True Northman

by Speranza

Author's Note: For the Canadian Shack 2011 anniversary! If you're reading this and want to play, you can add a shack to the 2011 collection at the A03 until there are 101!

Sookie woke to the soft, rhythmic sound of wood being chopped, and shifted happily under the pile of blankets and furs. She lay there listening to the rhythmic thunking of the axe, and squeezed shut her eyes when it stopped. A few moments later the door opened, and she heard the mellow thud of Eric's boots, the low metallic clang as he opened the stove door and banked up the fire. She yawned and stretched theatrically, sliding her arms out and letting the covers fall to her waist. She had strategically unbuttoned the top few buttons of her green flannel pajamas.

Eric was still crouched next to the stove, but one glance brought him to his feet. Sookie bit her lip: he was wearing snow pants and probably all the red plaid flannel in the Northwest Territories. It suited him ridiculously well; he looked like he could chop down a tree with his bare hands and carry it home on one shoulder. There was a glint in his eye as he took her in, and Sookie found she liked this flash of the old Eric, too.

"Good morning, Mr. Northman," she said, and wriggled seductively. "Any chance I could entice you back under these covers? S'all nice and warm in here, I promise. "

Eric didn't smile as he came over and sat on the side of the bed. "There is no need for enticement, I assure you," he said. "There is nothing in the world I would rather do. However," he said, one eyebrow flicking up, "Misters MacEnzie and Peterson have said they'd come around this morning, to help set up the generators and the new water heaters. I don't think it would be quite—" He touched her exposed collarbone, then traced a line down between her breasts. She shivered. "—proper for them to find me tucked in with the wife. " He pulled his hand back, and grinned when Sookie pouted. "Later, I promise," he said in a low voice that thrilled her.

"Oh, all right. " Sookie threw the covers off. "If we must be proper," but of course, it was just what she wanted. "I'll put up some coffee and mull some, uh, wine. " Eric craned down, pulling her up on her toes, and kissed her. They were still kissing when Sookie heard the thrum of a truck engine. "Shit," she said.

Eric didn't let her go. "Get dressed," he said, and hauled her up for a quick, last kiss. "I'll cover for you. "

Sookie shivered out of her pajamas and into three layers of clothing. Dimly, she heard the truck doors slam and the friendly calls of her neighbors. She tumbled into the main room, brewed coffee and a small saucepan of spiced Trublood for Eric. Then she happened to glance out the window and a lump formed in her throat.

Eric was standing in the snow with Paul MacEnzie and Tom Peterson, two fellows who looked about his own age but were, of course, some thousand years younger. They were standing in the cool, indirect light of the unrisen sun, working together to unload the heavy generators from the pickup. Eric was actually laughing, blond bangs having fallen from his hat onto his face, and not for the first time, Sookie paused to thank God for the blessings of Canada's Northwest Territories, where the sun barely came out for months at a time, and they could be married and normal and free.

The End

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