Chapter 22

Oh Brother

Alcide’s POV

Saturday, January 9th

I must have laid on the couch in the den for a couple of hours and couldn’t get to sleep. The damn thing wasn’t uncomfortable, God knows I could sleep on it, I just hated the way I left shit with Pam.

I finally decided to go back for more. It was getting close to dawn so Pam would be dead soon. If I didn’t fix things now, shit would fester. I wouldn’t be home tonight, and two days was too long to go being pissed at each other.

**

She snapped out of downtime when I sat on the bed.

“What can I do for you, asshole?”

I rolled my eyes at her. Since she didn’t know better, I would kind of deserve that. “How was your night?”

“What? My night?”

I gave her a nod. “You aren’t usually a big enough bitch to act like that, even if I could have asked nicer. So, what happened?”

She scowled for a minute before she decided to go ahead and fess up. “When I rose, Eric was in bed with me. He’d come to annoy me with brainstorming about Sookie’s new powers. During dinner he was in the best mood I’d ever seen, but as soon as we were in the car he was near blood lust. His mood didn’t improve for a while thanks to the drainers, even then, not until Sookie got to him. Then there was business to deal with and just before we left for home, one of his old conquests dropped by, wanting an encore. That little incident carried us into his display once we were home.”

“His mood effected yours that much? Does it always?”

“No.”

Shit. “Then he’s probably more affected by Sookie than we thought. If he’s somehow ‘caught’ being empathetic from her we should keep an eye on them. If they fight before they’re in control of it, the results could be biblical.”

“Like we need more to deal with! Eric is moody enough on his own. You know, a few years ago I was bored and tracked his moods as a joke. He didn’t think it was the least bit amusing when I suggested he had a ‘cycle’…”

Just what I needed, a ragging vampire roommate.

“… So what’s your excuse for being a prick? Was your night with Sookie so bad?”

I shook my head. “No. We had a pretty good night. Quinn showing up again was only a mild irritant. My mood started when I got to Fangtasia and you smelled like a used tampon.”

She looked like she was ready to hit me. “You were in a mood before you left the house.”

“I was tense about Sookie’s clothes. Nothing more. I was a fucking peach unless you count in the kitchen when I was trying to figure out how to get He-Man to back the fuck down without getting drained… Hiring our guards was more like partying and once we were back at the house, Sookie and I fooled around on the couch for a while.”

“I do not smell like a tampon.”

I leaned over and put my nose in her neck, inhaling as much as I could. “You worked the door for a while, spent a fair amount of time with Clancy, sat on the couch in Eric’s office while you worked and spent some time somewhere new carpet had been.”

She gaped at me. “How did you…?”

“My sense of smell is strong, even for a Were and gets stronger with the moon. I can tell you worked the door because you smell like exhaust from the parking lot. Clancy smells like pears; I asked Sookie about it once because I thought it was a weird thing for a vampire to smell like and she said it was something that brought back happy memories, so he keeps them around. The couch in Eric’s office smells like come and leather for obvious reasons. I’m just guessing, but you put the drainer’s bodies on ice in a warehouse?”

She nodded. “Yea, but the carpet scent you got was from the van they were hiding in. It had a carpeting logo on the side.”

I gave her a nod. “I should have explained how good my nose is.”

“Why were you a soldier instead of a tracker?”

“Sweetheart, what do you think the smell of blood does to a Were with a nose like mine? I’m strong enough to prevent a change during a full moon, unless I smell blood.”

“So because of the way I smelled you were fighting a change and a bloodlust?”

“Look at you! You and your clue are cute together!”

I was laughing at the look on her face when she reached up and slapped my cheek so fast I didn’t see it happen. “Sassy asshole.”

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew Darlin.”

“I’m not biting off anything. You stink of whiskey.” Speaking of sass, the bitch flipped me off.

I grabbed her and flung her over my shoulder, carrying her to the bathroom. “Why didn’t you just say so!?”

I set her in the tub and she started pulling my clothes off, flinging them to the floor. She wrapped her hand around my dick and stretched up to kiss me, doing her best to control her fangs. Grabbing a handful of hair, I pulled her face away from mine and spun her around to push her against the tile when I was finally out of breath. She started laughing low and sexy and when I shoved into her, her fangs ran out. She pushed away from the wall enough to bend over, bracing herself against the side of the tub and yowling like a fucking cat in heat with every thrust…

…The tight grip I had on her hips dug into her as I bounced her thighs off of mine as hard as I could…

…She started whining when she was close. Louder and louder, the closer she got. I grabbed her hair again and pulled her to me, using my other hand to cover her mouth. I growled at her to shut up and as soon as I did, her pussy locked down around my dick so hard she made it hard to move. She pulsed around me, moaning into my hand it only took a few more thrusts and we were both done.

**

We managed to stay upright by leaning on each other until she reached up and pulled my hand away from her mouth. “Shit. Sorry.” I’d forgotten to move it.

She laughed at me. “It’s not like I needed to breathe.”

It was shit like that, that still freaked me out a little.

She started washing facing me. “We should argue more often. You do angry sex well.”

I snorted at her. “Oh, thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

She smirked at me from under the water. “You’re still being a bitch.”

“The moon didn’t change because we fucked.”

Her eyebrow pulled up and she turned around. “Beautiful. The only PMS in the house comes from the full grown men.”

“What are you talking about?” I was grumbling. She was pissing me off again and there wasn’t any sense in hiding it.

“You and Eric both get shitty around the full moon. Angela and I don’t have that problem anymore and Sookie probably won’t anymore either now that she’s taking Eric’s blood so often.”

“Eric’s ‘cycle’ comes and goes with the moon?” Un-fucking-believable!

“Yeah. Why?”

“No reason.” I was lying, but she didn’t have the chance to call me on it.

“Alcide?” She turned around and she didn’t look ‘right’.

“Yeah? What’s wrong?”

“I need to get to bed. I… the sun…”

Shit. She looked angry and confused just before I caught her. She collapsed midsentence like she’d been hit with a tranq dart. I looked down at my watch and the sun had been up for at least 20 minutes. She was lucky to have made it so long. The weird part was how she dropped so fast. Usually she felt it coming on.

It was fucking weird as hell, but I held her up long enough to finish washing her and then dried her off before I put her back into bed where I found her.

I know she’s ‘in there’. Of everything going on, that was the one thing that had me. Taking care of the kids ‘we’ were suddenly in charge of was no problem. Moving into a vampire’s house was no problem. Making out with my engaged best friend, while confusing, was no problem. What I couldn’t shake was that the woman I was dating was dead for half of the day. One minute she was irritating me on purpose and the next, she was dead in my arms. A normal guy would have cause for alarm if his woman died right in front of him. I just hoped I wouldn’t drop her because she’d kick my ass when she rose.

**

I was still under the water, taking my shower when I started hearing the chatter from the kids coming from the kitchen. I couldn’t help but smile in spite of all the weirdness.

I dressed in my usual jeans and boots and carried my shirt so that Sookie wouldn’t gripe at me for getting it wet with my hair. She complained that I’d get pneumonia like she didn’t know that I’d never even had a zit. I don’t get sick anymore than Eric does.

When I got to the kitchen, Sookie’s arms were up as she braided her hair. Her tank top was pulled up and the pants she was wearing today needed to be bronzed for posterity. The dimples on her back were showing and when she turned around to tell me good morning, her little 6 pack was showing itself off with every move. Those pants were going to fuck with my head all day long. One of the reasons I stay out of touch during the full moon is because I tend to be a monumental prick. The other is that I’m a walking hard on. She’d seen that first hand.

I whistled at her since an age-appropriate compliment wasn’t coming to mind. Sookie would probably hit me if I told her that those pants were the only thing coming between her and dislocated hips.

She brushed my hair again (it was quickly becoming my favorite part of the day) while she gave the kids and me the laundry list of errands we needed to do.

As she wrapped the band into my hair, the kids’ moods shifted. I’d watched them share a few looks and I was pretty sure that they’d been playing with the ‘mind phone’.

**

Hunter pretty much jumped into the conversation with both feet. It kind of reminded me of how Eric does it. “We want to feel more like a normal family.”

Manen finished the thought for him. “It feels weird to call you all ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ since you aren’t doing the jobs of aunts and uncles. You do the parents’ jobs. Can we call you Momma and Daddy?”

I didn’t have to turn around to know that Sookie got stirred up. I could feel it. When I did look back at her, she avoided eye contact. She was on the verge of crying.

Hunter kept going. “We were talking about it and we want to call Aunt Pam and Uncle Eric ‘Mummy’ and ‘Far’.”

That’s when Sookie lost it. I didn’t have much chance to process how emotional I was (probably a good thing). I was trying to figure out how to deal with Sookie’s tears when Eric bailed us out a little. “I would be honored for you to call me ‘Far’ if that is what you want.”

My dead girlfriend added, “I would be happy for you to call me ‘Mummy’.”

I gave up worrying about Sookie’s reaction so the poor kids wouldn’t think I was against their idea. I picked them up to give them a hug, hoping that Sookie would snap out of it. “If you two feel more normal having two mothers and two fathers than you do with aunts and uncles, then that’s what you’ve got.” They hugged me back and waited until Sookie finally joined the hug.

Once she had her arms around us, it didn’t seem like she was ever going to let go.

**

Breakfast was fun, but even better was Fangtasia. The business aspect of it bored the piss out of me. The fun part was getting to see Burnham take orders from Sookie. She was too nice about it considering how he acted around her. He was uppity and even if she hadn’t told me how he thought of her, anyone could tell he thought he was better. The looks on his face as Sookie added to his to-do list… it was like someone was wiggling the rod up his ass, and not in a good way.

We ended up shopping at so many fucking places that I lost track. The kids and I entertained each other while Sookie did the important part. Hunter was the one to settle us down every time. I couldn’t help but laugh. The kid was monitoring Sookie to see if she was getting annoyed so that he could warn us. Sookie might have hated telepathy growing up, but that shit would have been handy as a mother fucker for me. I spent more time on a leash than off just from getting carried away. I got a laugh out of him when I asked what color Sookie’s ‘grouch meter’ was.

Sookie promised the kids a fun lunch and even I got excited when I found out we were going to one of those cardboard pizza places with an arcade in it.

I caught myself as we loaded the ice on top of the Costco stuff. I wasn’t in the right mood. Not that being in a good mood was a bad thing, but somehow Sookie was keeping my ‘full moon fury’, as my mom used to call it, in check. She wasn’t just evening my mood out, she’d managed to put me at the opposite end of the spectrum. Rather than combative, I was Mr. fucking Congeniality. I should have kidnapped her last month. I almost went berserk on a crossing guard for patting the hood of my truck when I drove by.

**

We were finally on our way to lunch when I felt a weird change in Sookie’s mood. She’d been smiling and laughing with the rest of us, but not only did the smile melt from her face but there was a sudden waft of that musky magic scent.

“Alcide, I need you to call Janice today.”

I wasn’t liking that conversational jump one fucking bit, but I tried to make a joke. “Do you need your hair done?”

“No. Sweetie, call your sister.” Shit.

“Why? What’s happened?”

“She just needs to hear from you. She’s not doing too well, not for a while. Since your dad passed.”

“I was just there for 4 days and she seemed great. The whole lot of them did.” That wasn’t completely true. Dell had avoided being at the house as much as he could and Janice seemed off, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering her. I fucking begged Sookie to come with me. That wasn’t why. I just didn’t want her to spend Christmas alone, but if something was going on she’d have known two weeks ago.

She sat there and if I didn’t know better she didn’t want to tell me.

“Sookie, come on. What is it?”

“She got really depressed when Jackson died. Dell was less than understanding. He started cheating on her- I don’t think she knows for sure but she suspects and I ‘know’ he is. She’s really unhappy and right now she’s sitting at her kitchen table crying because she wants to leave him but doesn’t know how to do it. She isn’t afraid of him. She just doesn’t want Tommy to grow up thinking that Dell’s way is the right way to treat a woman. She wants to move here so that you can be a good role model but doesn’t want to be a burden to you. She hopes that you are happy with… she thinks you’re still with Carla? She doesn’t want to be ‘that’ troubled family member so early in your relationship.”

I felt like I’d been hit by a mack truck. I should fucking be there for my kid sister. “Sookie, what do I do? How can I help her?”

“What do you want to do?”

“I want to fix it. I want to take care of her. I owe it to her. We’re the only ones left.” Janice and Tommy were the last of us and understanding that was exactly what made her put up with her dumb-shit brother all this time. Unlike her though, I had always been close to Janice.

“Call her and tell her how much you miss her and Tommy. Once she’s here, she’ll let you help her. Our company is leaving Thursday morning. She can come as soon as then.”

Vampire roommate. Dead girlfriend. Orphan Supe kids. She has a life in Jackson. “But she can’t stay at our house. And her shop…”

“Well, she can certainly have a nice visit with us and your and Jackson’s houses are empty. If she doesn’t feel comfortable with that, I apparently have a ton of real estate in the area. She’s still a hair dresser no matter where she goes. Fangtasia will be empty next month and there isn’t another beauty shop in the mall. If she wants to start over, she can. The one thing I can say about these flashes is that the few times I’ve had them, it’s turned out to be for a good reason.”

“Sookie, she’s never been like that before. Are you sure I can help? Our house isn’t exactly peaceful.”

“Sweetie, she’ll realize that she has a support system while she visits. It’s the perfect refuge for her right now. When she gets here, her big brother will give her a hug and she’ll know that everything will be ok.”

When my phone started to vibrate my pocket, she smiled at me. “She beat you to it.”

I spent the next few minutes convincing Janice to visit. I don’t know why. As soon as she found out that I live with two vampires, she’d snatch Tommy out of the house fast enough to give him whiplash. That’s only if she stays conscious.

I put my put my phone back in my pocket and leaned over to give Sookie a kiss, thanking her.

“Have you come to expect any less from your day girl?” She kissed me back and that was the beginning of the end for me.

**

Sookie and I fought over the red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese trying to give the pizza some flavor and finally decided that Giovani e Anziani was definitely worth the drive across town. You know it’s bad when kids complain about the pizza.

I laid my head over on her shoulder. “Sooooookie?”

She giggled at me. “What can I do for you?”

She smelled so fucking good, it was hard to not answer that question honestly. “Can we go play?”

She leaned her head over to rest on mine. “I still have a bunch of calls to make. We’re running out of…”

I jumped in. “I can take the kids to play and you can make your calls now. Then we finish errands?”

She laid her hand on mine under the table and started running her thumb over my wrist. She knew what that did to me. “Go ahead.”

The kids bounced out of the booth and ran towards the hamster tube playset, but I stayed put. “You’re killing me.”

“What happened to you being an asshole during the full moon?”

My eyes rolled around in my head while she ran her finger over my pulse point. “I was this morning. And then I caught up to my happy pill.”

“You slept on the couch last night. Are you and Pam ok?”

“She smelled like blood last night. I told her to get a shower before we got in bed and she was non-compliant. Rather than fight about it, I camped on the couch for a while before I went back up to talk to her.”

“She wouldn’t shower? With your nose?”

I barely managed a chuckle, it was getting hard to keep my eyes open. “My fault. I hadn’t told her.”

She giggled and called me an idiot. “But you’re ok now?”

“Yes ma’am.” I could feel myself slipping out until she finally stopped.

“Go play. My calls shouldn’t take too long.”

I shook my head and put her hand back on my wrist. “Nuh uh. Change of plans. Nap time.”

She laughed at me and shoved my shoulder. “Go PLAY! You big baby.”

I whined and called her a tease before I went to find the token machine.

**

The kids probably had as much fun filling their token cups from the dispenser as they did playing the games. Manen and Hunter cheated at the Whack-a-mole game. They didn’t bother using the mallet. They played in tandem by hitting the moles with their hands. They had a little party between every round over how many tickets they won each time. Manen kicked my ass cheating at Skeeball too. I wasn’t doing bad, but when the telekinetic little shit tossed a couple of balls that wound up in the gutter, she made sure that every ball she tossed went into the 100 point ring.  I’m pretty sure she was fucking with my game too.

Hunter stood there giving her a dirty look. I probably would have been pissed. Hell, being beat by a 6 year old would be a blow to anyone’s ego, but it was impressive as shit that she had so much control. If I didn’t know about her powers, I would have thought she was some kind of softball phenom.

She could tell that I knew she was conning me though. She was just excited that I was letting her until Hunter told me that Eric told them not to cheat.

I got my own laugh out of the idea that the scammingest mother fucker I’d ever met lectured them on honesty.

**

300 tokens spent and thousands of bilked tickets later, the kids (literally) dragged me to the ball pit. I’d seen The Pacifier and those things grossed me out. Sookie’d been at her calls for nearly an hour so I decided that she’d done enough business. I called the kids over and laid out the game plan for them.

I buried myself deep in the ball pit and waited. I could hear the kids recite their lines perfectly and believably.

When Sookie came running over to tend to me, no doubt worried about my back, her feet carried her up the stairs and then stopped.

Hunter would make one hell of a point man one day. He sent me the mental cue that Sookie’s back was to the opening to the pit.

I couldn’t hold back the laugh as I yanked her ass into the pit with me.

She griped at me for having the kids lie to her, but the way she was squirming to free herself distracted me from feeling guilty. The lie was worth the payoff.

We wore ourselves out horse-assing around. More importantly, we wore Manen out. She was going to need a nap before tonight with what Eric had planned.

**

We were on the way to the toy store when Sookie thought to ask about tonight. “Honey, what are you doing tonight? With the moon?”

“Oh, Eric and I hammered that out. If Miss Manen is in agreement… I’m going to hunt with the pack tonight and Eric will go flying with the kids. Then tomorrow, if she wants to shift into a runner she and I can hunt the ranch.” Judging by the squealing and bouncing she was doing, she was more than alright with the plan.

“Daddy, what kind of runner should I turn to? I’ve never hunted before.” It actually gave me a little chill to hear her call me ‘daddy’ and I grinned at the traffic going by.

“Well, I have to turn into a wolf but you can turn into whatever you want.”

“What are we hunting for?”

“Far says that there are deer and some water birds out at the pond.”

“Can you keep up with a cheetah or should I be a jaguar instead?”

She was a funny little shit. “Have you been either before?”

“Yeah. My other mommy and I used to watch animal planet before she got sick and I would practice. I’ve been a lot of stuff but Mommy told me I wasn’t allowed to turn into a dragon anymore after a burned the couch.”

What the fuck?! Sookie spun in her seat fast enough I thought she’d hurt herself.  “A dragon? Where did you get the model to become a dragon?”

Manen giggled, “Eragon. And I turned into a Griffon after Harry Potter once. Last year I was a Wookie for Halloween. I’m not supposed to watch fantasy movies anymore.”

I started laughing out of straight up nerves. “Manen, sweetheart, let’s stick to something real tomorrow night, ok? And we’ll keep the dragon and unicorn type stuff in the family too.”

She started giggling again. “You got it, Daddy. I promise.”

I still had a chill again as I was trying to reassure Sookie that we could take care of her. I made the effort even though I knew it wouldn’t work. Sookie looked like a deer in head lights the rest of the way to the toy store.

**

This was my bread and butter. Fucking toy stores were the bane of my single existence until Tommy was big enough to play with the good stuff. My folks didn’t believe in toys once Janice and I were in school. Then it was all educational shit. My stocking was full of flash cards one year. That shit might as well have been coal. Books were just as common and just as disappointing.

I had just come home from college and ran into a friend from high school. While we were catching up, he invited me to his kid’s 4th birthday party. That was the first time that I’d been to toy store. I’ve been addicted ever since. Janice calls me all the time to bitch that I’ve sent Tommy more stuff. That’s what uncles are for though, right? I have fun buying the stuff and when I talk to him, he tells me how much fun he has playing with whatever it was that I sent last. That was definitely one of the perks to being Packmaster. This year, I got to fill 83 stockings. Of all the candy and video games and movies and toys I filled them with, none of it was educational. It was all mindless fun and Sookie and I had a fucking blast wrapping it all with a bottle of tequila to help us along.

Sookie acted like she was going to try to be a party pooper when I tried to get out of the truck. The tricky bitch locked me in. “OK, you! It’s 2:30. I have a lot to do before dark and Manen needs to rest before the moon rises. You have 15 minutes to grab everything you want and not a second more. Got it?”

She was right, but I still thought about putting up a fight. I turned to the kids. “Nerf.” Manen and Hunter added Legos and board games to the list so I turned to Sookie and gave her the hairy eyeball. “OK, we have a game plan. Can we go now?”

The kids were unloading onto the sidewalk when I leaned over. I kissed her and called her an alpha bitch. That’s when I smelled ‘it’, tasted ‘it’. Her smell was already bait, but with the smell of heat on top of it…

“You haven’t seen anything yet.” She kissed me back and I had a hard time shaking the urge to climb on top of her. It was more important for me to get away from her than it was for me to explain why that shit wasn’t funny. Smelling like Fae around a vampire could get her drained just as easily as smelling like heat on a full moon could get her raped.

**

I was relieved when she went to the other end of the store to do her own shopping and when she got back the smell wasn’t as strong anymore.

We played around when she told us that our spree was over. I jokingly put up a fight and the kids got a kick out of it, so did the other kids close by.

Everything was alright until we started walking to the checkout and I found myself walking through a trail of her scent. Of course the shortest line was like a mile long. There was no way I could behave standing next to her for God only knows how long, so I went over to electronics. It was close enough to the registers that I could hear them talking, but far enough away that I barely smelled her.

She started chatting with me telepathically once she realized I wasn’t with her and I filled my arms with video games and accessories for our PSPs as an alibi until she warned me that we were next.

**

In the open air of the parking lot, I felt like I could ignore it. It was warm enough that I could get away with keeping the window down. We were only 10 minutes from the house and she wouldn’t do this there. Not with the kids running around.

That theory was shot to shit while we loaded the bags into the truck. She was making the scent stronger and stronger and it was driving me up a wall. I was grinding my teeth. Breathing through my mouth wasn’t working. It only made things more difficult. And no matter where I moved, the breeze seemed to shift to blow ‘it’ in my direction.

By the time she stepped back to close the back of the truck, I couldn’t take anymore.

I pinned her against the back of the truck, rubbing against her and kissing her hard enough to make my dick hurt. When I came up for air, there was another smell to drive me crazy. She was wet.

She stared up at me and the pale blue of her shirt made her eyes look deeper, darker. The longer I stared back the more impossible I was making it on myself.  “Did I tell you how much I like this color on you?” I pulled her collar away from her neck so I could get to it. Chewing and licking… Goddamn! She tasted good. I slipped my hand into the front of her pants and flicked my finger over her clit. If I hadn’t been clutching her to me, she would have fallen; her knees buckled when she came. And the way she said my name, the way her skin felt hot against mine was only making things worse.

She was panting and it was a fight to keep my fingers out of her. “Why do I want to strip our clothes off and fuck you right here?”

I growled. “I don’t know. It couldn’t be the pheromones; they only affect Weres.” She had to be picking up my mood. That’s the only answer.

She started rubbing my dick through my jeans and we came unraveled. We were pawing and clawing at each other. It only would have taken her biting my shoulder one more time and I would have become a criminal. Thank God she came to her senses. One of us needed to.

“Alcide… Alcide… Oh God! Alcide… Come on, we have to get home. Sweetie, come on. Let’s go.”

I didn’t want to set her down, but I did and turned around. I paced, trying to figure out why the fuck we’d gotten so close to crossing the line we drew months ago. If it had gone on another minute, I wouldn’t have listened when she told me to stop. This wasn’t going to work. Sookie and I needed to have a talk. If we were together, a couple, this would be a non-issue. But we’re not.

I had every intention of talking to her about it, until I climbed into the truck. I smelled it again.

**

I white-knuckled the steering wheel all the way back to the house and then started channeling my energy into unloading the shit from the truck.

She was doing it again, every fucking time I walked by her the smell got stronger. I didn’t have the strength to talk to her about it. All I could muster was ‘stop that’ a couple of times. She played innocent, of course.

She went to the den to check on the kids and when she came back she boosted herself to sit on the counter next to me.

I did my best to rally my strength. “Seriously, Sookie. It’s hard enough…”

“What?”

“Your smell.” I should have known better, but I moved to stand between her knees and rubbed my hands up and down her thighs. Kneading, pulling, digging in.

“What about it?”

“You know what.”

“Alcide, honestly, I’m not doing anything.”

“You aren’t releasing that scent on purpose?”

“Do you mean..?” She covered her mouth and her eyes got as big as hub caps. She looked like she really didn’t know she was doing it and I was suddenly hit with a brick of scents.

I tried to shake it off. “Sookie, that smells like heat and Fae.”

“Honey, I don’t know why. I’m not doing it on purpose. I swear!”

“Never mind that now. Where are we going?”

“Take me where ever.” She clung to me and I boosted her, carrying her to the dining room and set her on the edge of the table. My hand went between her legs and pushed against her clit and she was panting just as hard as I was.

It was killing me. Keeping her clothes on and keeping my hands out of them… But then… Our clothes were gone. That’s when I realized she was glamouring me… a waking wet dream.

It hit me so hard, my knees buckled and before I knew what was going on, she’d backed me into a chair and started to ride me. It was so fucking real that my mouth was watering. We were in a bubble and all I could feel, all I knew was Sookie. Every bit of it felt real. Every fucking move she made pushed me that much closer to coming. Every little twitch of her hot little body made me thank fucking God for my best friend and yes, I could feel the cool metal hoop.

She didn’t hold me back today and almost as soon as she finished me off, I felt our clothes again. It was an exceptional hoax. One minute: naked and fucking like animals. The next: snuggling close and fully clothed while I caught my breath. Amazing.

I finally managed to lift my head from her chest. “Sorry about your error, but thank you for helping me out.”

She smiled at me, but she didn’t mean it. “Don’t give it another thought. I have a DH upstairs, waiting for the night game. I’ll get a guaranteed grand slam with a foul ball or two. I’m more worried about why I smell like heat.”

“You don’t just smell like it. You taste like it too. Not like yesterday. Could you be part Were?”

“Wouldn’t I know?” Funny question to ask since she’s only known about being Fae for 3 months.

“Well, Gran would have told you if she was and she was the one that was with the Faerie, right?”

She nodded.

“What about your mom and her parents then?”

“My mom wasn’t much of a mom. She never talked to me. Nana Lil and Grandpa Buck died a couple of years later, by the time I was 10.” Un-fucking-believable.

I smiled like the devil himself. “That explains a lot.”

“What does?”

“Buchanan and Lillia Rhys?

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Your mom, I guess she had an older sibling?” Paul Benjamin perhaps?

“Yeah, Uncle Paulie and she were Irish twins born on Leap day and Valentine’s Day 50 weeks apart.”

“Well, I found a puzzle piece. Little girl, your grandfather was a Were. He was the Colonial’s predecessor.” And my personal fucking hero.

She froze up for a minute. “That explains why the necks in Bon Temps are terrified of me.”

“That’s not all. Your Nana Lil, all us kids called her that, was half Shifter, half Fae. So that makes you… ¼ Were, 3/8 Fae and less than ½ human. I’d be willing to bet that you have a little more going on from Gran’s side too.”

“Wait, wouldn’t you or Sam have noticed that smell before?”

“I don’t know about Sam, but you know I stay away from humans during the full moons. I’m usually a cantankerous asshole. This would need to be a new thing anyway. You didn’t smell like this before.”

She giggled. “Sam doesn’t bother keeping that to himself. During the night though, Terry covers for him and I usually work that shift because Terry prefers me to the other waitresses. I handle him better.”

“Sam also doesn’t tend to run with a pack, he might not know what he smells. It would explain why when you tried to smell like a Were you smelled like one in heat and why you find me irresistible today. You’re pretty damn strong for a human, even before you hooked back up with Eric and started getting his blood again. You started packing on meat as soon as you started working out. You were ready to kick my ass for suggesting that Quinn should get taken care of until you knew he was a threat to your family then you were ready to make a rug out of him. Does your intuition cover moods too?”

“Do you mean like you? Mr. Social Cues. Not usually it’s different, kind of like the bond and not really at the same time.”

I gave her a nod, but then I figured I’d ask her… “So, what’s with us making out and stuff again. When you called me and told me that y’all were together again, I figured that our flirt was over.”

“I figured it was too. I hadn’t had the chance to explain things before the night we took your drunk ass home from the cookout. He picked up my smell in your place, that I wasn’t shy about putting you in the shower, that I knew which drawer you kept your PJs in. I told him that we were friends with partial benefits. BFFs that like to make out and he seemed fine with it. Then the night you took me to the Zoo I fell to a guilt attack and talked to him about it. I asked if he was mad. He congratulated me for having used the bond to spice things up. I planned on talking to him about it to make sure since he’s got all kinds of trust issues but bossy and possessive aren’t on the list of feelings he hides. If he has a problem he wouldn’t be shy about talking me down about it.”

“What about last night? He was all kinds of pissed. I thought it was because of what we’d been up to.”

“That had something to do with me accidentally relaying the vision of my torture to him when I was trying not to tell him about it at all. Then some dick weed made a joke about the church who actually did torture me.” I felt like shit about it, and she slapped my arm before I had the chance to tell her I was sorry.

**

We had grown up talk for a while, but eventually we decided to get to attack the mountain of stuff we’d bought today. She got to work on the groceries and I went to check on the kids.

Hunter was curled up in a little pile under a blanket on one end of the couch and Manen was sprawled out on the other end. Hunter barely seemed alive, but Manen sounded like a buzz-saw. I laughed all the way back to the kitchen where the pile of toys was waiting to be organized.

Sookie and I had just settled in for our task when her phone rang. It was that pain in the ass witch calling to stir shit up. I listened in while she accused Sookie of fucking Tray and by the time she was done with Sookie, she was starting to cry. I’d never had a soft spot for a crying woman, per se, but something about Sookie’s tears pissed me off. Always had. It made me want to twist that bitch’s head off for upsetting her.

“Forget it, Shug. You’ve gotten spoiled being around so many people that know how special you are. You have Kings trying to be your wedding planners, Queens willing to rearrange their own wedding for yours and humans are more honest with you than they are with each other. One witch isn’t worth the tears even if she was a good friend for a while. You have more than she ever will and it’s her right to be jealous. This is probably because Tray broke it off with her. She just needs someone to blame.”

“I know, it’s just that she’s so angry. It’s not like her.”

“Come on, let’s work it off.” That’s all I could think of to do. It wouldn’t help, but our job would get done. Sookie stewed just like I do.

**

While we worked, we listened to her iPod and at some point she started cooking dinner. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I smelled what turned out to be Sheppard’s Pie.

Sookie had worked through her Amelia moment by dressing up the guest rooms and I figured she’d be disappearing into her room to spend some time with Eric before he went out for the night. Then the front gate buzzed. It was her brother. I let him through and ‘warned’ her that he was on his way up the drive. Even if it was worded like I joke, I think part of her was serious about moving and not giving him the new address.

When I opened the front door for him, he reeked. He’d been in a hospital. He’d been crying and he looked like shit in general.

Sookie barely had the chance to ask him what was going on when she came down.

He crossed the room and crushed her in a desperate hug and held on.

He sobbed into her shoulder for a while before anything was said. She was the one being strong for him. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out something fucked up happened.

I was starting to get really worried when she started to explain. “Crystal and the baby died this afternoon. The miscarriage became a hemorrhage and infection.”

Fuck.

I stood there, watching like a tool. There wasn’t a fucking thing I could do to help.

Everything was calm, so it surprised me to see Hunter and Manen creep out of the den quietly. When they approached Jason, I almost stopped them.

She curled her tiny finger to get him down to her level and then whispered into his ear, “Crystal says she’s sorry and that Corbett will find his way to you soon.”

Jason started crying again, but Sookie and I started trying to figure out where/who/how Manen got a message like that. All I could think about was that ‘I see dead people movie’.

**

When Jason was done crying again, I grabbed a beer from the fridge and took it over to him. “Your sister is making Shepherd’s pie for supper. You stayin’? Then you’ll run with Shreveport if you want.”

“You sure you don’t mind? I’m a bitten, a panther. The only reason Hotshot lets me run with them is ‘cause one of theirs bit me.”

“Even if I weren’t Packmaster, no one would mind because you’re Sookie’s brother. I promise. It’s fine.”

Sookie led the way to the kitchen and we started getting the peas out of their pods and she snarled at me.

“What?”

“Even if you weren’t Packmaster… You’d still be Lunar Justice.”

I started laughing at her. “You are right about that. I’m sorry… wait. Which way are you outranking me? As Queen outranking the Packmaster, or as Supreme Mystical Judicial Regent outranking the Lunar Regent?” I gave her wise assing mouth a quick kiss.

“Well since I’m not married to the king yet, I suppose I’m outranking you as a Justice.”

“Yes, Madam Justice.”

Jason acted like he was just joining the conversation. “Justice? Queen? King? What are y’all talking about?”

She tried explaining it to him, but he was too far gone for his brain to engage. He dipped into the bathroom, and I ended up grabbing her to take a spin around the floor to the music playing from her iPod.

I was testing her mood. She didn’t seem too affected by the news that her sister-in-law was dead. I know that they never got along and that Crystal was a coos that fucked around on Jason, but that didn’t necessarily mean that Sookie wasn’t going to take it hard. Sookie’s big heart was bittersweet.

I didn’t have to drag her. Her feet moved almost automatically and she smiled into the kiss I gave her when I dipped her over my knee. So it seemed her only concern was Jason’s state. I could help with that. He’d feel better as soon as he killed something.

**

Over the next hour and a half, the room was filled with the whole family. Sookie spent a fair amount of time giving Eric a ‘shock and awe’ presentation of our day that started with a phone call from a vampire king offering the use of Kidd Rock and Eminem for Fangtasia’s grand opening and ended with her being pissed at herself for forgetting to go to the dry cleaners, even after all of the stuff she got done.

I thought I was going to shit my pants when Eric mentioned her ‘afternoon delight’, but he glossed over it. He must have felt how fucking horny she was. Once he heard that she’s part Were though, he’d probably understand. The question was if he’d believe that she managed to control herself.

I ate way too much dinner. It was the best fucking Sheppard’s Pie I’d ever had and there was no way in hell I was going to ‘finish’ the hunt tonight. Fuck it. I’d still enjoy the run.

**

Eventually, Jason started to get squirrelly, so I gave his arm a slap. “Stackhouse, you ready to go?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

We said our goodbyes and headed out.

No sooner than my truck was pulling out, Jason kind of lost it. “How the fuck do you do that?”

“What did I do?”

“The way you control it! You look fine. Every fucking part of my body hurts and you ain’t even broken a sweat.”

I shrugged and tried to make the poor bastard feel better. “It’s early still and I have a lot more practice.”

“Bullshit! Calvin’s nearly twice your age. He can’t hold it off for an hour without showing it.”

“I’m not inbred like he is either. I’m much stronger than him. You’ll see.”

“I guess you gotta be to fuck a vampire.” Watch it dickhead. That’s my woman…

“Don’t knock it ’til you try it.”

“I’ll pass thanks. If I’m ever tempted, I’ll just fuck a block of ice. No risk of getting drained that way.”

If he didn’t shut the fuck up he’d have another risk to worry about. As it was, I could feel my normal ‘full moon mood’ setting in the further away from the house we got, confirming that Sookie could tame pretty much any beast.

He was really fucking lucky that I promised Sookie I’d take care of him.

I was giving him a dirty look when I saw how hard it was getting for him. He was shaking, trembling, and sweat was pouring off his face that was threatening the change. I let it go and opted to ride out our trip quietly.

**

When we got to the reserve on the south end of Shreveport by the river, my truck was surrounded by my pack. Some shifted, some as humans.

The shock of the day was that the fucking king of Hotshot himself was there. Jason had been right. The fucker couldn’t hold his shit together. Stackhouse was only a year old and had been doing a better job.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Norris.”

He interrupted the dirty look he was giving Stackhouse to answer me. “Thanks. Do you mind if I run with Longtooth tonight? I don’t want to try to make it back to Hotshot.”

Or he blames Jason for his niece’s death and wants to kill him. “Let me talk to my lieus, but I don’t see why not.”

**

I made my way over to Tray who was chatting it up with Febes, Dozer and Azo. I took a minute to explain about why a bitten was running with the pack and asked Febes and Dozer to watch out for Jason.

There was something familiar in the creepy smile Febes was wearing when she agreed, but I didn’t have time to think about it.

I’m not the only Were to get cranky during the moon. That point was proven when a fight broke out between two of the younger boys in the pack. The energy shift fucked everything up and started a chain reaction. Those of us who weren’t already shifted, barely had the chance to get our clothes off enough to not ruin them.

**

I was still in high school the last time I looked out over my pack to see anything other than Wolves stretching their necks to the moon light.

Tonight I saw Bears, Panthers, a few cats I couldn’t remember the names of, Jackals and a pair of Painted Wolves. It was fucking insane. There must have been a dozen Shifters with the pack.

This was the biggest turnout for a run since Buck was around, not to mention the number of Shifters. 4 was the most I’d seen at a time since I was a kid.

**

I looked over to check on Jason and my heart went out to the pitiful son of a bitch. Not only did he look like a cheesy B-horror-movie effect, he also looked scared shitless.

He was flanked by a Kodiak on one side and a Caracal on the other; Dozer and Febes. They both gave me a nod to let me know that they’d watch out for him.

If anything happened to him with a cat that territorial and a bear that fucking strong as his ‘hunt buddies’, I’d eat my own hand.

**

I walked to the middle of the clearing, while the pack closed in around me and officially started the hunt…

And then we ran.

I had to watch over 2 challenges that ended badly, all the while Manen circled overhead. Eric floated and watched, shielding Hunter’s eyes from some of the more gruesome moments. Sookie would kill us if she found out.

Tray watched from a few feet away as Manen drew down and landed on my back and I don’t know how, but Hunter managed to get the message into my head that Manen was even more excited about the hunt tomorrow night now that she’d seen everything.

I saw them in the sky a few more times over the next hour or so and Hunter made sure to let me know when they were heading home. Those kids were just fucking amazing.

After a while, I found Norris sitting in a small clearing. He was alone and staring up at the moon. I don’t think he noticed me until I sat down next to him. I’d been worried that he’d be out for Jason’s blood, but I think he just couldn’t bring himself to be a Packmaster tonight. I only stayed for a minute; just long enough to acknowledge what he was dealing with and then moved on.

By the time I tracked Jason down, I found him and his new friends in the river, showing off for some of the younger Weres on the banks by flinging fish out of the water. I stood in the tree line and watched for a minute and if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he’d been doing it for longer than a year. He was working faster than Dozer and Febes and in spite of being one of the ugliest things I’d ever seen, he was doing it with style. It wasn’t clumsy like I’d seen a few bitten. I guess the word would be poise.

I know Sookie hadn’t talked to him about her new strengths yet, but I was starting to think she might need to. He might have been affected by whatever shit Niall pulled too.

**

The sun has started to turn the hazy sky yellow. It smelled like rain and by the time we made our way back to the cars, most of them were gone.

Tray and I waited for the stragglers to get back and I made sure to swear him to secrecy about Manen before I invited him and our new guards over for dinner.

I had to pull over twice on the way back to the house so that Jason wouldn’t barf all over the inside of my truck, but by the time we were pulling into the gate he was feeling well enough to tell me that he’d never had so much fun on a run.

Since he was Sookie’s brother and no one complained earlier, I told him that he was welcome to come back next month as we walked through the front door.

**

I could smell the coffee brewing as soon as the door opened and once again, I thanked God for my best friend. After two nights with almost no sleep, coffee was going to be the only thing that kept me going.

When I walked into the kitchen, Sookie had her usual smile on her face, but my attention was grabbed by the Viking vampire standing over the stove, making my eggs.

What the fuck?

2 thoughts on “Chapter 22

  1. Kristie Yamber says:

    I love Alcide you write him well my best Kristie

  2. loveallsvmtb says:

    I love Alcides pov.

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