A/N: Wow, the end.
I left this one kind of open ended because I see one more story in all of this and I want to return to it at some point in the future, but also please don't be upset at Sookie for her choice. I kinda ham-fisted myself in the 1st chapter of 'the choice' back when I thought I was just writing a one shot (foolish, silly Wylis) and had Claudine show Sookie a future with Eric where they were at Fangtasia and he was still a Sheriff, so that's my fault!
THANK YOU ALL so much for reading this story, reviewing it, alerting it and favoriting it. It means the world to me and I can never tell you how grateful I am.
And of course thank you to my kick ass, awesome-as-all-get-out beta ,Sheknitsnicely. You don't just correct my grammar you keep me honest about where my plots are going and never fail to lift my spirits when I'm becoming and whiney, emo wussy! I love you for it! I couldn't wish for a better beta even with a genie and a lamp!
Disclaimer: it was so nice to pretend that we could have justice for the many MANY crimes AB committed against Eric and Sookie last season, but alas he still owns them.
Two weeks later:
The automatic window shades locking down are my first clue that sunset is only a scant half hour away. Looking to my left I see Skye adjusting the straps of her bikini as she picks herself up from her beach lounger, grabbing her towel up and shaking it out as she does.
It might not be the beach, but Ulrich and Idonea's pool room (which is the size of a freaking football stadium and filled with sand, an Olympic sized wave pool and lit by realistic, high powered lamps that not only emulate the sun at high noon, but bake a mean tan too) is about as close as you can get to it in Sweden, in the middle of the glacially cold, Nordic winter and I'm not one to look a gift vacation in the mouth.
After we returned to Bettmeralp the night of the revolt, I learned that, much like a good party, the clean-up from a major coup was almost as much work as the actual coup itself. And just like a party, you had less hands to do the clean-up than made the mess.
The first question on everyone's minds, to paraphrase, was "what the fuck just happened?" It turned out to be a question our one surviving prisoner was ideally equipped to answer. The Vampire who fought Sigmund, the one who I thought had the detonator and who fled the room just minutes before the explosion was, in a perfect twist of irony, the same Vampire who, once a sheriff, betrayed Sigmund to the Authority and had his Werewolf love killed.
He was also the King of New York's contact within the Authority and the one the former rat of a monarch sold us out to. As it turns out, the King of New York wasn't just weak and cowardly but a total fool as well.
Sebastian Schrader, former Sheriff of Bavaria and one of the ten true members of the Authority's ruling council, did not take the information King Anthony gave him to his fellow Authority members, but kept it to himself, creating an elaborate scheme that would take out not only the revolting factions within the Vampire world but his fellow Authority members as well, leaving him as the last remaining member of their ranks and the supreme leader of the Vampire world.
His plan had been simple. Keep his mouth shut about the planned revolt. Let the Vampires who backed Ilina make their attack. Wire the Authority meeting building with explosives and then, when everyone was in the same room at the same time, blow the place sky high and walk away unscathed and holding absolute power. Whether it would have worked is another thing entirely, but that was his plan.
It had taken significantly longer to get Schrader to crack than it had the King of New York, but since everyone would soon believe he had perished along with the others, time was on our side. Three nights later, missing all his limbs and a good many of his internal organs, at Ilina and Ulrich's hands, he confessed everything.
I wouldn't have begrudged Eric his right to go down and be part of the 'fun' , especially since he almost lost his existence to all of this, but my Vampire only had one thing on his mind at that point and that was 'thanking' his Fairy for saving his life, in every way, against every surface possible. I'm proud to say that I didn't beg for mercy until night four.
Schrader met his true death at the hands of Ilina, who claimed the right to make the kill on behalf of Sigmund, her friend and second, who didn't survive the explosion. There were many others who met their true deaths that night, but of all of them I mourned Sigmund the most, if only because I know he wanted to die with Schrader at the end of his sword. He wanted to know his enemy hadn't escaped punishment yet again.
The few Authority enforcers who survived, as well as the late King of New York's men, were released the night after the battle, all of them smart enough to be thankful for their lives and, at least so far, to keep their mouths shut in exchange for them.
As of now, the rumors were only just beginning to circulate. The troublesome monarchies in the states, who had been waiting with anxiety to hear what the Authority had decided to do with them, had only just begun to wonder out loud why there was no word yet about matters that should have been decided nights ago.
Eric believed it might be as much as a few months before people really started to believe that something had happened to the Authority, but however long it took, Eric warned, we would know when the blood began to flow.
The Authority had been created just over four hundred years ago, barely the blink of an eye to many Vampires, to bring order and stability to their world. Before them, Vampire monarchs couldn't exist peacefully together. There had been so much fighting, one monarch waging war against another for territory, power and wealth, that their world had always been in a constant state of upheaval.
Now that they were gone, Eric believed it would start again. Especially since many of the monarchs that had been raised in the last four centuries were nothing more than weak puppets, loyal and dependent on the Authority to hold their thrones. As soon as they realized they were free, they would begin to fight each other again, and the Vampire world would once again devolve into a Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' (Eric's words not mine).
It was a frightening prospect, one that neither of us would have signed on for if we'd been given a true choice, but there it was. We'd done what we had to do to stay alive and, even though I had never been an 'ends justify the means' kind of girl, I wouldn't trade sitting by this pool for being an Authority lab rat and having my husband murdered in front of my eyes.
I had become a bonafide member of the Supernatural world now and I knew the rules were different. Nothing that had happened would keep my conscience up at night and, as long as that stayed the case, I'd roll with what came my way. My Gran and her good opinion had always been my moral compass and, even though I'd done some pretty heavy things in the last couple of weeks, I didn't think she'd fault me for any one of them. Gran would have done anything to protect her family and so had I.
"Sookie, are you coming?" Skye asks me, one eyebrow raised in question, as she picks up her now packed pool bag and slings it over her shoulder. I just smile at her ruefully.
"Sorry, I must have gotten a little more 'sun' than I thought. My brain is kinda fried right now." I answer her, picking myself up out of my own chair and starting to pack my things. Skye and I follow what's become our routine over the last several weeks, walking together from the pool room to our respective bedroom doors and parting with big smiles and knowing looks until we meet up for dinner several, happy, sweaty, exhausting-in-the-best-possible-way, hours later. I don't know what the future holds for all of us yet, but I have no doubt now that Skye will be a part of it and I couldn't be happier about that; for me and for Pam.
When I enter our room, I find Eric awake already, as it's now only several minutes until sundown, but instead of being attacked at the door (his favorite evening greeting) or finding him spread out naked and hard as steel, posing in any number of panty-drenching positions on top of the covers of our bed (his second favorite evening greeting), I find him sitting by the fire in a pair of silk pajama bottoms, contemplating his phone.
"Honey, what's the matter?" I say after a few moments, when it becomes clear he's distracted enough that he still hasn't noticed I'm in the room.
Eric looks up at me and his face breaks into a momentary smile as he sends me waves of love through our bond, but his usual lust is noticeably dimmed. It makes me just a tad bit worried. Eric must feel it because he holds out his hand to me and, when I cross the room to take it, he pulls me firmly into his lap, his head burying itself into 'his spot' against my neck and his arms banding around me possessively and protectively all at once. After a few minutes of breathing me in, he shifts slightly so that we can look at each other's faces.
"Nothing is the matter, per se, but I received a text message from the states some hours after the sun had come up here today, which requires a timely answer." He starts. Instead of elaborating he hands me his phone, the text message still on his screen. It's brief and to the point.
The new King of Louisiana, Peter Threadgill, is pleased to hear that the rumors of Eric's demise have been much exaggerated and would be more than happy to offer him his former position as Sheriff of Louisiana's area five, effective upon Eric's return and swearing of fealty to the new monarchy.
"Are we going back then?" I ask him, after re-reading the message a few more times. Eric looks at me, his expression neutral.
"That is entirely up to you, Sookie." He says, his arms tightening around me. "Ulrich and Idonea have offered us a permanent place here if we should want it. Ulrich lost many men in the fight and needs to replace one of his lieutenants.
If what I believe is going to happen happens, we would be safe here. Ulrich and Idonea have held Scandinavia for a millennium; others would be foolish to try and challenge them and most know it, but if they were challenged they would hold their thrones, of that I have no doubt.
Threadgill, on the other hand, is a weak king. His monarchy held for the same reason as many others: the Authority wished it so. Without their backing, he might be seen as an easy target.
But the fact remains that, wherever we choose to go, troubled times are coming and I know that you would miss your home and your family and friends. The decision rests with you, Sookie. Wherever you go, I will follow. Wherever we go, I will do all that I can to make you safe. You are my home, lover, my own personal piece of heaven on this earth and your happiness is my greatest desire." Eric falls silent then, and the only sound in the room is my gulp of indecision. As soon as we arrived in Sweden, I'd phoned home to tell Jason and my friends that I was alive and safe and to apologize for skipping town again without a word.
Their reactions were mixed. Jason was just happy to hear from me and, in a moment of clarity I wouldn't have expected from my brother, he told me that he was just happy, no matter what I'd gotten up to, that Eric kept me safe.
Lafayette and Jesus were also relieved to hear from me and, with their knowing a little bit more of the world, they just told me they wanted to cook me breakfast when I got back and get caught up on all the gossip. Both conversations, though short, gave me the strength I needed to make the other calls on my list.
Sam had railed, as Sam always does, about me being in the middle of Vampire shit and it had come to verbal blows as he tried to fire me and I resoundingly quit. Since I'd barely worked at Merlotte's for two weeks put together over the last two years, I couldn't really blame him for it, but it had hurt just the same. Sam had always been my favorite boss and I'd counted him as one of my few true friends. I hoped that, given some time to cool off, he would calm down and hopefully we could be friends again, but if he didn't, I would accept that too. I'd chosen my place in this world and it wasn't beside him.
Tara hadn't given me a happy greeting either, though if truth be told, things hadn't been good between us since she'd sided with Antonia during the whole witch debacle, so I wasn't surprised when she had nothing nice to say.
Alcide had been cool but friendly and I sensed that, even though he'd openly offered to dump Debbie for me not a month before, he was affected by her death just the same and blamed me for the things that had happened. After all, I was deeply, deeply involved with Eric and Pam and it had been Pam who'd put a silver bullet between Debbie's eyes. I hoped, again, that with time I might be able to mend that friendship, but right now it wasn't looking good.
It begs the question, what do I really have to return to? The answer that comes back to me, sadly, is 'not much'. But the thought of never visiting Gran's grave again, of never setting foot in the farmhouse that's been the center of my world for as long as I can remember, causes me real pain. My Gran left it to me because she didn't trust Jason to understand its importance to our family or to keep it up and, given that Jason sold it without much thought when I was in Faery, she was proved right. I turn to Eric, knowing that I'm making the selfish decision but not feeling like I can really make any other, and sigh resignedly.
"I'd like to go home." I answer him, my voice just above a whisper. Eric nods and, from our bond, I can tell he isn't upset or surprised by my answer.
"Then home we go, lover." He says, kissing the tip of my nose, before picking up his cell phone again and tapping off a quick reply to Threadgill. "If all goes well we'll leave the night after tomorrow." He says, after hitting the send button. I just nod my head before laying it on his shoulder.
"Will you be sad to leave?" I ask timidly. Eric shakes his head in response.
"No. I'm regretful that we couldn't take a trip to my ancestral home in Oland, though. Pam is quite fond of the place." He chuckles, the sound dripping in sarcasm, telling me that the exact opposite is true. "But otherwise... no. I love being here and I enjoy seeing Ulrich and Idonea whenever I can, but my life has been in Louisiana for the past half century and, even though I would not hesitate to pick up and leave any place if I felt our safety was compromised, I admit to being fond of the place. After all, I found the world's greatest treasure hidden there," he says, his voice turning dark and deep as he caresses my face with his huge hand, "and you know how Vikings love to discover beautiful, new and exciting things."
With that, Eric picks me up, unceremoniously ripping away the modest little cover up I'd thrown over my bikini before leaving the pool, and tosses me on the bed. Our conversation finished and our decision made, there's now only one thing on his mind and if I couldn't tell what it was through our bond, where his previously muted lust is dialing up by the second, or from the look on his face, the alp sized tent in his sexy, silk pants would give it away all on its own. I'm just about to open my arms to him when I feel the telltale signs of an unexpected deterrent.
"Oh honey, we can't!" I say, my face turning about a zillion different shades of red.
"Yes we can." He says, ripping away his sleep pants and giving my modesty's resolve a big hit right where she lives.
"No honey, you don't understand, I'm…well I have…. The thing is, I'm pretty sure I'm starting my…." Oh lord, how many things have I done with this man? How many naked, sweaty, depraved acts have I eagerly allowed him to teach me, and I still can't say it?
"You're beginning your courses." My eyes all but bug out of my head at his matter-of-fact stating of the problem. "I know, I've been smelling its onset for several days now." I think I'm probably discovering a few new shades of red as his words sink themselves into my brain.
"Oh sweet baby Jesus, just come take me now!" I whisper, my mortification complete as he snickers at my scandalized expression. Not giving me the chance to think anymore, probably worried that, if given enough lead time, I'll run into the bathroom and lock the door behind me, Eric moves over me faster than my eyes can track.
Taking the straps of my bikini bottom in his hand and tugging till they collapse in on themselves, leaving us without any barrier between our lower bodies, he dips his head and inhales a huge lung full of Sookie scented air. I see his eyes roll back in his head and his whole body shiver slightly as my scent works its way into his lungs and I shamefully admit to feeling my resolve crumble just a little bit. The evidence of it is painfully obvious as my pussy begins to glisten in the soft light of the room.
"You smell mouthwatering, lover. Your essence is even stronger than normal. I wouldn't let you go even if you begged and screamed for mercy right now, although I encourage you to attempt it anyway." With that, Eric gently but firmly wrenches my legs apart and plants himself between them, his head diving to my center.
The first swipe of his tongue along my slit is my final undoing and my modesty throws up her hands and abandons me. If I could form words right now, I'd tell her not to let the door hit her on the way out. Instead, my hands fist into his hair as my hips begin their familiar movements, riding his tongue like it's the best ride at the county fair.
Instead of devouring me whole, like I would have expected, Eric takes one of his arms from my thighs and clamps it down over my stomach, holding me still and at his mercy, while he starts to sip me like an exotic wine, taking his time and savoring each drop of me on his tongue.
I cry out as I feel him lap gently at my lips, being driven insane by the almost sweet sensation of his mouth on me, but needing more. Sensing my desperation Eric uses the fingers of the hand still holding my thigh to spread my slick outer folds wide and begins to dip his tongue in and out of my aching entrance, coaxing each drop of my blood and arousal from me and swirling them together.
The panting cries that escape me are hardly audible over the noises of absolute bliss that Eric makes as he enjoys me in this whole new way and, when I dimly notice his hips moving against the sheets of the bed, I decide that modesty has zero place between us. Nothing that makes us both so happy can possibly be wrong.
Just as I have that thought, I feel one of Eric's fingers begin to thrum over my clit and that's all it takes. Without warning, I'm screaming and bucking against him, despite the restraint of his arm, calling out for God and all the angels to come and save me. But of course they don't and all I hear, as I try to come back to myself, is the low growl of Eric's voice in my ear as he picks me up and presses my back against the ornate wooden headboard, holding my entire body off the bed by his arms and coming to kneel underneath me.
"He can't save you from me, nothing can." Eric says wickedly, his eyes, when they swim into my still blurred vision, inky blue with his passion and drunk from my blood. "I suggest you begin praying to me for salvation instead." With that, he uses all his strength to slam me down onto his waiting cock and I cry out as I feel myself impaled by the hard, completely unforgiving steel.
From that moment on, Eric is in complete control of my body lifting me up, as though I'm little more than a rag doll, and dropping me back down onto his hardness savagely, over and over again. As he does, his eyes hold mine prisoner. The look he gives me is one I've seen before. It's the look that used to terrify me, the one that kept me from ever truly believing that we could be together. It speaks of his dark, instinctive drive to possess me, own me, make me his, to swallow me whole and never let me go.
I used to be frightened that, if I gave myself to him, I would drown in that passion that I see in his eyes. It would sweep me away and, when he had his fill and abandoned me, there would be nothing left of me afterward. Now I know differently. That look, his love, it was never a threat. It was a challenge and it's one that I will never back down from again.
Lifting my arms from their place, limp over his shoulders, I grab his head in my hands and kiss him ferociously. I can still taste my blood and my desire on his lips and tongue, but I don't care. If anything, they make me even more frenzied. I want him to know that, as fiercely and as ferociously as he loves me, I love him too.
A part of me has always wanted him, from the very beginning. I've cared for him for longer than I would like to admit, given that I was with another when it started, and I've loved him, truly and completely, for only a short time, but on those nights before and during our fight with the Authority something changed in me.
I didn't just accept a part of Eric, I accepted a part of myself too: a large part of me that I'd been denying. That part of me is the part that's always belonged to him and with him from the very beginning. That part is his perfect mate, completely and utterly, and it's that part of me that cries out in absolute abandon as Eric brings us both to edge of oblivion once more. It's her that flings herself off the cliff, biting into his shoulder just as he roars in pleasure, and takes all of him, willingly, desperately, happily, ecstatically into her.
The bite I vaguely feel on my own shoulder completes our circle and, as we drink from each other, extending our bliss, I feel that complete oneness that I never knew existed before him. We will live. We will thrive. We will conquer any enemy foolish enough to challenge us and we will survive
I will never let anything take him away from me or me from him. It's a promise I made not so long ago, but that's already been tested more times than I would like. It makes no difference though, it never will. I am his and Eric is mine. Let the world, any part of it, attempt to try at their own peril.