“Forever is composed of nows.”—Emily Dickinson
Eric shook his head a little as he took in the information Sookie had given him.
“So Duncan and Klymene are pledged,” he mused.
“Yeah. That’s what Leonie told me,” Sookie responded. “Are you—uh—okay with that?”
Eric shrugged. “I have no reason to object.” He smirked. “I suppose that I am just a little surprised that my brother kept all this from me.”
“When did you last talk to him?” Sookie asked.
“After Godric,” Eric said softly. “Duncan was on the East Coast when it happened, so he was dead for the day when Godric died.” He paused. “I sent him a text so that he would know why he would no longer feel our maker. And he called me the next night.”
Sookie automatically reached out and took his hand. They both felt the power of the Fae bond seemingly encasing Eric’s pain—and then soothing it.
Eric smiled softly. “That feeling will take some getting used to, little one.”
“But you don’t hate it anymore?” she asked.
“No. I can feel that my sorrow for Godric is my own. And I was wrong about the Fae bond. It is not taking away my choices. In fact, it is giving me choices I didn’t have before.”
“What do you mean?” Sookie asked curiously.
“Just now, I felt the power of you comforting me,” the vampire responded. “I immediately knew that I could accept that comfort and feel better or I could choose to push the comfort away. I had choice, min älskade. Choice.”
Sookie smiled a little. “And you chose to accept the comfort,” she said, even as she closed her eyes and let the feeling of that acceptance wash over her. Into her. “I can feel it.”
“Yes,” Eric relayed, as he leaned forward to kiss Sookie lightly on the lips. “I have learned that in resisting the bond—I would be resisting you and what you can add to my life. What you can teach me.”
“What I can teach you?” Sookie asked, her eyes opening widely in disbelief.
He kissed her lightly again. “Yes. You could have been beaten down by the things that you experienced as a child, but you were not. You managed to survive with your beautiful spirit intact. You could have become bitter, but you stayed open-minded; otherwise, you would never have accepted me into your heart. You have proven your bravery and your survival instincts. And you have demonstrated your cleverness.”
She scoffed. “I’ve also done a lot of stupid things.”
Eric shrugged. “And you’ve moved on from them. And—most importantly—you’ve learned why you made your errors.” He chuckled. “I cannot say that I was so wise when I was your age. And—even at great age—I am not beyond the scope of making errors of my own.” He shook his head. “For instance, bringing Lorena into the equation in Dallas was my doing. I wanted you to see the kind of vampire Bill really was, but I underestimated the potential harm she could bring to you.”
“So—we’ve both done some screwing up.”
Eric nodded. “And we’ve both had to adapt to something neither of us was prepared for.”
“The Fae bond.”
“Yes. The beautiful gift you gave to me before I realized that you were the true gift.” Eric smiled softly. “I am a supernatural being, but—other than my turning—I have always tried to keep myself grounded in the realities of the world. I have seen and used magic, but only as,” he paused, “a tool. I have looked upon my own gifts and the magic that keeps me animated as weapons. But I never ‘lost’ myself to magic—not until I lost myself in you and found something beyond all other things.”
Overwhelmed by Eric’s words, Sookie brushed away a tear.
He continued, “The best thing is that when I accepted your comfort just now, my sorrow over Godric did not magically go away. My sorrow is still there!”
“How is that the best thing?” Sookie asked, obviously confused.
“Because—if it had gone away, it would have felt artificial. Your comfort aided me, min kära, because I know I no longer have to face my sorrows alone.”
Sookie brushed away another tear even as she squeezed Eric’s hand. “Please tell me that we are going to win—against Russell. Please tell me that we won’t lose what we’ve found—not so soon after we found it.”
Eric leaned in and kissed her again—this time deeper than before. Their lips moved in unerring harmony—the kind of movement gained only through practice and understanding.
The vampire pulled back slightly. “Even if what we share is fleeting—even if it lasts mere weeks—it is and will remain the most profound thing in our existences. Where you go, Sookie, I will follow. And where I go—there will you be too. We will face Russell and his allies together. And we will either win or lose—but we will not be separated. Should I meet my final death, you will be pulled into the afterlife with me. Should you meet yours, I will go with you. And—in whatever afterlife we find—we will, once again, learn to adapt to our new circumstances.”
“You really believe that?” she asked. “You really believe that we’ll be together even after death?”
“Yes,” he said quickly—simply.
“How can you know for sure?”
“My certainty is not from knowledge,” he replied. “It is from faith. And faith—though, perhaps, unprovable—is stronger than truth for the very reason that it cannot be verified.” He smiled at her. “But you know this already, for you are the one who taught me about faith.”
This time it was he who brushed away her tear as he leaned in to kiss her again—this time harder than before. It wasn’t long before she was stretched out on the comfortable couch with him on top of her. He lifted his body off of hers a little so that he could look her in the eyes.
“Do you want to wait?” he asked.
“Wait?” she panted. “What?”
“Wait to make our third blood exchange and complete our bond.”
“Why would we wait any longer?” she asked her brow furrowing. “I get why we didn’t do it last night. I wanted you to be sure, and you wanted me to be sure. You’re sure—right?”
“Yes,” he answered quickly. “But we could wait until we’re pledged.”
“Would that change anything? Would doing that make the vampire bond stronger?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Some believe that there is a power added to a pledging when the couple exchanges blood during the ceremony. And, if that exchange were to complete a bond, there might be even more magic. But, even if neither of those things is true, waiting to make the blood exchange might make the pledging seem more like,” he paused, “a real wedding to you—more like a new beginning.”
“Like humans waiting to have sex until they get married,” she commented.
“Wait!” he exclaimed, looking like someone was threatening to take his favorite toy away. “I wasn’t saying we should wait to have sex!”
“But it is a good idea? Don’t you think?” she asked, trying to keep a straight face.
Seeing the look of anxiety in his eyes and the sudden pout on his lips, Sookie giggled even as she gripped his shoulders and pulled herself up a little so that she could give him a quick peck.
“Sometimes you’re just like a human man,” she said, still giggling. “As soon as you think your sex is getting cut off, you start pouting.”
“I don’t pout,” he responded, though he was clearly still doing just that.
She gave him another quick kiss and then let her body fall back onto the couch. “Well, I would be pouting—big time—if I didn’t get my nightly dosage of Northman.”
“Well—I’d hate to leave you without your medicine,” he chuckled, lowering his body a little so that she could clearly feel the size of the intended dosage.
She grinned back, but then looked thoughtful. “Do you want to wait to complete our bond until we pledge? And—uh—if we did that, how long would we have to wait?”
“Until tomorrow night. I texted Mr. Cataliades after I rose asking him to send a ceremonial knife.”
“Are they easy to find?” Sookie asked. “Leonie said that they needed to be magical.”
Eric nodded. “The powerful ones are quite magical. And, no, they are not so common, but the demon is resourceful.”
“Wouldn’t we need a—uh—witness for the pledging?”
“Yes. It is best if we had the Magister as witness, but that’s impossible—since Russell killed him. However, another Supernatural being can witness a pledging, and Mr. Cataliades can file the paperwork in a way so that the witness can remain anonymous. Brady will be bringing the dagger, along with our new vehicle. He will witness. Perhaps—since she has been here already—we can ask Leonie to return tomorrow night too. I know you might prefer your brother and your friends from Bon Temps—and I know that Leonie is not your great-grandmother by blood—but I think she would agree to be another witness.”
Sookie smiled, “Truth be told, she seems more like my kin than Niall. And she helped to save our lives.” Her happy expression faded a little. “But you are right. I would like to have the rest of the people I care about present when I get married, but the most important person will be there—you.”
He smiled down at her. “When all this is over, we can have a large human ceremony in a state that allows vampire-human marriage.”
She shook her head. “I don’t want that. I mean—I wouldn’t mind going to a justice of the peace so that I can officially change my name to Northman, but I don’t need anything bigger than that.
Eric repositioned himself so that he was lying on his side next to her on the wide couch. “You wish to have my name?” he asked with a little surprise.
She nodded and brought her hand up so that she could caress his cheek. “Yeah. As much as I always associated myself with the Stackhouse name, it never should have been mine.”
He went to interrupt, but she moved her fingers over his mouth.
“It’s okay. Now that I’ve met a couple of Brigants I like, I’m fine with being one of those. And it’s not like I was ever around very many Stackhouses—except for Gran, and Stackhouse was only her fake married name.” She shrugged. “It’s weird to think about—but I have never met a Stackhouse. And I know that Northman isn’t your family name either, but it’s your name. And I want to share in whatever name you have. You’re my family, Eric.”
Eric could feel the throbbing within the Fae bond. It truly was amazing. As Sookie had spoken, her hopes had flittered around the bond—each hope a living entity of light. Those wisps of light wanted to link and fuse with his own swirling hopes—his own desire for connectedness. He felt the choice he could make. He could reject both of their hopes and—therefore—extinguish the lights. Or he could accept what she offered him and let himself be filled that much more.
“No matter how long we live in this realm together, little one, we will always be each other’s family. And our name will be but one part of that.”
“Speaking of that—um—if Leonie can come, I would like to marry you in the fairy way too tomorrow—when we pledge. If that’s okay with you.”
“Oh?” Eric looked at her in surprise.
“Leonie told me about the fairy ceremony. It’s—uh—just a blessing being spoken by an elder.”
“She could offer the blessing?” he asked.
“Yes. And there’s a ring exchange too. She said that she could help us get the rings for it—if you want,” Sookie said uncertainly.
Eric smiled. “I have already arranged for Brady to bring an engagement ring for you anyway—to signify our intention to make our union legal among humans too.”
“Sneaky,” she chided playfully.
“Vampire,” he said was if to explain—and excuse—her “charge” of sneakiness.
She smiled at him. “Well, Mister Sneaky, fairies put the ring on the strongest finger of the strongest hand,” she informed playfully, holding up her own right index finger and then twining it with his.”
The Viking smiled and shrugged. “Then you will just have to settle for two rings,” he chuckled. “One for the Fae marriage and one for the human marriage we will eventually have.”
Sookie giggled, “So we’ll be bonded, pledged, fairy married, and engaged.”
“I look forward to making love to my bonded, pledged, engaged fairy wife,” Eric said, his eyes darkening.
“Maybe you should practice now.”
As she smiled, he leaned in toward her and took her lips with his again.
“Wait!” she screeched out.
“What?” he answered with sudden concern.
“Uh,” she panted as her skin reddened, “if we exchanged blood during our pledging—which would finish the vampire bond—wouldn’t that make us want to—uh—have sex? Right then and there?” She shook her head. “I love you and all, but I’m not gonna do that in front of an audience!”
Eric chuckled. “You are right that the completion of our bond will compel us to want to join in other ways,” he responded waggling his eyebrows. “But—given the occasion—I think we could control ourselves.”
“And if we couldn’t?” Sookie asked somewhat pensively.
“Then I would make sure Brady and Leonie knew that they were to leave the room—if the clothing started flying,” he responded teasingly. But then his tone turned serious. “Trust me when I tell you that I want no others to see your body as I am honored to see it. I want—just as much as you do—to keep sacred and private what we share physically.”
She sighed—both in relief and because his words were so beautiful. “Thank you,” she said as she pulled him closer. “Now—where were we?”
“Practicing, my lover,” he said with a leer, even as he captured her lips in a slow, sensual kiss, meant to seal his words to her and to heighten her arousal.
The couch had a lot of room, but the vampire knew he’d want even more in order to “practice” properly, so he shifted her so that she was on top of them and then flew them toward the pallet they’d made earlier in front of the fireplace. She registered the movement with a chuckle and then a little squirm above him. Both made him smile in return.
They’d made love when he’d risen that evening—their bodies curling into each other as soon as he’d awoken. He’d entered her from on top then. Thus, when he settled them onto the floor so that she was on top, he left her there.
Sookie leaned up and away from their kiss, sitting up on his body. Her mischievous grin was enough to cause him to harden even more than her squirming had. And then when she reached behind her back to stroke him through his flannel pajama pants, he knew he’d soon be undone by her.
Sookie couldn’t help but to grin as she saw Eric’s head loll back. They’d had a lot of sex during the past week, but since he’d accepted the bond, the nature of that sex had changed. There was no longer any holding back of feelings as their bodies joined.
He had put himself, quite literally, into her hands—trusting her with his body and his soul. Still sitting at his waist, she used both hands to shove his flannel pants past his thighs and then turned around so that she could see his large cock. Her core ached to take him in, but she decided that she wanted him in her mouth first. However, she was feeling a little selfish too, and she yanked her nightgown over her head. Eric growled when he saw that she had nothing on under it.
Without needing her to tell him her wishes, he pulled her lower body toward his mouth even as she leaned forward. As his tongue darted out to lick her clit, hers flicked over his tip, greedily taking a drop of pre-cum as she did. Sookie had come to discover that she enjoyed the taste of all things that were Eric. And, as she rounded her lips and took his cock a few inches into her mouth, she thanked God that Eric seemed to like her taste just as much.
Eric moaned as he thrust his tongue into her opening as far as he could. The moans coming from Sookie’s mouth as she sucked his cock added to his own pleasure as his mouth vibrated against her clit.
Hands, fingers, lips, tongues, and teeth all worked in concert as Sookie and Eric brought each other to the precipice of pleasure.
And then that precipice fell away.
Their orgasms ripped through them, and the Fae bond absorbed and then pulsated with their pleasure. Eric gratefully accepted Sookie’s small warm release, and Sookie swallowed what she could of his cool one before pumping the rest of it out of him and onto his stomach, even as she arched upward and continued to enjoy the motions of Eric’s tongue.
“Oh my God!” she gasped as she shook above him.
The next thing she knew, she was moving through the air again, and in the next instant, she was on her knees with Eric behind her. She arched her back into his smooth torso as he thrust into her from behind.
“Oh God!” she half-moaned and half-shouted as he pulled out of her and then thrust back in again—hard.
Her hips moved back and forth to meet his thrusts, and he brought one of his hands around her body to stroke her clit.
“You feel so big like this,” Sookie gasped as she squeezed her internal muscles in order to increase his pleasure.
“Unghh,” he sounded as his fangs clicked downward.
Sookie smiled at the sound. She knew that—when Eric’s fangs popped down during sex, which they always did—he was close to cumming. He didn’t always bite her, again because it was considered a sign of affection to a human when a vampire didn’t take blood during sex, but she loved that he sometimes did bite—that he sometimes couldn’t help himself.
And bite her he did—just as they both came apart.
She smiled as she panted through her orgasm. The next night, she would be biting back.
Thanks to Kleannhouse for your beta-ing skills. And special thanks to Seph, who made the chapter banner extra shiny for this chapter! It’s that swirling Fae bond brought to life!!!