She was waiting on me to say something. I was waiting for the second shoe. My mind raced to try and figure out what she wasn’t saying. Her actions and reactions told me that it was pretty fucking big. I was missing something. Everyone had a tell. When it was this big everyone had to tell. I knew she had been telling me what was really going on for some time. I just wasn’t seeing it. Was it because I didn’t want to see it?
“Tell me the rest.” She dropped her head confirming my suspicions. That was all she gave me though. “How did you find this book? How did you know it would be here, Sookie?”
“I didn’t. Russell was so proud of his collection of shit that I took a look around. You had been asking who Karin was, this was the easiest way to tell you. It also confirmed for me that she was really real and not just something I dreamed up.” So she doubted her mind then, too. How horrible it would be to be mad and still just sane enough to recognize it.
I was allowing myself to be distracted again. I knew it. I had known it for a while. It was my gut telling that the weight of that second shoe was going to crush me. Not that I didn’t deserve it, but still. “It’s just a history book, Eric,” she said dismissively.
“Do you know who the Ancient One is to my race, Sookie?” She shook her head but still would not meet my gaze. “What did Karin tell you of her?”
“Only that she was her maker.” Right. So the part about her being the Supreme Council Leader for the vampire race was a detail that Karin left out. The fact that until just moments before he had never known that the Ancient One had made a child was irrelevant? Was it? No. I am asking the wrong questions.
If the Ancient knew that this was going to happen and had created a failsafe why did she not prevent it from happening in the first place? THAT was the question.
I had met her once and found her to be frightening and intriguing. She had spoken in riddles that left me frustrated in her presence and glad when she departed. Everyone knew of her, but few knew her. It was rumored that she herself was mad. Her mind ravaged from seeing into so many worlds and possibilities at once that it was more than she could manage and often struggled to communicate because she was never sure what world she was in at any moment.
If she had made progeny though clearly she had moments of lucidity as did my love. Sookie had been through so much already. If she were better I might share these thoughts with her and seek her opinion on what was to come. She was too fragile though. Perhaps not so much because of what had happened but what she already knew was to come. This was very frustrating.
I sat back and let the candlelight lull my mind. After a few moments Sookie moved closer and shifted so that that her front was pressed to mine, her legs stretched out beside me. “It’ll be all right, Eric. I promise that I believe that. You should, too.” Her words meant to reassure me did anything but. She snuggled in closer to me, wrapping her arms around me. She sighed then taking a deep breath. My arms came up around her.
“You did grow on me,’” she said softly. “I know that everyone got caught up in the blood you tricked me into drinking from you after the bomb explosion, but it was happening before that.” I purred at her words. “I know you were the one who changed my clothes after the Maenad attacked me.” I stilled. We had never discussed what had happened that night after Compton had whined his way to his guest coffin.
When there had been none to see I had washed her back and changed her shirt. Her eyes had opened briefly and she had smiled at me sweetly before she passed out again. I had let myself hope that it might be a new beginning for us only to awaken and have her slap the smile onto my face the next night over Lafayette.
“It was part of the reason I was so damned mad at you that night. I was pissed about Lafayette but that was just the excuse really. You made me feel something for you and that made me angry. I was supposed to be in love but your gesture in the wake of my fight with Bill stripped me bare, figuratively as well as literally.”
“Yes, I was walking down that road because Bill had shown me a glimpse of something I had been pretending wasn’t there up to that point. He was cold and controlling and manipulative. When I woke and saw you caring for me privately, so sweetly it cast a bright light on how Bill treated me in comparison. It…made me feel foolish…and that always makes me feel angry. I took that anger out on you and for that I am sorry for that.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t have shown you how I felt in front of the world.” I would do it all differently if I had another chance now, but such thoughts were folly.
“You wouldn’t be Sheriff Eric Northman if you wore your heart on your sleeve.”
“No, I would just be Eric, like I was with you for those few peaceful days at your house.” She sighed again then.
“Those were the best days.”
“You should have come swimming with me in the sun.” She giggled then.
“Yes, I should have. You were so funny and sexy in the water. Crazy, too! That swimmin’ hole was filled with gators! I wasn’t jokin’!”
“Nor was I when I said I would slay them for you, my queen.” She grew quiet lost in her own thoughts for a while.
“I had this book once about this woman who said that she thought it was funny how we influence each other. She said that she was often amused and saddened by the notion that she was influenced to become the perfect companion for the person that she had just lost from her life. She said that it was wonderful to have picked up little pieces of them to carry with her, mannerisms, perspectives, ideas, but so sad that those little changes were only echoes of the person they had lost. The person that they were now fashioned to fit better if not perfectly.” I thought about what she was saying.
I had indeed fashioned parts of myself after those I had admired and lost. Becoming like them in some little ways to ease missing them from my life. It was bittersweet to find yourself perfect for a place that no longer existed. ‘I understand,” I assured her and was rewarded by feeling the bond between us open a little. I gasped at the intensity of what she was feeling.
There was anger, and sadness and so much love that it made my heart hurt. “I should have gone swimmin’ with you.” I wanted to reassure her that there would be other chances. I wanted to reassure her. I could not. The world that we now lived in left little hope for sunny day swimming jaunts. She clutched at me then with her hands and her mind. “I should have kissed you on the porch the night before I went to Jackson. I should have ran away with you instead of going to fight with Bill. I should have…” her voice broke then and she started sobbing in my arms. “I should have never left you at Bill’s that night. I should have flown away with you into the night and never ever left your side!” I held her tighter as she cried.
How different would any of this be if she had done any one of those things she had said?
“I am not sorry that I came to your house that night protect you,” I said fiercely as I rocked her. “I am not sorry that I made love to you in the woods and pretended that your heartbeat was mine. I am not sorry for any of it. It wasn’t all missed chances, there was glory in each moment that I spent with you.” I swallowed the knot in my throat. “I kept you so far away because you meant more to me than anything else. To show that, to let anyone know that was to put you at risk. Even if it meant never being near you again it was worth it for that protection of what I held most dear. I regret only that it caused you to think that I did not care.
“Even in all the missed opportunities there was much that was good between us, Sookie.” She opened to me completely then, as if I had cracked the magic tumblers of her emotional safe. I wanted to slow it down and sift through the torrent like a man panning for gold but it was so much I could barely hold on as she swept me away again and again.
All our moments in time floating in my mind, spinning. All I could see was my face…smiling, smirking, fangs down, fangs up, passion, tenderness, anger…a collage of me and then one brighter than all the others took over our mind. “If you kiss me, I promise to be happy.”
It had been a long time coming but she did kiss me then and it was everything I had hoped it would be that night. Focusing only on the things between us that had been right I started swimming in the river of Sookie and claimed her lips as mine. She surrendered to me giving herself to me completely as she only ever had before in our shared dream of the bed in the forest.
My body was on the sofa with hers, but our minds were back in that forest, in that bed with the snow falling on our skin. A different world, a better world than this one could have ever hoped to be even on its best day. Here we were one. We made this place together then and we made together again now her body moving over mine, clothes melting off, thoughts falling away until I felt my body join with hers again as we had so long ago.
My fangs came down as the heat of her swallowed my cold aching cock. “So good,” I whispered into her neck in two different worlds at once.
“The best,” she answered between kisses as she rode me, her hands moving on my body memorizing me on the outside as she did on the inside of her. It was hot and sweet beyond words. “Love you,” she said to me inside and outside of the bond. “Always love you,” she threw her head back then, screaming her pleasure as she came apart in my arms. I buried my head in her breasts and followed behind her, my body feeling complete once again. My soul feeling whole like it never had before.
I could regret nothing any longer if it had led to this. We had passed the night in tender caresses and wide open passion. It was about feeling more than words. It was the best night I could remember ever having.
She was ready when I rose late the next afternoon. She was closed down from me again and I missed our open bond like I had lost an arm. I wanted to press her, demand that she tell me but I did not want to anger her or push her too far. I would know soon enough. I estimated two hours and we would be Four Points. I showered and dressed and we took to the air.
We did not speak during the flight though she held me close as I did her. I had this incredible sense of foreboding that was making me edgy. Glancing down as we flew I saw Z’s from time to time looking up at the sky tracking our progress. It chilled me and did nothing to ease my tension. Sookie did not look but I believed she knew they were there anyway.
“We are here,” I told her.
“Go to the river. She will meet us there.” Seeing it in the distance I flew toward it. It looked black in the moonlight. “Here. She is here.” I scanned the area for Z’s but sensed only another vampire. I landed softly and set Sookie gently on her feet, keeping her in my arms on alert to take off again if necessary.
A small red haired vampire stepped from the trees along the river and came toward us. She looked just as I had seen her two nights ago. Before Warlow I had not known of fairy vampires. He was a real piece of work. I wondered what her deal would be. She stopped a few feet in front of us staring intently at Sookie and I realized they were communicating telepathically. Karin nodded and then she looked at me.
“We don’t have much time.” When did we ever and wasn’t that my line?
“We have enough for you to tell me what the fuck is going on.” Sookie stiffened in front of me. It was then that I felt it for the first time. Thrumming beneath my feet coming up from the very ground itself. There was a sound not unlike a tuning fork emanating between Karin and the ground. She had something on her person that was causing the ground to vibrate. “Show me now, or we leave.” Sookie grabbed my hand squeezing it.
Karin pulled a dagger from behind her. It was glowing and my supernatural hearing could sense its vibrations. “We are standing on a ley line,” she said speaking for the first time. “The Athamen av nåd senses the power and is responding.”
“The Athame of Grace?” I asked, also translating the Swedish for Sookie. Karin smiled slightly.
“It has many names, but yes that is correct, Viking. It is good to see you still remember the old ways.” I raise an eyebrow. Compared to me she is but a babe. Perhaps it is her dual nature that made her so glib to a vampire six hundred years her senior. “It has also been called Akedah.”
I moved Sookie behind me, stepping toward Karin who dropped her baby fangs as though they would even slow me down. My mind was racing again. Memories of Godric flipping past. “A long life is time to explore but also to learn. You should know all that you can, my child.” At his encouragement I had studied and learned whenever I could. At first it was to please my master, then it was to appease my racing mind and answer my own gnawing questions. I was a library of information and languages long dead and still spoken on this earth. I knew not only that Karin had just called the dagger by an ancient Hebrew name but also the meaning of the name she had given it.
Akedah was the knife that Abraham had planned to use to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the mountaintop.