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Four Rings- True Blood

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Jan. 14th, 2011 | 04:10 am
posted by: rinaceous in rinfic

pairing: Eric/Sookie
series: True Blood / Southern Vamp Mysteries. AU: set after Dead and Gone, Godric made Eric.
rated: PG.
notes: Fluffer-nutter. Continues after Descendants and Made.

Within the next week or so, we figured out my best fertile time was right around the third week of the following month, so Eric made the arrangements and started having me over his house even more than he had before. Before, I'd spent the night maybe once a week- but the coming union we had planned made us crave each other more than ever, and I spent three or four afternoons now on the road to Shreveport. Fortunately, I'd informed Sam of our plans and he'd given me a schedule of almost all lunch shifts. I guessed that was as close as I'd get to his blessing in this whole crazy scheme.

Every time I entered Eric's estate I was struck by the beauty of it. The house itself was modern- I'd guess no more than fifty years- and it defied any stereotype one would have of a vampire's gloomy abode. From the outside, it was big and spacious, and two stories- like Gran's. The driveway and grounds were impeccably kept, and a covered carport extended out over the front of the house to cover a large section of the interlocking cobblestones. There were windows- sure, they opened onto rooms with painted-shut doors and very dusty furnishings- but they gave the house the appearance of a cozy southern vacation house. The inside shell of the house had no access to sunlight and three bedrooms, not counting the vault-like room that Eric used as his bedchamber. There was also a small kitchen and three bathrooms, each with a magnificent and over-sized bathtub. The furnishings were overwhelmingly white, brown, and pale blue and the artwork on the walls was predominantly photography. He liked to tell me what the photos were when we weren't busy with other things.

The sun was just going down as I parked under the overhang and stepped up to the solid steel door that framed the front of the house. To the left of the knob were a keypad and a small reader that I slipped my thumb into. With a half a dozen beeps, I typed my security code and let the device confirm my fingerprint. The door's locks clicked open and a rush of cold air greeted me as I stepped inside.

Eric was sitting on his pristine white sofa, his bare feet touching the thick brown fur rug that lay beneath it. A few weeks previous I'd asked him what kind of animal it had come from, and he'd told me it was the skins of four different bears he'd killed in the seventeenth century, carefully stitched together by a taxidermist in the 1920's. While Bill's house was filled with the old things he used to cling to his past, Eric's house breathed with hidden history that wasn't immediate to the naked eye.

He let me cross the room and then swung his legs over, stretching across the length of the couch and inviting me into his embrace. I was happy to comply, settling myself down and pressing my back into his chest. He let a possessive arm fall loosely around my waist, and threaded the scrunchie that was holding up my ponytail out of my hair, letting it fall free. He picked a strand up and began running it through his fingers, letting me enjoy my first real silent moments of the day. After a few minutes of bliss, I started the conversation.

"Has Pam turned Melissa yet?"

"Yes," he replied. "I felt it, last night, through my bond to her as her maker. It didn't quite weaken, but it was- how shall I say- diluted- when she in turn created a vampire. And now, distantly, I can feel Melissa's existence, the fact that she lives and moves. It's not like our bond, though, not even close."

Evidently he thought I might be jealous of anything that would supersede or impair our own bond. He was wrong, but I thought better of pointing that out to him. I even felt a tiny bubble of anxiety pop across the blood. How precious.

Apparently he felt my slight agitation, because he gave a tiny smirk and bent to kiss me. As usual, his incredibly fine-tuned kisser had an effective way of bringing my heart peace, and within a minute I was back to putty in his too-willing hands. Mentally grappling for control, I reined in my lust and turned back to talking.

"Tell me about the night you turned Pam," I said, figuring a long and meandering story would distract him. "I've heard her version, now I want to know yours."

"All right," he agreed, seeming resigned. "I was alone- Godric was busy with his new child- and wandering at night through London. I'd just fed and was looking for a good place to hide- it was about three hours before dawn- and while I was lifting up a cellar door, I heard a human moving, bustling through the bushes. I turned and came up behind her, grabbed her by the shoulder. I was so used to them screaming or fainting straight off, but before I could even glamor her, she looked me straight in the eye and told me to unhand her. I asked her name, and she told me it was Pamela."

There was a faraway look in his eye, and for once I wished I could see his memories as they played in his mind.

"I asked her if she wanted my name, and she said no, because she knew who I was. The devil. Because no man had ever looked the way I did." He genuinely smiled at that.

"So then what did you say?" I asked.

"I didn't say anything; I bit her. I loved her defiance; it was so unusual. Right from the get-go, she had fire and spirit and character, and even though I didn't know her, I wanted to keep her. It is said that a maker will recognize his child, see something in an ordinary human that compels them to make the choice to bring them over. I can say that was true for me, in Pam's instance."

Before I'd even quite known it was there, a sentence slipped from my lips, my voice small. "Have you seen that in me?"

"No," he replied honestly. "No, from the beginning I was drawn to you, yes, and I wanted to know you better, but it was selfishness in my mind that ever thought of turning you. And somehow, I guess, I knew that I couldn't keep you that way. Of course, now we won't need to worry about it. I'll meet the sun when you go, in a long long time."

The thought of Eric no longer existing was painful, even if we were speaking purely in theoretical terms long in the future.

"I don't like to think about that."

He ran a soothing finger down the line of my arm, and then kissed my shoulder.

"It's no crime, a life of 1,500 years. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but most vampires in our world barely make it to three hundred years before they meet the true death. It is only through luck and loyalty that I've attained my age, and if you had not been in my life, I would have gladly put my affairs in order and followed Godric into the next light. We grow careless, or greedy with immortality. And a great many are depressed by watching just three or four generations of humans waste their lives before they are tempted to end their own."

"I can see why," I commented, and truly, I could. The tragedies I'd witnessed firsthand in the first half of a single lifetime, the utter waste, was depressing enough. Watching the families you'd known wither, die, make mistakes and triumphs- it had to be exhausting and soul-wearying. Just thinking about it- and knowing I had plenty of time left to consider the lives of my friends and neighbors as I shared the next few hundred years with Eric- had me feeling somewhat apprehensive.

But I couldn't change what I'd been born, any more than Eric could go back and stop Godric from turning him a thousand years ago. This was the life I'd been given, and the life I saw fit to pass onto another human being, an innocent, a child. Our child would be born of light and dark, with a father who could never walk in the sun and a mother who passed the days in darkness not from fear, but out of love. For the sake of love.

Oh, hell. I was getting entirely too maudlin (another great calendar word) about this entire business. How many kids did I know who'd been born because their mothers had wanted to trap a man, or needed another government check, or wanted a baby of another gender, or were plain 'oops's who had found themselves in existence for no particular reason at all? Our decision to bring a child into a life of relative ease and luxury wasn't exactly the least selfish thing we'd ever do, but at the same time, it wasn't terrible.

As if he could hear my mental resolve, he changed topics.

"So, speaking of our future child, whose name shall they bear? Yours, mine... ours...? Will you take my name, for the humans' benefit as well as the vampires'? Would you wear my ring, Ms. Stackhouse?"

So many questions.

"I suppose if I'm going to bear your technically-genetically-manifested child, they might as well not be a bastard. You're my vampire husband-" I almost choked on the word, illogically- "and I can put whatever I want on the birth certificate, as the mother. We could hyphenate," I suggested, then looked away, unable to meet his eyes. "And you know I've got simple taste in jewelry. White gold, please."

He pulled a tiny velvet box out from behind the couch cushion with a small frown. "Is platinum okay?" He opened the box and there were three rings nestled there; a simple, slim band with an intricate pattern that resembled waves, a basic engagement ring with a small, princess-cut diamond flanked by two sapphires, and a diamond solitaire that could only be described as a rock. The stone itself was easily the size of the end of my pinkie.

My eyes felt like they might pop out of my head. Without waiting for a response from me, he pulled each one out in turn and held them up, showing them off like a jeweler trying to make a tough sale.

"This is the wedding band," he said of the first ring. "The design is based on the rune Othila, repeating endlessly. My own ring shows it in greater detail. I haven't put it on, of course."

"And this is for you to wear when you are around your bar," he said, gesturing to the more modest set. "I thought you would appreciate a ring that would let you be less conspicuous when you work, since you enjoy doing so and don't want to quit." He frowned slightly at our old argument, seemingly unwilling to dwell on it.

"And this one, of course," he continued briskly, "is for when we are around vampires. It is somewhat ostentatious, but short of my marking you like a dog, I would like them to be reminded quite quickly of our bond and your status as my wife, and the harm that would befall them if they ever thought of touching you. It will help to protect you."

There were no words; they were all beautiful. All that stood in the way was my own stubborn streak, and when it came to Eric, by this time I'd gotten really good at telling that stubborn streak where to shove it. I kissed him and nodded, beyond words, and he slipped the first two rings onto my left-hand finger gently. Then he streaked off and reappeared within seconds, holding out a thick, almost comically wide band that matched my own, except for the fact that it was about three times as large. I took it between my fingers, feeling its weight, and then reached for his hand. He spread his fingers wide, and the band slipped into place on his hand, settling behind his knuckle as though it belonged there. I wondered how long he'd been planning this, but all thought fled my shell-shocked mind as he bent to envelop me in an embrace, suddenly placing rapid-fire kisses all over my face, shoulders, arms, fingers- anywhere my exposed skin would let him touch. I got rid of my shirt, he got rid of his, and before long, I found we were consummating a wedding I'd walked into quite unexpectedly.

Huh. And I hadn't even worn white.

Hours later, in his sealed bedchamber just before dawn, I lamented this fact.

He turned to me, his fingertips touching the top of my diamond, and said, "Do you want to take them off and have a regular ceremony?"

I imagined the population of Bon Temps, the guest list long and nosy, gathered in Gran's garden as we stood under an arch heavy with night-blooming honeysuckle. I saw Pam and her new child Melissa- in my mind's eye, unmet, she looked a lot like Eric- standing holding tiger-lily bouquets, saw Jason giving my betrothed Viking a level stare as he walked me down an aisle of black velvet, knowing that Bill was somewhere in the woods watching the entire proceeding.

"No," I surprised myself. "I really don't. And I don't really want to have a vampire ceremony, either. The one I've been to was just plain odd."

"I agree. You're mine in their eyes already, anyway. To have a ceremony and call attention to the fact seems foolhardy. Though the vision of you in a white dress is pretty..." his voice trailed off. Without a further word, he grabbed his phone and typed a text so quickly his fingers were a blur; then he lay back down beside me with a little smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

He stared over the comforter at me, his eyes unreadable. Then he reached between us and put my palm in his own, spinning my wedding band. "You know, in my time, we didn't wear rings; they're a fairly modern invention. When we married, we went down to a big stone with a circle cut in it, spun around it a certain number of times, and kissed through the opening. Then we drank a lot of mead and had sex. It made things much simpler."

"It sounds like it," I said dreamily, picturing a young, carefree Eric spinning in circles with a different blonde, pretty, young- his first wife. It made me strangely happy. His voice interrupted the strange little thought.

"It's almost dawn. Good night, my lover, my wife."

"Mmmhmm," I said, maybe a little more sarcastically than was strictly necessary. "Nighty-night, hubby-wubby."

The light went out in the chamber when I flicked the switch, and after checking the alarm on my watch, I slipped into a few hours of sleep. I'd wake up in time to shower and make it back to Merlotte's for the brunch shift.

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