Eric wasn’t surprised when he rose for the night to find Sookie’s voluptuous pregnant body wrapped around his cool frame. Running his long fingers over the smooth curves of her face, he thought about how little sleep she had been getting lately. With Lukas constantly moving about squashing her bladder, kicking her ribs, and sometimes making it difficult to breathe, Sookie was exhausted.
Easing out of bed with a few leviative moves to not wake her from her peaceful slumber, Eric quickly showered and dressed.
Deciding to surprise her with dinner, he called his youngest progeny. Surely she’d know of a place where he could get her food. He wanted to impress her and show that he could properly take care of his Sookie.
Eric was confident in almost all things, overly so, but after the canned food debacle he had to concede that he knew nothing of modern food. Hell, he barely remembered much about food from his human days. Being a male in those days, he didn’t prepare his meals even when out a-Viking, especially being the son of the chieftain, and then later assuming leadership after his family had been murdered by Russell.
Yes, it may have felt good at the time to kill Russell, but it hadn’t brought back his father, mother, or baby sister. Eric knew that the twinge in his chest when he thought of them would never go away. It had diminished the all-consuming pain left during his human years to that tight twinge whenever he would think of them, but it never truly left him.
He shook his head from the memories of his human family and back to his … He wasn’t sure what to call Sookie and Lukas. They were not his vampire family like Pam and Willa. They were simply his family, one he knew he could now not live without.
Gods, what would he do if Sookie didn’t want to bond with him? Eric was unsure if she’d be receptive to always feeling him after a lifetime of hearing others’ thoughts.
He knew he needed to give her time to decide, and tonight he was going to explain the significance of bonding after she had eaten dinner.
That’s where Willa came in. He needed her advice. Pam had never bothered with humans after she was turned except for the standard feed and fuck. At times, he thought she was worse than him.
Dialing up Willa, he waited for her to answer. Luckily he didn’t have to wait long, she answered on the second ring.
“Eric?” Willa questioned. “Is Sookie alright?”
Once Sookie had come back into his life, Willa hadn’t heard from Eric but a few times. She had only just risen for the night and thought that Eric would want to be spending the first moments of his night with Sookie, not talking to her.
“Sookie is fine. She’s sleeping. It’s becoming more difficult for her to sleep and rest the further along she is in her pregnancy. I was hoping that you could help me.”
“Sure. Anything you need.”
“I would like to pick up a nice dinner for Sookie while she’s asleep and have it waiting for her when she wakes up.”
“Awww,” Willa breathed into the phone.
“What? Do you think it’s a bad idea?” He asked confused by her noise.
“No, it’s not a bad idea at all. It’s sweet and romantic, not something I would ever associate with you.”
Not knowing how to respond and get Willa to help him, Eric stayed silent.
Maybe it was sweet and maybe it was romantic, but it was for Sookie. Only for Sookie.
Unnecessarily clearing her throat, Willa surmised that Eric wasn’t going to speak.
“I think I know just the place. I’ll call in an order that I know she loves,” She quickly relayed the address to the restaurant and wished him a good night.
Wanting to be back before she woke, but knew there was a possibility that she might wake, Eric wrote her a quick note and placed it on his pillow before he took off into the night sky.
Once he got to the restaurant, Eric realized that flying probably wasn’t the best way for him to get to Shreveport. Sookie’s food would be cold from his high-speed and the night’s temperature. Asking if there was a way to keep the food warm, the restaurant employee assisting him said they had nothing but what the food was enclosed in other than the insulated bags they used for deliveries.
Not caring about the cost and only that his hopefully-future bonded’s food was warm when she awoke, he left many hundred dollars poorer, but confident that Sookie’s food would be as perfect when she awoke as when he left the restaurant.
All throughout his flight back, Eric probed his weak tie with Sookie to make sure she was safe and if she was awake yet.
He couldn’t wipe the smile from his face as he landed with a quiet thud and made his way inside their safe house. Sookie was still asleep and he was going to be able to surprise her.
Instead of setting up dinner downstairs, Eric decided that Sookie had been cooped up in the house for far too long. Any other time she would have been fighting him about rarely getting to leave. He sat the insulated bag on the kitchen counter upstairs and made his way out into the backyard to the fire pit. After quickly making a fire, he brought the patio furniture, including a table and chairs, to encircle the fire. Zipping inside once more, he grabbed a couple of blankets and the food before placing them out of view.
Taking one last look to make sure everything looked exactly the way he wanted it presented, Eric had a fleeting thought about candlelight, but the fire would have to do. As far as he knew there were no candles in the house, and there didn’t need to be with a backup generator that was set to come on a few minutes after the house was without power.
Never did Eric think he’d be here with Sookie asking her to bond with him. Who could have predicted such an outcome?
Shaking his head, Eric couldn’t believe his good fortune as he made his way downstairs. Plucking the note he left her from his pillow, Eric threw it away before going back to their bed and sitting by his sleeping fairy.
Not wanting to disturb Sookie from her much needed sleep, Eric sat as impossibly still as only a vampire could and allowed his eyes to trace over her figure. Starting first with her long golden hair that was splayed out across her pillow to her long eyelashes that fanned out across her creamy cheeks, her perfect nose, and finally resting them on her soft full pink lips.
He wanted to kiss those lips and run his tongue along them, but he’d have to wait. Sookie and her much needed sleep were more important than his constant want of feeling them on his lips, neck, …
Letting out a small groan, Eric willed his erection down. Get used to it, he thought to himself and his aching cock.
He made his eyes move on from her sinful lips and down, only to gaze at her well-endowed breasts.
When his eyes landed on her round pregnant belly, Eric kept his eyes locked there as he watched what appeared to be a tiny foot pushing out. His eyes darted to look at Sookie’s face to make sure she was undisturbed, and then back again as he watched who he would soon call his son move about in his tiny confined space. He knew he didn’t need to look to know if Sookie was awake. He’d be able to hear her breathing changing and her heart rate increase when she awoke, but he wanted to be looking into her eyes when they opened tonight.
It didn’t take long of Lukas moving about and kicking Sookie’s insides for her to awaken. Letting out a small yawn along with a stretch, Sookie opened her eyes to see Eric’s endlessly blue eyes looking down at her. She spotted the faint wrinkles around the corners of his eyes from smiling. A smile instantly spread, curling her lips when she noticed the happiness in his eyes.
“Hey,” Sookie quietly spoke with a smile.
“Good evening,” Eric replied before he ducked his head and placed a soft kiss to the lips that had tormented him earlier.
“What time is it?” Sookie asked wondering how long she’d been asleep if Eric was already up and dressed.
“About an hour after sundown,” he responded automatically.
“I didn’t mean to sleep so long. I guess I was more tired than I thought,” Sookie stretched and yawned again before curling around Eric’s form.
“You needed it,” Eric was quiet for a moment, hoping tonight ended the way he wanted, with Sookie agreeing to bond with him after they moved to Sweden.
“After you’re done with your needs meet me upstairs,” he said with a mischievous smile. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Yes, so hurry up,” Eric replied with a quick kiss and zipping out of the room.
Sookie had never seen Eric so happy except after he drank her fairy godmother down and she doubted he had drained a fairy in the short amount of time he’d been up.
Taking care of her needs as quickly as an almost-nine month pregnant woman could, Sookie made her way up the stairs and onto the first floor of the house. Not immediately spotting Eric, she walked through the house in search of her vampire until she saw a small fire lit in the backyard.
Once she opened the back door, Eric stepped out from the tree line and slowly made his way over to his mate. Taking her small hand in his, Eric silently led her over to the table and chairs, pulled out her seat, and helped her sit comfortably before taking his own.
“What’s all this?” Sookie asked after surveying the changes of the backyard and Eric’s now quiet demeanor.
Taking her hands in his, Eric kissed each before placing them on the table with their fingers laced together.
“I wanted to surprise you with a nice dinner that you didn’t have to cook yourself, and I know you’ve been stuck in the house for far too long. I wanted to give you an opportunity to enjoy being out of the house with the exception of going to the doctor,” he explained.
“That’s very sweet of you. Thank you,” Sookie replied with a beaming smile.
“You deserve so much more than a dinner in a backyard, but until the fairies are taken care of that is all I can offer.”
“It’s more than anyone else has ever done for me.”
Eric silently fumed at the thought of all who had mistreated her throughout her life and couldn’t wait to take her to his homeland where they would be better accepted.
Looking around again, Sookie wondered where the food was. With a longer nap than expected, she was getting hungry. Sookie felt as if she was either always hungry or tired lately and, although she was enjoying her pregnancy, she was ready to have Lukas in her arms and able to start their lives in Sweden.
“Hmm,” he hummed.
“Where’s the food? I’m getting hungry. ”
Zipping out of his chair and grabbing the food he had hidden, he quickly began removing the containers of food and placing them on the table in front of Sookie. Carton after carton was placed on the table until there was almost no room left to sit anything else down.
“What is all this?” Sookie asked as she took in all the boxes. “Am I supposed to eat all this tonight?”
Sitting down in the chair across from Sookie, Eric scowled. Why had Willa ordered so much food? She would definitely be hearing about this. He wanted tonight to be perfect.
“Hey,” Sookie quietly spoke when she noticed a slight frown on his face. “I can always refrigerate what I don’t eat and heat it up later. It all smells good.”
Eric nodded, but continued to scowl at the boxes of food.
“Are you alright?” She asked. Eric’s moods were all over the place tonight. He had gone from excited, to quiet, and now upset. It was quite unusual for him.
“I wanted your dinner to be perfect, for tonight to be perfect. That’s all.” A small almost-nervous smile tipped his lips.
“Then you succeeded. It’s perfect and unexpected. Who knew Eric Northman could be romantic?”
The smile on her face warmed his cold dead heart and decreased his nervousness.
“Certainly not myself. Please eat,” he replied and motioned to the table filled with food.
Sookie ate quietly keeping her gaze on the vampire before her. He sat motionless, his back straight with confidence, but one look into his eyes betrayed that confidence. Those same eyes never left her face.
After one last bite, she sat her fork down, put her hands on her ever expanding belly, and patiently waited for him to speak.
It didn’t take long. Eric’s eye swept the table, and a scowl once again graced his face for a brief moment before he stood and held his hand out for her to take. Once standing, he silently led her over to a lounge chair and patiently waited for her to get comfortable.
Unfortunately it didn’t seem like there was a position that let her body fully relax or get comfortable. Taking matters into his own hands, Eric slipped in behind her, bringing his hands down to her lower back and started to nimbly massage at each knot and sore spot before moving further and further up her back until Sookie laid languidly back against his chest.
Wrapping both arms around her, Eric placed his large hands against her stomach. Stretching his fingers out, he lightly caressed her before taking a deep breath of her scent. If he had thought she smelled irresistible before, now she smelled like a Goddess; there were simply no words to describe how her scent became the most perfect of bouquets, the child within amplifying what was already perfection.
Letting out his breath, he dipped his head to place a kiss amongst her golden hair before resting his cheek atop her head and constricting his arms around her frame with only the barest amount of pressure.
“Are you comfortable?” Eric asked quietly, almost afraid to break the tranquility of the night.
“Yes,” Sookie hummed, snuggling her head further against his broad chest and expansive muscles.
“I would like to explain to you about bonding ourselves to one another. The choice is entirely up to you, and should you agree to grant me this honor, I’d like to finalize our union after you’re comfortably settled in Sweden,” he explained steadily, calmly, if not almost robotically.
“Eric,” Sookie’s head tilting to the side so that she could look up at him. Eric leaned his head against the lounger and looked down at her. “You sound so formal; unless something’s changed, you shouldn’t make it seem like a business deal.”
“The only thing that has changed is the intensity of my feelings for you and Lukas. How badly I want this with you, but I don’t want my feelings to affect your answer. You must decide this for yourself. I will accept your answer regardless of your decision.”
Sookie nodded, and then turned her head back around. “Please tell me about bonding.”
“I’ll tell you what I know,” he said playing with the hem of her shirt. “It is rare for a vampire to bond oneself to another, and with your fae heritage what happens between a vampire and a human could be a somewhat different. To bond we would need to exchange blood three times. We have already exchanged once in my cubby of your house. I am unsure if it will count as an exchange or if it is null and void.”
“Why?” Sookie asked interrupting.
“I could no longer feel you within my blood until only recently. I’m unsure if I must be able to feel you. My connection to you was dead for many years. There’s no guide book to follow. I can only go by what I’ve learned throughout the years and speculate.”
“Do you think it will count as an exchange?” She asked quietly.
“My gut tells me… no. There was no trace of my blood within you for many years.”
Sookie could hear the tiniest bit of sadness in his tone. She laced their fingers together before bringing their joined hands up and placing a kiss to the back of his hand. After holding their hands against her heart for a few moments, Eric continued.
“To exchange means that I must take your blood and you mine with the others blood still on our lips. I would hope the last exchange if you choose to do so would be a lovers exchange.”
Sookie could feel what the physical result of that third exchange did to him as she felt him grow against her back. Eric didn’t acknowledge his growing excitement and only kissed the top of her head before continuing.
“With each exchange the strength of our tie would grow, and, after the third and final exchange, you would be able to feel everything that I feel and be able to locate me. A vampire can close down their side of the bond, but normally a human cannot. That may or may not be the case with you. We can call one another as a Maker can to their child, push feelings toward the other if wanted or needed.”
Eric picked at a spot on the quilt that was directly on top of her belly button incessantly.
“What do you mean needed?” Sookie asked trying to process everything she was learning.
“For example, if we were in a situation where I wanted to warn you I would send you caution, or if you were scared, I could send you calm and reassurance. The point isn’t about having to send emotions during those type of situations, but the honor of feeling one another day or night.”
“What could I feel from you during the day?”
“If I’m in my day death then you would only feel that I’m alive and my location. Although I do believe that if you pushed your emotions at me during that time you could easily wake me.”
“Anything else?” Sookie asked turning her body so that it was sideways in his lap and could look upon him, stopping his fingers from digging a hole in the quilt.
“Are you nervous?” She asked curiously.
Eric looked up at the night sky and his fingers absentmindedly found her hair and started to twirl it around.
“Hey,” Sookie’s voice came out soothingly as she placing her hand on his cheek and brought his eyes down to meet hers.
“Nervous? Of course I am.”
“Don’t be,” she smiled at him.
“How could I not be? I’m terrified that you will say no, but it doesn’t matter what I feel. This is your decision.”
“Why do you think I’ll say no to you?” Sookie couldn’t understand why he continued to feel that way.
“You’ve never had the privacy you deserved with being a telepath and I’m asking you to feel my every emotion for the rest of our lives. I can understand why you wouldn’t want that intrusion.”
“Thank you for letting me decide, telling me the facts, and not making this decision for me.”
“I would never do that to you,” Eric replied vehemently.
“I know and I thank you. Is there anything else about bonding I should know?”
“It is said that if the vampire dies the human bonded goes crazy and soon dies. Depending on how deeply they are bonded together, whether they are bonded out of love or control, if it’s made out of love, which ours would be, then when the human dies eventually the vampire will meet the sun. ”
“No, Eric!” Sookie exclaimed and became stiff in his arms. “Why would you want that? I can’t have you die because of me.”
Sorrow filled his eyes before looking ahead out into the woods surrounding the property.
“It doesn’t matter if we are bonded or not, I will not want to live in a world where you do not exist. And before you argue with me,” he said looking down at Sookie again. “I do not believe that you will have the lifespan of a human and if you take my blood regularly you could live hundreds of years, if not more. That’s something we should ask your grandfather. My hope is that one day in the very far off future you’ll choose to spend eternity with me.”
“Eric, as much as I want to bond with you I don’t know if I can hand you a death sentence,” Sookie replied sadly. Her head was spinning with Eric’s revelation that he would die when she did if they bonded.
But he would find a way to end his undead life even if they didn’t bond.
“Then don’t ever die,” he spoke earnestly with sadness in his eyes.
She knew by the look in his eyes that he would indeed find a way to no longer live if she wasn’t on this Earth.
“Can I think about it? It’s all too much and I need time to figure all of this out,” she asked, her eyes rimmed with tears.
“Take all the time that you need.” Brushing his fingertips across her cheek, Eric whispered, “I would wait forever for you.”
With wide eyes, Sookie nodded before she rested her head against his firm chest.
A soft breeze engulfed them as they both remained silent, enjoying the comfortable embrace of each others arms. The fire popped and cracked as tiny red and orange sparks floated high into the night sky.
“Can you explain something to me” Sookie asked as she turned her head to look at Eric.
“Anything,” he sincerely replied, his cool fingers making small circular motions on the pulse point of her petite wrist.
“Before you mentioned that if we bonded it would symbolize our marriage in the supernatural world. I don’t understand how.”
Kissing her temple first, Eric gazed down at his beloved and smiled. Yes, he was unhappy that she didn’t immediately say ‘yes’, but she was being smart and thinking about it, asking questions.
“Bonding is a lifelong commitment, stronger than any human marriage. There’s no divorce. It’s permanent from the moment the bond is complete until the day we die.” Eric explained, his voice calm and soothing. “That’s why it is very rare for a vampire to bond oneself to a human.”
“Do you know any vampires that have bonded with a human?” Sookie asked.
“No,” Eric shook his head with a soft smile. “Like I said it is very rare.”
Sookie was quiet for a moment as she absorbed this new information. “Anything else?”
“No one may take your blood or my blood without permission from the other’s bonded. In the event that you are harmed or your blood taken without permission, it would be my right and pleasure to end their life.”
Eric’s words stunned her, but Sookie understood. If anyone were to harm him or her baby she would feel the same.
Seeing the expression on her face, Eric quickly continued. “However, I do not foresee this happening in Sweden, especially where we will be living. Most people in Europe are very accepting of vampires and vampire-human relationships. And as far as I know, Pam and I are the only vampires on the island and Pam may not even live there.”
“Oh?” Sookie raised her eyebrows with surprise.
“She considers it to be a ‘windy shithole,’” Eric rolled his eyes, and then grinned. “But I do not imagine her being very far.”
He wasn’t sure if all he had said had helped or was going to hurt his cause, but there was no way he was going to lie to her, not now, not ever.
“I love you, Sookie, and bonding to you is to show you the highest honor that I know.”
Leaning down, Eric’s lips first brushed, and then with utmost care met Sookie’s in the most tender, reverent kiss.
Sookie sat dazed with her fingers lightly touching her lips where she could still feel his lips on hers. She wished it was possible that she could always feel that perfect kiss on this perfect night, but knew that they had many, many more nights of with even better things to come.
“I love you, Eric,” she said boldly, unafraid now to say the words to him. The smile that lit up his face only made her want to say it every minute on the hour only to see him so happy. She only hoped her next words wouldn’t spoil their night or wipe the joy from his face.
“I need time,” she softly murmured. “I have so much to think about.”
The smile fell from his lips and she could see the hurt in his eyes briefly before she leaned up and kissed first his soft, full lips, and then his chin before wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly. Tears welled up in her eyes at the thought of bringing him pain, but she knew she needed to think through all he told her tonight and make the right decision for her, Lukas, and Eric. The only thing holding her back was the thought that one day she would be responsible for his death.
“Please do not cry, Sookie,” Eric spoke from the top of her head as he held her to him.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I love you. Please don’t give up on me, just give me a little time.”
“And I love you,” Eric murmured with his cool lips pressed against her in a soft kiss. “You have all the time in the world, min älskade. Let us enjoy the night. The stars are bright and the fire is warm. Perhaps later when we go back inside I’ll draw you a nice warm bath. How does that sound?”
“It sounds like the perfect ending to the most perfect night of my life,” she replied against his neck.
“I hope to provide you with many more, min älskade.”
“I know you will,” Sookie spoke with conviction.