AN: A big, big thank you to my wonderful beta Ashensunset. She beta'd this for me even though she is extremely busy herself. I'm so, so sorry for the long delay, I have countless reasons, but I won't bore you with them.
Seven Years Later.
The setting of the Louisiana sun pulled Eric from his daytime rest. Turning to his side, Eric smiled at the blonde resting beside him. Lifting a hand, he trailed it down her side as he basked in his love for her. Eric never knew it was possible to love someone as much as he loved her. She was his whole world; she owned his heart and he thanked the gods for her every single night he rose.
Leaning forward, Eric pressed a soft kiss to her lips before rising from the bed. As much as he would have loved to have spent the next several hours making love to his beautiful mate, he knew neither of them had the time. Tonight was the seven-year anniversary of his rule as king and a huge celebration had been organised. A lot had changed in the last seven years, and Eric still had trouble believing some of it.
Two years after he had appointed Eric as King of Louisiana, Roman had shocked everyone when he had resigned from his position as Guardian of the Authority. He had grown tired of the politics and back fighting that came with the position. The events that followed the staking of Russell Edgington had troubled him deeply. Discovering the extent of Salome's betrayal had cut him to the core. Learning that Salome had freed Russell had hurt, but once he had discovered the true extent of her plan, his hurt and given way to anger. Finding out the woman he had spent almost a hundred years with had released Russell so he could kill him and bring about the return of Lilith caused a rage to sweep through Roman and for the first time in centuries he let his vampire nature come out. Roman had tortured his former bedmate until she revealed all her plans and those who had helped her. He had taken great pleasure in destroying the blood of Lilith in front of her before sending her to her final death by cutting her head off.
Once Salome had been taken care of, Roman had turned his attention to cleaning out the Authority. It had taken him two years, but he finally achieved his goal, and in celebration he had resigned his position. His last act as Guardian had been to appoint his successor. He'd offered the job to Eric in jest, knowing full well that the Viking wouldn't accept it, before appointing Dieter as the new guardian.
It came as no surprise when Roman decided to set up residence in Louisiana; in the years it took to weed out the traitors at the Authority, Roman developed quite the relationship with both Eric and Sookie. He respected Eric and the way he ruled his kingdom; Louisiana had once again begun to thrive under Eric's rule, and Roman was happy to see it. His relationship with Sookie had to be seen to be believed. The former leader of the Authority had almost a protective big brother relationship with a telepathic woman. He was one of the few people Eric trusted around his bonded. Eric had appointed Roman as special advisor to the king upon his move to the state, something Pam had not been happy about.
Five years ago.
Pam stormed into Eric's office, a scowl etched firmly on her face. Stopping in front of his desk, she placed her hands on her hips as she glared at her maker and King.
"How could you do this without telling me?" Pam asked. She couldn't believe Eric had appointed Roman as his special advisor. He had basically appointed Roman his second-in-command, a position Eric knew she wanted. As the King's only child, Pam believed it was her right to hold such a position. She accepted she wouldn't be his queen, and if truth were told, she never really wanted to be since that role belonged to Sookie, at least unofficially, but she refused to be just another vampire in the state. He wouldn't even give her the title of Sheriff, deciding to oversee Area Five himself.
"I do not have to tell you anything, Pamela," Eric growled, his displeasure showing. "I am both your maker and King. You answer to me, not the other way around."
"But, Eric," Pam whined in a way that she knew Eric caved to.
"Enough!" Eric shouted; silencing any protest she might have gave. Rising from his chair, he nodded at his guests who Pam had ignored. "Gentleman, if you will excuse me for a minute. It seems I have to remind my child who is in charge here." Not waiting for reply, Eric moved around his desk and walk towards Pam; grabbing her by the arm, he dragged her out of his office and through the compound towards his private quarters. Once inside Eric let go of her arm and glared at her.
"Eric…" Pam began.
"Be quiet," Eric hissed, as he started to pace. His anger neared its boiling point at the disrespect his own child had shown him.
For once Pam did as she was told and waited for Eric to speak. She could feel his anger coursing through the bonds they shared. The two of them had managed to re-establish them after his return from the Authority years before.
Pam barely restrained from rolling her eyes as Sookie strolled into the living area of Eric's private quarters. Pam had accepted Sookie's place in her maker's life, but she still hadn't come to like the young woman. She believed her to be beneath her maker; as far as Pam was concerned, Sookie didn't show Eric the respect and adulation he deserved.
"Yes, Lover?" Eric replied, his features softening as he set eyes on his love. It had only been a few hours since he had last seen her, but that didn't matter to him. He missed her when she was just in the next room.
"I thought you were meeting with the representatives of the King of Georgia," Sookie said, as she flicked her eyes between Eric and Pam. She could feel the tension between them and wondered what Pam had done now.
"I was, but Pam felt the need to interrupt and challenge me in front of them," Eric told her, ignoring Pam's cry of denial. He'd had enough of Pam's childish behaviour, and he wasn't going to put up with it any longer. He had tolerated her snarky attitude and general laziness for over a century. He hadn't missed the disrespect she showed his bonded either. He had promised Sookie he wouldn't interfere unless Pam's behaviour became a threat to her, but Eric had finally had enough. In allowing Pam to behave the way she did, it was weakening his rule. It wouldn't be long before others started to challenge him in the same way. It was one of the reasons why he appointed Roman as his special advisor. There wasn't anyone who knew vampire politics better than the former leader of the Authority.
"Would you like some privacy?" Sookie asked, realising Eric was finally going to call Pam to task about her behaviour. In Sookie's opinion, it was a long time overdue. She never doubted for one-minute Pam's loyalty to Eric, but Sookie believed loyalty was only one part of what Eric deserved. He also needed his child to respect his decisions and follower his orders without wondering how it affected her. Sookie was well aware that Pam didn't approve or like her, and when she and Eric got back together it had bothered her, she'd tried to befriend her bonded's child, but was rebuffed at turn. In the end Sookie had simply stopped trying, she left Pam to her jealous, spiteful behaviour. She refused to let her snarky attitude or biting words affect her any longer. If Pam wanted to act like a child, then she didn't care as long as she didn't damage Eric in anyway.
"No," Eric said.
"Yes," Pam said at the same time.
"No, Lover, I want you to stay," Eric reiterated, as he reached for Sookie's hand and pulled her to him. "It is your right as my chosen queen to be here."
"Eric…" Pam began again. She knew she was in trouble, but she didn't want Sookie to witness it, that would be humiliating for her. This was vampire business a maker and child thing and Sookie had no business being any part of it.
"I said quiet," Eric hissed. Bringing Sookie's hand to his lips, Eric kissed the back of it before leading her towards the large leather sofa in the middle of the room. Once he saw she was comfortable, he turned his attention back to his child.
The look of fury on Eric's face caused Pam to take a step back and she began to realise just how angry he was with her. Closing her mouth, she waited for whatever punishment Eric was going to give her.
"I have put up with your childish ways for too long," Eric said, as he stalked towards her. "I have overlooked the disrespect you show my bonded and Queen because she asked me not to interfere. But no longer, it stops now. You asked how I could do it without telling you; I assume you are referring to Roman's appointment as my special adviser?" Seeing Pam nod her head in affirmation, Eric continued, "I did it because it was the right thing to do for my kingdom. I did not tell you because I did not have to do, whom I chose to appoint in my kingdom and to what position is no business of yours. You would not have challenged Compton or Sophie-Anne in such a way, but because you are my child you think you can me. Well I'm telling you, you are wrong.
I know your objection with me a point appointing Roman as my advisor is not because you think he is incapable of doing the job, but because you think the position should be yours. But, Pam, you do not possess the skills nor the knowledge needed for the position." Seeing Pam open her mouth to object, Eric pressed on, determined to make her see his point. "You lack the experience. You have never ruled anything; you have never held any real power in our world. There will come a time when you will and on that night I'm sure you will be fine leader, but it is not now. Roman was the mastermind behind the Great Revelation and the Mainstreaming Movements. He ruled the Authority for half a century and was deeply embedded in vampire politics for many centuries before that. He has wisdom and connections in our world that even I, with a thousand years of experience, do not have. Tell me, Pam, what do you have said that rivals that? What do you have that should make me appoint you over him? Nothing." Eric answered for her. "All you have to offer is that you are my child. You are selfish, lazy, and jealous. You desire the position, but do not wish to do the work that goes with it, just like you never did it at Fangtasia. You trade on my name and expect the world to be given to you. It is time you grew up, Child. I can't tolerate your childish behaviour any more. I will not tolerate it. You just disrespected me in front of representatives from another kingdom tonight, you make me and by extension Louisiana look weak…"
"What? No!" Pan cried, Eric's words cutting her to the core. "I would never do that."
"You challenged me in front of them," Eric growled. "They will think if I cannot control my own child I will be unfit to rule my state."
Pam hung her head in shame, embarrassment coursing through her and she listened to Eric's words. She believed he was being overly harsh in his chastisement of her, but wisely chose to bite her tongue and say nothing. She could understand the truth of Eric's words when it came to Roman, but she still didn't like it. For a hundred years she has stood by Eric's side, had been his most trusted and loyal child. It was her right to be his second. She couldn't believe he gave that position to another, and one not even of his blood. Pam felt like she was being replaced, Sookie had had already replaced her in Eric's affections, she believed. She was no longer the most important woman in his life. The only woman who had his love. He loved Sookie more than her, and she hated the young telepath for it. If she thought she could have gotten away with it, Pam would have killed Sookie a long time ago, but she was smart enough to know that if she did, Eric would kill her without second thought.
Eric shook his head as he stared at Pam. He knew she wasn't really listening to what he was saying. She still thought she should have the position of his advisor, despite her lack of qualifications for the role. In the hundred years they had spent together his child had grown into a selfish, jealous, childish, brat. Gone was the woman who stood up to the two vampires without fear, and in her place was a vampire who wanted everything her way, but was unwilling to do any work to make it happen. As much as Eric loved his child, there were times he didn't like her very much.
"Now I have to go and put on a show for Georgia's representatives, I have to show them that I and Louisiana are not weak. I will advise you to stay out my way until after they are gone," Eric told her. "I shall issue your punishment once I'm done with them."
"Punishment?" Pam exclaimed, not quite believing Eric was actually going to punish her. "Eric, I…"
"Do not question me again," Eric growled, silencing her protests. Turning attention to Sookie again, Eric strolled towards her. Bending forward, he pressed his lips to her head and sent his love through the bond to her. A smile spread over his face as he felt her love and support in return, "I shall be back soon, Lover," he told her as he straightened up.
"I'll be waiting," Sookie promised.
Without another word, Eric walked out the door leaving Sookie and Pam behind. Sookie said nothing as she stared at Pam, she didn't have to be a mind reader to know Eric's words had barely had effect on Pam. The vampire was even more stubborn than her. Sookie let out a small laugh as she saw the glare Pam shot at her.
"I suppose you are going to blame me for this somehow," Sookie said, taking Pam by surprise. Of late Sookie barely said anything to the century old vampire, she paid no attention to her, often liking her to a cross between a bitter ex-wife and a spoiled child.
"Ever since you infested his life Eric's been different," Pam replied, determined to finally tell Sookie what she thought of her. "He's changed."
"He has," Sookie agreed. "And some of it is for the better. You're just so focused on how it affects you to see that."
"How dare you!" Pam snarled. "I'm loyal to Eric. I want what is best for him."
"No, Pam, you want what is best for you," Sookie countered, refusing to back down. "I don't doubt your loyalty. I never have, but you fail to realize what you want is not necessarily what Eric wants."
"You think you know what Eric wants?" Pam sneered.
"No, I don't," Sookie admitted. "I know some of the things he wants because he told me, but I don't presume to know everything he wants. Just like I don't presume to know what is best for him. You told me a few nights after Eric was made King, that if I wanted to be in his life, I'd have to accept every part of him. The good and the bad..."
Pam smirked as she recalled telling Sookie that, it had been a few nights after Eric had told her he had been made King. Pam had been extremely hostile that night, as she had tried to drive a wedge between them. She had taken great pleasure in informing Sookie of the past sexual relationship she had shared with her maker, telling her she would always be in Eric's heart and if Sookie wanted to be apart of Eric's life, his future, she would have to accept that and her.
"I see you remember that," Sookie said, seeing Pam's smirk. Sookie knew what Pam had been trying to do that night and had refused to let her. She wouldn't be run off by her. "It was some good advice. It's a shame you can't take it yourself."
"What?" Pam growled as she advanced on her maker's bonded. She respected everything about Eric, accepted everything. And she would be dammed if she would let the telepathic bloodbag insinuate differently.
"You know I speak the truth, it's why you're so angry." Sookie replied calmly, showing no fear. "You refuse to accept me in Eric's life, you still want to tear us apart. You care not for your maker's feelings, only your own."
"That's not true," Pam defended, unable to believe Sookie was speaking to her in such a way.
"No? Then tell me, Pam. Why do you want Eric to walk away from me?" Sookie asked.
"Because I don't…"
"Because I," Sookie repeated, as she cut Pam off. "Because you don't like me. Because you don't think I'm good enough for Eric. Because you want things to go back to the way they were. Tell me, Pam. Do you care how much pain it would cause Eric if by some remote chance you got what you wanted? Or are you so selfish you don't care as long as you get your maker back to yourself?"
"He would survive," Pam replied sullenly.
"Yes, he would," Sookie agreed. "That would he happy or just exist? Would he be happy? Or don't you care? I make him happy. I love him."
"You're not good enough for him," Pam argued.
"No, Pam. I'm not good enough for you," Sookie countered. "Eric loves me and I no longer care what you think or feel about it. Your opinion doesn't matter you have proven here tonight that you're not capable of intelligent, mature behaviour…"
"Now you're going to lecture me on vampire etiquette and politics," Pam spat, trying to hide how much Sookie's words were affecting her. She wanted to deny them, but she couldn't, not to herself.
"No," Sookie replied with a small chuckle. "I know even less about vampire politics than you do, but I do know better than to barge into Eric's office and challenge him in front of the vampires."
"I was angry."
"And that makes it alright?" Sookie asked. "If anyone else would've done that you would've been the first to call them to task. You would've chewed them out. But you think it's okay for you to do it, because, why?"
"I'm his child," Pam answered petulantly, but the word sounded hollow even to her own ears. She was just beginning to realise how bad she'd screwed up.
"That doesn't make it okay," Sookie told her not unkindly. "Being Eric's child doesn't make you exempt from his rules, from showing him the respect he deserves. If anything it means you should be the best in line to honour and follow him. Question him in private if you have to do, I certainly do, but we all need to show a united front to others."
Having said what she wanted, Sookie retreated back into her bedroom and let Pam with her thoughts. She prayed she got through to Pam, at least a little bit, because Sookie knew Eric was reaching the end of this tether with this child. He would soon take action and Sookie feared neither Eric nor Pam would be happy with the outcome.
As Sookie busied herself with minor tasks, she monitored the bond she shared with Eric. She could feel his frustration and she knew only parts of it were due to Pam. The representatives of the King of Georgia were trying his patience; they had been for the last few days. Pam's little stunt had only compounded that. It was short while later when Sookie heard Pam leave, she was surprised it had taken her so long. It was common knowledge the King's child didn't like being in the presence of his bonded unless she absolutely had to. Sookie paused in what she was doing as she felt a change in the bond. Eric's frustration had given away to hesitancy, followed by shock, and finally pride. Sookie smiled as she folded a blanket and set it on the bed. It looked like Pam had found a way to appease Eric.
It was after that encounter that Pam finally began to grow up. She stopped her childish and jealous behaviour and began to embrace the changes around there. She finally begun to see what Sookie meant when she said some of the changes in Eric were for the better. Eric was happier she could finally see it. She tried to deny it for so long, to make excuses for it, but she finally accepted that Eric loved Sookie. She always knew he did, but she had always tried to add reasons to it. He loved her because of her telepathy; he loved her because of her fairy blood.
With Pam finally accepting the truth, she also started to overcome her intense dislike of Sookie. Once she put aside her jealousy, Pam began to see what her maker saw in the young telepath. It took almost a year, but Pam and Sookie finally became friends, much to Eric's delight.
Grabbing a pair of jeans, Eric pulled them on before walking out his bedroom. Padding across the hall to his private office, Eric chuckled to see Roman sitting on the couch waiting for him.
"Starting early tonight, Roman," Eric said in greeting, as he took a seat behind his desk.
"The kingdom doesn't stop running just because we are down for the day," Roman replied, reciting his usual response. "Besides," he added, as he stood up and moved to stand in front of Eric's desk. "It is a big night. I wanted to make sure everything runs smoothly. There's a lot of chatter surrounding tonight's party. The eyes of the neighbouring kingdoms are on us."
"Why is the party generating so much interest?" Eric asked. "In the scheme of things tonight's party is unimportant. It is just the anniversary of my taking the crown. Or at least that's what everyone has been told. The only people who know the real reason behind it are my inner circle. Word hasn't leaked, has it?"
"No," Roman answered quickly to reassure him. "The interest surrounding the party has been generated by your absence of late. Four months ago Sookie disappeared. No one would tell anyone where she was or why she had gone. And then three months ago you left. You appointed me temporary ruler and then disappeared. People started to talk, and when I say people, I mean vampires. Rumours spread that you left because Sookie had left you. Some even claimed you were going to meet the sun. Although, there was one person who was very vocal about that ridiculous theory."
"Nora," Eric guessed.
"Yes," Roman said. "Your sister did all she could to dispel rumours that you were going to meet the sun. She would tell anyone who would listen that you would never do something so stupid over an undeserving bloodbag… Her words not mine," Roman was quick to clarify as he heard the snarl that tore from Eric's throat. "Nora has been hanging around the palace for the last few nights, I have refused her entry into your private quarters as per your instructions, despite her claims she is allowed in them. She wishes to see you before the party tonight. I've told that it won't be possible."
"Thank you," Eric replied. He linked his fingers in front of him as he thought it over. Nora would be a problem once she realised what was going on. She had been a problem since she turned up two years ago. Nora have been sentenced to five years in silver for her part in Salome's scheme and on her release she had stripped of all power and basically thrown out in the street. She has shown up in Louisiana just a few short months later. Nora had heard Eric had become king and she had tried to maneuver her way back into his good graces. She hadn't been happy to find Sookie at his side.
Two years ago.
A gentle smile curled Nora's lips and she waited in the reception room of Eric's New Orleans Palace. She took a in the opulent decor as she looked around the room. The room screamed her brother with its dark wooden furniture; leather couches and priceless art work. Nora nodded her head in approval as she ran a finger over the hand carved mantel.
Yes, she thought. I will be happy here.
Nora wiped the smile off her face as she heard someone enter the room. Adopting a blank expression, she turned to face the door and watched as a young man walked in.
"The King will see you now," he said.
Nora said nothing in return she walked towards him, she followed him through the palace. She couldn't hold back the grin as she realised she was being escorted to Eric's private rooms and not his royal office rooms. She felt a tingle spread through her body as she anticipated Eric's welcome. Maybe being queen wouldn't be too bad; with Eric as her king it would certainly have its perks.
She unconsciously ran her hands over her dress, smoothing out any wrinkles as she waited outside the large mahogany door.
"Enter," she heard Eric call out.
Pushing aside her guide, Nora reached for the handle and opened the door. A smile spread across her face is she saw Eric sitting on the couch a few feet away. Speeding towards him, Nora threw herself into his lap, her knees going either side of his legs as she straddled him.
"I have missed you, brother," Nora purred before crashing her lips to his in a passion filled kiss. She forced her tongue into Eric's mouth as she rocked herself against him.
Gripping her upper at arms, Eric pushed Nora back and held her still as he stared at her, "It is good to see you are well, Nora," he said, choosing his words carefully as he pushed her off him. "You have recovered from your sentence?" he asked, as he stood up and put some distance between them.
A lot had changed in five years since he'd last seen his vampire sister. He was a king now, although, he had been king the last time he had seen her, she just hadn't been aware of it. Eric had deliberately kept news from her when he had visited her before her sentence had been carried out. The trust he had in her had been broken when he discovered the part she played in Salome's plan. Although, Salome had been the one to dig Russell up and free him, Nora had been a willing accomplice. Nora had begged Eric for his help, but he'd walked away from her. There was nothing he could have done even if he had wanted to. Nora had chosen the wrong side and she had to pay for it. But the biggest thing that has changed was Eric was now bonded to Sookie. He loved her more than anything and he wouldn't do anything to hurt her.
Eric deeply regretted his last reunion with Nora; he had been angry and hurt at Sookie's rejection and sort comfort in the familiar. Although, he knew technically he hadn't done anything wrong, he and Sookie hadn't been together at that time, it hadn't stopped him from feeling guilty. It had only been a few nights later that he and Sookie had reunited and he confessed it all to her. Eric hadn't wanted any secrets between them. The conversation had quite painful and there had been a few tears shed, but they had come out of it a lot stronger.
Looking at Nora, it was clear to Eric that she was expecting the same kind of greeting that she received at their last reunion. Well she was going to be sorely disappointed.
"I have," Nora replied, as she regarded her brother. She wasn't sure why he was being so standoffish and formal with her, but she knew she didn't like it. She wanted his enthusiastic welcome, the one that would leave her in a boneless mess and covered in his cum.
Taking a step towards him, Nora lowered her eyes in the show of contrition, "Eric, I need to apologise for the part I played in releasing Russell," she said, her eyes rimming red as she held back tears. "Even though Salome was the one to dig him up, I was complicit in it. I let her to manipulate me. I betrayed you because she convinced me I was doing the right thing." Lifting her head, she stared at Eric as she continued, "None of that makes it right, but I am truly sorry. I'll do anything to make it up to you and regain your trust."
Eric and watched Nora carefully as he listened to her words. He could see the sincerity on her face, but he reminded himself that his sister had always been a talented liar.
"I'm sure you don't believe me," Nora added, a tear trickling down her cheek as she guessed what he was thinking. "I can't blame you. I only hope you will give me the chance to make amends."
Taking a step towards Eric, "I'm sorry," Nora said as she wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face in his chest. "I'm sorry," she repeated over and over. She grinned as she felt Eric's arms wrap loosely around her. She could tell he was softening to her and planned to use it to her advantage. "I'll make it up to you," she promised, as she pressed her breasts against his chest. "In fact," she purred, sliding her hand down his chest and rubbing his cock over his jeans, "let me start now…"
"No," Eric growled, as he pushed her away. His eyes bored into her as he stared her down. "Things have changed in the last five years, sister," he added his voice controlled. "That part of our relationship is over. I will never share my body with you again."
A look of anger flittered across Nora's face as she heard Eric's refusal before she schooled her features. She was sure he was only jesting with her. It was Eric's way of punishing her for her betrayal. He was denying her what she knew they both wanted. They had been lovers on and off for six hundred years. As far as Nora was concerned Godric had made her for Eric. He had made her to be Eric's eternal companion. Eric was hers, just as she was his. It had taken six hundred years, but Nora would finally honour Godric's wishes. She would sit at Eric's side and be his queen.
Sticking out her lip in an exaggerated pout, Nora took a few steps towards him, her hips swaying as she walked. "Don't be like that, brother," she said, as she hooked her fingers in his belt. "I only want to show you how sorry I am." Her eyes sparkled mischievously as she added, "And nothing says I'm sorry like a blow job." She laughed that she heard Eric groan and thinking he was softening to her, she pushed on, "Come on, Eric, let me suck your big, hard, cock…" Dropping to her knees in front of him, Nora grinned as she felt Eric's hand tangle in her hair as she went to open his jeans. But before she knew what was happening, Nora felt herself yanked to her feet and flying through the air.
"What the fuck!" Nora growled, as she crashed into the wall. Straightening herself up, she glared at Eric.
"If you wish to stay in my state, Nora, you will be wise to do as you are told," Eric said, his tone deceptively calm. "Do not touch me. I am not yours to touch."
"You deny me?" Nora screeched, her fangs snapping down in anger. "Godric made me for you. He gave you to me. You are mine."
"No, Eric is mine."
Whirling around, Nora glared at the intruder, a hiss escaping her lips and she watched the pretty blonde walk towards Eric and place her hand on his chest.
Lifting herself on her tiptoes, Sookie brushed her lips across Eric's before turning to face Nora. She grinned at the glare Nora was sending her way. She stood next to Eric in silence and waited. She'd heard all about Nora from Eric, Pam, and Roman, and what she'd heard she didn't like.
Eric had told all about his past with his vampire sister, including his reunion with her days before their own reunion. Sookie couldn't lie and say it didn't hurt knowing Eric had had sex with Nora the night after he had told her he loved her, but she knew she had no one but herself to blame. She'd rejected Eric and she wouldn't blame him for seeking comfort in what was familiar. She was grateful that Eric hadn't hidden it from her and her told her. Especially considering how Bill had take great pleasure in informing her of it. Sookie didn't think she'd ever forget the look on Bill's face when after he had finished telling her how Eric had fucked someone else and not just some random fangbanger, but someone he loved, while Bill waited outside the night after she had rejected him, only for her to reply, "You're not telling me anything I don't already know, Bill." Bill's look of shock and anger had just reaffirmed to Sookie that she had done the right thing in rejecting him. He had been willing to hurt her to get what he wanted.
Nora's eyes flashed dangerously as she flicked them from Eric to Sookie. She hated how close they were standing together, how Eric had moved himself into a protective stance. He never had done that for her. He always left her to fend for herself, even in the beginning when she had just been turned. Godric had always been the one to protect her. Eric and happy to fuck her, but he wouldn't fight for her.
"Who are you?" Nora snarled.
"Sookie Stackhouse," Sookie replied simply, a small laugh escaped her lips as she heard Eric chuckle.
"Allow me to introduce you," Eric said, as he wrapped his arm around Sookie's shoulders and pulled her to him. "Lover, meet my sister Nora Gainsborough. Nora, meet my bonded and queen Sookie Stackhouse."
"Your what?" Nora growled, her eyes snapping to his.
"My bonded and queen," Eric repeated firmly, his tone daring Nora to object.
"It is nice to meet you," Nora replied stiffly, knowing not to push Eric any further that night.
"You too," Sookie said, her tone just as insincere as Nora's.
"I apologise, brother," Nora said suddenly. "If I knew you were bonded I wouldn't have acted the way I did. How long have you been bonded, Eric?"
"Five years," Eric answered truthfully.
"You were bonded the last time we reunited," Nora said, her lips curling into a smile as she ran her eyes over Sookie. She couldn't hide the pleasure she got at knowing Eric had fucked her while bonded to the blonde bloodbag. In her mind that just proved Eric wasn't as committed to her as he claimed. He was probably just putting on a show for Sookie, Nora deduced. He was just pretending to be faithful in front of her. Nora was sure Eric would welcome her return properly later once the human was out of the way.
"No," Eric replied. "We had shared blood at that point, but we weren't bonded. An unfortunate situation developed that caused us to separate for a short while. We bonded a month after I was made King. A month after Sookie saved Roman's life and I staked Russell Edgington."
Anger flashed in Nora's eyes briefly she heard Eric's words. Sookie was the one who saved Roman? That news was new to her. She knew someone had saved him when Russell tried to stake him, but she never knew who. That bit of information had been withheld from her. Nora eyed Sookie suspiciously as she ran that little bit of information over in her head. How did a seemingly human girl save Roman from Russell? Russell had been the oldest person in the room that night. Salome had seen to that, it had been in their plan. Roman was supposed to have died and Lilith reborn. Nora felt a wave of hated wash over her as she realised her brother's bonded had been the reason for everything that had gone wrong. Romans surviving, Salome's death, her own sentence had all been because of Sookie. If Nora hadn't already disliked her, she would now. She had spent five years in silver because the bloodbag hadn't known her place.
My place, Nora seethed internally. Sookie was in her place. She should have been Eric's chosen queen. Instead he had given the role to someone else.
"The Guardian was lucky you were there that night to save him," Nora said tightly, as she put on a strained smile.
"Wasn't I just," Roman said, as he strolled into the room with Pam beside him.
"Guardian!" Nora exclaimed, as she turned to face him. "I wasn't expecting to see you here. It's good to see you, however." She flicked her eyes over Pam in a dismissive manner as she added, "Pam."
"Nora," Pam replied, as she moved to stand beside Sookie and Eric showing a united front.
"Nora," Roman greeted simply before turning his attention to Eric. "I apologise for interrupting, Eric, but there is some business and needs taking care of. Your 9 o'clock appointment has arrived and is waiting in the reception area."
Nora bristled at the poor greeting she received, but wisely chose to remain silent. Her lips curled in a smile as she ran her eyes over Sookie and Pam. "I understand you are busy, brother," she said, "And I wouldn't want to keep you from your work. I'm sure we can catch up later. Perhaps in the meantime I can spend some time with your bonded and Pam. I can get to know her better."
"No can do, auntie," Pam replied before Sookie had a chance. "Sookie has her own appointments to keep. The life of a queen is a busy one, I'm sure you can understand that." Turning to Sookie, "The people applying for the maids position have arrived. They're waiting in the room off your office."
"The Queen hires the house staff?" Nora asked, her tone slightly mocking. To Nora it was just more proof that Eric wasn't a serious as he claimed about Sookie. There was no way her brother will allow Sookie do such an menial task if he held any real feelings for her.
"Can you think of a better person than a telepath to do with?" Sookie retorted.
"A what?" Nora asked, her eyes settling on Sookie again.
"A telepath," Sookie repeated.
"You're a telepath?"
"I'm sorry, I thought it was common knowledge that I am a telepath," Sookie replied.
"You forget, Sookie, that auntie Nora has spent the last five years chained in silver," Pam replied, her sparkling with mischief. "She isn't up-to-date on the latest gossip."
"You're a telepath and you use your ability to hire maids?" Nora said, the words dripping with disdain. She couldn't believe Sookie would waste a talent like that on something so menial. She could have been helping Eric with it. She should have been helping Eric with it.
"I use my ability to make sure no one with untoward motives gets near Eric," Sookie replied refusing to be judged in her own house. "We don't let just anyone in our house. They need to be screened first and can you think of anyone better a telepath to do it? I mean they could be anyone. Infiltrators from the Fellowship of the Sun, spies from another kingdom. Or…" Sookie paused as she ran her eyes over Nora before meeting her eyes, "Whores who are planning on trying to usurp my position and try and entice my Eric away from me. That's not the kind of woman we want in our house.
Sookie's message was clear as she stared at Nora. Eric is mine. Sookie knew why Nora was there. She wanted what was hers. She wouldn't be the first woman to try and steal Eric away from her, nor would she be the last. But Sookie was letting her know the score. This was her home. Eric was her vampire, and she would be damned if she let anyone come between them.
"That is something you never have to worry about, Lover," Eric said, as he broke their staring contest. "I am yours. Only yours. No other measures up to you. I desire no other."
Nora bit back a growl as she listened to them. Despite her initial beliefs, she was beginning to realise Eric truly loved Sookie. Coming between them wouldn't be easy, but she didn't care. As she watched them she swore one day she would be queen. Eric's Queen.
Nora had been a thorn in their sides for the last two years. She had tried everything in her power to come between Sookie and Eric. Nora had envisioned herself as Queen, and she wasn't going to let Sookie stand in her way. She had tried countless times to seduce Eric and entice him away from Sookie, and each time she had been rebuffed in humiliating fashion. Nora had become a laughing stock around the palace. The other vampires had taken to mocking her and her poor attempts at seduction. The only reason Eric hadn't banished her from his state was because he wanted to keep her where he could see her. Nora was no threat to his relationship with Sookie, but Eric didn't trust her not to try something foolish.
Turning his attention back to Roman, "Have Nora shadowed until after it's done," Eric ordered. "Prevent her from interfering if she tries, and regardless of what she says she is not allowed in our private quarters. I will not have her upsetting Sookie tonight."
"Understood," Roman replied with a nod.
"Is there anything else that needs my attention before I have to get ready?" Eric questioned.
"No, that is it."
Rising from his chair Eric made his way towards the door, his hand had just closed around the handle when Roman's voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Although, Pam has ordered me to inform you that you're not allowed to return to your rooms. Pam is helping Sookie get ready for this evening and she doesn't want you underfoot." Seeing Eric raise his eyebrow, Roman chuckled, "Pam's wording may have been a little bit more colourful."
Eric shook his head at his child's antics, "And how am I supposed to get ready?"
Roman flicked a finger at a garment bag resting over the back of the couch, "Your tux is in there and Pam told me to remind you, you have at least two more bathrooms on this level alone."
Eric grumbled good-naturedly as he picked up the garment bag and made his way out of the office.
Two hours later found Eric chatting with the Queen of Florida as he waited for the proceedings to start. He nodded to various vampires as he exchanged pleasantries with Florida's Queen. From the corner of his eye he could see Nora circling around, trying to find an opening to approach him. He smirked as he saw Roman cut her off again.
"Your majesty," he heard a familiar voice call out, and he bit back a groan as he turned and saw Bill approaching him.
"Bill," Eric replied distastefully, as he cast his eyes over the former King. He didn't miss the smug look on Bill's face as the younger vampire neared him, and he didn't need his lover's gift to know what Bill was thinking. Bill, like everyone else, probably thought that Sookie had left him, and if the smile on his face was anything to go by, Bill was extremely happy about that. Not that that surprised Eric; like Nora, Bill had been trying for years to come between Eric and Sookie. Bill was still under the mistaken impression that Sookie loved him and was his. Bill had tried 'save Sookie' from Eric countless times over the last seven years. It was almost amusing how pathetic his attempts were. The only black spot had been Tara. Bill had befriended Tara when she was at her angriest. He had manipulated the newborn vampire into betraying her friend and her maker. He had used Tara to get closer to Sookie.
Bill had gone as far as to seduce the angry baby vampire in an attempt to make Sookie jealous. He had arranged for Sookie to walk in on them while they were fucking. He had hoped Sookie would have reacted in a jealous manner when seeing him with another woman and one of her friends at that, but his plan had backfired royally. Instead of acting like she had done when she met Lorena, Sookie had simply shaken her head and ordered Bill out of her life. As King, Eric had banished Bill from his state under his Queen's wishes, something Bill had been furious about.
"I don't remember seeing your name on the guest list, Bill," Eric continued after a pause. He knew for a fact that Bill hadn't been invited. He hadn't been invited to a single reception Eric had held since he took on the role of King. Although, Bill did have a habit of turning up to them. At the start it had been as the guest of Tara, but after he was banished from the state Pam had commanded her child to stay away from Bill before sending her to Europe to, as Pam had so delicately put it, "Grow the fuck up and stop acting like a spiteful bitch," after that whenever Bill showed up it was always on the arm of someone important. A Queen, a Chancellor, an out of state dignitary. Eric could have demanded his removal from his state, but Bill had proven to be quite amusing at times.
"Yes, well I'm here as the quest of the Queen of Alabama," Bill replied haughtily, as if that raised him above the rest.
"I see; how the mighty have fallen," Eric said with a grin. "From King to Queen's consort."
Bill bristled at Eric's words; seven years might have passed, but Bill was still angry at his removal from power. As far as he was concerned, he was the rightful King of Louisiana. He had earned that throne. He had fucked Nan, Salome, Rosalyn, and blown Kibwe just to get their approval. Roman had no right to remove him from office and given it to Eric. Bill knew Roman had only done it because of Sookie; she had saved Roman and he felt like he owed her. Eric had no doubt manipulated Sookie into thinking he loved her so he could claim the throne. By rights Bill believed both Louisiana and Sookie still belonged to him.
Bill smirked as he thought about Sookie. Like everyone else, he had heard the rumours that she had left Eric. He knew it was only a matter of time; he'd admit it took longer than he thought though, but he knew his little southern belle and he knew she would eventually see Eric for what he was. Bill had no doubt Nora's reappearance in Eric's life was what finally opened Sookie's eyes to Eric's true nature. Bill was sure Eric was fucking Nora, and he knew Sookie would have never stood for that.
"And where is your Queen this evening?" Bill asked, as a cruel glint entered his eyes.
"Where my... Where Sookie is is no concern of yours, Compton," Eric growled, knowing exactly what Bill was thinking. "And you would do well to remember that."
"My apologies," Bill replied insincerely, as he tried to hide his smile. As far as he was concerned Eric's reaction just proved the rumours right.
"Say the word, Eric, and I can see that he has an accident on the way back to Alabama," The Queen of Florida said, making no attempt to lower her voice.
"He is not worth it, Melina," Eric replied with a chuckle, dismissing Bill as unimportant.
"Brother," Nora said loudly, interrupting them before Bill had a chance to reply. Eric gritted his teeth as he felt his sister slid in next to him. Apparently she had gotten passed Roman. Eric raised an eyebrow as Nora linked her arm through his and smiled up at him. "I have been trying to speak with you all evening," she added, a touch of anger in her voice at Roman's continued interference.
"I have been busy, Nora," Eric replied simply, as he unlinked their arms and took a step away from her. "I am busy."
"I'm sure you can spare a few minutes for your darling sister, Eric," Nora purred. "We have a lot to talk about."
"No," Eric replied firmly. "Now if you will excuse me, I believe my advisor wishes to speak with me. Melina," he added, as he gave Florida's Queen a respectful nod, "it has been nice talking to you again."
"And you, Eric," Melina replied with a smirk before excusing herself and leaving an indigent looking Nora and Bill standing together.
"Your sister is more slippery than an eel," Roman said, as he stepped towards Eric.
"She always has been," Eric replied, as he cast his eyes over the room. "Is everything ready?" he asked, dropping his voice to barely a whisper.
"It is," Roman informed him. "If you would like to take your position we can begin."
Eric nodded at Roman before making his way to the far side of the room where a large stage had been constructed. Signaling for Roman to cut the music, Eric turned and faced his guests.
"Thank you all for coming tonight," he began, his voice carrying above the crowd. "My rule of Louisiana over the last seven years has been uneventful. I have had none of the problems that plagued the previous monarchs, but then that is because I, unlike them, know what I am doing," he smirked in Bill's direction as he watched the former King silently seethe at the insult.
"By now I'm sure you have all heard the rumours concerning myself and my Queen," Eric put extra emphasis on the last words as he met the smug looking gaze of Bill. "And while I am sure they have kept you all entertained, I would like to remind you that what happens between me and my bonded is no business of yours," Eric grinned as he heard murmurs spread through the room and he could make out Nora's hiss of displeasure at his chosen words. "However, seeing how you are all so interested in mine and my lovers relationship, I will put you out of your misery.
"As you are all aware, Sookie left the palace and New Orleans four months ago, and then I myself took a sabbatical three months ago. Now while your theories have been entertaining to some, they are also widely inaccurate. My bonded and Queen has not left me, but please," Eric paused as he once again met Bill's eyes, "don't just take my word for it..."
A smile lit up Eric's face as the large wooden doors at the top of the room opened to show Sookie. A gasp spread through the room as the guests took in the sight of the King of Louisiana's chosen Queen. The floor length red and white dress Sookie wore hugged her curves perfectly and silence descended over the room as Sookie took a step forward. She held her head high, projecting a regal appearance as she walked towards Eric.
Stopping a few short feet away from Eric, Sookie bowed at the waist as she held up a velvet cloth, "My bonded," she said, as she waited for him to accept it.
Eric grinned as he took the bundle of cloth and slowly unwrapped it. His eyes lit up as he heard the twin gasps of Bill and Nora; "My pledged," he replied, his voice filled with emotion and carrying throughout the large room as he brought the ceremonial knife to his lips and kissed it. Taking Sookie's hand, Eric placed a kiss on the back of it before he brought her to his side. "My Queen."
A smile curled Sookie's lips as she tilted her head back slight. She cast her eyes over the room, lingering briefly over the pissed looking Nora before moving them to a furious looking Bill. "My maker," she said, as the tell tale sound of a pair of fangs sliding down filled the room.
AN2: They'll be one more very small chapter, an epilogue to tie it all up and then Hopeless will be complete.
For those of you who aren't aware. Ashensunset and myself have been writing a story together called Answer to the Master. It starts during season 3 of True Blood and goes AU from there. Please check it out. We update every Sunday and you can find it under my favourites.