Finally finished with all the proofreading so I am posting the final chapters.
As always I don't own the world or the characters, I just take them out on playdates.
She woke in the bed in the apartment. Claudine was sitting at the side of the bed in the chair that Eric had been in when he drew her. She moved forward on the chair when Sookie looked around. "Where's Eric?" was the first thing she thought to ask.
"He's sleeping in one of the coffins in the guest bedroom. It's about ten in the morning." Claudine put a hand on her forehead. "How are you feeling?"
Sookie's hand went to her side, she was thankful she still had her bra and panties on, although they were a mess. The skin felt hot and tight, but only slightly tender. Looking down she saw it looked very much like the stake wound. Claudine stood to better see the wound. "It's better," Sookie ventured, not clearly remembering anything but the pain from the night before.
"Turn over." Claudine asked after looking at the wound and nodding. Sookie turned and felt along her back just above her left hip. The area of tight skin there seemed larger. "The exit wound is healing well too." She brought the covers back up over Sookie.
"Eric glamored her, the official story is that after they grabbed her and blindfolded her, she was driven somewhere, the car door was opened and someone said 'That isn't her.' she was then driven out on the highway and let out on the side of the road. There she waved down a passing driver and they brought her to the nearest police station." Claudine settled back into the chair. "She's back home with her family."
Sookie breathed a sigh of relief. "Who was the driver?" Assuming they wouldn't let it be left to chance that she would be picked up by someone trustworthy.
"Sam, we called him and he was able to make a plausible excuse to leave the bar and be on that road. It also gave us the opportunity to assure him that you were all right so he wouldn't be beating the door down when you didn't call."
"That was nice of him." she took a deep breath, not wanting to know the answer to the next question. "What about the others?"
"Dead." Claudine said with a satisfied gleam in her eye. It wasn't a look she had seen there before and she thought back to her conversation with Eric about fairies.
"Did Eric...?" she began, wanting, but not wanting the details.
"He killed the ones in the main room. I took care of the ones behind the glass." she seemed proud of her participation and Sookie was not going to argue now.
"Then we cleaned out the VampBait and set it up to look like a meth lab and let it blow up." at Sookie's surprised look she explained. "Burning the bodies hides the bite marks, otherwise it would be obvious that vampires were involved."
Sookie just nodded hoping that would end the grizzly description. "I think I need to go to the bathroom." She started to get up, Claudine stood to help her. But she was able to make it into the bathroom on her own.
"Are you hungry?" Claudine asked through the door.
"Yeah, but I'd love to shower first." It looked like someone had cleaned her wounds, but there were still bits of dried blood on her skin and hair.
"All right, come to the kitchen when you're ready."
The shower felt wonderful, washing away the blood and the dirt from the factory floor. Once out of the shower she looked at the wounds in the full length mirror. It was amazing. She knew that twelve hours ago she was on death's door, again, but now she looked as if she had been healing for weeks.
She put on her long robe and brushed her hair before heading to the kitchen. Claudine smiled when she saw her and began ladling up chicken soup. One of the staples Sookie had bought on her first shopping trip. Claudine placed the bowl on the dining table, which up til now Sookie hadn't used, always eating at the bar, but the table was a better height, especially with a sore abdomen. "That smells wonderful." Sookie murmured with gratitude.
"Sit, eat, I'll get you some juice." Claudine did not seem to have a problem waiting on a human. Once she was sure Sookie had everything she needed she sat across the table from her.
"Can you tell me what happened that snapped Eric out of it last night? What was that yellow light?" She blew lightly on the spoonful of soup before bringing the spoon to her mouth.
"Niall banished all trace of non-living fairy matter back to fae. That included what Eric had already inhaled." Claudine said matter-of-factly.
"That seems like powerful magic." Sookie was visibly impressed. Claudine just shrugged, she didn't elaborate further and Sookie let it drop.
After a couple of spoonfuls of soup Sookie looked up. "Claudine, what can you tell me about the bond?"
"Just what I have heard, and it isn't much, since obviously it is not something ever shared between a vampire and a fairy." She took a deep breath. "It's pretty rare, because it ties a vampire to one mortal and most of them consider themselves above that."
"What do you mean by ties?"
"Well, you know how once you drink a vampire's blood, that vampire can sense your emotions and where you are?" Sookie nodded and Claudine continued. "Well now, your emotions will bleed over onto Eric's and vice versa. If you're angry, his temper will be shorter. If you're happy, he will be in a better mood. And it will work in reverse, you might find yourself flying off the handle at someone for no good reason and if you stop and examine it you can tell it's coming from him."
"Is that all?" She could see disadvantages to that, and also why Eric would not want his emotions tied to hers, but it didn't seem like the end of the world.
"You'll each feel better when you are closer together. You'll know, mainly through the emotions, when he is awake. When he's asleep, you won't sense him at all."
"But I'm not going to die if he does or he me?"
"No, nothing like that, although the pain of the loss will be very acute and linger for a long time."
Sookie, ate her soup without comment for awhile.
Claudine broke the silence. "Sook, I'm really sorry there was no other way. Neither Niall nor I have any healing magic."
Sookie reached across the table and covered Claudine's hand with her own. "Claudine, it's okay. I'd be dead right now if it weren't for you and your grandfather, I'm very grateful."
"Do you think you can live with the bond?" the fairy asked.
Sookie smiled crookedly, "Since I couldn't live without it, I better." She had finished her soup, setting down her spoon into the bowl. Standing she stretched her arms high over her head, but contracted in pain when something twinged inside her wound.
"Are you okay?" Claudine was immediately by her side.
"Yeah, just pulled something I shouldn't have." she straightened tentatively, but the pain was gone. "Do you mind if I lay back down for awhile?"
"No, come on, I'll help you back to bed."
"I can make it. Claudine, I really appreciate you staying here to watch me, but are you sure it's safe for you?"
"I'm going to leave an hour before sundown and leave Eric a note if you haven't woken up yet." She seemed satisfied with her safety on that front.
"I'm sure you have better things to do than watch me sleep. If you want to go I'll be fine." It seemed a waste for Claudine's whole day to be taken up with watching her sleep.
"I'll just make sure you fall asleep alright and then I'll let myself out."
Sookie grabbed some soft cotton pajamas and went into the bathroom to change and brush her teeth, all said she was feeling much better than when she first woke.
"Pleasant dreams." Claudine said as she was drifting off.
Sookie's eyes popped open and she knew Eric was up, just seconds before the door to the bedroom opened. He was at her side before she could say hi. She could feel his concern washing over her.
"It's okay." She said soothingly, "I'm alright." Her hand cupped the side of his face.
"I'm so sorry, I almost killed you and worse." He looked at her and she could see the regret on his face and she could feel it across the bond.
"But you also saved me." she tried to feed him her forgiveness back across the invisible connection. "Look." she pulled up the pajama shirt to show the healed wound. "It's almost completely healed."
His fingers lightly traced the wound and brushed the shiny new skin. She trembled at his touch. "Does it hurt?" he asked softly.
"Only when I stretch. At least at lunchtime." She repeated her earlier stretch and this time there was no twinge. "Nope, all better."
"What do you need?" he asked. She could tell whatever she asked for he would see that she got it.
"Hold me for awhile?"
"Are you sure? After what I did?" She could feel a little spark of hope sputter across the bond.
"I'm sure." she scooted over in the bed to make room for him. Holding up the covers so he could climb in.
Reluctantly he did, he was wearing only jeans and he left those on. She leaned forward and he put his arm around her shoulders holding her lightly, like she was a delicate china doll.
"Did you know Niall before last night?" she asked after several minutes of silence. His apprehension was threatening to overcome the peace she felt in his arms.
"Yes, the Prince and I have had dealings in the past."
She sat up to look at him, "Prince?" Claudine hadn't mentioned that.
"Yes, he is the prince of the largest group of fairies, at least the largest I know of. He's the one I told you I was going to try to contact. I had no luck but Claudine must have. It's very unusual for him to become involved in worldly affairs."
"I guess he found the VampBait an important threat." she settled back against him.
"The bond was formed." he said softly.
"I know, I can feel it." she murmured, her cheek against his chest.
"I'm sorry that it was the only way to save you." he said softly.
"Do you hate it?" She asked in a whisper.
"No," He put a finger under her chin so he could look into her face. "but I am sorry it was forced upon you. You should have had more of a choice."
"It was forced upon you too." She looked at him sincerely, "Thank you for offering it." She turned her head, lying back on his chest again. "Is it hard living with a bond?"
"I don't know, I've never had one before."
"Never, in a thousand years?"
She could feel him shake his head. "Never. I never even considered it before."
She didn't know what to say to that, it seemed so sad, to go through a thousand years and never find someone you would consider letting in.
"What about Pam?" One arm moving around his chest.
"I turned her the night I met her."
"Oh." They were silent for awhile. "I meant it." she said softly, "When I said 'I love you'. I meant it." She turned so she could see his face and was surprised to see streaks of blood running down his cheeks.
"Is that what this is?" he asked cupping her face. "Feeling like a stake was going through my heart when I thought you were dying? Hating myself for what I did to you, what I almost did? Wanting to lie here, just holding you in my arms the whole night? Being willing to tie myself to you, even knowing that you might hate me for it, just so I would know you were still in the world?"
Now she had tears running down her face too. "I think so, I don't have another name for it." she said with a crooked grin.
"Then love hurts. Is it supposed to?" He said, wiping her tears away with his thumbs.
"Nothing can hurt more." She pulled herself up so her face was level with his.
"I must love you then." he said with awe.
"Do you know what else?" she asked her mouth closing the distance between them.
"What?" he asked his lips brushing hers as he spoke.
"Nothing feels better either." She kissed him lightly, pulling away to look him in the eye. "I love you Eric."
He pulled her head to his and they spent the night sharing how wonderful love can feel.
This is the final chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. I am going to leave them here awhile. Due to all the wonderful feedback I have received I will try to write more in this timeline, although I have a couple of partially finished stories that are not, that I will probably post first.