Category: Southern Vampire Mysteries
Summary: Shortly after the conclusion of the Witch War, Claudine finds herself haunted by recurring nightmares and decides she needs to take a more hands on approach with her ward for both their sakes…
Characters / Pairing: Claudine Crane, Claude Crane [Sookie Stackhouse/Eric Northman]
Genre: Supernatural, Romance/Drama
Rating: M (Language & Sexual Content)
“Ugh,” I groan out, rolling in my bed, having to wipe glistening sweat from my brow as remnants of my nightmare continue to play vividly through my mind. That same damn nightmare that manages to vary subtly yet always remains the same. It relentlessly haunts me, refusing to grant me even one night of much needed, peaceful rest.
This time I was standing in the middle of a field. The night, as per usual, was dark and foreboding, a dense dread seeming to hang in the air, thick enough to nearly choke upon. Drizzling rain was cascading heavily from thick, gray clouds above to leave me clutching tightly onto my umbrella in a rather weak attempt to remain warm and dry.
So there I am, all alone, trudging through this endless field, the forbidding night surrounding me, ominously cloaking me in thick, ceaseless blackness. I trudge on, longing only for refuge, an escape from the bitter night, my steps soon quickening, yet seeming only to carry me further into this miserable abyss.
Then it happens, just as it always does, a bright, near-blinding light appears high above, splitting the bleak darkness wide with its glowing splendor; a benevolent light, a heavenly light. It’s astoundingly beautiful, instantly able to captivate me with its radiating warmth that I swear I can almost feel caressing along my skin. It’s calling me, silently promising me protection, an escape from this eternal desolation I so desperately crave.
And then I’m running, faster, faster, pumping my legs just as hard as I possibly can, desperate to touch that beautiful glow, to feel it surrounding me, engulfing me fully within its unfathomable warmth and security. Winded gasps soon fall from my lips, my lungs burn, my muscles ache, yet still I run, pushing with literally everything within me, desperate to catch hold of the glowing promise before me, which is just out of reach.
But then, as always, the light begins to pull further away from me, slowly at first, only to gradually pick up its speed, leaving me careening ever faster, pushing ever harder as I chase after the waning glow. It’s only once the light disappears completely, leaving me nothing more than a heaving, desolate mess upon the dampened ground that I realize I’m sobbing and have been for some time now.
I weep openly over my loss, over the longing ache left resonating within my hollow chest that serves only as a painful reminder of the light I just wasn’t fast enough to seize. And that’s when I wake, that same, resounding ache still emanating within my chest and more often than not, remnants of salty tears still to be found upon my cheeks.
“Dammit,” I sigh out, prying myself from my bed, knowing full well I’ll never manage to fall back asleep. I trail over to my bedroom window, looking out over the deceivingly peaceful atmosphere sitting behind cool glass.
I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t continue living like this, with the remnants of these foreboding dreams continuously haunting me, never granting me any sense of peace. It’s slowly killing me, wearing down my carefully built resilience to render me but a mere shadow of the Fae I once was. I refuse to live like this for even a moment longer.
With a pop, I find myself standing, once more, just outside my ward’s living room window. Sookie. These dreams only started after I’d accepted my place as her Faerie Godmother. She hasn’t made things easy on me, what with the way she’s always charging headfirst into danger, it’s enough to give a Fae a damn complex, really, but lately things have been worse, so much worse.
I genuinely fear for my ward as of late, not in a physical sense for once, for what ails her currently is a matter of the heart. Even now she sits, tears streaming down her face, the sound of her breaking heart nearly loud enough for even human ears to hear, and I swear, the deeper she falls into her depression, the worse my nightmares become, leading me to believe the two seemingly unrelated circumstances are in all actuality, innately linked.
This all started months before, when my ward stepped up to care for the Viking during his bout of amnesia. I watched, as I always do, as she and the vampire became close, the two of them finding an unexpected kinship in one another while the Viking was in his memory-less state.
At first, I couldn’t help but worry for my kin’s safety, knowing she was in such close quarters with a millennium old vampire, but then, I suppose such fears likely stemmed from my own ingrained fear of vampires as a whole, as the Viking never so much as harmed even a hair upon my kin’s golden head. No, the Viking displayed not even a hint of malice in their time together; in fact, he seemed to fall head over heels for my stubborn, southern bred kin, who, in turn, seemed to fall just as hard for the ancient, vampire warrior.
And then it happened, the one event that even I, as Sookie’s magically inclined guardian, was unable to protect her from. Eric, the Viking, the Norse Man, the Sheriff regained his memories, inevitably returning to himself once more and, in a cruel twist of fate, was unable to recall any of the time he and Sookie shared in this old home together, seeming not even to recall the obvious love he held for her.
Sookie and I haven’t been the same since. Her subsequent heartache along with my terrifying nightmares, have left the two of us in mirroring agony and I’ve come to conclude that the only way I’ll manage to find any semblance of relief for either one of us, is if I can somehow find a way to fix this. The ‘this’ is obvious enough, really, the only question remaining is how. How does one go about mending a broken heart?
I’ve saved Sookie’s life on several occasions thus far, keeping her alive sometimes by the very skin of her teeth, yet I’ve always somehow managed. But this, well, this is a different problem entirely. Fixing this will take subtlety, finesse, and, I can only assume, a whole hell of a lot of patience.
“Eric,” my head snaps up, hearing the Viking’s name fall miserably from my kin’s trembling lips. Oh, Sookie, sweet, human kin of mine, I’m here for you, always caring, always watching, and am hurting right along with you. There must be a way, there just has to be something I can do. Every fiber of my being is screaming at me to make this right and if my dreams serve as any indication, my very fate may be at stake here as well as my kin’s.
Think, Claudine, think! Okay, let’s start with what we know, that’s simple enough. This all began when Eric regained his memories and moved on with his life once more. Since then, the two have hardly spoken and Sookie’s heartache, along with my nightmares, have worsened exponentially ever since. Therefore, I’m left to believe the only way we can begin setting things right once more, is to bring the two of them back together.
“That’s it!” I exclaim, a triumphant grin finding its way to my face as a plan begins to formulate. “Don’t worry, Sookie, things will be better soon, you’ll see,” I offer through the glass, knowing full well my kin hasn’t heard my promise, but this, of course, makes my pledge no less heartfelt.
I pause a moment then, knowing the first step of my plan is a rather risky one, but one that needs to be seen to all the same. Shit. Fates don’t fail me now. I close my eyes, focusing my concentration before abruptly popping myself away.
Heart’s desire. Those two words have resounded endlessly within my mind ever since Pam discovered the source of the curse Hallow so graciously bestowed upon me. I would be close to my heart’s desire without ever realizing it. That was the curse the Were-Bitch used, really? What the fuck does that even mean?
Sookie. She holds the answers, of this I have no doubt, but she stubbornly refuses to tell me of what transpired during my amnesiac state. Sweet Odin, how that woman infuriates me! Why must she always be so fucking stubborn as well as so nauseatingly obstinate!? It’s almost more than a vampire, even one as ancient as myself, can endure!
The two of us obviously exchanged more blood in my memory addled state, because to make matters infinitely worse, I can feel her. Odin, the despair is radiating off her in endless waves; how can one, small human even manage to muster this level of misery!? Her emotions are poignant and inconceivably distracting, running through my very veins to render me a complete and utter mess.
Nightly, I have to fight the urge to run back to that decrepit farmhouse just to check in on her. But I won’t. I just can’t. The very thought of coming face to face with Sookie once more is enough to make my undead heart ache, but more than that, I fear her rejecting me once more, and that is just something I’m unwilling to face yet again.
Pop! The loud and unexpected noise reverberates through the small room, managing to instantly set me on edge as I note a vaguely familiar form now standing in the middle of my office. Faeries; fucking fantastic, because it’s not as if my night wasn’t troubling enough as it is.
“Viking,” the dark haired Fae greets solemnly as I’m left gripping the edge of my desk tightly, half in annoyance, half in an attempt to restrain myself as my senses are suddenly assaulted with the heavenly sweet scent of the Fae.
“Faerie,” I answer back, my voice strained and laced with irritancy. Dark, determined eyes meet my stern glare and I’m somewhat surprised to note the fearless nature of the woman before me. She seems to be evaluating me, those chocolate colored, calculating eyes wracking over me carefully to leave me even more frustrated than before. “What is it?” I question harshly, wanting only to be rid of my uninvited guest already.
“It’s Sookie,” she states firmly, instantly quelling my anger as icy fear is suddenly taking over to grip me tightly.
“Sookie?” I question incredulously, certain I must have misheard her as I’d likely be the very last person that anyone, especially of Fae persuasion, would come to with any matter concerning said woman.
“She needs you, Viking, now,” the dark haired Fae insists before abruptly popping away once more to leave me utterly bewildered. I stand gaping for a prolonged moment, my senses nearly overwhelmed with the lingering Fae scent left behind by my recent visitor and my mind positively reeling with the implications of her words.
Suddenly, I’m flying. I don’t even recall exiting the bar, yet I find myself soaring at breakneck speeds, intent on reaching Sookie just as quickly as possible. She needs me. The words replay over and over again in my mind, fear over said woman’s safety welling within me as I continue to speed through the star studded night.
What feels like entire ages, yet can only be mere minutes later, I land upon a very familiar, paint chipped front porch. My feet barely make contact with the worn wood below before I’m flinging open the front door, my terror widened eyes already scanning the farmhouse’s interior fearfully.
“Sookie!?” I cry out in a panic, my entire world coming to a complete standstill as I anxiously await a response.
“E-Eric?” I hear Sookie’s voice just before said woman comes into view, her own eyes wide, though in apparent shock instead of shared fear, leaving me momentarily confused.
“What happened? Are you alright?” I question anxiously, shaking off my puzzlement as I step closer, my eyes searching for any outward signs of harm. She’s been crying, this much is clear, but other than that, she seems to be fine, physically speaking that is. I let out a small sigh of relief, grateful at least for this small miracle.
“Wh-what? Eric, what are you doing here?” she demands, her golden head shaking in confusion, to leave me standing before her in mirroring bewilderment. I open my mouth to answer her just before a telling pop sounds out around us.
“I sent him,” we hear, leaving Sookie and I whipping our heads in unison to come face to face with the dark haired Faerie from my office.
“Claudine?” Sookie questions, her face scrunching in puzzlement.
“Listen, I have a few things to say and you two are gonna listen,” she insists, earning a clenched jaw from me as I have absolutely no intention of listening to anything this irritating Fae on an apparent power trip has to say.
“I’m out,” I murmur, turning on my heel before marching directly back to the front door. “What the fuck!?” I hiss out, twisting the door handle only to discover the fucking thing won’t budge.
“You will find any attempt at escape to be futile, Viking,” I hear Claudine claim from behind me, bringing a menacing growl from my throat.
“Let me out, now,” I demand, letting her note the sincerity of my words. A soft sigh falls from her lips as she proceeds to shake her head at me.
“Must you always be so confrontational?” Claudine questions to leave me clenching my fists in ire.
“Yes,” Sookie mutters, stepping up beside the two of us, a disapproving frown settled over her face. I raise a brow at her, seeing her set her hands defiantly upon her hips. The room falls eerily quiet then, with Sookie and I staring one another down as Claudine proceeds to look back and forth between us in clear exasperation.
“This is gonna be even harder than I thought,” Claudine sighs out, shaking her head at the two of us, only to earn mirroring scowls from both Sookie and myself.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I question, already over this whole thing as I see Claudine’s face set in firm, exasperated lines.
“I’d be glad to tell you, that is if you two think you could put your tantrums on hold for a minute,” she answers back, raising a brow at the two of us to leave me wondering if she doesn’t have more than a few screws loose as no sane Fae would knowingly taunt a vampire the way she is.
“Fine,” Eric sighs out, marching between the two of us to leave both Claudine and I both staring after him in mirroring shock. Not one to be outplayed, I follow along after him, careful to keep my distance as I settle at the opposite end of the sofa from him with a defeated sigh.
“Well, now we’re getting somewhere,” Claudine remarks and I find I can’t help rolling my eyes at her triumphant smirk. This is far from amusing as far as I’m concerned. “I suppose you’re both wondering why it is I brought you here tonight,” she starts, earning a light scoff from Eric.
“Is there something wrong with Tara?” I find myself questioning anxiously, having seen the two women together several times now.
“Your friend is fine, Sookie,” she assures me, instantly quelling my rising fears with a soft smile. “Before I continue though, I suppose there’s something I should tell you,” she continues. “Believe it or not, I’m actually your Faerie Godmother,” she claims, earning an incredulous brow from me. “I know, I know, it’s not the easiest concept to accept, but you can trust me when I say you’re my assigned ward.”
“Oh,” I answer back, recalling the way she magically appeared in my car, assuredly saving my life by showing up just in the nick of time.
“You haven’t exactly made things easy on me,” she adds with a sigh that leaves Eric snorting in amusement. I send him a hard glare, before seeing the apparently amused vampire shrug his broad shoulders. Ugh.
“Yeah, yeah, I get it, but in my defense, my life wasn’t nearly so dangerous before I got sucked into vampire bullshit,” I accuse, my gaze fixed steadily upon the blond pain in the ass at the opposite end of the couch.
“Really? You’re blaming me for dragging you into the supernatural world?” Eric throws back, angry lines creased over his face.
“Well I don’t see any other vampires around, do you?” I retort, not missing a beat to leave Eric scowling at me.
“Enough!” Claudine cries out, instantly gaining both our attentions once more. “Seriously, you’re both acting like spoiled toddlers!” An annoyed huff falls from my lips as I’m left crossing my arms in annoyance. Spoiled toddler my ass. “This is precisely the reason I’m now forced to intervene,” she sighs out.
“Intervene?” Eric questions, slanting his eyes at the Faerie. “Just why are we here?” he demands of her.
“Well, like I said, I’m Sookie’s Faerie Godmother and therefore, her wellbeing is of great importance to me,” Claudine explains, leaving me looking up to her in fear.
“You’re saying I’m in danger?” I question anxiously, hardly having even come to terms with the whole Witch War debacle, let alone the Debbie Pelt fiasco. Dear God, will I ever get a break!?
“What? No,” Claudine assures me to leave me sighing in relief. “Well, not physically anyways,” she adds lowly to leave me and Eric both looking to her in question. “Look, believe it or not, I’m here not only for my own sake, but both of yours as well,” she insists, dropping down to the nearby sofa with a defeated sigh.
“Our sakes?” Eric questions her, apparently finding it difficult to believe a Faerie could care at all about any vampire’s wellbeing.
“Yes, Viking, I’m willing to set aside petty prejudices for the sake of the greater good,” she assures him with a shrug. “Look, whether you’re ready to admit it or not, the two of you are positively miserable right now and while normally, I’d be perfectly content to just sit back and let you both stew, that’s simply not a feasible option at this point.”
A thick silence settles over the three of us then as I’m left shifting rather awkwardly, not having realized my recent misery was being witnessed from afar. I steal a glance over at Eric, seeing him sitting utterly still; a blank mask set firmly over his face to leave me wondering just what it is he’s hiding. But then, she did say we were both miserable. But what on earth does he have to be miserable about?
“So you’re what, here to counsel us or something? Get us to air out all our emotions before leading us in a heartfelt rendition of Kumbaya?” Eric questions sardonically, apparently already having returned to his normal, cocky self once more before he’s rolling his eyes at the utter absurdity of the situation.
“Yes…and no,” Claudine answers back with a shrug. “I’m not about to sing, but you two are going to air your shit out and you’re not leaving this house until you do just that,” she states determinedly to leave Eric and I staring at her in utter disbelief.
“But you can’t do that!” I cry out, jumping to my feet as I’m not about to be forced to hash out things with that man.
“Can’t I?” Claudine questions with a quirked brow, standing to her own feet once more. “Eric has felt for himself the strength of the wards upon this place and you can trust me when I say nothing short of an Act of God will allow entry or exit to this home until you two have come to terms. And you need not worry about work our social obligations of any kind as this house has been frozen in a magical stasis of sorts.”
“Like fucking hell I’ll allow myself to be trapped by a goddamn Faerie!” Eric cries, his fangs shooting down in rage as he makes to leap towards the woman before us.
“Drain me and I can promise you, neither of you will ever leave,” Claudine warns, her voice seething to leave Eric standing frozen in place as he seems to be weighing the consequences of seeing his threat through despite her claims.
“Claudine, please, just be reasonable,” I plead, not wanting to see this situation get any more out of hand and really, really not wanting to go through with her plans for us.
“If I thought there was any other way, Sookie, I wouldn’t be asking this of you,” she answers back, her eyes never leaving the incensed Viking before her.
“Bullshit!” Eric cries out, pointing an accusing finger towards Claudine. “You can let us both out of here right now and you very well know it.”
“Well of course I could,” Claudine sighs out tiredly. “But I fear the consequences of such would be staggering,” she adds in a somber tone, giving both Eric and I pause.
“But, Claudine, how are we supposed to fix this?” I question her, earning a sympathetic gaze from my Faerie Godmother.
“I’m leaving that up to the two of you to decide,” she answers back with a shrug. “It doesn’t matter how you go about it, only that you strive to fix the rift the two of you have created betwixt yourselves,” she claims, earning a deep frown from me as I just don’t see that happening, not in this lifetime at least. “The two of you shared something truly special within these very walls not so very long ago, perhaps retracing your steps will lead you there yet again,” she reasons before abruptly popping away.
I stand frozen, staring at the spot the Fae only just stood, hardly able to believe what just happened. No. This can’t be real, I can’t be fucking stuck here, I just can’t. There has to be a way out and I won’t rest until I find it. I march to the front door again, proceeding to twist the handle hard enough to leave it utterly misshapen and unrecognizable, yet the door still remains unmoved.
“Hey!” Sookie cries out, running up behind me. “What the hell do you think you’re doing!?” she cries, gaping down at the destroyed handle before hitting me with a spiteful glare. I pay her no mind though, proceeding to take a nearby table firmly in hand before slamming it up against a nearby window.
“Shit,” I mutter, looking down at the wooden remnants of the table that proved unsuccessful in leaving even so much as a scratch upon the glass.
“Damn it, Eric, knock it the hell off, will you?” Sookie demands, swatting the wooden shards from my hands with an annoyed huff. “You’ll tear up my whole damn house if you keep this up.”
“I’ll be sure to replace your precious belongings,” I grit out, already searching for another way out.
“Seriously!?” Sookie questions once I begin ferociously slamming my fist against apparently unwavering drywall. Damn, these wards really are insanely strong. “You done yet?” Sookie questions, sending me an exasperated gaze.
“There has to be a way out of here,” I insist, eliciting a loud sigh from Sookie who proceeds to march up to the window I was unsuccessful in breaking.
“If you think you can spare a moment from the whole He-Man, brute routine,” she sighs, pulling the curtains open fully before us. “You’d see Claudine wasn’t kidding when she said this house was in some sort of magical stasis,” she claims, pointing at the glass. Letting out an annoyed sigh of my own, I step closer before following her gaze through the glass.
“No fucking way,” I whisper, gazing out over the wholly stationary world beyond. Grass and tree branches are bent under a now stilled wind and just behind the cool glass, I can clearly see a moth hovering motionless, suspended only through what I have no choice but to accept as a spelled stasis.
“She wasn’t lying, Eric,” Sookie remarks softly. “Which means no one’s coming for us. There’s only one way we’re getting out of here,” she sighs out miserably, a deep frown forming over her face as I feel distress rolling off her in waves.
“Right,” I have no choice but to concede, thinking the two of us would likely have more luck in bringing lasting peace to the Middle East than trying to actually mend things between us.
“Ugh! This is impossible! How could she do this to us!?” Sookie groans out, collapsing to the nearby sofa with a deep sigh.
“She must have her reasons,” I find myself musing aloud, propping myself up against the back of the sofa. Sookie sends me an incredulous look and I can only shrug before continuing on. “Look at it this way; she’s purposely trapped an ancient vampire, the very species her kind has been at war with for centuries now in order to see this thing through. In doing so, she’s willingly risking her own life, so I think it’s safe to say she’s pretty damn serious about this.”
“Maybe, it still doesn’t make a whole lotta sense though, I mean, why force the two of us together? What the hell could that possibly accomplish?” she questions and I find I have no answers for her, having been wondering that exact thing myself.
“She’s your Faerie Godmother, you know her better than I ever will,” I sigh out, lying myself out along the back of the sofa, my gaze raised to the ceiling above.
“I didn’t ask for a damned Faerie Godmother,” Sookie complains. “And I certainly never pictured myself being magically jailed by one, but then, perhaps I should just learn to accept that my life will never turn out the way I expect it to,” she adds, her voice becoming softer as I feel those same, mournful waves stirring within her once more.
“And this is a bad thing?” I can’t help but question, tilting my head to catch sight of her frowning face.
“Of course it is,” she insists with a huff. “Ugh, just never mind, you wouldn’t understand,” she sighs out, proceeding to roll onto her side to leave her back facing me.
“Of course I can’t understand if you’re unwilling to explain why it is you feel this way,” I argue, unable to keep my rising frustrations from leaking into my words. Sookie looks back over her shoulder then, her bubbling anger welling between us as she hits me with a hardened glare.
“You just don’t get it, do you?” she bites out, sitting upright to bring her incensed face inches before my own. “I never wanted this, any of it! I just want a normal fucking life! A life that doesn’t include me ending up in the damn hospital every few months, a life that doesn’t include me constantly having to look over my shoulder, a life that doesn’t include any fucking supernatural beings, especially goddamn vampires!”
“Was that really so hard?” I question back coolly, watching her eyes widen in surprise before an annoyed growl rises from her throat.
“Ugh! You always have to be so damn smug,” she throws back at me to leave me raising my brow at her.
“At least I can accept what I am,” I answer back smoothly, watching shock play over her face before she opens her mouth to argue. “No, just hear me out,” I say, cutting her off abruptly. “You say you want a normal life, one free of supernaturals as a whole, but have you ever considered this is the world in which you truly belong?”
“I-, but I’m human,” she insists, even as I feel her own self-doubt rising between us.
“Yes, because telepathy is clearly a common trait amongst humans,” I state to leave her frowning deeply.
“Whatever, I can’t deal with this right now,” she states before abruptly rising from the couch.
“Fine,” I sigh out, proceeding to levitate myself down to the now abandoned sofa cushions below. “But you do realize you’re only temporarily putting off the inevitable,” I remark, earning yet another scowl as she proceeds to march away from me.
“I need to get some sleep,” she sighs out. “Hopefully a clear head will help me in dealing with this mess,” she adds before proceeding to ascend the creaking staircase of our temporary prison.
“I’ll be here when you’re ready to talk some more,” I call out, really not looking forward to more arguing, but then, it’s not like either of us really has much choice in the matter. I hear Sookie mumbling irritably under her breath and can only sigh once more, realizing it’s likely to be a very, very long time before either one of us is permitted to leave this place.
“Holy shit, Claudine!” Claude cries out, shaking his head at me, his eyes wide with disbelief. “You can’t just lock the two of them up in that house together! They’ll kill one another!”
“Oh, please,” I sigh out with an eye roll, dropping unceremoniously down to my bed. “Must you always be such a drama queen?”
“Claudine, I’m serious, this is way outside the guidelines of normal Fae Guardianship, I mean, what do you think Niall would have to say about this?” he persists to leave me shrugging with indifference.
“I can honestly say I don’t give a shit,” I enlighten my dumbfounded twin. “This thing with Sookie and Eric, it’s more important than you realize, Claude, I can feel it.”
“This is about your nightmares,” he remarks softly, clear concern shining in dark eyes that mirror my own perfectly.
“Yeah,” I whisper, an icy shudder running through me at the very mention of those insistent nightmares.
“And you really think this will help?” he questions, dropping down beside me as I’m left shrugging.
“I don’t know, Claude, but I had to do something and literally every fiber of my being is telling me that this is all somehow connected. I know it doesn’t make sense, but I can’t just sit back and do nothing, I just can’t,” I explain, feeling familiar arms wrap themselves comfortingly around me.
“Alright,” my twin remarks softly, his hands rubbing small circles over my back.
“You’re alright with this then?” I question, glancing up to see a small smirk play over his face.
“It’s insane,” he answers back, his dark head shaking. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t support you. These nightmares of yours affect me too, ya know,” he adds, his voice falling softer. “I hate seeing what they’re doing to you, Sis, so if you really think this will help, I’m all for it.”
“Thanks, Claude,” I sigh out, somehow feeling better in knowing I have his support as I pull him in for a tight hug.
“Besides, this should be exceedingly entertaining to watch,” he remarks, earning a quirked brow from me as I pull away to see him pointing towards the large mirror hanging up over my dresser, the mirror presently displaying the current happenings of the Stackhouse residence.
“Claude!” I chuckle out, shaking my head at my mischievous twin. “We’re not spying on the two of them,” I insist, noting the incredulous look upon my brother’s face. “It’s just a safety precaution, you know, in case the two of them really do try to kill one another,” I add, seeing amusement shining in Claude’s dark eyes.
“Whatever you say, Sis,” he answers back before he’s looking back to the mirror, his head tilting in question. “Hey, what is that?” he whispers, squinting up at an image of the Viking lounged out over the living room sofa.
“What’s what?” I question, looking on as Claude stands, before drawing his face closer to the reflective surface.
“That, right there, in the vampire’s hands,” he says as I step closer, noting what appears to be parchment of some kind held within the Viking’s hands.
“Hm,” I muse, reaching up to tap the glass, instantly enlarging the image to leave Claude and I staring at the amplified page together. “Heart’s desire,” I whisper, my eyes scanning over the scrawled writing intently before realization sets in.
“Is that?” Claude questions to leave me nodding my agreement as there’s only one logical explanation.
“Hallow’s spell,” I conclude, a small smile finding its way to my face as I realize what this means.
“But that would mean Sookie-,” he muses aloud, his eyes widening in realization. “Do you think she knows?” my brother asks me as my smile widens.
“Something tells me she will soon enough,” I answer back, earning a matching grin from my twin.
“Damn, Sis, you’re good,” he commends. “And to think, Niall was ready to send Preston over to visit Sookie to ensure she wasn’t alone for the holidays, if you know what I mean,” he adds lowly to leave me staring at him in disbelief.
“He wasn’t,” the words fall from my lips as my eyes widen in shock.
“Oh, he was, Preston was bragging to anyone who would listen down at the club about the prince’s plans,” my brother enlightens me to leave me positively fuming.
“That-, that-, ugh, I just can’t believe he would do that!” I sputter out in irritation.
“Hey, you’re not the only one to take notice of just how miserable Sookie’s been lately,” Claude reasons, his hand landing upon my shoulder. “Niall was hoping it would help is all, but now, well, now I guess Preston will be in for quite a surprise,” he adds amusedly and I find I can’t help the smirk that pulls at my own lips.
“I suppose you’re right about that,” I answer back, glancing back up to the mirror thoughtfully. Come on, Viking, don’t let Sookie down, not again.
Slowly, I peel my eyes open, having tossed and turned restlessly throughout the entire night, Eric’s words echoing endlessly through my mind, insisting that I’m more than merely human, a thought that, if I’m to be perfectly honest with myself, has haunted me for years now, even as I’ve stubbornly refused to believe it.
“You’re up!” Eric’s voice sounds merrily to leave me snapping my head to the right, seeing him crouched down beside my bed with his chin perched atop my mattress.
“W-what the hell?” I stammer out in surprise, seeing cobalt eyes twinkling up at me in apparent amusement. “Were you watching me sleep?”
“Only for…,” he starts, glancing over to my digital clock. “About the last three hours or so,” he admits with a shrug, earning an annoyed huff from me.
“That’s creepy,” I tell him with an eye roll. “Why are you up anyhow? Shouldn’t you be, you know, dead?” I question curiously, watching as he begins wandering through my room, his curious gaze taking in every detail.
“It’s still night,” he answers back absently, shrugging his broad shoulders as he stares down at the framed photographs I have scattered across my dresser. “Likely will be for as long as we’re trapped here too, so I guess I won’t have to worry about finding shelter from the sun,” he explains to leave me glancing out still darkened windows. Right, the stasis, I guess he’s probably right then.
“Hey!” I cry out then, rushing forward just in time to slam my dresser drawer shut before prying eyes. “Will you knock it off already?” I hiss out in embarrassment, having only just kept him from sneaking a peek into my underwear drawer.
“Sure,” he answers back with a sly grin. “Though, I’ve already searched through every other room quite thoroughly during your slumber,” he enlightens me, bringing a low growl from my throat that only manages to widen his grin.
“You’re such an ass,” I sigh out, not really all that surprised about his apparent lack of understanding as far as personal privacy is concerned. “And why the hell do you keep grinning like that? It’s too damn early for this amount of enthusiasm,” I grumble out, proceeding to wrap my fluffy bathrobe around myself before making my way towards the bedroom door, fully intent on brewing a very strong pot of coffee.
“Actually, it’s technically still just after midnight,” he sounds out cheerfully as he proceeds to follow along behind me.
“Whatever,” I sigh out, finally making it to the kitchen before going about my brewing. “So you spent the entire night going through my things, find anything interesting?” I can’t help but question sardonically as I push the start button on my trusty coffee maker.
“Several things, actually,” he answers back rather cryptically, to earn a raised brow from me. “But mostly, I had time to think,” he admits, a sly grin stretching over his face as he sits just across the table from me.
“About what?” I question, even as I can’t help but fear his answer.
“About how we can get out of here of course,” he answers back matter of factly, as if this is the most obvious statement in the world, though, given our present circumstances; I suppose it very well may be.
“Let me guess, you’re plan includes a sledgehammer and perhaps a bit of C4,” I answer back sarcastically, recalling the way he went all Hercules-esque upon my poor old farmhouse the night before. I keep his gaze, watching glittering cobalt eyes twinkle deviously.
“I’ve come to realize brute strength is not the answer,” he admits, his head tilting thoughtfully as he watches me pour a steaming cup of joe. I take the first heavenly sip, already grateful for my extensive supply of the mystical beans before pressing ahead.
“Alright, I’m listening, how are you going to get us out of here, if not by knocking my poor house to the ground?” I question, watching him draw his face a bit closer before my own.
“We’ll take the advice of your Faerie Godmother, of course,” he answers back, giving me momentary pause. Claudine gave us advice? I find myself thinking over her words from the night before and soon my eyes are bulging, finally realizing what the infuriating Viking is going on about.
“No, not happening, not in a million years,” I insist, seeing his golden head nodding before me as his smile grows impossibly wide.
“I’m afraid you have no other choice, dear Sookie, you finally must not only tell me just what happened between us in my memory-less state, but must walk me through it, step by step,” he insists to leave me shaking my head in disagreement.
“I can’t, Eric, I just-, I can’t,” I insist mournfully, my heart pinching painfully once more as my mind is assaulted with bittersweet memories of my Eric, of the sweet, kind, caring man I fell in love with who has all but disappeared, having once more transformed into the smug, know it all vampire sitting before me now.
“I don’t think we have any other choice here, Sookie,” Eric’s voice is softer, the start of what appears to be concern shining in his eyes as I’m left sighing in defeat. Claudine did say the two of us may need to retrace our steps if we were to find what we’ve now lost between us, but this doesn’t mean this will be easy, not in the slightest.
I can’t help but think Claudine really does want to help the two of us, she did say both our sakes, as well as her own were at stake after all. That’s right; she claimed Eric has been in misery as well. My head tilts thoughtfully then, my eyes carefully scanning the supposedly self-assured man before me as a plan formulates.
“I’ll agree with this,” I start, watching his entire face alight before I press on. “On one condition,” I add, watching instant suspicion play across his features. “You have to tell me why it is Claudine believes you’ve been miserable as of late,” I insist, seeing his lips set in a stern line as he seems to be considering my offer.
“And you promise to tell me everything? Leaving out not even the smallest detail?” he questions, his voice laced with suspicion. I hold up one hand then, crossing the other over my beating heart.
“Scout’s honor,” I promise, seeing his face scrunch up in puzzlement to bring a small giggle from me. “You know, like girl scouts, those girls in the cute little uniforms that sell cookies door to door,” I explain, seeing he still appears completely clueless before I’m left shaking my head. “Never mind, yes, I swear I’ll tell you everything if you agree.”
“Ah, then yes, I agree,” he promises, holding a large, pale palm before me. I take firm hold, sealing our agreement before seeing a sly smirk play upon his lips. “Tell me, Sookie, were you one of these girl scouts? Because the idea of you in a cute little uniform-,” he starts, earning a smack to the arm as I shake my head at him.
“Shut up, pervert,” I chastise, knowing this is going to be a very, very long day…night, whatever.
I send Sookie a triumphant grin, hardly believing she’s actually being agreeable to this, but then, it’s not like the two of us really have much choice in the matter. I really wasn’t expecting her to make any demands of her own though, and the very thought of having to reveal the source of my own, recent misery is honestly more than a little terrifying, especially since, only just recently, as in, within the last few hours, have I begun to realize just what Hallow’s spell actually means.
“So,” I start, putting such thoughts aside for the time being before clapping my hands together. “Where do we start?” I question anxiously, unable to hide my excitement, having been searching for answers for months now. A rather annoyed expression settles over Sookie’s face before she lets out a sigh.
“Well, it was New Year’s Eve,” she recalls. “It was real late, and I was just coming home from work when I saw a man, well, you, running in the dark,” she explains somewhat absently as I find myself listening intently. “You were barefoot, only wearing a pair of jeans and I stopped the car, wondering what on earth you were doing.”
“But I didn’t know you,” I reason, seeing Sookie’s agreeing nod.
“You didn’t even know who you were,” she remarks sadly. “You hissed at me, like you were gonna attack me or something and I had to explain that we knew one another,” she explains to leave me raising my brows in surprise.
“I made to attack you and you didn’t run?” I question incredulously, seeing slender shoulders shrug in response.
“You made to attack me, but you didn’t,” she asserts to leave me frowning, not for the first time finding myself wondering just how this woman has lived as long as she has. “Anyhow, I explained that we knew one another and invited you home. Your skin was all splotchy and red from the cold, so I wrapped a blanket around you before driving you back to the house,” she admits somewhat sheepishly just before I vamp from the room, returning swiftly with a repulsive blanket in hand.
“This blanket?” I question, having taken note of my scent embedded in the garishly colored textile.
“Yeah,” Sookie sighs out, shaking her head.
“It’s truly hideous,” I remark, grimacing down to the blanket before raising my face to see Sookie gawking up at me. I tilt my head at her in question before she’s shaking her head fervently.
“Sorry, that’s just what, well, the other Eric said about it as well,” she informs me to leave me slowly nodding my understanding. “Anyways, I brought you inside and then, um, oh right, I noticed your feet were bleeding on account of you running around barefoot,” she explains earning a firm nod from me.
“Okay, so I was wrapped up in…this,” I say, holding out the atrocious blanket with a sneer. “And I was standing in your kitchen bleeding, so what happened next?” Sookie’s face turns bright crimson before she answers back softly enough that even my own perceptive hearing cannot catch her words. “What?” I ask, seeing her drop her blushing face into her hands.
“I washed your feet,” she murmurs into her fingers, only managing to confuse me further as I just can’t understand the source of her current embarrassment. I step closer, placing my hands over her own before seeing sapphire eyes peeking up at me. “I had you strip off your wet, dirty jeans so I could wash them and then I washed your feet,” she finally blurts out, bringing an instant grin to my face.
“Just couldn’t resist getting into my pants, huh?” I tease, seeing her face darken to a deep, tomato red before she slaps my arm once more.
“I can’t do this if you insist on acting like a total letch, Eric,” she chastises, a wave of sadness welling between us as a deep frown settles over her face. “I think that’s one of the things I miss most about, well, the other you,” she admits before a matching frown forms over my own face, letting this information sink in as it’s obviously immensely important to her.
“I’m sorry,” I admit, not one to use these words lightly, yet feeling as though she deserves to hear them all the same. Sookie’s eyes go wide with disbelief before I press ahead. “I…I had not intended to upset you so greatly. I’ll strive to do better.”
“I-, well, thank you,” she answers back softly, her head tilting as she seems to be studying me closely, looking for something I can only guess at before she’s slowly shaking her head. With more struggle than I’d care to admit, I proceed to stoically peel away my clothing before wrapping the itchy, ugly blanket tightly around myself, somehow managing to make not one obscene gesture or murmur even the slightest of teases.
“Like this?” I question, seeing Sookie’s head bob, her face etched in utter disbelief.
“Um, yeah,” she answers back softly, slowly seeming to come to herself once more before she pulls over a kitchen chair. She motions for me to sit and I willingly oblige, watching as she proceeds to fill a tub with warm sudsy water.
“My injuries must have been quite minor,” I muse aloud once Sookie is carrying the steaming tub towards me. “I likely would have healed them easily enough on my own.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Sookie answers back with a shrug, proceeding to kneel down before me before motioning for me to place my feet into the prepared water. “I guess it was a bit silly, really, but if anyone else had shown up at my door bleeding like that, I’d do the same for them as well,” she reasons, beginning to rub my feet with a dampened cloth.
“Hm,” is all I say in return, noticing the way she carefully avoids looking at anything other than my feet. Sometimes I think she forgets that I can feel what she feels. I know she lusts after me, and although she actively fights against her own urges, just as she seems to be doing even now, they’re there all the same.
“Anyway,” she says, breaking me from my thoughts. “I warmed up a bottle of True Blood for you and called Fangtasia to let Pam know I’d found you. She asked me to keep you hidden away for the night and I agreed,” she explains, still washing my feet, a rather absent visage having fallen over her face once more. She pauses then, looking up to me somewhat nervously. “You don’t need to feed now, do you?” she questions rather anxiously, earning a firm headshake from me.
“I had only just fed before your Godmother appeared before me,” I enlighten her, unable to keep a rather chagrined smile from my face. “You’re precious flesh is safe, at least for now,” I remark, seeing her look up to me rather sheepishly.
“It’s not like I expect you to attack me or anything, I just-,” she starts to explain with a sigh.
“You do not trust me,” I state, a declaration, not a question as I well know her true feelings more intimately than she likely realizes.
“It’s not like you’ve given me much reason to,” she throws back to leave my brows rising in surprise.
“I’ve never once lied to you, Sookie,” I defend myself, seeing her head lower as she begins to wring out the dampened cloth.
“Perhaps not blatantly, no, but lies of omission are lies all the same,” she murmurs to leave me in stunned silence. I know I’ve purposely kept a great number of things from her, but in my defense, I did so for her own safety, or at least that’s what I’ve told myself.
“I suppose this is something else I must strive to improve,” I admit, seeing Sookie raise her face to hit me with a pointed glare. What the hell?
“Alright, what the hell are you up to?” she demands, making my eyes go wide in surprise. “Oh, don’t even try and play sweet and innocent with me, I know you’ve got ulterior motives, you always do,” she insists to leave me sighing, understanding just why she may feel this way.
“Look, the only motives I have right now are getting the two of us out of here,” I assure her, seeing her still eyeing me skeptically. “I-, I realize there are things about myself I need to work to change, though until recently, I didn’t realize just how important those changes really were,” I explain, seeing Sookie’s lips set in a firm line.
I can’t help but frown at her reaction, knowing my past actions drove her to feel this way, but I refuse to let my past mistakes dictate my future, our future. I may be over a millennium old, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still learn from my errors and it certainly doesn’t mean I can’t change. I can and will strive to better myself not only for my own sake, but for Sookie’s as well.
“I don’t believe you,” she tells me and I can feel the sincerity of her words as she proceeds to shake her head sadly. “I wish I could though, you have no idea just how badly I wish I could,” she adds miserably, those startling sapphire eyes of hers welling with the beginnings of tears as she turns away, taking the now dirtied water tub along with her.
“Sookie,” her name falls pleadingly from my lips, my undead heart aching right along with her beating one as I stand once more, following along behind her as she begins sniffling softly. “Sookie, please, just talk to me,” I beseech of her, stepping closer before placing my palm upon her slightly trembling shoulder. “Please,” I whisper, hating having to see her this way, having to feel her this way.
“This is all my fault,” she whispers, her gaze affixed upon the sink before her. “I just couldn’t let him go, but he was never real, not truly. I’m a fool for having let myself fall for a lie, but I wanted so badly to believe. That has to be why Claudine did this to us, she had to watch as I broke, longing for something I could never have, never again,” she admits before turning to send me a rueful smile. “So I’m sorry, I’m sorry I got you dragged you into this mess.”
“By him, you mean the other me,” I reason, seeing her nod, a shuddering sigh escaping her. “You do realize he’s not truly gone though,” I add, seeing her send curious eyes my way. “I’m still here Sookie, just because I regained my memories, that doesn’t mean anything has to change, not really,” I insist, cautiously reaching up to gently cup her chin as tearful eyes stare back up at me.
“God, I miss him…you, you can’t understand just how much,” she whispers, managing to bring a resigned sigh from me as I truly do understand, probably more than she could ever realize. “Sometimes I could swear I still see him though,” she adds with a wistful smile. “On the rare occasion you actually let your guard down, I swear I can still see those same, sweet, caring eyes staring back at me, I guess that’s silly though,” she sighs out, before I find myself shaking my head, cupping her small chin within both my palms.
“No, Sookie, it’s not silly, not at all,” I insist, hearing her breath hitch slightly. “You can see him now, can’t you?” I question, hearing her gulp audibly as she nods her head. “You look at me differently when you see him, this other me you speak so fondly of,” I enlighten her, stroking my thumbs over her warm, golden cheeks. “I love the way you look at him, as if he’s your entire world,” I admit, wishing there were a way to ensure she always looked at me this way.
“Eric,” she chokes out, as the first, fat tear falls from the corner of her eye. Instinctually, I lean closer, darting out my tongue to catch the salty droplet from her porcelain skin before leaning closer to press my lips against her ear.
“Help me, Sookie,” I whisper, my fingers slipping into silken locks. “Help me find this other side of me, help me bring him back to the surface once more. Please, Sookie, I can’t do this on my own,” I plead shamelessly, knowing this woman is the key to my own, personal salvation.
My breath catches in my throat, noting the utter sincerity of Eric’s words and as he draws his face before my own once more, it’s not the cold Viking I see staring back at me, no, it’s him, my Eric, the man I’ve longed to have back for months now, the man I love.
Fearful to break the magic of the moment, I keep utterly silent as I reach up to lace my fingers through his own, speaking only with my eyes as I wordlessly assure him of my willingness to oblige his heartfelt plea. He seems to understand as he sends me a grateful nod, the start of crimson tears welling around softened, cobalt eyes. God, I really hope I’m doing the right thing.
With a deep, assuring breath, I find myself taking a rather unsure first step before I’m leading Eric from the kitchen. Keeping a firm hold upon his hand, I proceed to lead him up the creaking staircase, my mind vividly replaying the last time the two of us were in this exact same predicament. He had that same, fearful look in his eyes and was wrapped only in tiny underwear and that same old afghan. Talk about déjà vu.
We make it back to my bedroom and I find myself standing frozen upon stepping over the threshold. What am I doing? Can I really go through with this? What if this is all just an elaborate ruse on Eric’s part? Oh, God, I just can’t handle more heartbreak, not now as my heart has yet to fully heal.
“Sookie?” Eric questions hesitantly then, to leave me looking up to catch his gaze, or is that my Eric’s gaze? I’m not even sure I can tell the difference anymore. But does that mean…? Oh, wow. Maybe, just maybe Eric is right. Maybe my Eric never really disappeared at all. Could it be he’s only waiting, resting beneath the surface of the stoic Viking, longing for me to set him free once more?
I step closer then, still fearful to speak aloud as I reach up to trace my fingertips over familiar, masculine lines. The features are just as I recall of course, but it’s not the features themselves that I really expected to have changed, no the truth lies behind those mesmerizing cobalt eyes. Eyes are the window to the soul, isn’t that how that old saying goes?
“You really are him, or he’s you, but I guess that doesn’t matter, because the two are one and the same,” I muse aloud as large, cool palms settle over my own. “You really weren’t lying.”
“Of course not, Sookie,” he whispers back, the corner of his lips lifting to form the smallest of smiles. “I told you I’ve never told you a lie. I’m not about to start now,” he assures me before I’m returning his smile with one of my own, knowing I can take him at his word.
“Come here,” I ask of him then, proceeding to lead him towards my adjoining bath, vividly recalling the last time, or perhaps it would be more accurate to describe it as the first time, the two of us were in here together. My heart is literally pounding out of my chest as I reach over to start the water before turning back towards Eric and proceeding to slowly peel away my robe.
“Wait,” Eric’s voice suddenly breaks the surrealism of the moment as he reaches up to place his hands over my own once more. “That’s not what-, I mean, you don’t have to do this,” he insists to leave me staring up at him in utter disbelief. If I still held any reservations at all as to whether this was an act, the worrisome look he sends me now manages to all but obliterate any trace of them.
“I know,” I answer back, a wistful smile finding its way to my face as I shake my head at him. “But I want to, Eric. I want this; I want you,” I admit wholeheartedly, watching momentary shock play over his face before a glowing smile manages to alight that heartbreakingly handsome face of his.
“Sookie,” he whispers almost reverently, shrugging the bulking blanket from his shoulders before proceeding to help me strip away my knee-length nightshirt. Nimble, talented fingers are soon dragging my panties slowly down along my thighs. His actions are surprisingly gentle and I notice he seems to be taking his time with his languorous actions, as if he’s treasuring the moment just as much as I.
He takes a step back then, just taking a moment to rake his gaze over my now fully exposed form and though I fully expect to see obvious lust reflecting behind steely, cobalt eyes, there’s something deeper in his gaze. I can’t explain it exactly, yet I get the gut feeling that it’s important all the same.
He chooses that exact moment to peel his own, tiny underwear away and I instantly lose my track of thought completely upon being once more faced with the aptly nicknamed Gracious Plenty. God, I’ve missed him, each and every single part, though, if I’m to be perfectly honest, I missed certain parts just a fraction more than others.
“Shall we?” he questions, stepping forward before pulling the shower curtain back with an overstated flourish that manages to bring a small giggle from me.
“Such a gentleman,” I remark, stepping into the tub before him, hearing a low chuckle rise from him. God, I just love the sound of his laughter, I may have missed that most of all. “Hmm,” I’m left sighing in contentment upon feeling long fingers gently combing through my hair under the streaming waters. Once I feel those dexterous fingers massaging sudsy lathers into my dampened locks, I can’t help but send Eric a questioning look.
“What? Is this alright?” he questions, obviously clueless as to the source of my confusion.
“Are you sure you don’t remember what happened between us?” I ask of him, seeing his brows jut up in surprise.
“No, why?” he asks, his golden head tilting in question as I’m left shrugging.
“This isn’t the first shower we’ve shared together,” I finally admit once Eric has begun his heavenly ministrations upon my scalp once more.
“Ah, so you’re saying we’re still retracing our steps?” he questions to leave me snorting in amusement.
“Kind of, though we’ve skipped ahead a few pages, so to speak,” I enlighten him, catching his smirk from the corner of my eye as he nods his understanding.
“I see,” he answers before helping me rinse out my sudsy locks. “I must say, you’ve certainly managed to peak my curiosity as to what happens next,” he leans down to breathe against my ear, succeeding in sending anticipatory shivers along my spine.
“Well, I recall me helping to wash your hair as well,” I tell him, seeing his eyes twinkling with indulgent amusement as we switch our positions under the shower stream. After lathering a generous amount of shampoo between my palms, I proceed to wash long, golden locks that I find myself noting, not for the first time, mirror my own nearly perfectly.
I must lose myself in my thoughts for a time, because it’s not until I feel a telling poke against my lower abdomen that I realize Eric has turned to face me once more. I recall the very first time I saw that generous package of his, how nervous, yet undoubtedly excited I was about going forward with this beautifully handsome man. I find I’m most definitely feeling that very same excitement once more, though, the nervousness seems to have all but faded away once I glance up to catch sight of Eric’s probing gaze.
His sudden hesitance is obvious and upon seeing him open his mouth, surely intent on assuring me we can stop things now, I rise to my tiptoes, quickly stopping his words before they ever get the chance to fall from his lips with my own eager mouth. Any previous hesitance of his seems to melt away once he begins kissing me back and from that point on, the only sounds that fall from our lips are that of pleasured sighs and desire laced moans.
“Bed,” I finally manage to utter an actual, logical word from my lips. Eric offers no sort of argument; instead he reaches to turn off the shower before the two of us hastily begin drying one another between punctuated, passionate kisses until I find I can’t wait even a moment longer. Our bodies are only half dry, but as I find I hardly care at all about such trivialities, I all but drag Eric through the bathroom threshold behind me.
A surprised squeal escapes me once Eric proceeds to toss me upon the waiting bed and I find myself having to stifle a giggle upon realizing some things apparently haven’t changed in the least. Eric’s mouth pressing firmly against my own once more successfully brings an abrupt end to my thoughts as I feel him moving to poise himself atop me.
“Have we, I mean, have I-,” he stumbles out, becoming hesitant once more before I lean up to kiss him reassuringly once more, taking a brief moment to trail my tongue over now fully descended fangs.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve shared a bed together either,” I assure him, gaining me widened eyes before a small smirk plays upon Eric’s now reddened lips.
“I guess it’ll be up to you to tell me how I stack up against, well, me, then,” he remarks to bring a matching smirk to my own face.
“Shut up,” I whisper against his still smirking lips, hearing him snort in amusement before he’s kissing me back once more, his Gracious Plenty laying across my hip a heavy, heated reminder of what is to come. Eric soon pulls from our kiss, dragging a longing whimper from my throat that leaves him sending me a rather wolfish grin before he’s trekking kisses across my dewy flesh.
“So fucking beautiful,” I hear him whisper lowly between kisses. My head snaps up, recalling the very first time he ever told me I was beautiful and before I realize what’s happening, grateful tears are suddenly trailing down my face.
“Sorry, I’m fine,” I have to reassure Eric who has halted his actions to send me a concerned gaze. “I’m just happy, really, really happy,” I add, brushing away my tears before sending him a fond smile. He seems to accept my words, before leaning up to press a tender kiss upon my lips. He then proceeds to kiss each and every tear away.
“That’s better,” he remarks, once his endearing actions have managed to bring a soft smile to my face. “Now, where were we?” he whispers huskily, those clever fingers of his tracing teasingly along my abdomen. “Here?” he questions tracing his fingertips teasingly over the flesh of my hipbone. “No? Maybe here,” he breathes out against my throat, tracing lines along my inner thigh to bring a snort of amusement from me. “Oh, I know,” I hear him whisper just before he’s lightly palming my sex.
“Eric,” I sigh out, dropping my thighs open wide to grant him unrestricted access. Things really amp up then as eager lips mold against my own, kissing me with an almost desperate passion and long, gifted fingers begin their sinful ministrations betwixt my thighs.
My hips are rolling wantonly against Eric’s palm and I’m unsurprised to feel that familiar heated coil soon tightening in my lower abdomen to signal my impending release. It feels as though an entire eternity has passed, not the actual mere months since I’ve felt these same waves of freeing intoxication.
My head soon falls back in ecstasy and steely, cobalt eyes are suddenly hovering just above my own. Recalling the Viking’s pension for eye contact, I struggle to keep hold of that gaze even as my orgasm rips through me to render me a heaving, shuddering mess.
I’m still gasping raggedly once Eric is positioned above me once more, those mesmerizing eyes of his never having left my own. Large palms work to position my hips at just the right angle and my heart is racing wildly in anticipation once I feel him aligning himself against my entrance. Oh God, this is actually happening, there’s no turning back now.
A low hiss escapes me, upon feeling scorching heat enveloping me tightly and even through an intoxicating, throaty moan, Sookie manages to keep my gaze as I delve inch after hardened inch inside my own, personal Valhalla. Sweet Odin, this woman is fucking perfect, in each and every way that matters.
I still upon sheathing myself fully, giving Sookie a moment to adjust to my rather considerable size as my hands traverse over every golden inch of exposed flesh that, for whatever reason, has a voice from the back of my mind screaming that this all seems somehow hauntingly familiar. But then, I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long now, it’s hard to distinguish actual fantasy from this incredibly erotic reality.
“Eric,” Sookie begins moaning my name once more, upon my first, shallow thrust and the sound is sweet, sweet music to my ears. Silken thighs wrap around me tightly and I willingly oblige my lover by leaning closer to bring my chest just above her own as I begin to roll my hips in a gentle, rocking rhythm.
“Lover,” I sigh out in reply, watching Sookie’s eyes go momentarily wide with surprise before her lips are suddenly attacking my mouth with an eagerness to easily match my own. I lose myself in that kiss, falling helplessly under my sweet Sookie’s spell as we continue our gentle lovemaking, somehow knowing this is where I truly belong, right here, in the arms of my Sookie, my love, my heart’s one, true desire.
Slender arms wrap firmly around my neck as Sookie draws me closer and though I’m able to scent more of her salty tears, they’re once more accompanied only by waves of grateful euphoria, and not even an ounce of sadness, letting me know she’s only managed to become overwhelmed once more in only the best of ways. My sweet, tenderhearted Sookie, I can’t help but find her tears utterly endearing as I work to once more kiss each and every one away.
Once the two of us are nearing release, I press my forehead firmly against my love’s, elated to feel her own, welling euphoria rising right along with my own. Close, so very close and I find myself etching every detail of this meaningful moment to memory, from her softly flushed, golden skin, to her plush lips reddened and swollen from passionate kisses, her shining, golden hair splayed out over fluffy pillows, I commit it all to memory, swearing to never forget even one single moment of this shared bliss before the two of us are soon left plummeting together from desire’s lofty peaks.
Shared cries sound from the both of us as my Sookie is left shuddering beneath me. I fall to the mattress beside her, feeling a sense of utter contentment the likes of which I’ve never experienced before. Still gasping softly, my Sookie curls up against me, burrowing against my side and I wrap my arms around her tightly, silently promising to never let her go.
It’s then that it happens. A sharp gasp falls from my lips as my mind is suddenly bombarded with long since forgotten memories and images to leave me staring down at Sookie in utter bewilderment. Dearest Odin, how could I ever have forgotten?
“Eric?” Sookie questions softly, concern clearly written over her face.
“Sookie, I-, I remember,” I whisper, watching her eyes go wide as I’m still piecing together the events of my past, our past.
“So, Debbie?” she questions softly, almost fearfully to earn a solemn nod from me. I feel her welling fear mixed with surmounting guilt and instantly pull her close, pressing my mouth to her ear.
“You did only what was needed, to save your life as well as my own,” I whisper softly, feeling a slight tremor run through her.
“But I killed her, Eric, I murdered someone,” I hear her choke out before my hands are running soothing circles over the exposed flesh of her back.
“And that is why you’re still alive,” I reason, catching sight of watery eyes. “You did exactly what was required, only serving to prove that this is the life in which you belong, that this is the world you were truly meant for.”
“Maybe you’re right,” she sighs and I can’t help the shocked expression that falls over my face, not having expected her to concede nearly so quickly. “You must be, because I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if it meant survival for me…and for you,” she adds the last softly and I find I can only smile before pulling her back into another embrace.
“Lover,” I whisper softly, stroking golden tresses as my undead heart wells with love for this incredible woman.
“You remember the car then, just before the war?” she soon whispers, bringing said instance to the front of mind.
“We could go back,” I had said, my face hard as stone. “We could go back to your house. I can stay with you always. We can know each other’s bodies in every way, night after night. I could love you.” I had said with obvious pride. “I could work. You would not be poor. I would help you.”
“Sounds like a marriage,” Sookie had said in turn, her voice soft and shaky.
“Yes,” I had answered.
“I remember,” I whisper softly, these words echoing in my mind as I see Sookie staring up at me, the beginnings of hope shining clearly behind sapphire eyes. “And I’d offer you the same now,” I state solemnly watching her eyes widen in shock, even as her hearts begins racing wildly.
“It wouldn’t be easy,” she answers back somewhat hesitantly and I find I can only smile, my head shaking lightly.
“Life seldom is,” is all I say in turn, watching a slow smile stretch over her face.
“Isn’t that the truth,” she answers back, a small smirk playing upon her lips before we fall into soft laughter together.
“I suppose it’s time for me to honor my end of the bargain,” I offer then, even as a small part of me is terrified to do so. Before I can talk myself out of it, I rise abruptly from the bed, hearing Sookie’s soft huff of annoyance. “I’ll be right back, Lover,” I assure her, leaning down to press a gentle kiss atop her head before vamping downstairs.
I quickly locate my abandoned clothing, scooping the material up with an unnecessary sigh, hoping against all odds that this doesn’t end up blowing up in my face. In a flash, I’m standing before Sookie once more, the worn piece of parchment held out before me. Sookie eyes me curiously, seeming to note the sudden gravity of the moment as she accepts the ink embedded document from me. Her eyes begin to scan over the scrawled script and I drop myself nervously upon the end of the bed, reading her every reaction intently as I anxiously await her response.
“Eric, I don’t, I mean, is this-?” she questions, her emotions an unreadable storm, giving me no clues whatsoever to how it is she’s currently feeling.
“It’s Hallow’s spell,” I answer back softly.
“This is what’s caused your misery?” she questions, as I finally feel one emotion finally rising above the rest; her fiery anger.
“Before you get upset, just let me explain,” I remark, seeing her lips purse in irritancy. “Pam found this shortly after the Witch War, when I was still left guessing what may or may not have happened between the two of us and all I could do was read this over and over, not able to understand at all what it could possibly mean,” I sigh out before catching her softening gaze. “That is until now.”
“So your heart’s desire, the thing you’d be close to without ever realizing it,” she starts softly, finally seeming to comprehend what it is I’m trying to tell her.
“It’s you, Sookie, it’s always been you,” I admit, seeing her eyes once more welling with more of those joyous tears.
“Yes, yes, yes!” I cry out, literally jumping for joy as I see Sookie take the Viking into her arms, the two of them sharing yet another long overdue embrace.
“What is it? What’d I miss!?” Claude cries out, running back into my room, having been sent away once things were becoming a bit…heated…between our cousin and her Viking.
“They did it! They finally did it, Claude!” I exclaim, taking my brother into a tight embrace as a wave of relief crashes over me. It’s over, finally over. No more nightmares, no more looming despair hovering continuously above me; I’m finally free!
“You know what this means,” my brother remarks, a glowing smile lighting up his face.
“I’m that much closer to my ascension,” I answer back with a grin, knowing that although this was only one step on what will undoubtedly be a very long, difficult journey, I’m that much closer to gaining my angelic wings.
“Aww, they really are sweet,” Claude coos, his eyes twinkling as he sends the elated couple an approving gaze. “I just love happy endings,” he adds, brushing away an invisible tear to earn an eye roll from me. “So how long do you plan on keeping them trapped in stasis?”
“Oh, I lifted that a while ago,” I answer back absently before our attention is brought back to the screen by the sound of heavy knocking suddenly resonating throughout the old farmhouse.
“What on earth?” Claude questions as we see the couple working to to quickly cover their nudity before they’re rushing towards the front door together.
“Claudine! Is that you!?” Sookie exclaims excitedly to leave Claude lifting a questioning brow at me. I can only shrug though, clueless as to who could be dropping in on the happily reunited couple.
“Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I sigh out upon recognizing the silhouette darkening my kin’s doorway. Preston. The smug bastard, I can hardly believe the prince actually went through with his ludicrous plans, but then, it’s not like I clued him in about my own intervention.
“Oh my God, Sis, this is priceless!” Claude exclaims, pointing excitedly up to the mirror where the towering Viking is looming over a now petrified Fae shifter. The two of us fall into subsequent laughter upon seeing a terrified Preston racing fearfully away, his metaphorical tale tucked between his legs. Serves him right.
“Now that’s a happy ending,” I insist, earning an agreeing grin from my twin as he wraps a comforting arm around me. “Nicely done, Viking,” I remark lowly, knowing full well neither Sookie or Eric can hear me, of course, considering the way the two of them are currently wrapped up in one another, I doubt they’d hear me even if I was standing right beside them. “Just don’t fuck this up,” I warn with a smirk, somehow knowing I’ll never have to worry about these two ever again.
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