The Gift — Secret Santa fic for Vilannh
Summary: Sookie realizes that breaking the blood bond with Eric was a mistake. She plans to show him just what he means to her for Christmas.
A/N: This is the Secret Santa fic I wrote for Vilannh! Merry Christmas my new friend! I had a hard time getting into the canon groove and discarded two other attempts at a o/s before I had the ah ha! moment that led me to this. I’m excited about how it turned out, though and have my fingers crossed that we’ll see something like this next spring. (A girl can hope! LOL) Sorry about any mistakes you find in this version or the one on the Secret Santa profile as both are unbeta’d. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday no matter what you celebrate. Peace, Love and Viking Vampires!
One of the biggest mistakes I ever made had been letting Amelia break the bond I had with Eric. All along I’d noticed little things that should have let me know it was real—like paving my driveway and buying me a new coat. Hiring Alcide to protect me, providing Sam with waitresses to cover for me when I was gone. Making claim to me to protect me from ill-intentioned vampires and supes. Yes, all of those things could have been construed as Eric protecting me as simply an asset, but they were also signs that he cherished me. And he did—without a doubt.
We’d built our relationship back up over time, but I knew he didn’t fully trust me. How could he after what I’d done? I didn’t blame him, but I did want to prove myself to him. It was, without a doubt, my turn to make a grand gesture.
As the holidays approached I thought long and hard about what I could get for him. Even with the money I’d been paid for using my telepathy for the vampires I couldn’t afford the things that Eric would typically buy himself. The man had artifacts in his office that should have been in museums and artworks on his walls that were original masterpieces. The one thing that he wanted above anything was me.
We hadn’t exactly discussed whether or not we wanted to renew the bond, not in so many words. Sure, he’d taken my blood since we’d broken the bond—I felt much safer knowing that he could find me and feel me if I was in danger. He’d given me his blood again after I got a nasty burn from a grease-fire at Merlotte’s, but the bond remained one-sided, leaving me feeling a little lost. After having Eric in my head for so long the absence of his brainwaves was constant.
Eric said my human emotions gave him whiplash—I had a feeling it was more hormonal than human, but I just let him think what he wanted. I knew that if we exchanged blood my emotions wouldn’t be as volatile. Part of my current problem was that I felt like I never knew where I stood with him, and the truth was that I didn’t. Not being able to read his emotions left me at his mercy, only seeing what he wanted me to. I knew I deserved it and that I’d made my own bed, so to speak, but it didn’t mean I had to like it.
The more I thought about it, I knew what I needed to do. I cornered Pam in Eric’s office at Fangtasia one night and asked her if I could talk to her about Christmas Eric’s gift.
“I don’t want to think about the ridiculous trinkets the two of you are going to exchange, unless this is about inviting me into the bedroom for a little experimentation?” She raised her eyebrow.
“No,” I said, cringing. “It’s just me and Eric in there, and what we do is private.”
“Right. Private except for the screaming,” she snorted. She was such a pervy bitch, I swear.
I took a deep breath. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the bedroom, well, maybe it will lead to the bedroom,” I mumbled then gave my head a shake to clear it. “Anyway, I know that you might not want to help me with this, but for Christmas—I want to renew our bond with a blood exchange.”
“Oh thank Christ.” She leaned forward and kissed my forehead, no doubt leaving a bright red lipstick stain on my skin. “His head has been a fucked up place ever since you got your pixie dust on him and then you had your witch friend break the bond. You cut him off cold turkey, Tinkerbell. I wanted to drain you for that.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. I didn’t believe that he could really feel for me the way I do for him.”
“Because he’s a vampire?” She narrowed her eyes at me, daring me to say yes.
“No, because he’s a man.”
She looked me up and down and then shook her head. “Your opinion of yourself is appalling. You might be a redneck, but you’re cute…and apparently you’re good in bed. So what’s not to love?”
I rolled my eyes. “Thanks, Pam, you’ve made me feel so much better about myself.”
“Whatever. I don’t know what has changed—and I don’t really care—but I’m all about sharing his brain with you. What can I do to help?”
“Okay, here’s what I’m thinking…” I laid out my plan and she listened quietly, uncharacteristically waiting until I was finished before she spoke.
“You’re really going over the top if you just want to get laid. I can promise you—Eric’s a sure thing. He’ll fuck you six ways from Sunday and all you need to do is bat your eyelashes.”
“This isn’t just to get laid! It’s…It’s about letting him know that I’m committed.”
“You do realized committed means something different to him? Especially with what you’re talking about. You will be his.”
“I already am his. This is just a formality. No, that’s not the right word…it’s a ceremony.” I nodded, agreeing with myself. What I wanted was to prove to Eric that I was invested and that, despite what I’d thought before, I knew how much he loved me and I loved him just as much.
Pam sighed as she stood and rolled her eyes at me. She headed back into the bar, calling over her shoulder. “I’ll get everything to you before Christmas.”
I sat on the couch thinking about my plan and the door swung shut, startling me. When I looked up Eric was standing right in front of me. I gasped having no idea how he’d gotten there.
“Lover, what are you and Pam plotting?”
“What? Why do you think we’re plotting anything?”
I grinned at him, but I was thinking that it annoyed the shit out of me that he could surprise me like that. That was another thing I missed about the blood bond, with it in place Eric couldn’t just pop into a room and scare me to death.
He raised an eyebrow but didn’t say a word as he took a seat next to me. His arm automatically slid around my shoulder and his other hand made its way to my knee.
“The two of you, alone in my office for ten minutes? I’m sure you have something up your sleeve.”
He gazed at me thoughtfully, almost tenderly. It was rare for Eric to show me that side of him, especially outside of the bedroom.
“What?” I cupped his cheek. The cool of his skin was no longer something that I registered as vampire. It simply was Eric.
He smiled and shook his head, then sighed and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss. “Nothing, I’m just glad to see the two of you getting along.” He paused and cleared his throat, “There’s a gentleman coming to talk to me about a business he’d like to open in Shreveport.”
“You want me to read him?”
“No, Lover, he’s vampire. We may be a while so I didn’t know if you wanted to wait here or go home.”
I sighed, my night with him effectively over before it had begun. “I’ll go back to your place. I’ve got some things on your DVR to watch.” I only had basic cable in Bon Temps—I was totally spoiled with all of the amenities at Eric’s house. I couldn’t give up living at my gran’s, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy staying at his place as well. I leaned over and gave him a kiss. “I’m sure you won’t even miss me.”
“Ah, but I will. I always miss you. I’m not entirely sure what I did with my time before I always had you on my mind.”
I sat back, pretending to be confused. “Where is Eric Northman and what have you done with him?”
He threw his head back and laughed. It was deep and loud, ringing off the walls of his office and I grinned. “It’s clear that he is buried somewhere deep inside your pussy,” I slapped his arm and gave him a dirty look, “or he wishes he was.”
“You’re incorrigible,” I laughed. “Have a good rest of the night.”
“Thank you. I’ll see you at home.”
I stood and walked towards the door, glancing over my shoulder one last time to smile at him. He’d already stepped over to his desk and was moving the mouse to wake up his laptop. He looked up and winked, then bent his head back to his computer.
I spent the next few days working out the details of my plan. I went to Tara’s Togs and tried on some dresses that she’d pulled out for me and ordered some things online from Victoria’s Secret. Eric was busy with holiday parties and snow-bird tourists at Fangtasia, so he didn’t notice that I was up to anything. He knew that I wanted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas night with him and had put Pam in charge of the bar. She was thrilled, saying that there would surely be bored, lonely humans at the bar that night so she could find someone willing to experiment with vampire sex. Eric had growled and harshly whispered something in Swedish to her. She’d huffed and left, muttering that he owed her and he knew what she wanted in return for Christmas. I never really understood their relationship, but despite their bickering, they seemed to be great partners in many ways.
While Eric slept during the day on Christmas Eve, I took advantage of the account he’d set up for me at the spa in Shreveport. I got the full treatment, even splurging to have my hair and make-up done. Late that afternoon, I picked up some take-out and headed back to Bon Temps to eat and finish getting ready.
I sat in the kitchen and ate dinner by myself before I started a fire and changed into the dress I’d purchased specifically for the night. It was simple and beautiful, made of silk-crepe that draped over one shoulder. It had a deep v-neckline in both front and back and the skirt wrapped around falling gently above my knees. There was nothing Christmassy about it, but I didn’t think it would give away my plans.
Taking a seat on the couch I waited for Eric to arrive. The sun was down and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I found myself staring into the fire, thinking about the first time we’d exchanged blood. We’d tasted each other here and there—when I sucked the bullet from his chest in Dallas and when he gave me his blood after I was staked in Jackson—but those times were nothing like our exchange in Rhodes. Eric had saved me from a forced bond with Andre, instead exchanging blood with me himself because the queen wanted to monitor me.
Although I knew that Eric hadn’t sought the bond with me, not such a permanent one at any rate, he had wanted to protect me and that was important. The fact that our relationship factored into his dealings with other vampires should have told me everything, but I was too stubborn to see it. I realized now that stripping everything else away—the eroticism, the vampire politics, the lovesick confusion—the excange was Eric taking yet another bullet for me. It was a declaration and I intended to return the sentiment.
The porch creaked, alerting me to Eric’s arrival and bringing my thoughts back to the present.
“Sookie.” He leaned casually on the door frame carrying a couple of intricately wrapped gifts.
“Hi.” I stood and smoothed my skirt before making my way towards him. “Merry Christmas.”
He stepped forward put the gifts next to the others under the tree in the blink of an eye and then pulled me into his arms for a kiss. “Merry Christmas to you, as well. You look beautiful, Lover.”
“And you smell delicious.” His fingers gently slid over my bare shoulder and down my arm. “So smooth. Did you go to the spa today?”
I nodded. “Yeah, my boyfriend was too tired to spend time with me.”
“I promise, seeing you like this will energize him.”
“Good to know.” I laughed.
We made small talk, laughing about Pam’s obsession with tracking Santa Claus on the Weather Channel’s website and talking about the way the winter holidays had been celebrated when he was alive. Eventually he stood and carried his gifts over to the couch.
“Are those for me?” I teased, glad that things were going according to plan. I wanted him to open his gifts last.
“Is there anyone else here?”
“Well, no,” I chuckled. My cousins were on an extended vacation somewhere, which I think translated to working at a strip club in Atlanta—at least that’s where their mail had been forwarded to.
“Go ahead.” He inclined his heads toward the presents and I hesitated only to decide which I should open first.
Selecting the largest one, I tore into the wrapping and opened the box to pull out the softest, most gorgeous leather purse I’d ever seen. It was brown leather with a gold Prada logo. My stomach turned a little imagining how much it must have cost but he knew I needed a purse since I’d spilled a bottle of water in my old one the week before.
“Wow. It’s gorgeous, Eric.” I tried not to sound as shocked as I was.
“Pam said every woman should have a Prada bag.” He smiled proudly and I couldn’t tell him it was too much.
“I’ll have to thank her.” Or kill her, I hadn’t decided. She knew it was way too expensive for my taste. He could have just gotten me a purse from the Wal-Mart.
I picked up the next gift, a little nervous about what could be in a long thin box. Pulling the paper off revealed what I was afraid of—the logo of an expensive jewelry store in Shreveport. I pursed my lips and gave him an irritated look before opening the box. Inside, nestled in the cotton, was a Thor’s hammer charm with a sapphire at the top of the handle on a sturdy gold chain. As I stared down, thinking he had no idea how appropriate a gift it was, Eric’s long fingers picked up the necklace and fastened it around my neck. The heavy charm sat high on my chest and I brought my hand up to stroke it.
“Gorgeous.” Eric smiled, his eyes on me, not the charm.
I leaned up to kiss him and heard his fangs pop down. The next thing I knew I was stretched out on the couch with six feet of viking vampire between my legs and across my chest. Our kisses were fevered and our hands were everywhere.
The logs in the fireplace shifted, making a loud popping noise that caught my attention. I sighed and pulled back from Eric, ending our kiss.
His hands had made their way to the sides of my new panties and I knew I had to get things back on track.
“Eric, I want you to open your gifts first.”
He kissed me right below my ear and chuckled. “There’s more?”
“Of course there is.”
I wiggled out from under him and made my way to the tree. He sat on the couch watching me and ran his hands through his hair.
“You didn’t need to get me anything.”
“Yes, I did.” I laughed. He gave me a hard look but didn’t argue.
I handed him the larger package and he raised an eyebrow at the weight. He carefully opened the paper, then shook his head and laughed when he saw the contents.
“Did you get this from Pam? You had to. She’s the only one who could have gotten this for you.”
“Yeah, she said you would like it.”
He pulled out one of the bottles in the four pack of imported blood and read the label. “Essence of Chocolate.”
It was a sampler pack of a new line of bloods that contained a hint of flavor of human foods. Chocolate, hot pepper, coffee, and aged whiskey. They had a few other flavors, but they didn’t sound good—well, none of them sounded good, but the others were worse. Pam had surprised me with the blood when she brought me the other things I’d asked for.
“I’m intrigued. Thank you.”
Biting my lip, I handed him the small box. He cocked his head at me, sensing my nervousness. He watched me for a second, making me squirm a little under his gaze, then slid a finger under the edge of the paper and began to tear the tape open. He took his time, carefully unwrapping the paper, then slowly lifting the lid off the box.
If he had been breathing I imagined I could have heard it catch in his throat. As it was, he froze – his eyes boring into the package. He made no move to open the velvet that held his gift, but it was clear that he knew what it contained.
I couldn’t read his face or his emotions and I hated it—which was really the whole point. Finally, his head snapped up and his eyes met mine.
“Do you understand what this is?”
I nodded. He’d tricked me into giving the ceremonial knife to him before, but this time I knew exactly what it meant. “I want to do it tonight.”
His eyebrows pulled together. “There should be a witness.”
“No,” I said quietly and put my hand over one of his. “This is for us. I never renounced your claim to me, but here, tonight, I want you to know that I was wrong. I’m yours. I’ve always been yours. I want to renew our bond. It’s my choice this time. I choose you.”
I wasn’t sure if he seemed to hesitate because he was unsure or overcome with emotion, or maybe he was just making sure I knew what I was doing.
I shook my head. “Don’t say no. I’m not ready to be changed, yet, but I want this. I need it. I need you.”
“I’m not saying no.” He pulled me into his arms almost crushing me to his chest with his strength. “I don’t know how you did it, but I’m surprised.”
I smiled to myself. “Pam did it all. I told her what I wanted to do and she took care of everything.”
“Yeah.” I stepped out of his arms and reached behind a picture of Gran on the mantle. “I know you said that in your eyes we’re already married, and in my world we can’t do it legally, but I want something that shows that I’m married. Typically you would pick out a ring for me…and in a way you did.”
I opened the small box and showed him the intricate serpent style ring that would wrap around my finger several times, ending with a much smaller version of Thor’s hammer than the one I now wore around my neck.
Taking the box from me, he opened the lid and smiled before closing his eyes. His words were barely a whisper. “My mother’s ring?”
“Pam had it made from your drawing.” I wasn’t sure how he would react to it, but he seemed very pleased.
Finally he looked at me again and I felt relieved. “My child has outdone herself.”
I took his hands in mine. “I want you to say the words. You know the ceremony.”
“I know the vampire ceremony, I’m not nearly as familiar with the human words.”
“I’ll help you.”
He nodded and took what appeared to be a deep breath, even though he didn’t actually breathe, before he looked into my eyes and spoke quietly.
“This ceremony represents the joining of two worlds and two hearts. We, Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse, agree to ally ourselves for-”
“As long as we both shall live,” I interrupted. The vampire ceremony only lasted for one hundred years, but in my mind it was forever and I didn’t know how long that could possibly be.
Eric nodded in agreement and smiled before continuing. “We agree that this is a binding and exclusive alliance. I vow that Sookie’s welfare shall come second only to my own.”
“I vow that Eric’s welfare shall come second only to my own. I pledge myself to him, body and soul.”
“And I pledge myself to you, body and soul. Sookie, do you agree to bind this covenant with a blood exchange?”
“I do.” I cleared my throat, trying not to cry. “Eric, do you agree to bind this covenant with a blood exchange?”
The words washed over me and I closed my eyes in relief. We hadn’t shared blood yet, but I knew he would honor his vows. His cool hand came up, brushing my hair off my neck and cupping my face.
“Are you ready?” he asked, searching my eyes.
I nodded, not sure of my voice.
His nose skimmed along my neck and I broke out in goosebumps. I heard the pop as his fangs descended and I shuddered in anticipation. It had been so long since he’d bitten me, but I’d never forget the way it made me feel—or him for that matter. I was already imagining the things we’d do to each other later when his fangs pierced my skin. My mouth fell open in a gasp as my emotions overwhelmed me. Pain, relief, lust, acceptance—I felt it all as he took gentle pulls of my blood.
He moaned quietly and it was all I could do not to rub myself all over him. With a sigh and a lick, he sealed my wounds and it was over. His arms stayed around me, which was good because I didn’t trust my legs. I began to unbutton his shirt and he watched me with hooded eyes. He rolled his hips against me and, oh yes, biting me definitely felt good for him, too.
Though my fingers trembled I managed to get his buttons undone and pushed the whole shirt off his shoulders. There was no point in leaving it on when we both knew what would happen after I had his blood. My eyes roamed over his bare chest as my hands settled on his waist.
“The knife,” he said, opening the velvet wrapping.
I carefully picked it up, suddenly unsure of what to do. The last time we’d done this Eric had cut himself, and I took a second to remember how he’d done it. So with a deep breath that I truly needed, I raised the knife and with a quick flick of my wrist, I cut into his chest just below his nipple in the same place he’d cut at Rhodes.
I leaned forward to put my lips against the wound and his arms came around me, molding our hips together. One of his hands made it’s way into my hair, holding my head tightly to him while the other cupped my butt. I moved one of my hands between us, stroking his hard arousal through his jeans. He gave into his feelings, moaning and rocking his hips into my hand as I finished drinking from him. I licked his wound the way he had mine, not that it would do anything to help it heal, and took a small step back so that I could see his face.
He looked down at me as I felt his emotions begin to flow through the bond. Joy. Love. Lust. I wasn’t sure which feelings were mine and which were his since we were feeling the same things. It was overwhelming and magnificent. Eric’s hands came up to tangle in my hair on either side of my face and his eyes closed, no doubt letting himself just feel each other the same way I was.
After a few minutes he leaned down and kissed my forehead before whispering, “This marriage is sacred.”
My eyes filled with tears and he didn’t panic because he knew they were tears of joy. It was done. We were bonded and as married as we could ever be. He was mine and I was his. I finally understood that it was an even exchange.
“Lover, let’s go to bed and celebrate.” His voice was sexy and his want for me was powering through the bond.
“Do you remember making love to me in front of the fire?” We’d done it there several times when he had amnesia.
I unbuckled his belt and popped the button on his jeans. “After tonight you will.”
He threw his head back laughing, and I continued to work him out of his pants and shoes. Then he was naked and I couldn’t think clearly about much of anything anymore. His hands moved behind me and he slid down the zipper on my dress. He kissed me again when we were finally equally naked, grinning like fools.
“Merry Christmas, Sookie. I love you.”
“I know you do,” I sighed. “I can feel it again. I missed it so much.” I swallowed hard. What was done was done and it was back. We were back.
We moved at the same time, stepping forward and pulling each other into a firm embrace.
“I love you, too, Eric. Merry Christmas.”
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