Love Is All
2- Love Is Stronger Than Death
The taste of her was still on my lips and the feel of her as my blood sought out all her tiny spaces and marked her as mine was overwhelming. I closed my eyes and let myself feel. It was amazing, there was no other word for Sookie Stackhouse. One small in drop in Dallas had only reinforced that love was a word that I did not understand before she was there, shining in my dark nights.
I was aching to finish claiming her in every way I could, the fact that I could feel her wanting me to finish was not helping me to hold back. No, it was driving me on, but she had been right. Bill had taken her body and nearly soul with his blood. She hadn’t been completely wrong when she said there was almost nothing of her left inside.
I closed my eyes tighter and commanded my blood to work harder, to seek deeper and burn him out of her completely. I felt her gasp and hold me tighter as I caressed her whole body from the inside, swept away when I felt her emotions take up residence right beside mine, right where my heart should be.
Would be now, when she woke it up and marked me as I had done her. She bubbled and boiled through me, stamping and stomping around inside me like she did around me. She was loud and oh so welcome in my places where nothing but silence and cold had reigned for so long.
It was then I felt her exhaustion. It had been three days since she had slept, running on high octane terror and sub par vampire blood. She needed to rest. I needed to keep her safe. I let my arms hold her tighter and I buried my face in her hair. “There will be time,” I promised us both as I pulled back and looked around to find a place where I could shelter her while she rested.
“Sookie?” I asked looking around, imagining this scene in the dark. “Isn’t this the cemetery near you house?”
“I think so,” she said looking around, too. It was quite lovely here, the sun seemed frozen in a perpetual afternoon haze and the temperature was perfect without the humidity, but then we weren’t in Louisiana anymore. But, maybe, just maybe we were close enough. Moving at vampire speed I picked her up and sped off in the direction that her house should be in. A moment later I skidded to a stop and just stared.
Her house was there, but it wasn’t like it was in our world. Here it was like it was going to be. I had decided the night before she went to Jackson that I would repair her home and make it what it should be. Even through the banter and the pain of hearing her declare herself as belonging to another I knew that I would be the one to care for her and it had warmed me through my adventures right up to the moment I had realized I would have to die to save her and avenge my father.
I had let it go then, sending silent hope that someone worthy would find Sookie Stackhouse and love her the way she needed desperately to be loved.
This house, covered in bright yellow paint with flowers and new porch furniture was the house that I had planned to give her.
“Is that my house?” she asked from my arms staring with her mouth open, too. Not answering her I moved to the porch and opened the door. Every single detail that I had planned out was there. The furniture I had planned to restore, the items I had planned to replace. One quick glance revealed the cubby cabinet I had planned to sneak in for the nights when I finally won her wild heart.
“How can this be?” I asked out loud, trying to process what I was seeing. I took a breath, no one else had been here. It didn’t smell like Sookie’s house because it didn’t smell like her, but it was so new it was like it had just poofed into existence the moment I thought to come look for it.
“What’s wrong, Eric?” She wriggled in my arms and I set her down on the refinished wood floors. We were both barefoot and the floor was chilly. She picked her feet up quickly and then shuffled around from foot to foot adjusting to the temperature. She moved to the cabinet and pulled out a blanket. Make that a hideous blanket and hugged it to her chest like a long lost loved one. “Gran’s quilt!” she said, her voice cracking as she smiled on the verge of tears.
There were dizzying heights of joy and bleeding stripes of pain as she held that ugly old blanket to her chest. Underneath all that was the bone deep exhaustion digging deeper into her. I felt myself sway as I shared it with her. I picked her up again and took her to her a bedroom, the first I could find and laid her on the bed, tucking the quilt around her. Immediately, her arms came out from under the cover and opened to me. “Please,” she said. Like she even had to ask, let alone beg.
I curled around her, and rested her head on my chest. “I will watch, Sookie. You rest for a while now. Let me heal you. Let the bond do what it was designed to do.”
“What’s that?” she asked yawning and snuggling closer to me.
“Protect you, us,” I told her just as I heard her breathing change. She was asleep as soon as she closed her eyes. I was alone in Fae.
I was alone in Fae.
What the fuck?
I was bonded to Sookie.
What the double fuck?
The vampire who had tricked her in Dallas laughed triumphantly inside me. Shut up! I told him. Your brilliant plan has cost us dearly!
It was a brilliant plan, look at what you have in your arms! Feel what you have tucked next to the thing you call a heart! I closed my eyes, feeling my whole body relax as I focused on her pulsing away inside me, sending waves of comfort to me. It was genius!
I had to smile at my own smugness. It definitely has some good points, I told my ego to shut it up, snuggling her closer. I let my senses reach out then listening and feeling for any intruders that might be headed our way, but there was nothing but blessed silence and her soft snore on my chest.
Sookie snores, my ego laughed and rubbed his hands together in glee. Sookie snores and we know it now cause she is sleeping right here with us!
I was insufferable. It was astounding that she saved me. She had saved me, not just from Russell but from Bill. That fucker tried to stake me! Rage poured through me as I thought of all the ways to end that miserable fuck. She stirred in my arms, moaning and I realized I disturbing her with my anger.
“Shhh,” I told her. “Rest, all is well.”
“Don’t be angry,” she said in tired little voice that was more asleep than awake.
“I’m not,” I assured her. She was too tired to argue but I could sense that she didn’t believe me. “Not with you,” I clarified hoping she would go back to sleep. A moment later her breathing evened out again.
“You’re good at this.” It was only a thousand years of complete control that kept me from making a very girly scream. My head came around to find an old man with crazy white hair standing beside the bed. Moving at vamp speed I laid Sookie down and moved to stand between her sleeping form and the intruder. Immediately, his hands raised up in gesture of surrender. He smiled, clearly not understanding what havoc I was capable of when provoked or he wouldn’t look so fucking happy.
“Who the fuck are you?” I growled out, fangs coming down to their full intimidating length.
“You can call me Niall.”
“So who the fuck are you, Niall?” I asked again, slashing my lips on my fangs as I prepared to jump him.
“Her great, great, oh I am bored now, grandfather.” He waved his hand airily and then gestured to Sookie on the bed.
“Fae?” I asked my hands clenching as I took a breath, expecting the sweet intoxicating scent of fairy. I got a big nose full of nothing.
“For lack of a better term.”
“And what do you want?”
“To help, if you are willing to let me.” I moved quickly to him reaching for him and got a fist of air. So, not corporeal, but possibly still not a ghost. We each get a ghost?
“You are here for her?”
“No, she has her own helper already. Her own champion if you will. I am here to be yours, Eric Northman.”
I raised a brow. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to have Godric and Sookie to have her own blood?” He shrugged. That was it, a shrug. I hated him already. He chuckled.
“And I haven’t even given you a reason to hate me, yet.”
“I like to be ahead of the curve,” I told him using the same condescending tone he was using on me.
“All flash and fire. You burn bright for one of the dark. A good match for her. I didn’t care for the other one.”
“Bill?” He waved his hand dismissively again. “You knew Bill?”
“No, but I watched and what I saw was not pleasant.” He looked as vicious as I was feeling at the moment and I thought there might be some hope here if he really hated Compton as much as I did. “He hurt her, and she thought she deserved it.” I growled then. Who was this apparition to judge my Sookie? What did he know?
“I know plenty. I have always watched over her. I have loved her. Love is stronger than death.”
“Well then you did a piss poor job of watching over her!”
“I did the best I could in this form,” he said gesturing at himself. Sookie stirred then, the sound of our voices disturbing her.
“Your voice, she can’t hear me anymore than you could hear Godric.” I opened my mouth to ask him what he knew of my Maker and then closed it again. “Oh, good. You’re catching on. I can read you mind.” He smirked. I thought of eviscerating him, slowly. His smirk grew wider. What could I do to ghost? “Exactly.”
Suddenly fearing that this ghost might be a distraction I quickly checked around us for others. There was still blessed silence and none other around within distance of my senses. “I will keep watch with you while she rests. There is much we must discuss before she awakens.” My fangs snapped up and I nodded. I wanted to climb back into bed and hold her but that didn’t seem the wisest move at the moment. I stood there unsure what to do next. “Go ahead, hold her close. Calm her and I will keep watch with you,” he said again.
Once I was settled he looked at me and started to speak. Before he was done I was glad I was holding her. I needed the reassurance.
“Things are going to happen now. Some of them are destined, some of them you can change if you and you and your bonded are strong. Time moves differently here faster. In the time you have been here a year has already passed in the world you come from.” I blinked and thought of Pam. Is she well, I thought to him.
“I can’t say. I don’t know. I know that in this world a great poison has taken root. Mab is the Fae Queen and she is in the process of gathering all of those like Sookie from your world and trapping them here to breed them to save the Fae race.” Damn, there went my fangs again. “She would have come for Sookie eventually, but the fact that she is here under her own steam and has you with her may be enough to turn the tide.
“You and Sookie must stop her! Stop her from kidnapping the hybrids. Stop her from closing the portals and save the Fae here who are dying under her reign.”
“That is up to you and Sookie. I can only tell you that if you don’t, there will be nothing left of the world from which you came. Lilith is rising and she will destroy everything in her path.”
Lilith? Vampire six thousand years ago, dead Lilith?
He nodded, his face grim as he stood beside the bed in the dream house that I would have made for Sookie. How do you know, Lilith?
“Her progeny Warlow killed my entire tribe six thousand years ago and then he killed me, too, before I could end him. I searched the worlds for him for every one of those six thousand long years seeking my revenge only to fail in the end.”
Thinking of Russell, I suddenly saw why this Jacob Marley might be mine. We had common ground between us. He nodded. “Perhaps.”
What does saving the Fae do to change what is happening in the other world? His eyes lit up and in their fire and spirit I did indeed see kindred there.
“Because when you go back to stop them you are going to need an army. This is where you find it.”