When my eyes popped open, I felt disoriented and panicked for a moment before a warming calmness settled over me.
“Thanks.” I whispered to Eric where he laid on his side facing me.
He nodded in response as I turned to face him. He looked to be contemplating something so I gave him time to think while I considered how sexy he looked with his hair messed up and falling around his face.
He smirked, obviously feeling my rising lust, before he reached to push a wayward hair from my cheek. “We need to talk about our bond and how it’s affecting us.”
I wrinkled my forehead in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“I will always be honest with you, Sookie. I may not tell you everything I know, but what I tell you will be the truth.” I nodded as I had already sensed this much from Eric. “I need you to trust me and I know I will not accomplish that unless you come to trust me on your own. With our bond, I believe you are feeling more calming effects from me than you realize.”
“No. I can feel when you . . . umm . . . send me calm. Is that the right word? Send?” I asked.
“Yes, Lover, and I am proud of you for feeling that much as some young vampires have trouble distinguishing the difference between their own feelings and their Makers, but how often do you feel it?”
I shook my head slightly. “I guess you could say I feel it when I need it. I’ve only felt it a few times. I felt it when I rose tonight.”
“Yes, I sent you a strong wave of calm when I felt you start to panic.” He explained. “However, there have been times over the past two nights when you have been calmer or more rational than you should have been as a newborn.”
I still felt confused. “Like when?”
I shook my head. “I told you I understood why you had to punish me.”
“Yes, you did, but think about it Sookie.” He urged. “How would you normally have reacted to that punishment a week ago?”
I tried to do what he was saying and think about how I would have reacted if I knew Eric had punished someone I knew as he did me last night. “I would have been angry if I knew you hurt someone like that and I would have been furious if you hurt me that way, but a lot of things have changed in the last week, Eric. I don’t think the same way anymore.”
He sighed as if he was frustrated that I didn’t understand. “Lover, the bond between Maker and child is a very tight and intricate tie. It allows the Maker to have control over the child and is meant to allow the child to feel the Maker if the Maker desires it to be so. However, the bond is different with a bonded child.”
“You’ve explained that before.”
“Yes, but I’m not talking about how our undead lives are tied together. I’m specifically talking about the bond itself.”
“Okay. How is it different?”
“It doesn’t close.” He paused before adding, “Ever.”
He must have seen my confusion because he continued.
“In a normal Maker-child relationship, the Maker can close the bond at any time. They could have any number of reasons to do so. My tie to Godric is closed at the moment and I trust he has his reasons.” He paused. “In our bond, that is not possible. We will always be connected. It’s another reason why vampires do not make bonded children very often.”
I thought about it for a minute before I clarified. “So, we can feel each other all the time and it will never go away.”
“Indeed.” He nodded. “I can dampen my side of the bond if I needed to do so and you may learn how to do that when you are much older, but we can never be truly closed off from each other.”
“Okay, but I still don’t understand what that has to do with how I’ve been acting.”
“Lover, I have spent centuries learning to control my emotions and stay calm in the most chaotic atmospheres. I always attempt to use logic instead of reacting to a situation based on my emotions.”
“And you think that our bond is making me do the same?” I asked.
“I think my calm is bleeding through the bond to you and dampening some of your normal reactions as a newborn or as the stubborn Southern telepath I’ve come to know.”
“So I’m never really going to be myself?” I said bitingly as his words and explanation started to take hold in my mind and the implications became clearer.
“That is not what I said.” He responded calmly. “I said your reactions might be dampened and therefore less impulsive. However, your stronger reactions still seem to break through, as with Compton last night.” He waited a moment before adding, “Less you feel this makes our relationship unfair, know I have been far more affectionate with you and understanding of humans than I can recall ever being in my long life.”
As he no doubt intended, his confession about how our bond affected him did make me feel better. At least I wasn’t the only one feeling the effects.
“How do we handle this?” I asked since I wasn’t sure how I felt about it all.
“There is really nothing to be done. This is our reality.” He explained. “We both need to be aware that our personality may have unintentional affects on the other and we must attempt to control our responses when necessary.”
“So, you are going to attempt to ignore the impulse to be kinder to humans and I . . .what . . . should freak out more?”
He laughed. “No, Sookie. I did not tell you this because I wished you to be more impulsive. I am simply telling you so you do not feel like I hid it from you or I am controlling you more than you know. As I said, I want you to trust me.”
I turned over and lay on my back to stare at the ceiling.
I wanted to be mad at someone for this new development but I didn’t feel like I could be angry with Eric. And what was more confusing was that I wasn’t sure if I did really want to be mad at Eric but I just wasn’t able to stay made at Eric. Hmmm. ..that reminds me.
Without thinking the subject to death on my own, I simply spit out my question. “Will you tell me more about mates?”
“Ah.” He answered as he sat up next to me. “That was one of the subjects I expected you to be very angry about.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about mates? Are we mates? What exactly does it mean?”
“Historically, there have been very few bonded children that were not in a relationship with their Makers.” He explained. “As such, they normally lived as a couple and were termed Mates by those vampires around them.”
“So it’s more of a nickname than a fact?” I asked with confusion.
“In the beginning, yes. However, over time, the name has come to mean more.” He paused and I jumped in.
“Well!” I said impatiently.
He grinned. “For bonded children that have a sexual relationship with their Maker, the child is considered to be their mate and is afforded all the respect one would pay to the Maker.”
“This is why you told me the vampires would be required to call me Mistress.”
“Why not tell me about this in the beginning, Eric? I had a right to know.” I huffed.
“Perhaps you did, but you were handling many life altering experiences. In addition, it was only on the last night that we became intimate. Would you have wanted me to tell you then you would become my Mate? How would you have reacted?”
I didn’t have to think through my response. “I probably would have freaked out, changed my mind, and ran.”
I felt a small wave of sadness through the bond and I realized what I had said. I reached out a hand to place it on Eric’s arm before he could move away. “It’s not how it sounds. I’m simply agreeing with you that my more stubborn, less rational, and non-trusting side would have freaked out on you.” I paused before adding. “Plus, I wouldn’t have wanted to ruin a perfect night.”
We lay in bed together softly petting each other from time to time as we digested everything we’d heard.
I was the bonded child of Eric Northman and I would always feel him and his emotions. He could also send me emotions on a stronger scale if I needed them. This sharing of emotions was obviously having an effect on both of us. For me, I was reacting more rationally and in turn I was learning more and being punished less.
I could accept that.
I was also the mate of Eric Northman. I would be seen as important as him and protected by all those who owed him fealty.
“Eric, do vampires have multiple mates?”
“Vampires are very sexual and very open in their relationships Sookie. So I would say yes to your question. A Maker could turn two bonded children and they could all have relationships with each other.”
“So they would have to all be mated together?” I asked.
“To be mated, yes, but many have open relationships and welcome others into their mated beds.”
“OH! Ummm . . .Eric, I don’t .. .” I stuttered.
“Do not worry, Lover.” He soothed me as he pulled me into the cradle of his arms. “I have already told you I am yours. I know you haven’t truly accepted this but it is fact. I need no others in our bed.” He paused. “Do you wish to have others?”
“NO! NO. Absolutely not. No.” I said quickly while shaking my head.
“Good.” He laughed as he got out of the bed and walked over to the cooler in the corner of the room and removed bags of blood before pouring some in glasses and putting them in the small microwave in the corner. When he returned, he handed me two glasses of blood.
“We need to get ready for the meeting with the Magister.”
I stiffened at the reminder of the horrible vampire that had presided over Bill’s trial.
“There is nothing to be afraid of, Lover.” Eric soothed me. “He is simply coming to confirm your new state of being. We have done nothing wrong.”
“Somehow I don’t think that matters much to him.” I whispered.
He sat beside me on the bed as I drank my meal. “All you have to do is act as you did at Fangtasia last night. If he asks you a direct question, then answer it honestly but succinctly. Do not volunteer information. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” I answered after finishing my meal.
“Good.” He nodded. “Now, we will shower and get ready so you have time to feed again before the Magister arrives.”
As was our already normal routine, we made ourselves much dirtier before we got clean in the shower. We were both very sated by the time the water ran cooler, and we exited the shower to get dressed.
“Do I need to dress a certain way?” I asked since I was unfamiliar with vampire etiquette.
“No. Normal Fangtasia wear will be fine.”
I nodded as I entered the closet and looked around at the clothes Pam had bought for me. I was happy she hadn’t invested in any of the theaterical vampire clothing like she wore, but I was confused as to why she hadn’t.
“Yes.” He answered as he came in behind me to pull out a dark pair of jeans.
“Pam didn’t buy me stuff like she normally wears.”
He kissed me on the forehead as he started to walk out of the closet. “You are the Mistress at the bar, Sookie. You don’t have to be in costume.”
“OH!” I said happily. I was relieved I didn’t have to wear those supposedly ‘vampire’ outfits.
Looking through my clothing quickly, I found a dark pair of jeans that fit me like a glove and paired them with a sleeveless faux wrap navy blue top. I finished the outfit off with a pair of four-inch heels and went to find Eric.
When I found him sitting in the leather seats in the living room, my stomach sank.
I hated those chairs and the air still smelled like burned flesh. I shivered at the memory.
“Sit.” Eric commanded and I followed.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“No, but I want you to be prepared for the meeting.” I nodded to show I was listening. “The Magister insists on proper discipline. If you act inappropriately during his visit, I will have no choice but to punish you in front of him. Do you understand?”
I swallowed heavily out of habit rather than necessity. “I understand.”
“Good.” He paused. “Also, you will be feeding on a fangbanger as soon as we arrive.”
My fangs dropped of their own accord and I clasped my hands over them. “I’m sorry.” I mumbled.
“Don’t be.” He smirked. “That should be your response. I want you to be comfortable with your new state, Sookie, and part of that comfort is becoming acclimated to feeding on humans.”
I nodded as I concentrated on willing my fangs back into my gums. With a snick sound, I knew I finally succeeded and I smiled back at Eric.
“You are getting better at controlling them.” He said before speeding over to squat down in front of me. “Show them to me again.”
“You’ve already seen them.”
“Only glimpses.” He replied. “You are always hiding them. Show me, Lover.”
“I don’t know how to make them come out.” I admitted.
“Think about the AB- fangbanger from last night.” The words had barely fallen from his lips when my fangs descended with a snap.
“Show them to me.” He said with a purr to his voice that made my girly parts take notice.
Realizing I hadn’t purposefully shown my fangs to anyone yet, I was suddenly shy. For some reason, this seemed extremely intimate to me and I was nervous.
Eric smiled at me reassuringly and took one of my hands in his before reaching his other hand up to cup my cheek and run his thumb along my lips. “Open for me, Lover.”
His words were like a caress on my body and I let my mouth fall open slightly. His thumb continued to lightly trace my lips until it finally breached my lips and lightly stroked my right fang. An intense shiver of pleasure ran through my body. My eyes immediately closed and my head fell back and I hissed through the new sensation.
Eric’s thumb didn’t cease its welcomed assault as he moved his thumb to trace my left fang and my body convulsed with the feelings he was awakening in me. I was so lost to his touch that I didn’t feel him move when he settled his weight between my thighs and leaned in to kiss my neck and whisper, “They are perfect. Do not be ashamed of them, Lover. They are your greatest weapon and one of the most sensual spots on your body.”
I tried to hear his words but I was only half listening. I had felt his tongue and lips on my fangs before when we kissed, but to be completely aroused, as I was now, from only a slight touch to my fangs was overwhelming. I felt him start to move away and I quickly leaned forward to follow his thumb and take it into my mouth. I caressed it with my tongue and pushed it up against the side of my fangs.
“Sookie.” He hissed in surprise as his hand on my thigh tightened. “We don’t have time.”
“Mmmm.” I mumbled as I released his thumb and reached up to grab his head and pull him down into a heated kiss with my tongue wrapping around his fang.
He moaned into the kiss and I felt ecstatic that I could return the favor by paying such close attention to what I now knew was a vampire erogenous zone.
When I closed both of my lips around his left fang and sucked lightly, I felt him lose control through our bond. Lust, want, need, and desire all bombarded me. I immediately found myself lying on my back on the floor in front of the chair and naked from the waist down. I screamed in uncontrolled ecstasy as Eric entered me swiftly and began pounding into me at vampire speed. He placed his hands under my ass and lifted me while I pulled myself up to kiss him again.
I was so wound up that I knew I wouldn’t last long and I was absolutely committed to reaching our climaxes together. With this thought in mind, I sliced my own tongue and wrapped it around his fang again.
He shivered in my arms and pounded into me harder as he growled in an animalistic way into my mouth. We both shouted through our release and collapsed onto the floor in a heap.
After a moment, I giggled. “I love my fangs.”
He chuckled slightly as he agreed with me. “As do I, but perhaps I should plan better the next time I want to teach you something so arousing.”
I smiled at him lying on the floor next to me before standing up, “I’ll be ready in two minutes.”
I used my vampire speed to clean myself up and put on a new pair of underwear and jeans before I met Eric in the garage. We were off to Fangtasia a moment later and I could only hope I was ready for this meeting.
When we pulled into Fangtasia, Eric parked in his normal spot by the back door and we went straight into his office. Pam was waiting for us with a tall brunette female fangbanger.
“The Magister is already here.” She drawled. “He says he has pressing business and needs to leave earlier. I would have called you but I knew you were on your way.”
“Sookie,” Eric gestured towards the glamoured fangbanger and I hesitated for a moment until I felt his annoyance.
“When do I stop?” I asked for the first time since he had always stopped me before.
“When the heartbeat slows,” he answered as I moved to stand behind the woman’s chair. “It should be after five or six mouthfuls of blood for someone her size.”
I nodded and was about to start feeding when Pam started speaking again. “There’s something else, Master.”
I looked up to see her glancing at me and I couldn’t place the look on her face. Was it concern?
“What is it?” He asked and I felt his tension rise in the bond.
“The Magister has company with him.”
“Compton.” She answered before adding. “And the Queen.”
Eric barely missed a beat before he told Pam, “Let them know we have arrived and will join them as soon as Sookie feeds.”
Pam nodded and sped out of the room.
I was freaking out. Not only did I have to face the Magister and my ex again, but now I had to face the vampire who had set all these events in motion?
Eric was in front of me in the blink of an eye.
“The Queen?” I asked hoarsely.
He placed a finger on my lips and whispered in my ear. “Trust me. Everything will be okay, but you MUST keep calm. Do you understand?”
I nodded as I welcomed the waves of calm and reassurance that were flooding the bond.
“Now, you must feed.”
I felt like I was on autopilot as I moved behind the unknown woman, licked her neck, and sank my fangs into her. She didn’t taste particularly good and I was so distracted and fearful that I didn’t have any problems stopping after I counted five mouthfuls of blood. I even remembered to seal the wound.
After she left the room, Eric kissed my temple and told me I did very well. He then took me by the shoulders and looked me square in the eyes. “Until the Queen and Magister leave, I command you to only speak or make a sound when I give you permission to do so.”
I felt the command settle into my body and I looked up at him with thankful eyes. I didn’t want to mess up and I didn’t trust my emotions or reactions right now.
“Follow me.” He said after giving my shoulders a reassuring squeeze.
I closed my eyes for a moment to center myself and then followed him out of the office.
I felt like I was going to face a firing squad.
When we entered the main bar area, the Magister and a red headed female were sitting on the dais in our thrones while five vampires dressed in all black stood at attention in various places throughout the bar. Bill was sitting to the left of the stage staring holes through me and sneering at Eric.
“Magister. Your Majesty.” Eric nodded to them both as he brought us both to a stop at the base of the dais.
“Sheriff.” The Magister answered. “I see that you have fulfilled your task. Have you had any difficulties?”
“Nothing I could not handle.” Eric answered blandly.
“That’s what I like to hear.” He drawled as he sat back in Eric’s throne. “So, tell us. Has she retained her telepathy?”
“Does it include vampires?” The woman, whom I assumed was the Queen, asked.
“No, Your Majesty.”
“That’s very good.” The Magister said with a nod. “Has she any other abilities?”
I wished they’d just ask me. I felt like a prized cow up for auction.
“Yes, Magister. She has the ability to fly.”
I saw several eyebrows go up in the room including the Queen and the Magister’s.
“Really? And so young?” The Magister mused. “She has great promise to exhibit an ability as a newborn. How did you discover it?”
“I tested her for the ability by using the Maker’s command.” Eric replied coolly.
“I knew you cared nothing for her! No Maker who cared for their child would execute such a potentially painful test.” Bill said loudly before turning to the Magister and Queen. “You must see that she should be removed from his care. He . . .”
“Enough!” The Magister growled. “You are here only at the behest of your Queen, Mr. Compton. I suggest you hold your tongue or you will find yourself in a coffin beside your Maker. He is her Maker, her bonded, and you can smell he is her mate. No one will be taking her away from him.”
Bill hissed quietly but didn’t say anything further.
“What made you decide to do the test?” The Queen pressed unhappily.
“I predicted the Magister would ask about her abilities and I have the ability to fly. It seemed a reasonable ability to test.”
“And what of her fairy abilities?” The Queen nearly sang and it was obvious she hoped to surprise Eric.
Eric didn’t miss a beat as he responded calmly. “She does not seem to have retained her ability.”
The Magister raised an eyebrow. “You knew of an ability before she was turned?”
I was shocked that the Magister didn’t seem to find anything surprising about the fact that I was part fairy, but I could only assume that the Queen had told him of my heritage.
“She manifested an ability after she had my blood.”
“You believe your blood was strong enough to awaken her power.”
The Magister turned his attention to me. “What Fae ability did you have?”
I looked to Eric and he nodded for me to answer. I felt his Maker’s command lighten so I could speak. “I was able to shoot light out of my hands at people.”
“Impressive.” He said thoughtfully before continuing. “And you can no longer do this?”
“It did not respond to the Maker’s command test, Magister.” I said truthfully without mentioning Eric’s thoughts that it might not work the same way for fairy powers.
The Magister seemed to accept my answer and was about to speak before the Queen interrupted him.
“Sheriff, in light of your new child and her abilities, I have asked the Authority to relieve you of your current responsibilities so I may move you both to New Orleans. Your child’s ability will be of much better use at my headquarters than in this small corner of our state.”
I felt my anger and fear rise with her words, but Eric’s command kept me from mouthing off. A part of me was grateful while the rest of me was frustrated.
Although I felt Eric’s anger and resentment, he responded calmly with a nod, “Whatever your Majesty feels needs to be done.”
“As with your request to be this newborn’s Maker, the Authority has decided to deny your request.” The Magister said with a stern voice. “They feel the young one would learn best away from Court.”
“What?” The Queen’s face was suddenly livid. “This is my Sheriff, my telepath, and my Queendom. I say who . . .”
“The Authority says who goes where and who rules, Majesty.” The Magister interrupted her with a sneer. “Perhaps you should remember that.”
The room was suddenly awash with tension and the Queen eventually sat back down in my throne. When the Magister finally looked away from the Queen, he turned his attention back to Eric.
“I must leave for Missouri to handle a dispute there.” He said passively. “However, before I go, I have been asked to relay a message.”
“Magister?” Eric asked and I could feel his confusion. I could only assume that he was confused as to who would send him a message through the Magister.
As the Magister stood, he spoke directly to Eric. “The Sheriff of Area Nine in Texas has gone missing.”