After just a few moments of congratulations from my family, Eric swoops me up in his arms and begins to fly us back to the castle. But he has us in our room in two heartbeats later because when flying was taking too long he popped us here mid flight.
By the waves of lust I feel flowing through our bonds I thought he would start ripping our clothes off the second we got here, but I was wrong.
Instead he gently places me on my feet in front of him and stares at me in wonder for the longest time. His fingers run lightly over my hair as his eyes follow the path they take, then they move to my face and trail down my chest to do the same, moving ever so slowly and softly across my skin.
With the way he is looking at me you would think he had never seen me before. It reminds me of the first time he saw me in a dress and the sight struck him deaf and dumb. Seeing him look at me this way makes me feel more beautiful than I ever have.
The awe, wonder, and intense love he is feeling for me, over and above the lust, almost steal my breath they are so all-consuming and powerful.
I push even more of my feelings at him to make sure he feels all of my love and happiness so he knows without a doubt he is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me and always will be.
“My wife. You are my wife,” he whispers, his watery eyes locked on mine as his fingers ghost down my skin where my dress plunges deep between my breasts.
“I am,” I smile up at him running my own down his cheek and along his strong jaw, “and you are my husband.”
His smile at hearing that is bigger than I have ever seen it. The sight makes my heart threaten to burst.
He cups my face gently in his huge hands, hands that could easily crush my skull if he so desired, but have only ever touched me with love and tenderness, “I had no idea what this would mean to me before, but now? Now I….I can not even find the words to describe what I feel.”
I take one of his hands in mine and lay it over my heart, “You do not have to tell me, my love. I can feel all of it right here and I just hope you feel the same coming from me,” I say laying my hand over his heart.
“I do,” he whispers as he leans down and presses his lips to mine.
Everything Eric feels for me, and I for him, was poured into that kiss and the hours of love making that came after it. Neither of us spoke another word as we worshipped each other’s body because none were needed. Our bonds were and still are bursting at the seams with the love we feel for one another. And if they hadn’t been, the look in his eyes and mine would have told us all we needed to know.
I’m not ashamed to say I shed some tears once or twice feeling the overwhelming love Eric has for me. I wiped a few from his cheeks too, but all of them were ones of joy and love.
It will never cease to amaze me how much he can love after the horror he has endured at the hands of Appius. I cherish that love all the more for it though. I am the luckiest woman in any realm or world there is to be loved so completely by this man.
Laying on our sides so we can face one another, in a tangle of limbs and sheets, we smile sleepily into each other’s eyes and continue to caress one another with slow, lazy strokes.
“I love you, min fru,” Eric says softly finally breaking our silence.
“I love you too, my husband,” I say kissing his fingers that are entwined with mine.
“I do not think I have ever been happier than I am right now,” he tells me.
I smile even bigger and slip my fingers around his neck and into his soft hair pulling him closer to me, “Me either,” I whisper against his lips then kiss him.
Eric gathers me closer to him, deepening our kiss and I eagerly return it. Even after hours of love making our need for each other has not dampened and we get so lost in our kiss we fail to hear our visitor arrive.
“It is time for other things now children.”
I shriek like a banshee and Eric instantly covers my naked body with his own. I hear his fangs fully extend with a snap and a deep growl is coming from his chest.
I realize after a few seconds who it is and peek over Eric’s shoulder at my arrogant Grandfather, “You have the manners of a troll sometimes! Do you know that? You could have called me or knocked! Get out of here! We will find your arrogant ass after we get dressed,” I yell at him doing some growling of my own.
“Something dark and plain. I will wait for you in my study. Do not tarry, we have some place else we need to be,” he says and disappears with a quiet pop.
“Aaarrrrhhhhhh!” I let out a groan and flop back onto the bed.
Eric turns and looks down at me with frustration written all over his beautiful face, “Min älskare, I love you, but your kin is driving me insane with their presumptuous bullshit. One of them is going to wind up in bloody pieces if they push me any further.”
I can tell he means it too, and right now I wholeheartedly agree with him.
“I’m sorry, I wish I could control them better, but no matter how hard I have tried in the past, nothing has ever worked. Faeries are the most arrogant, selfish creatures in existence and mine at least have no desire to change any time soon,” I apologize to him and do my best to soothe him with my touch and a kiss.
It works for now.
“We may as well find out what the bastard wants this time,” he groans and gets up to get dressed.
I get up myself and walk over to his side of the bed, coming up behind him, enjoying the view of his superior ass on the way. I rub my hands up and down his back and then around his lean waist, pressing my body against his, “We will find a place of our own, away from here and them, once he is gone,” I whisper and kiss his warm skin.
Eric knows the he I speak of. I feel the spike of hatred flash through our bonds, at my last words, then it fades as he laces his fingers with mine and pulls my arms even tighter around him.
“We do not have to stay here. I know I want to leave and I’m certain you want the same. I would love to make a home with you, a place we can always go to and call ours. Only ours. Just you and me with no interruptions from selfish faeries or troubles to darken our life. We can travel the world together, see everything there is to see, and when we’ve seen it all we can go home. Maybe even fill that home with tiny laughs and the sound of little feet running across the floors.”
He stiffens and then a split second later spins around and grips me by my arms.
“That is not possible. Why would you say that?” he asks almost angry with me.
“Why is it not possible?”
“Sookie if you think I would let another man bed you…” he starts, definitely angry now.
“What!?! Eric, no! I would never! How can you think that of me?!?” I ask, my own anger spiking too.
He shakes his head, “I do not, but you are talking crazy, nothing else makes sense to me. I am dead, Sookie. Dead men do not father children,” his tone changing from angry to hurt.
My anger vanishes and I smile softly at him, placing my hand over his beating heart, “I never knew a dead man’s heart could still beat.”
“That does not mean…”
“Why not?” I interrupt him. “You are not dead Eric, not anymore. In my heart I do not think you ever were, but I know you are as alive as me and anyone else in this place now. Your heart beats, you breathe, and you do not die for the day anymore, you only sleep. After all the changes we have been through, why would that be the only thing that did not? Why would the fates be so cruel to deny us children when they have blessed us with so much else?” I say softly.
He lets me go and sits down heavily on the bed, staring at the floor. His side of the bond is in chaos bouncing from one emotion to the next and back again.
Disbelief, concern, excitement, then doubt, only to start over again.
I give him a few minutes to accept what I’m saying then walk over and stand between his legs when I begin to feel hope spread through him. He lays his head on my chest and hugs me tightly. I wrap my own arms around him and run my fingers through his hair.
After a few more minutes of working out his feelings he looks up at me, “Do you really think it is possible?” he whispers.
I take his face in my hands and kiss his forehead, “I do. I may be even now. We have certainly tried enough in the last week,” I smile at him.
Awe and wonder fill his eyes again as he gently pushes me back and stares at my stomach. His large hands slide around my sides to my front and meet in the middle gently rubbing my soft skin. After a moment he kisses my stomach and stands up quickly.
“Get dressed, min fru. We must speak to Niall about this,” he says hurrying to find some clothes.
I just stand there and smile as I watch him try to dress, hopping around on one foot as he attempts to put on his pants as fast as he can.
It seems he has forgotten he is a part fae vampire with insane dressing skills.
With a wave of my wrist I have us both dressed in a blink and laugh when he sighs out his gratitude.
“Thank you, my love. My mind is too full of other things to think straight it seems,” he says leaning down to give me a quick kiss.
“You are welcome, husband,” I smile at him.
He picks me up and kisses me again, much deeper this time, then rests his forehead against mine, “Are you ready?”
I nod and kiss his nose, “Yes.”
The next moment Eric is placing me on my feet in Niall’s study and pulling me over to him once I have my balance.
Not giving Grandfather a second to speak, Eric is in his face and bombarding him with questions, “Do you think it is possible for Sookie to have a child? My child. Can I be a father now? Could the changes we have been through allow such a miracle? Sookie believes they will. Do you?”
Niall lets his eyes go a fraction wider at Eric’s sudden inquisition then clears his throat, “I do believe it is possible. In fact I know it is,” he says with an air of satisfaction.
“In fact? How could you know that?” I ask him.
“Child, by now you must realize that I know almost everything there is to know,” he says with a smirk not even remotely answering my question.
Eric is having none of it.
His fangs snap down as he grabs Grandfather’s tunic in his fist and growls in his face, “Do not play your arrogant cryptic games with me faerie. Not about this. Explain yourself,” he demands shoving Niall from his grip.
“You really must learn to control that temper of yours, Eric. It is most unbecoming. Claude told me of your threats earlier today,” he says smoothing out his tunic.
Eric hisses as his hands begin to glow, “I will do much more than threaten you if you do not answer our questions.”
This is not good, not good at all.
“Grandfather please. Stop with this nonsense and tell us what you know before he fries you where you stand,” I demand.
He turns and walks over to his desk and picks up a wide, flat, plain wooden box and brings it back over to us.
He looks at me, “Do you remember the night you told me of Eric here in this room?”
“Do you remember everything I said?” he asks again.
“I think so, yes. Will you please just get to the point?” I beg him.
Eric is still seething beside me.
“I told you that I knew you would find your mate and bond with him very shortly after and I should help you both to bring peace to yourselves and my family or you would be lost to me. Though I never said who told me all of that,” he says to us.
“You did not, so how about you do that right now,” I huff at him.
He turns to look at Eric, ignoring my insolence.
“Did Godric ever tell you of The Ancient One? The great seer of your kind,” he asks him.
Eric immediately goes on alert, reaching to hold my hand in his, “He did,” he nods at Grandfather.
“Ancient One? What or who is that?” I ask completely lost.
“She is an ancient vampire and She sees all. She knows the many fates and paths that are possible for every creature in every realm. You do not question her word unless you want to test the fates. Doing so could mean certain death,” Eric tells me seriously.
“He is correct,” Niall agrees. “She is all of that and more. Vampires are not the only race that revere her. It was She who came to me shortly after I took you in, Sookie. She did not tell me your name Eric, or what you were, only that you would be my Granddaughter’s fated and no matter how I felt about you, if I wanted to keep my granddaughter, I would accept you in her life. I was to keep this box and what she told me from everyone, not telling a soul until the two of you were both ready. That was the only part that would be up to me to decide. She told me if I followed her instructions all would be well. That the pair of you would have a love greater than any before it or any that came after it. You would become the most unique and powerful creatures our realms had ever seen, conquering all of your foes, and mine, living for eternity in peace surrounded by your children,” he tells us.
Needless to say, Eric and I are speechless. At least for a few minutes anyway.
“Children,” Eric whispers to me after he picks me up and hugs me, “He said children.”
I wrap my arms around him and squeeze him tight, “I told you,” I whisper and kiss his neck. “He also said we would conquer our enemies and live in peace for eternity. Did you hear that too?” I ask him with a smile.
“I did hear that,” he smiles back at me then kisses me until we’re breathless.
Niall finally clears his throat and breaks up our little celebration.
Once Eric puts me back on my feet I turn to Grandfather, “What is in the box?”
“That I do not know. She told me not to open it, that what was inside was for him,” he says handing the box over to Eric.
Eric takes it from him, but only looks at it nervously.
“Go on, baby. Open it,” I encourage him.
He scowls at my endearment, but finally opens the box.
Inside are two of the most beautiful daggers I have ever seen. Their blades are made of the brightest sliver with intricate carvings all along their lengths. They almost look like words from a strange ancient language. The hilts are encrusted with shining, blue jewels nearly the exact same color as Eric’s eyes. I almost miss the parchment tucked into the lid of the box they are so eye-catching.
When I feel dismay and sadness burst into our bonds I look up at Eric to see what could be wrong and I’m shocked to see his face devoid of all color except for his red rimmed eyes.
“Eric? What is it? What’s wrong, sweetie?” I ask him worried about the amount of sadness flooding our bonds.
He turns away from me going over to the window then leans back against it, sliding to the floor.
I look at Grandfather for help, but he looks just as confused as me so I go to Eric and wrap him in my arms. He has folded into himself just as he did when he told me of his last night with Appius and I can feel the tremors of anguish running through his body as I hold him.
I push all the comfort and love I possess into his side of the bonds while trying to take as much of his pain as I can. I have no idea what is wrong, but I will not stop until this hurt leaves him.
Several minutes pass before he lifts his head and looks at me. My heart nearly shatters seeing the pain and sorrow in his eyes, “Oh my love. Please tell what’s wrong? Let me help you,” I beg him as I wipe the tears from his cheeks.
He closes his eyes and takes a deep shuddering breath before looking at me again, “The daggers. They are Godric’s,” he says with a gravely whisper.
“Godric’s? Oh sweetie, no wonder you are so upset,” I say hugging him to me.
“I’m sorry. It has just been so long since I have seen them, anything of his, I was not prepared. Making you my wife, learning we can have children, and now these. It was too much too fast I suppose,” he mumbles against my chest.
“It’s okay sweetie, I understand. You do not need to apologize. I’m just sorry we did not have a way to warn you first,” I say, rubbing his back and kissing the top of his head.
He pulls back and leans his head against the window looking over at me, “I love you, Sookie,” he whispers.
“I love you too, Eric. So very much,” I lean over and give him a soft kiss.
He takes a few more deep breaths before speaking again, “I do not understand why She had them or where she got them from. It has been well over a hundred years since I have seen these. At least twenty years before Appius captured us. Godric had them made to mark the one year anniversary of my making. He said the stones reminded him of my eyes,” he says quietly as he looks at them shining up at us from his lap.
“They are beautiful and they remind me of your eyes too. That was the first thing I thought when I saw them. He chose well, you and the daggers, but especially you,” I smile at him hoping he will too.
He tries but it is such a sad one I only want to cry again.
“Maybe the parchment might give you some answers to your questions,” I tell him gently pulling it from the lid and handing it to him.
He stares at it for a moment as if it may bite him then looks up at me, “Will you read it first?”
“Of course I will. Would you like me to read it out loud?” I ask him.
“No, to yourself,” he says shaking his head. “The bonds will tell me what I need to know.”
“Alright,” I whisper rubbing the backs of my fingers over his cheek.
I open the parchment to see an elegant script flowing across the paper. It seems to be a letter. My eyes go straight to bottom to see who it is from.
It is Godric’s name I see written there along with a drop of blood beside it.
My heart clenches at the sight of them.
Eric reaches over and grips my free hand in his. I squeeze it back as I begin to read.
My beloved child,
It saddens my heart more than you will ever know to write this letter to you, but I must. The Ancient One I have told you about came to see me this morning while you were still at rest and it is at her request I am writing to you. I would much rather speak to you about this once you rise tomorrow night but she has forbidden me to speak of it. So I must not question her.
I have learned that I will be leaving you much sooner than I would ever desire and that this letter is the only means I will have to say goodbye to you. I dared to argue with Her when she told me you would not receive this until I had been gone for many years. I could not and can not bare to think of the pain my leaving will cause you so I can only hope you can read the sorrow within my words here. Know that my heart is broken for you and that I will love and comfort you to the best of my ability in the years we have left together to try to make up for my part in this.
You are the greatest achievement of my long life, min son and I have cherished each moment I have had with you and will continue to cherish the ones we have left. I had looked forward to spending eternity with you walking the earth and teaching you all that I know as you would have in turn taught me. The Ancient One says this is not to be though, and that I must prepare you to stand alone until you find another to love you as I do. She says there will be another in your life soon and they will love you even more than I have. Whomever this other turns out to be, The Ancient One says they will be the only one able to heal you from the pain and suffering you will face in my absence. I am told this one will give you the greatest joy of your existence too. So as much as it pains me I will do as she asks knowing you will again find love and happiness.
I came close to destroying the walls that keep us safe every day when She told me you will suffer greatly at the hands of the one who will take me from you. I begged her to show me how to change your fate and protect you from the evil that is in your future, but she said there was no other way than to help you become even stronger in spirit than you already are.
So I will teach you to be strong, to withstand pain and suffering without losing who you are, and to never give up the hope you carry in your heart. It may not beat anymore, min son, but your heart has more life and love than a thousand men and I will teach you to trust in it always before my time is through.
I am sending my daggers with the Ancient One to keep safe for you until she deems you ready to receive them. I hope they will help to end your suffering when the time comes and I pray to all the gods it is not long from now and you find comfort and peace very soon, min Eiríkr.
I will always be proud of the man you have become and are yet to be. Know you will always have my love, min fader, min bror, min son. It will be with you for eternity.
I had not read even two sentences before Eric laid his head in my lap nudging me with his mind to open up for him so he could listen while I read. Moments later we were both crying quietly and still are now that I’m finished.
Eric is curled around my leg with his head on my thigh while I stroke his hair and I do my best not to let him feel my sadness on top of his own. Thankfully Grandfather has left us alone in his study for the time being.
Godric’s letter and the pain and sorrow it has caused my bonded nearly have my heart broken into a million pieces. I want so badly to take this heartache away from him.
“Please do not try,” he whispers so quietly I almost miss it.
“Do not try what, my love?” I ask him.
“To take this pain away from me. It is a good pain. I never knew he loved me so much and now I do. Now I know why he pushed me so hard those last few decades. He was preparing me in the only way he could,” he tells me as he sits up, his voice sounding rough from his tears.
He reaches out and pulls me into his lap this time holding onto me tightly.
“Alright, I promise not to,” I whisper holding him just as tight.
We sit that way for several more minutes until Eric finally relaxes his grip on me to reach for the daggers then lays them in my lap.
I want to hold one, but I dare not touch them. I know they are precious to him.
“It’s okay, you can hold one if you want. You are even more precious to me than they are min fru,” he whispers, kissing my temple.
I guess I still have my shields down for him, I’ve been too upset to think of them anymore.
“Are you sure?” I ask him.
“Yes. Please take one,” he urges me.
I reach gently into the box and pull out the one closest to me. I’m surprised at how light it is in my hand, I expected it to be really heavy.
“Light aren’t they?” he asks with a small smile.
This smile breaks my heart only a little less than the last one. His eyes are still red and swollen despite his smile.
“Yes they are, I never would have guessed.”
“They only have a coating of silver on the outside. Their center is made from an ancient oak,” he explains.
“Wow, I have never heard of any like these. That was clever thinking. But why did Godric choose to coat them in silver? I know the stones cover the hilts but I’m sure it was hard to be careful enough not to burn yourselves with them if you ever used them in a fight,” I ask him.
“We had gloves to protect our hands,” he tells me.
“Oh. That was a silly question,” I blush with embarrassment.
I feel a twinge of pain in the bonds as he brushes my hair over my shoulder, “Godric told me once that no question is a foolish one. You can not know if you do not ask.”
I smile up at him and push more comfort to him. He kisses my cheek in thanks.
I look back at the blade in my hands and it’s engravings. “Do these say something? They look like words to me.”
He smiles his most genuine smile since our love making earlier, “You are correct, they do say something. The language is old Norse, my native tongue,” he tells me.
“Do you feel comfortable telling me what they say?” I ask cautiously.
“Of course, you know you can ask me anything, min älskare. The one you are holding says, ‘Better to fight and fall than to live without hope’. The other one says, ‘Remember yesterday, dream about tomorrow, and live tonight’. Both of them have, ‘For my father, my brother, my son’ on the other sides of the blades,” he says quietly.
I put the dagger carefully back in its box so I can hug him again.
“I’m so sorry you had to lose him, Eric, but I’m grateful to him for his part in making you such an amazing man,” I whisper as I rub his back and play with the hair at the nape of his neck.
He squeezes me tightly, “He would have loved you and your fire. I have no doubt he would be very happy for the two of us.”
“He probably would have been angry with me for taking you away from him, which I would have completely understood. I could tell from his letter that he loved you very much,” I ponder as I sit back and look at his beautifully sad face.
“He did, but our love for each other was not the jealous kind. We were only lovers for a very short time after he turned me. I quickly realized being with men was not my preference. We loved each other as a father loves his son and vice versa. He only wanted my happiness, and no one has ever made me as happy as you do,” he says just before kissing me with such tenderness I can not help but cry again.
He pulls back and wipes my tears away with his thumbs, “No more tears for us tonight, min fru. It is time for other things. Where did your Grandfather go?”
“I am here,” Niall says just after he pops back into the room.
Eric stands with me still in his arms. Once he has me on my feet he takes my hand in his.
“I’m grateful to you for keeping these safe for me and for keeping your word to the Ancient One. You have my thanks,” Eric tells Grandfather solemnly.
“You are most welcome,” Niall nods graciously.
“You said earlier that we had somewhere else to be. Where is that exactly?” Eric asks him.
“It is time to pay a visit to the vampire that is unfortunately your brother,” Niall say slowly.
“Andre,” Eric growls deeply, “He is still undead I assume?”
Grandfather nods again, “He is and I believe he will be a very important piece to our plan to end his bastard of a maker.”
Eric conjures his belt and scabbard and slides the daggers into them, “Then let us pay him a visit.”
Niall walks forward with an evil grin on his face placing his hand on Eric’s shoulder, “Let us,” he says then pops us from his study.
When Eric and I open our eyes we find ourselves in a strange but beautiful land. There is nothing but jagged mountains made of jet black rocks covered in bright green moss as far as the eye can see. There is not a single tree, bush, or weed to be found. It is not night, but it is not day either. The only light I can see has an odd greenish-yellow hue and it glows out of the mist that surrounds the mountains.
It is very creepy here. The air is even heavy, though it is cold at the same time.
It makes a shiver run down my spine so I huddle closer to Eric. He immediately wraps his arm around me holding me close.
“Where are we?” he asks Niall.
“The In Between,” Niall says as if we should already know.
“The In Between?” we both parrot in question.
“Yes. This is the place between the fae and human realms. Very few know of it and even fewer know how to get here. Follow me and we shall find out how our prisoner is doing,” he chuckles wickedly.
We follow him along a very narrow path for only a few steps before Eric decides to carry me. He does not like having me even a foot away from him in this strange place.
I’m certainly not going to complain. I hate it here already.
Before long I can begin to make out what looks to be an old dilapidated castle hidden very well against the mountain we are headed towards.
“Eric look, do you see that?” I whisper pointing to it.
Before he can answer the terrifying scream of a boy splitters the thick air making me latch onto Eric in a death grip and him stop in his tracks.
“ERRRIIIIIIIICCCC! HELP ME!!!! HELP ME BROTHER!!!!”