You would probably think Sookie and I left the torture pit, as she calls it, very soon after we turned Appius into a pile of sludge, celebrating the death of our foe.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong.
We stayed for two more days and nights, mostly because of my distraught little brother, but there were other reasons too.
I never thought about what our maker’s death would do to me and Alexei physically, I was too wrapped up in satisfying my need for revenge and looking forward to the elation I would feel being free of him.
I should have thought about it though. I had already experienced the loss of a maker before after all.
But, realizing what it would do to us still would not have changed my mind. I would have stuck that dagger in his heart either way. I just might have been able to prepare everyone for it better.
Niall was none too pleased with me once things calmed down, but he was still happier with me than Claude was.
The moment Appius exploded, I had crumbled to the floor in excruciating pain.
Regretfully, so did my bonded.
There was no way for me to block the pain from her, I was too overwhelmed to do more than writhe on the floor beside her.
When I lost Godric I nearly followed right after him the pain was so all consuming, but it was more emotional than physical then. It felt as if my heart had been ripped out of my body and dragged my soul with it. The physical pain was nothing compared to how grief stricken I was.
This time though, it was all physical. I literally felt Appius’ blood explode within my veins, through every fucking inch of them. If I did not know better I would have sworn I was the one being staked, my heart certainly felt like it had been. My whole fucking body felt like had been.
The fucking bastard even tortured me in death. I wanted to bring him back to kill him all over again.
Sookie and I did not witness it, but we did vaguely hear the screaming and cursing that mixed with our own and filled the room around us.
Alexei unfortunately did not sleep through his maker’s end and had woke up wailing in Claude’s arms. It happened so suddenly that Claude did not have time to mask his scent before Alexei latched onto his neck, too overwhelmed by the scent and his pain to fight his instincts to feed.
He was only trying to ease the pain he was in.
Claude had run into the hall screaming and begging Niall to help remove the child from his neck before he drained him.
Regrettably Niall had to rip Alexei from the death grip he had on Claude’s body, tearing a rather large wound into Claude’s neck when he did and breaking Alexei’s when he threw him against the wall hoping to knock him out.
He was not unconscious, but he was paralyzed long enough for Niall to take care of his grandson. If he had not been there to heal him quickly Claude may have bled out all over the floor.
Both of them were pissed to say the least.
Once I was able to pick myself up and make sure Sookie was alright too, I walked over and sat down next to the sobbing Alexei and gathered him into my arms trying to soothe him as best I could while I had a yelling match with my in laws.
As soon as Claude had healed he started threatening to stake Alexei when my back was turned, calling him a “demented blood sucking leach.”
He was lucky I was so weak or he may have been dead where he stood. I did not quite understand the fierce protectiveness I felt for Alexei, but I choose not to fight. Flashing my fangs and growling loudly at him had backed Claude down a bit, but it was Sookie’s scathingly reprimand that got him to sit down with a disrespectful huff.
Trying to stay as calm as I could, I defended my little brother. Naill’s spell was supposed to protect Alexei from knowing or feeling anything that happened to his maker. It was not our fault the spell did not work properly.
Begrudging apologies were made by all sides and thankfully when the sunrise came soon after, Alexei went limp and silent in my arms. I hoped he would heal while he rested and not wake up in so much pain later that night. After putting him in his bed, I had went back to Sookie.
We fed from one another and then I held her until we fell asleep in each other’s arms leaning against a wall. We woke up feeling much better late that afternoon, but completely disgusted with our nasty blood covered appearance.
A bath was definitely in order for the both of us. So I had taken her to a near by pond for us to wash in while Niall stayed behind.
Claude had been no where we could find, but we had found Niall looking through Einin’s things after we had gotten up. He and Sookie had decided then that they wanted to take everything that was hers back to Faerie. So he got busy gathering it all up while we went to wash.
We stayed silent as we bathed each other, both of us trying to wrap our minds around all that had happened. I think we were both in shock that he was truly gone after waiting for it to happen for so long.
It was surreal.
After we had each other clean again, I sat down on one of the large rocks that was on the bottom of the pond, and pulled her down to straddle my lap, “He’s gone. He’s finally gone,” I had whispered with a small smile tugging at my mouth.
She had given me a huge one in return and flung her arms around my neck to give me a hug. “He is gone. We are free, Eric! We are truly free!” she had squealed while holding my face in her hands.
We celebrated our freedom by making love in and around the pond for a few hours after that, I do not think either one of us had ever been happier than we were then. Having that weight off of us was indescribable.
We only headed back to the ruins when we noticed the sun beginning to set. I prayed to the gods that things went much easier with Alexei that night.
They did sort of, but only because he did not try to drain anyone, and that was probably due to my feeding him a belly full of my blood the moment he woke. Sookie was worried the bonds would object to him feeding from me, but I had a feeling it would be fine. I was giving him my blood, it was not being forcefully taken from me.
I was right, I had been able to feed him without a problem.
He had a few minutes of calm just after I fed him, but then he remembered the night before and began to cry for his maker. And he continue to cry for hours, basically being inconsolable the whole night. He reminded me of one of my baby sisters when she had been so sick she cried for three days straight.
It was an entirely new kind of torture for me, I had no clue how to help him as he went back and forth between clinging to me desperately, to throwing fits and thrashing all over the bed.
I begged Sookie to heal him one particularly heart wrenching time when he was clawing at his chest leaving deep bloody scratches in his skin while he sobbed for me to make the pain go away. “You have to help him, Sookie. Please heal him, I can not ease this pain for him, but you can,” I had pleaded with her.
I did not have to ask her twice, she had pulled him into her lap and cooed at him like she would have a baby while pressing her glowing hand over his heart. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks while she did.
Several long minutes passed as his cries turned to whimpers and then silence as he relaxed enough to fall into down time. Sookie laid him back down on the bed and then stretched out on her side next to him, continuing to stroke his hair in comfort. I laid down behind her and held her close to me as we watched him sleep and tried to decide what to do with him.
“What if it does not last? What if he wakes up just as tormented?” her anguished voice had asked me.
“I do not know, kära en. I should probably just put him out of his misery,” I sighed.
“No! You said you would give him a choice Eric,” her voice had been angry that time.
“I remember that well, Sookie. It is why he is still here, but he is so young, this pain may be too great for him to bear,” I whispered
I kissed the top of her head as she had began to sniffle, “We will figure it out. I’m sure your healing will last long enough for us to have a chance to talk to him and help him understand what has happened.”
She was quiet for several minutes and then whispered, “I know you still grieve for Godic, but how long until the worst was over?”
“My situation was very different. Appius drained me not an hour after he staked Godric. And I was not given time to grieve once I woke three days later. It was all I could do just to survive him and his idea of what a child should be,” I had whispered back. “My age and the lessons Godric had instilled in me were all that saved me then. Alexei has none of those on his side.”
“He has you,” she said after turning back to look at me.
“If he wants me, he does. If so he will have you too,” I told her with a kiss to her cheek.
He stayed in down time till the sun took him the next morning. We were both relieved he was resting and allowing us some peace and quiet. For people who never really got tired, we were exhausted.
Surprisingly Claude was back when we left Alexei’s room that morning. He and Niall were cleaning up the bloody mess we had made. So without a word Sookie and I joined them and cleaned until there was not a spot of blood left.
The only reason we bothered was for Alexei’s sake. There is no telling what his reaction would be to seeing what was left of his maker splattered throughout the room.
We decided to leave the dead bodies where they were and just let them go up in flames with the rest of the place. Sookie and I were going to release a few fireballs before we left and enjoy watching it burn to the ground.
After we finished cleaning we helped Niall and Claude put the rest of Einin’s things in trunks to be popped back to Faerie. While Claude and a few other faeries that showed up out of nowhere worked to move everything, Niall asked to speak to us in private. So I led us back to Andre’s old room, waving Niall towards the desk chair and then pulling Sookie onto my lap after I took a seat on the bed.
He did not wait around to get to the point, “I’m not very comfortable with the idea of you taking on this boy, but it is not my decision to make either. I will ask if you have made any plans for the immediate future though. I can not imagine you mean to stay here for long, but do you have somewhere the three of you can stay until the child is more stable? I’m sorry, but Faerie is not an option until he is,” he told us in no uncertain terms.
It pissed me off, but I understood. Not that I was in a hurry to get back there anyway. We were free, Sookie and I could go anywhere we wanted to in the human realm now.
“I had no intentions of taking him to Faerie, at least not for the foreseeable future, but one day maybe. That is assuming my blood will allow him to survive there. Regardless, I do not even know what Alexei will choose to do at this point, he has been much too distressed to do more than cry for hours. He very well may choose death, to escape the pain if nothing else. If he chooses me? To answer your question, no. I have nowhere to take us other than here, at least for a while. It’s been well over a century since I was in the place Godric and I called home. It is a long way from here and I doubt if it’s even still standing that it’s not someone else’s home by now.”
Niall had looked at the two of us sadly for several moments, then sighed, “I have a place here in the human realm. It would be a ten-day journey to get to from here, but of course I can have you there anytime. It will be my wedding gift to you. I had truly hoped you would come home, but I understand there are more reasons than the boy for you to stay here. There are several rooms that can be made light tight for him if necessary. It is a nice place with plenty of land surrounding it to isolate it from others. It has been spelled too, the humans avoid it at all costs. They believe the place to be cursed,” he had chuckled.
Sookie had jumped from my lap and attacked Niall with one of her enthusiastic hugs, “Thank you, Grandfather. Thank you so much.”
Once she let him go, he and I both stood up and I took his arm in mine giving it a firm shake, “Thank you, for everything. We could not have done any of this without your help. I will always be in your debt,” I had nodded solemnly to him.
“Nonsense, we are even in my book. If the boy is calm enough when he wakes to make a decision, we can leave tonight. I believe there would be a better place for his change than here. I doubt Sookie wants to spend three days alone here while you are busy so to speak.”
“I would not want that for her even if she was wiling,” I told him.
“She is not willing,” Sookie had shook her head vigorously.
“Well then, I will give you space to speak to the child and be back sometime close to dawn,” he told us, nodding just before he had popped away.
By the grace of the gods Alexei was much calmer when he woke a couple of hours later.
Sad and nervous, but calm.
I have almost no experience with children except with my sisters when I was still human and that was a long time ago. So dealing with Alexei was and still is a learning experience.
I hated having to make him choose his fate with him being so young and so upset, but I refused to take that choice from him, so I was as honest with him as possible and answered every question he asked to the best of my ability.
Having Sookie there with her gentle nature was a huge help to Alexei and I both.
We were sitting on the bed with him when he woke up and I fed him first thing so we did not have to deal with him starving on top of everything else.
“Feel better?” I asked him once be finished.
He nodded at me with wide blue eyes while he licked his lips, “You taste so good. Can you stay so I can always drink from you now?” he asked me hopefully then his big eyes had darted over to Sookie, “Or her? She smells just like you, I bet she tastes good too. What is her name?”
Sookie smiled at him while I chuckled, “Her name is Sookie, she is my wife. And you can keep feeding from me for now. I’m glad it helps you feel better.”
Still looking at Sookie he asked, “Are you her maker?”
“No, I am her bonded. We smell the same for that reason,” I explained.
He sat up, pushing himself against the headboard of the bed and just looked at us warily for several minutes. Finally he tilted his head at me and asked, “I do not know what bonded means. Is that what makes your heart beat again? What kind of vampire are you? Is she whatever you are too?”
“Bonded means we have chosen to be together for eternity because we love each other very much. Sookie and I can not be parted from each other for long, especially over long distances, or it will cause us great pain. The other night when you first saw me, that is why I was so sick and weak, I was too far away from her. I am healed now that she is with me again. I can feel everything she feels and she can feel the same from me. It is similar to being each other’s maker, but not the same. We can not control each other as a maker can his child. Our bond is made out of love, not selfishness, so we have no need to control one another.”
I gave him a minute or two to take in what I told him and then went on, “Sookie and I are very unique. As far as we know there are no other creatures like us. But before we bonded I was a normal vampire just like you and she was a Faerie.”
“What’s a Faerie?” he asked snarling his nose up.
“We are magical creatures like vampire’s are, but our magic is different. Vampire’s have a dark magic that keeps them alive even though their heart no longer beats. A faerie’s magic is made of light. We need the sun to stay healthy, while a vampire must avoid it. And we are not just made of magic, we can also do magic,” Sookie told him with a smile as she waved her hand and conjured her bow out of thin air.
Alexei’s eyes got even bigger and his mouth fell open in shock, but he asked her to do it over and over again for the next several minutes.
We went on to explain how we are part vampire, part faeries now and that we shared each other’s powers. He liked the idea of our fireballs the best I think.
Once he calmed from the excitement he got very quiet for a while. “Father is dead,” he finally whispered looking at the floor.
“Yes Alexei, he is,” I told him.
“Is that why it hurts?” he asked rubbing his chest.
“Does it hurt you too?” he asked looking up at me.
“It did for a while, but I am better now. I’m sorry you are still hurting. You are much better than you were last night though. Do you remember Sookie helping you?”
He had looked up at her and whispered his thanks and I could see his infatuation with my wife shining out of his eyes. The look of motherly love she gave him in return only made it shine that much stronger.
I knew then we would all be leaving together that night.
Tearing his eyes from her, he had looked back at me, “What do I do now? Are you going to stay with me?” he asked while his lip quivered.
I felt Sookie’s heart clench along with mine as he looked back and forth between us, his eyes filling with dark red tears.
I walked around to where he was sitting on the side of the bed and squatted down in front of him, squeezing one of his boney knees, “You have a choice to make Alexei. Sookie and I are going to our new home very soon and I can not leave you here alone. You are still too young to control yourself, most children stay with their makers for hundreds of years before they go out on their own. You need a maker to help you learn how to survive on your own, how to control your cravings and instincts and protect yourself. Vampires as young as you can go crazy without a maker to guide them. They do not live very long at all. Most are staked by other Vampires to protect the rest of us from being revealed to the humans.”
He panicked hearing that and scrambled away from me, “You want to kill me?” he wailed.
I made myself stay down, not wanting to scare him even more by towering over him, “No. No, I do not want to kill you, Alexei. Neither of us do, I promise,” I told him keeping my voice calm. “But I can be your new maker. You can leave with us and I can make you my child if you want me to. I will help you, Alexei. I can teach you how to be a great vampire. But I want it to be your choice. I had that choice taken away from me by Appius, I will not do the same to you.”
He relaxed some as I talked to him and wiping the backs of his hands across his eyes, smearing his bloody tears all over his face, he gathered some courage to ask another question. “You did not want to be Father’s child?”
I shook my head at him, “No, I did not. I was another vampire’s child before I was Appius’. He killed my maker and then made me his. I loved my first maker very much and Appius took him from me. He also treated me very different from how he did you. In a hundred years he was never kind to me Alexei, only cruel. You know how he was treating me the other night, that is how he always treated me. But I know you loved him, so I will understand if you do not want to be my child,” I explained to him gently.
He studied my face for a few moments, “Are you going to be cruel to me?” he asked his voice sounding smaller than I had ever heard it.
I saw Sookie turn her head away from us and wipe at her eyes, but I kept mine on his and I shook my head again, “No Alexei. I will never hurt you the way he did me. I may have to be firm with you at times, but I will only do that when yours or someone else’s safety is danger. I promise to never be cruel to you,” I swore to him.
He gave me a very small nod then looked down at his lap. I stayed quiet, giving him time to think, but when I saw a bloody tear hit the sheet under him several minutes later I had to speak up.
“If you need more time it’s okay, Alexei. I do not want to rush you. You can still go with us to our home and get to know us better. Maybe after a few nights it will be easier for you to decide,” I tried to comfort him.
He did not look up at me, but he had one more question. “Can I ask you something else before I decide?” he whispered.
“You can ask me anything you want. I will answer it if I can,” I assured him.
If I had not had my vampire hearing I would have missed it. Even so it took everything I had to control my response when I heard him ask, “Will you make me sleep in your bed too?”
I knew instantly what kind of sleeping he meant.
I pushed down my spike of rage, and Sookie’s too, keeping my clenched fists out of his sight. I was proud of how calm my voice sounded when I answered him, “Look at me Alexei,” I said softly and waited for him to raise his eyes to mine. I had to push back more rage when I saw how scared he was, but I was about to crush those fears so I pressed on. “The answer is no. You will not have to sleep in my bed, Alexei. You will have your own bed, in your own room. And I will not go in it unless you want me to. I will never make you do the things he did. I am not like Appius in that way either. I promise you as long as you walk this earth I will protect you from anyone that thinks they can hurt you in that way or any other way for that matter. I will keep you safe, I swear it,” I vowed to him.
He was still crying when I finished, his bottom lip quivering again. So I was shocked when he jumped off the bed and flung his arms around my neck. I held his scrawny body to me as I watched my wife do a pitiful job of holding back her own tears.
I had trouble holding mine back too when Alexei whispered in my ear, “I never wanted to sleep in his bed, but he made me do it. I hated it. I hated the things he made me do. I hated when he hurt me. I’m glad you don’t want to hurt me.”
Once more the desire to bring that sick fuck back from the dead and kill him all over again came roaring to the surface. We could have tortured him for a thousand years and it never would have been enough.
“He will never hurt either one of us again okay? You are safe now. We are all safe now,” I told him and myself too.
A minute or two later he pulled away from me and sat back on the bed, “When can we go to your house? I would like to see my room. I have never had one of my own before.”
And just like that Sookie and I had a son.
We gathered up the few things Alexei had and left the torture pit later that night. After shooting a dozen fireballs at it first that is. A dozen were not really necessary, but hearing Alexei laugh his skinny ass off ever time one exploded kept us shooting for a bit.
Niall popped the four of us to our new home after the flames died down and we had just enough time to get the boy settled for the day. If the sun had not pulled him under I doubt he would have ever went to sleep he was so excited.
He even had Niall smiling a few times his happiness was so contagious.
I waited five more nights before turning him again. I wanted him to be one hundred percent sure first and I wanted to spend some time with Sookie out in the sun before I had to bury myself in the dirt for three days.
I almost asked her to join us. I was going to be bored out of my mind laying there for that long.
My amazing wife did not let me perish of boredom though. She laid on the ground above us and we talked telepathically for hours on end about all the things we were going to do and the places we would visit once Alexei was ready.
She wanted to plant a garden and buy some animals, especially horses. She wanted a white one and she thought mine should be black. Alexei would get to pick is own horse out.
I was more than ready to dig Alexei and I out of the ground that third night. The woman had talked until if felt as if my brain was vibrating. I knew I would get a bit of a break since I would be busy with Alexei.
I should have know better. Instead of her talking me near to death it was Alexei driving me to distraction with all of his questions. I do not remember my sisters ever asking so many. But, I kept my patience in check and answer them all. He is learning quickly and I have only had to use my maker’s command once. He got a little overzealous with one of his meals.
Of course Appius never taught him not to kill his food.
But since then he has learned to listen to their heartbeats and has been stopping in plenty of time. He has an extraordinary gift for glamouring, he is even better than me at it. Flying though is much harder for him. I have to keep my humor in check when he gets frustrated and falls to the ground.
I was not sure what traits and gifts he would have being that he is the first child of a faepire ever, but I’m more proud of him than I could have imagined.
He has all of mine and Sookie’s gifts except for conjuring fireballs, which really pisses him off. But I told him they may come with time. I think his favorite is being in the sun again. He loves it and will stay outside all day if we let him.
Having a kid in the house does put a bit of a damper on our love-making though. Sometimes I wish he was a normal vampire that slept all day. But Sookie is learning to be quiet. I make sure she gets plenty of practice too.
The best thing though, Alexei has not mention Appius once since we left the torture pit.