AN: Many apologies for the update delay. I work in a nursing home and my son is in kindergarten. Between my son and I, we have passed around strep throat, H1N1 flu, and some weird ass plague I picked up at work (that was like a prolonged bout of food poisoning). In addition, as some of you may know, I have also been spending time working with naimademars on the fabulous blog she created for my stories (FYI, it is alh1971 dot wordpress dot com-there you will find MA stories that are not posted on this site and are also brilliantly accompanied by photos and gifs that bring the stories to life-naimademars did an amazing job!). So yeah, excuses, excuses, but the bottom line is that I have gotten behind on my writing and I am sorry about that, for what it’s worth.
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who took time to review or send a PM last chapter. I try very hard to respond to reviews but am not always consistent. Please know that I read and appreciate each and every one of them-they mean so much to me. : )
Disclaimer: SVM characters belong to Charlaine Harris.
Much thanks to Virala for her input on this story!
Sookie felt as if she were swimming up from the bottom of a warm, deep lake. Her eyelids fluttered as she fought towards sentience. She had been dreaming of a large man with long blonde hair, his tresses silvered by moonlight and blown back by strong winds as he navigated a small ship on a dark, choppy sea.
She opened her eyes to the very man from her dream, who was smiling and gently caressing her face.
Eric laughed softly, “Welcome back, little one.”
She grinned, abashed that he had been watching her sleep. She looked up at him through her lashes.
“I apologize. I know not why I was overcome with swoon. I last recall that we had…” She stopped, blushing as she thought back to when she shared blood with Eric. She had been engulfed by an unknown ecstasy that had flooded her entire body with light and heated electricity. Never before had she felt such intense arousal.
“Yes, we shared a mutual exchange of blood, my Sookie. I deem that the magick from the intermingling of our essences is to blame for your swoon but…I have never before heard of a vampire-fae bond. In truth, I also know not what to expect hereafter. I have been bestowed the gift of day walking and am immune to silver from the combination of Colman’s healing spell and intermingling of fae blood. And…Sookie, I wonder if it is also possible you may have likewise been gifted with something from my vampire nature. It remains to be seen.” He paused before he continued. “Our mutual exchange is but one of three that we must share ere a permanent bond is established.” His voice trailed softly as he reached out and cupped her tiny chin in his hand. “If that is what you still mean to do, little one? To become my bonded?”
She sighed and nuzzled into him. Despite the deep and ancient enmity between their two races, she had an inexplicable yearning, an instinctive urge to bond to this mysterious and dangerous creature who humbled himself before her. She gazed up at him, startling at the depth of emotion reflected in blue eyes so similar in color to hers.
“Yes, Eric. I…I feel deep in my heart that I was meant to bond with you. I cannot explain the depth of my resolve to do so…it is strange, but I feel as if I was meant to cleave to you, to become…”
“My mate,” he finished.
His countenance betrayed such intensity and longing, it caused her to blush again. She nodded. “Yes.”
Eric smiled broadly, dazzling her with his masculine beauty. He reached out and pulled her to him, cradling her to his chest while stroking her hair. He murmured softly, “I had resolved to spend my long years alone…In all the endless, dark nights roaming this world I have never found the one that I truly felt belonged to me.”
Sookie smiled and pulled her head back to gaze guilelessly at him. “I reckon you did not find me in your world, Eric. You had to leave yours and enter another realm to meet me.”
She squeezed him as much as she was able since her arms were not able to completely wrap around his massive torso and giggled as she heard his deep, rumbling laughter in his chest. She found that she loved the sound beyond words.
He gently tugged her hair. “Aye, you speak the truth, little one. I had to enter Faery to find you. Now that I have found you, I will not allow you to be harmed.” He paused before he added softly but menacingly, “And I will never let you go.” His voice was gentle but Sookie saw that his eyes glowed. She had no doubt that he was deadly serious. She shuddered with involuntary arousal.
Eric’s nostrils flared and he let out a low growl as he scented her. He could feel through their blood connection that she was filled with lust and desire for him. His fangs descended and he felt his manhood hardening, straining against the leather breeches. He closed his eyes and with great reluctance pulled back from the lure of her scent and warm, soft body. Now was not the time to seal their love with physical intimacy given their pursuit by the fae trackers. Also, she was an innocent, never before touched by man and unskilled in the art of lovemaking. Given his stature and strength, he would want to take his time with her, prepare her and bring her to ecstasy again and again with his mouth and hands before he would completely take her. No, now was not the time.
He groaned as he gently pushed her from him. She blinked in surprise, questioning him with her eyes.
He smiled. “Sookie, I regret that we cannot spend more time exploring our new blood connection, but we must leave this place.”
She looked around for the first time. They were in a small, simple bedroom in an unfamiliar house. “Where are we?”
“I found an abandoned home at the edge of a village several leagues from where we shared our blood together. I know not why the home was uninhabited, but it appears to belong to a man who lived alone. There is no evidence that a woman or children dwelled here.”
Sookie pushed herself up on her elbows and swung her legs over the bed, sliding the slippers back on that Eric had so thoughtfully removed for her. The room and rest of the modest cabin she could see through the bedroom doorway was sparsely furnished. She looked down and saw she lay upon a crude cot covered by a roughly woven blanket. She stood and walked to the main room. It was evident that no one had been in the home for some time.
Sookie turned and smiled at Eric. “You found the perfect hideaway. How did you find it?”
He chuckled. “It was more that chance favored us, little one. Given your swoon, I was unwilling to be parted from you. As luck would have it, I did not see or hear signs of an inhabitant and found it to be quite perfect for our needs.”
“Hmm, yes, it seems that chance did favor us. Well, I am afraid I woke famished and thirsty. After a quick sup, I reckon I will be ready to depart.”
Eric nodded. “Aye, that is good. Replenish your strength. I wish to fly around the immediate area to assure that we have not been followed. I will return shortly.” He bent down and softly kissed her lips, causing her to let out an inadvertent moan. He chuckled as he turned briefly, his eyes twinkling in mirth before heading out the door.
Sookie went over to the knapsack she had purloined and pulled out some bread and cheese. She began pondering how she might attempt a rescue of her uncle once they discovered Eric’s battalion. She chewed thoughtfully in between sips of water from the canteen.
She was startled out of her musings when Eric burst through the door. His eyes were glowing and fangs had descended. Her heart leapt into her mouth and began to race furiously.
“Come, Sookie. We must leave immediately!” Without another word, he flew in a blur to her, scooping her up, bread in one hand, canteen in the other. She barely had time to grab the knapsack before she felt herself being flown, faster than lightning out the door. She turned her head into his chest and closed her eyes to help prevent dizziness from overcoming her.
Eric didn’t speak to her as he continued to focus all of his energy on flying faster than the wind. Finally after she had gotten some semblance of calm, she tilted her head and spoke to him.
“We were followed.”
He nodded his head once in affirmation, his jaw clenched in anger.
She felt a surge of guilt. While she had been asleep, Crogher and his hounds had been nipping at their very heels.
When Fintan returned to his chambers, he immediately began setting his plan into action. He closed his eyes and summoned his squire, Bevan. In a pop, the youth bowed before him.
“You called your grace? How may I be of assistance?”
Fintan gave him a small smile and placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Greetings Bevan. Have you seen to my armor? Have the smithies repaired it as instructed?”
“That is good. Fetch it at once. And also, procure a new shield and return to me.”
Bevan bowed and disappeared on his errand.
Fintan strode over to his sword, which leaned in its intricately carved and bejeweled scabbard against the wall. He knelt down and said a brief prayer, asking for strength and guidance. He grabbed the sword by the hilt and unsheathed it in one quick motion. The deadly weapon glowed faintly from the fae enhantments bestowed upon it, each rune limned in a bluish light. He smiled a cold, grim smile as he beheld his image in its mirrored silver.
He turned and re-sheathed the blade when Bevan popped into the room, holding his repaired armor in his arms.
“Ah, there it is! Come to me. Help me don it, son.”
Bevan bowed and came to him, ever obedient. As he helped his lord with the armor, he couldn’t keep the anxiety from his face as he beheld the way Fintan favored his injured arm.
Fintan glanced down at him. “I see the distress on your face, squire. Come, you can speak freely. What concerns you?’
Bevan looked up at him, worry marring his youthful appearance. “Sir, if I may be so bold…I er, mean no disrespect, but I see you mean to return to the front lines.” He glanced down at Fintan’s wounded arm. “Your arm, lord. It has not yet healed and it is your shield arm.” He kept his eyes down, fearful of retribution from his master.
Fintan looked at his squire. He was a loyal lad who was quite skilled as an archer, and was also a passable swordsman. He would make a fine knight someday. With a sickened feeling, Fintan realized that the boy would likely have to fight in the vampire war and quite possibly lose his life. It had been a seemingly never-ending campaign that caused him a bone deep sense of weariness.
With a sad smile, he tilted the boy’s face up to look at him. “Bevan, it is true that my arm is not yet in pristine condition, but unfortunately I am in need of haste despite my desire for further convalescence. Not to worry, though lad. I go to the front for counsel, not battle.” Fintan thought to himself that he would be returning to fight soon enough though he kept his thoughts to himself.
The boy produced a nervous smile as Fintan clasped his shoulder. “Now, while I am out, I want you to continue to look after Dubaltach, yes? I have not had sufficient time to check on him but I trust he fares well?”
At the mention of his lord’s magnificent steed, Bevan’s eyes lit up. “Oh yes, lord, he is well, though I daresay he at times seems restless…I deem he pines for his master.”
Fintan smiled, this time the mirth reaching his eyes. “Aye, and his master wishes he could ride him through our kingdom as in days of old.” Fintan held his hand out, making a fist. When he opened it, a golden fruit appeared on his palm. He handed it to the boy. “Here. Take him this úll meala and tell him his master bids him well and that we shall ride again ere long.”
The boy grinned and thrust the fruit into his tunic pocket. “Aye, lord, I shall.”
Fintan smiled and thanked him, bidding him to return to his duties.
After the boy popped away, the smile melted from Fintan’s face. His mouth set in a grim line, he fastened on his sword and shield. He gazed briefly at his bed with an impassive expression on his face before he popped out of his room.
AN: Review if you like.