Despite the odd changes to Sookie’s “bubble” from the previous night, the first thing to catch and hold Eric’s gaze the instant he entered the door was the telepath herself.
She was as beautiful as always, but remained clearly exhausted.
Knowledge of how easily he could lose her – how very close he had just come to losing her, pierced his chest once again
Although no longer near death, her inner light remained dimmed to a fraction of its former glow. While in his own Niall-erected “bubble” his light bond with Sookie had been muted, but once in her presence, he could sense quite clearly just how fatigued her body was. The set of her mouth, however, revealed her understandable frustration with her current state.
She now rested on a ridiculously large, plush sofa complete with pillows and throws, and an unknown woman with alarmingly red hair sat by her side. It was then that he realized the “homey kitchen scene” in the back area had been replaced with her bed.
Her face when she spotted him brightened considerably – gratifyingly – with unconcealed relief and joy. When she spotted Godric immediately thereafter, her visible pleasure sprang forth anew, but in a thankfully different sort of way.
Eric’s studiously ignored fear that she might understandably prefer his Maker died a sweet, sweet death. Although minute, the difference in her welcoming looks was incredibly telling.
The eyes have it, he thought as he blurred forward to kneel before the vision of loveliness now clad in a thick flowing gown of lustrous sky blue. The creature that had been by her side emitted a strange squeaking noise before disappearing, but Eric’s attention remained focused solely on his Sookie even as he heard his Maker speaking soothingly in the background.
“How do you feel?” Mindful of their attentive audience he consoled himself with only grasping her hands but intently scanned every visible inch of her skin. A strong inhale of her luscious scent – nastily compromised with the fresh food odors of a meal recently eaten – proved there were no blood wounds…not that he had been expecting any, but as far as examinations went, it was miserably insufficient at best.
“I’m ok,” she replied, her voice revealing her exhaustion despite the forcefully cheerful tone he found that he despised. Her eyes eagerly scanned his features as she continued, “Tired, and bored, achy…but I’m ok. You look healed…are you? Have they been taking good care of you? Pam? Is she ok? Where is she, anyway? Have you guys had supper yet? We just did…”
He had to laugh at the tumble of words before answering, “We’re fine.” He raised her right hand to kiss the back of it before placing her palm to his cheek. “Your Niall and a guard named Pere have seen to our needs. We haven’t fed yet tonight but I’m sure we will be soon.”
Eric lowered her hand and, seemingly involuntarily, pushed her loose sleeves up her arms so he could both physically and visually inspect them.
“As for Pam, to her credit she wisely chose to remain in our “bubble”. Her youth combined with the fact that she hasn’t fed yet…”
Sookie nodded wryly as she completely ignored his instinct to check her for wounds. Godric had explained a while back about such things…and she knew Eric…so she simply took it in stride. Plus, his large palms felt nice as they stroked her arms up and down. She just hoped he wasn’t concerned about her teeth or tonsils…but would love to see how he’d explain the kind of visual inspection those areas would need. The physical inspection would have been more than enjoyable, though.
“It’s just us but…well, that was smart of her, just in case. Do you think she’ll be by soon? I wanted to thank her for showing up when she did. I know she doesn’t like me and all, but Eric, she really did save my life.”
“It isn’t so much that Pamela doesn’t like you, Sookie; it is more that she places her Maker’s survival and happiness far, far above such trivial things,” Godric stated kindly but with a spark of humor in his blue eyes. “She will remain on guard about you until she deems you no threat to either of those things. But I have to say that if she did, indeed, despise you, it would not have been to your side that she would have first appeared.”
Sookie beamed up at her ancient friend and, while keeping one of Eric’s hands firmly clasped in her own, she turned a little to better face the other vampire.
“Godric! I’m so glad to see you! Come here!” She held her free arm out and gladly exchanged a warm if perfectly acceptable hug with her cherished friend and part-time mentor.
Once they parted, she had to ask, “How does it feel to be back on this side? I bet it feels weird for you – I know it smells different and that even the air feels strange after being on the other side for a while.”
Godric shrugged benignly. “It is what it is, but yes, the differences are…noticeable.” Then he folded his arms across his chest and his face hardened as he glared down into Sookie’s eyes. “”I see you are still recovering and that this may take some time?”
Sookie shrugged and wished everyone wouldn’t worry so much. She would recover completely…in time.
“I’ll be fine; it’ll just take a little while. Yes,” she added at both his and her cousin’s expressions, “I’m tired and I have to rest and all, but I feel fine.”
She didn’t see the anguished look Eric shared with his Maker – a look that quickly turned frustrated when she tried to shrug off the severity of her magical injuries.
“I feel, however, as though you are not taking this situation as seriously as you should. I also feel that I should scold you for allowing yourself to fall into such danger in the first place,” he stated somberly, “but I’m certain your grandfather has already done so. You will care for yourself better in the future, yes?”
Sookie huffed and grimaced, but in the end nodded. He was right.
“Now that I know what to watch for, oh yeah, I definitely will. Magic is…,” she trailed off then grimaced again, “Magic is weird.”
Very quietly and from behind the opposite side of the ancient vampire, Claudia snorted, then shrugged. Sookie is right – magic is weird. But still…she could so easily have died… She hugged her arms around her waist as her hair changed from the red of alarm to a dreary sepia tone before switching back to red. The thought…hurt.
“Once we are settled,” he stated firmly, “you will explain in detail what happened on your end and what you will do differently to prevent this from happening again.”
This was not a question.
Sookie groaned inwardly. She hadn’t seen this side of Godric before, not really, but had sensed that he was capable of going “full-on disappointed Maker”…and there he was. He had told her in past conversations about how he and Eric would discuss situations afterward to try and figure out what worked, what hadn’t, and why, and what they should do whenever similar circumstances might appear in the future.
Under the weight of his Maker-serious glare, she guessed it was her turn now…and while the disapproval stung, she was glad he cared enough to bother, so she smiled softly.
“Yes, Godric,” she replied a bit sheepishly, “Now give me another hug so I’ll know you’re not mad at me.”
“But I am – I am furious with you for taking such chances without the proper support and preparation. I understand your desire to help others and I understand your curiosity about your powers…but I also know that you retain the impetuous tendencies and naive arrogance of youth that compel you to perhaps ignore the sometimes most relevant risks. However, I do not doubt that you have learned much from this misadventure – we must simply ensure that you remember these lessons so that this,” he gestured to her resting-couch, “does not happen again.”
And then he relented – never could he stay angry with his Sookie. So he gladly and warmly hugged her again, this time clapping Eric on the back as well. He had seen the fear and the frustration in his child’s eyes and fully agreed with both.
Although the desire to draw her over his knee remained somewhat stronger than perhaps it should, he knew her well enough to realize that “a good talking-to” would be much more beneficial and, in the end, would be far more satisfactory. From what he understood of the event, initially her knowledge of and experience with magic had been sufficient to a task well worth that small amount of risk.
The problems had started when she had, from what he could piece together, continued onward when she most certainly should have pulled back. That, he was determined, would not happen again. And according to the strongly approving expression on his child’s face, he agreed with both the scolding and the truths.
Ah, the arrogance and impetuousness of youth, he thought. I remember these same times with Eric so very long ago…two peas in that proverbial pod, they are. Hmm…peas…smelled them when I entered this magical sphere…wonder if there are any left? Later… Yes, so alike… No wonder Eric and Sookie seem to be getting along so well…thankfully…had thought they would when the issues became clear and then resolved. As with him, she has such a good heart…she simply needs to learn how to use it in the right way…ways that will not, perhaps, lead to her death… And my poor Eric! He must be beside himself with worry and self-blame. Sorry, my child, but I know that feeling well… We will get to the bottom of this…more happening, I think, that appears from the surface. We shall have discussions and then I will end this filthy piece of…
“Claudy was telling me how you guys came to be here and what you’d done for her – thank you so, so much for helping her.” Glad to change the subject, Sookie wanted to express her extreme appreciation to Godric for what he had done for her cousin. At Eric’s burst of confusion, she added, “I’ll tell you later but for right now, everyone have a seat! We have so much to talk about and there’s no sense in you guys standing around while we do it.”
As she sat leaning somewhat against the sofa arm, she looked to Eric as she patted the seat beside her then indicated to the others the matching couch facing them several feet away and the large comfortable chairs scattered about the area.
She knew that regardless of recent events, Claudy would not be sitting near the tall blond Viking anytime soon…not on purpose, anyway.
Instead of accepting the proffered seat, to everyone’s amusement and no one’s surprise, Eric straightened and in a blur situated Sookie in his lap as he took her place.
With a smile curving his lips at his child’s antics (Ah, young love…), Godric placed a comforting hand on Claudia’s back and gently drew her to sit beside him on the other sofa.
Her recent bravery had only proven to him how very strong she truly was inside, that despite her freely admitted faintness of heart, she was crafted of far stronger stuff than most…and he was determined that she overcome her natural fear of his child.
Telling was one thing, but showing? Entirely more effective.
Once Godric and Claudia had taken their seats, in his peripheral vision Eric saw a large glass filled with water that seemed to glow from within appear on the table to his side.
“Sookie?” In a sweetly quiet voice the one with the now even more violently red hair caught his telepath’s attention and nodded to the table at his elbow.
With deft movements he reached for and passed her the glass.
“Thanks, Claudy. Oh, Eric, this is my cousin Claudia – Claudy, I guess you’ve figured out by now that this is my Eric,” she said with a huge grin before she began draining the glass with what seemed to him to be the ease of long practice.
Sitting sideways on his lap as she was, his eye easily caught the subtle motions of her throat as she swallowed…until she held out the empty glass and it immediately disappeared from her hand. Apparently she had felt his surprise because she snickered.
“Claudy is much more powerful than she looks or acts. She’s the main one who sent me her energy when all that…back there weakened me so badly. When they felt my tug on their power, Niall initially began actively sending me…what I needed, but she’s the one who took over and kept my spark from draining too much while he gathered his guards and came to help.”
Eric looked over at the nervously unassuming young female with the odd hair…and couldn’t help but notice the pride in his Maker’s face…or his proximity to the girl…or the way the old man had been looking at her.
Or how the air wafting from that direction seemed to carry an altered version of his Maker’s scent.
Well, well, well…what have we here, he thought with affectionate humor…and a shameful amount of relief. They do look good together, have to give them that. Sookie’s cousin with my Maker…why not? But why is she so frightened? Well, we are vampire…but she seems fine with Godric. Ahh, it must be me, then. Well, I can fix that…anything to help put the girl to ease…
Face appropriately solemn, he spoke directly to Claudia, “I deeply appreciate your selfless act in saving Sookie’s spark. She means the world to me.” He closed his eyes and nodded deeply. He would like to have actually “thanked” her, but he knew Fairies… “I wish for you to not fear me, Claudia. Yes, I am vampire, but you are as safe with me as you are with my Maker. He raised me, don’t you know, and did manage to instill in me at least some of his finer qualities,” he added with a wink and a soft grin.
Claudy blushed. She couldn’t help it. Here she was surrounded by vampires – gorgeous male vampires at that – and one of them had very solemnly showed appreciation to her before teasing her as would a friend! She never thought she’d live to see the day, but then considering all that had taken place with Godric not five days ago in Fairy time…
Her mind reeled.
Apparently sensing her emotions, the eternally young vampire at her side placed his hand on her back and began rubbing in gentle, comforting circles.
How very odd to find the cool touch of one of *them* to be so soothing…and how very odd to find comfort in his ability to sense my feelings… Yet here we are…
To this night the strangely pleasing taste of his blood lingered on her tongue. Had he not sensed the chaos and blurred at his amazing vampire speed to investigate, it was too likely that her attempt to save her cousin could have cost her own spark – at best she would have been equally as incapacitated.
But no! This ancient vampire with the curiously blue eyes had appeared by her side as she had collapsed under the strain of maintaining that connection unknowingly but thankfully initiated by Sookie. Had her cousin been within the same Realm, it would not have been nearly so difficult, but the painfully deep cost to her power of having to pierce The Divide had been…overwhelming.
Godric had somehow immediately sensed the problem if not the cause, and had instinctively known the only solution available to them.
His ancient blood, steeped in power and strength through the eons, distilled through time into a force of its own, had truly saved the day.
He had caught her as she slumped from her perch on that garden bench, had caught her in his strong arms and clasped her to his hard chest – the memory still brought forth yet more blushes – and had noted her pallor and intense concentration even as her consciousness faltered.
Mere seconds later he had urged – nay, ordered – her to open her mouth and allow his healing blood entry into her veins. And as though a puppet, she had done so, instinctively trusting one she shouldn’t but would anyway, and had felt the glorious effects in the blink of an eye.
As she drank – oh, that taste! – she could feel her energy, her power, replenishing itself more quickly than she could have ever imagined possible! With her particular Fairy abilities she had been able to instantly convert that raw energy she so desperately needed into the power she simply had to send, and thus her cousin had been saved.
The mind…sometimes it truly boggled…
Niall, who had disappeared during the reunion, reappeared inside the “bubble” with the guard Pere and another. Each guard carried a device that appeared to be a cooler while Niall carefully held a fabric-wrapped bundle.
After noting the seating arrangements – the sight of Sookie atop Eric’s lap and Godric’s nearness to the timid Claudia each bringing only a mildly raised brow – Niall with great dignity crossed over and handed Eric the bundle. The cloth, everyone noted with interest, seemed to hold a faint glow.
“Your sword and dagger, fresh from being cleaned and honed by the Royal Artisans. These old Masters are known throughout the Realms for their skill with all things metal.”
Stunned and deeply moved, Eric’s breath caught as he accepted and, in Sookie’s lap, unwrapped the bundle. Fairy craftsmen were respected by all species, but their abilities with swords, daggers, and the like was, literally, magical. He had figured that the old Prince had guards collect his weapons and would remember to return them when things calmed down, but that Niall had thought enough of him to take his bloodied weapons back to his home realm to have them tended to by the true experts in the field…
“I… I appreciate this, Niall.”
As he peered easily over her shoulder to examine the sword in her lap and the dagger in his hand, he clearly noted the improvement in both the hilts and the blades. Each item not only appeared new, but also held an indefinable whisper of strengthening, protective magic.
Whoa… This is…incredible! “Fairy blessed” blades are worth more than most small countries…and that’s if you can even find one…more myth than reality, especially now…and I have not one…but two! Fuck…
“They served you well,” the old Prince replied firmly as though the case were closed. “The guards have your, erm, dinner. Do not ask how it was acquired.”
The tall blond guards placed their burdens on the low table that had just then magically appeared between the sofas.
“Pere, as he is known to her, will take your Pamela her, ah, meal.”
The guard in question winked boldly at those assembled before popping out.
When Sookie made to rise from Eric’s lap so that he could put his sharps away and investigate the contents of his cooler, his arm around her waist tightened to still her movement. There was no way he was willing to let her go, especially not after having come so close to losing her.
Now, if I could make everyone fucking leave for even half an hour…but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. We have the situation with fucking Compton to discuss and strategies to…will likely take all damn night… At least she’s in my arms…
He deftly wrapped his weapons back in the protective cloth and placed the bundle on the floor beside the sofa, but as he made to lean toward the table, Godric chuffed at him.
Quickly, as though retrieving blood from containers resembling coolers happened to be an every-night thing, he opened both devices and handed Eric his ‘meal’ of human blood. The large white plastic jug with a strange-looking straw poking through the lid touted in attention-grabbing lettering the amount of water humans were apparently urged to drink in a day.
Both vampires smirked.
Niall simply sat and chatted politely with Sookie and Claudia to pass the time as though Fairies waiting on Vampires to finish a blood meal happened all the time. It seemed a delegation from another Fairy Kingdom was expected within the month and would Claudia be available to help welcome them to the Royal Court?
Eric was the only one who noticed when Godric stopped smirking.
**A/N: Ah, Niall…you forget how intuitive our dear Godric is, did you honestly think he wouldn’t hear beyond the words? No worries, Eric – you’ll get your time alone with your Sookie, I promise. She does need another dose of your blood for, um, healing purposes…even Niall had said so. Sookie – don’t be making Godric give you that Maker-glare any more. You did good, you really did, and with the very best of intentions, but… Dear Claudia, no worries, hon…I got’cher back. So, what did you guys think? How did you like Eric and Godric’s reconnection with Sookie?**