10. The Oracle

Eric dreamed that he was seated between Minos and Bacchus at the feast that was supposed to happen tomorrow night. On his left Minos was sharpening a knife that might be a sword with adequacy issues.  On his right Bacchus was drinking wine and flirting with the room.

Eric looked around for Sookie and saw her off in the corner with Pythia speaking in hushed tones.  “You better hope this works,” Bacchus whispered in his ear.  “You need to get the hell out of here.”

“Tell me about it.” Eric looked at the King again.  Minos grinned showing a mouth of long sharp teeth as he drew his finger across his throat.  The message was very twentieth century and very easy to understand.  Eric was a dead man if he stayed in Knossos.

“Seriously, you don’t belong here.  You need to get hell out before you screw things up for me.”

“How would I do that?”  Bacchus sighed turning to look at Eric now, his gaze appreciative in a way that he had had only ever seen in Sookie’s eyes before.  It made him very uncomfortable.

“You are only beginning to suspect this about yourself but inside you, fighting to get out is one of the most ruthless and vicious creatures the world has ever seen.   Particularly when someone does harm to that one.” Bacchus nodded to Sookie who was still talking to Pythia.  “The two of you are twisted through the stars.  Where there is one there is the other soon after.  Destiny.”  Bacchus made a spinning motion with his hand.  “Wheel of Fate, whatever.  The point is, if you don’t get back to where you belong, then it’s going to go bad here.  If Minos hurts her while you live I wouldn’t be surprised if you burned this entire city to the ground.”

“This city is made of stone.”

“That really wouldn’t stop you if he makes you angry enough.  The same goes for her if something happens to you.  Knowing what she is capable of is why I sent you the stone.”  Eric felt the truth of the words Bacchus was saying and it made him feel…pleased.  He knew he should feel differently but he also know that if anyone hurt Sookie he would indeed make them very, very sorry for their actions.   He felt a slow cold smile spread over his face as he looked at Minos again.

Minos who had been sawing his neck with his finger again suddenly stopped smiling.  Eric leaned closer to him and felt something slide down from his gums.  Running his tongue over them he realized now he had fangs, too.  His smile grew larger.  “All the better to eat you with,” he said to Minos with a wink.  Bacchus sighed beside him.

“Stop that and listen to me!  You need to get the hell out of here before you mess things up for me!  I will not be kind if you interrupt the path that is set to bring Ariadne to me and you already owe me one!”  Right, the stone Calisto had given him.

“Thank you for sending me the stone.” Eric remembered to be gracious for a moment in his dream and then he forgot.  “You are supposed to take Calisto to wife and now you are after Ariadne.  Why do you need so many wives?”

“Calisto is special, that is true.  She and I will have a long relationship where I stand her up repeatedly but she never gives up on me.  Ariadne though, that is the woman that I long to have beside me for all times.”

“Doesn’t seem fair to Calisto.”

“Who ever said it was fair?  She wants me and I want Ariadne.  Legends are built on such legs as this.” So were other things but it seemed wrong to say to someone who had helped him as Bacchus had in The Labyrinth.

“Will she remember me when we get out of here?”

“Being in the heart of a temporal flux usually means that you are part of it and outside the rules that govern those affected by it.”

“Huh?”  Bacchus rolled his eyes.

“Just get the hell out of here!”

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Eric jerked awake with Bacchus’ warning ringing in his ears.  Today is my last day here with Sookie, was the first thought that crossed his mind.  Today could be my last day with Sookie.  He pulled her tighter as the very thought crossed his mind, as though that could keep them together across time and space.

“Can’t…breathe,” she mumbled to his chest, pushing against him so she could get some air.  He loosened his grip, but kept his hands on her as he covered her face in shower of kisses.  She was giggling and squirming against him after the first dozen.  After they settled he asked her what she would like to do today. “Stay here and be with you,” she told her, bringing her hand to his face and pulling him down for a soft kiss on his lips.

They spent the day in bed twined together sometimes in laughter, sometimes in passion, always in love.  “You mean the whole time I was writing to you, you were writing me back?” she asked him awe in her eyes as he told her all his secrets one by one.

“Yes, every day.  Endless words that poured out from the hole in my heart made by missing you.”  He tucked her hair behind her ear and touched her face softly.  “That first day when you came in and introduced yourself me I felt like such an idiot.”

“No!” she said, “You were so handsome and so serious that day.  I just wanted to pull you up and go start a game of tag in the street.”

“I feel like we have been playing tag for years, so that works,” he told her smiling.

“You came a long way to catch me.”

“Totally worth the trip,” he said tickling her, intoxicated by the sound of her laughter in the small room.  When they settled again he told her of his first day on Sam’s boat.  “I was so sore and sunburned I thought I was dying.  I fell in a heap and couldn’t move.   I woke up to Sam rubbing olive oil on my burns.  At first I thought he was attacking me.  When I moved to fight him off it hurt so bad that for a moment I was hoping he planned to kill me.”  She laughed again at his exaggerated story of woe.

“The next day was even worse.  I was so soft from sitting behind that desk my whole life.  I had rope burns on my hands and every muscle I had ached.  I think I might have jumped overboard if on the second night Sam hadn’t asked me why I was doing this.

“I had never spoken about you, about my feelings for you to anyone out loud.  Once I got started I couldn’t stop.  I went on for hours until Sam finally told me that he was going to gag me if I didn’t shut up and let him get some sleep.” He smiled then his eyes unfocused and lost in the past.

“From that night on I just thought of you, of seeing you, of telling you all the things I should have told you so very long ago.  The days passed, the pain lessened and I changed into the man you see here before you.”  He looked at her again.  “Everything I am is because of you Sookie Stackhouse, because on that day so long ago you came into my world with your blue bow and your heart that believed in me.

“I loved your letters, Sookie.  You had never seen mine, but when I read yours it felt like we had been talking to each other after all from one side of the world to the other.  It felt like we had been as connected in the real world as we had been in my mind and in my heart for all those years.”

It was a perfect day, and like all perfect things it ended far too soon.

When it was time to dress for the banquet they both did so with mixed emotions.  She put on the dress he had bought her the day of the festival and she gave him a gift that she had gotten on the way back from the palace before she knew he was missing.  It was a toga in matching cranberry red with a wide black belt and black shoulder armor for his left arm that ended in a wide leather brace that covered his right arm from wrist to elbow.  The shoulder armor tied around his bicep crossing his chest to fasten under his left arm.

Bare breasted woman and Eric_edited-2

She stood back to appraise her handiwork.  “I wanted everyone to know that we were together and you were mine.  Seeing you like this now, I fear I will only have made them want to take you from me.”

“I was thinking the same thing about this dress.  I wanted to see you in, not anyone else.”

“This is what all the girls are wearing in 1500BC.”

“Not like you do.”

“Do you miss the blue ribbon in my hair?”

“You have hair?” he teased in a dreamy tone as he looked at her breasts.  She couldn’t help but laugh.

“Just for that I won’t let you rouge my nipples.”

“Now there’s is a sentence I never thought I would hear from you.”

“Which is why you should mourn losing the opportunity.”  She turned then before he could see her smile and moved toward the little table where she kept her makeup.  Kohl for her eyes and rouge for her cheeks, lips and breasts.  A moment later she felt him behind her.  His arms slipped around her from behind and he placed a soft kiss on her shoulder.

“Have I been a good husband, Sookie?  For this brief time we had in this strange place, did I please you in all the ways a good husband should for his beloved wife?”  She bit her lip as her vision blurred with tears that she refused to let fall.

“The best,” she told him, her voice cracking only a little as she pressed her back to his chest and rested her hands over his arms at her waist.  “And what of me, did I please you, husband?”

“In every precious moment, my sweet Sookie.”  Sobbing she turned in his arms pulling his head down to hers.

“I can’t bear to lose you, Eric!”  He kissed her then.  It was the only thing he could say about something that was completely beyond their control.

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They walked hand in hand to the banquet and entered as quietly as possible.  They were seated with the other Leapers at a table close to the front.  Eric’s height made him hard to miss and it was easy to tell when Minos spotted them because the entire room feel silent.  Their plan had been to wait for an opportunity to speak with The Oracle and pass on the message that Eric had been given.

When the room fell silent they looked around to find Minos had risen to his feet, his face a study in shock and that The Oracle of Delphi was seated at his right hand.  Sookie bowed gracefully to the King, her face carefully blank.  Eric did the same and then they waited for Minos to either charge them calling for his guard or take his seat again.  Thankfully, he sat back down allowing them and the rest of the banqueters to do the same.  Slowly the buzz of conversation throughout the room resumed.

“I will distract Minos while you talk to The Oracle.”

“No!” he whispered back to her.  “It’s not safe for you.”

“If this works like we need it to then it won’t matter.  We will be gone.”  Eric looked for an argument he could use, another way he could get The Oracle alone but came up with nothing.  When she rose he caught her hand and looked at her as though he might never see her again.

“I love you, Sookie Stackhouse.  I will remember you!”

“Always,” she told him and then turned away before he saw her tears.  She pushed them back and by the time she reached Minos’ table her head was high and her smile was wide.  Not a soul present would have guessed that her heart was breaking or that she was contemplating regicide as she knelt before Minos.

Eric’s stomach knotted along with his fists when he watched the King rise and leave with Sookie.  Moving quickly to The Oracle he knelt beside her chair.  “Might I have a word, Oracle?”  She turned to face him.  For just a moment he saw milky white eyes and thin hair overlay her younger face and the words that he had been told to speak came spilling out of lips as if compelled.

 “‘The telepath must find the bomb before it goes off in Rhodes in 2005.  When she presents herself to you at the trial set her on the right path.’” 

The Oracle’s face showed confusion and then fear when she got her first good look at the man out of time.  Something his in aura was jagged and out of place.  She touched his face then and saw more than she had ever dreamed she would see.

His life in the twentieth century, his journey to Greece and then to the past.  What had been static and purple to him was easily seen by her if not easily comprehended.  So many roads, so much time.  It was almost too much for her mind to take, but it was real and she understood what would happen to him, to them and that she could and would fix it in 3500 years.

People think that time is a straight line but they are wrong.  What has happened is happening will happen, all at the same time.  The moment she decided to change 2005 it happened in the time stream and the effect was immediate.

Eric blinked and he as in Crete with The Oracle of Delphi.

He blinked again and he was back in Appius’ house his bags packed and ready to go after Sookie in Greece.

He had no idea where or when Sookie was, but he remembered her and their time.  It was a bittersweet feeling to be here without her knowing that their time had not been lost in their efforts to set things right.  He ran from the house, nearly trampling Appius on his way to the door. He didn’t slow down or explain why he was in such rush.

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24 hours later, Rhodes, 1932

Sookie opened her very first telegram from Eric Northman.  Her heart was pounding and her mouth was dry.  At first her hands were shaking so bad she couldn’t read the words, then she did and her eyes blurred with tears again disrupting her sight of the precious few words that answered every question that had burned in her since her return from Knossos.

Sookie STOP

Wait for me in Rhodes STOP

I am coming for you my wife STOP

I love you always I will never STOP

Eric

    

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