Summary: An Eric and Sookie HEA, I promise, though it doesn’t seem like that in the first section. I’m not really using canon, at all, here – at least as far as Sookie’s past is concerned.
Beta: None. Been working on this for so long, I haven’t written in so long I decided to post it after I wrote it (I did re-read it several times and I hope I found everything).
The crackle of wood on the fire was the only sound Aude heard as she sat alone, waiting for her husband to return. Her chair was inches from the open flame, but she shivered as though chilled. After another tremor coursed through her body, she moved to grab a log and saw a carved toy her youngest child left by the wood pile. Forgetting her lack of mobility for a moment, she bent, attempting to pick it up and realized her extra-large baby bump made the floor unreachable. With a groan, she rose to grab the log she needed from the top of the stack, and tried to tamp down the tears that threatened to fall again. Five children, one the way, and now, no father, well possibly no father. Since she’d kept the no father part quiet, the children had long since gone to bed not knowing the fear in her heart. Twenty-one days ago, Brýningr, her husband, left to barter for food with other clans. It was his first winter as Chieftain, and he had taken the lack of food as his own personal failure. The blame was far from his; he hadn’t yet returned from leading his first raid as Chieftain when a field caught fire. The rye, wheat, and barley crops were a complete loss. They had some other vegetable fields, but the clan depended on the grains to get them through the long, frigid winter. After assessing the food stores and the population of the clan, it was decided a small group of men would leave with several beasts and slaves in the hopes of procuring grain for trade. He’d promised to be back before the Yule celebration. That feast was two days ago, and she was quickly losing hope. While her husband, Brýningr, was her provider, the clan leader, and father to her children; mostly, he was her best friend and the love of her life.
Unlike some marriages, unlike even her first marriage, her marriage to Brýningr was a love match, not a business transaction. It hadn’t seemed they would be happy when they first fell in love years ago, but here they were, married and expecting their fourth child, her sixth. The baby in her belly kicked as if he knowing Aude was thinking of Brýningr. She bowed down and spoke, “You want him too, don’t you little one?” Since she’d pushed on her extended belly with her hand, the baby responded to her with another kick and she gave out a combined sob and laugh. “You’re feisty like your Daddy, and always needing the final word. I knew that from the day I met him.”
Fifteen years earlier:
“Who are you?” The tall skinny boy asked the visitor.
She stopped short since the boy had stepped directly in her path and looked at her from head to toe. Never having left her own village, she was shy from his sudden attention. She looked down but answered him to be polite. “I’m Aude. Who are you?”
The boy straightened his stance and puffed out his chest. “Brýningr, son of Eiríkr.”
His response surprised her and she looked up with wide eyes. “The Chieftain’s son?” Brýningr nodded and she asked, “I thought you were older.”
“I have an older brother, but I’m old enough. I’m fifteen winters, a warrior,” He leaned over, “A man.” He looked into her eyes. “Are you part of the family here for the wedding?”
“My cousin is marrying your Uncle.” Now that she was looking at him, she took in his eyes. They were blue, like hers, and they were staring at her. The intensity of his gaze was too much and she had to look down.
Apparently, Brýningr, son of Eiríkr, didn’t like that, she felt a touch on her chin as he gently guided her face up. “What’s wrong?”
His smile was warm and comforting so she answered, “I’ve never been away from home. I don’t know how to be around people in another village.”
Brýningr reached down to take her hand. “It’s easy, you just be yourself.” Still holding her hand, he started walking with her. “Let me show you around.”
“You don’t need to be doing anything?”
He shook his head before responding verbally. “No, with the wedding, my duty is to see to our guests’ comfort. You’re here as a guest so it’s my job to show you around.” Gently, he pulled on her hand. “Come, I’ll show you my favorite spot in the woods.”
He held her hand tightly as they wandered through the village, stopping often to greet other villagers along the way. Brýningr must have introduced her to two dozen people before he suddenly veered to the left and behind one of the houses. Using only his hand tugging on hers, he guided her up a short hill and away from the other buildings into the woods. With a quick look back at the village, he smiled. “We’re far enough away now.”
The smile he sported was infectious and she returned it. “Far enough away for what?”
“Far enough that we don’t need to stop and talk to anyone. Everyone had to ask too many questions about you.”
She was puzzled. Everyone they encountered seemed interested in meeting her and had kind words about her or her family. “I didn’t mind.”
His face drew up in horror. “I did.” He touched her cheek. “I wanted to be alone with you. That’s why I offered to show you my favorite spot.”
Unsure of what he meant, she pulled back from him. “What? Why?”
“I saw you arrive with your family. I’ve been watching you for a few hours. Something about you screamed to me. I had to meet you.”
She bit her lip before responding. “And to think I wasn’t supposed to come to the wedding. My mother is expecting, and she was too sick from the pregnancy to travel.”
He closed the gap she’d created only a moment ago and touched her face. “Now that I’ve met you, I can’t think about your words. Not meeting you would have been a huge hole in my life.”
She giggled at him. “We’ve only known each other for a few minutes. You’re teasing me.”
The hand on her cheek moved to grip the back of her head. “I feel it Aude.” His eyes grew in intensity as he loomed closer to her face. “You. Are. Mine.”
She shook her head with enthusiasm and put her hands on her hips. “I’m my own woman Brýningr. Nobody owns me.”
“We’ll see about that.” He offered and turned to guide her further into the woods. They walked for about twenty minutes until they arrived at a large tree with a rope hanging from a sturdy branch. The rope was thick, almost as thick as Brýningr’s wrist and had knots tied every foot or so. Aude looked up and saw something flat about their heads. “What’s this?”
“My sanctuary.” He reached up with one hand and grasped the rope, then lifted her up without warning. “Put your hands around my neck and your legs around my waist.”
With as much indignance as she could muster while being held, she spat out, “I will not! That’s indecent!”
“It’s the only way I can get you up there. The rope would be too rough for your hands.”
She was quiet for a moment while she considered his request. The need to see his sanctuary was quickly winning over her belief that wrapping her body around his was wrong. Brýningr stood patiently until she finally made her decision and clasped onto him like a child. His responding smile was triumphant, but he kept his comments to himself.
She couldn’t believe she’d thought him a boy when she first saw him. Using only his hands, he reached up to grab the rope at each knot over and over again until they hit the bottom of the flat surface she’d seen. Aude knew she wasn’t a small girl, she’d been told many times about how her body was made for babies with her overflowing breasts and wide hips. Climbing while holding her demonstrated how strong he was. Brýningr was very much a man. A small part of her was embarrassed that she first thought he was a boy. In her defense, his face gave off an air of mischievousness; he looked like a little boy up to something.
Her musings were cut off when he said, “Push up on the flap.”
Not understanding what he meant, she gave him a puzzled look. “Look up.” He nodded above them to a cut out in the planks of wood. “It’s the trap door. I can’t push up while holding you, so I’ll hoist you up. Push hard enough for the trap to swing up and land open.”
“Alright.” As soon as the word was out of her mouth, she felt him shift enough that she was inches below the cut-out. It took her three tries to push hard enough, but she got it and he helped her in. When they settled on boards set high in the tree, he had a smirk on his face. “What?” She looked around her body to see if she was exposing something. “Do I have dirt on my face or something?”
“Nope.” He turned to set the trap door again, so they didn’t have a body-sized hole on the floor.
“What’s with the face then?”
“I enjoyed every attempt you made trying to get that door open.”
She was quiet as she wondered what he could possibly mean when it occurred to her. Her groan preceded the bloom of a full blush as she realized she’d been putting her breasts directly on his face when she tried. Being well endowed, she knew he’d gotten a face full of flesh. Then it occurred to her, “You knew that was going to happen! You could have opened the door yourself!”
The mischievousness look turned to downright naughty as he admitted his guilt. “I’ve been admiring your breasts since you hopped off the boat. Did you know they bounce when you jump li…”
She covered his mouth with her hand to stop him from talking. He licked it, making her gasp. “I’m leaving! Help me down.”
Seeing she was serious, he backpedaled. “I’m sorry. You do things to me that I’ve never felt before. There’s a connection and I want to explore it.” He got on his knees before her and begged. “Please tell me you feel something too and you’ll spend time with me before the wedding? I want to get to know you better.”
“Will you behave?”
She waited while he formed a response. To her it was a simple yes or no, so she was curious about what could be taking so long. Finally, he answered. “I’ll try. I want to be near you, so I’ll be respectful. I won’t make any lewd comments.” He glanced at her chest again then quickly looked in her eyes. “If something enticing happens though, I might look.”
“Fine.” She waved her arm around the room they were in and requested that he tell her about this place. “Did you build it?”
Proudly, he stood and explained how he’d planned and created his little haven from scraps of wood they’d found on raids, furs he’d cleaned himself, and poultry feathers he’d gathered to create a soft nest. Aude was lounging back on the nest at his insistence, and she found it to be quite comfortable. While he wasn’t first in line for the Chieftain’s position, he told her, he still had many responsibilities to the village. The fort in the trees offered him a hide out when needed.
That first day, they stayed in his tree loft for hours, barely making it back for the evening feast. As Aude needed to sit with her father, Brýningr arranged for them to meet the next day so they could escape again. He told her he was afraid he wouldn’t see her after the feast and wanted to get an early start on their day together in the morning.
By the time they’d escaped for yet a third day, Aude had lost all her nervousness around him and she boldly asked, “Have you taken your family’s thralls up here?” She was sure he’d know what she meant. The words came out easily enough, but she couldn’t look him in the eye. His answer surprised her.
“I’ve never shared this place with another person.” He leaned close to her ear. “I’ve never been with a thrall either.”
Her eyebrows rose up comically at the shock of his words. “NEVER?”
“Never. Father doesn’t allow it before marriage.”
She was quiet for a moment, then said. “So let me get this straight.” He nodded for her to continue. “You’ve never?” He agreed with a nod. “But after you’re married you can take a thrall?”
He nodded again. “That’s how father did it, and he believes that’s the way.” He shrugged, “I never thought much about it though, I mean the married part. Marriage is for duty and I always figured I’d get to choose a slave to make up for the lack of choice in my bride.”
Considering that her clan had a similar practice with slaves, she couldn’t argue with his logic, but felt jealous over the possible thrall he might choose in the future. “I can understand that.”
He put his arm around her shoulders. “Aude, if I get to choose a bride, I won’t feel the need to take a thrall.”
She brightened. Somehow, she felt he was speaking of her. “Is that possible?”
He moved so he was kneeling in front of her and held her shoulders. “Aude, I plan to ask my father permission to marry you.” He added quickly when her mouth opened. “Next year, when I’m sixteen and after my brother Skúli has taken a wife.” He paused. “Would you be willing?”
Her heart soared. Surely her father wouldn’t argue with a match with the Chieftain’s son, and she had feelings for Brýningr… more than just feelings. Before she answered, she needed to know how Brýningr felt. The night before, one of her cousins had been teasing her about the time she was spending with Brýningr. The cousin also cautioned her that Brýningr may have been ordered to spend time with her or he had some other hidden agenda. While she didn’t think it was true, the words were swirling in her head. She had to be sure. “Why do you want me? Is this some political thing?”
His eyes showed hurt at her question. “You don’t really believe that, do you?” She shrugged. “I want you Aude. YOU.” With a gentle caress to her face, he confessed. “I wasn’t entirely honest with you about something.” Her eyes grew in shock and he quickly clarified. “It’s about when I first saw you. I told you something about you screamed at me. Do you remember?” She gave him an affirmative murmur and he continued. “It was more than that. I felt you here,” He took her hand to place it on his chest. “My heart stopped beating for moment. When it started again, it was racing with a strength I could feel to my toes. From my chest a warm tingle spread out through my body until every finger and toe felt the jolt. Then the warmth cascaded back like a wave receding from its crest. That warmth, that wave has stayed inside me from that moment on.” He asked her, “Do you believe me?”
All her doubts vanished with his confession. “I do.” She bit her lip and gave her own confession. “I know that warmth. I can’t say I had that tingle and burst like you did, but I feel the warmth from my own chest.” As he did, she took his hand and placed it over her chest.
“So, can I speak to my father about being married?”
“Can we seal it with a kiss?”
Her head lowered at his request and he could barely hear her response. “I’ve never kissed anyone before, have you?”
His shoulders slumped and he found the floor fascinating as he admitted. “I’ve kissed two other girls before. I’m sorry.”
“I think it’s a good thing; you have an idea what to do.”
His head whipped up at her words. “Does that mean yes?” She nodded, and before she could change her mind, he moved his lips to hers. He lingered for a moment, but didn’t take it further than that. He’d seen his parents and others in the village kiss with passion. They had almost a year before they could marry; he could be patient. “That was the best kiss I’ve ever had.”
She giggled. “For me too.”
He laughed with her, then gave her a stern look. “You’ll never have the chance to compare it to another man now. You’re mine.”
Before she could say anything back, he claimed her lips again.
The fire snapped, pulling Aude back to the present. A quiet snort escaped as she recalled Brýningr’s talent for quieting her; a kiss worked every time. She sighed. Of course, they didn’t marry as planned. While she and Brýningr were enjoying their days in his tree fort, the Chieftain and her father were busy discussing her wedding. Her wedding to Brýningr’s older brother, Skúli. No amount of begging could change the decision and the arranged marriage moved forward. As soon as the wedding was over, Brýningr left the area, returning only to join the men when they left on their raids. After he’d been gone for three winters, he was welcomed back to the clan with open arms. It was on the raid the following summer that Aude’s husband Skúli, was killed. As was tradition, and since he was still single, Brýningr married Aude. It took over six months for them to consummate the marriage. Brýningr felt he couldn’t find happiness at the cost of his brother’s life and Aude agreed. Slowly, the guilt subsided, and they started to enjoy married life. She smiled as she thought about how they’d enjoyed each other; they’d made four babies.
A sharp pain stopped her thoughts and took the smile from her face. It was a contraction! The baby wasn’t due until the middle of winter. Since it was early in the season, it was too soon. Babies didn’t survive early births like this. The room seemed to spin as she realized her unborn child, her last connection to Brýningr would be lost as well. The last of the hope she’d been keeping in her heart faded. Aude felt that hope flow out of her body as it was replaced with fear; fear of birthing a stillborn, fear of waiting forever for Brýningr to return, fear of never seeing his face again.
As her own house servant was sent with Brýningr to be traded for food, she was the only adult in the house. She knew she should call her oldest child, Brúnn, to get help. She knew she should steady her breathing so maybe she could slow things down. She knew many things she should be doing but in her grief, she chose to do nothing.
The contractions continued well into the night. She suffered in silence, softly speaking to her baby in between the bouts of pain. Stroking her belly, she told her unborn child that she was sorry for not being strong enough to keep the pregnancy going. When her candle went out, she was startled by the coo of her youngest child. The little girl didn’t wake, but the noise was enough; enough to make her realize that she needed to live for her children. As hard as losing Brýningr again would be; she didn’t have a choice. Five children were depending on her. A sixth if somehow the baby survived.
With renewed purpose, the laboring woman crawled to her oldest to wake him and he left to get help. Within minutes several villagers arrived. It took hours until the baby came; a girl. The newborn took a few shallow breaths while her mother kissed her head then she passed as quietly as she’d arrived in the world. After the baby was gone, she gave her focus to the village midwife; she saw panic and Aude knew there was no hope. The birth had felt different and now she could feel the blood leaving her body. After a final glance at her children, her world went black for one final time.
Sookie woke from her nap with a start. For several minutes she couldn’t get enough air in her lungs; like a vice was preventing her from taking a deep breath. She knew she was in her bed, but she couldn’t see anything beyond the tears blurring her eyes. When the burning in her lungs finally stopped and the tears cleared her eyes, she was left with one blazing realization; a need she felt to her core. Her mundane evening of waitressing at the bar was a distant thought as she threw on a hoodie and raced to her car. Sunset wasn’t for almost two hours, but she had to be at Eric’s house even if she sat on the grass until he could let her in. Driving erratically through traffic, Sookie struggled to see through the tears that continued to fall. Finally in his driveway, she paused and thanked the Gods that she’d made it in one piece.
Now outside his door, she was unsure what to do. From the few times she’d stayed at Eric’s, she knew he could rise well before sunset, but he stayed in his chamber. Though she was sure he was awake, she wasn’t sure about using her key and barging in. For the past few weeks, things between them hadn’t been going well. A contract ordering his marriage to another woman sat at the center of the discord. That was going to change though. Sitting back and letting Freyda and Appius win wasn’t going to happen. Starting tonight, she… no they, would fight for their future.
He is relieved
Well over an hour before he could leave his saferoom, Eric heard Sookie approach and start banging and yelling from his porch. Luckily, with his security system, he could see her and used the intercom to invite her in. From what he saw on his security video, Sookie looked frantic. She dropped her keys twice from shaking hands while she sobbed. As he did multiple times a day, he cursed the loss of their blood bond. Without it, he had no idea she’d been in such a state. Worse, he realized after a moment, she’d driven almost an hour in her crazed condition. Good Gods! She could have killed herself when she only needed to make a call to Mustapha for a ride.
He waited at his door and he felt the thunderous footsteps as she ran through the house. He heard the outer door to his chamber click closed and knew it was safe to open the inner door. With a speed that rivaled a vampire, she was in his arms and sobbing hysterically. With Sookie, he knew he needed to wait the crying out, so he carried her to the bed where he could cradle her.
After what felt like an eternity, she looked at him and said, “You took your father’s name.”
His jaw dropped. Not even Pam knew that Erik was a form of Eiríkr, his father’s name. At that thought, every unused organ in his body seemed to clench. She knew, somehow Sookie finally knew she was his Aude reborn!
He still hadn’t spoken before she asked her next question. “How long have you known Brýningr, my husband?”
He didn’t bother to fight back the tears that fell to his cheeks when he answered. “Since the first night you walked into Fangtasia.”
She couldn’t control the shocked gasp that escaped as she wiped his tears away. “How?” In frustration, she slapped her leg with one hand. “How did you know, and I didn’t?”
“I’m not reborn Sookie, er ah… Aude, you are.”
“I look pretty different though, so tell me, how did you know?”
He wondered, now that she remembered who she was, if she’d recall what he’d said to her over a millennium ago. “I’d tell you that my heart stopped beating then began to race when I saw you, but that’s physically impossible. I did have a physical reaction though.” He paused and told her with a hand on his chest. “From my chest a warm tingle spread out through my body until every finger and toe felt the jolt. Then the warmth cascaded back like a wave receding from its crest. That warmth, that wave has stayed inside me from that moment on.” He asked her, “Do you believe me?”
She smiled through her tears. “I do.” She reached up and gave him a kiss, he responded with enthusiasm, but pulled back after a moment. They had much to discuss. Like how she suddenly knew she was Aude. “You used the same words today that you told me in the first days we were together.”
He smiled widely. “I was hoping you would remember; I mean, now that you know.” He gave her another kiss before continuing. “I must confess, on that first night when you got to my stage, any lingering doubt about who you were was gone when I saw your eyes. They are no different.”
“Neither are yours.” She reached up to run her fingers through his stubble. “Though you lost the beard you sported when we were married.”
Sheepishly he offered the reason why his beard was gone. “I shaved it to go meet a potential new wife.”
His comment caused her to start crying anew. He wasn’t sure why. “What’s wrong?”
“I let myself die Eric er ah, Brýningr. I waited too long to have Brúnn run for help. When I could feel the baby coming, I knew it was too soon and at first, I couldn’t bear to live without you and the child that would have been my last connection to you. I thought you weren’t coming home. What happened?”
“My men and I were traveling back. We’d traded the beasts and half of the slaves for enough grain to get through the winter. About two days out from home, Ran slipped and broke his leg. We splinted it and created a way for him to continue but at a slower pace. Ran pleaded with us to leave him, but his injury would heal, and I wasn’t about to lose a man on a mission for food.” She nodded to indicate her agreement with his decision. “I arrived home while you were still…” His hands shook as he remembered. “All the blood… you were unconscious but dy…” He couldn’t get the words out. “I held you until you left me; our children circled around us. Then I buried you with the baby girl on your chest. I named her Kari.”
Offering a weak smile through her tears she complimented the name. “It’s beautiful. Your Aunt would have been proud.” To help them both, he pulled her tightly to his chest. Her crying increased again and she blurted out, “All our babies Eric, our children. Alone.”
His heart broke again for the loss of his family, but he knew he needed to explain something to Sookie. He shook his head, “They weren’t alone. My sister took them all and her husband became Chieftain until Brúnn was old enough. Appius was cruel, but we returned once after my first year, so I could see them. It’s the only thing he ever did that was kind.”
With a growl, she added her feelings on Eric’s maker. “He died too quickly. With that damn Oklahoma contract, he’s torturing you… actually us from his grave er… puddle.” Abruptly, she stood and paced; then yelled out. “What are we going to do? I’m not giving up my husband, min make, now. Not after I know who I am, who we are.”
When she made another pass in front of him, he reached out and pulled her back to his lap. He drew a breath he didn’t need before he spoke to her. “Sookie… we have something new in dealing with the contracts. We’re fighting it together. We’ll find a way to be together.” He turned her, so she was straddling him with her knees on the bed. “Right now, I want to start a fire in the living room, lay you down on a pile of furs and make love to you; my wife, min fru, min Aude.”
She giggled. “There you go again, claiming me as yours when we know darn well, you’re my husband, min make, min Brýningr.”
He put his forehead on hers and smiled as he said, “I am yours and I always have been.”
“Well, Freya, you made phase one happen. What’s next, will they make it?” Adele smiled as she spoke to the Norse Goddess. They’d been watching the reunion and stopped when the whole fire and make love thing started. Sookie’s Gran did not need to see her granddaughter enjoying that pleasure.
Freya patted the woman tenderly. They’d become close while they schemed and worked to get the couple together. “Of course they will.” The Goddess waived her hands around like she was cleaning up something. “The mess with Freyda will be over shortly. Desmond Cataliades knows how to cancel the contracts and I’ve arranged for him to return safely to Louisiana.”
Adele relaxed. “That’s good Freya.” She paused, and her mood changed. “You know, I saw the dream when you sent it to Sookie.” Freya nodded, “Their children were beautiful.”
“That’s going to be hard for Sookie, well Aude, to reconcile.”
Freya offered a sly smile. “A baby will help with that.”
Adele’s eyes twinkled when she asked, “And how are you going to make that one happen?”
She waived her arms around them. “You know how all this works by now. We’re all one big happy family of God, Gods, Goddesses, Spirits… everyone coexists.”
Gran spoke over Freya’s next words. “Yes, I know this. It doesn’t answer my question.”
Speaking as if Adele hadn’t interrupted her, “And do you recall my talents?”
Adele giggled, “You mean besides being called the party girl of Aesir?” Freyda offered a mock glare. “You set yourself up for that one. Now, back to your question… you’re the Goddess of war, love, beauty, fertil…” The ‘AHA’ moment was clear on Adele’s face.
Freya nodded. “I said we work together up here. I mean, the whole Immaculate Conception thing was a team effort.”
“Ironic that’s it’s currently Christmas on Earth since you brought that up.”
Freya nodded. “By their next Christmas, there will be a baby with them.” She smiled and took both of Adele’s hands in hers. “I promise.” Adele took a breath to speak and added, “And don’t worry, Eric will know it’s his child. I can send dreams, even to the dead.”
Hours later, Eric and Sookie were enjoying the fire while laying on a palette made from Eric’s furs. The sharing of both bodies and blood had been intense, their hearts feeling whole in a way they hadn’t felt in a millennium. Words hadn’t been needed for several hours but Eric knew they had to talk, had to make decisions.
“Min alskade, we need to talk through a few things.”
A new voice entered the room and replied. “You most certainly do! I’ve been calling for hours!” Pam had appeared in the entry to the living room looking nothing like her usual perfectly coiffed self. Her hair was sticking out at all angles, her mascara blended with blood tears in tracks down her cheeks, and one of the heels had broken off a shoe. “What is going on here? You ignored my phone calls, my bond calls… for sex?”
Eric moved to cover Sookie with a fur blanket while he yelled at his vampire child. “PAMELA! Calm yourself and explain.”
“Your emotions have been scaring the shit out of me. I started crying in the middle of the office at Fangtasia, in front of Thalia, for fuck’s sake. I tried to reach you without barging in but the last hour, you seemed both calm and panicked at the same time. I couldn’t wait any longer.” She moved further into the room and sat on the sofa. “I don’t understand anything I’ve felt from you tonight.”
To Eric, the answer was simple. “She knows Pam, Sookie… well Aude, she remembers.”
Like Eric, Pam’s jaw dropped at the explanation and she stared at the couple, saying nothing for several moments. He could see when she finished rolling the news through her head when she turned and looked at him. Pam’s first words were spoken to herself, “I wasn’t sure I ever really believed him, his story about Sookie being Aude… until now.” She turned to Sookie to learn more; she had to be sure the story was true. “Did he tell you and you’re only humoring him? How is it you know?”
“I woke from a dream… well more like a memory. I saw when Brýningr and I met, I saw us married, I saw the night I… the night I gave birth and… the night the baby and I died.” Eric squeezed Sookie tightly. With the faint blood tie they’d started, he could feel her pain; he shared it.
Pam’s face showed her shock. “It’s true then, it’s really true?” She gave a relieved smile to her maker and he nodded. “I’m happy for you.” She put her finger to her chin, as if thinking of something then added, “Know this though, I’m not calling you Brýningr and Aude. I’m too stuck in my ways.”
All of them chuckled at her words and Sookie replied. “That’s fine Pam, I think we’ll do the same.”
Pam cocked her head to the side. “Why the panic then?”
Eric wrapped his arms tighter around Sookie. “We have more to lose now.”
Pam grabbed her phone and was about to dial when she stopped, her finger poised over the screen. “You’re committing to each other now, no going back? You’re going to fight the Oklahoma contract together?”
Sookie answered for them, “I have no idea why you asked that, but yes. We even started the bond again last night.” With a soft kiss to Eric’s forehead, she affirmed. “We’re going to fight Freyda and the contract together. I’m not giving up my husband again.”
“Good. Cataliades came into Fangtasia tonight. He had the pleasure of seeing me at my worst.” Indicating Eric was to blame for her appearance, she glared at him before continuing. “Anyway, it’s safe for him in Louisiana now and he needs to speak to both of you about the marriage contract. But only, and I quote, ‘if Sookie and Eric are ready to pull their heads out of their asses and fight together’. Seems you’re ready.”
Relieved that Cataliades had returned, Eric smiled and answered for himself and his wife, “We are Pam. Get him on the phone.”
One Year Later:
“And the Evil Queen of Oklahoma was conquered by the mighty pen of Sir Cataliades. Embarrassed from her defeat, she ran from the states, never to be heard from again.” Eric rocked the baby in his arms for a moment and ended the story. “Then the most beautiful baby girl ever, Kari, was born and Eric, Sookie, and Kari lived happily ever after.”
Sookie appeared in the doorway of the nursery. “Are you telling her that story again?”
“It’s my favorite. I want it to be hers.” He gazed down at his baby girl and she smiled for him. “LOOK SOOKIE! She smiled! Her first smile.”
Sookie ran to the rocker to look at her baby. “Kari, you’ve made Mommy’s night.” She kissed Kari then Eric. “Must have been the happily ever after part.” Eric made room for her on his lap, so he could hold his girls together. “I know it makes me smile.”
“Me too min fru, me too.”