[A/N: I named this chapter (and the next) for an Evanescence song of the same name. Its lyrics fit this chapter and many of the themes of this piece exactly. Plus, I just love the song.
“Eric?” Sookie asked in a whisper.
“Sookie?” he asked at the same time.
“Are you really here?” Sookie asked.
A stunned look on his face, Eric nodded. “Am I in your dream?”
She smiled up at him and nodded. The tears were now streaming from her eyes. For the second time that night, she saw a tentative Eric reaching out to touch her―afraid that she might disappear before he made contact.
She, however, was no longer patient―not now that her real husband was standing in front of her. And she didn’t know how much time they would have, so she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him for all she was worth. She felt for a moment like it had been she who had been missing him for more than a year.
Still in shock that he was finally with his wife, Eric couldn’t move for a few seconds, but when he did, he felt like he was in a frenzy. He had been in a desert, and now he was being bathed by water.
In that moment he didn’t care if she was a dream; he didn’t care if she was an illusion; he didn’t even care if she was a psychosis. “Bring on the crazy,” he thought to himself. He didn’t care if they should talk; he didn’t care about anything except what it felt like to hold the woman who had just propelled herself into his arms.
After so long in the dark, he was in the light again. After so long walking around as if he really were dead, he felt alive again.
She looked real. She smelled real. She tasted real. She felt real. And her moans into his mouth sure as fuck sounded real. His growls soon joined her moans. He wanted to fucking devour her with his kiss, but he managed to pull back as his fangs clicked down.
He looked down at her with eyes that were a single shade of blue that Sookie had never seen before. She shivered at his intensity. His gaze was like the ocean in a hurricane―as if all the water in the world had been stirred up together into one shade.
She felt her heart beating even faster as she tried to catch her breath. She didn’t have long to try as once again his lips were on hers. She moved her hands from around his neck and desperately pulled at the hem of his T-shirt. He helped her and gave her another chance to breathe as he pulled it over his head; in his haste, however, the shirt got stuck over his face for a few seconds, and he had to take both hands to it. Finally, he inelegantly freed himself by ripping the shirt into two pieces.
“Hey,” she giggled, “I always liked that shirt. You were wearing it that night at Fangtasia when I slapped you―remember?”
He did, and his cock remembered too; it grew exponentially harder. He was panting.
She giggled a bit more as she felt the evidence of his increased arousal against her stomach.
“Should I slap you around again, cowboy?” she asked teasingly and then giggled once more.
Eric stilled for a moment to look at her laughing in front of him―a laugh he hadn’t been sure he’d ever hear again. He laughed too even as two red tears slipped from the corners of his eyes. “It’s been over a year, min kära; forgive me for being a little―awkward. I’m out of practice.”
She smiled seductively, bit her lip, and then pulled her T-shirt over her head. As she bore her breasts to him, she purred, “Well, then―let’s get you some practice, min bóndi.”
He growled as he took her lips again, pulling her to him so that her warm flesh heated his cool chest. They sighed into each other’s mouths and sank further into the contact.
His hands quickly found and reintroduced themselves to her breasts, and he moaned at the pleasure of touching her, even as she moaned at his touch. His thumbs brushed and then tenderly teased her nipples until they were hardened pebbles.
Apparently even in her dreams, Sookie had to breathe. She gasped out a breathless “Eric,” as his lips moved to her neck and savored the taste of her skin there.
He mumbled against her flesh, “There is too much I want to taste, min älskare. Too much to touch. Everything. I. Want. Everything.”
He trailed kisses and blunt-teeth love-bites from her neck to her breasts, where he teased a pert nipple with his the tip of his tongue before sucking hard. She grasped the back of his head and pushed him more into her chest as he caressed her other breast. He growled into her tender nipple, the vibration traveling right to her core, which seemed to be on fire.
“Eric,” she breathed out as she enjoyed the sensation of his mouth gorging itself on her breast. He released it with a loud pop and then gently rubbed the tip of his nose across her engorged nipple. The contrast of his hard sucking and gentle nuzzling drew a growl from her throat and made her weak in the knees. Eric held her up with his strong hands as he moved to her other breast to offer it a similar re-introduction to his tongue.
“Eric,” she groaned again as he nibbled her other nipple with his blunt teeth.
Hearing her lips speak his name, he had to sample them again, and he quickly covered her mouth with another searing kiss. She tasted so fucking good; his tongue invaded her mouth, and hers greeted him with equal fervor.
He loved her taste—the sweetest of nectars. He loved the feel of her under his hands—so soft and sensual as her flesh rose to meet his touch. He loved how her own little hands were gripping his shoulder blades and pulling him to her ever more forcefully. He felt himself almost shaking with need as the scent of her arousal hit his nostrils. He had to be inside of her.
“No. More. Waiting.” He groaned into her mouth and then intensified their kiss as her fingernails scraped into his skin.
Without breaking their kiss this time, Eric reached down and pushed his track pants to the floor, stepping out of them as he did. In the next second, her sweatpants were at her ankles―as were her panties―and he was lifting her out of them and lowering her to the floor in the same movement.
Even as she felt her bottom hit the pallet on the floor, her husband’s cock entered her fully. They both moaned in ecstasy.
He stayed frozen above her as her body stretched to accommodate his size. His eyes were closed tightly, and she was panting underneath him, watching him above her. His expression almost broke her heart even as it filled her with intense love. In that moment his face was pure pleasure, but it was also astonishment. It was passion, but it was also peace.
Still not moving, he stayed fully lodged inside of her, but after several more moments, he did open his eyes. Whereas before those eyes seemed like one shade encompassing all blues, now they seemed like all the different shades—as distinct as every emotion that was storming through Eric’s mind: love, pleasure, desire, joy, anguish, misery, despair, loneliness, regret, shock, hope, suffering, contentment, longing, sadness, hurt, dread, anger, lust, euphoria, shyness, excitement, gratitude, shame, wonder, anxiety, guilt, worry, happiness.
Sookie, however, focused only on the two that seemed most prominent in his eyes: the pain and sorrow he’d felt as he’d been without his mate. Sookie wanted nothing more than to heal all of the moments of grief her husband had gone through during her absence.
She reached her hands up to his cheeks in comfort. Neither one of them noticed the dim white light that emanated from her fingertips and was absorbed into his skin.
He spoke in a whisper as he began to move in and out of her body slowly, as if treasuring each sensation of their joining. “I had been waiting to be inside of you―min kván—for 410 days, eight hours, three minutes, and seven seconds.”
“Eric,” Sookie murmured, as tears fell from her eyes. “I’m sorry―so sorry.”
“No, min kära,” he said softly as he continued his unhurried thrusts. Balancing himself with one long arm, he brought a hand gently to her cheek and brushed her tears away. “Do not say you are sorry. I am home again. There is nothing to be sorry for. I feel you again. Do not ever say you are sorry when you have once again brought me back to you.” He stopped his movements for a moment. “Sookie, I love you.”
“I love you, Eric,” Sookie said as she grasped his back and held onto him, matching his movements when he resumed them. She was content to be taken by him―to be possessed by him. He needed her. She couldn’t feel his emotions because the vampire bond was not there, but she could see his need in his eyes. He needed to be in control after being out of it for over a year. And she was satisfied to be owned by him in that moment and for every moment that was yet to come between them. In his eyes, she saw that she owned him too―so it was only fair, after all.
So she kept pace with him, but she didn’t hurry him. This was her husband’s show, and she was just glad to be along for the ride. She held her eyes to his as he seemed to be drinking her in. All she could think about was how beautiful he was as he brought her ever closer to completion.
“Sookie,” Eric said, “I need you. I need you.”
“You have me,” she said as she pulled herself flush with his rising and lowering chest, so that more of their bodies would touch. “I have you.”
“I feel you,” he said, as two more bloody tears fell from his cheeks. “I feel you. I feel you. I feel you.”
She nodded beneath him and gripped him even tighter. “I’m here.”
He began to move faster, not able to delay the release building inside of him. For thirteen months, he’d allowed himself very few thoughts of his wife’s warm body around him.
Compared to her not being by his side every day and especially compared to his not being able to feel her through their bonds at all, his forced celibacy had been the easy part.
Mostly, he’d missed her smiles, her laughs, her words, her light touches, and those eyes that were looking up at him with such love. He’d missed all of those things more than he’d missed the sex or the blood. But right at that moment, he felt sixteen again and ready to burst with just one more piece of stimulus. Sookie gave it to him when she bared her neck for him.
“Eric,” she panted. “Please. Bite. Me. I know you need this. We need this.”
He could only nod as he continued his thrusts and buried his nose into her neck. He breathed her in, and then he bit down gently so he could savor the feeling of his fangs in her flesh. As soon as her blood hit his taste buds, he burst into her, and that was enough to draw forth her own release.
He felt her pulsing as his release began to shake him. He drank in more of her blood, wondering how the taste could be both so comforting and so stimulating at the same time. He felt her lift his wrist to her mouth and bite down, and he released into her again. She sucked out his blood for the first time in more than 400 days, and he released again. He growled as he took one more pull of her blood and he released for a final time, emptying himself completely into her. She could take all of him―everything―as long as he was never without her again―as long as he never lost her again.
He felt her licking his wound even as he licked hers, and then he collapsed onto her stomach. Her hands immediately began to stroke him, to comfort him, to heal him with soft caresses. They lay like that next to the fire for a while―neither of them speaking but each having so many things to say.
Finally, Eric felt Sookie becoming cool, so he sat up and pulled a cover over his wife. He smiled at her, “You know I would have waited until the earth was no more as long as there was any hope that you were still alive, but I must tell you that it is no longer my favorite word, min kära. I find that I,” he paused, “don’t do ‘waiting’ well.”
She smiled and sat up next to him, pulling her knees up to her chest and his body to hers so that he could rest his head on those knees. She stretched one arm out to wrap around his back and shoulders. Her expression turned serious. “I can’t even imagine what you went through, Eric. I don’t want to imagine it.”
Eric looked up at her soberly, his blue eyes not knowing where to begin. He didn’t even try. He just wrapped his arms around her knees more fully and sank into them.
She did not speak either. She simply caressed his shoulders and neck with a light touch.
Finally he spoke, “Do you know that you are doing that?”
“Doing what?” she asked with confusion.
He lifted up a bit. “You are sending your magic into me even now, min kära.”
Sookie looked at her hands in confusion and then saw a little white light emanating from them. She smiled and shrugged. “I didn’t know.”
“Min vackra fe,” he said reverently. “My beautiful fairy.”
“My handsome vampire,” she said as she continued to stroke his shoulders.
Eric asked, “How long do we have?”
“I don’t know,” Sookie said, but now that I know that I can bring you into my dreams, you can bet your cute ass that I’ll be bringin’ you to me every time I sleep, and I’ll be gettin’ a full eight hours―at least―a night until I can come back home to you.”
Eric hugged her knees tightly as he sighed with relief. “Are you safe there?”
“I’m with Niall again―at the pool.”
Another sigh of relief.
“I won’t leave there again—not if I don’t have to, Eric. I promise.”
He nodded and hugged her even more snuggly.
After a minute more of enjoying her comforting and healing strokes, he sat up with sudden concern. “You are certain you are safe? Claudette told me,” he stopped for a moment. “She said that you would be given to a male fairy and forced to mate with him.”
He felt her tremble. He looked at her closely and spoke sincerely, “If that has already happened to you, I want you to know that I love you. Nothing I feel will ever change. Whatever has happened, I will be with you.” He suddenly tensed and looked down toward her waist, “I did not hurt you―did I?”
She raised her hand to his cheek comfortingly. “I’m fine, Eric. I mean, someone tried, but I,” she paused, “killed him before he could get too far.”
Eric once again sighed in relief and raised his hand to touch her cheek. “I am glad that you were not hurt in this way, my Sookie.”
Sookie smiled a little, “It means everything to me that you would support me and love me the same as you do now even if something had happened.” It was her turn to sigh. “It almost did happen, but I felt your love, and that was all I needed to help me remember that I’m a Stackhouse AND a Northman, so I was able to fight back.”
“Northman,” he whispered in awe. Eric leaned in and kissed his wife tenderly, grateful that she was safe and that she’d been able to defend herself.
“Did you get Hunter’s mother?” he asked.
Sookie’s face fell and she nodded sadly. “Hadley’s with me at the pool too, but, Eric, she was raped and is hurting—real bad.”
“Is there a way for her to be healed? My blood?” Sookie tensed next to him. Eric chuckled a bit, “I mean Pam’s blood?”
Sookie calmed and shook her head. “Don’t forget that your blood is all mine, vampire.”
Eric smiled, “I will never forget that I am yours, Sookie Stackhouse-Northman.”
She smiled back and then kissed him gently on the forehead before continuing somberly, “Niall has already healed Hadley physically, but she is hurting emotionally, and she is,” Sookie paused and steeled herself, “pregnant.”
Eric looked at Sookie seriously, “Claudette made clear that a child would permanently tie you to the fairy realm. I assume the same is true for Hadley.”
Sookie nodded, “And she also ate the light fruit. Niall says that he might be able to use magic to counteract the light fruit, but it sounds very dangerous for her and would be fatal to the child. And if she keeps the child, there will be no way for her to ever live in the human realm again.”
Eric’s brow creased, “What of Hunter? Will she,” he paused and looked into the fire, a tear forming in his eye, “take him away to the fairy world? Will I lose him—just as I am getting you back?”