Sookie ran through the dark forest, dodging between trees, and listening out for any indication that she had been found. The snow crunched under her feet, but there was no time to cover her tracks. Apparently, winter in Montana had arrived. It was barely even the November yet. As she ran she felt the sword on her back move up and down and she made a mental note to tighten the straps, just as soon as she wasn’t being chased.
She dodged to her left, and took cover behind a tree, using all her senses to listen and see if anyone was around her. After just a moment she felt a void, closing from the right, at a high rate of speed. Rather than run, she drew her sword and placed the tree between her and the approaching void.
She felt the void slow and hesitate for a moment and then move forward more cautiously. Damn, he smells me! Not that there was anything she could do about that…or was there? She closed her eyes a moment and concentrated on masking her scent. She felt something change, and thought she might have successfully managed to do it. She opened her eyes about to move to a new location and found herself face to face with a large broadsword aimed at her throat. It’s owner levitating silently a foot off the ground in front her, smiling. Bastard.
Letting himself touchdown in front of her, Eric laughed at her new pet name for him. Bastard was what he had become as he trained her to fight. Since that first night in the training room they had expanded to outside hunting games, giving Sookie a chance to learn how to fight in different environments, while leveraging them to her advantage. She had been a fast learner. Swordplay is like dancing, she kept telling him, except there is a winner! In addition to being a fast learner, she was also exhibiting some interesting new powers, and so was he for that matter.
Eric had noticed her increased strength the night they stopped for provisions in Kalispell. At first he had thought it was due to his blood, but soon after they began sparring he found that her strength and speed were more than a side effect. She was very strong, and very fast. Not quite as much as him, but close enough to make him wonder what the hell was going on.
In addition to Eric gaining the telepathic ability to hear Sookie, he also had found out that he could move things with his mind, just as Sookie had and continued to demonstrate. He already knew this was more than a blood exchange. They seemed to be able to access each other’s powers at will. He had never heard of anything like this before, but it was wonderful!
He wondered if before it as over if he would be shooting light balls and she would be flying, because that was about the only thing that still belonged exclusively to themselves anymore.
He was still the more competent warrior, something he teased her about mercilessly, but he knew that it was only time and experience that separated them. In time she would be a match for him, and any other as well. They had spent some time focusing on each skill individually, helping each other learn how to use one another’s gifts and were now trying to learn how to integrate them into a single fighting solution to gain the advantage. So far, it was juggling chainsaws…while they were running. It was taking too much time to think about what to do, and it was not coming instinctively as it needed.
Eric believed that more practice would provide a seamless instinctive solution, but he had far more patience than his student. She had come with so much power already, and she was learning fast how to fight. It had all been so easy for her that she had become resistant to having to work at anything. She also had an explosive temper, making her vulnerable to provocation. In an effort to strengthen her Eric provoked her every chance he got. A tactic that was not without risk to himself.
More than one night he had failed to move fast enough and found her hitting him full strength with a blast of light that left him singed and responding instinctively himself, ready to escalate from training to fighting. It was in those moments that he saw the CIB in her. She wanted to hurt him and took advantage of every opportunity, every slip of rage from Sookie to give him a little taste of her anger.
As he had watched her run through the snow tonight, his first thought had been how lovely she was, her cheeks flushed, her heart racing, and then right behind that, I am sharpening a sword here. The CIB had been formidable when she lived in Sookie’s mind, this was bringing her out into the world, giving her muscles to stretch, growing her. I should be more afraid of that he thought, as he closed in on her scent and her hiding place. He was looking forward to the fight when he found her. She was right, it was like dancing.
He had the drop on her, and she knew it, but she was going to fight him anyway. He admired that, another addition to a long list of things he admired about this woman in front him. As much as he wanted to pretend that he had nothing in common with the Cast Iron Bitch, he saw himself in her. Not that this made him comfortable, rather the opposite, entirely. She was part of Sookie, though, and to accept her was to accept the CIB. He still longed to know where and why she had come from, and hoped that he would one day be the possessor of that knowledge, for right now, he sought to temper her.
Blind rage would get Sookie killed, and very likely him as well, in trying to defend her. The Cast Iron Bitch was a blunt weapon, and while those could be useful at tearing things down, destruction for the sake of itself was rarely a worthy pursuit. Just as he was about to make a comment to her calling him Bastard, he saw the CIB glint in her eyes, and felt his own sword fly out of his hand, moving at incredible speed to the right, while he himself moved to the left at similar rate.
Oh, shit! Suddenly she was beside him, behind him, and he could feel her pushing to slow him down. I wasn’t thinking, I can’t heave you around in the woods! Any branch could stake you! Fuck, Eric! He felt himself slow to an almost stop and then her arms were around him, as she covered his face in kisses.
Is this how you plan to take care of your enemy? Death by kisses?
Gods, we have enough enemies already. If they hear that, we will be overrun with beggars for your touch.
She continued to kiss him, taking it deeper, following the bond, and seeking to reassure herself that she had not hurt him. That was the hard part of training against each other.
Several nights ago, Eric had cut her deeply while sparring. She had been in the grips of battle rage herself and despite the severity of the wound she roared more when he called a halt than she had at the wound. He had dropped his weapon immediately, re-opening the bond that had been shut down to allow for hide and seek guerilla fighting, sending her comfort and remorse at his action. Immediately, he had ripped open his wrist to feed her, heal her.
As she drank, she tasted in his blood the rage and excitement that had just lead him to try and take out his opponent. There was so much energy in her already and now in his blood. She knew the fight was over, that he would not resume tonight as was his habit when he had wounded her. As soon as his wrist had healed she had attacked his mouth, wrapping her legs around him, demanding that if he wouldn’t fight her that he help her burn this energy in another way.
He had rode her until she came screaming for him three times, tearing his clothes that there had been no time to remove. She was wild and primal, and he loved her in those moments in new ways.
Eric had loved her hot and passionate, soft and tender, but wild and primal was a whole new experience. Again her increased strength, speed and stamina, pushed him. Her raw animalistic energy galvanized him, finally in an effort to give her what she needed and also to instinctively exert his dominance, he had flipped her over. He pulled her hips back to him, slamming into her again, harder and harder and she came around him again, calling to him.
He fucked her through her orgasm, baring his fangs as he maintained pace, never losing his rhythm, and savagely pounding her. Finally, when he was right on the edge of surrender himself, she had collapsed beneath him, howling through what was then her fifth or sixth release.
Pushing deep inside her one last time, grunting deep in his chest at her exertions, he filled her up, and collapsed on top of her.
When he came back to himself he had her pinned to the cold ground beneath him, unmoving. Terror and worry filled him that he had hurt her and he reached through the bond and out to her telepathically, demanding that she tell him if she was hurt.
Love you, Eric, was all she sent back and then she was beyond being able to hear his thoughts and project hers. He had carried her home to the hot springs and undressed her before taking her in. Once she started to warm he had fed her more blood, to heal the bruises on her flesh.
Again, his blood galvanized her, and she was moaning in his arms again, seeking to maneuver him between her legs. He knew he shouldn’t but already he wanted her so bad it hurt. He felt the same from her in the bond and he couldn’t make himself stop her. She slid down him and pulled his head to her neck, squeezing him inside her, as she kissed and sucked his neck, riding him. He had bit, growling his pleasure as he tasted her, not because he needed, but because he wanted her.
As he drank, Sookie had stopped riding him and was rocking gently on him, letting her internal muscles do the work of milking him, while she moaned in his ear and whispered how good it felt when he fucked her while he fed.
Her words pushed him to a place where the demands of his cock came against the needs of his fangs, and reason surrendered so they could fight it out. Soon he was pounding her mercilessly again, lost in need for her body, and her blood.
Told you I likes ‘em bad, Eric. He heard her whisper in his mind, and recognition pushed him harder to master her, to own her, to show her that she was not Sookie’s Master, he was. He filled her again, slamming her down to take every drop of him. She moaned her pleasure as she let her twitching pussy muscles milk him, making sure that she had everything he had to give.
Way better than that tight ass, he heard, as her head fell to his shoulder. Who’s better, Eric me or Pixie? Its ok she’s asleep you don’t have to worry about hurtin’ her wittle feelins. Eric had stilled, he had met The Pixie? When? The door had always been closed when he entered the chamber.
He heard her laugh. You are really are fucking dumb aren’t you, vamper. Who the fuck do you think you are talking to all the time? Who the fuck do you think runs this crazy assed three horse show?
Too stunned to reply he had held her while she drifted off in his arms, before moving her out, drying her off and tucking her in for the day. He had lain awake for some time thinking what it meant that Pixie was who he saw every day. They still had not discussed this revelation.
In the snowy woods Sookie finally satisfied that she had not harmed him broke their kiss, but held onto him.
“We have to find another way for me to train, Eric. I know this is important, but I won’t risk you anymore. I can’t.” He felt her determination to argue with him if he disagreed. “I can’t even really let go with you, Eric, because I am so afraid that I am going to hurt you. I know you feel the same.” He kissed her forehead, he couldn’t disagree.
When this had started almost two weeks ago, with her asking what sword was he going to teach he how to kick his ass with, he had foolishly thought that he could teach her for a long time before she became a threat to him or anyone else.
He was ashamed that once again, she had proven he didn’t know her well at all. She was born to this, and even with the new un-mastered powers she was formidable. He looked at her again, her cheeks now blazing pink in the cold of the snow covered night. They needed to get inside.
Holding his hand out, he mentally summoned his sword, replaced it in the scabbard at his side and then picked her up and flew her home to Uppsala. They showered, warming themselves in the water and with each other. He reassured her worries. We will find a way to train you, Beloved. Let me think on it. Let us enjoy the rest of this night. I have a surprise for you!
“A surprise?” she asked, out loud for a change. They had gotten more and more comfortable with the telepathy, now the rarely spoke at all. Something they would need to amend if they wanted to keep this ability a secret when they left the wilderness.
“Oh, yes. Go to the kitchen and make some popcorn, while I set us up.” His excitement bled over to her from the bond and she wondered as she waited for the corn to pop what he had that could possibly make him too excited. What kind of films would Eric like? Highlander? Braveheart? Rob Roy? The Fast and Furious? The Chronicles of Riddick? Jayne Eyre? She giggled at the last one, probably not, but that was the thing she loved about Eric, he always managed to take her some place she never would have expected to go with him.
When she got to the theatre, he was just finishing unwrapping a DVD that he pulled from the bag he had stashed here the night of their arrival. “No peeking,” he told her again. After starting it, he quickly moved to sit beside her on the sofa she had selected. She had picked it not only because of its prime position for screen viewing but also because it was big enough for Eric to stretch out on later so she could snuggle him. He wasn’t the only one with surprises!
When the main menu came up for Out of Africa, she stopped in the middle of shoving popcorn into her mouth, and looked at him with saucer like eyes. How did you know?
Taking her hand he pulled her into his mind and showed her the chamber with the doors, and walked her to one of the bookcases that stood floor to sight unseen ceiling. There she saw her books, her music her movies on the shelves and then she understood about the Blue October, as well as Out of Africa. Moved at his thoughtfulness, she asked if he had gotten any of his movies as well to share with her. Next time, he promised. Feeling out the bond he gave her a questioning look.
Why so sad, lover? I thought this you liked film?
I do! Oh I do, Eric. I love this movie! She stopped then and he could hear her struggling for how to explain the emotional roller coaster that was in her heart and mind. After several minutes she, shook her head, as if to clear it and then rather than explaining asked him to start the film, so that they could truly talk about once he had seen it.
Oh, I am assuming you have never seen it, is that right, Eric?
Yes, I have never seen it, but I knew the Baroness briefly in Denmark, after her return from Africa. Sookie screamed, popcorn flying out of the bowl and into the air, as she leaped into his arms.
What was she like? No, wait, don’t tell me. Oh, God, what did she say to you? What did you say to her? No! Don’t tell me. Oh…MY…GOD you met her?
Eric, so completely bowled over by her reaction, admitted to meeting her several times and in spending some time with her one evening while she reminisced about Africa.
OK, Ok, Stackhouse, get a grip. GET A GRIP!
“Eric, let’s watch this movie, and then I want to talk to you about all this. Ok?” Still amused by her enthusiasm he pulled her back down to his side, rescued as much of popcorn as he could pressed START on the menu.
For the next two hours he rode a rollercoaster of Sookie’s emotions. Behind them all though was a sadness that Eric didn’t understand. When the film ended, Sookie moved to stretch out in the sofa and he joined her there holding her close to him as she dried the last of her tears from the movie. She rested her head on his shoulder, entwining her legs with his.
“Sorry, Eric” she sniffed. “I always cry when I watch this movie.” She paused, “I watch this movie when I need to cry and I can’t.”
“What does that mean, Sookie?”
“Sometimes, I get so bogged down in other people’s emotions, their thoughts that I shut down, unplug. It’s a protective reflex and it has to be pretty bad for that to happen, but it has happened before. When I unplug, I can’t feel anything anymore. I need to cry, or laugh or feel something, anything, but I can’t. When that happens, I have certain movies I watch to help me…get back to me.” Eric thought about that for a minute and then kissed the top of head softly, while his arm pulled her closer.
“Why does this movie make you cry, Sookie?”
“Because I want to be like her, and I am not.”
“Be like her how?”
“Oh, Eric, I don’t know if any of that really happened in the movie or not, and really I don’t think it matters. The woman in the film that is who I want to be. She didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought about anything. She did what she thought was right, she took supplies to people who needed them across the wilderness. She fought a lion with a whip, Eric. She stood her ground and fought him back! She got down on her knees and begged for help for the tribe that had been on her land. Oh, she was so full of grace when she did that, Eric. And when Denys showed up and told them to let her finish…” Sookie paused here, looking for words. “He got her, Eric. The way we all want to be gotten. She had everything, she had nothing, and when I see her, I cry for her, I cry for myself.”
Eric turned on his side, laying Sookie down on the couch propping himself on his elbow so he could look down into her eyes.
“Sookie, you consort with Vampires, and have effectively told your entire town to piss off, because you don’t care what they think anymore. You want to be who you are, and are trying to become that person every night. You, Sookie Stackhouse have faced down the Sheriff of Area 5 AND the three thousand year old King of Mississippi, without even so much as a fucking whip!
“In Dallas, I made them let you finish your plan to infiltrate The Fellowship. I heard you, I GET you, Sookie, the way everyone wants to be gotten. I GET you.
“Cry for the Baroness and what she lost, if you have to but don’t you dare cry for Sookie Stackhouse! She is the kind of woman that the Baroness longed to be!” Eric was speaking so passionately as he made his case that Sookie found herself lost in his gaze, feeling him drill her brain, and mug their bond to push her the sincerity of his words, to make her feel his passion, his admiration, his honesty as he revealed yet a new way to love her.
He loved her with his words.
“I always hear you, Sookie. You are my compass,” he said. “I don’t know that you have everything, as you say, but you have more than nothing, you have me.”
“Then I have everything,” she replied, pulling him down to hug his neck, and kiss his forehead. After a few moments, Eric pulled back and looked her in the eye again. “I think she would have liked you, Sookie Stackhouse. The Baroness Von Blixen, I mean. She would have seen a kindred spirit in you, and I think she would have like you very much.” Sookie smiled at him, lifting her hand to his face, caressing his check gently.
“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.” – Out of Africa, 1937-Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke