I let her pull me over to a mirror that is hanging on the wall. She places me in front of it before squeezing in beside me so both of us are in the frame. My eyes go straight to her reflection in the mirror of course, but I look up quickly when I notice the shock on her face.
“Oh my,” she whispers breathlessly.
I am stunned. I know without a doubt Sookie is the most gorgeous creature I have ever seen and that I am not bad to look at either, but together? Together we are breathtaking. I do not mean that in a conceited way either. I feel as if I am looking at a different pair of people. This can not possibly be us. Not the real us anyway.
“Is this mirror spelled with fae magic?” I ask her in a whisper.
She shakes her head no, “I do not think so. Eric, look at us! We are absolutely glowing! We look……” she whispers back trying to come up with a word to describe us.
“Magnificent,” I supply quietly.
“Exactly,” she smiles up at me. “We are going to hurt people’s eyes when they look at us,” she giggles softly.
I smile at her words. Seeing both of us smiling makes us look even more radiant. “Do you think it is because of our bonds? It must be, right?” I ask her.
“I……I do not know, but it sounds like a good enough explanation to me,” she shrugs. “But look,” she says, reaching up to pull my head closer to hers. “I was right. Your hair is exactly the same color as mine,” she says smiling brilliantly.
“So it is,” I smile back at her, kissing her temple. “Maybe your Grandfather will have some answers for us. We should probably be getting to him.”
She sighs, “Yes, I suppose you are right. Do you want me to pop us, or would you like to take a tour of the palace?”
“I would like to walk I think.” I tell her.
“Alright, but remember, my love, you are about to see the sun again. Once we are out those doors you will be bathed in it. Are you ready for that?” she asks gently.
“I have not forgotten, though I will admit to being anxious. Doing everything to avoid it for the last four hundred years will do that to you,” I laugh nervously.
“I can only imagine. Vampires were my biggest fear and I fell in love with one of them, so I am sure you will be just fine,” she smiles up at me.
I lean down and kiss her lips softly. “As long as you are with me I will be,” I whisper against her lips.
“I am always with you, Eric, always,” she promises me again.
She takes my hand in hers, “Ready?”
We almost make it to the door before Sookie pulls me back, a worried look on her face.
“Sookie, your worry is not helping my nerves any,” I tease her. It is the truth though.
“Maybe you should have some more of my blood before we go out there, just in case,” she suggests.
“My love, I am stuffed I have had so much of your blood. I drank twice from you night before last and even more than that when we finished our bond tonight. As much as I savor your exquisite blood, I truly could not hold another drop. If all of that will not protect me, nothing will.”
Her worry turns to fear with my words. “That is what I am afraid of Eric! I can not and will not watch you burn!” she cries angrily.
I gather her in my arms and rub her back gently. “Kära en, did we not just see me hold silver in my hand with absolutely no burning at all? If the silver no longer burns me, I am sure the sun will not either,” I say, trying to calm her.
“Yes, I suppose you are right. I’m sorry, I just can not stand the thought of you in anymore pain, Eric,” she tells me letting out a small sob.
I tilt her chin up with my finger, “I know, my love, and I do not care for it myself,” I tell her. “But, I think I am willing to risk it if it means I will get to see the sun in your hair,” I admit quietly, running my fingers through her golden waves. “Until tonight, I have only seen you in the moonlight and the torches in here are a far cry from the sun. As beautiful as you are in those kinds of lights, I have a feeling you will be beyond glorious in the sun,” I tell her, leaning down to kiss her lips softly. When I pull back a single tear is running down her cheek.
“No, Sookie. None of that. You know I can not stand your tears and we have shed enough already tonight,” I scold her gently, begging at the same time.
She bites her bottom lip trying to keep her chin from quivering, taking a few deep breaths at the same time.
Finally she calms herself enough to talk. “I am such a selfish mate. You have not seen the sun in over four hundred years and here I am keeping you from it with my nagging. I’m so sorry, Eric,” she apologizes.
I hug her to me, “Sookie, you would not allow me any shame earlier so you are not allowed any either. There is no need for apologies. You only want to protect me because you love me. I could not ask for a better mate than that. If it was you possibly about to be hurt, I promise I would be putting up a much bigger fight than you are,” I try to assure her.
She reaches up on her tiptoes and gives me a kiss. “I love you, Eric,” she whispers.
“As I love you, Sookie,” I whisper back, smiling against her lips.
“Shall we go see how beautiful I am in the sun?” she teases me.
I laugh down at her, “Yes, I would like that very much.”
She takes my hand again and pulls us the last few steps to the door. I take an unnecessary deep breath and hold it when she reaches for the handle, turning it, and pulling the door open slowly. I brace myself as the light comes flooding in. I can feel Sookie sending me encouragement through our bonds. I shield my eyes with one hand. The door is barely open, yet the light is much brighter than my eyes have seen in hundreds of years. But I am not burning. I feel no pain at all.
I turn towards Sookie, giving her a big smile. “I’m ok. Open it all the way.”
Her smile is brilliant as she opens the door for me and pulls me out into the hall. It takes me a couple of minutes of squinting before I can open my eyes fully though. When I finally can, I look down at my beautiful miracle and her huge smile. Even though is she not in direct sunlight she is still pure sunshine from her golden head all the way to her tiny feet. She is radiance personified.
“I was right. You are glorious in the sunlight,” I say, putting my hands under her arms and lifting her over my head before spinning us around. Her squeals of laughter are music to my ears. When I stop our spinning, letting her down to my level, her legs immediately wrap around my waist.
“I’m not even really in the sun you silly vampire,” she teases me.
“Then I still have much to look forward too,” I tell her before I kiss her breathless. When I succeed I rest my forehead against hers as she catches her breath.
“Thank you, min mirakel. I am in awe of the gifts you have given me,” I whisper to her.
“I am so happy I could give this to you, baby. I hope I can always make you this happy,” she whispers back, her bright blue eyes full of love.
“You know what I want to do now?” I ask her in my sexiest voice.
“What?” she asks, her breath gone again.
“I want to take you outside, rip this gown off of you, and make you cum over and over so I can see every inch of your gorgeous body as it writhes in the sunlight from the ecstasy I give you,” I tell her, a low growl escaping from my chest.
“Oh fuck, Eric,” she gasps, her eyes rolling back as a bolt of lust spikes through our bonds.
We both startle when we hear someone clear their throat loudly just to our right. Niall has come to find us it seems. Sookie squeaks and her legs fly off my waist. I let her slide down my body and to her feet, holding back a groan from feeling her rub against my straining cock on the way down. She stays in front of me with her face hidden in my chest. Whether to hide my erection or her embarrassment I’m not sure. I hold her gently to me with a hand in her hair and one rubbing her back.
“Brigant,” I greet him with a nod and a smirk I am unable to remove from my face.
“Northman,” he nods back. “I see I was correct. You are hale and hardy despite the sunlight.”
“Yes. I am most grateful to Sookie for this amazing gift she has blessed me with,” I reply, leaning down and kissing the top of her head. She has yet to move from her hiding place.
I look back to Brigant and see him smiling at the back of his mortified Granddaughter’s head. He winks at me and waves me forward.
“Come, I think having our talk outside would be nice for all of us,” he says leading the way down the hall.
I gently peel Sookie from my body and pull her hot face to look up at mine. The poor thing is as red as a beet. She even has tears threatening to spill from her huge eyes. I want to smile but I could not hurt her tender heart like that.
“Sookie my sweet, please do not be so embarrassed. We may be young compared to your Grandfather, but we are plenty old enough not to be ashamed of our desire for each other. He knows we are bonded and love each other very much. He is happy for us, I promise. Be proud of the sexy, amazing woman you are and the fact that you have a viking vampire firmly by his balls,” I wink at her.
That pulls a giggle from her. “Thank you, baby. You always know how to make me feel better,” she smiles, pulling up on my shoulders to give me a kiss.
I kiss her back, slipping her hand into mine, and head towards Brigant who has stopped a fair distance away to wait for us.
“You know, you have been calling me baby again?” I tease her as we walk.
She reaches over and pinches my side pretty hard.
“OW!” I yell, mostly for her benefit. It did kind of hurt though.
“Serves you right. You are mine and I should be able to call you whatever I want,” she sasses me, grinning like the minx she is.
“As long as you are mine too, I do not care one bit what you call me,” I tell her, pulling her hand up to my lips and kissing her knuckles.
“Forever, my love,” she tells me, all the teasing gone from her eyes and voice.
I hug her to my side and kiss the top of her head. “You make me so happy,” I whisper into her hair as we catch up to Brigant.
Sookie looks up at me and even though her eyes are shining with unshed tears she is smiling as bright as I have ever seen. Her happiness washes over me through our bonds and makes me feel as if nothing bad could ever happen to us again. If only that were true. Hopefully if the gods see fit, it will be very soon.
Niall opens his arms for Sookie to come to him. She does even though her cheeks are pinking up again. “My dear child, it does your Grandfather good to see you so joyful,” he tells her, wrapping her up in a hug. “I have never seen you look so happy or more beautiful.”
“Thank you, Grandfather. It means so much to me that you approve of us,” she murmurs into his chest.
“One only need to see the pair of you together to know you are meant to be. I knew earlier, but now that both your bonds are complete….well let’s just say you two are completely spellbinding. I have a feeling that you will reach legendary status here in Faerie very quickly,” he chuckles.
“Is it our bonds that makes us look so……..unbelievably perfect together?” Sookie asks him.
“Yes. That and the fact you are here in Faerie. You are a striking couple for sure, but the magic of your bonds is not hidden here as it is in the human realm. The bonds know you are safe and protected here, so they project your love and happiness out for everyone to see,” he explains.
“No one will doubt you are indeed an eternal pair.”
“That is really neat,” Sookie smiles, looking back and forth between us.
Niall chuckles at her words then waves us towards a door that I assume will lead us outside.
Sookie grabs my hand again and pulls me with her opening the door. I thought the light inside the palace was bright, but it is nothing compared to light shining on me now. I close my eyes quickly and cover them with a hand too.
“Oh Eric! I’m sorry!” Sookie frets. I hear her go to shut the door back.
“No, please do not close it,” I tell her. “I just need a moment.”
It is not just my vision that is on overload, all my senses are. I can feel the warmth on my skin, smell it in the air, and I even hear the daytime. All the sounds are much different from what I hear at night. Other than seeing Sookie in the sunlight though, I think I like the heat of it on my skin the most. I want to just go lay down on the ground and let it soak into my skin all the way to my bones. I take my hand down from my eyes, but I do not open them yet. Sookie squeezes my hand and I can feel her happiness mixing with mine.
“Take me outside, kära en. Please?,” I ask her softly.
“Absolutely,” she says. I can hear the smile on her face. She wraps my arm around her shoulder and slides hers around my waist. “Come on baby, let’s go get you some sunshine on that pale skin,” she giggles, hugging herself to my side and kissing my chest.
I laugh at my silly girl as we slowly walk out the door. We walk for just a minute or two and then I see the light fade through my eyelids and feel the heat leave my skin when she stops us.
“What happened?” I ask, my eyes flying open. Ahhhh, we are standing in the shade of a huge tree.
“We thought it would give you more time to adjust your eyes from here,” Sookie says, hugging me close. “Look around, what do you think of Faerie?”
I raise my eyes and look all around me. It is beautiful here. There is so much green everywhere. Dark green rolling hills as far as I can see. It reminds me of my homeland. They are covered in tall grass that sways in the wind and huge trees, their branches reaching up and then out over the ground. They are perfect for resting under. There are flowers of all kinds scattered throughout, especially along the banks of the crystal blue river that is winding its way over the land. The sky is so blue you could lose yourself in it and it is filled with large puffy white clouds that look like they have been placed there by an artist they are so perfect. In fact the whole place looks like a beautiful painting. Nothing is harsh to the eye, only soft and calming.
“No wonder you love it here,” I whisper to Sookie, running my fingers through her hair. When I realize what I am doing my eyes go wide. I scoop her up, ignoring her squeal, and vamp us out from under the tree and into the sun.
“Eric! Give me some warning next time,” she laughs up at me.
I am struck speechless by her gorgeous smiling face looking up at me in the sunlight. I am sure I look like a complete idiot staring at her as I am, but she is…… Well, there are not words adequate enough to describe her beauty.
“Are you okay, baby?” she giggles at me.
I gently place her on her feet and take my time taking in this enchanting creature that is my mate.
Her skin is so golden there is no doubt she has been kissed by the sun. It is so smooth and pristine it glows. I run my fingers over her brow, looking into eyes that are as blue as the sky above us. I could get lost in them forever. Her soft lips seem even fuller in this light and are the perfect shade of pink. The same pink as other more intimate places on her voluptuous body. I pull her hair over her shoulder and watch the sunlight play in its waves as it falls through my fingers. Countless shades of gold shine back at me. It is as if the gods wove sunlight into silk and placed it on her perfect head.
“Eric,” she says breathlessly, her face flushing again.
Did I say some of that out loud? I do not care if I did, it was all the truth. I hold her beautiful face in my hands almost reverently. “My Sookie, if I had a heartbeat it would have stopped your beauty is so pure. If I had breath you would have stolen it with your loveliness. I want to fall to my knees and worship you for the rest of my days. You are a goddess, min älskare. There is no other that can, or will ever, compare to you my love,” I whisper, leaning down and capturing her lips with mine.
I want to lay her down right here in this green grass and pay homage to her perfect body. My kiss and our bond should easily tell her how I feel. Somewhere among all the adoration and need I am feeling, her delight at hearing my words and her devotion to me is flooding our bonds. The love she feels for me will probably always astound me. I will never understand how I came to be blessed with such an amazing woman.
She finally has to break our kiss so she can get some air. She looks up at me, her heart in her eyes, “Pick me up so I can be closer to you,” she whispers.
I do as she requests, scooping her up and holding her like I did when we went flying so maybe she will not get as embarrassed as she did earlier. I am sure Brigant is watching us. The fingers of one of her hands are playing lightly with the hair at the back of my neck, while the others stroke my face. She is looking at me as if I hung the moon and stars in the sky. If I did, then she hung the sun.
“I love you so much, you amazing, man. You will always be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and you are the strongest, most precious, wonderful creature I know. I love you with every ounce of my being and will be forever grateful that I get to call you mine,” she says giving me big kiss. With her lips still on mine, but smiling big enough to split her face she whispers, “Not to mention you are the sexiest thing on two legs.”
I can not help but laugh at that last part and she laughs with me too. I put my forehead to hers still smiling, “I love you, Sookie,” I tell her.
“I love you, Eric,” she answers me with another kiss.
“I suppose we should get back to your Grandfather,” I say with a sigh.
“Yes, I suppose we should,” she agrees with an even louder sigh.
I zip us back over to the tree and place her back on her feet. “Sorry about that, but I have been waiting to see her in the sun since last night.” I say, smiling at Brigant.
“I certainly understand,” he says with a nod. “I regret to dampen your happiness, but there are things the two of you need to know. Please, sit,” he asks us. Sookie pulls me over to some ornately carved wooden benches that I did not notice earlier near the trunk of the tree. We sit, clasp hands and do our best to keep our nerves calm. Niall is pacing in front of us deep in thought.
He finally stops but does not look our way. “When I was close to a thousand years old I met an enchanting fae woman named Aislen. We fell madly in love very quickly. She was my first love and I hers.” He pauses, a deep sigh leaving him.
“I seem destined for the women in my life to leave Faerie for the human realm. Aislen was the first to do so. She went with several friends just to see what the fuss was all about. She never made it back. Her friends did though and they were distraught when they found me. Aislen had been taken by some soldiers while they were there. They told us that she had panicked and did not pop herself away before the men had her locked in iron chains.”
Sookie’s grip on my hand is getting tighter and tighter as he speaks and her feelings more conflicted. I hug her to my side hoping to soothe her some.
“The soldiers that took her were Roman. Their leader liked to take trophies back to his consul so that he stayed on his good side. Aislen was forced to become the consul’s mistress. It had not taken them long to figure out that too much iron made her sick, but just enough kept her subdued. I never saw her with my eyes again, but I tried many times to find where they were keeping her. I would catch a glimpse of her light in my mind but she would always disappear before I could get to her. I believe she was kept in an iron cage or room of some sort.”
Niall finally turns to face us and I do not like the look he is giving us. I know we are not going to like what he has to say next. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before continuing.
“I never stopped looking for her. Almost a year after she was taken I made another of my many trips to see if I could sense her. That time I did, and she was in terrible pain. I stood against the outside wall of the place she was being kept listening to her scream. Before long I realized she was giving birth to that bastard’s child. I closed my eyes and watched her light dim as the baby’s grew stronger. She died, he lived.”
I feel sick, or maybe that is Sookie I am feeling. I think it is probably both of us. I am afraid to ask him what I already know, but I must.
“Appius was the baby?” I whisper.
He looks at us, regret shadowing his features. “Yes.”