Title: Residual Magic
Let them Eat Birthday Cake O/S Challenge
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Charlaine Harris does.
Time frame: Post DITF
Birthday wishes for the July birthday girls – Seastarr08, LindsayK/Scribeninja, Lubadub ericizmine, nycsnowbird, Kristin Elizabeth, Zhivago3, and of course, Sookie Stackhouse. MWUAH.
Big, fertile (*wink*) hugs to Tvgirl_Nicole for being a superfly, superfast beta!
My shift at Merlotte's was winding down. We had been slammed all afternoon, and I had spent most of my time running between the kitchen and my tables at the far side of the bar.
Sam grabbed my elbow and stopped me at the waitress station as I started doing my prep work for the dinner shift.
"Sookie, are you finished with your tables?"
I blew some hair out of my eyes and kept refilling salt shakers. Yeah," I replied as I looked at my empty area. Thank god I was finished for the day. "What's going on Sam? I want to finish this and head home." I'd come in early to help with kitchen prep and had twenty minutes to go in my shift.
He looked over my shoulder towards the front section that had been Arlene's, "Cher, I don't know what's going on, but there's a table over there that's asking for you."
My eyes followed his gaze to the corner table. It was filled with five men. Big, beautiful, blond men who looked like they were Eric's long lost brothers.
"I don't know any of them Sam." I didn't. I mean, they all looked like Eric, but they weren't.
"I don't either Sook, but they each came in asking for you. "
"Really? That's weird."
I wiped my hands on my apron and made my way to the table. Pulling out my order pad, I turned on my smile and asked what I could get them.
They all laughed, and it was a five part harmony.
The one with aviator shades spoke up. "Sookie, we're here for you, we don't need anything."
"Um, well, that's sweet and all, but I can't say that I know any of you, so I don't see how you're here for me. Who are you?"
He began introducing each man around the table. "Well, I'm a pilot and he's a millionaire playboy."
"Reformed playboy," the second Eric defended himself. "I prefer to think of myself as a club owner."
"Right," the pilot rolled his eyes and continued. "He's a writer, he's with the FBI, and that's Professor Sex."
"That's very nice, but am I supposed to know you?"
"You should," the FBI agent said, raising an eyebrow.
That was it, the eyebrow, I knew that look. The tone of his voice made me shiver. Who were these men? What did they want from me?
"What are you?" I whispered.
"We are what could be, and that's all we know," the playboy, I mean club owner, answered.
Before I could process what on Earth that could mean my cell phone began ringing. It was an unknown number, but it would give me a minute to think.
"Sookie," a male voice breathed. "There is strange magic in the air."
No shit. I sighed. "Dermot, you say that every day. What's going on?"
"I don't know Sookie. Claude is popping over to Merlotte's to pick you up before anything strange happens."
I looked at the fab five in front of me. Too late for that. "Thanks for the heads up."
I disconnected the phone, and sure enough, Claude walked through the door.
"Sookie," his voice was like velvet. No matter how he tried to dampen his fae abilities, my cousin was sex on a stick. He stopped in his tracks, looking at the five men at my table who rivaled his beauty. "Northman?"
"Yes," they all answered at once.
Claude reached for my hand and I gladly stood with him, "Excuse me boys, I'll be right back."
We walked back to Sam's office. "What is going on Claude? They all answered to Northman, but I can guarantee you, none of them is my Northman, it's broad daylight out there, and I can't feel him, so I know he's still asleep."
"I know he's still asleep because I looked in the hidey hole before I left the house."
I groaned. I hated that people knew that's where Eric slept when he stayed with me. It wasn't safe. I was going to have to give in to his requests for a light tight safe room.
"What is going on? Why are their Northman quintuplets out there? And why do they say they are here for me?"
He sighed. "I think that this is a spell that was set in motion before the walls closed down."
"A spell? What kind of spell?"
"I think because the walls closed and Niall is gone, that perhaps the details weren't fleshed out well."
"What are you talking about? What kind of spell would put five Eric look-alikes in my path?"
"I'm not sure. If I had to guess, I'd say it's a temptation spell."
"Yeah. I think Niall wanted to show you that there are other options, that you could have your Northman and a heartbeat too."
I sighed. "They're fae, aren't they?"
"Do they really look just like Eric? Or is that a spell?"
"I'm sure it's the spell, but they must have looked similar to Eric to begin with for the results to be this good. I don't know how long they'll appear this way though."
"Sookie, don't you know what day it is?"
"It's Thursday, Claude. What's your point?"
"Sookie," he said quietly. "It's your birthday."
"It's what? It can't be!" I stood there, gaping at him, thinking over the past week or so. Wait, was it really more like a month? Where had the time gone? I sat down in Sam's chair with a huff. "Is the date important?"
He leaned against the wall. "I'm not sure."
"What the hell, Claude? What are they doing here and what am I supposed to do with them? I suppose I can't just walk away. Or can I?"
"It's not my spell, so I can't say for sure, but I think if you leave, they'll be following you."
I groaned. "Really? And Niall thought they would make me happy?"
Claude grinned. "Sookie, I'm quite certain that the five of them would make you very happy, but I don't think you're quite up for that."
I rolled my eyes. My cousin had a one track mind. The clock in Sam's office chimed, and I realized it was three in the afternoon. Eric would be awake in two hours, and he would sense how strange I felt.
Returning to the table, Claude joined us, and the five Northman's looked at me innocently. "So, yeah. How do you all know me?"
"You're the stewardess on the private plane I fly, and my girlfriend."
"You're my editor, and my wife. We met when you asked me to write a textbook. You were nothing like anyone I had dated, and everything I needed."
The FBI guy cleared his throat. "We had a whirlwind romance. We went through a lot of crazy things in a short period of time and I almost lost you. We're getting married."
The writer smiled. "You were my college girlfriend. You brought me out of my shell and, well, you were my first. We're married too." He was a sexy nerd with Elvis Costello glasses. Nerdstud, I thought to myself with a giggle.
The last Eric spoke, bringing me back to reality. "We have a bond through time. We, ah, found each other again through shared dreams that were really memories of our past lives. We're married too."
"Holy balls," I breathed. "Um. And you guys are all okay with me being here, with all of you?"
The pilot seemed to be the spokesman of the group. "Sookie, when you're with me, you don't have any need for these boys. I keep you very, satisfied."
They all began talking at once about how I was completely satisfied when I was with each of them as well, bickering amongst themselves, but not really fighting.
"I can believe that actually. If you're anything like my Eric, one of you is all I can handle."
I heard Claude say quietly, "More for me."
"There's another Eric?" FBI Eric asked, surprised.
"Yeah, the real Eric."
"Oh, I assure you, we're all quite real." The club owner grinned. I didn't know what to think of him. Playboy, club owner, past life Eric. There were a lot of layers to that story.
I sighed. "Yes, I'm sure you are real, to you. However, it's daylight, so none of you are vampires, which my Eric is." Oh lord, if Eric could hear me using the word my he would be gloating.
"Your Eric is a vampire?" The nerdstud leaned in looking very curious.
"He is." I felt oddly proud.
"You do realize you're part fae?"
Claude threw his head back and laughed at the professors' question. "She does." He looked at me, then back at the guys. "They are quite possibly fated souls, but the walls closed before Niall could tell us all that he knew."
I rolled my eyes. I wasn't sure I believed in fate, and I wasn't sure I would have believed anything Niall said, but I had to agree that there was something between Eric and me. Sure we had the blood bond, but we loved each other, and in all honesty, whether either of us would admit it, we had since the very beginning.
"So, do ya'll know anything more about why you're here? Is there something we have to do so you can go home? Cuz, me and any of you, well, it's not going to happen."
"Oh, it's already happened," the pilot said, his voice dripping sex.
"You'd have to tie me down," I snorted.
Fuck me, I mean, oh shit. Damn that cocky pilot. I rolled my eyes. "My Eric will be here in a couple of hours, so we need to figure out how to poof you back to your real lives."
"I'm quite happily married to you, I don't remember anything else," the writer said. His eyes were full of love for me, but not really me.
I closed my eyes for a second and exhaled. "And you?" I looked at the professor. "Are we happily married as well?"
"Yes," he said quietly, almost reverently. I could see myself loving him. He cleared his throat. "We have two kids, Max and Ceci, Cecilia."
I felt my eyes tear up. Kids were the one thing that my Eric couldn't give me. I blinked back the tears. "Anyone else?"
"Yeah. We're pregnant," FBI Eric said with a smile on his face that would have blown me away if it wasn't at that moment turning my stomach.
I turned to the remaining Erics, almost holding my breath for their answers.
Past life Eric shook his head and I was shocked to hear the pilot mumble, "Not yet."
I looked at Claude for help understanding everything. He shrugged. "You're all princes, yes?" There were nods of agreement around the table. "I thought so. Sookie, it goes back to Niall's obsession with the bloodlines. A marriage or child between you and any of these men would unite powerful houses in the fae realm."
"But they said we are married, I already have children."
"Well, the time lines probably aren't truly parallel, but I really am out of my depth here."
I sighed. "Okay. So what do they get out of this?"
He looked around at the Erics, the table had grown silent and we were all waiting for his answer. "Mind you, this is a guess. But I believe that if you were to pick one of them, that the two of you would go on to live the life they've been telling you about."
"And because she is not choosing one of us?" the professor asked quietly.
"I hate to keep saying this, but it's not my spell. I'd say you go back to your kingdoms and live happily ever after. You are fae princes, your lives cannot have been that bad," he snorted.
"Will we remember?" FBI Eric asked.
"I'm sorry, I don't know." My cousin shook his head.
"But the wall, Claude. How will they get back?" I asked quietly. I had a sick feeling that these spare Erics might be stuck here.
He looked up, all eyes were on him. "The walls may be closed, but it's quite possible there are a few cracks they can squeeze through. While it might be impossible for someone to cross through to this realm, they might be able to return home through one. And gentlemen, as princes, you would all be expected to return home."
The men were silent. It was all horribly sad really. They were shown a bit of what could be as well, and here I was, pulling the rug out from under them all.
I was the only one who could find my voice. "Where would you find the cracks?"
"Near closed portals, like the one in your woods," he answered.
I nodded then stood and arched my brow at the lot of them. "Well then. Road trip?"
"We'll meet you there," Claude said as we walked all into the parking lot.
It was around 4:30 p.m. when I got in the car to head home. We had maybe an hour to figure this mess out before my Eric woke up. I shook my head. It was my birthday. How had I not known? It was days like this that brought everything back; the torture, my depression, my fight for recovery. They were the reasons that I had these off moments and I wondered how long they would continue. Eric would say that as long as I continued, it didn't matter. I supposed that after a thousand years, he was allowed to dish out advice like that.
I parked around the back of the house, and saw Claude and the Erics standing near the tree line. I hoped that Claude had figured out how to return the princes to their true lives.
Dermot came down the steps and walked towards me. "What's going on?"
I sighed. "You were right. Strange magic. There are some stragglers that need to be sent back to the other side."
"But that's impossible. The walls have been closed."
"Claude said there might be cracks."
Really? Did they all think there were cracks? I thought it had been sealed up tighter than a drum.
We walked towards the group in the yard and Dermot pulled up short. "Sookie. They all look like Eric."
"I know Dermot. We're sending them home." I would let Claude tell him the rest later. I just wanted them to go home, to live their happy Royal fae lives. God, I hoped they had happy lives.
"We tested the area." Claude made a sweeping gesture with his arm. "There are a couple of hot spots, but only one that could be big enough to squeeze through."
"I guess I'm confused. Won't you be 'popping' though? I mean, how much room do you need for that?"
"Sookie," he rolled his eyes. "Just. Trust me."
"Okay. Fine. Don't get all testy about my lack of fae knowledge. It's not my fault. What do we need to do?"
"Honestly, you need to go back to the house. Dermot and I will meet you when it's done."
I looked at the Erics. I felt oddly sad about saying goodbye to them, and from the looks on their faces, they were feeling strange about it, too.
"I'm so sorry," I started, addressing them as a group. "I'm sorry my great grandfather got you involved in this, and if he somehow got your hopes up. I'm in love with my Eric." I shook my head. "I'm just sorry. I wish you the best."
"Wait. No," the professor called out. "If this is the last time we'll see you..."
He stepped forward and pulled me into his arms for what I thought would be a hug, but then he was kissing me, oh so very much like my Eric kissed me. His arms were around my back, slowly caressing and pulling me against him. Oh my. No wonder they called him professor sex. Then he abruptly stepped back, leaving us both breathing hard.
"I love you Sookie. You have no idea."
My heart broke as he turned and walked away, and then one by one, they came forward to say goodbye. The pilot was last, smirking at me like he had a secret.
"What?" I asked quietly.
"I know you're happy with him, because you and I, it was unbelievable."
I smiled. "It's pretty unbelievable with him."
He looked thoughtful for a second, then said, "Sookie, don't hold back. You'll both enjoy it even more."
My eyes got wide. I had to remember, that in his eyes, we had already been intimate. I nodded at him. "I'll keep that in mind."
And then, like the Erics before him, he gave me a farewell kiss that had my toes curling and my mind reeling. He had somehow ended up holding my hands, and when he stepped away, I struggled to let go. Our arms stretched across the distance and my fingers slid out of his grasp.
I felt hollow and alone. I hated Niall in that moment; he had done this to me, to all of us.
"Sookie. You need to go to the house. Eric will be waking soon."
I nodded at Claude, but didn't move. Dermot physically turned me towards the house and pushed me forward to take my first steps. I walked straight to my room and curled up on the bed. It wasn't that I questioned my decision, because I didn't. I loved Eric. My Eric. But those other Erics, they had loved me, too, and I knew that in their worlds, I had loved them, as well.
A few minutes later, Claude came to my doorway. "It's done, Sookie."
I nodded, but didn't get up.
"Are you okay?"
"They'll be happy, right?"
"Sookie, they are fae princes, I'm amazed that they thought they were happy here. They will be very happy. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Claude. It was just a lot to take in." I sighed. "Thank you for your help."
"You're welcome, Sookie. I'm sorry you had to go through that."
His footsteps moved down the hall and I stayed curled up on the bed. I just needed to wait for Eric. I would be fine when I was in his arms, I was sure of that.
Eventually, dusk began to settle in and I heard Eric moving in the other room. Then he was curled around me, his naked chest cool against my back.
He inhaled deeply, and his fangs clicked down. "Lover, you smell like Fae salad and your emotions are all over the place. You must have had an interesting day."
I pulled his arms around me and breathed in the clean smell that was Eric. "Yeah. It was pretty out there."
"Would you like to tell me about it?"
I turned to face him. "It can wait. Tell me that you love me."
He cocked his head in question, but grinned. "I'm sorry, Sookie. It should be the first thing I tell you when I rise every evening. I love you."
I closed my eyes, letting the words wash over me, and the emotions behind them run through the bond. His hands came up to frame my face and he kissed me. The others had been good, but this was the best. It was all I ever needed. I moaned into his mouth and would have gladly let him ravish me then and there, but he pulled back, kissing my nose.
His eyes were glazed over. "Wait here."
He disappeared down the hall and came back carrying a small birthday cake and a TrueBlood. He sat on the bed and smiled at me.
"Happy Birthday, lover."
"Oh, my. You remembered," I laughed. "I forgot. Claude had to tell me."
He smiled and I felt the back of his hand gliding up my leg.
"Are you going to let me eat the cake, or try to seduce me?"
"Lover, you smell of fairy. I'm trying very hard not to rub myself all over you and fuck you until we both pass out."
The drama earlier in the day had taken a lot out of me, but that sounded like a hellova birthday celebration. I smiled at him and licked my lips.
"Let me eat a piece of cake and you're on."
Grinning at me, he waggled his eyebrows and produced a fork from his back pocket.
"Eat quickly lover, then we shall really celebrate."
I took a bite of cake, purposely licking frosting from my lip and Eric growled. Maybe my birthday wouldn't turn out so to be so bad after all.
If you don't know the Erics that the birthday ladies have written – Go. Now. Read them.
Seastarr08 – The Amateur. (Professor Sex)
LindsayK/Scribeninja – Study Buddies (Nerdstud)
Lubadub – Terminal Attraction (Pilot Eric)
Zhivago3 – Then as Now (Playboy/Club owner/Past life Eric)
Ericizmine – Saints and Sinners (FBI Eric)
Kristin Elizabeth – When Does it Get Easier to Be Me? (Vamp Eric)
NYCsnowbird – Reader, reviewer, cheerleader extraordinaire
Happy birthday ladies.