I woke up simultaneously feeling ten shades of nasty and better than ever before, but I refused to move at first and only looked over at the cause for both of those feelings.
Just thinking about his sweet words from the night before had me coiling my body around his, wishing I could wake him up and show him my appreciation all over again, but taking a shower first couldn’t hurt and my bladder had other ideas too, so eventually I had no choice but to give in to its demands. While I was in the bathroom the other things we’d learned about the night before filtered into my head and while it all sounded too fantastical to believe, I knew I’d be a fool to discount any of it. Eric’s reaction to that oracle woman alone told me she wasn’t some charlatan hawking snake oil, so I figured if I was going to be hunted by fairies and demons who would rape me, then I needed to start working on ways to defend myself.
My eyes glanced down at the roll of toilet paper and figured it was a harmless enough thing to practice on, so I pulled on the roll so a few sheets hung down and concentrated on it trying to will the paper to move.
I tried to picture Niall in its place and concentrated even harder, but in the end I only managed to piss myself off so I went to snatch the entire roll from its perch, intending to throw it into the shower to complete my hissy fit, only as my hand reached down the roll caught on fire. I squeaked in panic with my feet dancing a little jig while my brain tried to think of what I should do when Eric suddenly appeared in the doorway. He didn’t look drowsy at all but then I hadn’t bothered to look at the time and without bothering to ask what was wrong – I’m sure the burning roll of toilet paper probably gave it away – he grabbed a towel and wet it in the sink before using it to douse the flames.
I didn’t realize I was crying until he moved to stand in front of me and wiped my tears away asking, “What happened?”
“I’m a prepubescent Drew Barrymore,” I sniffled.
Goddamn Firestarter… Why couldn’t I be the kickass Charlie’s Angels version of her instead?
Eric stared down at me like I had three heads and hesitantly asked, “Are you still feeling unwell? I can call a doctor to come see you.”
Realizing Eric couldn’t read my thoughts – at least when I didn’t mean for him to – I giggled knowing how crazy I sounded and asked, “Do you have Doctor Frankenstein on your payroll? Everybody’s saying I’m made up of all of these different parts, so I think I might need a specialist.”
Eric tried not to look amused since his bonded was clearly a fruitcake, but maybe this whole being bonded thing was more powerful than I thought because he couldn’t seem to help himself in adding to my nuttiness by saying, “With the invention of the VCR and now DVR’s it has been some time since I’ve watched a commercial, but from what I recall they only warned you should not squeeze the Charmin and made no mention of not setting it on fire, however I’m sure that would be frowned upon as well.” He smirked wider asking, “What did it do to piss you off? Ironic considering I believe its use is for when you pi…”
“ERIC!” I shrieked.
It was none of his beeswax what I needed toilet paper for.
“Do you still need to go?” he asked with a full-blown smile. “That little dance you were doing when I walked in would indicate you do.”
I broke down into giggles and he chuckled while snatching me up into his arms and buried his face into my neck, inhaling deeply and saying, “You are a splendid creature Sookie Stackhouse. No one has ever pleased me like you do.” I barely had the chance to enjoy his confession when his tone and our bond took on an edge of concern as he said, “Now, tell me what happened.”
Feeling his worry was enough to take the edge off of my own amusement and I calmed down considerably before finally explaining what I’d been trying to do and when I was done, he offered, “Perhaps your gift is emotion based. You need to be upset in order for it to work?”
I just shrugged since fire was a new one and the only thing I could be sure of was the fact that Eric definitely flicked my Bic, but considering I was certain I would be emotional if some wayward fairy or demon tried to kidnap me, I could only hope my fairy whammy would kick in. Eric must have come to the same conclusion and didn’t like that option because he said as much admitting, “That is unacceptable. If you have acquired these gifts then you need to know how to control them.” Before I could get pissy with him too, thinking he was berating me for not automatically knowing how to use my freaky powers, he said, “I will contact Niall. He needs to train you so that you can be prepared if the situation arises that you’d need them.”
It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea considering his attitude seemed to have done a 180 before he’d left, but that wasn’t the only thing that had changed. Before, I could feel Eric’s emotions if I concentrated on them – really hard, but now it felt like it was impossible to avoid them. We were definitely bonded because I could feel his fury as if it were my own at the thought someone could take me away from him and since his arms were still wrapped around me, I squeaked in protest when he hugged me too tightly. His grip loosened a second later, but when he put me down a wholly different feeling swept through both of us now realizing we were each as naked as a jaybird.
We might not have been bonded for very long, but I had yet to find one drawback to it, especially when no words were needed as he swept me back up into his arms and carried me into the shower so we could put out a new and very different kind of fire.
It wasn’t until we were walking back into the bedroom later on when I realized I hadn’t moved my clothes into his room, but I still had some modesty and didn’t want to run into Pam so she could see my naked jaybird, so I asked, “Is Pam up yet?”
Eric always rose before her, but there was no clock in his room for me to go by and I watched him concentrate for a second while reaching for his phone before shaking his head, so I went to open the door and said, “I’m gonna grab some clothes.” I was halfway to my old room when I felt Eric’s shock stop me in my tracks, but I didn’t need to wonder why because I felt a healthy dose of it myself when my eyes landed on the clock in the living room.
I blinked thinking that couldn’t possibly be right before I ran back into his room asking, “Is that right?” Eric was staring down at his phone and I didn’t have to specify I was asking about the time because his look said it all when he answered, “Impossible.”
While waking up before noon was highly improbable for me anymore, I recalled Eric telling me he could only rise during the daytime if he was in danger and even though he’d done it before in my presence when I’d been upset, that didn’t stop me from asking in a panic, “Do you feel alright? What woke you up?”
“That,” he answered cryptically before explaining, “I felt your panic, but now I feel…fine.”
I scrutinized our bond seeing for myself that he did feel fine – nothing like how he normally felt just before the sun pulled him to his daytime rest, while that section where my dirty mind had been opened, thanks to said bonded, agreed wholeheartedly.
He felt FINE alright.
And it didn’t help at all that he was still naked showing me just how fine he was.
Stupid eyesight and bawdy brain.
“Sookie,” he growled lowly while taking a step towards me, undoubtedly feeling my lust.
Stupid bond. Drawback number one…
“Go put some clothes on!” I screeched, knowing if I got my hands on him – or vice versa – I’d be screwed.
And it would be gooooddd…
Stop it Sookie!
I marched me and my depravity out the door and back to my room, shoving my body into some clothes while trying not to picture what I’d rather have Eric shoving into my body. While I was there – and because I was stalling trying to calm down my libido – I gathered an armful of clothes and once the lust haze abated somewhat I carried them back into the bedroom, trying to sound offhand once I got there and asked, “Do you feel tired now?”
Thankfully Eric had gotten dressed while I’d been gone, but his mind had apparently set up camp in the gutter because he was sprawled out suggestively on the bed petting kitty Sam and leered, “I’m feeling anything but tired and this is not the pussy I want to be stroking right now.”
“Eric Northman!” I gritted out, but only so I could keep the whole ‘Pillage me now Viking!’ from coming out. “We cannot spend every waking moment having sex!”
At least that was what I was telling myself even though I couldn’t come up with a good reason why not.
Our bond was a tricky thing because I’d been able to tell Eric had only been mostly teasing me until he saw me start to make room for my clothes in his closet and then that same bond exploded with a carnal satisfaction, only giving me a second’s warning before I had a giant Viking at my back with his lips in my ear, purring, “But we have so much more time being awake now. Why squander it?”
I did my best to ignore the feelings of desire and gave my best half-assed effort at trying to sound irritated when I asked, “Why is the sight of me putting my clothes away such a turn on?”
I didn’t get it. Was this what normal housewives went through?
That thought did me no good because all I could picture then were the things Eric could do to me on top of a washer or dryer – or bent over one – and he didn’t help matters any when he hummed into my ear, “You’re nesting. Seeing you put your things next to mine is the visual evidence that you are in fact mine.”
We were permanently bonded. We were told we’re ‘fated’ and he gets aroused by closet space?
It would certainly explain why Pam was his child.
“Yeah,” I tried to huff, but it came out sounding more like a sigh. “Well you’re mine too, buddy. Now let me get this done so I don’t have to wander around in a towel all the time.” I could feel those were the wrong words to have chosen – I could feel it against my back, but before Eric could go a Viking on my new overpriced wardrobe I said, “Knock it off. We have…”
The words died in my throat because I was going to say ‘forever to sex each other up’, but the truth was we didn’t. While Eric did have forever, I had maybe another fifty or sixty years if I was lucky.
I’d look old and haggard by then.
Eric would still look young and beautiful.
Feeling the shift in my mood thanks to my depressing thoughts, Eric’s arms wrapped around me with him carrying my sad self to the bed and once he’d covered me with his own body, trying but not able to shelter me from my own thoughts, he softly asked, “What is wrong?”
“Nothing,” I weakly replied.
“It feels very much like something,” he countered softy. “What has upset you?”
I didn’t want to be a big baby, whining over the inevitability of me growing old while Eric would always look like a male model. Lord knew I had bigger problems to worry about than gray hair and sagging breasts – in fact those bigger problems could negate that possibility altogether if we didn’t figure out a way to stop them, but I was a woman – apparently a vain woman.
I could feel Eric trying to will the answer out of me, so I finally caved and admitted, “I’m going to get old and gray and saggy and you’re not. People will think I’m your grandmother which is exactly what I’ll feel like no matter how much older you are than me.” I looked up into his eyes and sniffled, “You’ll still be Mr. Sexy Pants walking around poofing panties near and far while I’m walking around wearing adult diapers in mine. Diapers don’t poof and the pants that contain them are not sexy.”
I didn’t even want to think about what would happen when I died. Sure, Eric loved
me and I was certain he would miss me, but surely he’d move on eventually. He did have forever and he was a man – a vampire man – and I knew all too well he had needs – needs he’d have to find someone else to fulfill.
Skanks…all of them.
I already hated them with a passion and their mothers probably hadn’t even been born yet.
“I’ll turn you,” Eric said, pulling me right out of my irrationally jealous thoughts.
“What?” I asked completely thrown for a loop. While I obviously had nothing against vampires I’d never given any thought about becoming one of them, but now…
“I’ll turn you,” he repeated softly. “But if that is something you do not want, then I will remain with you until you take your last breath and follow right behind you into the afterlife where I’ll seek you out there. I will not – cannot – be without you, lover, nor will you ever be left without me at your side.”
Just the thought of Eric ending his own life – no matter the reason – made my insides flare up and without any thought or effort the invisible barrier I’d surrounded him and Pam in the night before sprang up around the bed. Kitty Sam must have sensed the electrical charge in the air because he squawked and jumped up, trying to leap from the bed, but he was trapped and merely bounced back down onto the mattress.
“Fascinating,” Eric smiled as he reached towards the spot where poor kitty Sam had face planted.
His hand couldn’t penetrate it either, but I didn’t find my Harry Potter Protego spell to be all that fascinating at the moment and instead I grabbed his face so he’d look me in the eyes and ordered, “Don’t. You. Dare. Die.”
Said to anyone else it would probably be wishful thinking or lovey dovey poetic prose, but since he was over a thousand years old I thought I had a reasonable expectation for him to follow it.
The sternness in my voice didn’t ruffle his feathers at all and he merely nuzzled my cheek, crooning, “Lover, did you not pay attention last night? My home resides wherever you are, so if you want me to remain on this plane, then you shall have to as well.”
Well, alrighty then.
Even mired down with my own horror over the thought of Eric no longer existing, the fact remained I wouldn’t want to be here without him either. I loved him with everything I had – he was the only person I had left – so how could I be selfish and take myself away from him when I knew he felt the same way about me?
I wasn’t so vain that I’d end up destroying him just so I could keep my tan.
Before I could say anything he offered, “But given your Fae heritage, you might live longer than a normal human lifespan anyway. Couple that with me feeding you my blood on a regular basis and I would hazard a guess that you would not age very quickly at all.”
Apparently I was vain enough to be happy with that thought because the longer I remained human – well, mostly human – the longer I’d be able to feed him.
I wonder how he’ll feel about feeding EXCLUSIVELY from men.
Realizing I hadn’t said anything to let him know my decision, I merely offered a soft, “Okay.”
“Okay?” he repeated with his golden eyebrow arched.
Honestly, I’d seen it so often by then it was a wonder there wasn’t a flashing ‘Over One Billion Served’ sign underneath it.
I doubted it would be an exaggerated number.
“Yes,” I smiled up at my vampire Ronald McDonald and ended up snorting a little over the thought it was no wonder he was always at odds with the Burger Queen across the hall. “You’ll feed me your blood until I start to look like Ma Kettle and then you can turn me.”
I nearly choked on his immediate and undeniable joy, but as I gasped in a much needed breath, all he did was smile down at me and say, “Perhaps we’ll do it before you start to look like Ma Kettle.”
It wasn’t like I was going to disagree…
After another romp through his sheets and second shower later, I was finishing up putting my things away in his closet when I felt what could only be described as an ‘Oh shit’ moment coming from Eric. He’d gone off to the living room to do some work on his laptop since he was up so early and we already knew what would happen if he saw me nesting in his closet, but I couldn’t ignore the feeling and left the room, finding him sitting on the couch and staring at his laptop, so I asked, “What’s wrong?”
While I tried to ignore how sad it was how often we seemed to ask that of one another.
Eric just seemed to be floundering and I felt an odd mixture of defeat, calm, and anger coming from him as he said, “It seems that your brother has managed to get out of prison.”
My face must have looked the same way as whenever he and Pam spoke Swedish around me – Lord knows I felt that way – because he explained, “With the help of Newlin’s attorneys his case was brought back before the same judge who presided over his previous trial. The judge has become sympathetic to their cause, now that his daughter has become romantically involved with a vampire, and he overturned the conviction, declaring himself ‘The 13th juror.’ In his ruling he wrote that the evidence used to convict your brother was ‘minimal’ and ‘conflicting’ and he has called into question the credibility of the prosecution’s key witness.”
All I could do was gape at him when he ended with, “Your brother is getting a new trial and as of this morning, he has been released on bond, paid for by Newlin himself.”
“But…that’s good, right?” I asked, not really sure how I felt about it yet, but the one thing I could be certain of was Jason couldn’t have killed Gran.
“Sookie,” he said cautiously. “Your brother is only further encasing himself within the Fellowship’s ranks. If he goes after one of my subjects and is caught…”
He didn’t need to finish that sentence because I already knew the answer.
Jason would be killed.
However I didn’t think Eric would be the one to do it and I fought against the urge to beg him to make a statewide decree that none of the vampires under his rule could harm a hair on Jason’s head, but I knew it wasn’t fair. I couldn’t ask that of him no matter how much I wanted to save Jason, but an idea popped into my head and out of my mouth before I could rein it back in.
“He doesn’t remember,” I said, voicing my thoughts out loud. “He was glamoured to forget we ever visited him in prison, so if I go to him now and show him that I’m okay – that a vampire didn’t kill me or take me – then maybe he won’t be so hateful towards you all.”
There was no question Eric didn’t agree with me when he roared out, “NO!” before asking incredulously, “You expect me to let you go to your brother after what happened the last time? HE STRUCK YOU! I won’t give him a second opportunity to do it again because he will die at my hand if he does.”
Never mind he’d just threatened to kill my one remaining family member…that I counted anyway.
Eric might have been on to something when he guessed my emotions were tied into my fairy freakiness because my pissed off powers were making my hands tingle. If it wasn’t for me feeling like I was drowning in the waves of concern coming from him, I might have blasted him into the next room, but all I did was grit my teeth and spit out, “My idea has merit.”
After all, he already knew I thought he was a giant bullying ass.
My side of our bond was screaming it at him.
“Your idea,” he spat back, “is ludicrous. After everything we learned last night, do you think I would let you out my sight much less within arm’s reach of your brother? Because make no mistake – I would be there, so he would just have the same reaction as the last time all over again.”
“He won’t if you’re not there!” I argued back. I could see Eric’s point, but I had one too goddamn it, so I tried to use a softer tone to get it across and added, “If he sees that I’m fine, I can ease him into the idea of you and me being together. I’ll just make something up, like I was in a coma or had amnesia. He won’t know any better and once he’s sees I’m alright, maybe then he won’t be so hateful.”
It seemed as though Eric stopped listening to me after I uttered the first sentence because that was all he addressed when he replied, “If I’m not there a fairy or demon could take you! I’m not going to risk your safety just so you can try to appease your bigoted brother.”
I felt my own pigheadedness rise up preparing to battle against his just for the mere fact Eric sounded like he was trying to tell me what to do, but the only thing that stopped me was because it wouldn’t change the fact he was right.
And I hated it.
Hoping for some sort of compromise, I begrudgingly offered, “What if we go at night? You can lurk around outside while I talk to him and he never has to know you’re there.”
His royal highhandedness was already shaking his head as he said, “No. I wouldn’t be able to enter any home he was in without an invitation, but any fairy or demon could.”
While I internally grumbled I threw myself down onto the couch next to him, still angry and yet needing to be close to him, so I didn’t resist when he put his arm around me and pulled me closer, only feeling better because I could feel he felt better with contact too.
At least I wasn’t the only one.
After a few moments I gestured towards his laptop and asked, “Does it say where he’s staying? If he went back to Bon Temps we could probably run into him any night of the week at Merlotte’s. You’d be able to go in there and we could tell Sam what’s going on beforehand. He would keep an eye on me.”
He growled softly at the mention of Sam’s name only making me roll my eyes at him in return, but all he said was, “According to my investigator, your brother is staying with someone named Hoyt Fortenberry.”
“In Bon Temps,” I added since he left that little detail out.
Eric set the laptop on the table and pulled me into his lap, exhaling softly and said, “I’m still not comfortable with the idea of you seeing your brother without me there. He’s already struck you once and there’s no guarantee he won’t do it again. Besides that, you’ve seen Niall. All fairies have the ability to teleport from one location to another, so any fae could merely pop in, grab you, and pop back out before I could get to you. You don’t know that your fairy whammy will work when you want it to and they could always render you unconscious before taking you.” He leaned his forehead against mine and looked into my eyes, sighing, “I’m sorry lover, but it’s too big of a risk. I can’t lose you now that I’ve finally found you.”
Damn him for being sweet. Where was the giant bullying ass when I needed him?
Luckily for him, not every fairy could magically poof everywhere because my own stubbornness could very likely poof me all the way back to Bon Temps, but remembering how Niall had done that very thing to me had me slumping in defeat.
Eric must have felt it because he softly kissed the top of my head, saying, “I’m sorry lover. I’ll try to think of another way for you to see your brother if that’s what you really want.”
Hearing that only made me feel worse for the way I’d acted because I knew Eric would do it. He would hate it, but he would do it – for me.
Because he loved me.
Not knowing he didn’t need to offer me an olive branch, he said, “Perhaps once you’ve mastered your abilities. You were able to take on Niall, so you possess the strength to fight off the strongest of their kind. If you could maintain your shield and surround yourself with it while you’re there, it might be safe enough, but first you must learn to learn to control it.”
That felt nearly as impossible as him rising before noon, but since he did it, I figured the least I could do was try. I focused with all of my might trying to blow a bubble shield around Eric and I, but the only thing I managed to blow was my optimism away. My eyes unwittingly moved to glance over at his collection of swords, which I was sure were more than just decorative, as I said in defeat, “It would probably be easier to learn to fight with one of those, but I guess I’d stand out walking into Merlotte’s with a sword hanging from my hip.”
Another kind of sword made its presence known underneath me hearing my words, but Eric just jokingly scoffed, “Don’t be ridiculous.” Before I could get mad all over again in my perceived slight of his opinion on my future Xena Warrior Princess status – he probably had a Chakram lying around there somewhere that I could use – he added, “You are much too short to wear a sword at your waist. We’ll have to get you fitted for a sheath to strap across your back.”
He’d purred out the last sentence while his hands stroked along my back and his face nuzzled against my cheek, but before I could go stroking anything of his in return Pam appeared, saying, “Well…aren’t you two disgustingly sweet this evening.” I hadn’t realized how much time had passed, but when we turned to look at her, she rolled her eyes and grinned slightly adding, “It’s about damn time,” however her declaration only reminded me of her relentless bitchiness from the night before.
And what happened afterwards thanks to that relentless bitch staring back at us.
God only knows how long Eric and I would’ve danced around our feelings for each other if it hadn’t been for her and I surprised both of them when I leapt up off of his lap and threw my arms around her, giving her now paralyzed body a bear hug and said, “Thank you Pam. You’re the best bitch a girl could ever have.”
It took a minute for her to loosen up enough to eventually hug me back and being Pam, of course she couldn’t leave it at just a hug, but I didn’t mind one bit when she grabbed my ass in both of her hands, figuring she’d more than earned it.
It was just one more thing Eric and I disagreed on, but at least that time we could smile about it.