Excited? Because I am. The last few chapters have been building up to this one, so I hope y’all like it. I’m sorry about that last cliff hanger. I’m still pulling splinters out of my chest from one badly placed stake and boy was it a close call. Yes, Sookie is kind of sabotaging herself, but like I said before, it was necessary and will turn into something beautiful. Hopefully.
Some of you amazing readers completely understand where Sookie is coming from while others are very upset with her. Yes, she made a big assumption, but she’s not the only one. Eric’s been operating on a couple assumptions of his own and we’ll find out what those are this chapter. *Cackles*
Before I forget, voting for the New Blood Awards ends tomorrow, June 20th, so please stop by and vote if you haven’t already. “To Protect My Kin” is up for four out of five awards and there are some other really amazing stories up there, so check it out at youwantbloodawards. wordpress. com.
Disclaimer: I do not own True Blood or SVM. Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball, and HBO do. I earn nothing from this story. I just took their Etch n’ Sketch, shook it up, and drew a new picture.
“Everyone out! Now!” one of the Magister’s guards shouted as two more filed through the door. They then began herding the area vampires and disappointed patrons of the bar outside to clear it for the Magister. While the crowd dispersed, Godric stepped forward and I fell into place to the left of him as Eric settled into position to his right. Pam vamped over and quirked an eyebrow at Eric, who nodded, before heading towards his office. She returned with a USB drive in hand, coming to a stop behind and to the right of Eric.
I could feel through the bond that Godric was still concerned about me, and he wasn’t the only one. Pam had picked up on my mood and Eric was stealing furtive glances in my direction. I knew we all needed to be on top of our game, but I couldn’t find it in me to reassure them. Honestly, I couldn’t even reassure myself. Maybe I had more humanity left inside me than I thought, because the state of insecurity I was currently trapped in was something that was all too common for Human Sookie. I practically lived in that state when I was alive.
But the fury still boiling inside of me? Now that was all Supe.
Actually, even I was surprised by my level of anger. Logically, I knew that Eric thought I was dead up until a few days ago. He wasn’t sitting around for a month just pining away for me and it’s not like we had a relationship before the night I returned from Texas. I hadn’t been with anybody since the night I died, but I’d felt heartbroken and betrayed during that month, so starting something new had been the last thing on my mind. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have slept with someone if I hadn’t felt so hurt by what Bill did to me?
It wasn’t really the fact that Eric had slept with anybody in that time that upset me though, it was the fact that he hadn’t ended whatever it was he had with Yvetta after I got back, after his blood told me he was mine. There was no end to the relationship between them in Yvetta’s memories and, after a quick peek in Eric’s mind, I couldn’t find an end in his either. I was momentarily relieved to find he hadn’t slept with Yvetta since I popped back up in his life, but then I realized he also hadn’t had the opportunity to sleep with her, let alone talk to her, in the last few days. The one night the club was open after I got back just happened to be her day off.
So I guess the big question was, why didn’t Eric end things with her?
Was it because he simply hadn’t had the chance to or because he still planned on enjoying her? Did he think that now that I was vampire that I would be okay with him fucking his feeds? Was she even technically a feed though or did he claim her? He’d spent many nights with Yvetta. It was not a one time thing. He obviously enjoyed Yvetta, both her body and blood, and I didn’t know enough Swedish to find out from his thoughts if he had wanted to keep her. Eric had asked me to form a first level bond with him, but I wouldn’t exchange with him if he was still screwing others. Hell, I wouldn’t even let him kiss me again if he was screwing others.
Then again, I could be creating something out of nothing.
I felt awful for doubting him at all, but Eric hadn’t really given me a reason to have complete faith in him. He should’ve taken care of this the night I came back or, at the very least, the night after I popped into his room. The fact that he hadn’t was what had me doubting him. Could anyone really blame me for that with his track record? All the evidence I needed that Eric got around was in the club each and every night.
That doubt, like my insecurity, was an unfortunate aftertaste still lingering in my mouth from my human days. Back then, I let it roll right off my back any time Eric hit on me because I doubted he could ever be monogamous after hearing the thoughts of all the women he’d been with. I changed my mind when I started feeling his emotions, once I could feel how much he wanted me and how much he cared for me. Was that a mistake?
Or could Eric be faithful?
Most vampires were not monogamous. Especially with other vampires.
I was not the typical vampire though.
But I guess it was time to find out if Eric was.
I refocused myself when the last of the crowd disappeared and the Magister strolled in, twirling his cane as he walked. He took Godric and me in with a pleased smile, delighted we made it out of Mississippi in one piece. He spread his hands out in front of him and said, “Ah, Godric! I see you made it out of Russell’s court unscathed.”
“Magister,” Godric greeted him with a nod.
The Magister nodded in return before vamping towards me, sweeping my hand up and kissing the back of it after he came to a stop. Unsurprisingly, my tie with Eric began to radiate possessiveness and jealousy at the move.
You have got to be kidding me.
Sensing how I felt, Eric cast another furtive glance my way. I ignored him, instead focusing on the Magister. My emotions were slowly starting to tighten, the predator within me recognizing him as a threat since Godric let me know the Magister would’ve had zero problems with destroying me if I hadn’t passed his test. I could feel her flexing her claws and brushing her fur against my skin just at the sight of him.
“Miss Stackhouse,” the Magister stated as he straightened up and released my hand. The three guards who had entered before him took up positions around the bar and I could feel the minds of his other guards forming a perimeter around the building outside. “I trust you had no major difficulties in Jackson.”
Ha. Define difficulties.
“Maybe just a couple, Magister,” I said sweetly, thickening my accent and giving him a charming smile.
I really wasn’t surprised when I felt Eric’s jealousy spike again.
We were two peas in a very green pod tonight.
The Magister raised an eyebrow at me in question so I explained, “It turns out Compton pledged fealty to Mississippi. When we got there, Compton panicked and attacked his sovereign, Russell Edgington, Magister, and his king sentenced him to the true death. We mentioned you were lookin’ for him, but it didn’t matter to his majesty. We had to find more… creative ways to get custody of Compton.”
He took a couple steps back as he digested my answer, looked at Godric, and planted his cane on the floor. Finally, he chuckled and remarked, “So now we add treason to the list.” Godric crossed his arms over his chest with a mischievous smile on his face and nodded. “How did you get custody of Mr. Compton then, Godric?”
“That would be Sookie’s doing, Magister. She glamoured two of Russell’s Were guards to retrieve him after sunrise,” Godric replied while flushing my veins with pride.
“You mean human guards,” the Magister corrected, tapping his cane twice against the floor.
Godric’s smile slowly widened. The Magister’s eyebrows soared and he looked back and forth between the two of us before resting his eyes solely on me. Astonished, he asked, “You can glamour the two-natured, Miss Stackhouse?” When I nodded, he pressed, “How?”
“It’s easier for me to sense the emotions of those who aren’t vampire,” I began, giving him our doctored version of my ability. “The two-natured feel things differently when in animal form, so I use my insight on their emotions to separate the two natures from each other and glamour the human part of them.”
“We had a Were accompany us and serve as our dayman. Sookie discovered she could glamour them when she met the Were the night before we left for Mississippi,” Godric lied. “When Russell made it clear he would not be giving up Mr. Compton, Sookie suggested glamouring the Weres to retrieve him.”
Godric purposefully left out Lorena’s fate when he told him this. It would come out during the torture session the Magister was bound to hold once he got his hands on Bill. No point in repeating things.
The Magister stilled as he absorbed our words. After a silent moment in which the very air felt saturated with his excitement, he commented, “You are full of delightful surprises, Miss Stackhouse.” He turned back to Godric and added, “I’ve mentioned your progeny to a few select friends of mine, Godric. They would like to meet her. There will be a gathering held next month and your presences have been requested.”
Ooh, an initiation ceremony? Would I learn a secret handshake?
For once, I seriously wondered if I wasn’t the only telepath in the room since Pam and Eric were feeling just as amused as I was. Godric, on the other hand, felt nothing but pure relief. He paused for a moment to give the illusion he was weighing his options before finally nodding.
Honestly? I didn’t really think we had much of a choice. It kinda sounded like we’d been summoned.
“Good. I’ll call you closer to the day with the details,” the Magister responded. “Were there any leads on the other blood distributor?”
“That would be one of the other difficulties,” I said with a tight smile.
Thankfully, Eric understood that was his cue and stated, “Magister, we tracked the patches on the jackets of the dead wolves back to a blood pack.”
The Magister’s fangs dropped. All of my emotions vanished with the act and the vampire in me emerged. I rolled my shoulders limberly and felt my senses hone in on the vampire before me while he hissed, “An entire pack?”
“Yes, Magister,” Eric replied. He then added a couple of lies to the dish he was serving when he said, “After Sookie discovered she could glamour the two-natured, I asked her to question some of the pack members for answers. It turns out we’ve encountered these wolves and their master before. Godric and I have been tracking this particular pack for a thousand years. Russell Edgington is their master.”
I could literally feel the surprise emanating from his mind. I could also feel it when the doubt and disbelief set in. This is why I suggested gathering evidence. Eric was a sheriff and Russell an ancient monarch. Without that evidence, our authority figures would be inclined to take Russell’s word over Eric’s, especially since Eric was part of the retinue of a monarch in one of Mississippi’s neighboring states.
“And you have proof of this?” the Magister skeptically asked.
Eric smiled deviously at me, which did not go unnoticed by the Magister, and said, “Indeed, we do.” Pam handed off the USB drive to the Magister and Eric explained, “Video of members of the pack, audio of Sookie glamouring the wolves, and a recording of Russell not only initiating a new member, but providing his ancient blood to over 30 wolves simultaneously.”
“He bled into dozens of shot glasses,” I added lazily while the Magister stared at the USB drive in his hand, stunned. “The wolves tossed them back, shifted, and were let loose in the city.”
He snarled and growled out, “The Authority will wish to speak with you about this. Make sure the club is closed tomorrow night.”
Eric bowed his head respectfully while relief and victory swept across three of my connections. A commotion at the door then drew everyone’s attention. One of the guards was arguing with someone just outside the entrance and a gravelly voice cut him off, “Let me pass, vampire! He called me!”
Eric’s glee shot up while Pam and Godric just felt confused. I wasn’t feeling much of anything, but I probably would’ve felt a mixture of both when I heard that familiar voice. The guard turned and gave the Magister a questioning look, which was all the opportunity the Magister’s guest needed to promptly slip right past him. The guard made a move to grab her, but refrained when the Magister waved him off.
“Ah, Dr. Ludwig!” the Magister greeted with a smile.
“Vampires,” she grunted.
I’d met Dr. Ludwig once before, when I was attacked by the maenad. Bill brought me to Fangtasia for help and Eric called her in. Though being her patient had been a brutally painful experience, she did save my life. Dr. Ludwig couldn’t have been taller than three feet tall, only wore hospital scrubs, and had the world’s worst bedside manner. She came to a stop in front of us, a medical bag in one hand and a cane of her own in the other, and ran her eyes over all of us, pausing when she got to me.
“Dr. Ludwig,” I said and smiled, “It’s good to see you. I wanna thank you for savin’ me from the maenad’s poison. I didn’t exactly have the chance to thank you that night.”
“So it was a maenad. That makes sense. You’re vampire now, little girl?” she asked. I nodded and she smacked Eric with her cane. He dropped fang and hissed at her, even though we could feel he was actually extremely amused. She rolled her eyes and asked, “What was the point of having me save her life if you were just going to turn her anyway?”
First Pam, now Ludwig. Why did people keep assuming Eric turned me?
“I didn’t turn her,” he said and retracted his fangs. “My maker did.”
Godric waved at her with a small smile on his face. He really wanted to laugh and his mirth lit up in my blood like sparklers.
“Whatever,” she said and rolled her eyes again. She then turned her attention back to me and eyed me curiously. Surprise and alarm shot through me when she thought directly at me, A vampire-fairy hybrid. I’ve never met one before. I tugged on my connections and started filtering her thoughts to the rest of my bloodline. You will let me examine you, hybrid. I won’t tell anyone about your spark. Doctor-patient confidentiality. Agreed?
Godric pushed me consent while Eric and Pam flooded me with amusement. I bent my head, fractionally. Satisfaction rolled off her mind and she looked back up at the Magister and asked, “Where is he?”
Godric tugged on me and thought, You can glamour her into keeping it quiet when she examines you.
“Sheriff, take us to the prisoner,” the Magister ordered.
“We’ve been keeping him in the basement,” Eric said as he led us to the basement door and down the stairs. The guards followed us. “He’s lost a lot of blood, so I’d keep my distance, doctor.”
“I fear nothing and no one,” Dr. Ludwig responded and pushed past Eric on the stairs. He shrugged and chuckled, amused.
Bill had been removed from the table, manacled with silver again, and chained to the wheel. The tools set up earlier were coated with blood and chunks of things I didn’t want to think about. I may have tortured Bill mentally, which was probably actually worse, but I didn’t find physical torture as appealing as Eric did.
Bill was a bloody mess, but the basement itself, surprisingly, was spick and span. For some reason, I hadn’t expected them to clean the basement before the Magister arrived.
Then it dawned on me.
They didn’t clean the basement, Bill did. Godric was livid when he found out I cleaned up Gran’s blood when Bill could’ve done it in seconds. He promised me he would make Bill pay for that and it looked like he kept that promise. First, Godric and Eric tortured Bill and then Godric made him clean up his own blood.
Bill was certainly having a rough week.
Dr. Ludwig came to a stop a few feet from Bill, who dropped fang when the door opened and was now hissing at her. He looked paler than I’d ever seen him before and just as weak as he did when I fetched him from Lorena. She dipped a hand into her medical bag and pulled out a few bags of blood before chucking them in his direction.
“You’re feeding him?” Pam asked, surprised. We all spread out around the basement and I rested myself against the wall while I watched.
“For now,” Dr. Ludwig said as Bill bit into one.
Bill slowly started regaining strength, going through bag after bag. Pam snickered while he drank, cocked an eyebrow at Eric and asked, “Why is the front of his pants bloody? Did you do what I think you did?”
Eric grinned and admitted, “Godric cut it off, but he let me take a picture first for your scrapbook.” The glee in Pam’s blood hit us all with the force of a big rig and even the guards chuckled. Eric then turned to me with a smirk and added, “I am relieved to say, min ӓlskare, that I am not intimidated by your previous lovers.”
While I used my blood to slap Eric’s knee, entertaining my bloodline, Bill dropped the bag he was draining and launched himself at Eric, only to be painfully stopped short by his silver bindings. He was surrounded by vampires older than himself, chained to a torture wheel, weak, and yet still tried to attack him.
What an idiot.
“Well, Mr. Compton, it looks like you’re aware enough, so listen,” the Magister demanded and pushed Bill backwards with the end of his cane. “You’ve been caught selling the sacred blood. In fact, you’ve sold blood from your very own veins. Because you have no respect for your blood, neither will we. You’ll be taken to the Authority’s compound where Dr. Ludwig will cut you open and drain you. Then she’ll feed you and do it again, as many times as she wishes. After she gathers all the blood she wants, you and I will discuss your fate.” He jabbed the cane at his chest again and speculated, “Maybe we’ll leave you outside to meet the sun when she’s done, too weak to save yourself like the vampires taken against their will and dumped by drainers. Selling your blood insults their struggle, so maybe you should struggle that way yourself.”
Well, now Dr. Ludwig’s presence made sense. I vaguely remembered hearing Eric tell Bill she only tolerated vampires because of the healing properties of our blood, right before I drifted off after Dr. Ludwig worked on me and Bill fed me his blood.
That was certainly one way for her to get it.
Before Bill could even open his mouth to beg or protest, Dr. Ludwig shoved a needle into his leg. I had absolutely no idea what was in it, but Bill looked down at it incredulously and swayed on his feet for a moment before collapsing in a heap of limbs. Dr. Ludwig capped the needle, tossed it in her bag, and remarked, “Well, he’ll be out for a while. Your guards can take him now.”
The Magister waved the guards forward and Eric tossed one of them the keys to Bill’s restraints. They quickly unlocked him and attached restraints of their own before carrying him up the stairs. As we started following them back up to the bar, Godric fell into step beside me, slipped his hand in mine, and squeezed it gently.
“Ya know, master, his blood really does smell nasty,” I commented as we leisurely climbed the stairs. He threw me a questioning look so I clarified, “It tasted like I was suckin’ on pennies when I was human, now the scent alone makes me feel like I have fur growin’ on my tongue.”
“It doesn’t just smell like vampire blood to you?” he asked with a furrowed brow and surprise washed across the bond. I shook my head. He laughed and said, “Sookie, I think you might have a heightened sense of smell. What does my blood smell like to you? I mean when I bleed. Not my scent, but my actual blood?”
Only supernaturals could smell a vampire. We were undead, so we didn’t possess the scent of the living and, instead, had a very unique smell that other Supes just classified as “Vampire.” I often thought that “Vampire” smell was actually the scent of the magic in our blood. However, if you had the enhanced sense of smell that many Supes had, you could also pick apart our individual scents (a combination of our human scents and our maker’s), like Godric smelling of untouched forests and freshly tilled soil. We considered that to be the scent of our blood because part of that scent was transferred on when we turned others. To me, though, the way vampire blood actually smelled when it hit the open air was a lot like how it tasted when I drank it. I didn’t realize it smelled differently for most vampires.
“It smells the way it tastes, kinda fruity.”
He laughed again and nodded, “You truly are unique, min dotter. It’s a good thing I didn’t meet you when I was human. I probably would’ve suffered a heart attack from how often you surprise me. After 2,000 years, it’s amazing that I can still be surprised.”
I purred at the compliment and stroked the bond. He shivered as we came to a stop, joining the others in the bar. Dr. Ludwig hobbled towards the exit, following the guard carrying Bill, and Eric called out after her, “As always, it’s been a pleasure, doctor.”
“Eat shit, vampire,” she grumbled and flipped him off just before she walked out the door. He chuckled and our tie pulsed with delight and amusement.
“Mr. Compton’s case is something the Authority will want to discuss,” the Magister stated, drawing the focus back to him. “I will contact you when they have decided his fate. I imagine his end will be public. An example needs to be set.” We nodded. The Magister then took a step towards me and handed me his card. “Miss Stackhouse, I owe you and your maker a debt for retrieving Mr. Compton and the work you did with the wolves. Feel free to call me with anything you need.”
Godric told me the Magister was evaluating me, deciding if I would be his ally or enemy. Clearly, I was now his ally. I smiled warmly and purred, “Thank you, Magister. I will.”
He kissed my hand again, gave the others a nod farewell, and left in a blur. The last of the guards quickly followed him.
“It looks like Beehl is in for quite the party at the Authority headquarters,” Pam commented with glee and my veins vibrated when everyone’s blood hummed in agreement. While they started discussing the night’s events, I closed my eyes and focused on a memory of Jess agreeing to become my progeny, embracing the emotions I felt at that moment. My emotions made a swift return, including the insecurity and fury I felt earlier.
Apparently, I was still pissed.
All three of them stopped speaking simultaneously and silence descended on the club. Godric flooded me with concern and my other ties radiated worry. Pam gave Eric a small push through their bond and he sighed before turning to me and asking, “Can I speak with you in my office, lover?”
I was definitely not in the mood to hear what Eric had to say and protested, “Actually, I-“
Faster than I could blink, Eric tossed me over his shoulder, deciding to carry me into his office like a fireman would. Mirth erupted in my bond with Godric and Pam snickered. I stuck my tongue out at them and sent them a push that said I hoped someone threw pencils at their hearts. They both gave me a cheeky wave in response as Eric dragged me off. I could’ve popped away, but what would be the point? I was stalling, avoiding this conversation, but we had to have it eventually.
Might as well get it over with now.
He set me back on my feet in the middle of his office, shut the door, and started pacing the room. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he asked, still pacing, “Why are you so angry with me, Sookie? I don’t understand.”
That made two of us.
I tried to keep the overwhelming disappointment I felt out of my voice, even though I knew he felt it in the tie, when I reluctantly admitted, “Yvetta very vividly remembered things earlier, Eric. I didn’t even have a chance to shield myself from those memories and I’m angry because I really wish I hadn’t seen them. That and I thought…” My voice faltered and I unnecessarily cleared it. “I thought you and I were exclusive when you told me you wanna exchange with me. I didn’t realize that you’re still seein’ others and it threw me.” I paused for a second, focused my eyes on the wall, and softly asked, “Did you claim her, Eric?”
He put himself before me at vamp speed and tipped my chin up with his fingertips so I would look in him in the eye. He studied my face with a furrowed brow and said, “No. I haven’t claimed Yvetta and there are no others, min ӓlskare. She is not mine. Yvetta was just a feed. She’s never been mine.”
Haven’t claimed anyone since the night I met you. Only want you, he thought at me in slightly accented English.
“You just sleep with all your feeds?” I asked incredulously. “Do you fuck all your feeds senseless for six hours straight too?”
If he did, we had an even bigger problem.
He winced and slid his hand from my chin to my neck and stroked my jugular with his thumb while he argued, “You’ve experienced sex as a vampire now, Sookie. You know what our stamina is like and how sexual feeding is. You also know that it’s just sex and blood with feeds. Did it mean anything to you when you fucked your feed in Jackson?”
I flinched and looked up at him, completely bewildered. Did Eric really think I slept with someone in Jackson? I only fed from the source once when we were there and my feed did try something, but I stopped anything from happening. The only man I slept with that night was the one standing right in front of me. Did he seriously think I slept with someone and then slept with him only hours later?
Disgust rolled through me at the idea and I took a step backwards. His hand slipped from my throat with the movement and he let it drop to his side, surprised I had pulled away from him. His eyes narrowed and he studied me intently, searching my facial expression for a clue of some sort to explain why I would react to his words in such a way. His confusion over my reaction leaked into the tie before understanding dawned on him.
Slowly, Eric took a step towards me and I firmly kept the distance between us by stepping further backwards. He stepped towards me again and both of us repeated this little song and dance until my back hit the door, effectively bringing us both to a halt. He lifted his hands to the door and braced himself against it, boxing me in, and leaned forward, bringing himself close enough that his breath ghosted over my face and sent a shiver down my spine.
The heat in his eyes nearly scorched me with its intensity and my stomach overflowed with nervous butterflies. His eyes blazed a trail across my face as he sought out his answers and I swore I could feel his fingertips following the path his eyes took, like he was tracing the features on my face with the most exquisite and gentle touch I’d ever experienced. He was stripping me bare with just that one look and I’d never felt so exposed before. Under his penetrating gaze I felt naked, like he could see right through me. It felt as if all my secrets were laid out before him like a book and he was currently perusing the pages.
When Eric finally spoke, his words came out in a throaty whisper, “I felt your intense pleasure, your lust, the first night you were in Jackson. I could tell you were feeding, but it was more than that, Sookie. Your feed was touching you. Are you telling me you pulled back in bloodlust? That you stopped him, went against your instincts, when you felt that much need? That much lust?”
I didn’t answer him and hadn’t planned to, still too pissed to feel cooperative, but my blood pulled an Eric on me and tattled by firmly asserting a very vocal, “Yes!”
His amusement briefly flared and he licked his lips, sending a jolt of lust through me, before he dipped his head and leaned even closer, stopping barely an inch away from my lips, and asked, “How? What did you think about to pull yourself out of bloodlust, min ӓlskare?”
My breath hitched, needlessly, and that alone gave him his answer. Such a powerful wave of his pleasure rolled through our tie that my fangs throbbed and my mouth actually watered.
“You thought of me, Sookie,” he said slowly as he trailed a hand down the length of my body and the pleasure he felt intensified when my blood didn’t instantly refute it. He licked his lips again and murmured, “You thought of me and it brought you back from bloodlust.” Astonishment and confidence joined the pleasure he felt as he spoke, melting together in the tie in a heady and potent mix.
I couldn’t deny it. That was the one thing I couldn’t do with the blood, the one thing that gave Eric away when I claimed him. We could shield our emotions, but we couldn’t create and broadcast false ones. If I denied it, he would be able to tell from my blood that I was lying by the lack of emotions radiating out from me, so I did the only thing I could. I tried to spin this back on him by scoffing and asking, “Why would I do that?”
He shrugged nonchalantly, brushed my lips with his, and said in an incredibly low and husky voice that had my lust sky-rocketing and my inner muscles clenching, “Because you love me.”
I couldn’t deny that either, so even though I shielded my blood to keep it from answering him, he got his confirmation anyway when he felt no denial. His eyes widened and he pressed himself closer to me while the very air around us started to cave in on me, rapidly growing heavier and tenser, and I struggled to breathe. I suddenly realized with crystal clarity that there was no point in shielding that emotion from him anymore. He already knew. Besides, I had planned on revealing it to him whenever we decided to exchange. He just pushed the timetable up.
“You sure about that, Viking?” I asked, infusing my tone with skepticism. He may have forced me into another corner, literally and figuratively, but I was still going to do this on my terms.
He nodded slowly and his eyes darkened, taking on a gleam full of pure lust as he whispered, “Oh, I’m sure.”
“Positive?” I challenged. Eric loved it when I challenged him.
He nodded again and nipped my bottom lip while anticipation started mounting in our tie. Then he dropped his wandering hand to my waist, wrapped his arm around me, and pulled me flush against him.
“Well, I guess if you’re absolutely sure,” I said casually with a shrug, destroyed the final shield I kept around my heart, and pushed my love to him.
Eric froze and his emotions scattered, abandoning him faster than sailors on a sinking ship. He pulled back a little to look at me and caress my face, once again staring at me like he was trying to memorize my facial features to keep stored inside for eternity. My own emotions promptly scattered when a blood tear slipped down his cheek. I reached up with both hands and laced them behind his neck, tugged him closer to me, and licked the tear from it. He trembled underneath my touch, trying to adjust to feeling such a strong and powerful emotion, and breathed deeply before letting go of my waist to bring that hand to my face as well. He searched my eyes for a second longer while his thumbs stroked my cheeks and then slid his hands into my braided hair while he brought his lips to mine and kissed me passionately, desperately, taking my mouth in the most frenzied and urgent kiss of my life.
He then ripped his lips from mine and slammed me back against the door, but not hard enough to hurt me, and rasped out, “Say it, Sookie. Say it.”
I fought that aggressiveness with tenderness by gently pushing my hands into his hair and dragging my nails across his scalp, making him sigh in pleasure, before trailing my fingers down to his neck to tug on the collar of his jacket and whispered, “I love you.”
He rumbled with pleasure and leaned down to kiss me again, stopped just before he reached my lips, and murmured, “Och jag alskar dig, min lilla lejoninna.” [And I love you, my little lioness.]
I hadn’t learned that phrase in Swedish yet, but I quickly understood when Eric pushed me a new and very deep emotion that I had never felt from him before.
It really shouldn’t have shocked the hell out of me when he pushed it, but it did.
When it hit me, everything else fell away, nothing else mattered. His emotion was so intense, just like mine, but in a completely different way. Whereas mine was gentle and caressed the blood with warmth and tenderness, his love was desperate and frenzied. My love burned through his veins, lighting up a path to his heart and Eric loved me just as powerfully, but it was feverish and wild. It felt like being loved by a force of nature, like being embraced by a windstorm. My knees nearly buckled when that storm made landfall, crashing into me from all sides and coating my entire body with the way he felt for me. And it struck me with such force that all the air in my lungs left me in a rush. He loved me furiously and the intensity at which he loved me made blood tears trickle down my cheeks.
For a second, I had the urge to laugh at how violently he loved me. What else did I expect from a freaking Viking?
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While I fought for air I didn’t need as I tried to adjust to the sheer strength of it, he brought his hands back to my face, cradling it, and leaned down to lick my cheeks free of tears like I had done for him.
I spun us, only able to do so because I caught Eric off guard, and slammed him back against the door. He looked at me, surprised, and his lips twitched. I pulled him down to me by the collar of his jacket for another long, passionate kiss and he quickly grabbed me by the waist and lifted me. He held me up while I braced his hips with my knees, not yet wrapping my legs around him since his back was still resting against the door. When I pulled back his lips chased after mine. I growled at him and a thrill shot through him and his lust rose before I demanded, “Tell me your mine, Eric.”
He gave me a slow, cocky smile when he felt the fierce rush of possessiveness that was running through my veins and said, “I’m yours.”
“Now tell me I’m yours,” I ordered just as forcefully.
Eric had yet to actually say that I was. I knew he felt possessive over me and hated the idea of anyone other than him touching me, but he hadn’t called me his. And I understood why he hadn’t. He didn’t say it for two reasons. First, he knew I was a newborn and newborns were usually very sexual. He didn’t want to call me his if I couldn’t be only his. There was a flaw in that logic though. I wasn’t the typical newborn, which he now understood since he’d just learned I didn’t fuck my feeds. Secondly, Eric knew from my blood that I loathed it when Bill threw it out there. That was different though. It always felt wrong when Bill said it. I didn’t know if that was because the wrong person was calling me his or if it was because, when I was human, it felt like Bill was trying to establish ownership over me, like I was property. It meant something different to me now. I was vampire and I wouldn’t be considered a pet if Eric called me his and if anybody claimed ownership in our relationship, it would only be because we owned each other’s hearts.
I was more than fine with that. In fact, I wanted to hear him say it.
His eyebrows flew up and his smile disappeared. He searched my eyes intently for a moment, making sure I really meant it, and brought a hand up to trace my jawline before pushing me pleasure and giving me a smile more beautiful than a kid’s on Christmas morning. “Sookie Stackhouse, you’re mine,” he said softly.
My heart clenched when he finally said it, which delighted him. He closed his eyes for a second and savored the feeling of being warmed by the sun and showered in millions of kisses and caresses.
“No one else,” I whispered and he opened his eyes again to stare into my own. “Just me.”
He nodded, brought his lips back to mine to kiss me tenderly, and murmured, “Just you.”