I don’t think we have any warnings for this one – just enjoy!
Chapter 13 – A Note
Old Norse Reminder: min modiga man (my brave one)
“Can’t you track him or something Thalia?”
“No Sookie. If he flew off the island, I can’t find him.”
“Doug, did you try his phone again?” She’d woken everyone up near the guesthouse with her screeches for Eric.
“Sure Sookie I’ll call him, but please calm down. He wouldn’t leave you, I’m sure.”
Sookie had actually fainted from her hyperventilating a short while ago. Luckily Thalia caught her before she hit her head. It took a while but they’d revived her and marginally calmed her down when she started up again. Doug was about to walk outside to try Eric again when Eric flew into the house. He was worried when he returned to the house and she was gone. “SOOKIE!”
“ERIC.” She practically fell getting off the couch to move to him. “Where have you been?” The tears were falling before she’d reached him and pulled him in a tight embrace. “Why did you leave me?” That question made him realize that his departure had caused her panic.
“I’m still here Sookie. Shhh it’s OK.” The crying went on for a few minutes and everyone but Thalia left the room. Hesitantly, she pulled back to look at him more closely and asked, “Why are you covered in blood? Is this your blood?” Once she got that concern in her head, she started inspecting him for wounds.
“I’m fine Sookie. I’ll explain everything at home.” He took her hand to lead her out.
Thalia stopped them. “Eric, Sookie fainted; you should carry her.”
Eric didn’t need to be told twice; he had her scooped up so quickly Sookie didn’t even feel it happening. “Is she sick?”
“She was worried about you and panicked.”
Not wanting to waste time, he flew her back to his house and carried her to the bedroom. When he placed her on the bed he saw the front of her dress. “I got your dress dirty.”
“’Sokay.” When she didn’t give him sass back, he started to worry.
“Sookie, are you feeling alright?”
“I was so worried when I couldn’t find you Eric. I thought . . . I thought you ran off to . . .” The sentence drifted off as she looked down. The idea that he would still meet the sun scared her to the point she couldn’t even say the words.
“You thought I was trying to meet the sun without your interference?” She nodded. “Lover, I thought you were asleep for the night. I didn’t intend to scare you like that.”
Full on crying had started again and she wailed out, “Well you did! Next time leave me a note will ya?! Is that so hard? You left me one in Dallas.”
Seeing how much she agonized while he was gone, he got down on his knees and looked directly into her face. “No Lover it’s not. I’m unaccustomed to telling anyone my whereabouts but I will change this behavior for you. I’m sorry you were so concerned.”
“Thank you.” She started to stand. “I need something to drink. Do you want to shower while I’m gone? ‘Cause after you’re clean, you’re telling me where you’ve been that you came back looking like you do.”
“I’ll go up with you. Let me take off these clothes.” He started disrobing and when he took off his jeans, he really knew she was rattled because she didn’t say anything about his completely naked condition – he had gone commando after all. After donning some shorts and washing up quickly in the sink, they walked to the kitchen hand in hand.
Sookie rooted through the kitchen for a snack to have with her drink and was pleased to find some chocolate in the pantry. That and a glass of cold milk sounded perfect right now. She grabbed her treat and sat at the table with Eric. “Spill. Where did you go?”
“I went to the Sheriff and took care of Derek.”
Her eyes went wide. Eric had been covered with blood. ‘Taking care of Derek’ must have been nasty. “Oh. Is he released?”
“Hardly. I’m not done with him.”
“Does the punishment fit the crime? OR is it a tad extreme to go with your tense mood?”
Realizing she was serious, he took a moment to consider his answer. “It fits with maybe a slight plus.” She continued to eat the little foil wrapped pyramids of chocolates while they spoke so he was pretty confident she wasn’t upset about Derek’s fate. “Are you angry with me?”
“No. I’m seeing much too clearly your world and the necessities. I don’t like it, but I accept it.” She shrugged and added. “It’s probably not a bad thing that it happened on our first night here. It gives you the opportunity to set an example.”
“You’re right and thank you.” He leaned in for a kiss and pushed it a bit further for a full and deep kiss. When he was done he sat back and licked his lips. “I can see why you like chocolate.”
She was surprised that he consumed something. “Is that safe?”
“Yes, it’s only the essence.”
“Why all the questions about what my food tastes like then?”
“You mean, why ask before if I could have a taste?” She nodded. “Would you have welcomed my tongue down your throat before?”
She laughed. “I guess not.” After popping in more chocolate she asked, “Why did you choose to go to him tonight?”
“I was scared.”
She put her glass down to give him her undivided attention. “I don’t understand.”
Since she’d finished her chocolates, he moved her so she was on his lap. It made him feel better, much better. “I knew you needed sleep so waking you wasn’t an option. I was starting to think about re-reading the letter and opening the final items in the box and I realized I couldn’t risk doing that without you. Godric’s letter and box were literally taunting me, so I had to come up with something to do. I figured Derek was a good idea.”
“I can see that. Eric, you scared me.”
He moved his head towards her even further to whisper in her ear. “I know. I’m sorry.”
She had been terrified, thinking he’d taken the opportunity to get away from her to meet the sun. Until he was better, she vowed not to stray from him like that again. “I’ll have to stay awake with you as much as possible,” she vowed.
“I don’t want you to do that.” His words caused her to pull back from him. “I mean, I want you to enjoy the sun while you are here.”
“I have a lifetime of sun Eric. I can give that up to stay with you for as long as you need.” To contradict her words, she yawned a bit then chuckled. “I’ll drink coffee.”
“No you won’t. Why don’t you at least nap while I clean up and call Pam? I’ll wake you in an hour and we can make out before going to bed for the day.”
“Or play Scrabble.”
“If that’s the code name you want to give it, fine by me.” He moved to stand and carried her toward the chamber. “I won’t leave the house, I promise. Though I will call Pam from upstairs since sometimes we argue.”
Eric placed her on the bed and found her a tee-shirt for sleeping. Of course, she giggled when he handed it to her. “I think this one is particularly appropriate tonight. Good choice Viking.” Without worry of embarrassment, Sookie stripped and put the tee-shirt on in front of him. Eric didn’t even try to pretend he wasn’t watching. But he made no move towards her until she was covered again. He tucked her in and rubbed her back until she was asleep then took his shower.
Sookie was still very much out of it when he emerged from the bathroom so he kissed her forehead and went upstairs to check in with Pam.
His child, of course, had felt many of his emotions so she was relieved to hear from him. Pam hadn’t told her maker, but his grief had kept her up the morning of Godric’s death. It was unlike anything she’d ever felt before, that is until an hour before sunrise the day before. She’d called Thalia to check and knew that Eric had almost met the sun. She also knew from Thalia that she owed Sookie for his life. “Master, you are well?”
“It has been . . . difficult but Sookie is helping.”
Since the two didn’t really talk about emotions, she decided to turn the conversation quickly. “With her magic fairy vagina I’m sure.”
“You’d better be alone, you were told that information in confidence.”
“Of course I am. I know better.”
“Are there any area issues?”
“The usual squabbles and check-ins; nothing out of the ordinary. Oh, Bubba came in; he’s quite distraught that you are away for so long.”
“You can make arrangements to send him here if he wants. Eliane will be joining us in about two weeks; he can travel with her.” He paused for a moment. “How is Barry?”
“Well he’s a cute little morsel. I’ve hooked him up with Alcide Herveaux for training. He stopped in tonight after some sparring with Alcide. Eric, he looks small but he had on a wife beater and my, my, my, Ginger was drooling.”
“Ginger drools regularly Pam.”
“True enough. I’m surprised. I think he’ll work out fine posing as part of Sookie’s day guard patrol while he’s actually working as a telepath like her.”
“The secrecy will help us and he already stepped in to fight off Weres trying to abduct Sookie. His loyalty is obvious.” He stood and moved to his laptop. “I’m going to check my email so I’ll see if there’s anything there. Do you have anything else for me?”
“No. Right now . . . take care of yourself.”
He ended the call and logged into his email account. The first note to catch his attention was from Eliane.
I hope you are enjoying your holiday. A few things have occurred since you left the area.
While tending to Sookie’s house, I looked closely at a few watercolor paintings on the wall. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but they were painted by Sookie. I took the liberty of purchasing an assortment of painting supplies. They should arrive in a few days.
I did stop in Merlotte’s for her final check; it’s been deposited. That Sam is pretty upset and he’s sure you’ve ‘done’ something to Sookie. Not that he told me this himself; I heard it from the town gossip, Maxine Fortenberry. When she started to speak poorly of Sookie, I introduced myself as Ms. Stackhouse’s assistant – that made her eyes grow wide. I also may have let Sookie’s bank statement drop to the floor and Maxine helped me with it. Shameful, but I couldn’t resist since she was being so nasty.
Sam did stop me on the way out to do one nice thing. Evidently, Mr. Compton came back to town and stormed into Merlotte’s looking for her. Since Sam knew I was setting up some services and packing at Sookie’s house, he did warn me to finish up and get out of the area. I called Barry and we worked only during daylight and will finish everything by tomorrow.
I will see you on the 21st.
He replied quickly, thanking her for her efficiency and requested a few additional items from Sookie’s home. Eric then moved down the list of emails to one from Roman.
There has been some fallout with the Fellowship issue and it is all been handled. I am not sure if you were aware, but one of the Fellowship men, Gabe, was hurt by Sookie. I am not saying he didn’t deserve it, but he was trying to get her in trouble for attacking him. That little spitfire of yours shoved a pencil right in his eye. The result was the loss of vision permanently. He and everyone with knowledge of the incident have been glamoured to believe it was a freak accident at the church. You should know we learned during his glamour that he was attempting to rape Sookie. Please assure her it’s all handled; I would hate to see Sookie deal with anything negative from Dallas after she has done so much to help us. Don’t worry about Gabe missing out on further punishment from you personally. I’m having him followed until I know what you and Sookie want to do.
As for the Fellowship in general, we have secured five Weres to work as spies in the Fellowship. Reverend Newlin was arrested, but his organization is going strong. In fact, he is playing the martyr from jail and the congregation, now led by his wife Sarah, has grown even more in these past few days. Our immediate concern is the weapon they have developed but we have long term-goals as well. I’d like to meet with you after your vacation to discuss having you join the council to lead this team.
The possibility of working for the council was intriguing and Eric promised himself he’d review the details with Roman and Sookie. Depending on the specifics in the contract, this position could be perfect. He could be free of Sophie-Anne, actually any. Leading the team would require he manage a small group of vampires, but this would be a group he hand-selected. Not like some of the tiresome whiners he needed to deal with on a regular basis for his Sheriff duties. If they really wanted him, protection for Sookie and possibly Barry would have to be part of the contract; he didn’t want them at risk from any other vampires. Right as he finished his email back to Roman telling him to keep a trail on Gabe until he could handle it, he heard Sookie cry out in her sleep. He ran to her, quickly taking her in his arms.
“No, no stop!” She was crying out from a nightmare. “I’m a good girl.”
“Sookie. Wake up Lover. I’ve got you.” This nightmare was concerning. Derek’s actions brought it on, he was sure.
“Eric.” Her shaking was uncontrollable so it took her a moment to stop and he gently held her through it.
“Sookie, did Derek do more than try to force himself on you?” She shook her head no. Her words didn’t seem to make sense. “What were you seeing in your dream? Was it Gabe? We need to talk about that.”
“How do you even know about Gabe? Did Thalia tell you?”
He shook his head. “Roman told me he was making a fuss about the injury he suffered at your hands. It’s been taken care of.” After adjusting them a bit so he could see her face more easily, he continued. “I heard you fought back min modiga man; you acted like a true Viking fighter. I’m so proud of you.” She gave him an unsure smile so he continued. “He was the one who gave you the bruises on your face, isn’t he?” He was leading her, hoping she would talk about it. Something had prompted her to have another nightmare. The thing that puzzled him though was her crying out that she was a good girl – that’s not something that he thought she would say at her age.
“Gabe decided that raping me was a justified punishment since he thought I was a whore.”
“Sookie, you aren’t a whore; you know that.” In the interest of full disclosure, he informed her of his plans. “I’m going to kill him Sookie.” She gave him a nod. “I know you already hurt him but I can’t let what he tried to do go.”
“I know that. It’s hard for me to accept, but I will. As for hurting him? I wasn’t about to let him have his way. Even though it completely disgusted me, I jabbed a sharp pencil in his eye then got him in the balls.” Her whole body shook at the memory then she went quiet for a moment. “The thing is, Gabe said something about enjoying my fight and then Derek said practically the same thing tonight.”
“That’s why you seemed more upset than I would have thought; it wasn’t only what he was trying to do, it was the memory of the words.”
Sookie looked haunted for a moment. “It was the words but something else too. It was also the look in Derek’s eyes. Same as Gabe’s, same as . . .” Her voice trailed off.
His fears were confirmed. There was something else that Derek’s actions triggered. “Same as?” He paused for a moment. “Who else hurt you Sookie?” The nightmare had caused her to break out in a sweat and he pushed the hair sticking to her forehead back.
A large breath escaped her as she prepared to answer. Eric stayed still knowing this was going to be hard for her. “My uncle.”
He was seething –he was happy they weren’t bonded because he was so angry. These weren’t emotions she needed to feel. “When was this?”
“I was young, about five when it started. Gran stopped it when I moved in with her. I was seven then.”
“That was your nightmare tonight; your uncle?”
Quietly, she answered him, her head down in shame. “Yes. It’s been a long time since I had one. He never went too far; at least in his actions but I spent years feeling dirty.” She looked up at him almost pleading with him to understand. “So dirty Eric.” Certain that words wouldn’t be sufficient to take the pain away, he simply gripped her tightly while rocking her gently and let her talk more. “I knew what he planned for me though. That was probably worse than when he touched me, or made me touch . . .“ She stopped abruptly and leaned into Eric. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“Then don’t. What do you want to do now?”
“I want to shower.”
“Or I can fill the tub.”
“Will you bathe me?”
“Yes. This morning I will take care of you, like you took care of me yesterday.” He placed her on the bed and told her to wait as he filled the tub. While Eric prepped for her bath, Sookie undressed so she’d be ready. He came in and without one provocative comment, eye waggle or leer, he picked her up and placed her in the tub. His care for her was almost reverent. It was certainly loving but not sexual in any way. Since she needed a few human moments in the bathroom, he left her and took care of sending a request to Pam. He wanted, no, he needed to know if this uncle was still alive. If he was, his days were numbered. In both his human and his very long undead life, there was one thing Eric Northman never tolerated: preying on innocent children.
By the time she came out, he’d calmed himself from his internal rage and helped her in bed. She turned to him and apologized that they never got to play Scrabble. “The sun has risen now anyway. We both need rest.”
“I’m scared to sleep and have the nightmare return.”
“Don’t think about it. Try to think about something else before you sleep.”
“Will you tell me a story?”
He positioned them in their usual spooning position. “I would love nothing better than to hold you and tell you a story until you sleep.” He paused for a moment and thought. “I will tell you about the day my little sister was born.”
“I’d like that. How old were you?”
“I believe I was seventeen winters.”
“Wow, that’s a huge gap between siblings.”
“My mother bore other children that did not survive; she also suffered a few miscarriages. That’s what made the birth of Hertha so special. The name means ‘powerful woman’ and it was selected to show her strength in surviving until birth.” Eric spoke softly to Sookie about coming in from a day of helping a friend to see and hear his mother in labor. Even though the snow was falling and it was bitterly cold, he was shooed out of the family longhouse to wait outside with his father. They’d been invited to several other homes for the wait, but they both chose to pace outside the door. Sometime after night fell and before the sun rose again, they heard the wails of a new baby and they ran inside their home. “For me, Sookie it was honestly love at first sight. I’d wanted a sibling for so long and mother had lost the last three babies. Father held her first, of course, but once he gave her up to spend time with my mother, I took her and didn’t let her go for the longest time. Only to let my mother feed her.”
“That’s sweet. What happened to her, do you know?”
“My father was killed shortly after Hertha was born and I was named Earl. It was two years after that when Mother remarried a very kind man. I became a vampire before Hertha had her fourth winter. We returned a little over a decade later. Right after my turning, we left the area which is why we waited. This was a stealth visit; Godric went before me to learn what he could then I snuck in to take a look. She was quite beautiful when I saw her. My mother had died by then but Hertha seemed happy and safe. That was the last time I saw her.”
“What was she doing?”
“We returned in time to watch the Yule feast. She was dancing with a boy, well a man in those times. She looked smitten.” She smiled and Eric was pleased she was enjoying the story.
“Tell me more about the Yule feast.”
Softening his tone further to try to get Sookie to sleep, Eric talked for a few minutes longer of their annual celebration. Soothingly, his hand was caressing her scalp as he spoke so Sookie went out quickly and he enjoyed holding her until the day took him as well. His last words were a whisper to his beloved. “Nobody will ever hurt you again. I swear it.”
A/N: See – no worries at all. . .