Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
This chapter was inspired by a book my husband is reading called the Poisoner’s Handbook. It’s absolutely fascinating. Bonus points to anyone who can guess which poison I’m referring to. 😉 Also, you asked for a dream sequence, so you get a dream sequence.
I changed the canon again. Why? Because I can, and because it makes things easier.
NSFW, yet again.
Please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Hold on tight and have fun.
Meridian helped me with all sorts of helpful suggestions again. Thanks! All mistakes are my own.
Eric held his hand out to Marina as they walked from their home to the edge of the water. She spoke of her plans for her future. As she approached the age that daughters became wives, she began to accept her fate.
“I shall miss you the most,” she said, squeezing his hand.
He swallowed hard, trying to keep his emotions in check. Boys on the verge of manhood weren’t supposed to cry at the thought of their sister getting married and leaving home. It didn’t help when her eyes rimmed with tears.
“Hafþórr is very kind,” she said, trying to reassure him. “He gave me this.” She showed him a small piece of wood with the word beauty carved in it. “We will live here. Father has offered him a piece of land.”
Eric nodded, tightening his grip.
“When we have a son, I shall name him Eiríkr, and I will love him just as I love you.”
He couldn’t fight it anymore, he cried, hiding his face in his sleeve. Marina didn’t seem to mind. She wrapped her arms around him and held him as she always had, despite the fact that he was already taller than her.
It wasn’t long after that their walks became sporadic and finally ended. At first, he thought Marina was too busy preparing for her new life, and jealousy forced him to stay away during the day, but every night, over their meal, he noticed something changing in her.
Instead of eating, she held her head between her hands. She always seemed to have a headache. After a time, she stopped joining the family for dinner, complaining of stomachache. It was then that Eric started visiting her in her room.
She stayed on her bed, her pale face turned toward him. “Eric, tell me about your day,” she said in a hoarse voice.
So he did. He spoke of the lake and his work on a fishing vessel. While he grew in strength and his skin turned golden from his work in the sun, Marina vanished a little more each day.
“I need my medicine,” she said, pointing to the container next to her bed.
Eric lifted it to his nose and grimaced as the scent of garlic overpowered his sense. “This smells bad,” he said, hesitating to give it to her.
“Gustav says I must take it.” She sipped some of the liquid, grimacing as she swallowed. Her hands shook as she tried to put the cup down, so he helped her, taking her frail fingers in his. He frowned when he looked at her fingernails, striped brown and peeling. “My hands are numb. Will you rub them?”
“Of course.” He held her hands, massaging gently until she fell asleep.
The next day, she wasn’t well enough to be seen by him, and by the end of the week, the healer forbad anyone from visiting her. When he slipped into her room that night, he found Gustav holding her cup to her lips.
“The healer told everyone to stay away,” Gustav said.
“So why are you here?” Eric asked in defiance.
“You think you are the only one who cares for her?” Gustav glared at him.
Eric looked at the floor. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”
“Here,” he said, holding the cup out to Eric. “You can do it.”
“Of course.” Eric kept his eyes downcast. He followed his brother’s instructions and gave Marina her medicine regularly over the next few days.
On their last morning together, Marina spoke. Each word seemed more painful than the last. “I loved you more than anyone. The Gods brought you to this world for me. I know it.”
“Marina,” he half whispered, half sobbed.
“Shh.” A tremor moved through her hand. “Live the life I’m going to miss. Find someone to love. Find happiness.”
Tears rolled down his face. “I love you. Don’t leave me.”
She smiled, her dry lips stretching over her teeth, and then her body went still.
Eric let out a howl of pain as his heart broke. He held her until his mother pulled him away. He cried through her burial ritual, afraid that he might never be able to feel anything again if he stopped.
He shook his head, trying to ignore whoever was talking to him. Couldn’t they see he was grieving?
“Eric, wake up,” they said again.
He opened his eyes. The memory slid to the back of his brain as reality took its place.
Sookie hovered over him, her forehead creased with worry. “Eric?”
He released his hold on the medallion and sat up. “I didn’t want that memory.” He touched his face, wet with tears, and licked his fingers clean.
“You were talking. Not in English. Are you okay?”
He sighed. How could he answer that?
“Who is Marina?”
“My sister. I watched her die.”
“Oh, Eric.” Sookie leaned against his chest and hugged him tight.
“She was so sick, for so long. And my brother—” He froze, mid-sentence as a thought popped into his head, making his blood boil with anger. “My brother…”
“What about your brother?” she asked.
“She was his first. Why didn’t I see that before?”
“His first what?” Sookie asked.
“Murder.” Even as he said the word, he could feel the truth of it.
“He would’ve killed me too, but I left. My other siblings didn’t get that chance.” He shook his head. “I should’ve stayed and helped them.”
“You didn’t know. You can’t blame yourself for that.”
“Everything would’ve been different. If Marina hadn’t died, I never would’ve left home and met Appius.” He looked at her briefly. “My maker.”
“Oh,” she said.
“He taught me so much, and took me from my world of pain. We traveled together for many years.” Eric smiled.
“Is he still…?”
The smile on his face fell. “He died during the French Revolution. He couldn’t resist a battlefield! Once a soldier, always a soldier, I suppose.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, putting her hand on top of his.
“He died doing what he loved. There is no shame in that.” He exhaled. “After I lost him, I wandered through Europe for a while. That’s when I met Pam. She was such a sweet, innocent thing.”
Sookie snorted. “We’re talking about the Pam I know, right?”
“Yes. She wanted more. I gave that to her. Just as Appius educated me, I taught her not only how to survive, but how to live.”
“Doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend the last couple of centuries.”
“We’ve been through a lot together.”
Sookie hesitated before she said, “You must’ve met a lot of other vampires over the years.”
“Yes.” He knew she wanted more information, and it seemed like the perfect time to tell her. “When we moved to the States, Pam and I quickly found ourselves in one of the established territories. We moved to Louisiana because I’m fond of Sophie-Anne. She is a fair ruler.”
“Ruler? Like a queen?”
Sookie’s eyes grew wide. “Does each state have a queen?”
“So you’re one of her … subjects?”
Eric scoffed. “No, I’m one of her Sheriffs. I uphold the law for my area.”
“Whoa.” She sat back on her heels. “And ya’ll are thinking about coming out? Exposing yourselves to the human world?”
“If that happens, you’ll be a target.” She bit her lip and frowned. “You all will be. People are awful. You don’t know what’s going on inside their heads, but I do. It’s a terrible idea.”
“It’s something we’re willing to risk. Just imagine the freedom! To live our lives the way we want, out in the open. We wouldn’t have to hide anymore.”
“Hiding isn’t such a bad idea,” she said. “I learned that when I was six. It’s best for everyone if they don’t have a clue that you’re different.”
“It would give us rights.”
She shook her head and clenched her hands into fists. “What rights are worth dying for?”
“All of them. You don’t know how many rights you have because you were granted them at birth. We could vote, travel … get married.” He held her gaze, watching the fight leave her face.
“I… I…” She swallowed hard. Hope, confusion, and, above all, excitement radiated from her.
“I’ve never cared before. But I do now. I want to be a part of your life, and you a part of mine. You are my happiness,” he said, realizing he had already done what his sister asked him to do, despite the fact that it seemed impossible at the time. “We are already bonded, but we could have more.” He touched her naked shoulder and caressed her arm.
“What do you mean?” She held her breath.
“Sookie, will you marry me?”
Without hesitating, she cried, “Yes!” and threw her arms around his neck, pressing her breasts against his chest. “Oh yes.” She kissed him then, bathing him in pure bliss. “I love you,” she murmured against his lips.
“I love you,” he said, pulling her onto his lap and kissing her again. He pushed his tongue into her mouth at the same moment she closed the gap between their bodies, his cock sliding against her wet folds.
Her grasp tightened around his neck as she lifted her hips, aligning their bodies. She sucked on his tongue hard and sank down, taking him in all the way. They both went still, enjoying the initial shock of their union, and then the world slipped away. The warmth of her body, the love they shared, and her breath against his lips connected him to reality. Her pulse hammered against his skin, filling him with the familiar rhythm.
She scraped his back with her nails and moaned each time their bodies met, the sound fueling him to pump into her faster and harder, wanting nothing more than to bring her to the precipice again and again. When her pussy clenched around him, he roared and came with her. She collapsed against him and panted hard, filling his mouth with her breath. He inhaled, filling his lungs before repeating, “I love you.”
Before she could answer, he twisted their bodies until she fell back onto the bed and began spiraling his hips, thrusting into her ever so slowly. She closed her eyes and dug her head into the sheets. Her legs flexed as she locked her feet behind him, lifting her body to meet his. He cupped her breasts and squeezed her nipples. Her breath caught and a vibration moved through her as her pussy fluttered around him again. He didn’t stop, never relenting, slowly fucking her and drawing out her orgasm. She arched her back, pressing her breasts harder into his hands while she held her breath.
He bent over her body, kissing and licking his way up to her mouth. “I want to spend the rest of my life making you come.” He kissed a path along her jaw and down her neck.
“Bite me,” she whispered.
He hummed against her skin and opened his mouth wide, sinking his fangs into her flesh while he pumped into her harder and faster until they both came again. After removing his mouth and healing her, he cradled her weakened body in his arms and kissed her thoroughly.
“What would you like to do tonight?”
Sookie shrugged and smiled. “I don’t care, just so we get to spend it together.”
They showered, dressed, and cuddled on the couch in the front room and watched a couple of movies. While they paused so Sookie could use the bathroom, Eric heard a strange sound outside. He crept across the living room and put his ear to the front door just as something clattered against it. He frowned and turned the knob slowly, blocking the entrance with his body. A tiny rock fell inside next to his bare foot.
He inhaled deeply and his fangs descended. Fairies. His hunger overpowered his senses.
“Eric?” Sookie whispered as she approached.
“Stay back. There are fai—” Before he could finish, a tiny metal hook sailed through the air, imbedding in his forearm. He hissed as he tried to remove it by pulling on the fine silver chain attached to it and then another hook hit his other arm. All of a sudden, the chains tightened and he flew through the air, landing at the feet of Lochlan.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” Lochlan said as he sneered at Eric and caressed Neave’s back, obviously admiring his sister’s skill with the weapon that had launched and retracted the hooks, with Eric in tow.
Neave leaned over Eric’s body and inhaled the scent of his charring flesh. “Meow.” She barred her silver-tipped teeth and then scrapped them down Eric’s arm.
He let out a howl at the same moment Sookie screamed his name. She stood on the threshold of his house, her hands clenched into fists.
Lochlan edged closer to the curb, standing at the threshold of the protective bubble surrounding his house, and gripped the weapon and aimed it at the front door.
“Sookie! Get inside. Don’t come out!” Eric shouted.
She hesitated for a moment and then slammed the door, just as a hook connected with the wood.
Neave stood, blood dripping off her teeth. She spat onto the street. “Disgusting.”
Eric squeezed his eyes shut as the silver seeped into his muscle, rendering his arm useless. The wound remained open.
“Breandan is waiting.” Lochlan used the silver chains to bind Eric’s legs together, the metal searing him through his clothing.
“This isn’t the one he wanted.”
Lochlan shrugged. “He’ll be a valuable bargaining chip.”
“We can’t take a vampire to Faery!” Neave recoiled. “It’s forbidden.”
“Breandan will make an exception. This undead piece of meat is the key to Niall’s undoing.”
*gulp* I’ll just be hiding over here. You could just read Up All Night: Chapter 21 if you want…