Six weeks later….
A very different Eric Northman moved down the crowded streets of Knossos. He had just arrived after spending weeks on board a fishing boat working his way from Rhodes to Knossos. His skin was golden brown, his muscles hard and tight from the work he had been doing to earn his way to where he believed Sookie to be. He moved with a confidence and grace that had always been in him but had been buried underneath Appius’ hard tutelage and cruel ways.
Proving that he could not only learn, but grow and thrive in this strange land had opened up the heart of him. More than once on his long journey he had thought that if he should see his grandfather again the dynamic would definitely be different than it had ever been before. The thought excited him as did everything in this beautiful and savage world.
His captain and friend Sam moved beside him chatting constantly as he had done from the moment Eric had met him at the docks in Rhodes. In halting poorly pronounced Greek Eric had asked about passage to Knossos. Sam had looked him over from head to toe, his white skin glaring so brightly in the morning sun his friend had shielded his eyes. Eric would be forever grateful that despite his strange appearance and poor grasp of ancient Greek that Sam had taken him on anyway. Along the way they had become friends. The first friend that Eric had ever had outside of Sookie, and maybe Arlene, though he considered her more a business associate than friend. Until Sam he hadn’t truly realized how lonely he was inside.
“She’s a Bull Leaper, you wife?” Sam asked again as they worked their way through the crowd.
“Yes, I think so,” Eric said, using his height over the crowd to his advantage. If she was here he would see her long before Sam who was nearly a foot shorter.
“It will be good to see her after all this time,” Sam said a look in his eyes that told Eric he was as excited for their reunion as he was himself. He had spent many nights on the boat talking of her after their work was done for the day. The result was his improvement in speaking the native language as well Sam being his confidant for most of the things he wished he had said to Sookie over the years. Most but not all, some things were saved for her alone. They were too private and too personal to share with anyone else.
“Yes, it will be,” Eric answered as he continued to scan for her blond head in the sea of people. The women were dressed traditionally for the time in long skirts with girdles cinched under the breasts placing them on display as he had seen Sookie in the dream the night before he had come through the purple to find her.
Sam’s eyes were on every pair of rouged nipples that passed them but Eric had eyes only for Sookie. It wasn’t that he didn’t notice, he did, and his body noticed as well, but he would let nothing else delay him from her side. Even if it had been time well spent to learn his way around this world, it was too much time from her side.
Who knew what she had gotten into in the two and a half months since she had disappeared from Rhodes?
Suddenly the sound of horn split the air, bringing Eric and Sam to a halt. “The Leapers are coming!” someone cried out further down the street from where they were standing. He saw the crowd part, pressing back along the walls of the buildings that lined the street to make way. He heard the sound of music drawing closer, a flute and a drum by the sound of it, then he saw the first one.
He was male, short with blond hair and a hard body dressed only in a loincloth dancing and tumbling his way down the street. He looked happy as he did his acrobatics for the crowd that clapped loudly for every jump and turn he did. Soon another came into view, again male, this one with dark hair and the same well-muscled form that spoke to hours of training. There was a precision to their moves that called to mind the form of a bull being in their presence though none was there today.
“We made it in time for the spring planting festival!” Sam exclaimed next to him. “No wonder the city is so crowded. There is usually a huge banquet filled with willing women more than ready to celebrate the rights of the goddess!” Eric had to smile at his friend’s excitement. He hoped that he would find a woman to fill his nights almost as much as he hoped to find THE woman to fill his. Sookie, his soul called out to her and as if she had heard him she danced into sight up the street. Eric’s heart stopped for a moment.
She was dressed in tight fitting loin cloth with her breasts bound tightly to her chest. Her long golden legs flashed in the sun as she danced and twirled for the crowd’s delight and amusement. Her hair was braided and bound in golden cord that caught the light as she turned and her smile told him that in this moment at least she was truly happy.
The two male Leaper’s stopped and crossed their arms, falling as one to their knees looking to Sookie. She bowed to them and then started running toward them as fast as she could. When she reached them she placed a foot on their crossed arms. They rose as one giving her the height and momentum to somersault through the air high above their heads. As she flew through the air Eric’s heart stopped again the beauty of her taking his breath away.
All the moments of doubt that he had shoved down since this began in New York for him were dispersed like dust. She was here! When she landed nearly at his feet, her face flush with success and joy he shoved his way through the crowd and extended a hand to help her rise.
She looked up and her face froze just a moment in wonder before she ignored his hand and launched herself into his arms. She hit him as she had at eleven, with the full force of her now grown curvaceous body, pushing him back a step. Feeling her pressed against him now, so far from eight and eleven, so far from who they had been so long ago, made him struggle for air. He wanted to speak, he wanted to shout his joy. He never ever wanted to let her go.
She pulled her head back and looked at him like she had never seen him before and then as she had done in his office she placed her hand on the back of his neck and pulled him down to her lips. This time he knew there was nothing more perfect than this moment here with her. There was no second Eric that used Appius’ voice to pull him away. There was only the Eric who had always loved her, would always love her. My sweet Sookie, he thought as he dived into the kiss, his arms holding her tight to him. “I love you,” he told her when she released his lips and looked into his eyes.
“’Bout time, Northman,” she said before laying another kiss on him that left him seeing stars. Before he could say anything she wriggled from his arms and told him to wait there. Then she danced away to resume her show with the Leapers. More of them had appeared now and several of the other women were doing the same move she had just performed, vaulting so high into the air he wondered if they would ever come down again.
Sam leaned in as he watched her dance away. “You better hope your wife didn’t see that,” he said conspiratorially.
“That was my wife,” Eric said in a dazed tone. Sam laughed and clapped him on the back.
“Ha! I could tell from the way you looked at her! You were right, she is quite lovely.”
“Yeah,” Eric said again, still not taking his eyes off Sookie as she moved further away. He wanted to go after her, but she had told him to wait. As hard as it was to make himself stay still he did. He refused to let himself think for a second that he had come so far and found her only to lose her again!
After what seemed like hours he saw a glimpse of her blond head coming toward him and his heart began to beat normally for the first time since he had seen her come around the corner. When she was in his arms again, hugging him just as tightly as he was hugging her he let himself take a deep breath. “I dreamed of you,” she said looking up at him, the light of love shining her eyes. “I knew you would find me.” He held her tighter, trying to find a place to start with everything he had to say. The crowd was flowing around them on the street now, jostling against them every now and then. Sam stepped in and bowed to her.
“This is my friend Samuel Lambros,” he said by way of introduction. “Sam, this is my wife, Sookie.” She smiled at him again before bowing to Sam. “I came here on his fishing vessel Lagos.” Sookie stepped back.
“Come with me. I have a small house not too far away. We will refresh ourselves and you can tell me of your journeys.” She held his hand as she led them through the crowd.
Several hours and much wine later, Sam said his farewells, headed out to find a companion for the evening. Sookie had made fast friends with him and hugged him tightly before he left. “Thank you for bringing me my Eric,” she told him. Sam had returned her embrace with genuine affection before moving to embrace Eric as well.
“I will see you soon, my friend,” he told Eric before stepping out into the night. The revelry could still be heard from the street outside. There was no doubt that he would soon find what he was looking for in the happy crowd. She closed the door behind him, resting against as she looked at Eric in the lamp light of her house.
“I can’t believe you’re here.”
“How did you find me?”
“I just believed I would. I couldn’t let myself believe anything else.”
“Me either. I called out to you every day and every night believing you would come. I…I don’t know why. You had never given me anything to believe in before.” She looked down at the floor when she spoke those words, her pain evident. Eric felt it, too. He opened his arms to her, calling her to where he sat on a cushion next to her small table. She moved toward him instantly, her hope overriding her pain. She sighed when she sat in his lap, her back pressed to his chest.
His arms came around her, crossing her waist to hold her closer, his head coming down to rest on her shoulder. He was flush from the wine they had shared with Sam. Her skin had a light sheen of sweat from the warm spring evening and the wine, too probably. He wanted to taste her, his tongue came out unbidden to caress her shoulder, ending a soft kiss filled with all the love he felt for the woman in his arms. She moaned softly and pressed her body tighter to his.
“I have always been with you, every step you took, no matter where you were, I was with you, Sookie.” He felt her tremble. “I have loved you with everything I am since I was eleven years old. I didn’t know how to show you something so big I couldn’t see the end of it.” She laced her fingers with his and let her head fall back to rest on his shoulder.
“I didn’t know about your letters when you came to my office that terrible day. Appius had hidden them from me. I have read them now and I know that in truth if I had read them before I would have probably treated them as I did your telegrams. I am most ashamed of my silence, my sweet Sookie. You were right and you were wrong. It was shyness that held me bound in silence no matter how free you were with your love of me. It was never a lack of interest, it was the opposite in fact. I am so very sorry that I hurt you, Sookie. I understand if you can never forgive my silence all these years. I can’t change what has happened, but I can promise you that if you will truly be mine I will never ever be silent to you again.” She rolled her head on his shoulder toward his face.
“What changed?” she asked him quietly, her voice cracking.
“I lost you.”
“Never,” she told him, her arm coming up behind his head, her fingers running through his hair, longer than it had ever been.
“I thought I had.”
“That’s what you get for thinking, Northman.” He chuckled.
“When I read your letters and realized fully what a terrible mistake I had made I nearly lost my mind. Then just as I was about to leave for Rhodes I got a telegram telling me that you were missing and presumed dead. I thought…I never wanted to face another day without you, Sookie Stackhouse. There had been too many of them already.”
“So you jumped on a ship and came to Greece?”
“After I robbed the New York City library, yes.”
“History books about Greece. You told me in a dream to get them, to learn, to come for you.” She gasped, sitting up a little, turning to face him.
“We were having a picnic!” He nodded. She was silent, her eyes wide in shock. “How? How is that even possible, Eric?” He rolled his eyes.
“Asks the archaeologist who traveled 3500 years into the past to become a Bull Leaper of Knossos. Really?” His hand came up to her face, touching her to reassure himself that this was real. “I don’t know how any of this possible. I just know that I would accept no other outcome. I was going to find you no matter what it took!”
“And…you want a life with me, Eric?”
“There is no life for me without you.” The truth of his words rang between them in the tiny house. Her eyes drifted shut a moment and he saw the tear slide down her cheek silently. When she opened her eyes she looked at him with a passion that left him weak in his knees.
“And there is no life for me without you either, Eric Northman.” She kissed him then, softly. The kiss that promised nights filled with thousands of kisses and days filled with her hand in his. He was alive for the first time in twenty-seven years, she had breathed it into him one small breath at a time.
“Can you tell me how you came to be here,” he asked her after he had kissed and held her for a while. She was settled comfortably against him, both of them still sitting on the floor.
“All I remember was being at the dig site and then waking up in past. I think,” she stopped her, trying hard to remember. “There was an explosion of some kind. I remember a loud roaring sound and then something pushed me, or pulled me and then I was here.” He kissed her head.
“You said in the dream that you were taken from Rhodes and they planned to sell you to a brothel?” She shuddered against him. “Did they hurt you, Sookie?” He was scared of her answer. What if they had defiled her in some way on her journey here before she secured a position as a Leaper?
“No, they didn’t touch me, not in that way, Eric. They wanted me to be a virgin because I would bring them more money that way.” His body tensed with rage. “They said that if I bled that I would bring a higher price.” He could feel her blush in the darkened room, but he didn’t understand her words.
“What do you mean ‘if you bled’?” She squeezed his hand tighter, pressing closer and turning her face into his chest a little.
“Women the first time they… with a man, if they are virgins sometimes they bleed afterward.” Eric felt his own cheeks flame up.
“Oh.” She squirmed again.
“But, I wouldn’t have.” He froze. Did that mean that she had… with a man before? He was frozen, mortified, first at the topic, then that he knew so little about how things were with men and women and lastly, the idea that she had not waited for him as he had for her. Had there been someone else before she knew that she wanted him?
Feeling the tension in him she rushed to reassure him. “No, no, Eric. I haven’t…done that before. Sometimes with girls if they are riding horses it can…well” she stopped taking a deep breath before plunging on. “I was riding a horse when I was twelve. The horse jumped a fence and I came down hard in the saddle. There was a brief period of intense pain and then after there was blood in my undergarments. I worked up the courage to ask Grandfather. I was scared that something was wrong. He explained it all very gently to me and then he said something that I will never forget.”
“What’s that?” he whispered to her.
“That you would understand.” He let out a breath.
“So, Earl Stackhouse knew that”-
“I loved you,” she finished. “He didn’t make a fuss or speak of it ever again, but he was right. When he told me what it meant, that it could be seen as I was no longer a lady, I worried immediately that you would think…” she stopped then, unable to go on. Eric was quiet as he thought over these revelations.
Earl Stackhouse knew that he loved Sookie. That was what he had been about to say when she cut him off. Earl knew, and he approved. He believed that his love for Sookie would make such a thing unimportant. He was right, too, but what meant more to Eric than anything else was that he had Earl’s approval to be with Sookie. He smiled and hugged her again.
“What?” she asked him, rubbing his hand. “I can feel how happy you are. What is it, baby?”
“It just means a lot that Earl thought it was a good thing for me to love you. That he accepted me and us.”
“Of course he did. You were the reason he stayed with Appius. He knew what seeing you meant to me, to us. He was not a fan of Appius.” Eric grunted his response, and felt his affection for Earl Stackhouse grow deeper.
“Sookie, I saw you tell King Minos that I was your husband.” Now she tensed in his arms, as if waiting for a blow. “Would you be my wife, really be my wife, I mean?”
“You told Sam I already was.”
“It was simpler than trying to explain the truth.”
“And what is the truth?”
“That you would be my wife if I done things I should have with you.” She turned then to face him fully, he gasped when she straddled his lap, placing her body on his in such an intimate way that he felt himself harden fully immediately. Instead of pulling away though she pressed closer, pulling a groan from his chest. She kissed him softly on the lips, her hands resting on his face.
“I told Minos that you were my husband because in my heart you already are.” She rocked in his lap, a purely instinctive response to his body being next to hers clearly wanting hers as much as she wanted him.
“Sookie, I’ve never”-
“Shh, me either, baby.” She kissed him again then.
“I love it when you call me ‘baby’,” he said against her lips, letting go of his fear with her. He trusted her and what was between them enough to travel through time for her. There was no way he would pull back from her now.
“I read your letter from so long ago, about the couple you saw on the way back from the river,” he said quietly as he kissed along her neck. “I loved that letter! It made me…want you so much, Sookie. The things you said you saw, the things you felt. I felt them all with you when I read your words.” She moaned as he found a spot on her neck that made her shiver in his arms.
Her response made him feel powerful and manly in a way that nothing else ever had. This woman made him feel like the man he had always wanted to be. He shivered then, overcome with his desire to touch her. “I want…” he swallowed struggling for the words that would tell her what he was feeling. “I want to be with you, the way you described in your letter. I want to be with you, Sookie, like a husband is with his wife.”
“I want that, too, so much, baby,” she purred as his large hands roamed her body wanting to touch her everywhere all at once. “I want you, too, Eric.” He was lost to her in that moment. “Lie back,” she said to him, moving off his lap.
Slowly she reached up and grasped the binding that held her breasts to her chest. She was still wearing what she had on when he first saw her. He fell back, resting on his elbows, his long body laid out before her, the evidence of his desire very obvious under his short tunic. Her eyes ran the length of his body. She swallowed when her gaze fell to his arousal, her hands fumbling a little as she lost her concentration on removing her breast bindings. Taking a deep breath she resumed her efforts.
A moment later the binding fell to the floor beside her. He looked at her beautiful breasts, her hard nipples and without thinking leaned in to touch her, letting them rest in the palms of his hands while his thumbs came up to rub across her taut nipples. When her eyes went shut and a soft moan of pleasure came up from her slightly opened mouth Eric felt his shaft jerk in response. He had never been this hard before in his life.
She slowly removed the rest of her clothing, her tanned skin catching the dim light, glowing it seemed to his eyes. Then she started removing his clothing. He raised up to help her. When he was naked she looked at his arousal, her hand rising to wrap around his long thick shaft. He wrapped his hand around hers gently and pumped them together a few times.
His eyes shut as the pleasure of her touch washed through him and he felt moisture pool at his tip his need for her was so powerful. She ran her thumb over the head of his shaft as he had done with her nipples making his body thrust into her hand seeking to extend the contact between his flesh and hers. They moaned together as his body responded.
Following his guidance she grasped him tightly, her small hand barely meeting around the base of his large arousal, moving up and down as he had shown her. In a few strokes of her soft warm hand he exploded, hard jets of his release forced from his body, landing on her hand, belly and thighs. “Sookie!” he called her name as his powerful release made him fall back onto his elbows again.
When he caught his breath and looked up she was still there, now covered in the evidence of his desire. He looked into her eyes, unsure what to feel. His first thought was shame. Shame that he had come so quickly, shame that she was now a mess because of him, but something in her eyes killed that before it came to fruition.
Something in her eyes told him that now, now more than any words or paper could convey, now she was his. His reaction to her touch had pleased her more than stumbling words or promises ever could have. She was his and that he had trusted her with something so personal and so intimate that brought him such obvious pleasure had in turn moved her immeasurably as well.
She moved closer to him, straddling his legs again, opening her legs over his body. Looking deep into his eyes she took his hand and moved it between her thighs to the secret heart of her. He gasped when he felt her slick folds open for his fingers. She showed him just where and how to touch her, and then left his hand there to continue its movements between her thighs as he had done with her hand on his shaft.
He experimented with pressure and speed and soon had her gasping, rocking on his hand as she grasped his shoulders tightly. “Eric,” she called out between pants as she rocked faster. He responded with increased pressure and speed. She paused a moment to adjust his hand, sliding one of his long fingers into her tight hot channel while leaving his thumb where it been before. As soon as his finger entered her she called his name again in a strangled cry that made his shaft rise again beneath her as full, hard and aching as it had been before his release.
She rode his finger, bouncing her hips as his thumb caressed her pleasure center. He watched her, his seed shining against her skin, the wet heat between her thighs sliding down his palm as he pressed harder and deeper into her. His finger inside her touched something special, a raised spot that his sensitive touch registered. She jerked, her head flying back, her moans increasing. He touched it again, and again watching in awe as she found her first release with him. He felt his hand grow wetter between her thighs. Acting on pure desire he continued to touch her, rub her slick folds inside and out while his other hand came up pulling her lips to his so he could drink her pleasure into himself.
When she went limp in his arms he pulled her to his chest and kissed her along the edge of her hair whispering words of love to her that he had never dared speak aloud before. When she moved back he nearly protested needing to keep her close to him. When he realized what she was doing he fell silent, his stomach muscles knotting in anticipation of feeling her tight wet heat around his throbbing shaft.
He wanted to make it last longer this time. He wanted to give her pleasure again as he just had with his hand so that he could see her as she had been in that moment again. When he felt the tip of him at her hot entrance he fell back, fighting not to explode right then. He wanted to be deep inside her listening to her chant his name when he spilled his seed this time. This time he wanted to come inside his wife, his sweet Sookie.
While she worked him into her he clenched his fists at his side and moaned. Her little sounds of pleasure pain as his flesh stretched her open for him made it almost impossible for him not come. She was so focused on her task, on the sensations sweeping through her that when she was fully seated on him with him buried inside her she let her head fall back, focused on the feeling of being spread open for him as she had never been before. There was no true pain, just pleasure so sharp and exquisite that her heart fluttered as she sat there, breathing, feeling him inside her. It was in this silence that his moans pierced her haze.
“Eric,” she said softly, he moaned again, the vibration of his name passing through her flesh and into his. He locked his jaw and clenched his fists tighter to hold on. She lay her body down on his, the change in angle bending him with her while dislodging the thick base of him from her wet heat. Wanting that back he caught her and rose to sit, clasping her to his chest as he buried his face in her neck still fighting for control. When the wet heat pulled at the bottom of his shaft again he shook violently in her arms. “What’s wrong, baby?” she asked breathless still. “Am I hurting you?”
“God, no, Sookie! So good! I can’t! Oh!” She wrapped her arms around him then, running a hand through his hair softly to calm him. Careful not to move her body or to lose him from deep inside her she just rubbed his hair and held him, taking deep calming breaths herself. Her body was telling her to move as she had on his hand a few moments before but he wasn’t ready. His pleasure was as important to her as her own. She would wait forever for him if she had to.
A few moments later he began to take deep breaths, too, allowing both of them to calm down while still adjusting to this new connection between them. When he stopped shaking she pulled back to look at him, moving as little as possible. “Ok, now?” she asked him. He saw her eyes filled with love and concern and his passion for her came back, but this time it was more than his body’s need for release. This time it was also his hearts need for connection.
“Love you,” he said before crushing his lips to hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth, moving as the rest of him wanted to move inside her. “So good inside you,” he ground out as he moved to kiss her neck. She cried out as his hips thrust up gently pressing him deeper inside.
“Always loved you, baby,” she said breathy in his ear as she started to move on him, rising up and down with her hips. His eyes tried to cross from the pleasure he felt when she rose up her internal muscles milking him toward another hard release with each passing second. His hand slid down between them finding the spot she had shown him before. Her back arched when he found it, her hips grinding down hard on him, as she thrust her breasts in his face.
Wanting her to feel everything he was feeling he took one of her nipples in his mouth, sucking long and hard. The combination of him thrusting inside her, his hand on her nub working in tight hard circles and his hot mouth sucking her nipple sent Sookie over the edge and she came apart for him right there just as he had needed her to do. Again, he felt his masculine side purr in satisfaction as his thighs grew wet with her release in his arms. The tight pulsations on his shaft inside her making his field of vision narrow the pleasure was so intense.
Rolling them over so that she was beneath him he thrust into her quivering body, pounding her hard in five quick thrusts he came inside her over and over screaming her name as he fell on top of her unable to move as the indescribable pleasures washed through him in waves. It was everything he had imagined it would be and more to love his sweet Sookie. His last thought was that to have this forever would never be enough.