“You made that possible, Appius. No matter what dark turns you took after that, you made this possible because you loved this man enough to give him eternity at your side. Embrace that! Embrace that love and be free, my child. Accept the love that I offer you once again. Release your command.”
Appius sobbed as the vision passed from him, and looked at his child on the floor. More than anything in that moment he wanted Eric to know that he had loved him, truly since the beginning. He did it the only way he could.
“Eric, as your maker I release you from the command to kill the fairy.” Eric collapsed on the floor, groaning, and Sookie moved as quickly as she could to his side, kneeling, offering her wrist to him to help him heal. Appius saw then the love between them and knew that he had never had that with Eric, or with anyone in his long existence.
My fault, he thought. I was so focused on what I couldn’t have, I missed any other chance along the way. He shut his eyes then, and whispered to Pythia. “Mother, maker, sister, grant me final peace.” She cried out in pain at his words, and he remembered then that she had loved him, too. He opened his eyes and looked at her, understanding for the first time how very strong his maker had been. “Please.”
She closed her hand, and removed his head, ending his suffering with a final brutal gesture of her love. She stood there a moment, and then she moved to Eric and Sookie who were still on the floor. “I am sorry that I couldn’t come sooner. I had to wait. I had to give him every chance to make another choice.”
Neither Sookie nor Eric spoke, but they saw clearly how very old and tired Pythia was as she moved slowly from the room where she had been forced to take the life of her beloved to save the world.
The Big Bang- Ain’t It Grand?
She was helping him rise from the floor when a cramp brought her down beside him clutching her distended belly, her eyes wide with fear. Eric had mostly recovered from his injuries from denying Appius’ command to kill Sookie but he was still weakened physically and emotionally. He had just lost his maker, who no doubt had been the vilest being he had ever known, but still, Appius was his maker. There was a great hole in his chest that he resented and could not change any more than he could wish Appius’ had chosen some other luckless soul to be his prey.
But if that had happened, you would be long dead, his voice of reason told him. He put his hands over hers on her belly and asked the question that only seemed too obvious.
“Is it time?” She answered with a scream of pain as the contractions intensified. He felt the pain with her and it was quite palpable. Sookie had told him that Fae births were relatively easy on the mothers. Having lost a wife to childbirth that had eased him considerably. If this was relatively easy then fairies were made of sterner stuff than he himself could manage. He bit a hole in his tongue to avoid crying out with her.
He picked her up and vamped to his chamber, locking the door to keep her safe as they faced this together. Salt, he thought, running his hand through his hair, making it stand on end. She said she needed salt.
“I’ll be right back, Sookie,” he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead as she balled into knot around her stomach, grunting from the pain.
“Hurry,” she gasped out. He ransacked the kitchen in blur of vampire speed and came back with two containers of salt from the pantry. She immediately took one and started pouring it directly into her mouth. He watched, fascinated that she took it down so effortlessly, absorbing rather than swallowing. She dropped the empty container and grabbed the other, pausing only to get through a contraction that made him weak in the knees.
“Is this easy, Sookie? You said this was easy?”
“How the fuck should I know? I’ve never done this before! Why don’t we call someone who has? Oh, right. NO ONE HAS EVER DONE THIS BEFORE!”
A moment later her face shifted and she was in tears. She reached a hand out to him. “I’m so sorry, Eric. I just, I can’t…I don’t know!” He moved instantly behind her, pulling her to rest on his chest and focusing on their bond to absorb as much pain as possible from her. When he felt the contractions build he took a deep breath and opened the bond. The result was both of them screaming together. Doing the only thing that came to mind he dropped his fangs and opened his wrist to feed her. If Fae needed salt, then vampire needed blood. Perhaps this would ease her pain.
She gulped greedily at his wrist, drinking him to the point that he was light headed and he had to pull back. “I need more,” she gasped out as tried to hold onto his arm. He struggled to rise and get the blood supply that he kept there for emergencies. He gulped down three bags of donor blood and went back to her opening his wrist again.
She moaned with pleasure when her mouth latched on, and he felt what had been a large painful contraction level off to a milder version as she moved, taking his arm with her, to lay flat on the bed, her legs open. He could feel the changes on her body as their children prepared to enter the world.
Sookie started to push, holding his arm now for strength rather than blood, she folded herself and grunted again like she was lifting a heavy burden. Eric had the presence of mind to remove her garments, tearing them away, while trying to support her back and also move to a place where he could catch his children when they came out. Moving at top speed he placed pillows at her back and still holding her hand moved down between her legs, expecting to see a head crowning by now.
He wished for about the thousandth time that he had had more time to prepare for this. While she had rested he had looked up information on the internet about births and had watched several videos of actual births that had chilled him to the bone. As a man he had seen animals do it, but never a woman before. Such things had been handled by other women in his time.
As much as he could he consoled himself that even had he been able to be in attendance at an actual human birth, it probably would not have prepared him for the first Vae birth in recorded history.
It was a small consolation when he peered between her legs and saw no head crowning. He worked hard to snap the bond shut on his fear. That was the last thing she needed right now. He had to be strong for her.
“Something is wrong, I can feel it. What’s wrong, Eric?” Fucking bond. Fucking telepathy.
“Nothing, Sookie, just keep pushing if that is what your body is telling you do.”
“My body is telling me to smack your face until your ears bleed, so stop lying to me goddamnit and tell me what the fuck is happening”-
She was cut off by another sharp contraction and forced to push again. He could feel the force she was using but nothing was happening.
Why wasn’t something happening?
Why the fuck wasn’t something happening??
Just when he thought he was going to totally lose his composure and tear his hair out he heard Pythia outside the door. “You must take her to Fae, the children must be born in the pool of the sacred springs.”
His mind racing he grabbed his phone and called Alcide. “Sookie needs to get to Fae. Now! We need you!” He had barely hit end when he heard Alcide appear in Sookie’s room outside and bang on the door. He hurried to open the door and then went back to the bed to grab Sookie, meeting Alcide half way in. “The sacred pool! Now!”
It seemed to take forever but he knew that was only a trick of his terrified mind. Guilt was digging at him. It was his dream of that little girl that was causing her so much pain and that might take her from him now. He felt his own tears as he stepped into the pool with her still in his arms.
He placed a kiss on her forehead as the water came up over her body when he knelt down. “Forgive me, Sookie,” he begged. Her answer was a sigh of relief when the magical healing water covered her straining body up to her breasts. He felt her pain recede. He took a shaky breath, holding her close to him for another moment until she looked up at him, her eyes wet with tears of love.
“There is nothing to forgive, my love,” she told him. He felt another contraction coming.
“Alcide, get down here!” He turned to look at him. “I need you to keep your damn baby fangs in your head! Can you do it? If not leave now, or I will kill you if you touch her or the children.” Alcide looked as scared as he felt. “TELL ME!” he roared, his voice echoing in the cavern.
“I’m good. Pam commanded me about Sookie. I think I’m too scared to eat anybody right now anyway.”
“Get on the ledge over here and support her back. MOVE!” Alcide shuffled into position and Eric placed his precious burden in his arms, stopping to look at her. “You can do this, Sookie.” She bit her lip and nodded. “I love you,” he told her, kissing her lips softly. She grabbed the back of his head and pulled him deeper into the kiss. When she let him go, he moved down between her legs and was for a moment shocked to see blood in the water. He growled, fear spiking, but this time, she calmed him.
“It’s all right now, Eric,” she reassured him, reaching a hand up to him, lacing her fingers with his. “Since you put me in the water, this feels like it’s supposed to, relatively easy.” He grunted, squeezing her hand before ducking under the water, needing a clear view of what was happening. His eyes widened when he indeed did see a head crowning. Sookie’s groans were muffled by the water, but he could feel that her pain had indeed lessened significantly.
He blinked his eyes and opened them just in time to catch his son as he came into the world. He looked down, expecting an umbilical cord, the video had shown an umbilical cord, but there was none attached to his son.
Right, the video had a human birth. Rising from the pool, he held his son up and heard him take his first breath just before he opened his perfect blue eyes and reached out to his father’s face with a tiny perfect hand. He felt the same tingles in his brain he had felt when he talked to his children as Sookie had slept.
“Hello to you, too, my son,” he whispered. He would have stood there forever, if Sookie hadn’t yelled at him.
“Eric! I have to push again, now!” He looked around and tried to figure out what to do now. She opened her arms and he placed her son on her chest, clearly worried that she might crush him in her efforts to deliver. “It’s all right, Eric. I got him.” He glanced at Alcide who was still all terror and no fangs. Nodding he went back down into the pool and caught his tiny daughter as she swam out to meet him. He stood, holding her, amazed that she already had that same look on her face that her mother did when she thought he was being ridiculous about something. The furrow of the brow, the huge blue eyes that matched his perfectly. He gasped as he felt his foolish old heart break right in half.
“I dreamed of you, Eliana,” he whispered in complete awe of her being in his arms at last.
“Eliana?” Sookie asked softly as she watched him hold his beloved daughter. She had seen that dream in his mind and knew what this moment meant to him.
“Daughter of the sun,” he told her, his eyes locking with hers. “You’re my sun, Sookie.”
“And you are mine, Eric,” she said, tears of joy on her face as she turned their son around to see his father and sister together. He moved toward her then, and placed his son down beside his daughter on her chest, placing his long solid arms around them all and planting a kiss on her forehead.
“And what will you call our son?” she asked him, tears running down her face.
“Alaric. Eliana and Alaric Northman.”
“I love it,” she told him.
“I love you,” he told her.
“Fuck, yer gonna make me cry,” Alcide muttered from behind Sookie, reminding them he was there. Sookie snorted, jostling the babies causing them to look around as to what the fuss was about.
“Pam is definitely rubbing off on you,” Eric told him, smirking.
“I know,” Alcide said, smirking right back. “Ain’t it grand?”
A/N So, a GREAT BIG SHOUT OUT TO MINDY781 who named Eliana Northman back in June. I am sure she thought I forgot, but I didn’t. 😉 I just wasn’t ready to write this yet. I was and still am totally in love with these two, and this story. I didn’t want to let it go.
Thank you all for reading, and for asking me to finish it each time you did. There is an epilogue left, and I couldn’t bear to make you wait for it.
Blessings to you all! J