Much love goes out to the best Beta ever Realjena (the sound of a multitude of clapping hands echoes throughout the world!)
We get a small snippet of present day Eric again and then back to Scotland!
As per usual: Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Such Sweet Sorrow
It had been over twenty-four hours. Specifically it had been twenty-six hours and twenty-three minutes and I wasn’t any closer to finding her. I had everyone who owed me anything searching the state for her. After destroying my office, I’d spent most of last night, until the sun threatened my existence, flying circles over any place that Sookie had been known to frequent. Although it had calmed me initially, I still needed an outlet for my frustration. In the past I would’ve found a willing woman and fucked, fed, and glamoured her until I’d returned to myself, but after the way things ended last night, I didn’t want to risk having to take the time to clean up if I lost control. Even that thought was foreign to me. I was a thousand years old; I did not lose control except by choice. So instead I was prowling the darkened, dirty backstreets of Shreveport looking for someone to kill. I needed to clear my head. I would do Sookie no good if I couldn’t think straight.
I’d found my victim, though I hesitate to call him that, waiting for his own moment outside a dance club where too many girls left in high heels too drunk to be walking on. I watched from the side of a dilapidated warehouse across the street as he bided his time until he found his target. She came out stumbling, alone, and trying to flag down a cab on the empty cracked street. He swept out of hiding when she lost her footing where the sidewalk dipped unexpectedly and grabbed her arm to help her steady herself. Giggling she clutched at him, her slurred syllables thanking him for his help.
“It was my pleasure sweet girl,” his graveled baritone voice stoked my underlying ire. “What’s a pretty lady like you doing out here all alone?”
Her unnaturally dyed, disheveled red hair fell into her face as she clung to the stranger’s arm. “Oh!” She giggled out. “My roommate found a little something to spice up her evening and left me to find my way home.” He began to walk her away from club into the deeper shadows. “I don’t remember going this way.” She looked over her shoulder at the club that fell further behind her.
“My car is this way, I’d be happy to give you a ride.” The greasy rumpled man oozed danger.
She tried to disentangle herself, but he wrapped his filthy fingers around her upper arm, keeping her in place. Dragging her away from the street, he shoved her up against a wall pressing his dirty jean clad body against her bare legs, sliding his hands beneath her gold mini-dress and rooting around rough and shameless.
Having seen enough, I sped up to the nearest intersection and hailed a cab. When the driver pulled over I used my glamour to instruct him to pick her up, ensure that she made it home safely, and charge her nothing upon dropping her off. I made my way back to the now fighting woman, who clawed at him and threw ineffectual punches trying to ward him off. I flew to her, ripping him up by his worn shirt collar and tossed him into the broken lamp across the street, rendering him unconscious. Immediately gentling my behavior I slowly approached her.
“Are you okay?” I asked my voice soft and soothing.
She lifted her mascara streaked face to meet my eyes and straightened her clothing. “I didn’t even want to come out tonight…wanted to rent movies…” her thoughts wandering off as she decided whether to trust me or not.
I didn’t touch her, but tried to encourage her back in the direction of the lighted club. I saw the cabbie that I had glamoured pulling down the street. I led her to the car, opening the door and helping her in. I walked around to the driver’s side, slipping the cabbie a fifty dollar bill and made sure that he remembered his instructions. Once they had driven off, I stalked back towards the would-be rapist intent on ending the life of this sorry son of a bitch, well, after I played with him for a bit. Maybe I would keep him in the dungeon until I found Sookie. Certainly I would need the outlet if it took too long to find her.
I knelt down, smacking him awake. “So, tell me what your intentions were this evening.” I understood his general motivation, but I wanted to know how cruel I should be. The words that tumbled out of his mouth were despicable enough that I knew he would suit the décor of my dungeon well. I ascertained that he had no family or friends, no one to miss him. Good. I slung his body over my shoulder and took off towards Fangtasia. If he knew what was good for him, he would pray that I found Sookie sooner rather than later.
Eric swooped down over the tree line landing behind what looked to her like a mansion, warmly glowing under a waning moon. He seemed reluctant to release her and she basked in the comfort of his body. Laying her cheek against his sculpted chest, they stayed frozen that way for several minutes before separating. His two hands resting on her shoulders, he looked deeply into her eyes.
“Adeline, you must listen to me now. After this conversation you will remember nothing of my ability to fly. You will recall only my rescue of you and a subsequent rough carriage ride through the night. You fell asleep beneath my arm, felt safe, and knew that I would not harm you. You are sore and wish to go directly to a hot bath after greeting your Doctor. Am I understood?” There was sadness behind his proclamation, as if he wished to tell me the truth, but he knew the danger of that knowledge.
I swallowed, letting my eyes glaze over, and allowed him his camouflage. It would raise too many questions if I let him know that I knew about vampires or that he could not use his glamour on me. This was a different time period and there was no telling how he would react to that information. Besides I would be able to speak to him again when I returned to Bon Temps.
“Yes Eric. I will remember nothing of the flying,” or the glory of the wind, I added silently. I tried to keep any inflection out of my voice as I had witnessed with those who had had their minds wiped before. I wished he didn’t feel the need, but I understood his discretion.
“Good. Now kiss me, my Princess, before we greet the others.” His gaze intent, he lowered his cool lips that were made for mine. Standing on my tippy toes and wrapping my arms around his neck, I did as I was told.
When we finally broke the spell surrounding us we walked towards the door of the house with its turrets and tiny candlelit windows. He slipped his fingers through mine as our feet echoed on the slate path. As soon as he opened the door for me, I was rushed by the Doctor, who swept me off my feet and crushed me in a bony bear hug.
Finally placing me back on firm ground, he held me at arm’s length and looked me over. “Oh thank Gallifrey, you’re okay. I was so worried about you. I would’ve have come to your rescue myself, but Eric insisted that I stay here. Said that if I didn’t know how to use a sword, I’d be of no use to him and would only get in the way.” He lowered his voice, “It seems that my sonic screwdriver wasn’t good enough.”
I laughed and it felt good after spending the last twenty-four hours fearing for my life. “Doctor I’m fine. A little singed around the edges and sore from sleeping on what might as well have been the floor, but fine nonetheless. I’m just glad you weren’t caught up in my foolishness.” I really did feel incredibly bad about not playing it smarter.
“Well you couldn’t have known that King James had a witch fetish,” he said kindly, but the hint of scolding was there in his raised eyebrow saying that I really ought to have known better to keep my mouth shut.
“Yes, true enough. Trust me when I say, it’s not a mistake I’ll make again.” I hugged him once more and made my way through the soot covered warriors who smelled of burning wood and bloody sweat to thank them for their help. “Did everyone come through okay?” I worried that my naivety might have caused Mac and Eric to lose some of their men.
Mac joined us from another room, walking under the huge wooden beam over the large entryway. “Nah lassie, don’t you worry your poor head about them. My men were looking for an excuse to swing their swords around. They are actually leaving now that they’ve seen that you are alright.” I was enveloped in another massive hug and out of the corner of my eye saw Eric bristle slightly.
“I’m glad I could give them an excuse to shed some blood tonight then.” Mac gaped at my forthright language, but it was the 17th century, they were vampires, and they liked to kill things, I saw no reason to sugarcoat anything.
“I told you she was a rare woman.” The Doctor smirked in our direction. “But I would thank her to stay out of trouble, if possible, for the rest of our time here.”
Mac guffawed. “Though my men would not mind rescuing such a pretty wee lass, I would have to agree. Princess, is there anything I can do for you?”
“Right now I would desperately love a hot bath and something to eat, if that is possible.”
He nodded to me. “Of course my dear.” He looked to Eric who gave his consent for Mac to take care of the details. “Bessie will show you to your room and see to your needs.”
The next thing I knew I was standing next to a diminutive woman with dark eyes and even darker coiled hair that stuck out from under her white floppy cotton bonnet that was tied with a bow under her pointed chin.
“If you would follow me Princess Adeline, I will show you to your room.” She held a candlestick before her indicating that I should follow.
I turned back to Mac and Eric who were watching me with hawk-like eyes. “Thank you again for rescuing me. I didn’t relish being burned alive and am glad it is only my dress that suffered. Doctor I’m very sorry that I tore apart the corset, but I do have to say that the whalebone came in incredibly handy, though I didn’t succeed in escaping of my own volition.”
He raised that eyebrow of a hundred expressions not understanding my apology. “I hope that there will be an explanation behind that cryptic hint…” I just shrugged and promised myself I’d tell him all about it when we were back in the TARDIS.
Bessie led me through the halls and I gawked at the oil paintings and tapestries that hung on almost every inch. From what I understood tapestries served the purpose of containing the heat from the fires that were used to warm the rooms, but looking at them now I was in awe of their beauty. My favorite was the one of a woman sitting with a unicorn’s paws in her lap. I made Bessie pause so that I could study the stunning colors woven into it. I’d only ever seen a tapestry in a history book and these were so much more vibrant, which made sense since they were relatively new. As I passed the series of them, I came to the last which showed a unicorn in captivity. It made me incredibly sad to see this magnificent creature tamed, chained, and surrounded by a fence. As I was marveling at the craftsmanship, Eric slipped behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. I leaned back into him reveling in his closeness.
“Bessie, you may go tend to the Princess’ needs. I will escort her shortly to her room.”
Bessie curtsied and hurried along the long corridor. Her candle flickered and disappeared as she turned a corner. Eric took a torch from beside one of the many entryways and came back to my side.
“Beautiful are they not? Mac saw them once when we were in France and insisted on bringing them back here. He had to seduce a Queen to get her to part with them.”
“Seduction Eric? I am shocked!” My smile coy and inviting smile beamed up at him.
“I have it on the highest authority that you are a rare woman and shocked by nothing.” He took a step closer to me. The red and gold of the torch turning his blonde locks a deeper shade and reflecting the mischief in his face. “Watching you try and escape your captors only strengthens my belief that I have not been falsely informed. You are a mystery to me and yet I feel as if I know you; as if I’ve always known you.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing, having learned my lesson of speaking before I think. “I believe there is a hot bath waiting for me, is there not Mr. Northman?”
The glittering in his eyes increased as he took my hand and led me to the room that was waiting for my use, taking his time to explain to me the paintings and further tapestries that lined the hallways. We finally stood at the doorway to the room unwilling to part. His fingers sought my jawline tracing whispering touches across my skin and sending shivers down my spine. The large wooden door loomed before us. He was lifting my chin up when it opened and Bessie stood flustered by her interruption.
She curtsied and averted her eyes. “Princess, the bath is ready and there is a tray of bread, cheese, and fruit as well as some wine waiting for you. I will wait inside for you to help you with your dress.”
“Thank you Bessie, you are very kind.” She closed the door softly behind her and we were left alone again.
“I shall take my leave of you and allow you your privacy.” Eric backed away from me, his fingers trailing down my neck. “Will you join us again downstairs or will you retire for the evening.”
“I will join you again shortly after I am clean and fed. I feel like I’ve been drug through the streets by force and almost burned at the stake.” I laughed, trying to make light of a situation that was likely to stick with me for years to come.
A shadow of anger passed across his face. “I am only glad that I could arrive in time.”
I caressed his smooth cheek. “Not nearly as glad as I am, but I will see you again in a little while.” I kissed his cheek and inhaled the dry scent of my vampire hidden under layers of wood smoke.
He gripped the cast iron handle and pushed open the door for me to enter. “Until later Princess.” He took my hand as I walked past him and kissed it. He released my fingers and I drew them down the swath of cloth that covered only part of his sculpted chest. “I shall count the moments between.”
I sighed, thinking of how romantic Eric could be when he wanted to and wondered if this was part of my Eric’s personality that was hidden by his need to show strength in his position. There were so many surprises that I was coming across on this trip and I was looking forward to discussing them with my Eric. I walked into the room and slowly closed the door, watching him until the closing blocked my view. I leaned back against the wood and pressed my hands to my flushed cheeks. It was amazing how he could twist me into knots just by his words. If Bessie hadn’t interrupted us I might have taken him right there in the hallway.
“Are you okay Miss?” Bessie asked as she crossed quickly to my side.
“Oh yes Bessie. Mr. Northman is just incredibly handsome and I find myself fluttering at his attentions.”
“Any woman would Princess Adeline.” She smiled conspiratorially and led me over to the brass tub surrounded by candles with a tray sitting within arm’s reach. “Now let us get you undressed and cleaned up. I have a dress laid out for you for later on after you’ve finished.”
“Thank you Bessie, now please help me get out of this filthy clothing.” Normally I wouldn’t condone any kind of servitude, but this wasn’t my time and I needed the help to navigate the layers of clothing.
I moaned in happiness when I slipped into the steaming bath, the warmth seeping immediately into my aching limbs. Bessie left me alone for a while and I nibbled on the food she’d left for me and basked in the splendor of not only the bath but also the magnificence of the room around me. The bed was draped in deep mauve velvet and there were as many paintings in here as in the rest of the house. The fireplace sat several feet in front of me warming the room and giving it an even more antique feel than I expected. It was incredibly weird being in a time period I had only ever envisioned in romance novels and experiencing it firsthand. My imagination was pretty good, but it was nothing in light of reality.
I stepped out of the water when I started to turn into a prune and dried off with the soft cloth that wasn’t a towel, but also wasn’t a blanket. Once I was dry I grabbed the silk robe that was draped over the elaborately carved trunk that sat at the foot of the bed. There were chairs and a couches and even a settee underneath a small window that looked out on the back gardens. I ran my fingers over the brocaded surfaces and stared out the window at the bare trees and sleeping shrubbery that was just waiting for spring to breathe it into life. Bessie entered and beckoned me to the bedside to help me into the layers of waiting clothing. The dress she had chosen was a rose colored silk that flowed over my curvy figure. When she was done with me, I looked every inch the Princess though much more comfortable without a corset. I supposed it wasn’t necessary here in the privacy of Eric’s house and I was ever so thankful. I slipped on a pair of burgundy velvet shoes that were so comfortable my toes almost cried. She piled my blonde tresses on top of my head leaving tendrils falling along the side of my neck. It took forever, but she finally deemed me ready to be seen by the menfolk.
Bessie led me back through the dazzling hallways and into the room where Eric, Mac, and The Doctor waited for me. The walls were mottled shades of grey stone and the ceiling low and lined by wooden beams darkened by years of smoke. It must have been a private parlor type of room since it was much smaller and less immaculately decorated. I was glad of the simplicity. The three men stood as I entered and Eric gestured to the forest green couch with the fabric worn from years of use.
“Are you feeling better Princess?” Mac asked when I had settled myself.
“Most definitely Mac, thank you. After the events of the last day I find that I am incredibly happy to be clean and full.” I noticed that Mac and Eric had also taken the time to clean up and were once again dressed fully in their plaids and flowing white shirts and looking less like barbarian vampire warriors, which was, in my opinion, a pity.
“May I ask you something then Princess? I do not wish to upset you, but I would like to understand.” Mac looked directly at me unnerving me slightly with his intensity. I nodded my consent. “You said that you are telepathic? Is this true or are you indeed a witch? Don’t worry, I have no issue with witches, I’m simply curious.”
I laughed a little before answering. “Yes Mac I am actually telepathic.” I could see the skepticism in his eyes. If he had still been human I would have read his mind to prove to him my statement, but since that was impossible I explained more. “There are some people that I am unable to read, such as you and Eric, but I can hear the thoughts of most folks pretty easily.”
This time is Eric’s turn to question me. “And what did you hear in the mind of The Colquhoun?”
I hesitated, wondering how to tell them what I had heard. “He was thinking that he had nothing to fear from King James. That his manipulations and schemes, with the fake widows and the like, would play out the way he desires. He wants revenge on your clan. He feels that taking your lands and destroying everything that you and your men have built is the way to exact that revenge. He knows that King James intends on outlawing your clan as he sees it as a way to gain a better foothold on the rebels he sees that would be a hindrance to his rule. Is there any way that you can prove your innocence? What I heard makes me fear for you all.”
Eric and Mac considered the situation before Eric answered me. “No Princess, I’m afraid not. These plans were set into motion long before today and there is no way to avoid the punishment that King James intends on issuing.” I heard the scoff in his voice as he saw The Colquhoun as dishonorable in his dealings. If there was one thing I knew about Eric for certain, it was that dishonor disgusted him. “Now, let us speak of you and The Doctor. It will be necessary for you to leave Scotland with the utmost haste. Though this house is safe, the King will have his men searching everywhere for you. Not many escape his wrath once they’ve acquired it.”
The Doctor spoke up quickly and, though his statement made me sad, I knew what he said made complete sense. “Very true Eric, I have a way to get us out of Edinburgh as soon as possible, but we will need to go back into the city proper to do so.”
“Doctor, that is a very foolish idea,” Mac declared. “To enter the city would surely cause your capture and I don’t know that we could attempt another rescue. Especially since they would certainly consider you much more dangerous than a single woman, though from what Eric told me she is dangerous enough on her own.”
“I understand that Mac, but it is the only way.” The Doctor seemed to be trying to figure something out. “I’d suggest that we leave tonight, the sooner the better.”
Eric looked sad, but seemed to agree with the Doctor. “Though I would prefer you stay here and rest for the evening, I must agree. If you need to go back into the center of danger, we will need to get you there under the cover of night, but I suggest we wait until closer to sunrise to do so. If we lead you there in the few hours before dawn the King’s men will likely have given up the search for the evening.”
Mac was still unhappy with the idea, but nodded in agreement. “I will make arrangements for the carriage, but we will need to drop you off and leave immediately. We cannot risk being caught either and will need to return to this house to avoid the fire ourselves.”
I could see his worry written all over his face. Not only would they be risking their undead lives, since fire could kill them even quicker than it could me, but they would also be racing against the rising of the sun. “Mac, Eric, it is not necessary. If you would simply lend us your carriage, we can make our way back on our own.” I didn’t want them to die since I had no idea how that would affect the future and, selfishly, I didn’t want to lose him. It didn’t seem that the risk was worth it.
“Nonsense,” Eric exclaimed. “I will not allow it. We will escort you where you need to go despite the danger, though I concur with Mac that we will have to leave you immediately and will have no way of knowing if you have made it off safely.”
The Doctor knew that there was no way we could allow them to see the two of us physically leave anyway and so the plan was set. We spent our last few remaining hours enjoying each other’s company and, at my prodding, Eric and Mac outlined their plan for keeping their clan safe from catastrophe. I really hoped it would work. I would hate to see them come to harm since they had been so kind to me.
Time was running out and I realized I was still wearing the beautiful dress that Eric had lent me. “I should go and change back into my dress.”
I stood and was about to leave the room when Eric stepped in front of me. “I will have your clothing collected, but there is no reason for you to change.” He looked as if he wanted to reach out and touch me, but with others looking on he didn’t do so.
“No buts Princess. I keep the clothing here in case of need and it will not harm anything for you to keep it.” Mac and the Doctor took this as their cue to leave and did so. “Besides it is quite becoming on you and I like to think of you having something to remember me by.”
He grabbed a deep grey velvet hooded cloak and, stepping closer to me wrapped it around my shoulders, slipping his hands beneath the folds of fabric and around my waist eliminating the distance between us. “Eric,” I began to say, but my words were stopped by his mouth silencing them.
When he finally let me up for breath, he said, “Princess, I will remember you all the days of my life. Are you sure I cannot convince you to run off with me? I know that it is not honorable, but I do not wish to be parted from you.”
I sighed, thinking, not for the first time, how much I wanted to hear those words. “If that were only possible, unfortunately I must return to my life, no matter how much I wish we could spend our time watching the plays of Shakespeare in London.”
We both knew it was true, but it didn’t make it any easier. After spending a bit more time wrapped in the other’s embrace, Mac came to gather us for the ensuing flight back into Edinburgh and out of this time period. He shuffled us outside and into the waiting jet black carriage outside the door. I glanced back one last time at the incredible stone house and the flickering of the candlelit windows. Before this trip, I’d never imagined myself anywhere but living in my grandmother’s house in Bon Temps. Now I was beginning to question everything I had held as fact.
The trip back to Edinburgh was rough and we were jostled around in the carriage like balls in a cage before a lottery draw. While we were still in the countryside I watched the bare landscape pass us by, but when the first houses began to appear I had to close the curtains for fear of being seen. My hand was clutched in Eric’s every mile we drew closer to the TARDIS and our escape from Scotland. Holding my tongue was never my strong suit, but after my experience of the last day, I found the silence comforting. I wouldn’t risk any other mishaps and I didn’t want to lose my Eric. Dull glowing lamplight appeared and retreated as the carriage and horses took on the clip-clop sound and motion of the dirt road turning into cobblestone. Eric tugged my body closer to his and slid his arm around my shoulders allowing my head to fall cradled into the nook created. I felt safe next to him and when I looked across to the Doctor he was caught up in his own unhappy thoughts. Mac glanced at Eric studying his face, maybe wondering how our parting would affect him. I got the feeling that Eric had no one besides Mac in this lifetime, a thought that cracked open my heart as I snuggled deeper into Eric’s side.
The city was silent in the hours before sunrise. It was still early enough that no one was up and about getting ready for the day. The carriage came to a stop in front of the street where we had left the TARDIS. The Doctor and Mac slipped out, the latter taking up post outside the door, and I was alone once again with Eric. We sat staring at each other, both reluctant to leave the comfort of our hold on each other. On one hand I never wanted to leave and on the other I couldn’t wait to get back to my time to be able to talk with my Eric about everything we were experiencing. Would he remember? I delicately touched the ring that ancient Eric had given me that was tied once again into my chemise. I couldn’t risk him seeing it, there were too many questions that would need answering and if I knew Eric, there’s no way he would let me leave without explanation. He wasn’t wearing his and I wondered briefly what had become of it. Had he saved it after his turning? Had he thrown it into the creek in anger? Lost it in the twists and turns his life had taken in the centuries since then? I was broken from my reverie by Eric’s voice.
“Princess, you must go now. The town will be waking soon and your chance of escape dwindles with every passing moment.” What he wasn’t saying was that the sun was also going to make its appearance soon and their lives would be forfeit if they stayed any longer. He and Mac needed to make it back to the mansion before that happened.
“I understand,” I replied blinking back the tears that threatened to spill over. He pulled me into his lap so that our faces were only inches from each other.
“I will never forget you,” he said simply and kissed me as if we would never see each other again. His lips tasted of goodbye.
I wished that I could reassure him that we would see each other again, but if I did how long would he spend waiting for me to return before his heart hardened? For the first time I realized how hard it must be to wander through the centuries unable to get close to anyone because he would outlive them. It explained why he was so protective of Pam and so reserved with so many others. He didn’t let people in because he was heartless and cruel, but because the pain of watching people wither away must be excruciating. The kiss turned fierce and desperate as I tried to give him something to cherish until we saw each other again. He broke the kiss and leaned back, his hands cupping my cheeks.
“I love you Eric. Please remember that. I wouldn’t leave you if it weren’t necessary.” I hoped he could hear the sincerity in my words.
“I know Princess. You must go now.” He released me and I touched his face one last time before descending into the street. Hugging Mac quickly and thanking him once again for his help. I looked to see the Doctor holding out one bony hand to me, I grasped it and we walked down the street away from my kilted warriors. We watched hand in hand as the carriage pulled away and then opened the door to the TARDIS, leaving Scotland to the memory of history.