When Eric opened his eyes he was a huge blue bed, in a large blue room. There were open double doors to the right side of the bed, and to the left. A soft breeze blew through the room, causing the diaphanous blue curtains that hung from the top of the bed to the floor all around it to sway gently back and forth. It was their tickling him that had awakened him.
He could smell the ocean, and he could hear the waves close by as they broke on the beach. The best part, the most unbelievable part is that it was day and he was not burning. He sat up in the large bed, the dark blue covers and sheets pooling around his naked hips and reached out for Sookie in the bond and with his mind.
I am here, Beloved, she answered, calling him to her through the bond. Pulling on some jeans that were on the floor beside the bed, Eric closed his eyes and followed the connection to her side.
Sookie stood on the edge of the ocean, letting the waves come up and tickle her toes as the tide rolled in. She was wearing a lavender dress, made of the same diaphanous material as the bed curtains. It ended just above her knees and when she moved in the light the dress seemed to glow, like her hands did when she used her power.
Eric stopped behind her, pulling her into his arms and back to rest against him. He looked at the sun, his internal clock telling him…nothing. There was no sense of time here on this beach. He had no sense of worry for the sun in the sky and what it might do to him. No sense of worry that they had been found in Uppsala, or for The Master or anything else. Eric felt peace, or at least what he had always imagined peace would feel like.
He sighed and kissed her neck. I must be dreaming again, he thought.
She turned in his arms and put her hands on his neck. Have I ever told you, how much I love your neck? He smiled down at her.
Not that I recall.
It’s so long, there are miles of alabaster flesh that need my kisses. She pulled him down then and started to cover the distance slowly one soft kiss at a time, like she had all eternity to traverse this distance. It’s so strong, she continued as she kissed him, but what I love best about it, she paused here and as she kissed him, her tongue flicked out and dragged across his skin for just a second. He shuddered in her arms and a spontaneous smile burst forth on his lips as the half turned away from her, while pulling her with him at the same time. His unconscious body language defining his false attempt at escape. Sookie smiled.
What I love best about your neck is how sensitive it is. When I kiss you here, when I bite you here, she nibbled him playfully, when I drink from you here, I can feel how much it affects you and it guts me to know that I can do anything, anything that would reach you so much…it reassures me that it’s ok to let myself be as moved by you, because I am not alone in being swept away.
He shuddered again against her, and leaned down into her kiss, letting himself fall into her, wrapped in her words, her arms, her kisses. She treated him reverently, in deference to the spiritual revelations he had recently undertaken in bearing his soul to her. She wanted to protect him from ever feeling anything other than her love, and while she knew that was not possible, it did nothing to diminish the desire she felt.
He had given her everything, and she in turn wanted to do the same for him. There was still so much he didn’t know. Some of it, she was just remembering herself now that she had herself ‘together’. Things had been hidden from her like pieces of maps split in three. Individually they were just wrinkled scraps of debris, but together, they were secrets of great power. They allowed her to do things that she never dreamed she could do, like come to this place they were in now. Paraspejl, her mind whispered to her, the place beside the mirrors.
Once she had seen Eric’s True Face, her internal struggle to maintain unification had stopped. As promised, once he was perceived to be a threat to her no longer, the Cast Iron Bitch had stopped fighting. There was nothing to protect her from, and so the CIB had no purpose here. In that brief time, Sookie had started to heal and in doing so had begun to realize some of what she had lost when the Master had decreed her punishment. Oh! She felt the CIB stir at the thought what had caused her to break.
She needed to share this with Eric, but hesitated to do so, so soon after what they had already been through together. She wanted some time to just focus on him, and reward him in gentle and loving ways for his bravery. He had been so brave, she thought as she kissed him. Not one man in million would have just dropped all his masks and shown her the truth as he did. Not one man in a million would have been that brave. She was starting to wonder if Eric himself would now start to remember things that perhaps he had forgotten or that had been taken from him by The Master as well.
She would ask later. Now she wanted to show him Paraspejl and all the wonders it contained. Gently breaking their kiss, she rested her forehead against his. You are not dreaming, my love. He frowned.
I must be. Otherwise I would be dead. The sun is up.
It’s not the sun as you know it, dearest. She told him then of remembering the way to Paraspejl, and that she had come here a child. It was her place, and while she was not sure what that meant exactly, she thought that Jones had told her that no one could come here that she did not allow.
That includes The Master? he pressed her.
I think so, yes, Eric. That set him back more than the sun in the sky. The Master and Jones were ancient and powerful, how could she have such a place of safety? Clearly there was more going on here than he had realized when he had surrendered to his fear of not being able to protect her. Feeling a spark of hope in his chest her smiled down at her and let her lead him away to see the sites.
Paraspejl, Eric soon found, was a small island that sat in the middle of a turquoise sea. The only structure on it was the house that he had awakened in, but there was a lagoon and small waterfall in the middle of the island. She told him as they walked this place was not the world they had been in, that this was a place just on other side of it. That he should think of it as the place between parallel worlds, the crawlspace between the walls of the worlds.
We can see into the other worlds from here, Eric, but they can’t see us.
Can we see into all other worlds from here, Sookie?
I am not sure, Eric. This is coming back to me, but slowly. I know we can see the world we live in, but I am not sure about the rest.
How did we get here? Last thing I remember was being in the spring with you.
You were in no condition to fight and we were out of time before dawn. I remembered this place, and brought you here.
Just then they arrived back and where they had started on the beach. I will show you, but first, I want to share this with you. Please sit with me? Sookie sat in the sand then and motioned that he sit between her legs, laying back against her chest.
One of her hands rested on his middle, and the other was tangled in his hair, massaging his scalp in soothing patterns, interspersed with random adoring kisses on his ears, neck and head. He sighed contentedly, watching for the first time in thousand years, as the sun slipped beneath the horizon. He turned to look at her in the dying light, and she saw a single blood tear slide down his cheek.
Thank you, he sent to her, taking her hand in his and kissing her palm. Why doesn’t the sun burn me here, Beloved?
Because I don’t want it to, was her answer.
How strange, he thought, that her answer makes sense to me now.
She could feel what this experience meant to him and so even though the sun was gone she let them linger there.
Awhile later they rose in unison and went toward the house.
They entered back in through the blue room where Eric had awakened, and passed through a door into the rest of the structure.
From the outside, Eric had seen what looked like a beach bungalow style house. It seemed to be on the small side, even compared to Uppsala, but perhaps as with Uppsala’s hidden chambers below there was more to Paraspejl than met the eye. She led him across the hall and opened a door to a dark room. Rather than turning on a light she closed the door and stood in the dark next to him for a moment. He saw her light up, and caught a glimpse of her face in the dim lavender light. Her eyes were closed but she was smiling. He could feel that whatever she was doing felt good to her. It felt right, like it was something she had been made to do.
He saw another light source from the corner of his eye and turned to face it. He saw a raised dais in the middle of the floor and on it was a large mirror, reflecting the light and the darkness in the room. The source of lighting came from above, and Eric remembered the chandelier in The Library operated in much the same fashion. He felt her pull his hand as she moved toward the dais, going up 3 steps and stopping in front of the mirror.
It was framed in silver and as wide as he was tall, and towered over him by a foot or more. Will silver burn me here?
No. There is nothing in Paraspejl that will harm you in any way. He reached out to touch the frame, there was no reaction.
Is that true because you are with me, or just because it is always true? She smiled at him.
I do not know, once you are up to it, as we tested me in Uppsala, we will test you in Paraspejl. He felt her squeeze his hand. This is how we came here, Eric. You were in down time, and I remembered this place, and the large mirror you had in the loft upstairs at Uppsala. I knew that we only had so long before more company arrived and that we had to get some place safe. I brought the mirror to the main floor, brought you up from the chamber below, sealed the doors to our resting place, and then brought you through. She waved her hand and heard her whisper “Montrez-moi.”
The image in the mirror swirled and suddenly he was looking at Uppsala. Specifically, he was looking at the main room, and he could see the front door, as well as the entrance to the underground chamber.
Oh, you clever, girl! She could feel his pleasure in the bond.
He could see that it was still daytime there at Uppsala, though he was only assuming it was the same day that they had left. Again, he realized that there was no sense of time here for him. His internal clock was just not functioning any longer.
“Pam!” he suddenly thought of her, and that he had not warned her of their departure, when she rose she would be worried, especially if she could no longer feel him in the bond. Sookie had been focused on their immediate safety and had not thought about what would happen to Pam. Someone was after them and if they dropped off the radar then she would be the next logical target.
“At Fangtasia, is there a mirror large enough for either of us to fit through?” Eric thought a moment and then remembered that in the room off the basement Pam kept clothes there and a full length mirror to admire herself in before going up on the floor. He nodded, and she took his hand, tapping into her bond with him.
“Think of Pam, and think of the mirror,” she directed. She waved her hand and again whispered, “Montrez-moi.” The basement of Fangtasia was now visible in the mirror.
Just then Pam walked into the room, alone and was standing in front of them, checking out her reflection in the mirror. “Me voir,” she whispered beside him.
Pam was infamous for her ice cold stare, her unflappable exterior, and her ability to maintain these in the most dire and strenuous of circumstances. The appearance of her Master and the Barmaid in the mirror before her tested the mettle of that woman but did not break it.
She stepped back, just as they stepped forward into the basement of Fangtasia. “Well, fuck me, if isn’t Alice and the Knave of Hearts.” He smirked and pulled her into his arms for a hug. Sookie couldn’t help but giggle at their feigned nonchalance. You would think people came through mirrors around here every day! “Master, you look well. Why are you here?”
“We were found at Uppsala, and have taken refuge somewhere else. I did not have time to warn you. Are you in danger here?”
“Nothing definite to report either way. No leads on the bomber, but obviously someone is looking for you,” she raised her eyebrow at him, waiting on him to supply more information. As she looked into his eyes, she saw that something in him had changed, something between him and the barmaid had changed, as well. Eric looked deliriously happy, but he was trying to mask it from her.
Do you want to take her with us to Paraspejl? Her question spun him a little. He wanted Pam to be safe, but he felt that the stress of having to maintain his Master persona with her would delay the journey inward he was taking with Sookie.
Can she reach us if she needs us?
Yes, if that is what you wish, Beloved. Everything I am, everything I have is yours, this includes Paraspejl, and entrance there. He beamed his love to her, and finally began to understand what those words she had been saying to him so long now meant.
Pam caught the interplay between the two of them and knew that they were somehow silently communicating about something. She could also feel that they were now bonded. When Eric looked at Sookie at the end of the exchange it was everything she could do to not gasp at the look at the love on his face. She had never seen him look like that. Now she knew why he was so happy, but she sensed fear in the bond from him, too. He was worried. Figures, Pam thought. You get a good thing, you get a bad thing, too. It was for that reason Pam had been quite happy to never fall in love.
She knew that as soon as she had something she truly wanted to keep it would be siren call to someone who would want to take it from here. Better to keep your head down and walk the middle of the road.
She had always thought her Master was like her in that regard. She could see now that she had either been totally wrong about him, or something major had changed in the last three weeks. The look of joy on his face, and the feel of it in the bond were so much that she wondered if feeling like that weren’t worth the risk after all. Shaking her from her reverie Eric told her how to reach them if she needed help and warned her that the bond might not work given the great distance between them. He told her not worry about them, they were safe, and they were happy and they would be in touch soon.
She watched them step back through the mirror, holding hands. She felt them, Eric quite strongly, and Sookie fleeting on the edge of her senses, but still there. Their love was large, and hot and completely overwhelming; it sought the chinks in her armor and forced its way into her mind and heart. Her instinctive response was anger at being an unwilling prisoner through the bond to their swirling emotions. Underneath that though was jealousy that no one had ever looked at her the way Sookie now looked Eric.
Emotions are too fucking messy, she decided, filing all this way to think about some other time. She had a bar to run, a bomber to find, and Sheriff’s duties to cover. She didn’t have time or interest for such nonsense. Her Master was safe, that was all that mattered. She checked her appearance one last time and headed upstairs to the main floor of the bar. She was reviewing the numbers from last night as she headed across the floor and missed that she had company.
“Oh, my, you do look lovely tonight, Pamela. Tell me, where is your Master? I know you know, I can smell him on you.” Pam had hoped to never hear that voice again, ever. In fact she had specifically said, “Do not bring that thing back into this bar!”
This would be the bad thing, she thought as she looked at him sitting on her Master’s throne, looking at her with his three thousand year old eyes. She would never make it to the mirror, and there was nowhere else she could go. Her mind raced frantically as she cataloged how to handle this and survive. Logically, she should run. She defied logic and took a step toward him. Placing a hand on her hip, and smiling her best icy smile at him.
“Hello, Russell. Welcome back to Fangtasia.”