Disclaimer: The Sookie Stackhouse Series is the creation of Charlaine Harris. Don't sue me Charlaine! I love your books.

A/N- This one shot story follows "Understanding" and "Reconciliation". If you haven't read them, this one won't make any sense. This story is a sharp departure from the Sookie Canon. It's a happier one, for all of you who PM'd me so worried that Sookie and Eric weren't happy...

A/N 2 on pronunciation: Saoirse is pronounced Seer-sha. Sídhe is shee, it's the Gaelic for the race associated with the Tuatha Dé Danann, comparable to the Fae or elves. Also sometimes noted as aos sí or in older form aes sídhe. Oíche mhaith means good night and is pronounced (no kidding) ee-hah why. Uisce beatha (ish-geh bah-hah) is the water of life, and here is used to mean the fae kind.

If you've never seen a loom and know no weavers and are curious, check out you tube .com/watch?v=MO_uoiFFxqc. This lady weaves quickly! There are tons of great videos on weaving, including loom prep.

The Weave of Time

I.

She pressed herself flat against the wall, in the shadows and held her breath. If only her hearing were better so she could sense the direction. He was close… She could feel his approaching presence. She tried to envision melding herself into the stone wall. He passed by her from her left, walked several meters ahead and then paused. He'd lost her. He was thinking about turning back… She broke from the wall and ran in the opposite direction, but he was too fast for her. She strained, trying to shuttle herself back to the wall, but he grabbed her wrist. He was so damn fast…

"No cheating! I got you fair and square." The sapphire eyes sparkled merrily.

She burst out into laughter. He pulled her close and gently tipped her chin up to kiss her and she… dissolved?

"You're going to pay for that!" he called out.

He retraced his steps and paid sharper attention. She'd been at the wall. He sniffed the air. Where had she gone now? Still close… He strained to hear her breath, her feet on the grass.

She tried mightily not to laugh and give herself away on the other side of the cottage. She tiptoed back to the corner and peered around it. If only there were trees, but there were just the heath and the moor beyond. No cover. But that meant he had no cover, as well. She tiptoed softly forward then looked around the next corner, but he was gone. She moved cautiously and was puzzled. She looked behind her just in case. Nothing forward, nothing back. Where was he? He was so… close… She could feel him, even hear him a bit, although he was being tricky with his thoughts. She looked up to the roof, nothing. Then, there was a tap on her shoulder and she jumped and spun around only to hear a whooshing sound as he landed behind her and wrapped his arms around her, whispering in her ear in a sultry tone,

"I've got you now, Lover. I won fair and square twice, even with your cheating. You're mine."

At that, she erupted in laughter again and he spun her around in his arms and they embraced passionately, kissing more and more urgently, one of his hands creeping up under her long skirt and the other tangled in her hair.

Eithne stood with her arms crossed, shaking her head.

"Is there a plan for us to eat dinner, or is it just dinner for one in the Heath cottage?"

The skirt dropped. Two pairs of dark blue eyes turned to her.

You rang the bell? Really? I'm so sorry!

Indeed.

Eithne turned to walk back toward her cottage, and they followed after, holding hands, suppressing their laughter and looking like two mischievous children. She stood at the entrance of her house and Sookie passed her, biting her lip and looking sheepish, as she entered. Eithne looked up at the tall vampire, and shook her head.

"How old are you?"

Eric just smiled, and gestured for her to enter before him.



It was the ides of September. After several weeks of resting in Cúl Dín, Eithne and I had prepared the Heath cottage, on the western side of her property so that Eric could visit with me. It was small, had no real kitchen and was a bit low ceilinged at the walls for someone Eric's height. But we'd made it comfortable, darkfast in the bedroom, and it would afford us privacy. I had started making a garden in the front and had planted some bulbs for the spring. The heather around the cottage was fresh and fragrant.

Pulling Eric away from work for a full week had seemed like it would be a challenge, but when I'd gone into Navan for supplies and called him, he was eager. After more than two weeks apart, the longing we both felt seemed to be enough to get him to pull away from it all. He was getting ready to go home when I'd called. It was close to dawn for him and I thought longingly of crawling into bed with him. Walking out into the mid-morning daylight of Navan, I could only think about how much I longed to see his eyes, feel his touch and hear his laugh.

After notifying Felipe of his impending absence, Eric had left Pam in charge of business, Maxwell running the club, and firm instructions for Thalia to stop threatening to drain people. Thalia had actually attacked a man in the club in late August but the fool had tried to touch her. Thalia did not like men to begin with, but a man fresh enough to reach out and try to grab her was really asking for it. He had mistaken her tiny size and fragile features as being more approachable. After forcing her to clean up his wounds in the office, Eric made her glam the man into thinking they'd had rough (on him) sex and that had made Thalia really mad. At least the guy would be leaving happy, though. As opposed to reporting the club and Thalia to the police. That incident had taken place just days before I'd returned to Cúl Dín. I'd hugged Thalia in sympathy but she'd snarled at me. Eric had just about lost it with her, at that point. I understood how upset she was and told Eric to please just leave her alone. Sometimes I wondered what Thalia found worth continuing on for in her vampire life. I'd tried to think about ways to heal her but it was just so many layers of injury and she was so upset whenever she realized I was reading her. But, when he met me to pass on the Crossroads to Cúl Dín Eric carried, along with the letters from friends and family and a book from Pam (Sophie's World, which according to her letter she was trying to read in the original Norwegian, while I'd read it in English), a beautiful gold pin from Thalia. No note, just the pin. Eric looked disdainful as he explained it was a Herakles knot and was supposed to symbolize fertility. It was a clear apology in my eyes but Eric was unimpressed. He considered it justifiable tribute to his wronged bonded partner and beyond that all he cared about was that Thalia not cause Fangtasia to be cited by the police or get him sued. I was worried he'd tell her to clear out.

Other than the club-related worries about Thalia, Eric seemed to have left his cares behind the moment he set foot in Cúl Dín. He felt its buoyant energy immediately. He was relaxed and we were so happy to be together. It was the first time we'd been together without the pressures of work, either his or mine, in the entire time we'd known each other. He had mentioned taking a vacation a more than a year ago, before our lives derailed for a time. Just the thought that we didn't have to be somewhere was happiness to me. We were in a peaceful, safe place. We were together and happy.

Eric was the first vampire ever to set foot on Eithne's land in all the time she had lived there. County Meath in general, because of the large fae population, had no vampires, either. Eithne appeared to have an invisible hand over the entire region, as I could now see. The fact that she allowed me to bring Eric to stay with me left me grateful and touched. I could sense immense mutual curiosity between them when they finally met.

Although Eithne seemed to really enjoy her contact with Pythia, it didn't seem to me that she had a particularly favorable opinion of vampires. We'd seldom spoken on the topic but I really got the feeling that her thoughts lay along the lines of Batanya and Clovache's on the issue of vampires. It might seem odd that she seemed to consider Pythia to be different, but part of me understood it. I thought it was similar to the way I had learned to view first Bill, then Eric and Pam and then finally an ever widening circle that included Felicia, Victor, Thalia, Felipe, Betty Jo, Indira, Kira and many others, especially Pythia, who was the oldest vampire I knew. I had long ago begun to see humanity in many of the vampires of my acquaintance. Their nature might change them, but the central core of many who I counted as my friends or loved ones was not so different from my own. Although Eithne had defended Eric's manner of protection of me so staunchly, I'd realized in recent weeks that she was still puzzled that I had tied myself to him so unreservedly. I knew she was quite curious about Eric and I think it was part of why she was letting him visit.

The morning of Eric's arrival, after he was safely asleep in the cottage, I had sleepily sat with her, weaving a little more slowly than usual because of my fatigue, while we 'chatted'. I was working on a wrap in delicate shades of mauve for Pam. Eithne chatted about Eric's arrival but finally worked her way to the heart of things.

So it doesn't bother you that he thinks of you as a meal?

I was scandalized. I literally stopped the shuttle sliding across the shed and gave her a shocked look. Of course he doesn't think of me as a meal, Eithne. He loves me! That's an insult. If you need a way to think of it, look at it as sustenance. And we 'sustain' each other, especially if you consider that he also gives me his blood regularly, too.

But he feeds on you. And it doesn't bother you. It doesn't hurt you.

It brings me immense pleasure, Eithne. I don't think we need to get into the details, but trust me, it's very enjoyable.

Yes, I heard.

I laughed a bit at that one. I thought you were asleep. It was well before dawn. The Heath cottage is far enough from your own so that would I really think you wouldn't hear much unless you tried.

Then it was her turn to laugh. Point well taken.

So I take it then that you were never with a vampire, Eithne?

No, only with the fae and they can be a pretty capricious bunch, and a human.

It was the first time we'd ever had a conversation as just two women, I thought to myself. My knowledge of fae men was really pretty much limited to Niall, Claude and Ciarán. Ciarán was pleasant enough I thought, but the other two? Not exactly very companionate types. I loved my fae family members but thought I'd take some of the vampires I'd known over a fairy any day if it came to romance. Although I'd never asked her, it seemed she had lived on her own for many decades. She then told me that she had loved a human man for many years but that he had died. She had not taken another lover since. I felt so sad for her. And it made me think of what Eric would face when he lost me. Heaviness filled my heart at the thought. She shushed me.

You're too young to think of such things, child. You have seen your life already at the Lia Fáil. It promises to be long.

Once Eithne actually met Eric I could tell she understood my attachment better. I saw her taking in how affectionate Eric was with me, how playful we were with each other, our quiet conversations, the way we looked at each other. She sent her thoughts to me that she actually found him quite unusual. I, too, that I had come to see how very unusual Eric was. Of course, yes, he was so handsome, clever and artful. He had a wonderful humor which anchored my love for him. But he was also even-tempered, happy natured and such a good companion. Like Pam, Eric genuinely seemed to enjoy being vampire. He had such joie de vivre for a vampire of his age. He was so opposite from Thalia, and even from Sophie-Anne, who had been similar in age. Eric was still enjoying himself and I thought he had managed to impart much of that attitude to Pam as her sire. A real gift, that zest for life. As unique as Eric thought I was, I thought the same of him.

I can see why your cousin likes him. She told me she likes him when she was here in July. For one of the fae to like a vampire… quite amazing. She was heartbroken for the two of you, then. I know she must have been glad of your reconciliation.

She even went to my wedding, Eithne. Claudine is a very unusual person herself, though. She's very open-minded.

Eric, for his part, was curious to see how I had lived the ten months we were apart, and to meet this famous but elusive healer of whom he had heard stories. I think he was grateful for her having cared for me. He was engaging but respectful. I sensed that there was much that he wanted to ask her, but he was reserved both with her, and even with his thoughts with me. Although in a way we were more relaxed and playful than at any time since we'd married, I had a sense that there was something uneasy within him. There were several occasions when I had stepped away when I got the sense that he wanted to speak with Eithne privately. I'd brushed the thought aside, though. By the second night, it was almost as if his wanting to ask questions was shrouded in gauze, hidden away from me. Perhaps I was just distracted by our playfulness.



There was a roasted chicken and some vegetables for the two ladies. And some Irish bottled blood for Eric, which he seemed to enjoy. Eithne warmed the bottles in a pot of water over low heat. They chatted over dinner about life in Lousiana, Eric's life in Bohuslän and around the Skagerrak around 1000 AD. He had lived all over in the British Isles and in Europe before moving to America in the late 1800's. He had not been in Sweden for more than three hundred years, now. He still thought in Old Norse sometimes, especially when he got mad, which was amusing to him. He was fluent in all the Norse/Germanic languages- Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, German, English, Dutch- and could get by in most of the Romance languages- French, Spanish, Italian, and even Romanian. He could even understand a bit of Gaelic because of some of the Norse influence on the language. He liked languages and read avidly. Settling in Louisiana and the advent of the vampire revelation had allowed him to have a real home to store his books, which made him quite happy. Reading was a common interest that he and Sookie shared. He only mentioned being a Sheriff as an afterthought, which was amusing to Sookie.

After the second glass of cider, Sookie was asleep. Eithne looked pleased with herself. She rose and gestured quietly that they could go outside. As she walked out into the dark night, her colors illuminated slightly. He seemed surprised, but didn't seem to take offense. It was simply a reminder.

"So you have questions?" she asked quietly, looking out over the moor.

He looked thoughtful. Where to begin? There were many questions.

"Sookie told you what happened at the summit in Madison, with the King of Kentucky?"

"Yes, she mentioned it. And Pythia has mentioned it in a letter she dictated."

"Did she tell you about how she was after? Sookie, I mean. The Pythoness did not see much of her then."

Eithne regarded him carefully. "She mentioned she felt somewhat drained by the experience."

Eric looked at her surprised. "Drained? Eithne, she basically collapsed. She was left totally vulnerable. It was as if her body was there but the rest of her was someplace else. If I hadn't been with her… She was unable to protect herself. She wouldn't have eaten or had anything to drink. She slept for more than 15 hours, which is not like her at all. It was… very worrisome."

Eithne looked oddly relieved. "So then you know. But Pythia still does not." She shook her head at the last part.

Eric nodded slowly, as if trying to formulate what to say. He met her eyes and said simply, "It damages her."

Eithne sat down on the stone bench in the garden. "Some of it does. Some things she can do with great ease. Even very difficult things. But they are largely driven by her mind. That energy she uses is smooth and part and parcel of what she already had learned to use. What you saw that night, it is another force entirely."

Although he still practically cringed at the memory of it, he mentioned the night at the bar. "The night I hurt her, after she had used that energy, she bit me and therefore had some of my blood but she still did not heal, at least not as she should have. She was still bruised, on her arms, and on…" here he hesitated. He looked away. It still bothered him. But he had done that to her. It was the truth. "On her neck. I had also bruised her throat and neck during our argument. She had broken ribs. She didn't heal properly. Not as she should have. She's had my blood frequently, and had some that night. Even by dawn, when I slept, she hadn't healed. She was still bruised. I'm sure the ribs hadn't healed either."

Eithne sighed. "She is mostly human, Eric. She was not built for this work. It takes it out of her. It can impair her. I have tried to explain this to Pythia, but she seems convinced otherwise. Niall, I think, is somewhat better able to understand. He expressed that he had always been concerned that her spirit and will seemed mismatched with her fragility. There are risks to her for some of it, particularly using that energy. Not the least of which is that she doesn't enjoy that side of her ability. She controlled it this time, but even the effort that she puts into controlling it seems to drain her. Perhaps it will improve with time. It is hard to say. She was much stronger this time when she returned, and she was much happier. She did not harm him, she protected you. She seemed quite content with that."

"But what if she did something like this when I wasn't there to protect her afterwards? If she tried to protect a friend, or a family member? She would be so vulnerable afterwards. Or what if she had to sustain it for a longer period of time?"

Eithne regarded him silently. The implication was obvious.

He stared at her and his eyes widened. "That's not acceptable. That's just… I can't accept that. I can't." He turned his back to her and she could sense his closing his eyes as if he could just shut it out.

"Perhaps she would not react as strongly if someone else she cares for is at risk. She did not when her friend was harmed a year ago. When this other friend of hers was threatened that night you mention, she protected her without it getting out of hand. She said she thought her anger only spun out of control because of the threat the other two men posed to you. She's very protective of you. And what she did this recent time was perhaps worth the risk in the end. It has firmly secured the impression that she is a force to be reckoned with. Few will try. She took a risk, but she controlled it. She's very young. She's very emotional. It may improve. She reacts rashly at times, but for the most part Sookie has good judgment."

He turned back to her. "So you're saying there is nothing, nothing that she can do to better protect herself if she uses this magic, force, whatever it is?"

"She had other choices the last time. But they involved greater risks and she is not… practiced. They might not have been safe choices, either, for other reasons."

He looked puzzled.

"You know of Declan?"

He nodded silently, narrowing his eyes slightly to look at her as if suspicious of what that might mean.

"Sookie can weave. She is quite adept, as you have already seen after dusk tonight. She cuts back and forth between the weave of time swiftly. She could have tried it that night to avoid the entire situation and leave that man Isaiah directly in Pythia's hands. But she would have had to pull you with her and she might not have succeeded, in which case you both would be lost since you still would have been hit with the stake. And I don't really even know what the effects might be on you if she pulled you along with her. Perhaps none because you are so tightly bound to one another. That would be a question for Declan. But had she tried and succeeded there would have been the wrinkle. Those are messy to handle. Too many questions. There were many witnesses, she said. In any case, she dealt with things the way she always does, instinctively and directly. And you have to realize Eric, she very clearly knows the risks she takes. Her cousin Claudine tells me that Sookie has always been willful. Here she is no different."

"So what she was doing tonight was actually weaving time, like Declan? It wasn't just sort of popping in and out the way the fae do?" He seemed surprised.

"Oh no, she moves back and forth between past and present states and places. Very swiftly, very elegantly. At first when she started, I was quite caught off-guard. She's so smooth with it. It was not my doing and we'd never discussed it. I do not know for certain if she can do it in the outside world yet. Her time here is like being on a playground as a child. She can play, experiment. Didn't you feel the wake of her movement and the discontinuity? It is subtle, but if you know to look for it, you will feel it. But to use this skill to influence larger scale events? She has no knowledge of how to go about it. It would be a great risk. It attracts attention. That is why even Declan lies low in these times. It is a skill that could be even more attractive to exploit than the telepathy."

Eric was silent. Sober. No good choices, he thought to himself.

"You also wanted to ask me about her life, her longevity?" Eithne said.

It almost seemed beyond the point given his other concerns. He just nodded.

"I would think that between your blood and spending time here regularly, she will live long and age little. She is a peculiar hybrid now. It is hard to know how long. She is something entirely new. She has foreseen a long life at the Lia Fáil. That should hearten you, though such visions are only of what may come to pass, and not certain. Your blood and her coming here have bought you considerable time. She should return several times a year, both for that reason, and simply to rest. She will always be welcome here, as will you be, with her. She is happier when she is with you."

He seemed to take comfort in this, at least.

"Did you know when you met her? Did you already know it was her?"

"What do you mean?" He looked very caught off guard by her question.

"Had she not been predicted to you?"

Eric paused and smiled. She was quite surprising, this woman. "I had a psychic once. In the literal sense, for a vampire. She predicted that there would be someone with whom I would 'both lose myself and find myself'. I didn't believe it. Perhaps she was right. Perhaps it was just a lucky turn of a phrase." He started to walk toward the house but then turned back to look at her.

"Sookie knows I knew a psychic. But she doesn't know about the rest of it. It is true that the only time I've been lost, really lost, I found her... But I still don't believe the prediction, somehow. Maybe I just don't want to."

Eithne smiled, but nodded. Their mutual lack of belief in fate was certainly a point of compatibility, she thought chuckling to herself.

II.

I awoke in the bed of Heath Cottage, still clothed. Eric, also still dressed and stretched out next to me, was reading by the dim lamplight. He leaned over and kissed my temple when he realized I was awake. He was reading a book in German. It looked well worn. I had started taking German a year ago, but then my whole life took a different direction, I thought with a sigh.

"What is Der Zauberberg?"

"The Magic Mountain," he said. "It's the second time I'm reading it."

"What's it about?"

He thought for a moment and then replied, "It's about time and experience. And about how you have to go through loss or death to really understand life and your place in the world. But even when you understand, it's all going to be lost."

"Geez. And this is your vacation read? I'm sticking to Sophie's World."

He chuckled.

I sat up and shook my head a bit as if I was clearing away the fogginess. I leaned across Eric to look at the small clock on the nightstand. "I hate it when she does that. Is there a reason why I've been made to sleep so early in the evening?"

Eric turned down the page he'd been reading and dropped the book down to his side to look at me.

"I needed to ask her some questions. About you and about what happens when you use some of your abilities."

"And the reason why I was not included in this question and answer session about my own life would be?" It was pointless to be offended. This was so Eric, and really, I reflected, so Eithne, as well.

"I wanted to talk to her alone. Without your arguing or telling me everything is nothing. Because I know you."

"What did you ask her?"

"About what happened in Madison. Afterwards. As I told you, it worries me."

"Honestly, Eric, I'll be fine. It's nothing to worry about."

He looked at me and nodded his head. "Which just serves to confirm I was right to try to talk to her alone…"

"And she told you I'm fine. That I just need to take care, to rest. That I know what I'm doing. Not to worry about me. Right?"

He was silent for a moment. Then he said in a sarcastic tone, "She told me you will stubbornly do what you want, yes. But that you have good judgment and know the risks you take quite well. Let's say just say I was not exactly comforted and leave it at that."

Well then, glad he's got that squared away, I thought to myself.

I got up to stretch. It was still early for us, only 11:30 pm. I thought I might like to walk on the moor. It was quite dark, since it was not even a first quarter moon. The stars would be beautiful. I slipped on my shoes.

"I want to go for a walk. Do you want to come?"

Eric sighed and rose from the bed, almost hitting his head on a low ceiling beam. He scowled a bit. He slipped his shoes on and offered me his hand.

We walked out past the heath and gorse and onto the misty moor. The scent of heather and lavender filled the night and the sound of the crickets was like a symphony. The stars overhead were luminous and we were so far from the lights of Navan that you could really see the Milky Way distinctly in the night sky. The mist hovered low to the ground and it was almost as if we were walking in the clouds with the stars above us. I paused to just feel the peace of the moment, to enjoy feeling a part of something so vast. After a few moments of admiring the vast sky together, Eric drew me to him and kissed me. He held me close, humming softly in my ear, and began waltzing with me on the moor, then floating above it. It took me back to another time when we had danced, floating in the air. We danced above the mist and I felt such peace in his arms. My life felt like it had shifted back on track. Maybe a different track from what I had been on a year or two ago, but still on track and running smoothly. All was right with my world again, at long last.

III.

We walked on the moor the following evening after Eric rose. I liked to walk in the crisp air before dinner. It got my appetite going a bit, and since Eric and Eithne were all over me about that, Eric was happy to oblige. After twenty minutes on the cool moor, my cheeks were pink and I felt invigorated. As we headed back to Eithne's house, I was startled to see a man talking with Eithne outside her cottage. As we approached, I felt Eric tense.

"What is it?" I asked slowing a bit. "Do you know him?"

Eric didn't reply at first. Then "Yes," was all he said.

The man, who was about Eric's height, had long, wild auburn hair tied in a ponytail at his shoulders, a beard with a bit of white in it, and was dressed in black leather pants and an oddly cut black leather jacket with the sleeves rolled up. He appeared to be tattooed but as I drew closer, I realized that he was covered over with Tuatha Dé markings just as Eithne and I were at times, only his appeared to stand out permanently. I felt a strange apprehension. I came to a halt.

"Is that Declan?" I said almost to myself.

"It would seem to be, yes," murmured Eric.

I was surprised by Eric's response. "You know him?"

"I've seen him before, yes. I don't know him, however." He seemed to be thinking that he hoped Declan didn't know him, either.

Since both Eithne and Declan had turned to look at us, we had to keep moving toward them. Eric stroked my hand reassuringly. It will be fine, I could hear him thinking. He does not remember.

I paused again in my forward progress and without looking up at Eric whispered "Remember what?"

"Later." He kept us moving forward. I didn't have time to get into his head and dig.

Eithne smiled and beckoned us closer.

"Sookie, Eric, this is Declan. He's married to my sister Saoirse. Declan, Sookie. And of course, her husband, Eric. Sookie, you remember I had mentioned that Declan is also descended from the Dagda and Cermait."

Declan was descended directly through the line of the High Kings of Ireland. And he acted like he fully knew it. He looked me over as if I was livestock he was considering purchasing. I was surprised he didn't ask to see my teeth. He circled around me, looking me up and down and then he leaned close and sniffed at me. I felt Eric getting angrier by the minute and could sense his fangs running down.

Declan turned to Eric and said, "She's what, a drop from being one of you? By Danu, I can't remember when I've seen someone so close to being turned and not be. She even smells like one of you."

I felt Eric's anger flash and I cut them both off. "I don't want to be turned. And I don't like your tone. If you have anything to say about me, you can say it to me."

He turned back to me and grinned with a roguish smile. "So this is the spirit I've heard about then? A feisty one."

Without warning he reached out and put his hands on my forehead, with his two thumbs over the spot where the crescent of Morrígan would appear. It was almost as if his hands formed a crown upon my head. But his sudden touch and the uninvited familiarity frightened me. I felt Eric stiffen. He was getting angrier by the minute. I felt the crescent marking rise and glow brightly on my brow, as if he could pull it out of me whether I wished it or not. He seemed to read right through me, but it was painless, soft, swift. His eyes, which seemed so dark in the dim light of the evening, stared into me deeply. I finally closed my eyes to avoid his eyes.

He dropped his hands and turned to Eithne. "So she weaves, you say?"

She nodded. I could feel tension from her, as if she was concerned. I had the clear sense she felt my dislike of him and regretted it.

"A fair bit of the Fae in her. And Niall kept away from her because of Fintan, you said?"

She nodded again.

"There was more on the mother's side but farther back. Mostly human. Quite the mix, though, especially with all the enhancement from the vampire blood." He said that last part with definite distaste.

In addition to the fact that his words were offensive, I was getting more annoyed by the minute that he kept talking to everyone else about me. And sooner or later I had to find out what the deal was with Fintan and Niall. Maybe Pythia would tell me, since she was always bashing Niall. I was sure Niall would find a way to avoid telling me.

Suddenly Declan wheeled around and faced Eric looking aggressive. "You were one of the ones that killed my daughter's lover in Yorkshire, weren't you? You thought I wouldn't recognize you? Wouldn't remember you?"

Later, Eric had said to me? Later? Eric had killed Declan's daughter's lover? This might have been good to know now, I said to myself, rather annoyed. I positioned myself between the two of them. Eric immediately stepped around me and put his arm in front of me. He was definitely not the type of guy who would ever hide behind his wife, no matter what skills she had that might be better suited to the situation than his.

"I seem to remember that he recovered well," Eric said coldly with fangs run down.

"That he did. Siobhán bound herself to Finnén, against my wishes, after that. They are long since gone as he was so fierce and always into trouble." He looked at Eric as if he wished that Eric was gone, too.

Declan turned to me and said "And now you have bound yourself to him," gesturing to Eric. "So I cannot kill him without harming you? Though, I still could teach him a thing or two without hurting you too much…"

What charming threats. Nice to meet you, too, I thought to myself. What is this man trying to prove or do? Men. So typical. Always trying to find a reason to fight. I felt anger flash out from Eric. He growled and started to move forward so I swiftly to grabbed his hand, and then… we were gone. I was too fast for either of them.

Eric looked disoriented as he started to snarl toward empty space. At least that would take his anger down a bit. We were out on the open moor, where we had been walking only ten minutes before. Suddenly lightning illuminated the sky and Declan was walking toward us as if through a storm cloud.

"Shit! Just don't let go of my hand," I said to Eric.

We were suddenly surrounded by mist. It was all silvery gray and we seemed to float.

"Exactly where are we, Sookie?" Eric whispered. He seemed more unsettled by this shift.

"The future warp. Don't look into the mist too much. Look at me." I stared up into his eyes and touched his face with my free hand.

"The future warp? What the hell is that?" he asked softly, starting to glance around.

"Don't look around, don't try to see anything. Look at me. It's a trick, a trick only someone who really uses the loom would know. You can weave through a bit of the alternating threads of half the warp and just hang there. You just have to shift far enough ahead. Distract yourself. Hum that song you hummed to me last night?" I smiled up at him. I picked up his other hand, as well.

For several minutes we stood, my fingers interlacing his, he smiled down at me and hummed softly.

He stopped finally and said, "It's an old Swedish love song."

I kissed him and then briefly listened to something far off, with my eyes closed. I nodded.

"We'll go back. Don't worry. He will not do anything. He's bluffing. Eithne would not let him hurt either one of us, anyway. I called his bluff. He was so insulting to you, and to me. He was baiting us both. I was afraid you'd go after him and that would be a real mess."

Turning so that my back was against Eric's chest, while I still held his hand close to my heart, I closed my eyes and wove back in my mind to Eithne's cottage, to the moment after we had left.

Declan was now leaning against the stone garden wall, with arms crossed and an amused look on his face.

"You are a clever sídhe, aren't you?" He turned to Eithne and said, "You should see if one of her Fae relatives will give her the uisce beatha, if she'll take it. It would strengthen her. I see your concerns but she's stronger than Siobhán was, so I wouldn't be worrying."

With that he turned back to me and swept a low bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you at last, daughter of the Morrígan's line. I will follow you with much interest. Oíche mhaith." He nodded to Eric with narrowed eyes and then he disappeared in a dark flash.

Eithne came over and gently grasped my arm and turned me to her, looking more than a little astonished. She glanced at Eric and then back at me.

"Child, where on earth did you go? What did you do?"

I smiled. "I was above the shed. On half the warp. In the undecided future. And just let him just try to find me there. That man is so full of himself, Eithne. I don't care who he's descended from. Showing up with his insulting manner, then making his threats to my husband on top of it. The nerve! Really, I pity your sister."

I kissed Eithne on the cheek, and walked with Eric to the house. It was time for dinner. I was now ravenous.



Much later that night, lying in bed naked, tangled in sheets, I explained the basics of using the weave of time to Eric. The warp threads like the lines of time extending forward and back, the weft like the events that have taken place or are in the process of occurring, all woven into time.

"We ride the shuttle, but we can also guide the shuttle. If you go back, you can unwind the thread. But you may not be able to get it back without seeing the distortions of where you unwound things. To get away from Declan, instead of taking the shuttle through the center of the shed, the open space between the two sides of the warp, I wove us through one half of the warp, in and out of the individual strands." I tried to demonstrate weaving the finger of my right hand in and out of the fingers of my left. "It's harder to do, but when you weave a cloth, sometimes you mark the warp for certain patterns. So it was just like that to me. But since the future is undecided, you have to be careful not to influence things, or see things that might influence your choices. It's part of why I don't want to scry. If you know too much, perhaps you won't live your life the same way. It might limit your choices or make you afraid."

Eric was quiet for a moment for a time. Then in a low voice he said, "Eithne told me that when you went to the Lia Fáil on our anniversary that you saw a long life."

"That day I saw many things, some which have come to pass. A long life was one of the things I saw. Eithne believes so much in destiny. I've asked myself so often this last year about destiny, about fate and the choices we make. Thinking of time makes you wonder. The warp extends on endlessly. If you are tied to a thread, perhaps you cannot depart from it, even by choice. Maybe the choices we make would always bring us back to the same point, but just by different routes."

Eric looked far away for a few moments and then said quietly, "I've never believed in fate or destiny. Sometimes now, however, I'm not as sure as I was."

He turned off the lamp and pulled me close to him. We listened together to the last sounds of the night as dawn approached.