A/N: If you are inclined, you can find my playlist for this chapter by clicking below.
Chapter 196: Connections
Still holding hands, Sookie and Eric stood next Hunter’s bed. For several minutes, they both just luxuriated in the sounds of his little snores. The cat and the dog were with him—as always—and Emma lay innocently curled onto the other side of the bed.
Sam and Luna were planning on picking up Emma the next day so that their little girl could sleep through the night.
Both Eric and Sookie grinned as they noticed that the children were holding hands in their sleep.
“Should we wake him?” Sookie asked in a whisper.
Eric smiled and shook his head contentedly. “No,” he whispered back. “Lafayette said that he has not gotten much sleep the last few days. I promised that I would wake him before I went to my day-rest, so we will do that.” He paused. “Plus, I want to be cleaned up before he sees me.”
Taking in the dried blood that was still visible on her mate’s body, Sookie nodded. They exited Hunter’s room, which was the first place they had wanted to go after getting home.
Breeta was standing guard in the hall and gave Sookie and Eric a curt nod as they stopped to greet her.
“Your child and the shifter girl will make fine mates one day,” Breeta said. “She kept him distracted when he was inclined to worry. He watched over her through the evening to make sure she was happy and safe.”
Eric chuckled. “Yes. I do not think that even Sam will try to stop them when the time is right.”
Breeta shrugged. “Why would he desire that? The girl is already in love with Hunter, and he would be a fine match for anyone.”
Sookie smiled. “I’m glad you’re here with us now, Breeta. It’s real good to meet you.”
Breeta bowed. “I will stand with my mother until she feels that I am ready to take over her contract.”
“Batanya is leaving?” Sookie asked with concern in her voice.
Breeta shook her head and spoke formally. “No—she intends to bond with the vampire, Duncan, and be happy.” Breeta almost smiled a little, but only her eyes showed it. “She is the finest warrior among the Britlingens. She is the best mother as well. All I know is from her, and all my good has been taught to me by her. I will enjoy watching over your child. And she will enjoy being able to choose to stay here to protect the child as well. She will have her freedom and her love—finally.”
Sookie smiled, holding back a tear.
“She is leaving the ranks of the Britlingen guards?” Eric inquired.
Breeta nodded. “She loves the child and her vampire. She has fulfilled her obligations to our people tenfold. And she prefers her life here to any she has ever known, so—yes—she wants to stay here of her own accord. Our elders have given her permission to do this.”
“And you?” Sookie asked. “Are you happy to be here too? Surely you could guard a king or a queen or something?”
Looking very much like her mother, Breeta smirked. “The kings and queens I have guarded have been imbeciles. And I trust my mother’s judgment. If this is the life she believes in, then it is a good life. I would like to stay and help to fulfill the terms of my mother’s contract to the boy—if that is acceptable. I will guard the child at night so that my mother can be with her mate, and she wishes to continue to guard Hunter during the day.”
“Welcome to the family,” Sookie said with a sincere smile.
“We are honored to have both you and your mother here,” Eric added with a nod.
Breeta nodded back. “When my mother is on duty with Hunter during the day, I will watch over his beloved.” She gestured toward little Emma.
Eric spoke cautiously. “You know you do not have to do that. You may seek leisure in your off time.”
Breeta looked momentarily confused but then spoke. “I am happiest when at my guard-post, and Master Hunter will be more content if he knows that his woman is being watched over.”
Sookie smiled and held in her giggle, even as Eric bowed a little. In actuality, the Britlingen was offering them a great service. “I will speak to Merlotte tomorrow night. I am sure that he will welcome your service when you are not with Hunter.”
Breeta nodded again and then resumed her stiffer posture.
Eric was happy that Breeta had decided to stay with them as Hunter’s guard; now Batanya would have the opportunity to spend more time with Duncan and seek her own happiness.
Britlingens who became guardians did not often leave that profession—unless, of course, they were offered a place of honor in their Counsel of Elders. Eric knew that Batanya would have been; thus, he understood the significance of her deciding to stay with them of her own accord, just as he understood the implications of her joining their fight that night. By doing that, she’d removed herself from the traditional Britlingen role as a defender. She’d gone on the offensive with them. She had quite literally chosen to be part of their family that night—chosen it over being a “Britlingen.”
Eric was comforted by the fact that two Britlingens would now be available to guard his son during times of unrest. He smiled at the boon his brother had made in landing someone like Batanya. They were matched well.
Eric had entrusted Batanya and Duncan—along with Jesus and an insistent Jarod—with staying behind at the warehouse to make sure that all traces of what had happened there were eradicated. Of course, after that, Batanya and Duncan would likely “celebrate” the victory.
Eric thought that was a damned good idea. He took his wife’s hand and led her toward a celebration of their own.
After seeing Hunter, the second place that Eric had wanted to go once he was home was to his and Sookie’s renovated bathroom. Without a word, he lit the never-before-used candles that smelled of lavender, Sookie’s favorite. He turned on the water to fill up the wooden tub that he had carefully crafted to fit them both perfectly, but that he’d never used. He’d been saving it for them. He added the bath oil that she loved so much, the oil that made her skin feel even silkier than it normally was. While the tub was filling, he stripped and took a quick shower, washing all the dried blood from his body.
Sookie stepped into the shower with him and bathed next to him. She knew that he needed for her to be close to him, so she stayed close.
After they’d cleaned themselves, they didn’t bother to dry off before Eric led them to the large bathtub in the middle of the bathroom. He held her gaze as he settled into the water, and then he held out his hand, helping her in after him. She lay against his chest, and his arms encircled her and landed on her stomach.
They stayed like that—without a single word passing between them—until the water grew lukewarm. Eric pulled up the stopper and then added hot water to the tub once he felt Sookie shiver against him. The water comfortable once again, they stayed silent for a while longer. In actuality, their bonds were doing the talking for them. The love and contentment passing between them was so deep that words would have been inadequate.
Eric kept his nose buried in his wife’s hair; she angled herself so that her cheek was on his upper chest. His fingers and hands were still as they rested against her. Her fingers drew a little pattern from his shoulder to his fingers—up and down, again and again.
And—slowly but surely―the only thing that had been missing from their bonds filtered into them: safety. They were safe. And it’s not just that they were physically safe from enemies. No. That was the least of what they felt. What was truly magnificent was that it was safe for them to be just Eric and Sookie again. At the core of them, they both craved a simple life—a life that consisted of moments like the one they were in. It was safe for them to relax into each other. It was safe to just feel happy. It was safe to expect that happiness to last.
Finally, Eric could speak. “You smell of the sun.”
“I lay by the pool with Hunter today,” she said. She didn’t need to tell him that she’d done it so that the first thing he’d smell after getting out of that dank hellish basement was the sun on her skin. She didn’t need to tell him that she intended to spend as many days as she could in the sun—to spoil him with her sun-kissed scent. She didn’t need to say anything. He already knew.
Eric sighed and nodded into her hair. “Do you like it—the pool?”
“I love it,” she returned. “I love everything. I love you.”
He nodded again, but couldn’t answer this time. There were too many feelings—too much love. There were no words.
She saw a red drop fall into the tub and turned around to face him.
“Eric,” she whispered. She placed her small hands on either side of his face. “Eric, I don’t care what happens. I don’t care what prophesies we might hear about in the future or what enemies we might face. The whole fucking human realm and fairy realm and Timbuktu realm might try to split us apart, but none of them would ever make me leave you again.” She paused and dropped her hands to his chest—to his heart. “I’m never gonna leave you again. And I’m not gonna let you leave me either. Not even for a night.”
He believed every word she spoke. No. It was more than belief; he knew her words to be true—absolute. Both of them were independent-natured, and both of them would have their own lives, but those lives would be lived right next to each other. As far as Eric was concerned, they had survived purgatory, and they had survived hell. It was mother-fucking time for heaven.
He pulled her forehead to his and sighed. He still couldn’t speak, but he could move. He moved his large hands over her shoulder blades and then down her back into the water. He moved his lips to hers and slowly began to place soft kisses on them until her willing mouth opened and his tongue moved to join hers in a slow, sensual dance. He grasped her hips firmly, but tenderly, and then moved her so that she was over his aroused member. Her moans and her scent told him that her body was ready for his. He brought her down slowly, connecting them together.
Sookie sighed at their joining even as another tear fell from Eric’s eyes.
She wiped it away and then began to move for them as he held onto her hips.
Sookie had made love to Eric many times, and they’d had sessions that could be called purely sex as well. Sookie knew that the sensations they were experiencing now were about the need to heal as well as to avow their love for one another.
No matter what the reason for their love-making, however, the physiology of their joining had always worked perfectly. He filled and stretched her to just the right combination of pleasure and pressure. And she fit around him—just fit. Just perfectly. They’d always known how and when to move together in just the right way—the way that would give both of them the most pleasure. There had never been the kind of awkwardness in establishing a rhythm that Sookie had found with Bill. There had never been the ambivalence that Eric had found with countless women and men throughout time.
Sookie and Eric’s bodies had always understood each other at a fundamental level. Always. Thus, every time and every way they made love, their bodies sang together—danced together.
Their lips continued to move in a languid rhythm. The kiss was indulgent and decadent as their lips and tongues reacquainted with each other fully.
Their first first kiss in Eric’s office at Fangtasia had begun with Eric forcing the issue, but soon their hands had risen in concert to each other’s faces and necks and hair―as if they instinctually knew what parts of the other craved their touches. Their second first kiss―which occurred when Eric had amnesia—had been on the porch that now belonged to both of them, and the instinctiveness of it had been the same as with their first. Their hands as well as their lips had reached for the kind of intimacy that neither one had ever felt before. Eric’s fingers had streaked the back of her neck; her hands had risen to his cheeks and his soft hair. That kiss could have been just a kiss, but the passion within it led them to thirst for even greater connections. Their third first kiss—coming when both of them were of sound mind and absolutely willing—was even more sweeping. It had symbolized their choice to re-bond and to live their lives as one.
They both seemed to intuit that the kiss they were now sharing would be their last first kiss. There would be no more separations, no more need for reacquainting.
Eric and Sookie’s physical connection during lovemaking was always so much more than pleasure. Their blood—or maybe even the elements within that blood—thirsted for integration. Their souls were always joined; they lived joined. But during the physical acts that solidified that connection—whether it was the union of their sexual organs or simply their hands—their souls cried out in sheer delight.
But this time, as Sookie moved herself up and down—up and down—and Eric held onto her, she knew that their lovemaking was even more. It was more because they were more, would always continue becoming more and more together. And that wasn’t because of new, improved fairy powers or defeating a mortal enemy.
It was because―inexplicably, unbelievably, and illogically―their love for each other continued to grow. Every time it seemed to breach the limits of possibility, their love created new limits for itself.
As if of one thought, they broke their kiss—not because Sookie needed to take of breath or because Eric wanted to explore her face or neck with his mouth. They broke it so that they could look at each other, so that their eyes could extend the love of their bodies.
Eric sat unmoving as his wife—his beloved—moved them slowly toward their releases. He was in no hurry. All that he seemed capable of in that moment was joy—and, of course, enjoyment.
She was here in their home, in the bathroom they’d designed together, and in the tub that he had made for them. She was here with him―really here. It wasn’t a fantasy. It wasn’t a stolen dream on a cold winter’s night.
They were in the life they had chosen—together again in that life.
He’d accepted the dreams gratefully the previous winter. He’d taken their night by the fairy pool even more gratefully. And he’d welcomed her calling him into her dreams the last two nights, despite the circumstances.
But this was their life again—finally. She was his core. And Eric had felt hollow without her. He had been hanging on for Hunter and because he had faith in his mate’s return, but as he looked at her in their home, he was finally able to stop actively holding himself together because now—after so many days of living a half-life—he was once again whole.
Sookie knew that their sexual releases were close, but she needed to feel him closer still. She moved her wet hair all to one side, exposing her neck to him.
Eric took in Sookie’s movements, her invitation for him to bite. She looked at him tenderly even as she continued to rise and fall onto his throbbing member.
He found the voice to speak softly—barely loud enough for her to hear. “You look like you did that day you fed me in the cubby—after you had made sure that I did not succumb to the necromancer’s spell.”
Sookie nodded as she continued the movements of her lower body onto the body of her lover. “I remember. And you’ve once again been under silver, Eric—once again for me. For us.”
Eric let his nose lead him to the spot on her neck where he’d bitten her that long-ago evening in the cubby. It was the exact same place he’d bitten her the first time too―when he’d been trying to entrap Russell. He’d made so many mistakes that day, and this day had been coming for a long time because of his errors. Eric nuzzled Sookie’s neck and wondered how he would ever really deserve her.
He pulled away a bit and looked into her eyes. “I don’t deserve you,” he said quietly, reverently. “I don’t deserve the great love that I have been given.”
“No one probably deserves the kind of thing we have, Eric,” Sookie said just as quietly. “It’s so rare.”
Eric nodded. “Rare,” he agreed. “Wonderful.”
Sookie smiled softly and kissed him lightly on the lips. “Maybe we deserve it because we recognize it. Or maybe it’s not about deserving. Maybe we’re just blessed.”
He nodded again. “We are. Deserve it or not, min kära, I’m going to take it and enjoy it for the rest of my existence.”
“You’d better,” Sookie said, kissing him again.
She’d stopped moving sometime during their conversation, and now it was he who began to move under her. His thrusts quickly found their intended target.
“Eric,” Sookie sighed as she held onto his broad shoulders. “You always know just how to,” she groaned and bit her lip as he hit her G-spot again. One of his hands had slipped over from her hip to lightly circle her clit as well.
“Know how to do what?” Eric purred into her ear as he pulled out of her slightly, just so that he could strike her spot again. He paused the movement of both his cock and fingers as he looked once again into Sookie’s eyes, which were now glazed over in passion. He growled low at the sight of her beauty.
“Touch me,” Sookie groaned, though neither was certain whether she was responding to his question or ordering him into action. It didn’t matter as he began to move into her harder—faster. The water in the deep tub swelled into small waves as Sookie’s orgasm crashed down upon her, making waves of its own.
Eric felt his wife’s walls contracting in her release, squeezing his very ready and very full cock. He had spent months outside of her, and now that her glorious tightness was literally massaging his stiff organ and pulling it into her even more, he felt his orgasm like an explosion as he burst into her again and again so many times that even he lost count as his pleasure overcame him.
In fact, his next moment of awareness was hearing Sookie’s breathless giggle. “Jeez, Vampire,” she joked, “I should probably call the Guinness Book of World Records about that orgasm.”
Eric chuckled and pulled her to him so that their foreheads were touching. “That one has been waiting for you since the end of January, lover.”
Sookie pulled back a bit to look him in the eyes, “You mean you—um—haven’t—um?”
“Haven’t what?” Eric asked with a wicked grin as Sookie blushed.
“Haven’t—ummm—you know,” she hit his chest with her wet hand and blushed even darker.
He chuckled, “No, lover, I haven’t pleasured myself with masturbation since I saw you last winter. It would not have,” he paused, “been satisfactory to me, and I knew you would soon be with me again. However,” Eric purred sexily as he nipped at her earlobe, “if you would like to watch me do it now, I think it would be more than satisfactory—for both of us.”
Sookie slapped his chest again but then dragged her fingernails along his nipples and into the water toward his abs. He was still inside of her, and she felt his cock hardening again as she arched her back and then brought her hands behind her in order to stroke his balls with her nails.
“Sookie,” he groaned as he began to move in and out of her again.
“What?” she asked coyly as she braced one hand on his left quadriceps and continued stimulating his balls with her other.
He merely groaned again.
She managed a sex-kitten purr. “I don’t think just watching you would be enough for me right now, Mr. Northman. But maybe we could save that for another time.”
His eyes glinted, “I would like to watch you pleasure yourself too, Miss Stackhouse.”
She squeezed her internal muscles around his girth, causing him to once again moan loudly.
“That’s Mrs. Stackhouse-Northman, and don’t you forget it.”
Eric grinned and then kissed her hard. She brought her arms back up and around his shoulders as she held on through his increased bucking.
Sookie was at the edge of another transcendent orgasm when she once again moved her hair to one side and exposed her neck. Eric grunted at the sight of her beautiful, freshly tanned skin and the throbbing artery underneath it, and his orgasm exploded into her like that of a teenager. Luckily―for his pride―she had been close as well and fell into her release right after, being drawn there by the cool pounding of his seed against her walls.
She couldn’t help her smile as she caught her breath and rose off of his now fully sated cock.
Eric was still looking at her neck as if he were a starving man being presented with a juicy steak. “Eric,” she teased, “you’d better eat before your dinner gets cold.”
He looked back into her eyes and seeing the laughter in them, he smiled too.
“It’s just that,” he paused, “it feels almost too good to be true.” He sighed.
She leaned into him. “Then make it feel even better,” she whispered.
Eric’s fangs sprang down immediately, and he looked into her eyes reverently until the last moment before he plunged his fangs into her neck and drank from her. They both moaned through this renewed moment of connection. He pulled back after a few seconds with a question in his eyes that was already being answered in hers. He bit into his own hand and then offered it to her as he went back to her neck. Their moans grew deeper as they renewed their bonds by sharing their blood.
He lifted her onto his reinvigorated cock again as they continued drinking. She’d been wrong about him being fully sated. Very wrong.
Here’s what the tub looks like if you are interested.