tip from her opening to her clit in slow movements. “I love it when I have you in my hands,” Sookie purred. “I love it when you can’t help your fangs coming down.”
“Fuck, Sookie,” Eric said, trying to thrust up to meet her. She moved slightly to avoid his penetration for a moment.
“Tell me something,” she said, tilting her head a bit as she continued to drag his cock against her sex without letting him enter her. “Why didn’t your fangs drop when we had sex when you had amnesia?”
He moaned, “Too afraid to hurt you. Knew I couldn’t,” he paused and groaned as she dragged the tip of his cock over her clit once more, “control them. I promised that I wouldn’t,” he paused again, “bite you—hurt you.”
She settled her opening over him and then guided him into her. She bit her lip as he filled her, and he sighed loudly. “I love you so much,” he gasped. “So much.”
She moved on top of him, riding him slowly in long strokes. She moaned each time she settled onto him fully, and he matched her moan for moan.
She brought her hands to his shoulders and grasped hold of them before she moved to kiss him gently on the mouth. She raised herself up a bit and then whispered, “I love that you wanted to protect me―even when you couldn’t really remember me. I love that you made sure you wouldn’t hurt me.” She groaned as she kept up her assault of rising and falling.
“Sookie,” Eric managed.
She continued kissing his lips lightly and then moved to his cheeks; then she tongued the little cleft on his chin. Again she caught his eye, “It must have been hard for you not to bite me then; it must have been hard not to let your fangs drop.”
Eric nodded his head. “Yes,” he gasped. “But. Couldn’t. Hurt. You. Wouldn’t.”
She smiled as she tightened her internal muscles to grip his cock tighter.
“Fuck,” he said as he thrust upward. “So perfect; you’re so fucking perfect, lover.”
She kissed him again and then whispered, “I love your fangs.”
“Sookie,” Eric panted, raising his hands to her hips, trying to make her move faster on him. “So perfect,” he repeated.
Instead of obliging him, she began to move her hips in excruciatingly slow circles. She lowered her lips to his and kissed him again, this time opening her mouth and using her tongue to stroke his fangs in slow circles that matched her hip movements. Then, she moved her lips to his neck and nibbled on his smooth, cool skin. “I love feeding you,” she purred. She raised herself up again so that she was sitting up straight upon him. Then she moved her hands to grasp his strong quadriceps behind her. She arched her back and began to buck her hips faster. Her eyes locked into his as she did.
Eric growled and looked at Sookie with eyes of barely contained fire; he raised his hands up to her breasts and began to roll them in rough circles, even as his hips rose to meet her downward movements.
Eric was at the very edge of his control because of her words, and Sookie knew it. She felt it in the bond, and she loved it!
She moaned at the ministrations of his hands and fingers even as she grinded into him so that her clit was stimulated. He brought one hand down to help her with that and circled his long, graceful fingers around her nerve center. She groaned above him, “Eric. I love you. I love how you always protect me―how you hold back to make sure you don’t hurt me.” She pierced his eyes with hers, “But right now, I want you to take me; I want you to mark me! I want you to take my blood and my body,” she paused, moved her hands forward again, and scratched her nails down his torso roughly, drawing blood. “I want you to fuck me—hard.”
Sookie registered only his growl and the sensation of flying during the next second or two. When she was able to orient herself again, she was on her hands and knees, and he was behind her, driving into her just as hard as she wanted him to. He was holding her hips roughly. “Sookie!” he yelled out behind her as he pounded. “Min älskare!”
Sookie braced herself for the impact of his thrusts. From this angle, he hit her in all the right spots and penetrated her very deeply. He’d never been behind her quite like this, and he’d certainly never rammed into her so quickly and forcefully as they’d had sex before. She groaned, loving the new position and her husband’s intensity. He quickened his pace even as her breaths quickened. One of his hands left her hips and traveled once again to her clit, this time vibrating over it with incredibly fast and compact movements.
Sookie’s orgasm began like a torrential rain and continued like a flood, and Eric raised her body so that her hands were off the bed and her back was to his chest. His feral growl was the only signal that he was going to bite, and the impact of his fangs, though deep, was also somehow tender. As he sucked her blood from her in greedy pulls, she felt his cool seed shooting deeply into her. Her orgasm continued as he emptied into her.
Eric thrust and drank for several more seconds, and then he sealed the wound on Sookie’s neck with his saliva. His eyes, which had been crazed with his lust, cleared, and he assessed his wife, as he always did after they’d made love. He’d been rougher with her than he’d ever been before; after her words, he’d been unable to hold the vampire in him completely at bay.
He inhaled deeply but could not scent any tearing in her sex. He sighed with relief, thankful that he’d held on to just enough of his control. However, he was certain that he’d struck her cervix many times as he’d pounded into her, so she would be sore the next day from their joining. He licked the wound on her neck once again and eased himself from her body. She was still breathing hard in his arms, still recovering from her orgasm. He gently laid her onto the bed on her side. He lay down facing her. As he pulled up the sheet to cover her spent body, his keen eyes took in her hips, and regret immediately shot through him. He could already see the evidence of his hard grip; she would bruise. He listened to her heartbeat settling down and cursed to himself. He’d taken a half of a pint too much of her blood. She would be tired the next day, and she was due to work. He looked at where he’d bitten her. He’d been accurate with his strike, but he’d gone deep, and though the wound had sealed from his saliva, it would leave a mark, which would be visible the next day, unless she took his blood. Even more regret filled him and filtered into the bond.
He closed his eyes and a red tear tracked his cheek. By this time, Sookie had recovered just enough to begin sensing his darkened mood through the bond. When she opened her eyes and saw the tear track, she reached out for him, pulling him into her warm embrace. “Eric, what’s wrong? What is it?”
He brushed the tear away and looked up at her, his own eyes widening. His expression matched the ashamed and uncertain look she’d seen from him when he’d tried to leave the house after the confrontation with Tara―right before she’d made him “wait” for the first time.
“Sookie,” he began, his voice steeped with an apology she didn’t understand, “will you allow me to give you some of my blood?”
“Of course,” Sookie burst out, “but what’s wrong?”
Eric looked down, “I have injured you.” He ghosted his fingers lightly over the thin sheet covering her hips. “You will bruise here because I held you too tight.” He looked into her eyes, his own full contriteness and rimmed with red. “You will be sore tomorrow because I coupled too forcefully with you. Your neck will be marked by my bite because I went in too deep and my saliva was not enough to heal it immediately. And,” he paused, “you will be weak. I took too much blood from you, Sookie.” He sat up and looked away from her, obviously angry with himself. “I’m sorry, min kära. I should not have lost control as I did. You are too precious to me.” Suddenly, he sensed irritation from Sookie through the bond, and afraid that she was angry that he’d injured her, he went to rise out of bed, but Sookie’s hand stopped him.
“Eric Northman, you get your skinny ass back on this bed right now, and look at me!” she insisted with fire in her voice.
Eric complied and raised his eyes to hers remorsefully.
“That’s better!” she said as she adjusted herself so that she was sitting cross-legged facing him. “Now―you are gonna listen to me and hear me out, okay?”
“Good! Number one―I have a question. Will your blood heal those things that you talked about? My soreness, the bruises, the marks?”
He nodded again.
“Fine then. Number two―you need to stop thinkin’ about me as some kind of fragile little flower, Eric.” He looked up at her, ready to speak. “No!” she said forcefully. “You listen here, Eric Northman. You don’t get to feel bad about what we just did!” She took his hand. “For the record, Eric,” she blushed, “I loved what we just did. I loved how you went all vampire on me. Loved it! Wanted it!” she reiterated. Sookie bit her lip and squeezed his hand. “Couldn’t you feel that?”
“Couldn’t you feel that I wasn’t in any pain?” she asked.
He nodded again.
“Good! Now―I appreciate that you are upset that you lost some control, but the things you are talkin’ about―except for the fang marks, of course―are the same kinds of things that can happen to anyone during sex. If I had a nickel for every time that I heard a woman thinkin’ about how she was a little sore or bruised from sex—jus normal sex, mind you,” she paused, “well, I would have enough money to pay for the renovations to this house myself!”
She continued, “You also just said that you took too much blood.” Sookie raised her other hand tenderly to his cheek. “That means that you think about me more than you think about yourself when you take my blood.” Her voice softened, “Eric, are you gettin’ enough blood from me? Are you starving?”
“Sookie,” Eric assured her, “I actually don’t need a lot of blood to live on. I’m almost a thousand years old, and the older vampires get, the less blood we need, and yours―even a few drops of it―is extremely nourishing to me.” It was his turn to raise his hand tenderly to her cheek. He spoke gently, “With your blood, I am stronger than I have ever been before in all my years, Sookie.” His eyes shined with truthfulness.
Sookie smiled. “Well good then.”
“But Sookie, I don’t want to harm you―not ever.”
Sookie’s fire once again rose. “Listen, Eric Northman. I’m a Stackhouse woman, damn it! We don’t break that easily.” She was speaking tenderly but passionately as she moved her hand to grip his bare shoulder. “I adore you, you silly vampire!” Her voice became louder, “And I love makin’ love with you, but sometimes, I’m gonna need you to,” she paused, “fuck me. Sometimes a girl just needs a good, hard screw, okay?” Her face blushed crimson red as she spoke.
Eric’s eyes widened, and he couldn’t stifle a passionate growl, which emanated from deep inside his chest. He quickly calmed himself down though and repeated, “I don’t want to harm you―never.”
She smiled at him, “Then you won’t, Eric. Do you really think that you even could at this point? ‘Cause I don’t. I don’t think our bonds would let you hurt me, not even by accident—do you?”
He shook his head. “No,” he said quietly. “I hope not.”
She continued forcefully, “I trust you―trust you with my life and my heart. And if I bruise, I’ll heal, and if I’m a bit sore in my lady parts, well,” she blushed again, “then I can spend the whole day feeling where you were. There’s something to be said for having a little,” she blushed more deeply, “reminder―at least―until I can have you again.”
Unconsciously, she ran her fingers over his chest. “And as for these,” she raised her other hand to her neck―to his marks, “these I like because they tell everyone that I belong to you.” She chuckled, “The idea of belonging to someone else used to be something I hated, but I love being yours.”
“I’m yours,” he averred passionately, taking her hand in his before gently stroking the bite marks on her neck with his long fingers. “I wish you could mark me as yours.”
She giggled. “If I could, you’d be covered with my bite marks so that everyone would know that I own you.”
Eric smiled and then got a faraway look in his eyes. “It is a vampire’s nature to take blood ruthlessly, Sookie. We arise vampire with a huge thirst to drink, and if a vampire’s maker lacks compassion for humans, his or her first blood is also his or her first kill, and that killing does not stop for a long while. I was very lucky; Godric stopped me. He taught me control, and control is survival for a vampire.”
Eric looked at Sookie closely. “The first time I had your blood, it burst into me, and two competing sides of myself fought with each other. There was the side that wanted to take all of your blood—every fucking drop; it was the best thing I had ever tasted.” Eric got an almost wistful look in his eyes at the memory.
“Fairy blood,” Sookie supplied.
Eric nodded and then continued, “And then there was the side that wanted only to love you, to cherish you―to protect you from people like me, and especially from all the Russells and Bills and Sophie-Annes of the world. I wanted to yank Russell off of your body.” His stroked her arm where Russell had bitten her. “And I knew that I too was hurting you even though I tried to be gentle.” He paused. “And then when I took your blood for the first time in my state of amnesia, I was so worried―so worried that I would snuff out the light in you.”
Sookie gripped his hand and settled their shared grasp next to her heart. “You are my light Eric.”
He shook his head, “No—I am the darkness.”
“No,” she said with certainty. “You need to listen to me because I never wanna have to repeat myself. I have forgiven you for that time you took my blood with Russell. You were still being a high-handed—and not in a good way—know-it-all vampire sheriff, and, though you loved me, you didn’t know how to trust me completely then. I know that you have learned that you were wrong. I know you never wanted me hurt, Eric. And I know what kind of man you are. I accept your whole nature, your whole self, and I don’t believe for one second that even the ruthless out-of-control vampire within you would hurt me—not ever.” She paused and squeezed his hand. “You did NOT hurt me tonight when we had sex, Eric. You didn’t. And if it makes you feel better, I’ll assure you that if you do ever hurt me, I’ll stop you with my microwave fingers, okay?” She smiled at him warmly.
He smiled, and it reached his eyes—finally. “Do you promise, min kära? Do you promise to send me flying onto my ass if I ever hurt you?”
“You bet that sweet ass I do,” Sookie said playfully, “so no more of your gloomy talk and melancholy feelings okay? No more guilt over giving me little bruises or leaving me with that delicious feeling down there,” she reddened again as she gestured toward her lap, “that only you can leave, okay?”
Eric nodded and spoke softly as he touched her hair. “I know that you are a strong woman, Sookie Stackhouse. But the greatest instinct within me is to protect you―even if that protection must be from me.”
Sookie smiled at him, “Mine too―to protect you, that is. Now you have to promise me something.”
“Anything in my power,” Eric vowed.
“Promise me that you won’t worry so much about little bruises or aches that I get―especially during sex with you. Promise me that you won’t hold yourself back.” Sookie smiled earnestly. “I want all of you, Eric, and that includes crazy vampire circus sex sometimes.”
He couldn’t help but to laugh at her humorous expression. “I promise to try,” he said sincerely. “But I must never hurt you, min kära.”
There were a few minutes of silence between them as they just looked at each other and shared tender touches. Through the bond, Sookie could feel Eric slowly trying to forgive himself for the little bruises and aches in her body. She smiled at him lovingly when she finally felt his melancholy drift out of the bond and get replaced by the mischievousness that she loved so much in him.
He smirked at her, “Lover, you really must tell me what you have in mind when you say ‘crazy vampire circus sex.’ I mean, I get the vampire part—that’s me. I get the crazy part—that’s you.”
She slapped his arm for that comment.
He winked charmingly and continued, “And I get the sex part. But the circus part—well that needs some details, Miss Stackhouse. Should I put a trapeze bar over the bed? I tightrope? Would you enjoy it if I dressed up as a ringmaster? Would you like to dress up as the ringmaster?” he asked hopefully.
She slapped his arm again and giggled. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” she responded coyly.
He chuckled and then turned more serious as he trailed a gentle touch up to her neck, where his bite marks were still visible.
“Will you take my blood to heal―please?” Eric asked. “The bruises will get worse and may even hurt you, and you are to work tomorrow.”
Sookie climbed up onto his lap with a grin that the Cheshire Cat would be envious of. She kissed his neck lightly. “Always. I always want your blood, Northman,” she growled a little.
With that, he smiled widely and opened up his wrist for her. She brought her lips around his flesh and drew from him. He sighed in relief, wanting nothing more than to make sure she was safe. Something from deep within him wanted to protect her at all costs―would protect her at all costs. For the first time, her taking his blood didn’t arouse him; it only comforted him.