Facing the source of the voice he saw…Sookie? Moving toward her, he examined each detail of her appearance, pushing back the sting of her words to him, seeking to understand what was happening here.
“Sookie?” he asked, reaching out his hand for her, expecting that level of intimacy to be automatic at this point, given what they had shared earlier. She stepped back, hissing at him, her face covered in a look of contempt at his outstretched hand. She hissed at him?
“Hey, dontchou touch me you fuckin’ fanger! Who the hell you think you are? Coming up in here like you own the fucking place, gettin’ into things that are clearly none of your goddamned business!” She looked like Sookie. She sounded like Sookie. But this was not his Sookie.
He dropped his hand, and reached for his internal bearings. He was still in her mind, and so, in some way this must be her, this must be his Sookie…what the hell was going on?
“Your, Sookie! How fucking sweet! She spreads ‘em for you one time, and lets you have a little snack and she is yours now, vamp?” her icy laugh makes his body hair stand up, how is that possible when I don’t even have a body, he wondered.
“Who are you?” he asked her. Perhaps information gathering was the best tactic at this point.
“Hey genius, who the fuck do I look like?” She ran her hands over her body now, cupping her breasts suggestively and wiggling her ass back and forth. “Come on fanger, you know who I am. Surely yer brighter than the last one, ain’tcha?”
“The last one,” he asked, already fearing he knew the answer. There was a door behind him with his name on it after all.
“Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllll,” the she demon that wore his lovers face before him howled, dropping down on the floor and humping air while she continued to touch herself suggestively. “You know Bill donthca, fanger? He used to fuck us, too, though I reckon you are better lay than that tight ass ever was. In fact,” she continued, moving closer to him on her hands and knees, “I bet I could get beneath that pretty, pretty mask of yours and find myself giving head to the devil himself.” She stopped then about a foot away from him and started to masturbate herself through her clothing. “Oh, I likes ‘em bad, fanger. Always did. You bad enough for me, Errrrric?” He stood there, too stunned to move, to respond, or even really think about what he was seeing.
“Jesus,” Sookie moaned in disgust dropping her hand from between her thighs, standing and looking at him like he was something stuck to her shoe. “You really are pathetic aren’t ya, fanger. Not a goddamned clue what is happening here, huh?” She took a step back, and moving toward the open door.
“Fuck you, fanger, either grow a pair before you come back again, or stay the fuck outta here. She’s been mine forever, and she will always be MINE! If you come back here… I will EAT…YOU…UP!” her face shifted as she said that last part, looking back over her shoulder. For just a second he thought he saw long sharp teeth, in an elongated jaw. Not human, not anything Eric had ever seen before at all really. The door labeled The Cast Iron Bitch slammed shut when she stepped in and Eric found himself back in bed with a still sleeping Sookie.
What the fuck was that?
He let go of her hand and left the bed to pace again. Whatever that had been it looked like Sookie, and it lived in her mind. Fuck! It lived in her mind, which meant it was part of her? Never in all the time had he known her had he seen that before. Never would he have guessed…! The way she spoke…the words…something about the words…hrm. If that truly was Sookie, was he safe beside her dead for the day? Would she hurt him when he was not able to defend himself? Had Pam been right after all?
Finally, deciding that he didn’t really have enough information to decide anything at all and after pacing and ignoring the call of going to ground as long as he could, Eric returned to the bed, and gently pulled Sookie to him. She came into his embrace easily spooning with him, cooing softly as she settled again in his arms, never really waking up.
Well, he thought as he closed his eyes and slipped into death, she did say it wasn’t going to be easy.
When Eric woke up Sookie was still sleeping in his arms. It was a couple of hours before sunset, and he lay there watching her sleep thinking about what had happened this morning.
She had invited him into her mind, given him carte blanche and then let that thing attack him when he got there? What was the point of that? She offered this bond in place of the blood bond and then withdrew the offer? Did she not want to be with him after all? Not thinking about his actions he brushed the hair back from her face. She moved closer to his hand, her eyes were still closed but her hand came up slowly and her fingers laced with his.
“Love your hands,” she sighed softly taking them to her lips and then pressing her face against the back of his hand, using it for a pillow under her face. Feeling the warmth spread through his chest at her unfiltered sleepy adoration he found himself smiling and snuggling her closer.
“Why is that, Sookie?” he whispered in her ear. She shivered next to him.
“I love… how they touch…nothing feels like you touching me.” She was still sleeping, right on that edge between waking and dreaming. She was being so free and relaxed right now she probably thought she was in fact dreaming.
Hating to break the mood, but needing information, Eric continued to hold her and whispered in ear, “Who is The Cast Iron Bitch, Sookie?” She moaned softly, her face scrunching up a little.
“She…protects,” she answered in a tiny voice, sounding almost childlike.
“Protects who, Sookie?”
“Who is ‘us’?”
“All of me Eric, she protects, all of me.”
“Can’t I protect you?”
“But, who would protect me from you?” For a few minutes Eric didn’t speak. He was thinking about her answer and his immediate thought that it was indeed a very good question. He could indeed protect her from everything but himself. Moving away from those thoughts for a minute he made himself take out the emotion and look at what had happened in the last 24 hours.
Sookie, gave him an all access pass to her mind, while refusing, for now, a blood bond, which would only have let him know how she was feeling and where she was. He repressed a shudder thinking how it would have felt to be bonded to and trapped in the emotion of the CIB, and not knowing that she only a part of Sookie.
Was the CIB her true feelings? No, no, he thought, shaking his head. The CIB had talked a good game, but had not made him leave, didn’t even mention that she could. Instead, she tried to intimidate him into staying out of the one place that Sookie wanted him to be.
I don’t think you are going to like what you find, Eric. There are some dark places in me now that even I have no refuge from. They are sharp and moldy, and they burn me…They will burn you, too. I will make sure they will!
He had to have seen this before, right? Had he glimpsed the CIB three nights ago in the kitchen sitting across the table from him? Likely, he thought.
Perhaps the day she watched Russell at Fangtasia while he “took a nap” as she called it.
No one knew but Eric had not really slept that day. He had not been able to with every fiber of his being trained on listening to make sure that Russell didn’t get free, or harm her. If anything had gone even the slightest bit amiss he would he been out there faster than the eye could follow. He let himself play that back.
Why are you carrying this around?
He was the love of my life.
This isn’t him.
It will be.
You think you can bring him back to life?
Of course not.
Yes, you do. Somehow involving my blood?
Then Eric had heard the garbage disposal turn on, and Sookie was…well she was laughing…the same laugh he had heard in her mind this morning. Cold, maniacal…laughing at destroying the remains of Talbot, while Russell screamed his anguish. He had confirmed what he heard when he rose that night. It was easy enough since, Ginger had already washed the glass and had it sitting on the bar.
Sookie had finished disposing of Talbot. She had finished breaking Russell’s heart. He remembered feeling strangely beholden to her again and slightly horrified that she had done something that he would have considered to be unthinkable to her in Dallas, just days before. He had registered the change in her, and wanted to ask her, but there was no time, and besides, they didn’t’ have that kind of relationship then any way. It wasn’t like she would be grateful to him for pointing out that she was moving down the path of turning into a soulless fuck just like himself.
And then of course…after he broke her heart over Compton, she had disappeared. Time made it easy to forget something he didn’t want to see in the first place. He had done this to her, Compton, Sophie-Anne, Russell, they had done this to her. What the fuck ever happened in Faery was probably not stacked in the “help” column either.
She protects me…
Yes, he could see why she would think she needed protection. He was still reeling that she felt she needed protection from him…not that he disagreed, just that she was aware.
And if she was aware, why had she surrendered to him a few hours ago? Surrendered, hell! She had TAKEN him. Why make his dreams come true only to take them back?
But had she taken them back? No, no she hadn’t. Not even the CIB had taken it back! Her attacks were directed and designed to make him withdraw on his own, not for force him to leave what he had been offered.
Here beside him she had just pulled his hand beneath her face and snuggled next to him.
Eric believed that on some level, she knew about the doors and what they meant. But he also believed that she wouldn’t have taken him if she hadn’t truly wanted him.
Then it hit him.
OH, FUCK! Doors? He had only seen what was behind one of them and there were five more to go!
Am I in over my head here? Mentally running through her known list of family, friends and acquaintances, he concluded that other than him, there really was no one else.
Sookie had made it plain that her friends had moved on, and that for the most part she was ok with that. She had been gone a year, so being distanced from them was not unexpected. Her grandmother was dead. All she had left was him, and a fuckwit of a brother. This realization sobered him for a minute, evoking a fierce protectiveness in his chest. Eric, through Godric and Pam knew how important it was to not be alone.
“You are not alone, Sookie!” he whispered fiercely at the woman beside him.
“Course not, silly. I got you right here,” she responded in sleepy tones, letting go of his hand and moving her arms around his neck while sliding her body up next to his. She kissed him softly on the cheek, hugged him closely and sighed softly in his ear.
“Mornin’, teacher,” she whispered, her grin evident in her voice. “I brought you some apples,” rubbing her naked breasts against his chest suggestively. She sighed again when he cupped them in his hands, letting them rest in his palms.
Slowly, he started to massage them, enchanted as he watched her wake up under his touch and soft kisses that he covered her neck and shoulders with. Her face and skin flushing and blushing in turn. He watched her carefully for any sign that she was not enjoying his touch but found nothing other than warm willing Sookie, who wanted him as much as he wanted her.
He leaned down to kiss her lips, reverently and then as he slid deeper into the kiss, he rolled on top of her, feeling her move to open her legs for him, moaning when he positioned himself at her entrance, kissing down her chest, his gaze held hers as she watched him kiss his way around her chest, and gently suck her hard nipples, first one and then the other.
She writhed on the bed, pushing her hips against him, begging him wordlessly to give her what she needed now that he had fired her passion.
When he finally let his cock slide deep between her legs he held his body still, buried to the hilt in her tight slickness. He framed her face with his hands and slipped into her mind. The archway was still there, but instead of doors he saw all around him images of himself.
A collage of him, memories overlaying memories. There he was sitting on his throne at Fangtasia, smiling on her porch, looking at her in Dallas and telling her he would be fine as they took him to silver him. He spun around and found the biggest loudest image to be the one from this morning. It stood in the center of the chamber like a living statue. There he was rocking with her this morning, this image the brightest of all, and the desire he felt washing off from the image melded with his own in the moment and he could not contain it.
He was inside her body, her mind and despite having fed just last night, he wanted to taste her again, to have his fangs inside her as well. His need to possess her driven by the need to counter balance her ownership of him, pushed there by seeing his face the way she saw it, the way she remembered. Looking at himself through her eyes, he saw that he was lost in adoration of the woman in his arms. When that realization connected to the feeling he let go and let himself be taken away, again, lost in the moment.
He moved her legs up from around his waist, folding her, holding them in the crooks of elbows resting his weight on his palms and thrusting forward. He groaned deeply when he felt himself bottom out inside her. She screamed his name, as he shuddered from the physical sensation of it. Her gasp if his name reminded him what she had done to him that morning with her words, and he wanted to return the feeling to her.
His hips were pounding her now, alternating a rhythm designed to make her come for him, but only when he was ready. Two deep, pressing to the bottom of her and then one short, rotating his hips and rubbing that spot inside her that made her eyes go back in her head and toss her head around begging him to stop, to never stop, to do it again and again!
For just a moment he let himself savor this feeling. This he was used to, this was familiar ground. A woman beneath him, begging for his touch and his kiss. He knew what to do with that! But, right behind that came the realization that he was buried inside not “a woman” but the woman he wanted to be his. MINE! He thought savagely breaking his two and one rhythm and just fucking her as fast and deep as he could, her moaning a non- stop litany that accompanied the sound of their flesh smacking together.
In her mind he saw the image of himself in her mind, ignite and burn, and just as the image became too bright enough to blind him he felt her peak around him, squeezing him, and he tumbled after her.
He buried his face in her neck and bit down as she came around him, as he filled her over and over with his own release. A few minutes later, he slipped from her limp body, kissing her softly and started to pull from her mind as well. Just as he was about to open his eyes he heard a whisper from her mind.
I told ya, you fucking fanger I would eat you up.
It echoed as if far away and he stopped and looked around her mind for the doors, but they were not in sight.
Here in this world Sookie pulled him close to her and kissed his cheek softly. He knew they had to get up and get moving if they were going to make their flight, but he let her drift off in his arms again, just for a few minutes, he thought.
Eric watched her sleep and realized that he did know one thing for certain. He knew that he wouldn’t give her up, no matter who or what he had to fight to keep her. He would figure this out, and help her get through it. She had after all asked him to teach her how to survive. He had to admit that he had not been fully cognizant of what that meant at the time, but he was starting to get an idea now what that request had truly meant. This woman in his arms was more complicated than he had dreamed, and he owed her.
It was more than the owing though. It might have started with Godric, but now that she had surrendered to him, and he had seen the mystery that was her mind he couldn’t let it go. There wasn’t much he hadn’t seen in a thousand years, much that actually interested him, at all.
She did. This did. He was in, and that wouldn’t change no matter what was behind the other five doors. He was in, he was hers, and fuck it all, she would be his!
“Sookie,” he whispered, kissing the top of her head, trying to wake her gently. “We need to get moving soon.”
Back on that precipice between waking and dreaming she answered him.
“We’re already moving, Eric. Don’t you feel it?”
Gods, help him, he did. It even felt like they were picking up speed.
“I got you, Sookie,” he soothed her. “Never worry, I got you.”