STORY REMINDERS: Since this piece was on hiatus, I thought some reminders were in order. These are reminders from The Trunk (Part 1 of the trilogy), The Boot (Part 2), and The Engine (part 3):
- Debbie shoved Sookie into the trunk—just as she did in the books. However, instead of being raped and almost drained by Bill, Sookie is rescued by Eric before Bill can do as much damage as he did in the books.
- Eric and Sookie have a long talk on their way home (a flight, rather than a car ride). Her almost rape, draining, and turning at Bill’s hands is the wake-up call Sookie needs. She decides to give opening a business with Eric a try; she will be a telepath for hire, but will control her own fate by working for people she wants to and building a list of allies from her clientele.
- Eric is extremely open with Sookie, telling her about Appius and Karin, who is a child that he has completely released—to the point that he severed much of their maker-child connection. He did this so that Appius would think she was dead. At this point, Eric can feel only when Karin is very near and know whether she is still vampire or finally dead. Eric fears that Appius might reenter his life and make him harm Sookie, so he calls Karin and asks her to kill him (Eric, not Appius) if he is ever ordered to hurt his beloved. Karin, whom we learn has changed her name from Isolde, agrees.
- Sam initially reacts badly to Sookie’s choices; Sookie quits Merlotte’s but has a tepid reconciliation with Sam.
- Eric is able to convince Sookie that guards are needed since Debbie Pelt is still an issue—and since “going public” will necessitate guards. Though initially reluctant, Sookie agrees to guards for a set time limit. This is a good thing, as some Weres were found lying in wait on Sookie’s property as Eric and Sookie are almost back in Shreveport. Pam secures them in Fangtasia for questioning. Russell is contacted, and we learn that Eric and Russell are friendly.
- Of course, once Sookie gets to know her guards, it’s clear that she will not resist keeping them past that time limit. Her team is composed of Thalia, Bubba, Padma (Indira’s vampire sister), Maria-Star Cooper (Were and Colonel Flood goddaughter), Mustapha (Were), Warren (a human sniper—and Mustapha’s significant other), Onawa (a shifter, whose “familiar” is a bear), and Willow (a werehawk). Tray is also a part-time member of the team. In addition, many of Colonel Flood’s trusted me rotate in and out.
- Tray and Tara begin a relationship.
- Sookie and Eric learn of Sookie’s Fae heritage from Desmond Cataliades, who tells Sookie the story of Fintan and her grandmother. In this version of things, Desmond had thought (because of misinformation from Fintan) that she didn’t have the essential spark, and he learned of her telepathy only because Eric and Sookie were solidifying their contract (Desmond was drawing up the contract).
- Jason and Onawa (both cut from the same cloth) begin a relationship.
- Sookie learns of Bill being sent by the queen—but overstepping her directives. Sookie throws him to the curb. Bill is, not surprisingly, obsessed with getting her back and with getting revenge upon Eric.
- Meanwhile, Eric and Sookie begin a relationship and soon bond for love.
- Sophie-Anne is actually a “good guy” in this piece. Wybert and Sigebert are not brutes; indeed, Wybert is a very crafty advisor to the queen. Andre, on the other hand, is threatened by Eric and believes the queen should have free access to Sookie. Hadley is “undead” and well, and—though “simple”—she’s not “bad” in this piece.
- Bill and Andre agree to work together to undermine Eric. Hallow, a witch who has a fascination with Eric (and thoughts of getting his blood), is influenced to work with Bill and Andre (instead of trying to bewitch Eric around New Year’s Eve). One of their plans of attack is to contact Appius.
- Bill learns that Appius is in the Philippines and flies there to meet him. Appius decides to take Bill under his wing, but won’t go to Louisiana right away because he and Alexei have planned to decimate a secluded people group living on one of the “uncivilized” islands in the Philippines. Of course, it is Appius and Alexei who are actually uncivilized. Bill is invited to participate in the decimation. He accepts.
- Meanwhile, Debbie Pelt has been staying with Alcide, getting “sober.” She still harbors resentment toward Sookie, blaming her for all that has gone wrong in her life. However, she considers giving up the vendetta until she overhears Alcide phoning Sookie and planning a lunch date. She is enraged and decides to surveil the diner where they are meeting. She wants to ambush Sookie, but is stifled by the guard presence. Ultimately, she decides to attack anyway and takes some V. She is captured, however, by Mark Stonebrook.
- Sookie has been working/training as a telepath for a while and has returned home after “reading” some of Eric’s lawyers when the next chapter begins.
- The Ancient Pythoness is Appius’s maker, and one of her commands was that he release (though he doesn’t have to unbind with magic) any child he makes after 200 years. In other words, he can still order Eric to do things, but-if he tries to be around him for long-he experiences much pain, as he is breaking a command.
I hope this “catches” everyone up.
Chapter 14: Do Not Disturb
Of all the many—many—things Eric Northman appreciated about his bonded, the chief among them was the fact that she was now almost always with him when he rose.
Vampires—even those who preferred nests—were generally extremely careful in both their choice of a resting place and its security. Certainly, humans were vulnerable when they slept, but a single unfamiliar noise could rouse them, and—even in the direst of situations—they could, at least, fight.
Eric envied them that.
During the day, vampires could not be disturbed by a suspicious noise—or even by canon fire.
Eric knew that from experience.
Indeed, only a few things could rouse a vampire once he or she was dead for the day. Exposure to sunlight or silvering would do the trick.
Or an overwhelming compulsion from a blood bond.
Eric had heard tell of vampires being awoken when a maker or a child met his or her final death. A part of him always hoped to be awakened by a telltale pain that would indicate that Appius had finally perished, just as a part of him always dreaded that the death of one of his vampire children—Pamela or Isolde—would shake him from his sleep. However, the stirring of only one blood connection had ever woken him before he should have awoken: when Sookie’s fear and desolation had been overwhelming as she’d waited in the trunk for Bill to rise for the night and likely rape, kill, and turn her.
The thousand-year-old had never heard tell of one merely tied by blood being able to awaken a vampire, but—then again—Sookie and he had shared a stronger-than-usual connection even before they’d completed their bond. Perhaps, it was her fairy lineage. Or, perhaps, it had been love all along—a kind of connection that surpassed even blood.
A kind which was pure magic.
And it was that connection, one that went beyond any that Eric had ever had, which now compelled him to share his resting place with his bonded. He knew that he never again wished to go to his day-death without her with him, and having her by his side as he rose gave him a sense of wellbeing—a sense of completion—difficult for him to fathom, despite the suppleness of the vampire’s mind.
Thus, as soon as he was aware for the night, Eric assessed Sookie’s wellbeing. Finding her content and well—though with a slightly sore hand—he said a prayer of thanksgiving to all of the gods and goddesses he’d ever heard tell of—at least the ones he’d found intriguing or worthy. In the next second, he stretched out his senses, using his hearing and scenting abilities to ensure that there were no threats nearby.
Finding nothing amiss, he opened his eyes to the sight he knew he would always treasure: his Sookie.
She was smiling at him.
Waiting for him.
He’d gone to sleep on his side—spooning her. Of course, he’d not moved. Meanwhile, she’d clearly been up and around that day. However, she’d rejoined him in bed—though sadly not nude—and was lying on her side looking at him as if he were some kind of miracle in her life. Eric was sure that he was looking at her the same way.
“You are dressed,” he pouted.
“You are spoiled,” she smirked.
“I would like to spoil you, Miss Stackhouse,” the vampire growled, moving quickly so that she was on her back and he was above her.
She giggled. “Later, big guy! But—for now—we have an issue.”
Eric felt her mood sober in the bond. His immediately sobered, too.
“Let me guess; it involves Herveaux,” he intoned as he reluctantly moved off of her.
“Yeah,” she sighed.
“Did he upset you?” Eric asked with concern.
“No more than I feared he would.”
“Yes. And yet you met him anyway.”
“I know,” Sookie said with another long sigh. “I had to know for sure though.”
Eric nodded in support of her choice. He’d wanted to try to talk her out of the lunch, but his bonded valued friendship—almost to a fault. She’d been growing in that arena, however. She’d basically placed the shifter on probation and was still wary that he might revert to his judgmental ways. She’d also seen Arlene Fowler for the troublesome wench that she was, and—though Sookie regretted no longer interacting with Arlene’s children—the redhead had alienated Sookie when they last saw each other at the grocery store. According to Sookie, Arlene’s thoughts indicated that she had determined that vampires were “evil” and that Sookie was a desperate and pathetic “bride of Satan” for being with one. Of course, those feelings were mixed with jealousy as Arlene imagined what she wished to do with Eric.
Sookie had deflected from Arlene’s culpability by explaining that the redhead had found a new boyfriend: a Fellowship of the Sun member. To Eric, that fact did nothing to release Arlene from the responsibility of her own choices. But—again—Sookie treasured friendship, though she had begun to treasure her own mental health more.
Thankfully, she’d cut Arlene from her life. The shifter was still an “open question.”
By contrast, those who had encouraged and supported the changes that Sookie had decided to make in her life—her brother and Tara—had never been closer to his bonded. In truth, he’d never believed that Alcide Herveaux would fit into this second category of Sookie’s friends.
“But Herveaux is involved in the issue—despite behaving as you expected?” the vampire questioned.
“Yes,” Sookie sighed. “Maria-Star thought she scented Debbie Pelt when we were at the diner. It was a barely-there whiff, but she still determined to return after I was safely at the office.”
“And she picked up the scent again?” Eric posited correctly.
“Yes. Debbie had apparently shut herself up in an abandoned office building across from Bob’s Diner—early enough in the day that her scent didn’t really linger outside. But on a sweep around the block, Maria-Star picked up her scent around the back of the building. There was another Were scent, too. In the building, Maria-Star found where Debbie had been staking us out. She also scented magic.”
“Magic?” Eric asked with a frown.
“Yeah,” Sookie nodded. “It concerned Maria-Star enough that she wants Thalia or you to investigate the scent more thoroughly. Or Padma—since she has that ability to scent different magics. Oh—and I was thinkin’ that Amelia might be able to help, too.”
“Good thoughts,” Eric nodded. “We will send Padma as a start.”
“Maria-Star also picked up another scent around Debbie’s little surveillance spot—though it was more like Debbie had carried it there rather than that he was there himself,” Sookie shared.
“Herveaux,” Eric guessed.
“Yeah,” the telepath confirmed with resignation. “After she found out all that she could at the office building, Maria-Star called Colonel Flood and arranged for one of his people to keep watch there—in the slight chance that Debbie returned. Then, she got Alcide’s address from the colonel and went over to his house. There, she smelled Debbie strongly—as if she’d been there for a while.” Sookie sat up. “To keep him from going home right away, the colonel called Alcide over to his house.”
“His excuse?” Eric asked.
“Colonel Flood told Alcide that he wants to go over some plans for a new outbuilding the colonel wants to have constructed. And he and his wife Maggie have invited Alcide to stay for dinner.”
“But really you and Maria-Star decided that you wanted Alcide to be somewhere that you knew he could be monitored, while we investigate,” Eric said with a proud smirk.
“Yes. Maria-Star has on some of that scent-covering potion that Amelia cooked up and is currently staking out Alcide’s house with one of Colonel Flood’ s guys, ready to grab Debbie if she shows up there. Mustapha and Willow—as well as two of the colonel’s other people—came home with me after my work was done at the office. Right now, Maria-Star’s in a holding pattern, though she texted Thalia to call her as soon as she rose. I imagine that she’s briefing her right now about the situation. Oh—and your lawyer team is very solid. Good choice!”
Eric smiled, but then his expression became neutral as he looked at his bonded closely—almost studying her. “What do you believe should be done, Sookie?” he asked.
“You’re asking for my permission to hurt Alcide if you have to—to maybe even kill him—aren’t you?” Sookie asked.
Eric nodded. “He knew of the edict not to help Debbie Pelt in any way and to report her whereabouts if she was spotted in Louisiana. Colonel Flood put out the edict, too.”
“I know,” Sookie sighed. “And it seems pretty clear he’s been harboring her, though I don’t think he’d help her to hurt me.”
The vampire nodded. “I agree, but—if what you say is accurate, then he will still face punishment.”
“And Colonel Flood will take a cue from you on how bad that needs to be,” the telepath speculated.
Sookie sat up a little straighter, seeming to steel herself to what needed to happen. “You can’t go light on someone who has done something that endangered us—no matter what Alcide’s motives might have been.”
“No. I cannot,” the vampire confirmed. “I will not.”
Sookie nodded. “I know. And—though you don’t need it—I’m offering you my permission to do what you have to. We need information from him, too. And we’ll get more if I help.”
“Sookie, I don’t think you need to . . . .”
She interrupted him. “I do need to, Eric,” she said fiercely. “If we’re right, Alcide’s been helping the person that tried to hurt me. She put me into that trunk, Eric. And her thoughts that day were malicious! She wanted Bill to hurt me, rape me, drain me, kill me, or even turn me! And the man who tried to convince me that he was my best option for safety today has helped her!” She practically growled. “I don’t like the idea of violence, Eric. But Alcide deserves an ass kicking! And I deserve an explanation.” She took a deep breath. “Or maybe Debbie’s somehow gotten a witch to help her manipulate Alcide into giving her help. And—if that’s the case—I’m the best bet for finding that out and saving him from an ass-whooping from you, which would be about a thousand times worse than the punch I gave him earlier.”
Eric couldn’t hide his smirk. “A punch, Dearest One?”
Sookie growled again. “Yeah—well, he threatened to have a witch sever our bond, so I hit him as hard as I could.”
“Is that why your hand hurts?” the vampire asked, his amusement warring with his concern and anger.
“Yeah,” she sighed, chuckling to herself. “I hit him hard enough that he already had a swollen chin when I told him that our friendship was over. I’m sure I would have broken my hand if I’d not had your blood in me.”
The vampire took her slightly swollen hand and examined it.
“Will you take my blood?” he asked.
“Can you give it to me and behave at the same time?” she countered. “We need to take care of this situation—not lose a few hours like we generally do when we exchange.”
He grinned widely. “You have just as much difficulty controlling your lust when we exchange, Miss Stackhouse.”
“That’s another reason why I’m willing to bear a sore hand for a few hours more, Mr. Northman,” she said as she stood up.
“I don’t like the thought of you in pain—any pain,” he frowned. “So I will behave.”
Her smile softened. “Okay.”
In the next second, his wrist was opened and in front of her. She leaned in and took a large gulp, but then backed away as she felt the urge to jump him. For his part, Eric had closed his eyes tightly. “Sookie,” he said her name, half-warning and half-begging, “I can be very quick,” he growled.
“And Maria-Star is likely making a thorough report for Thalia. That could take a while,” Sookie panted.
In the next second, Sookie’s clothing was off, and her back was against the wall of the bathroom. Miraculously, Eric had also managed to turn on the shower.
“And we would have had to take time to bathe anyway,” he said, even as he peppered her mouth, neck, and chest with open-mouthed kisses.
“I was already clean, but I see your point,” Sookie giggled, as her nails dug into his strong shoulders and spurred him on.
As she bent forward to nip at his ear, he couldn’t help but to sheathe himself inside of her. Indeed, he’d not even needed a guiding hand to find her warmth; his cock simply knew where it wanted to be, and it went there!
Both vampire and human-fairy hybrid sighed out their contentment at being joined.
“Why was I ready to insist that we didn’t need to do this first thing?” Sookie chastised herself through her grunting and sighs.
“Foolish woman,” he returned playfully, even as he made playful circular movements with his hips.
“Oh my!” Sookie yelled in ecstasy at the exquisite feeling he was introducing her to.
“You like that, My Lover?” he purred.
“Yes!” she cried out as he continued his movements, even as he took her into the shower.
He paused his thrusting for a moment—tenderly kissing her—as he positioned them underneath the rain-showerhead. Feeling his lust momentarily transform into pure love, she moved her hands to his face, knowing that he loved such affectionate touches from her.
“You love me,” he said, his voice filled with awe.
“I do,” she whispered in confirmation. She’d learned that Eric’s mood would—almost nightly—transform as it currently had—from lust to love. Usually, this occurred when he would be reminded of one of the ways she’d changed her home to make it his as well.
“You have given me so much,” the vampire said, moving again—though more unhurriedly than before. “You are mine,” he continued—his tone still one of awe, rather than possession. “And you have given me a home.”
“You’ve made it feel like one again,” she returned. “And you’ve given me just as much as I could ever give you.”
“I love you,” the vampire averred.
“I know. Now—you’d better get moving,” she smiled. “We do have work to do, Mr. Northman.”
Eric grinned in return, his mood resuming its earlier playfulness. “Anything for you, Lover.”
Pinning her against the tile wall, he began moving with more powerful, purposeful strokes. She gripped his shoulders tightly, fully testing her healed hand as well as the strength of his skin under the assault of her fingernails.
“More,” Sookie gasped as Eric found her sweet-spot inside with his talented cock. He continued to probe at her spot, even as he approached his own completion. He moved one of his hands to her clit to hurry up her release, even as he moved his mouth to her neck and licked the delicate, enticing vein there. The moment her walls began to flutter around his cock, he bit into her neck. As he took his first and only gulp of the night, she tumbled into her orgasm with a cry, and he completed his own with a roar before healing her skin.
Knowing she’d be wobbly for a moment, he gave her a while to catch her breath before putting her onto her feet and grabbing the shampoo. Using a level of speed somewhere between human and full-vampire, he had them both fully bathed in three minutes.
As he toweled her off, she grinned at him.
“I guess that whole bein’ in control thing after I take your blood isn’t gonna work out—for either of us,” she giggled.
Eric laughed. “I guess not.”
Fifteen minutes later, Sookie was putting her still slightly damp hair into a pony tail as Eric laced up his boots.
“How far is too far?” the vampire asked his bonded.
Sookie closed her eyes; somehow, she’d known that he was going to ask her that question. “Once we’ve learned everything that we can from Alcide, I’ll need you to tell me if it’s bad enough that you think he should be killed.”
“I do not believe it will come to that,” Eric responded quickly.
“I hope not. But I’ll still need for you to tell me. If you are gonna have to execute him, make sure that Colonel Flood understands first. I don’t want issues between you two.”
“You’re more worried about my position with the Shreveport Weres than your friend?” Eric asked with surprise.
Sookie shook her head. “Alcide’s not my friend. Today taught me that. In fact, I don’t know that he ever really was my friend,” she admitted almost to herself with a sigh. “Still—I don’t want him to be killed. But I understand that sometimes you will need to do things that follow Supe law, and Alcide would have known the potential punishment if he helped Debbie—right?”
“Yes,” the vampire confirmed.
“I just ask that—if he’s gonna be killed—it happens as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Okay? And—if he’s punished in a,” she paused, “less final way, I trust you to make that punishment fit the crime.” She shook her head. “I don’t like the idea of torture for torture’s sake. But—other than that—I know you’ll do what you need to do for us. I trust you.”
Eric smiled softly at her as he approached. “I can feel that you do—trust me—and I am grateful, Dearest One. I was not sure we’d ever get here, especially not when it came to a topic like this.”
“Well, we’re here,” she smiled back, placing her hand onto his chest—over where his heart lay still. “Now—let’s get this done so that we can get back here. That shower was a good appetizer, but I was hoping for a much longer meal,” she said coyly.
“Well,” he smirked, “far be it for me to ever deny my bonded sustenance.”
A/N: First of all, I’m sorry that this piece had such a long hiatus. It was never my intention to be gone from it for so long. I have been working on it as I could, which was difficult due to a bad batch with symptoms related to my fibromyalgia and the full time (and part time) jobs that I have. Most of you have graciously supported me, whether I can post on a story regularly or not. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart. At the same time, others have been frustrated that I seemed to abandon this piece, and I understand your frustration. Like you, I hated when I would get invested in a story, only to have it never completed. However, I hope that you will all remember that—as long as I am “active,” meaning that I am working on something (which I’ve been doing with The Journey Itself all along)—no story is abandoned. Indeed, I have plans to return to complete three different items—Who’s Your Daddy?, From the Inside Out, and the Gift Horse Series—as soon as this piece is finished. Sometimes, my inspiration on a story does dry up—or there is something that inspires me to the point that I cannot not write it (like The Journey Itself did); however, I am going to try not to post any pieces in the future that I cannot commit to at least one chapter per week on, which means that I will have already finished the rough draft of them—at least. Sadly, The Engine’s rough draft is not quite done, but I am hopeful that there will be no more pauses. Indeed, I can commit to having chapters during the next eight weeks for you. And—within that time—I hope to finish the rest of the piece so that there will be no additional pauses. Again—many, many thanks to everyone who has supported me and read my work throughout the years. I still have stories to write for Eric & Sookie. I continue to appreciate your comments, your excitement, and your patience.
All the best,
P.S. I will post each week—likely on Sundays.