Chapter 43 – The Honeymoon
June 16, 2004
“It arrived by today!” Sookie was shouting as she ran down the stairs to the safe room now that Eric was finally wake. Breathless as she walked in, she attacked him on the bed. “I already downloaded it to make the DVD and got it ready to show on our TV here!” She indicated the TV in the room.
“I guess you want to watch it first thing?” He was excited too, but honestly could wait for another round of honeymoon sex before watching the DVD. Seeing her excitement to watch their wedding video now, he pushed his own desires back. They’d been on the island for a few days and he still couldn’t get enough of her. He still had through the following week and while he was enjoying himself, the days were long and he missed the extra time with her. He had the Honeymoon, Phase 2 already booked for after the Summit. He couldn’t wait to surprise Sookie with her trip to the Falklands where the days would be shorter.
“Can we? Please?”
“Of course min kära.”
She loaded up the DVD and got into bed to snuggle with Eric as they watched. The first few minutes on the video were just the cameramen capturing the pre-party at various angles. “Did I tell you that you looked radiant?” Sookie was wearing a dress that Eric selected and she was quite pleased with his choice; she never would have selected the pale yellow on her own.
She smiled up at him. “You did. Many times.” Her focus returned to the video. “Look, they filmed when you gave me my earrings. As soon as I opened them I understood why you picked that dress. OH! And you were so smart to give me them at the party where you knew I wouldn’t yell. We said NO PRESENTS!”
“And who gave me the scrapbook you’ve started all about us?”
“I hardly think that compares to the earrings.”
“It doesn’t. Documenting our story for our future children and their children is more important than earrings.” He rubbed his hand on her belly as he spoke.
“You’re too sweet.” She smiled at first then he felt a wave of sadness. Knowing what caused her mood change, he paused the DVD to address it.
“We talked about this Sookie. You’ve only had your first IUI, we went into this knowing it can take several procedures to work.”
“I know you’re right. I just freak out every once and a while.”
“That’s why you have me.”
“Yes dear” Sookie said and giggled, using his line on him. “Hit play.”
They watched quietly just enjoying Gran and Pam cooing over the earrings followed by all the attendees dancing until Eric saw Sophie-Anne approach Sookie on the video. “What were you guys talking about?”
“She was thanking me for befriending Hadley. She said she’d noticed a change in her since we’ve been talking.”
“That’s good.” They watched for a few more minutes. “What was all the giggling about?”
“The camera didn’t show it, but Gran had just hugged Andre and he looked like he’d been silvered.”
He laughed for a moment before saying, “I told her to refrain.”
“She didn’t hug Russell or Stan, well a bunch of the monarchs. That WAS Gran refraining.”
The video changed to footage the cameramen captured before the Pledging started the night after the pre-party. They watched as Eric and Godric were talking quietly. Both men were beaming with excitement. “You look so yummy in a tux. Where were you?” Sookie asked.
“We were in this small meeting room the estate uses for grooms. Gran will walk in next.”
Just as Eric said, Gran walked into the room with a huge smile on her face. As they watched the DVD, they could hear the conversation as well. “Wait until you see her Eric. You’re going to need a minute. She’s radiant. Now that I notice, so are you. So, is this the part where Godric and I tell you what to do on your wedding night?”
Godric chuckled and handled the response. “I don’t think so Gran, to keep it polite; I’ll just remind you that Eric was married twice in his human life.”
“I was only joking anyway Godric.” She took Eric’s hand. “You’ve made my baby girl so happy, I know she makes you happy as well, I can tell. I just . . .” She misted up a bit but continued. “Just thank you for coming into her life and taking care of her; for getting your head out of your ass when you had firmly lodged it there and left her last winter; thank you for sending her to school and helping her grow.” Gran had to squeak out the last words since she was a bit overcome with emotion, but she’d made her point.
“Gran, I thank YOU for raising Sookie and making her the person that was able to change ME. I never knew what I was missing.” He looked towards Godric at that point and added. “I never knew until you . . . until you gave me that ultimatum.”
From the bedroom as they watched the DVD Sookie gasped. “Eric?” She turned to him with wide eyes. “What did that mean?”
After hitting pause he answered. “Do you want to finish watching our wedding or hear the answer first?”
“Do you promise to tell me?”
“Yes, I promise.”
“Then hit play.”
The camera had moved to the bridal room where Pam was placing Sookie’s tiara on her head. Eric commented from where they were watching, “I can’t believe you agreed to wear it.”
“It made her very happy and it did look lovely with all my curls.”
Choosing a rarely used vampire tradition, they had each selected two friends to stand with them as witnesses on the stage. Sookie asked Pam and Gran to stand with her and Eric asked Jason and Godric. Since Gran had returned from her quick visit to Eric, she was fussing over Sookie as well. “Look Eric, Thalia was trying to look her usual mean self, but even she was having trouble with the façade.” They giggled together. “She left the room after a final nod at my appearance to take her position as the officiant’s assistant onstage. She thanked me again for that honor before she left; I don’t think the camera picked that up.”
“I could hear it but it was very faint.”
Eric watched the video and was puzzled. “What’s Gran doing now? I don’t understand why she’s adding stuff to your outfit. She’s reciting a poem?”
Sookie paused the DVD to explain. “Yes, it’s a bridal tradition. I was kinda apathetic about it, but it meant a lot to her since she had something from Aunt Linda’s that was old, and something . . . let me start from the saying. It goes like this: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue. What it means is the bride needs something from each category. My earrings were my something old since they were Aunt Linda’s diamond stud earrings, actually, they were Gran’s’ before that. My dress was something new. I borrowed shoes from Pam, again at my Gran’s suggestion to keep the tradition. My blue was the monogram on the handkerchief I carried and there you have it.”
“Says the man who had boxes of glass made to hold the charred bit of the Yule log for Gran’s and our houses.”
“There’s nothing weird about that.”
“I know there isn’t. I’m just saying you have your traditions, and I, or in this case, Gran has hers.”
“Yes dear. Hit play.”
They were quietly watching until they got to the part where they saw each other for the first time, just outside the doors to the main hall of the estate where their friends and family were gathered for the ceremony. This time, Eric hit pause. “We know what we said at the time, but it bears repeating. Sookie, I will never forget how I felt when I first saw you ready for our Pledging. It wasn’t just the dress or your hair, or your makeup – though you were a vision. It was the look in your eyes. You were accepting me, all of me.”
“And you were accepting me with the look in your eyes as well. To me, the ceremony was a formality, you were mine.”
“I was, as you were mine.”
They shared a tender kiss before Eric hit play. On the TV, they were walking in together to join their witnesses on the large dais. Sookie hadn’t noticed during the ceremony but she could see clearly that Pam was pretty much holding Gran steady. “I didn’t notice Pam helping Gran so much.” After only a few seconds of video, he was already hitting pause.
“They had planned it. Gran didn’t want a walker on the dais and while she is much better, she feared that the day was too long for her to not need it. It was nothing for Pam to hold her.”
“I think Pam is like the granddaughter that Gran never had. She just dotes on Gran and never sasses her like I do.”
“Oh, Gran’s whacked her a few times for language. I don’t think she’s any better behaved than you.” Sookie gasped as he hit the play button – chuckling at her reaction. As the camera showed a view of the audience, Eric was again shocked to see some of the attendees smiling. A huge show of emotion for vampires. Of course, some, like Andre were scowling, but fuck him. The cameraman had moved now to show both Sookie and Eric on the dais with the audience. Onscreen they could see the room’s reaction to the entrance of the Ancient Pythoness – something they didn’t see during the ceremony since they were faced away. Eric laughed out loud at some of the faces. He rewound the DVD to see Sophie-Anne again. “She did.” He said, almost to himself.
“She did what?”
He rewound it again. “She gulped Sookie. Vampires don’t need to do that. Ever.” Sookie snickered.
“So nobody knew she was coming?”
“Only our immediate group.”
“Judging from their faces, it was a really big deal.”
“Sookie, most monarchs are not pledged by the Ancient Pythoness. Word of this will spread like wildfire.”
“Is that a good or a bad thing?”
“It just is. Some will think we have some kind of special blessing, others will think you and me, or even just one of us is ‘too’ special and they will try to find out why. Hopefully many will fear what it means and leave us the hell alone.” He shook his head while he added. “I wouldn’t have changed any part of it even knowing it could cause some problems for us.” He hit play to resume the ceremony; he couldn’t wait until the camera picked up the audience reaction to their vows and that was just in a moment. They watched as Ancient Pythoness made her opening remarks, pleased that the videographer had a second camera that captured her face.
“Welcome all to the Pledging of Eric the Northman and Sookie Stackhouse. Today, we witness a rare human and vampire Pledging made even more remarkable as it is also a Pledging for eternity. Normally a Pledging is a commitment with a predetermined end date.” Changing her focus to the Pledging couple she continued. “Eric and Sookie, you have chosen each other as eternal companions. We are all honored to be present as you now exchange your vows with one another.”
On the video, Sookie knelt before Eric and she recited the promise she had made the night after the Fellowship incident. They talked about vows and to them, their words that night WERE their eternal vows. A few words needed to be tweaked to fit the ceremony, but their promises that night remained as the important part. She looked up at Eric and he took her hands just before she began. “Eric, my eternal love, I hereby promise you my forever and I offer you everything that I have: my life, my blood, my body, my blades, my wealth, my heart. I’ll walk beside you from now until our final deaths. Do you accept my promise?”
He smiled widely and spoke, “I do.”
Pam handed Sookie a ring for Eric and she spoke, “As you have accepted my promise, I now present you with this ring as a token of my undying love and commitment to you.” A smile grew on Eric’s face as she placed the ring on his finger. He took a moment to think how ironic it was that a wedding ring could make him so happy when he would’ve sworn even a year ago one would never adorn his finger.
When they changed places, he could hear a slight murmur through the room from the video. The camera angle switched to show the audience at the noise and he could see disdain on Andre’s face. He did notice that the Kings from California, Texas and Mississippi as well as the Were’s they invited from Area 5 were smiling. He knew kneeling before a human would be controversial, but he didn’t give a fuck. They’d kept the vampire guest list small, but that wouldn’t stop this information from getting around. Yet he still chose to honor Sookie with his actions. This is how he first made his vows to her: On his knees in complete submission. This is how they chose to repeat those vows, witnesses be damned. The DVD continued showing him grasping her hands and saying his vows. “Sookie, my eternal love, I hereby promise you my forever and I’ll fight and kill anyone I need to keep you safe and by my side. All that I have is yours: my life, my blood, my body, my sword, my wealth, my heart. I’ll walk beside you from now until our final deaths. Do you accept my promise?”
He turned to Jason and collected the ring for Sookie. While placing it on her finger, he recited, “As you have accepted my promise, I now present you with this ring as a token of my undying love and commitment to you.”
He returned to standing with Sookie and they faced the Ancient Pythoness.
The Ancient Pythoness moved forward and Thalia placed the ancient Pledging dagger and chalice in her hands. She recited an incantation and placed the chalice on the table then handed the dagger to Sookie. In turn Sookie handed the dagger to Eric; he kissed it then returned it to the Ancient Pythoness. Next, the Ancient Pythoness put her hand out. Sookie immediately put her hand in it and waited while the Ancient Pythoness cut her palm. Even just viewing it caused her to flinch and Eric picked her hand up while they sat in the bedroom and kissed the area that had bled during the ceremony. They watched, her hand in his, as the cutting was repeated to Eric’s palm.
While swirling the chalice to mix the blood the Ancient Pythoness spoke. “The mixing of blood is sacred to vampires. As Sookie and Eric have pledged before all of us, they now drink from the chalice of their mixed blood to seal their vows.” She handed the chalice to Sookie first and she took a drink; then handed it to Eric who finished the blood and placed the chalice back on the table. “I now pronounce Eric and Sookie Northman pledged for eternity.” Then she smiled a creepy toothless smile and winked at Eric “You may now kiss your bride.” Eric and Sookie smiled at each other as they watched Eric’s face turn almost predatory and he moved in for the kiss.
In their honeymoon bed, Sookie turned to Eric and asked, “Possessive much?”
He hit pause and said, “I’ll show you possessive Mrs. Northman.”
After a not so brief make-out interlude, Eric hit play again. On the video, the music started. To prepare, they’d rehearsed their first dance with Sookie in a dress similar to her wedding gown so Sookie would know exactly how it would feel and she was thrilled. “We really looked great!”
“Of course we did, we practiced over and over in the workout room.”
The song played out as she giggled and said, “at least we didn’t end the song the way we did at home.”
He smirked. “Yes, consummation may have been required but not a public consummation.”
Other’s joined Eric and Sookie on the dance floor after their first dance was over. Eric hit stop then rewind two times before he paused and pointed to a man on the screen. He was hard to see as he was standing in the kitchen and only his face showed through the circle window on the upper part of the door. “Min älskade, I didn’t see him during the ceremony, but THAT man,” he touched the screen for her. “is your Great Grandfather Niall Brigant.”
“WHAT?!” Sookie stared at the screen for a few minutes, studying the man’s face. “Why didn’t he say anything?”
“Niall can mask his scent, but too many of the vampires in attendance know who he is. He would have been drained.”
“But, I mean . . . how did he know?”
“He somehow communicates with the Ancient Pythoness. She must have been the source.”
“Cheese on rice.”
“Indeed.” He raised the remote. “Should we continue?”
She nodded and he hit play. They watched the video, enjoying the party again. On the screen, he saw Sookie talking to Russell and Bartlett, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. He asked about it.
“Oh, he was telling me about the Were he has as part of his court. We’ll meet her at the Summit.”
Eric was shocked. “A Were as part of his court?”
“Yes, she saved his life years ago and she almost lost her baby as a result. At the time, she had just finished law school. He hired her to work with his lawyer and she found ways to prove her worth; not just with legal work but with relations with Weres, Daemons and eventually humans after the Great Reveal.”
“How did she save his life?”
“He was being transported in a van from the airport to his home and it was still daytime. There was an accident. This Were, Toni, was riding on the same highway and as she approached the scene to help, she realized the back of the van had vampires in coffins. She called her Packmaster for help and stood guard preventing the police from getting close and accidentally opening the coffins. The Packmaster arrived with their own local police who were Weres and got Russell and his vampire companion to safety. There was a bit of a scuffle before the Were police arrived because the human officers tried to get into the coffins. Toni was thrown to the ground and they feared she would lose her baby. Since she was mated to add to the pack specifically, it caused great concern, but she and the baby were fine.”
They looked back at the DVD, they’d left it running while she told the story since it was just the music and dancing being shown now. Onscreen, she could see Eric chatting with King Benito of California. “And what were you guys talking about?”
“You knew that would cause a stir.”
“He pointed it out as he is Pledging to his human companion this fall.” Sookie gasped. “I know it’s becoming a trend. Anyway, he commended me for the bold move and was now considering it since his companion was there and she was quite moved by the vows.”
“I know. Of course Andre walked up and called me pathetic, but I would expect nothing less from him.”
The music on the video stopped as Jason took the stage to start some speeches. They heard the tap tap tap on the microphone and laughed as they remembered how much Jason wanted to give a speech, but how nervous he was at the same time. “Uh, hey there!” The room on the video became quiet and turned towards him. “Thanks, y’all were quick to quiet down. I ne’er get that response at the bar.” A few humans in the room chuckled. Eric mentioned to Sookie while they were watching that at the time, he’d heard a few vampires were impressed that the ‘man that shot Steve Newlin’ was in the room. Jason continued. “Well, I just wanna say a few words to my li’l sister and her husband. At least I think he’s her husband now. I mean, it ain’t legal y. . .” He put his finger up and walked away for a second. “Uh yeah, Pammy just confirmed they’re married. Well, back to my speech.” He raised his glass, “To Sookie and her husband, Eric. Sook, I love ya and I’m so happy you got married. I never thought ya would, so that’s just great. I even won a bet with Hoyt.” The room laughed lightly at the idiot on stage. “Eric, ya been real good to ma sister and Gran and I’m proud to call you my brother-in-law. I still wished youda lemme throw you a bachelor party. I mean I had a stripper ready an e’erything, but that was your loss. She was great!” Sookie remember that her Gran and Jason’s date had groaned at this point and hung their heads in shame. “Well, let’s raise a glass, uh, oh, that don’t work with all the vampires. Let’s pretend to raise a glass if ya ain’t got one in your hand to Eric and Sookie. May they have a long and happy life, wait is it death? Anyway, may they stay together in whatever condition they choose for, well forever.”
Lafayette, Hoyt and Sam helped Jason out by starting the here heres. Some of the vampires chimed in to show support.
When the toast was over, Eric paused the video and turned to look at Sookie very seriously. “Sookie, are you sure you’re related?” She nodded while laughing. “Was he dropped HARD on his head as an infant, or repeatedly?”
“Not to my knowledge.” Her eyes went wide at a sudden realization. “GOD, I hope our kids don’t get any of those genes. Well, he is loyal and kind hearted – that I wouldn’t mind. It’s the lazy and stupid that scares me.”
“We’ll overcome any bad genes with proper upbringing.”
“Speaking of upbringing,” she pointed to the TV and started to play the video again. “Here comes the part where Gran comes over for her little speech.”
They watched as Gran took an elbow from each of them and guided them to a corner. “Gran,” The on-film Eric warned, “everyone can still here us in this corner.”
They laughed as they caught the look on Gran’s face as she moved them out into the kitchen. The camera had not followed. Sookie paused the video again and exclaimed “Thank goodness we don’t need to relive that speech. First she’s dying soon so we need to ‘step it up’ on the babies then she’s fine to be living on her own. I think she had too much wine.”
“Her baby girl just got married, give her a break.”
“Taking her side AGAIN?! Sometimes I think you’re with me so you can have a Gran.”
He exaggerated a gasp and put his hand over his heart dramatically. “My secret has been discovered!”
“Uh huh, just hit play.”
The video was playing the dance Sookie had with Godric. You could see the two were deep in conversation, but both still happy. “What were you talking about with your Papa?”
“You already said it: We were talking about what I should call him as my father-in-law. We tossed around some pretty funny names but we settled on Papa.”
“What else was suggested?”
“Daddy Warbucks, Far, Ater, Pop.”
“I thought of that one figuring if he was Pop, when we had children they could call him Pop-pop.” Eric laughed at her reasoning. “But he assured me they could call him Pop-pop without him being called a soda.”
The remainder of the video was mostly all dancing except for the feeding part. In a human tradition, Eric fed Sookie a bit of the wedding cake and she surprised him by serving him her blood made into a gelatin form from bone marrow. She researched the process and spoke with Pam. Sookie used some bagged blood and both Pam and Thalia agreed to taste it ahead of time. Pam felt that the sample she tried didn’t taste like blood, it wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t like the real thing. Sookie hoped that since Eric felt Sookie’s blood was better tasting than other blood he would still enjoy the treat. To stack the deck, she used a large quantity of her blood that she had concentrated before adding the marrow to turn it into a blood ‘jello jiggler’. To ensure Eric really was surprised, she did all her cooking in at Jason’s so he wouldn’t smell all the blood aroma she was sure the process of reduction created. She smiled to herself again as she watched the reveal of her surprise on the screen. Eric stopped the video. “I still can’t believe you did that. It really tasted like you, a little more subtle than when I drink it from the source, but you.”
“It took a great deal of blood so it’s not something we can do all the time, but maybe an anniversary treat?”
“I like that idea.”
The DVD ended with Sookie and Eric’s exit from the estate back to their home for their consummation. Eric hit stop and said, “Now, Mrs. Northman, let’s reenact the rest of the night from the wedding.”
After an accurate reenactment of their wedding night, Eric carried Sookie to the kitchen of his island home to feed her. He was cutting up fruit while she grabbed some of the nuts she’d glazed earlier. “So.” She started.
“The ultimatum? You promised to explain it.”
“Ah.” He paused and handed her the plate of fruit. “A while ago I told you about the committee we formed to prepare for the review.” She nodded. “I also told you about Godric’s challenge to me about getting to know humans more personally.”
“I remember that. I’ve been curious and I’ve also wondered if this all related to Theresa.”
“You made that connection correctly.” He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face before he continued. “Your Papa was pretty upset about my attitudes. So upset he was planning to meet the sun thinking that I was a failure.”
Sookie gasped and tears formed in her eyes. She couldn’t conceive of the pain that must have caused; especially since she could feel a ghost of the pain through the bond even now, 25 years later. “Eric. There are no words for that.”
“It was pretty bad. As you can imagine, I felt like I had been stabbed. The discussion was quite . . . difficult and I wound up on my knees begging him to stay. It was then that he gave me an ultimatum: I had 25 years to be loved and TO LOVE a human. I accepted the ultimatum as it was keeping him off the roof at that time, and I planned to talk him out of it as quickly as I could. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I decided to try. Theresa was my first failed attempt. I trained her, as you know, until she loved me as a slave. Godric was disappointed to say the least. I also missed the part about having to love in addition to being loved.”
“Now I understand Theresa more, and her comments about how Godric also felt responsible.”
“He shouldn’t feel responsible, it was my mistake and it was a hell of a mistake.”
“Yeah, but that’s behind all of us now. What happened after Theresa?”
“Well, I continued on and dated for a while. I did meet a lovely woman who ran a bookstore and she was very nice, but not special. Godric again did not approve since I wasn’t sharing my nature with her and I did use glamour to keep the relationship going. I also didn’t commit to her with monogamy.” He’d felt a bit of jealousy but it went away quickly. “The best was when Pam finally talked me into a dating service.”
Sookie chuckled. “You’re kidding.”
“Nope. You should have seen me try to fill out the questionnaire. After a few months of trying, my relationship counselor met with me to return my fee since the service had failed to make a connection.” Sookie was full on laughing now. “Oh Sookie, it gets better.” He laughed with her. “Pam wound up dating the relationship counselor for a while.”
“The irony of that is too much.” She put her head on the table while she kept laughing. Eventually she calmed. “So, that ultimatum is over, right? He won’t meet the sun? This is just about 25 years ago, right?”
“This September is the full 25 years, but we don’t need to worry. He won’t meet the sun. He confirmed that when I . . . it was actually when I left you. He hated that I did it, but he realized I loved something more than myself.”
“Oh. I don’t like to think about that time.”
“Neither do I min älskade.” He was quiet for a moment while some of her snack. Then he brought up some memories. “The first few weeks you were with me, I called Godric frequently. I wanted to send you home but he commanded me to keep you.”
“Are you not happy he did? Why are you so upset?”
“I am happy now, but jeez, I could have gone home?”
“Well maybe, but you would have lost Jason again. We had his crime and required punishment.”
“Yeah, I’d almost forgotten that.”
“I don’t know about you, but given the bigger picture I wouldn’t change anything.”
Sookie was quiet for a bit and she finally agreed. “Yeah, bigger picture. I wouldn’t change a thing. I think I could have skipped being put in the corner or that damn ward that burned me.”
She could feel the pang of guilt when she made those comments. “Ouch.”
“I didn’t bring those things up to hurt you. Just saying.”
“You were just trying to make me feel bad so I’d buy you something expensive to make it up to you.” His face was serious but she could feel the amusement.
“Don’t you dare!”
“Oh, I might dare. My WIFE should be dripping in jewels. You are married to a Sheriff after all.”
“That damn tiara drips enough! Don’t make this about work.” She stood to put her plate and glass in the dishwasher.
“Not work, but your station.”
She screwed her face up at him. “Don’t make me mad.”
“Oooh, if you’re mad can we have angry sex?”
“Can’t you think about anything else?”
“We’re on our honeymoon, I’m pretty sure I’m in the right.” He rose and started stalking her now.
“You always like to be right.” In response to his stalking, she was backing up to move out of the kitchen.
“Yep. I was right about you.” He continued moving forward towards her as he spoke.
Now she was at the sliding doors to the beach. “How so?”
“You were worth every fight, every frustration.”
“And what do you get for being right?” One foot was out the door.
“YOU!” As he launched towards her, she ran for it squealing with excitement.