“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”-Vincent Van Gogh
Eric Northman liked to wear black.
Sookie had once asked him why he seemed to be in that color so often, and he’d explained that it was practical. Because of his propensity for black clothing, she always noticed when he wore another color. The first time she’d seen him in non-black was after the Maenad attack. He wore a V-neck T-shirt in dark green. It made his hair seem like a field of wheat. She’d also seen him in a light blue sweater that made his eyes look like the truest sky blue that had ever existed, and she’d stared into a lot of sun-filled skies before—so she was something of an expert about sky blue.
Eric’s “uniform” was consistent in all of his safe houses, which were stocked with pretty much the same items: black T-shirts, black or dark blue jeans, black jacket, black track pants, black underwear. Of course the anomaly had been plaid flannel sleep pants, thrown in at a couple of the places. Eric had told her that he liked the feeling of the flannel, but it was difficult to find in solid black.
However, he wasn’t wearing solid black as he waited for her. He was wearing gray, a beautiful shade with a touch of silver and blue. His button-down shirt was a lighter shade of gray, almost white. He looked beautiful, especially as he smiled at her.
Sookie had always thought of herself as somewhat plain-looking. After all, hearing about all of one’s flaws from people’s heads—over and over again—was bound to stick. However, in that moment, with Eric looking at her as if she were his own personal sun, she felt more beautiful than she’d ever felt before.
In fact, she knew that she’d never feel plain or ugly again, for the person whose opinion mattered found her to his liking.
It was more than enough. So much more.
She trembled in anticipation as she walked up to him.
“Hi,” she said, almost shyly.
“Hi,” he returned, seemingly just as taken by her appearance as she was by his. “You look beautiful, min kära.”
She felt her smile widen as she held the dagger out for Eric to take. Her vampire gasped as he saw it and glanced toward Duncan.
“What is it?” Sookie asked, suddenly very nervous.
Eric smiled at her. “The dagger—it is quite ancient, and I can feel its magic.”
Duncan nodded. “It is Klymene’s gift to you—blessed by both fairy magic and the underlying magic of this realm.”
“Is it okay?” Sookie asked a little nervously.
Eric nodded. “Yes. Using such a dagger will strengthen the pledging.”
Sookie took a deep breath and lifted the dagger—offering it up to Eric.
He took the object gently—reverently—and brought it to his lips.
Duncan spoke. “I stand as witness to this pledging, and—as a representative of the Authority—I recognize and approve of this match without reservation.” He smiled. “Who else witnesses here?”
“I am the fairy, Leonie Macone Brigant. I am of the Earth Fae, married to Niall of the Sky Fae,” Leonie said formally.
“I am Brady, Were. I am the son of Maggie and Christopher,” Brady chimed in.
Duncan acknowledged the witnesses.
“Would you two like to seal your union with blood?” he asked Eric and Sookie.
“Yes,” Sookie and Eric answered as one.
Duncan smiled and turned to retrieve a chalice he’d placed on the mantle.
“This is the vessel from which Klymene and I shared blood following our pledging. It has been cleaned, of course,” he winked at Sookie. “But we hoped that the love that has already been sealed in this chalice will work to strengthen your own.”
“Thank you, Brother,” Eric said, though his eyes stayed fixed on Sookie.
Duncan put the chalice onto a small table and gestured for Eric and Sookie to stand on either side of the vessel. Then he took the dagger from Eric and positioned the couple’s palms so that they were turned upward and next to each other’s over the mouth of the goblet.
Sookie took a deep breath in anticipation of the cut, and then Duncan sliced across both of their palms with one long stroke. Immediately, Eric clasped her hand to his—palm to palm—and turned their hands so that their comingling blood would drip into the chalice.
Sookie took another deep breath as she tried to ignore the pain of the cut. She’d been prepared for this and knew that the cut would heal as soon as she drank; plus, Eric’s blood directly against hers was already causing the wound to tingle, as if that area were being numbed.
As soon as Duncan determined there was enough blood in the chalice he lifted it. “Since you have chosen to share blood, your pledging will not be limited to the normal term.”
Sookie looked at Eric in question.
“Normally, a pledging between vampires lasts only a hundred years, but sealing it with blood does away with that rule,” Eric responded quietly.
Sookie nodded and then took the chalice as Duncan handed it to her. She knew to take about half of the amount and then pass the cup to Eric. She took a deep breath and brought the cup to her lips. She’d tasted Eric’s blood before, and it hadn’t tasted like blood at all. The combination of their blood didn’t taste as she’d expected either. Instead of her blood adding a metallic flavor to Eric’s, it seemed to change the nature of the sweetness she’d always gotten from Eric’s blood. The only flavor she had to compare to it was a blackberry, with its harmonic mixing of sweetness and tartness.
Eric growled a little, obviously feeling his blood traveling into her body, and she handed him the cup. As if about to bring ambrosia to his mouth, he licked his lips and lifted the chalice.
What their shared blood tasted like to Eric, Sookie didn’t know, but she immediately felt a change within herself as soon as the blood was in Eric’s body.
His strong emotions hit her so hard that she wondered if she could stay on her feet.
Sookie closed her eyes and let Eric’s emotions comingle with her own, just as their blood was mixing. She felt the same things that he did, and as their emotions seemed to ricochet throughout her body, she felt warmth in the Fae bond, as if it were lighting her up from the inside. In her mind she imagined swirls of light, only to open her eyes and see such a swirl on the palm of her now completely healed hand.
Eric was looking at it with longing, and she could “feel” what he wanted, so she reached out and touched his chest, letting the light absorb into it.
Sookie’s light in him felt like rain to a land that had been in a drought. Eric closed his eyes and had a flash of himself as a young man, lifting his head to the skies during a warm summer rain. He recalled the way the sun had still lit up the sky, despite the summer shower. He remembered the way that the sun-warmed rain felt so different than rain usually did. Being so far north, the rain was so often frigid—or, at least, cool. He inhaled deeply, marveling at the fact that he could vividly recall even the scents of that day. The freshness of the rain. The salt from the nearby sea. The blooming of Blåklint.
He smiled slightly, recalling that Blåklint—now known as cornflower—symbolized a man’s love for his woman in his human culture. A man would pick a blossom and give it to his beloved to wear. If the bloom dried without the color fading, the man’s love was thought to be eternal. Eric had never loved a woman enough to make a test of it, but he knew that if he were to give Sookie such a flower, it would stay vibrant for eternity. He felt a sense of calm consume him as the Fae bond seemed to accept and then rejoice in the vampire bond. Just as Octavia had said, he could feel his own feelings clearly—and distinguish them from the Fae bond. He could also feel Sookie’s feelings more than ever. And the foundation of those feelings was her love for him—her love coming from all of her, not just the Fae bond.
“You are a marvel,” he said in a reverent whisper.
“So are you,” she returned. “I shouldn’t have been afraid.”
“Of what?” he asked.
“Of feeling what you feel for me,” she responded, her eyes, rich and warm, tearing through him.
They heard clapping from across the room.
“Oh—sorry,” Leonie said as she smiled widely. Her eyes were tear-filled. “It’s just that I’m so happy for you!”
Sookie tore her eyes from Eric’s and smiled back at Leonie. “It’s fine. I guess we should get to the Fae part of the wedding now.”
Leonie moved to take Duncan’s place, even as Eric handed Duncan the now-empty chalice. The fairy smiled at both of them and then said words in the Fae language that neither of them could understand, though the blessing of them seemed clear.
The fairy then handed Sookie the box with the rings, and Sookie took out the one meant for Eric.
“To fairies,” Leonie said, “a ring symbolizes similar things as it symbolizes for humans. It is a token of partnership, a promise to support and to protect. It is placed on the strongest finger of the strongest hand to symbolize the strength of the commitment. Now, Eric, choose the finger you wish to offer your bonded.”
Without hesitation, he held out his right hand and extended his index finger.
“Should I say anything?” Sookie asked as she held the ring up to his finger.
“What do humans say?” Leonie asked.
“With this ring, I thee wed,” Sookie responded.
“Then say that,” the fairy smiled.
Sookie looked up into Eric’s eyes, “With this ring—I thee wed,” she said, her voice and both bonds humming with her emotions.
As soon as the ring was on Eric’s finger, it glowed and shrank slightly in size until it fit perfectly onto Eric’s finger. The vampire then picked up the ring meant for Sookie. Immediately, she held out the right index finger of her right hand.
“With this ring, I thee wed,” Eric said. As soon as it was on her finger, the ring glowed, and the magic within it resized the ring.
“You are now wed in the fairy way,” Leonie said. “As with vampires, most weddings between fairies are for reasons other than love, but when two fairies love, the marriage is celebrated with a dance.”
Sookie bit her lip a bit nervously and led Eric to the middle of the living room floor.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered with a shy smile, “the woman leads this one—at least at first.”
Eric chuckled, even as Sookie held out her right hand to him. Eric mirrored her action. The dance was quite simple really, similar to a waltz, but done in a tighter circle. As a vampire, Eric took no time at all to catch onto the movements. There was no audible music, but Eric felt something that vibrated through him from the Fae bond, creating a rhythm matching the dance.
In that moment he was certain of something: he had found his Valhalla.
Much too soon, Sookie ended the dance, and Leonie said a few more words in the Fae language, an extra blessing for the union.
Eric bent down to kiss Sookie lightly on the lips and then bent down until he was on one knee before her.
He grinned mischievously as he pulled a small black box from his jacket pocket. “Sookie, you are my bonded, my pledged, and my wife. Would you honor me with being my fiancé?”
Sookie giggled at the ridiculousness of Eric’s words but then gasped as she looked at the ring. A white diamond was framed with small black diamonds. The piece obviously was made to complement her necklace. The ring was signaling that he would protect her just as he felt protected by her.
“You approve?” he asked teasingly.
“Oh hush and put a ring on it,” she teased back, wagging her ring finger at him.
He chuckled heartily. “I’m afraid I have no Fae magic to resize this if it doesn’t fit, but I think it will work.”
She nodded and held her breath as he placed the ring onto her finger.
“Að þessi hringur er ástin mín,” he said in his native language. [In this ring is my love.]
As much as Eric wanted to consummate his marriage with Sookie right then and there, her light had—ironically enough—calmed him and quenched his urge to take her as soon as he’d drunk their mixed blood. And he’d been content to enjoy the Fae wedding, and—most certainly—the dance Sookie had led him in. However, even that hadn’t increased his arousal too much, despite their closeness. Indeed, the dance seemed to feed their bonds with love, rather than lust.
And then had come the playfulness of his proposal, followed by the congratulations of those in the room and an impromptu celebration, complete with food for Sookie, Leonie, and Brady and even a small cake with a small plastic bride and groom on it, which Sookie seemed to appreciate so much that Eric had informed Brady he would be getting a raise.
It was close to 2:00 a.m. when Eric felt his physical need for Sookie grow to a point that he could no longer stifle. As he looked at his bonded and bride speaking with Leonie from across the room, the firelight hit her blond hair so beautifully that he felt himself gasp. He’d missed her looking like herself. He’d missed being reminded of the sun as he’d looked at her hair.
Seeing her so beautiful and laughing so freely made his heart ache with happiness and his cock stir with desire. Feeling his lust, she turned and shared her smile with him.
His heart clenched, and his feet moved toward her.
Duncan chuckled from where Eric had left him in the middle of a sentence.
“We’ll take that as our cue to become scarce,” he said, though Eric didn’t turn around to look at his vampire sibling.
Sookie, too, was walking toward her mate, and she didn’t seem to notice as their three friends left the room.
There was only the two of them—their growing desire for each other echoing back and forth between them.
“Eric,” she whispered as he picked her up into his arms.
For a moment, she lay her head against his chest, but then she turned her face upward toward his. Their kiss began as a glowing ember: warm and comforting. But as soon as Eric placed Sookie in their bed and lay on top of her, a fire caught between them.
Using all of the control left in him, Eric maneuvered Sookie’s dress from her body without tearing it. At the same time, she pushed his jacket from his shoulders. He was content to let her save his suit, but he tore the shirt from his body, sending buttons and scraps of fabric flying across the room. Her hands were on his trousers and then on his aching cock as he pushed the last remaining garment off of himself. She wore only a tempting piece of now-damp lace, and that was quickly torn away.
Her warm hands traveled to his back and she pulled him down on top of her, taking most of his weight and seeming to want more as her heated body met his cool flesh.
Hot fire and cold fire ignited.
“Eric please,” Sookie pleaded, looking at him with eyes burning so bright that they were almost gold.
Like her, he, too, was impatient. And, though a part of him wanted to worship her, he knew that would have to wait for the need that was now driving him. Her blood called to him. Both of their bonds called to him. Her love called to him.
He could not deny any of them.
“My wife!” he cried out as he thrust into her, lessening the ache inside of them—even as he increased the yearning.
“Husband,” Sookie sighed, closing her eyes.
“Look at me,” Eric growled.
Sookie shook her head. “I can’t. Too much,” she panted as he moved out and then into her again.
“Look at me,” he repeated, his tone softening. “I have you,” he promised even more gently.
She opened her eyes as if afraid to see something too beautiful for human eyes. But she was not human. She was his. And he would always hold onto her.
His body shook above hers, and he went to speak, but no words came.
She sighed and moved one of her hands to his cheek. “I know,” she said in a whisper. “You will always have me,” she added, her words meaning so much all at once.
His eyes now wanted to close at the sincerity in hers, but he forced them to stay open and to watch over his beloved as he established a rhythm perfect for both of them. He moved into her deeply, enjoying the feeling of her heat as it gripped and massaged his cock; fully seated, he grounded his body against her clit. Then, he pulled out more slowly, letting his member drag against the spot he knew gave her more pleasure than any other.
But she was not passive. She lifted her hips into his thrusts perfectly, meeting him stroke for stroke; all the while her hands swept over his body, sometimes in gentle caresses that tamed the monster inside of him and other times scratching and clawing as if she were the monster.
“I love you,” he said, wanting her to feel his words as well as to hear them.
“I love you,” she returned, sending that emotion to him through both of their bonds.
He felt the vampire bond wrap around the Fae bond like their rings had wrapped around their fingers.
And—suddenly—he could feel no difference between their two bonds. They consumed each other and they consumed him. And—finally—he recognized the truth that Leonie had been trying to convey to him when she’d told him about the mistletoe. Yes, it consumed the tree that it adhered itself to. But, given choice, mistletoe would choose only the strongest of trees—the tree who could take being consumed a little for the sake of the ecosystem as a whole.
The tree that would thrive even more in order to bear the weight of the plant.
The tree that would not be weighed down by doubt or regret.
The tree that would live on in its new existence, grateful for the gift of companionship.
“Bite, please,” he found himself saying as Sookie buried her nose against his neck with a growl that made him want to fuck her forever.
And bite she did—as hard as she could. He felt his blood leaving him, even as he heard her gulp it down and bite again. And that was it for him. In the next moment, he was biting her neck and taking her blood as he was pumping his release into her. The simultaneous giving and getting made his body seize and freeze mid-release, and he roared against the wound he’d made on her skin.
He’d never felt more vampire.
He’d never felt more human.
He’d never felt more alive.
A/N: I hope that you enjoyed the pledging/wedding/bonding! The UN-iverse and some of my other work was nominated for the Multifandom Awards. Thanks to everyone who nominated me!
Seph was also nominated! If you take a look at her art on just this page, you’ll see some of the reasons why!!!!