Author’s Note: The Pledging is just a day away, gifts have been given, and there would be only one logical thing our couple would find to do! I’m sure you’ll agree.
Thanks to Breathesgirl and the incomparable Ms Buffy. Thank you Sephrenia – the wedding portrait is amazing!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thalia did not join in the general revelry. Most of those at the racetrack were queuing to take their turn behind the wheel of one car model or another. The combination of roaring engines and squealing tires was a siren song to vampires. The invitation had been broad enough to include retinues, and the Sheriffs of the kingdoms were using the opportunity to visit in a way that Summit venues didn’t usuallly provide. There were unguarded moments and it was these that Thalia was harvesting as she glided through the crowd.
She had voiced her concerns to Eric Northman yesterday night when things were not as busy. They were the same concerns she and Pam discussed many times. There were signs that the love affair that the American public was carrying on with vampires was becoming strained. Eric listened carefully and told her he trusted her judgment, but the Viking was distracted.
It was understandable. He would pledge tomorrow night. Years of wishing, planning, and stumbling luck had finally conspired to hand him that thing he was convinced he wanted most. Thalia was pleased for him, but cautious. She liked Sookie Stackhouse. It was difficult not to like the breather. Sookie was pleasant and smart. She was also fierce, loyal, and lethal when she needed to be, but she did come with baggage. Her relationship to Niall, the Prince of the Sky Fae, was common knowledge, and the rumor that Eric and the telepath would try to create a biological child using Fae technology was everywhere. Thalia knew the monarchs had heard of it through Phoebe Golden. Once they were talking, it was only a matter of time for the news to travel through their retinues. Thalia had no illusions. Once Northman and Sookie traveled to Nebraska and received the blessing of Niall, the pressure would be on. The old fairy was not subtle and expectations were high. Thalia overheard Sookie talking about their waiting a year before trying to make progeny, but Thalia suspected the Prince would start to maneuver things to speed them along.
It was while the fierce vampire was entertaining these gloomy thoughts that Mr. Cataliades found his way to stand beside her. “Miss Thalia,” he bowed formally.
“Dark one,” Thalia responded, her eyes never stopping, scanning the crowd, picking up conversation after conversation.
“I understand you will be traveling with the King to Nebraska,” he observed.
Thalia fixed him with a sharp stare, “I am the King’s Second and he asked that I accompany him. What of it?”
“Prince Niall was hoping you would come. He expressed a particular interest in meeting you,” and Mr. Cataliades beamed, letting her know that he thought this was a good idea.
His smile slipped a little when Thalia replied, “That’s interesting. Is he offering his Court for my nourishment? The Fae always smell so toothsome to me,” and Thalia punctuated her remark with a fangy smile.
“I’m sure you meant that to be funny,” the demon huffed.
“I’m sure I didn’t,” Thalia huffed back, returning her attention to those around them.
Jane chose that moment to join them. “You shouldn’t be so harsh,” the Sheriff said mildly, “Within thirty days our King will be related by blood and oath to the Fae. You will find yourself sworn to defend the Prince and his people.”
“Just means I’ll have ready access to meals,” Thalia deadpanned. Jane smiled tightly, but the demon continued looking uncomfortable.
“You say the nicest things,” Jane quipped sarcastically.
Thalia now turned to the blond. It didn’t take too long for the tight smile to drain off the younger vampire’s face. No one withstood Thalia’s stare for long. Once Jane looked as uncomfortable as the demon, Thalia turned her gaze away again, “What I thought,” she said to no one in particular.
Eric and Sookie were back in the Corvette and driving slowly through the crowd on their way to leave the racetrack. Their Were guards ran to follow, jumping in their sedan. Thalia found herself thinking about what lay ahead for them and for her. Her investigation into the nomad vampires continued. She and Pam were gathering new information daily. Thalia had a couple of vampires who were working off their tithes sifting through Internet information.
Something interesting had happened this week. A vampire showed up for Max’s weekly Sheriff’s forum. He was disheveled and had no Maker, but he did have clear instructions. Until two weeks ago he had been homeless, human, and living outside New Orleans. It seemed he had been turned by one of the nomads. Accidental turnings that survived were rare. The vampire who made the progeny either didn’t realize it or did realize their mistake too late. The reason these accidents were rare was that in such a case the Maker would find a quiet place where the body wouldn’t be found and he would leave it for the sun. Transformation completes just before sunset, sun is still up, problem solved. However, in this case, the youngling had been buried and given instructions to present himself to the local Sheriff demanding shelter and training. It was odd.
Another find was email traffic between several concerned citizens and a representative of a group calling itself Despardu. Thalia thought the name was a variation of ‘lost one.’ After reading through the correspondence, Thalia was convinced this group had a larger presence than previously detected and she thought it could be behind the growing numbers of protesters.
As she watched the taillights of the Corvette fade away, she thought of possible allies in whatever fight might come. Pam was backing her. It was likely she would find an ally in Eric’s other Sheriff, the French one, if she wanted it. She glanced up to see Isaiah watching her. They had talked in the past in vague terms about their similar experiences and concerns. She was certain the Kentucky King would be interested in finding out more. Then her eyes traveled to Felipe de Castro. The Nevada King had all but written out his concerns and she realized his interests and suspicions aligned perfectly with her own. Whatever was happening, it remained elusive. More eyes would be better at ferreting out the truth.
In the past, Thalia would have looked to the Viking to organize this effort. He had an uncanny ability to spot the common thread in events and correctly diagnose situations. There had been times she wondered if he had a necromancer in his past, he could see the future so clearly, but that was then. For now, the North Man was preparing to marry. He was worried about his kingdom, he was worried about his businesses, and he was worried about his new staff. On top of all those worries, he was twisting himself into knots over the prospect of creating progeny with his breather and the price the Fae would exact for allowing him the privilege.
Thalia was loyal. It was not within her makeup to ever be otherwise, and for Eric Northman that loyalty ran deep. ‘I do not know anything with certainty,’ she told herself. ‘There is no reason to alarm him or add to his worries until something is certain.’ Still, if the Viking was to create helpless ones and if these coincidences were a plot aimed at damaging him, a small, helpless child would be the perfect pawn. Thalia’s mouth pulled down as she considered the number of ways this possibility could be used either against the North Man, or as a lever to make him act in a certain way. “Interesting times” she said out loud. It wasn’t the positive statement that some who overheard her assumed.
The pillared structure was set on the crest of a slight hill in the cemetery. It was a short walk from the roadway and Eric waited for the car carrying James and Charles to catch up with them. “We are headed there,” he told them, motioning toward the structure. He moved around to the back of the Were’s vehicle. Charles popped the trunk and Eric reached in to grab blankets. It was one of the luxuries of traveling with guards. No matter where you were, they always had an emergency. Of course, the blankets were meant to be used in the event of attack. They went with the bottles of blood and the first aid supplies, but in this case, the emergency was night breezes and the reluctance that cold air might create in a certain telepath.
Reaching for Sookie’s hand, Eric said, “I hear the view of the city is beautiful from up there.” He could tell she wasn’t fooled.
“And what else are you going to show me up there, Sailor? Etchings?” she flirted.
“All in Braille,” Eric smirked, “You’ll have to enjoy them by touch.”
The moon drifted out from behind a cloud as they made their way up the little hill. Sookie’s eyes were still adjusting to the dark and Eric held her hand, helping her to step over uneven ground. She had changed into a racing suit earlier and replaced her high heels with lower shoes, but she was still tripping and stumbling. “I feel like a teenager heading to the local hang-out to go necking,” she giggled.
“Why, Miss Stackhouse, I don’t know what kind of man you think I am,” Eric laughed beside her. They reached the monument, its stone gleaming ghostly white in the dark. It had pillars all around and was open, like a Greek temple. Within the pillars there was enough area to walk around the elevated table of flat stone. Eric spread the blankets on the raised platform and then sat down. He held his hand out to Sookie and she joined him, turning to place her back against his chest. Eric wrapped arms and blanket around them both and they turned to look at the lights of Indianapolis. “I love my gift,” he whispered in her ear.
“Kind of figured you would,” Sookie shivered as his fingers brushed up the side of her breasts. “But I wonder…” she said archly.
“What do you wonder?” Eric asked, scraping his slight beard up the column of her throat and breathed into her ear.
“I wonder how grateful you truly are,” Sookie hissed and arched as Eric’s fingers closed over her breast, pressing to capture her erect nipple between his fingers. He squeezed her with one hand while reaching for the zipper of her suit with the other.
“I am willing to prove my gratitude in any way you wish, Miss Stackhouse,” he growled. His hand was inside her jumpsuit now and he used it to free her breast from her bra. He pulled on her sensitive nipple, his teeth nibbling her earlobe, and then continuing down the line of her neck. Eric lowered the jumpsuit from one shoulder so he could run blunt teeth back and forth between her neck and her shoulder. Sookie moved to free her arm, but Eric captured both upper arms in his hands and then tilted her forward. It was a possessive act and Sookie arched her back, thrusting out her chest. The cool of the night tickled across the breast he had exposed and she found her nipple ached.
“I need…” she said breathily, not sure how she had gone from zero to one hundred, but certain she was there.
Eric moved behind her, raising himself so that his knees were on both sides of her. He didn’t release her upper arms, but instead he pulled her back against him, “I need as well, Lover,” he whispered in her ear. His tongue, his teeth, his lips explored first one side of her neck and then the other. He held her still as her breathing quickened.
“Eric…” her voice was tight, and that’s what she was feeling. Her lady parts were twitching and everything was standing at attention. Behind her, the Viking gave a low, lusty chuckle. He used his speed to pull the top of the jumpsuit down to her waist before she could protest. The sudden movement combined with the coolness of the air on her skin made her squeak and then burn more.
“I can feel your desire rising,” he purred behind her. “It is a fire within you,” and he smoothed down her arms, removing her hands from her sleeves. He ghosted cool fingers up her sides, and then pulled down the cups of her bra so that her breasts were supported by the structure, but free to the air and his fingers. He was pulling on them now while his fangs traced the place he had prepared on her neck and Sookie raised her arms to capture his head, her gaze remaining on the far horizon. She was starting to moan as he dipped one hand toward her core, “Up on your knees, Miss Stackhouse,” he growled behind her. She rose, then leaned against him as one of his hands captured her breast, securing her while his other hand slipped into her panties to part and tap. “You are already so wet for me,” he sighed. “I wonder what you would like me to do first?” and he sped up the rhythm of his finger moving so quickly he felt like a vibrator.
She was helpless against it, the orgasm that swept through her. She moaned and clutched at his hair, their positioning making it difficult for her to find any firm hold. She cried out as he plunged fingers within her, triggering an even stronger response. When she pulsed around his fingers, he ran his fangs into her and she felt herself squeeze him harder. He chuckled as he drank, a sound that transformed into a moan. Sookie could feel his reaction to the taste of her blood. She felt it in the twitch of his solid cock against her back and the lust he was pouring through their bond. His thumb breached her dark entrance and he pumped fingers in pussy and thumb in ass as he drew one more mouthful. His other hand traveled over her throat and his thumb traced her lips. She opened her mouth and sucked his thumb into her warmth. He was within her and her eyes closed as she embraced the sensations. It was freeing, this being his. She trusted him. She didn’t notice the cold of the air or the hard surface beneath her knees. She didn’t notice the gravestones that surrounded them or the public nature of their situation. She was in the moment, and that moment was her vampire.
As her heartbeat started to slow to a steady rhythm from its previous hard hammering, his voice purred in her ear, “Is it my turn, now?”
Sookie turned her head and he met her, his mouth open. He claimed her tongue and then allowed her to retreat, only to present his own tongue for her pleasure. He claimed her lips and breathed her in. She felt as if she was in a whirlwind. Eric’s arms came round her and he rose, lifting her to stand on her feet before him. He turned her to face him and she realized her eyes had adjusted to the low light. She could see the outline of his face, the contours brought into sharp relief by the silver of moonlight and dark of shadow. Eric cupped her cheek, and she watched his lips lift. Holding her eyes, he pushed her jumpsuit down over her hips, and she footed out of first one leg, and then the other. He stepped back then and ran his eyes over her body. “You were made for moonlight, Lover,” he told her. With a smooth motion he lifted his shirt over his head, leaving the buttons buttoned and tossed it to the gravel ground. He pulled open the hasp of his belt and unfastened his pants. He reached beyond his zipper and freed himself. “Touch me,” he whispered. When she stepped forward and reached for him, he took a long lock of her hair and pulled it forward to lie over her breast.
Sookie rubbed her thumb over his head, gathering the moisture there. She rubbed it across him, holding his eyes, and then, gripping him firmly, she ran her hand down his length, twisting her wrist. Eric hissed, opening his mouth, his fangs distended as she repeated the gesture. “Take your pants off,” she commanded. The vampire’s eyebrows raised and the side of his mouth quirked up before he bit his lip.
“As you wish,” he replied, and he hooked his thumbs into his waistband and dragged his pants over his slim hips then released them so they puddled around his feet.
“Good boy,” Sookie smiled and then, still holding him, she sank to her knees, pulling him to her mouth. Eric hissed as her tongue licked him. She delicately tongued his slit, her eyes meeting his. She swirled her tongue around his swollen head, and then stopped so that she could flick the hard ridge of skin that surrounded him before opening her mouth and sucking him into her warmth, using her teeth to increase the friction as his head moved in and then out of her mouth.
“I need…” he told her.
Sookie rocked back on her heels releasing him. Replacing her mouth with her hand, she stroked him, wrist twisting, thumb running over his tip. Sookie smiled, “I know what you need, Eric, and I’m going to give it to you… in time.” He looked like he might say something, but she pre-empted him by pulling him back within her mouth, sucking hard, using tongue and cheeks to pull him deeper. She repeated the action and was rewarded by the sight of his fists clenching and then loosening as he fought the urge to grab her head and take control. She alternated, using hands to stroke, then mouth. She massaged his balls and stroked the sensitive skin behind and between. She watched him carefully, gauging his reaction. When she felt his balls tighten she released him with a pop and held up her hand. “Come to me.”
The Viking fell to his knees and leaned forward to capture her lips, but Sookie pressed her hands against his chest. When his eyes opened, she sent him what she hoped felt like seductress and continued applying pressure until he lay on his back. She ran her hands over his perfect chest. ‘Damn, Tara is right,’ she thought. ‘I can’t believe I get to climb this every night!’ When Eric chuckled a little, she jerked her chin up and gave him a look to let him know she wasn’t happy he wasn’t taking her seriously. Both hands ran down his form, past abdomen and along the faint columns of muscle past navel, fingernails scratching lightly, following the perfect ‘v’ contour that led directly to his groin. Sookie ran her palm over the knob of his cock, allowing the moisture that had gathered there to coat her fingers. She stroked him harder. “I don’t know, Eric. Maybe I should just keep you this way all night,” and she punctuated that thought by leaning down and sucking hard on the skin of his belly just above his cock. He smelled wonderful, that combination of wood and musk that made her think of Fall. She realized that when she nuzzled his chest, the scent was different. Near his neck and shoulders he smelled drier somehow, more like sawgrass and sand. He reminded her of the sea. She allowed her mouth to drift lower, circling his base, nosing the hair that surrounded him. Here he smelled wilder, of dark places and lurking things.
“Sookie!” his voice held urgency. She could see the great muscles of his thighs straining. His forearms bulged, the veins visible, his fists clenched.
She lifted her head and moved slowly but deliberately, straddling him. His hands automatically reached for her hips and he arched his own hips to meet hers. Using her hand to guide him, Sookie ran him between her lips once, twice, and then positioned him so he could sink home. The tightness of the slide caused both of them to groan their satisfaction. “Detta är bäst,” Eric hissed from between clenched teeth, ”min Krigare Kvinna,” and he thrust up, ” min hustru,” and he thrust up again. This position allowed him deep within her, and with each thrust he dragged across places that made her toes tingle. Sookie threw her head back and closed her eyes, focusing on the feel of him within her. She could feel the tension forming in her stomach, the sensation making her swallow and flex her fingers, digging nails into his skin, and trying to hold on. Eric used her distraction as an opportunity to flip them both over. He rose above her, using one hand under her to cushion and the other to push her leg up, positioning her knee against her chest. He leaned forward then, using his hand to balance himself as he rocked into her, the angle allowing his pubic bone to rub her clit. “Come to me, Sookie,” he urged, “Come.” It was like a spring let loose within her and she was flying as surely as if she was in his arms and above the ground. She knew she was crying his name, and she could hear his cry, triumphant. He pulsed within her, each of them holding close to each other, savoring the joining. Then came the unwinding, and his forehead dropped to hers. They kissed in that unhurried, languorous way that lovers do, tasting and nipping, before he rolled from her, pulling her with him and wrapping her in his arms. He dragged the blanket over her enough, her legs tucked between his. “Thank you, Lover,” he said to the stars.
“You too,” Sookie was still not entirely focused. She found herself wondering if amazing sex killed brain cells, because she felt that if someone were to ask her to do a math problem or fold laundry right now, she’d be at a total loss, her mind too blissed out for anything that required more than just laying here, basking.
“Did you like your pledging gifts?” Eric bent his arm under his head, using it as a pillow. He stared up at the stars that stretched across the broad dark sky above them.
“The necklace is really something,” Sookie reached to touch the heavy collar with her fingers.
“I don’t expect you to wear it every day,” he smiled.
“Good thing. I don’t think it’ll go with my jeans,” she sighed.
“Oh, I don’t know,” and he turned his head enough to kiss her head, his arm turning her toward him, “Pam says good jewelry goes with anything.”
Sookie ran her fingers through the dusting of hair on his chest, “Seriously, Eric, am I going to be expected to wear it a lot? It isn’t some kind of ceremonial necklace, is it?”
“No,” he chuckled. “Frankly, I expect you will put it in the safe and only pull it out when I remind you it’s there.”
Sookie raised herself to look down at him. “I guess I would understand why you’d think that I’d treat your gifts lightly. I was never as grateful as I should have been about all the things you did for me. Especially the expensive things,” She sighed and he could see his telepath was making an effort. “I love the necklace, Eric, because you gave it to me. I’ll wear it every day if that makes you happy.”
Eric’s first inclination was to push Sookie’s feelings of guilt a little further, but instead of pressing an advantage, he admitted, “I purchased the necklace as part of your dower. I know you. You are never comfortable with expensive gifts.” He squeezed her to show her that her happiness with simple things was something he appreciated before saying, “but your Great Grandfather is. It is what he expects.”
Sookie was surprised that she felt a small ping of disappointment. It was the idea that Eric spent money to impress someone other than her for her own wedding. She knew with her head why he did it, but there was something silly and selfish that his words poked to life.
“Sookie!” her Viking chided, feeling her reaction through their connection, “Of course it was important to me that I give you something from my heart!” Eric sent her reassurance, “I know I didn’t give it to you tonight, but that’s why I will put a ring on your finger tomorrow. It is why I wish you to place a ring on my finger as well.” The Viking reached for her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing the ruby ring she wore for him, and then he turned her hand to kiss her palm. Her scent was strong here, her sweetness and that hint of wildwood that combined Fae and something that was uniquely Sookie. When he felt her feelings transform to warmth and happiness he rubbed his thumb across the ruby ring he had given her. “So, when you wear the band of gold, will you call yourself my wife?” It was a simple question, but she could tell it meant a great deal to him.
“I told you I would, Eric, but…” and she could feel him still beneath her, bracing himself for the condition he must have been anticipating. “Don’t get your panties in a twist,” Sookie chided him, “I was just going to say that I would prefer to wear the band alone. I love the ruby,” and Sookie kissed his chest, “but it sits up off my finger. It catches on things. Would you mind?”
She could feel Eric relax, “When I gave it to you, I told you that it was large enough to make a statement to others. Do you remember how you made me pay for that?” and he watched her, his eyes thoughtful. “I needed it known that you were my Intended and due every respect. This ring,” and he rubbed the ring again with his thumb, “had a job to do. That time is over, once you are my wife,” and she felt him tense again.
“Of course I will be,” Sookie smiled against him.
“Then say it,” Eric said steadily.
“I will be your wife, Eric. I will be Mrs. Eric Northman, and I’ll tell anyone who asks and even folks who don’t,” Sookie’s tone was flippant and she meant her words to be funny.
“You are mocking me,” Eric smiled quickly and looked away and she could feel his disappointment.
Now Sookie rolled onto him so she could rest her chin on her hand and look up into his face. “I am not mocking you. Once we’re pledged, I will be Mrs. Eric Northman,” and she sent him the sincerity she felt in saying those words.
Eric searched her eyes, “You will not wait until your human ceremony?” Sookie hadn’t realized how much her actions in the Before time must have hurt her Viking. Watching him now, hearing him ask her to confirm it again, her heart ached.
“No, I will not make you wait until my human ceremony, and I will not make you wait until some Fae ceremony. As of tomorrow night, when that scary old witch, the Ancient Pythoness, announces that we are pledged, I will consider you my husband,” When he still looked at her with wary eyes, Sookie huffed. “Cheese and rice, Eric! I promise!”
The Viking smiled then, “I intend to hold you to that promise, Älskade.” Sookie scooted forward far enough to kiss him, and as she wriggled her body forward, she could feel a certain part of his anatomy coming back to life. Eric looped his arm around her and pressed her a little harder against him. She thought he would continue, but instead a thoughtful look passed over his features, “Tell me about your human ritual,” he asked.
“What about it?” Sookie asked. “I mean I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it, right?”
Eric shrugged, “Not that I recall. Vampires are rarely invited to human family events.”
Sookie thought about it. It made sense, although the idea that he hadn’t learned something of it in all his years seemed mind-boggling. She was half-convinced he was setting her up, but she settled her chin back on his chest. “Well, if we were real traditional, you would have asked my daddy for permission to marry me,” Sookie smiled. “Of course, we don’t hold with that tradition much anymore. Then we’d have an engagement party and all our friends and family would be invited.”
“Would it have been like the party at your brother’s house?” Eric asked. He tucked a curl behind her ear as he awaited her response.
“Pretty much,” she conceded. “Guess that’s because we’re Southern. We find any reason to get together. Heck, there’d be the engagement party, the bourbon bury, the bridesmaids gathering, and a Jack and Jill shower. Then there’s the rehearsal dinner and, of course, the reception after the wedding.”
Eric’s eyes narrowed, “Don’t you find that amount of time with the same people tedious?”
Sookie smiled, “Get tired of having family around? Hell, Eric! If I felt that way, I’d have to turn in my Southern Belle card! Nope, we love being together with all our kids and dogs. We hang around and eat, drink, and gossip about everyone who ain’t us.” Beneath her Eric chuckled. “Seriously though, there are some really nice traditions, things that a girl dreams about all her life.”
“Like what, Älskade?”
”Well, like walking down the aisle with everyone you know all around you. I dreamed of making a straight line toward the man I love, wearing a flowing gown, and feeling just like a princess. I dreamed of standing in front of a preacher, hearing the love of my life promise to have and to hold, and looking right into his eyes when I say, ‘I do,’ “and Sookie laid her cheek against Eric’s chest. “I said the words before, Eric, and you wouldn’t think I would feel so strong about it now, but I want to say them again. I want to promise before God and everyone that I will love you and honor you all the days of my life,” She sighed as they lay together, content. Sookie giggled when she felt his cock pulse against her. “Well, I know one tradition we’re ignoring tonight,” she told him.
“What tradition would that be, Lover?” Eric rubbed himself against her, allowing his other interests to start asserting themselves.
“The tradition of a bride not seeing her groom the night before the wedding,” she sighed as he pulled her up his body and then used his knees to part her legs.
“Why would I wish to deprive myself of this?” he asked as he started to drag his length back and forth against her.
“Well, you wouldn’t!” Sookie’s breath caught as his head found her entrance and Eric pressed just within her and then withdrew, setting a rhythm that had her moving to try and invite him further. “The idea is that all this energy is stored up for your wedding night. You go on a honeymoon…” and her breath caught as he pushed home.
Applying a slight swivel to his hip, driving himself further within her he asked, “Honeymoon? What is that?” and then he swiveled a little more aggressively, making it hard for Sookie to form coherent sentences.
“A honeymoon is a trip a couple takes, they go away together…” and Eric grasped her hips, sliding her forward against him so that his length dragged from her.
“Close your legs,” he said darkly, and Sookie did. She was lying completely on top of him, her cheek turned against his chest. He grasped her hips and started sliding her up and down, thrusting up against her at the optimum moment. She felt so tight around him and he was panting, his fangs distended. He couldn’t penetrate deeply in this position, but his length ran against her clit first in one direction and then the other. It didn’t take long for the pressure to start to build. “Push yourself up with your arms,” Eric demanded, and Sookie did, arching her back and bringing her pelvis more firmly against his. He moved her quickly now, using his strength and speed, and she threw her head back, feeling her walls pulsing, and then clasping him within her until she felt like a fist.
He sat up quickly beneath her, the movement causing her legs to open again and he brought her into his lap, thrusting within her, seating himself deeper, “Sookie!” he cried, and she felt him as he came, the coolness of his seed contrasting with the heat that was her core. His wrist was to her lips and she grabbed it, sucking long and hard. The taste of his blood triggered her own orgasm and she thought she would push him from her, her inner walls gripped him so hard. He fought to maintain his place, and when he was secure, he bowed his head and sank fangs into her neck again. Eric’s wrist had healed and Sookie didn’t think twice. She tore at it with blunt teeth, drinking again, uniting them in body and blood.
They were so in tune with each other there was no worry that an accidental turning would happen. Eric sipped, no more, and they fell from each other, spent. Sookie shifted to lie against him and Eric sprawled, arms and legs stretched out, helpless below the sky.
After a bit, Eric’s arm came around her and he rubbed her hair somewhat clumsily, “So what do these couples do on a honeymoon?” he asked.
Sookie giggled, and then giggled some more at how she sounded. “Well, pretty much this,” and she nipped his chest.
“They go away to fuck?” Eric was amused, but Sookie could also sense he didn’t understand.
“Well, the idea was that it was a time that a couple could get to know each other… you know… sexually, without having to worry about work or people disturbing them.”
Eric made that rumbling sound, the one he made when he was thinking. “You would wish a honeymoon?” he asked, “I could take you to my house on Barbados.”
“Barbados?” Sookie asked. “I didn’t know you had a house there. Isn’t it awkward?”
“Why?” he asked.
“Well, it’s a Caribbean island. It’s real sunny there,” she shrugged.
“It’s sunny everywhere, Sookie,” Eric was smiling and she could feel his amusement. “It is bright there at night and it’s on the beach. We could explore the moonlight at our leisure. There is privacy from our neighbors. You could wear nothing but moonbeams for me night after night.”
“Someone would have to rescue us,” she giggled. “A couple weeks of this and we’d be nothing but wrung out, sore messes!”
“I will have the housekeeper make travel arrangements after we finish our trip to Nebraska,” Eric sighed and then stretched, reminding Sookie of a large, lazy lion. “That would please you?” he asked.
“I’d love that, Mr. Northman,” she confirmed. She knew she was playing with fire, but she took him in her hand again.
“This talk of human weddings seems to make you hungry,” Eric purred. “What else is there about this ritual that you would wish?”
“Yeah, I know a setup when I hear one!” Sookie chided, but she didn’t release him. Instead she asked another question that flitted through her head from time to time. “Eric? Are you sorry I wasn’t a virgin?”
She could feel his amusement, “Why do you ask such a foolish question?” he snorted.
“Well, I don’t know,” Sookie giggled. “I kind of thought that you come from a long time ago, and those romance novels I read make it sound like a big deal, so I sort of figured…”
“Do you remember your first time?” Eric chuckled.
“Sure,” Sookie felt kind of uncomfortable. Her first time had been with Bill and she felt odd thinking about that while lying naked with large, possessive, jealous Eric, but he asked so she was going with it.
“Was it wonderful? Did you have the kind of experience we just shared?”
Sookie felt herself flush, “Well, no.”
“That is everyone’s first. We remember it. I remember mine. I was done before I began. I was thrilled that it was over and that I was now a man. I was happy that I functioned. But it was not sublime, and for women there is sometimes some pain in the process. Of course I wish I had been the one to initiate you. It is the possessive vampire in me, but you would have remembered the awkwardness.” Eric arched slightly, making his cock move within her hand, “You are adventurous, Miss Stackhouse. Perhaps you would have wondered what else you might be missing, for I would never have shared you. No, it doesn’t bother me that I was not your first. I would rather be your last,” and with those words he closed his hand around hers, applying more pressure to his awakening cock.
“Jesus, Eric, you have a two second recovery time,” Sookie laughed.
“Good thing since you are insatiable,” he groaned, arching into her again.
Sookie nudged him and shook his hand off hers. He groaned again, but allowed her grip to loosen. “Will we always live in New Orleans?” she asked.
“It is the logical place for a King,” he shrugged. “It has many features that recommend it. The people of the city are accepting of Supernaturals. That makes it a place that attracts those who are happy to be vassals. The strength of a kingdom is in the number of vampires it attracts and the talents and skills they bring with them. We are attracting talented vampires who possess special gifts. Our strength grows. Besides, the culture and heritage are appealing. There are banks and businesses, and the airport is convenient.” Eric was sounding like a tour guide and Sookie told him as much.
She could feel his exasperation so she told him, “It’s just that it’s a city, Eric. I can’t hardly see the stars at night and I have to go looking for green places. And then there’s all the people. I’m good at keeping my shields in place, but with so many thoughts in one place, it’s like I always have that little pressure in the back of my head. Well, except when I hold onto you. Then it’s like a cool breeze runs through me and I feel one hundred percent better.”
Eric’s hand moved hers back to his cock, “Then you should always hold onto me,” he purred. When she snorted, but left her hand in place, he said, “It would be difficult to justify our moving our official residence to another place,” Eric’s voice was apologetic, but there was a note of finality to it. Sookie knew he was right, but she wished it was different.
“I suppose,” She turned her head and focused on a dark shape that sat on the ground in the shadow cast by the far pillar. “What is that?” she asked. She pulled the blanket to wrap around her, leaving Eric bare to the night air. She walked closer to make out the shape of a child sitting cross legged. It appeared to be reading a book. “Whose monument is this?” she asked.
Eric shrugged and stood up. He pulled the second blanket from the stone and read, “James Whitcomb Riley.” He looked at Sookie expectantly, but the name wasn’t ringing any bells. He looked back at the stone, “It says he was a children’s poet. He wrote a poem about an orphan named Annie…”
“Little Orphan Annie?” Sookie asked. “Eric! I know who this was! My Gran used to read Jason and me that poem. He wrote another too, The Raggedy Man. That one was my favorite. Gran would do the voices. Oh!” and she turned around to look again at the pillars. “There were verses that talked about Elves and fairy tales and I would pretend it was all about me. I can’t believe we ended up here of all places,” and Sookie walked back to her Eric, running her hands over his perfect butt cheeks, and then wrapping her arms around his waist. As she leaned against his back she said, “I can see us reading that story to our own children someday.” Eric became very still, and Sookie could feel he moved far away even though her cheek lay against him. “What just happened, Eric?” Sookie stepped back from the vampire and walked around him until she could look up in his face. “Eric?”
“You sound so sure,” he said, his voice too steady.
“Sure about what?” she asked, but she already knew the answer.
“Sure that we could, that we should make a… child,” and he looked up then and over her head.
Sookie thought about it. The last time they talked about this he hadn’t sounded reluctant, but then again, if she was being perfectly honest with herself, he hadn’t sounded completely on board either. “Are you having second thoughts?” she asked. “Or have you been against this all along?” Sookie wrapped her arms around him again, not allowing him to shut her out. She used the power their blood exchange had given to their bond to send him her concern and anxiety, and she continued to bombard him until he sighed and looked back at her.
“You can stop,” he told her. “I can see how much this means to you. I will not change my mind. In fact, I do not believe your Grandfather would allow me that option.”
Sookie swallowed and looked away. She could feel her heart falling, “You don’t want children with me? You’re only saying you will because you’re feeling pressured into doing it?” Sookie swallowed again and tried to slip a rein back on her feelings. “Wow!” she said. “Guess I got that all wrong,” and she let her arms fall from him, breathing deeply to try to find her balance. She felt foolish and hurt in ways that were unexpected. She bit her lip and walked over to retrieve her clothing.
“Sookie,” she could feel his concern.
“I’m fine,” she said quietly, “really. I’m just surprised is all,” and she spotted her underwear and headed to get that too. She half expected him to rush over to her and force her to listen to him, but instead he sat down heavily on the pedestal and looked out across the landscape. It was so out of character for her Viking that she stopped and stared.
“What If this child that is made of us is not immortal, Sookie? What then? This thing we would make could be the same as your brother, with no spark, nothing to interest your Fae relatives.” Sookie stilled. She hadn’t really thought about the possibility. Truth be told, she just assumed that any child the two of them made would have some kind of magic. “Would you allow it to be turned into a vampire?” he asked. Sookie felt her visceral rejection of that idea, a knot forming in her throat, and Eric looked up at her, knowing. “No, you would not wish that. Neither would I. So we would be condemned to lose it to age and infirmity.” When he felt the realization of what he was saying start to dawn, he continued, “And if you did consent to allowing that child immortality, who would be its Maker? I would not, could not and remain in your life. You would never be able to settle the conflict in your heart. So who? Who could we trust, because whoever became its Maker would have total dominion over it. Or would it be a target for every being that wished to punish us? A pawn in some terrible game?”
It was then that Sookie’s eyes narrowed. It seemed strange to her that the source of the strength she now felt was the person who sat before her, listing all the things that could go wrong. “Is that what we’re doing? Playing ‘what if’? Well, I have a few for you, Eric! What if we never met? What if Sam hadn’t been a wife beater? What if Felipe decided to fuck Freyda instead of killing her? Eric, there is a universe of things that could happen, but if there’s one thing you’ve taught me it’s big risk, big reward. So I have one for you! What if we have a child who is wonderful and happy and healthy? What if that child is the best of both of us and makes every day more wonderful because it’s here? When have you ever lived half a life, Eric, hiding from what could be when taking a risk could give you everything? When have you ever allowed your fear to guide you?”
“The day I almost lost you to Neave and Lochlan,” he said immediately. “I chose against everything I knew that I should do. I jeopardized my life and the life of my vassals because I feared for your life, because I knew that if your life was over, my own was too.”
Sookie closed the distance between herself and Eric in a few steps, and then waited until he opened his arms to her. When she wrapped her own arms around his shoulders and held his head against her breasts, she said, “What if all those bad things that happened, you losing your family and falling to Appius, and me being tortured by the fairies and stumbling into that nightmare of a marriage, what if all those things weren’t punishments? What if they were the steps we needed to take so we could end up here, holding onto each other and about to get married? What if this is fate, and by accepting what happens we get to have our happily ever after?” She could feel him smiling. “I believe it, Eric,” she stroked his hair. “I believe that we were meant to be together. I don’t think that all those trials and troubles were for nothing.” She stroked his hair and she was sure she could feel the grim amusement he felt, “Doesn’t mean I think we’ll ever get some kind of fairy tale. I don’t think we’ll ever have a perfect or easy life. If we did get all those things I think we’d die of boredom!”
“Yes, that is true,” he chuckled, “we will never be boring!”
“We’ve come a long way down our road,” she sighed, “and we are being presented with a chance to make a family. I think it’s fate. If it doesn’t happen for us, that’ll be okay because at least we tried. We won’t be left wondering what our lives would have been. But if we can do this? I can’t explain it, but I know it’s important and it won’t matter if it’s all human or if it’s some magic in it. It will be ours.” She knew her emotions were all over the place and she was not explaining herself well. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that being together is what really matters for me, but if we could have a family too? That would be the frosting on my cake.”
“Frosting?” Eric’s eyes crinkled.
“Frosting!” Sookie declared. “It makes what you have just a little bit better.”
“You are so sure I would make a good father?” and she felt just a brush of anxiety.
“Yes, I am,” she told him, “The same way I’m sure you’ll be the best husband. Jason told me that before JC was born he was sure he would be a terrible father. He figured he’d drop the baby and the only skills he’d have to teach were whoring and drinking, but he’s a wonderful father to his boys.” Sookie stepped back, and then nudged the Viking enough that he sat back and she climbed into his lap. “I love you, Eric Northman, and you forget! I’ve seen you with children. They adore you. I figure I’ll have to be the one that hands out all the punishments because you’re nothing but a big softie when it comes to kids,” and she turned her face to kiss him. The kiss started as a promise, but it heated, and then it flamed.
Down the hill the Weres’ heads turned as the sounds drifted on the light wind from the hilltop. “Damn,” James said. “I should have set the bet for each time, and not just them having sex in public.”
Charles smirked and looked around at the gravestones, “Well,” he drawled, “I don’t know. Is this really public? I mean there really aren’t any people around… not living ones anyway.”
There was an especially loud moan that carried in the cool air and James shook his head, “How many hours until dawn?”
Charles glanced at his watch, “Enough,” he replied. “I’ll get the cards.”