Tuesday, January 12th …
Ridiculous as it sounds, the dog woke me up.
Alcide was reaching across Pam and Sookie, nudging my arm to bring my attention to the state of affairs in the middle of the bed.
Sookie had accidently snuggled up to the wrong cold body. She was draped over Pam, rather than me. Part of me was jealous. Another part… it was intrigued. Entertained even. I took my phone from its usual resting place on my nightstand and went to the foot of the bed, where Alcide joined me with his own.
I was worried to use the flash, but had no choice in the lightless room so I floated over the bed to take the first picture, then another with no response. The photos might distract me from not having her with me on my trip next week.
When I landed, I showed the screen to Alcide and he started laughing through his nose, immediately stirring Sookie. Her leg drew up Pam’s side and her arm pulled them closer together. She nuzzled her face into Pam’s shoulder and I was very quickly aware of my growing need.
I quickly took another snapshot, as did Alcide and this time she did wake up.
She looked groggy and annoyed. I didn’t need the bond to tell me that she wasn’t amused. “Which one of you started this?”
Technically it was Alcide. He’s the one to bring the situation to my attention. I pointed at him.
He had pointed at me, no doubt because I was the one to inspire the photography.
“That’s great. The ‘I’m with stupid’ defense.”
After checking the clock, she began a cruel show. She was punishing me for my fun. She wrapped her sweet little lips around Pam’s nipple and that was the end of me. Sookie’s mouth had my complete attention.
Getting Alcide the fuck out of the room was the only thing I could think of that would improve my view, until Sookie’s hand went between Pam’s legs.
My cock already ached, but when Pam awakened, I was immediately torn between entertainment and curiosity. Entertainment quickly won, as Sookie put her knees under her to lord over Pam.
She kissed and bit and fondled and Pam responded to every bit of it. My dick responded to every bit of it. And it only got worse when I smelled Sookie’s blood. Worse still when Pam started gasping out Sookie’s name as though she was short of breath. My cock wanted, like no other time in my years, it wanted.
Sookie laid her magnificent body on top of Pam, cuddling, petting her hair to calm her down. Pam went as far as to reach out to Sookie to keep her in bed. Sookie no sooner turned, seemingly to apologize for leaving, but Pam’s arm fell to the bed limply and without warning.
Once she’d dressed without a word, she wrenched Alcide’s arm around to check the time on his watch. She thanked us for the ‘wake up’ after she gave my cock a tickle, then she was gone.
Alcide drew in a deep breath as though he were about to start yelling, but I held my hand up as a signal for him to wait. I listened to the faucet in the kitchen start and stop, then the door to the patio open and close.
“She’s outside. Go ahead.”
“WHAT THE FUCK! HOW? I mean… She was dead, then she was coming, now she’s dead again.”
I shook my head as I sat on the bed. “I haven’t any idea how.” I slapped Pamela’s face a couple of times with no indication that she felt it. I tried tickling her ribs and got no results.
“Do you feel anything when you’re dead?”
“No. It’s as though we close our eyes and then open them moments later. Until a week ago.”
“Has anyone ever hurt you while you were dead for the day? What about the Hotel, when it blew up?”
“I still don’t understand how Sookie woke me then. I was the only vampire who got out of Giza on their own volition. The others had to be carried out.” I started pinching Pam’s thigh, watching little bruises form then fade away. It was more of a curio really. I know she wouldn’t wake. Not for me.
“The only one? Sookie said it was hard to wake you up, but…”
“I was groggy, lethargic, confused and the ambulance doors were barely closed behind us before I was dead again. I blamed it on the bond at the time, but now I’m not so sure.”
“This is surreal. There is no way she should be so powerful… You can stop pinching her anytime now. She isn’t waking up and it’s starting to creep me out.”
I hadn’t even realized I was still doing it. “You can be sure Niall wants to use it, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered to unbind her.”
“You can be sure that his son knew that too, otherwise he wouldn’t have bound them and missed the chance to brag about being their father/grandfather.”
“Them? You think that it was on a larger scope?”
As I went to my closet, to choose my clothing he explained his suspicions about Adele Hale Stackhouse’s genealogy. As much as I wanted to dispute his theories, if not only for Sookie’s emotional well being, he was eerily perceptive when it came to details that had escaped me while I was preoccupied with ‘winning’ her. Including the fact that the bitty sent her grandchild into a Vampire bar with no qualms. The only thing not threatened by vampire is Fae that doesn’t smell like Fae. Typically, a half breed.
Frustrated with my tunnel vision ignorance, I used a shower I didn’t need as an excuse to be alone. I tried a few more times in vain to get a rise out of Pam before I went to the bathroom.
The only alternative to tracking and interrogating one of Sookie’s Fae relations could be Dr. Ludwig. Sookie may be more accepting of a battery of tests than the idea of my draining one of her few living relatives. It might not offer an answer for all of our questions, but anything is more than we have now. Sadly, the ‘why’ isn’t as important as the ‘what’s next’. Sookie’s powers are impressive to say the least. I can think of thousands of practical applications or them without even taking into consideration the political and industrial aspects. Niall, on the other hand, I can only think of one reason he’d be so interested in her. Breeding. He’s already offered to end me and provided Sookie with several offers of Fae bedmates.
Even if Sookie does come to terms with the idea of baring her own children, I couldn’t allow her to accept a Fae as a proxy. There would be no promises that carrying a three quarters Fae child wouldn’t affect her scent. Two months was long enough to go without her. I couldn’t stand 9 months… and then the question of after the birth. Could I ever be around the child and not be a threat? No. A Were. That would be as far up the supernatural food chain as Sookie could get as far as that’s concerned.
I was flummoxed. There wasn’t a solution. There was no solution because, as of yet, there was no conflict. There were an endless number of scenarios, all of them merely hypothetical until we had more answers.
Ludwig first. Then Fae. Even if she has nothing to offer, then we’ve lost nothing by asking. The other option could leave us knee deep in Faerie dust and still turning to the ‘good’ doctor.
I was just getting out of the shower when I felt the children stirring, causing an instant smile.
I quickly put on an undershirt and lounge pants to join them.
Their eyes were already on the door when I opened it. “Good morning, short people.”
They both giggled as I sat on the foot of Hunter’s bed. They replied in unison, “Morning, Far.”
I bounced a couple of times. “Your new beds seem comfortable. Did you sleep well?”
Manen slid out of her bed and came over to sit on my lap. “I did, but Hunter was unhappy.”
He looked angry that she told me. “It isn’t the bed though, Manen. Shut up!”
I laughed. The way they interacted with each other was very entertaining. “Then what is it that robbed you of your rest, Kapten?”
His chin wrinkled when he frowned, reminding me of his mother. “There’s too many brains here.”
I couldn’t argue. Having nearly 30 readable brains at his home, while he tries to rest, must be wretched. “I’m very sorry. The kings will only be here for 2 more nights.”
“It’s not the kings though. It’s the guards. They think too loud. And about Momma a lot.” He looked indignant. I was impressed with how protective he was of Sookie.
I can only imagine what thoughts he might have heard. Some of them might have been mine considering the message on her shirt last night. “Can you not block them?”
“Not all of them. Not all the time.”
Shit. “Do you think, perhaps if we talk to Momma, she could help?”
He shrugged. “Can’t you just make them behave?”
“I’m very sorry. I didn’t believe it until recently, but people can’t help what they think. The thing we should be grateful for is that they control their actions.”
He nodded, understanding too well. As a minimum, at least he didn’t have the same emotional abuse as Sookie did growing up.
Manen made the conscious decision to change the subject. “We’re going to Crystal’s funeral today.”
I nodded. “Yes. Uncle Jason’s wife and child. I know you understand funerals, but do you want to go? I’m sure Febes and Dozer would like to play with you so that you won’t have to go to another one, especially since you never met Crystal.”
Manen reached up and put her little hands on either side of my face, meeting my confusion with seriousness. “Not Corbett. He didn’t die. He just wasn’t born yet. BIG difference.”
I was about to dig. Push. Harass her if necessary to get to the bottom of her meaning when were interrupted by my favorite voice. “The three of you need to cut your tea party short. It’s time to start getting ready.”
Manen slid from my knee, grumbling that tea parties are stupid and took herself to the bathroom.
Hunter shook his head as he watched her. “Don’t ask… Uncle Jas will need us. I don’t mind going.”
“You know what she meant though?”
He nodded. “We’ll have time later.”
“I prefer to talk about it now.”
“No, you don’t. Trust me. You aren’t ready for it.”
I was starting to get angry, to say the least. “Hunter…”
I was matched with a far more determined face than one can expect from a child of his age. “Far. You are really old. You can wait. Claudine said.”
“I’m not one to trust the Fae, Hunter. I don’t like that she’s been sneaking around.”
He nodded with a grin, amused at my confusion. “Remember what I said about grownups not listening to kids.”
“Two things and then you have to get ready or Momma will be cross.”
“Claudine isn’t bad. Niall doesn’t know she sees us. And… Claudine promised you’d know soon.”
“Niall hasn’t sent her as an agent? How long has Claudine been coming to see you?”
He shrugged. “Claudine says she’d be in trouble because she lied about finding us. Niall sent her. She helped me and Manen find each other. She said she’s been watching out for us for a long time. Now go get ready.”
I wasn’t about to take orders from a child, but I needed to think.
I ripped the first two shirts I put on out of unadulterated aggravation. Vampire have the reputation of being untrustworthy and Machiavellian. Indeed! If the world only knew how shamefully underhanded the Fae race is, Vampire would get a holiday named for us. To think that Niall knew about the children, and never let on to Sookie. He sent Claudine to them. Them. Them? Hunter is a given. Why would he know about Manen? She is Shifter. Shifter with extra talents though. Shit.
I was going to have to talk to Alcide again.
I was in a much better mood before I had to think about the machinations of that demented Fae. Niall Brigant: Royal pain in my ass.
Perhaps there’s something to the old saying. Ignorance is bliss.
Finally dressed, I stood in my closet waiting, trying to settle myself into accepting that Niall is a threat and I brought him to her. Like a fool, I fell for his assurances that he was interested in family connections. Indeed. He wanted great, great grandchildren as strong as Sookie.
The calm never came.
I emerged, wanting to drain the first Fae I laid eyes on and noticed Pamela again. Her arm still stretched out, reaching for Sookie. A smile tugged at the corners of her enticing lips even in her rest.
I situated her. She’d been left, splayed out in a less than modest position. As I arranged her neatly and pulled the sheet over her, I was hit with the scent of their earlier fun. It did everything to change the direction of my frustration.
I just managed to calm myself from my haunting need to have Sookie when I sensed her getting closer. I made the sacrifice. If I remained in the room, I would have ripped through an entire suit to get what I wanted. I compelled myself through the doors of our room so as to not be in close quarters with Sookie.
We found each other in the hall as she left the children’s room. She was wearing one of my undershirts and a pair of Alcide’s shorts. I might have minded seeing her in his clothes, but as it was, they were barely on. Nearly sliding down her hips.
“I didn’t know that today was going to be this casual.” Her nipples were pert under my shirt. Growing need.
She laughed slightly. “I was just coming to get my things. I forgot to get my shoes and under things.”
“Lover, under normal circumstances, I would suggest that you continue to forget them. That was quite a show you put on earlier.”
Her head fell back, displaying her neck, her pulse. “Was it ‘hard’ for you to get back to sleep?” I watched her throat move as she laughed at her joke, trying to control myself.
“I… We enjoyed the show but your exit was abrupt.” I knew touching her was a bad idea, but her skin was practically begging me. My hand found her shoulder, sliding down her arm to her hand and putting it over my now (and again) aching cock. “I’m sure that Pam appreciated your affection, but you have certainly left me wanting… more.” Her pulse quickened when I let my fangs down.
“Unfortunately, more will have to wait. We have regrettable business to attend to first.”
Sookie grabbed my dick through my pants, stretching up to kiss me, adding to the pain. I pulled her to me, lifting her leg to feel the heat of her core against me. What had she done to me? Now that I’m awake all day, I still wanted to spend the day in bed.
I felt her mood shift as she remembered what our day had in store. “I think that we are close to being even now. You know how damn irresistible you are.”
I smiled at her attempt to flatter me. “Go grab your things. I will wake Jason so that he can bathe.”
Once Jason’s pitiable ass was off of the couch and in the shower, I searched out Alcide. I actually knocked on the door to his room. Sookie would have approved.
“We only have a minute. Other than typical genetic enhancements, have you ever met a Were with extras?”
He smirked at me. “This isn’t fair. If we had more than a minute, I could fuck with you some… You got the memo that Nana Lil was half and half right?”
I gave him a curt nod.
“I don’t know if she had any ‘extras’, but she could stand in the middle of a battle at midnight during a full moon and never change.”
“She could hold off a change?”
“More like she didn’t feel the need to and her son, Paul, same way.”
“So you’re already suspecting that Manen…?”
“…Has a Faerie tale or two in her library?”
“There’s new information. Claudine has been visiting the children. As Hunter tells it, Claudine was sent to search them all out by Niall and only reported Sookie to him. If she’s as well intentioned as she’s perceived, it might be that the only reason that she reported Sookie because of her involvement with Supes.”
He gave me a nod. “Flood knew her, but I don’t know how. Claudine started showing up a lot… while you were cursed, by then Sookie’s hands were rank with Supe pals. Niall finding her would have been inevitable. But the kids…”
“…Could have stayed secret indefinitely.”
“That son of a bitch. If Manen’s part Fae… He’s scouting for fresh blood.”
“While it’s good to get a second opinion…”
“…It kinda confirms that this is a huge cluster fuck waiting to happen.”
I wasn’t sure how I felt about finishing each other’s sentences, but I did find myself appreciative of how savvy he was when it comes to plot dissection. “There’s more: The children know something. Hunter told me to wait because I wasn’t ‘ready’ for it. Claudine has stayed in touch, though I’m not sure how. She told him we’d find out ‘soon’.”
He smiled at me. “I bet I know how.”
“Do you plan on sharing, you clown?”
He started chuckling. “As strong as that boy is, she could safely sit on the roof and have a 3-way-chit-chat with them and never get detected. So what brought it up, since you aren’t ready for ‘it’?”
“I asked the children if they wanted to go to yet another funeral and Manen’s mood took a turn. I’d said ‘Jason’s wife and child’. She corrected me, telling me that ‘Corbett’ wasn’t dead, he just hadn’t been born yet.”
“She told Jason that Corbett would get back to him soon or some shit. It was weird.”
“It probably shouldn’t bother me that you’ve been right with me…”
“…Except for the fact that if we’re both right, that royal pain in the ass has been up to something.”
The mood in the car was ridiculously tense. After the morning I had, I certainly understood the jokes I’d heard over the years about ‘morning’ people. I’m not one of them it seems.
Thanks to Sookie’s appearance in her underthings, she might as well have not bothered with the dress as far as I was concerned.
Her infernal shields gave me a hint, but not the reason that she was preoccupied with all of us having worn blue.
The ‘funeral’ was another story altogether. Not only did I have to keep that irrational inbred hick of a Packmaster from pummeling Jason in front of the children, I found myself acting as the sad bastard’s support system once the rites began.
I was called out of my artificial mourning when I realized Sookie’s shields had slipped. She was disappointed with the veracity of Crystal’s eulogy. It concerned me that she bemused herself with thoughts of her own tribute. While every line item on her list of things she would like to be said was without fabrication, I worried that she might be having second thoughts about having me turn her. Until I heard her catch herself; ‘vampires don’t get funerals’.
When Jason caught me smiling, I let him think I was being encouraging and gave his shoulder a squeeze.
The services and pomp long over, Jason was dwelling. He stood over the grave as though it might bring them back until everyone was gone, save our two limos.
I caught on quickly that Sookie was starting to worry about her brother. I was pretty sure that if she was forced to console him, her mood wasn’t likely to improve anytime soon. I volunteered to go in her stead, since I was optimistic for our afternoon; hopes of making up for my impossible morning.
I spoke as I approached him so that I wouldn’t startle him into the open grave. “Stackhouse?”
He cleared his throat. “Yeah?”
“Planning on joining them?”
“Sorry to disappoint you, but your sister would kill me. Is it not the tradition to join other mourners and graze on donated food at someone’s house after these things?”
“Yeah, I don’t really want to though. I don’t think I’d really be welcome anyway. Think they’d mind if I didn’t show up?”
I sent to Sookie to have her handle our excuse to Calvin. Our presence would’ve been quite awkward anyway. “I’m sure the Norrises won’t miss having us there. Having a vampire and a rival pack’s Packmaster there would have been… Sookie calls it a turd in a punchbowl.”
He snorted. “How’d you get stuck fetching me?”
“I’m the most qualified.”
“Qualified, huh? How’s that?”
“It’s been a while, but I’ve been where you are.”
He kept his eyes on the grave, saying nothing.
“So where do I start?”
“I have no idea how to console a human.”
“How would you console a vampire?”
I had to think about it since couldn’t think of many worth the time. “I take Pam shopping when she gets troubled. Her BMW is the result of her last depression.” He didn’t need to hear about the uwilling donors.
“Shopping, huh? What about Sookie?”
“I can’t console her. She hates it. She mistakes it for pity. The only thing she’s ever allowed me was watching over her.”
“I told ya. She’s a horse’s ass.”
“You’re right about that.”
“Did you feel guilty?”
Back to the original topic, I see. “I’m sure I did.”
“If I hadn’t made her move, I coulda made her go to the doctor.”
“Do you think you care for Crystal more than her sister?”
“I guess not.”
“You saw her in the chapel. She was beside herself. She did everything that Crystal allowed her to. Just as Crystal would have allowed you to do. She is responsible for her own death. No one else.”
“The baby though…”
“…The child couldn’t have been saved. The miscarriage is what precipitated Crystal’s death.”
“Same thing for you?”
“My first wife and child died during delivery.”
“What did you do?”
“I felt sorry for myself.”
“How’d you get over it?”
“I didn’t. I remarried and it eventually happened again. That time it was a fever of some sort that took them both while she was still pregnant. I felt sorry enough for myself that when I met a vampire and was told that they didn’t have feelings, I asked to be turned. I didn’t want to die, but I was useless as I was.”
“You saying I should be a vampire?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “No. Trust me. It doesn’t work. Besides, you’d make a horrible vampire.”
He looked offended. “Why?”
“You’re too friendly.”
“You’re not so bad.”
“Not usually. This is your sister’s fault.”
“Where’d she get all that stuff anyway?”
“Alcide and I are still trying to figure that out.”
“At the moment Sookie has given herself so many things to do, I don’t think she has time to think about it.”
He snorted, shaking his head. “Always been a juggler.”
“You almost done?”
“Feeling sorry for myself?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
He started laughing. “I guess so. You didn’t do so bad.”
“Good to know. We need to stop by your house on our way back to Shreveport.”
“Save you the drive. You need to get some things so that you can stay with us for a while.”
“Why am I staying with y’all?”
“So that your sister doesn’t have to worry about you being alone.”
He stared at me for what felt like a damned decade. “You’re not feeling sorry for me, are ya?”
“That isn’t exactly in my nature. Sookie will feel better if she knows you’re eating and wearing clean clothes. I’m sure your boss will understand if you take a week or two off.” I was feeling sorry for him though, in spite of my nature.
Once home again, Sookie poured drinks and recited a poem as a toast. The poem was a typical poem of loss, authored to prompt melancholy mourners to feel uplifted and as she spoke, she didn’t feel the sentiment. It seemed that she was only putting on the show for Jason’s benefit. It was interesting to say the least.
I felt her mood shift again as she topped off their drinks. In our bond, her worry and concern were replaced with resolution.
After a moment of silence, she let a loud breath and began her brother’s ‘education’, if you will. “Jason, you should take the green bedroom. It’s halfway down the hall.”
“Thanks sis. Sounds good.”
“I guess you need to be briefed too…Since I’m not sure what’s been covered for you, I’m just going to give it all to you in one big pill, alright?”
“Sure. I guess.” He looked like he was bracing himself.
“Because of the power shift, Eric is the Vampire King of Louisiana and Arkansas. Alcide and I are justices on the Supernatural Council; it’s kind of like being Judges on the Supreme Court for Supes. The royalty aspect is why there’s so much security. Right now, it’s doubled because of who our company is but it’s going to stay in place. I need to get dressed down and head to Fangtasia to check on things in a little bit. Tonight Pam, Alcide, Eric and I have a thing with the kings so you can hang out with the kids or out in the camp. Our company leaves Thursday AM and Alcide’s sister will get here with Tommy that afternoon for her visit. Friday AM we have different construction projects starting. Friday PM Eric and I have plans. We’ve been pretty busy around here this last week and it’ll keep up for another couple of weeks, but it’s pretty easy to get used to. At the end of next week Alcide and I have a thing in Boston for a few days, the beginning of February is the grand reopening of Fangtasia, and the whole lot of us have a week in New York for a wedding, then Mardi Gras and in that time I have to plan our wedding before mid march. Eric, Alcide, did I cover the quarter?”
It was daunting that she had so much to tend to. “Lover, Pam and I are going to spend 3 days in New Orleans next week. We’ll leave Monday. I’m sorry that I forgot to mention it last night. We need to settle some holdings and issues. The new Sherriff will arrive and hit the ground running Tuesday, hopefully.”
“Oh, alright. Shitty timing, if it weren’t for the construction I’d like to go too. What do you want to do about security?” I couldn’t help but smile at the idea that she’d want to travel with me given her luck when it comes to New Orleans.
“We’ll have Mardi Gras. I’ll take the alternates and Tray has 4 guards down there for me. That will be sufficient.”
She nodded and turned her attention to Alcide.
“Sounds like you covered it all to me.” I would hope so.
Her brother was shocked to say the least and at the moment, there was no telling what part of her life was hardest for him to understand. “Wow, sounds like my hopes for you getting to ‘settle down’ are shot to shit!”
She stood and kissed his head like she was calming a child. “Big brother, settled or not, I’ve never been happier… Well, I’m going to go grab laundry and get changed then I’m going to go track down ‘my boyfriend’ and give him his list of chores before I go to the bar.”
I waited for the sound of our bedroom doors closing. I stood up and slid my chair in. “Mutt, do you have anyone that can sit on Claude? It’ll help us find him easier when we’re freed up.”
He laughed. “I don’t think I’ll have a whole lot of convincing to do. It’s not often that you have to twist arms to get a guy to go sit at a strip club.”
“I’m already bored with this. I fucking hate Fae.”
“Watch it. Consider what you sleep with.”
“That isn’t the same thing.”
“I get that, but don’t whine. It’ll get around. Besides we could get lucky. Claudine could pop in and explain everything. That’d save us the world of shit of getting answers on our own.”
“When the fuck have the Fae ever been helpful?”
“The verdict is still out on that one though. Sookie told me that she… uh… Has goals.”
“A barbarian at the gate?”
“Depending on her perspective, it could still go either way. Regardless, it’s doubtful that she’d pay a visit at the moment. Not with 13 of us here.”
“The kid said ‘soon’ though, right? Something’s gotta give.”
As expected, Jason sat at the other end of the table, sipping scotch that was too complex for him to appreciate and not understanding a bit of what Alcide and I were talking about. It was sad really, considering everything his sister is…
I decided I must be slipping. My timing is usually much better.
I found myself walking into our room just in time to see Sookie’s dress hit the floor. As tempting as she was, I turned away. Rejection would do nothing for my disposition.
As I headed to my closet though, I felt her mood improving and after seeing Pam in our bed again, I was willing to risk being in a sour mood.
By the time she made her wardrobe choices, I was waiting just outside her closet door and had to try not to laugh when she bounced off of me.
She smiled and slapped at my chest as I started backing her into the closet, pinning her to the wall.
I took my first taste from behind her ear and stole another every couple of inches on my way down. Every nip I gave her excited her and she pulled my head closer, holding me tighter.
She gasped and whimpered, pulling my hair as I enjoyed touring her body. Her taste became sweeter every time she came around my fingers, until I couldn’t stand the wait anymore.
No sooner than I got what I’d wanted since the moment I awakened, Sookie started to glow around me. Shoving in, pulling away; the rougher I was with her, the hotter she burned. The smells of her blood, her tears, her sex, her sweat mingled, testing my control.
Getting closer still, I ripped into her shoulder, finally taking more than a taste, getting more than Sookie. Tasting…all of her. Her power. All of it.
We came together, my finish paling to hers in comparison. While mine filled her, hers went through me and knocked us both to the floor.
I laid in the floor of her closet, looking at the ceiling and itemizing the sensations rocking through my body and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I felt her heartbeat in my chest as it slowed to her more normal rate. Her mind was still and our bond was, so help me, our bond was hot. Normally, I could explain it as a reserve; somewhere in the space between us, a profound silo holding the mixture of feelings we have. But at that precise moment, it was not merely a container filled with post coital relief and euphoria; it was for all intents and purposes a heat source.
As the echo of her heartbeat slowed in my chest, I rolled to her. Her tiny body had come to rest in a contorted heap next to me, and she had yet to make a sound other than her heaving breaths.
She adjusted herself to face me and offered a sly grin. “That was amazing.”
I swept a lock of hair out of her eyelashes. “Yes, Lover, it was. Thank you. You should let me tend to the wound.”
She gave me a nod and started lifting herself from the floor, struggling with uncooperative muscles. She turned around, but my mark was gone. “You healed it already?”
“No, Eric. It isn’t there?”
“It’s gone. Not a hint that it was ever there. Give me your arm.”
She held out her forearm without hesitation and I bit. Her flavor had returned to normal. That it had so quickly was a surprise, but the real shock came when we watched the punctures in her arm repair themselves in seconds, just as mine would.
I stared at her, scared that she’d been turned. Truly to my core terrified that she would hate me if we had accidently caused her to ‘transition’. Unheard of. It’s the only thing that kept my grasp on my faked calm. Unheard of. I had never heard of a case where a human became a vampire without dying. Unheard of.
Sookie finally blurted, “Oh shit! Eric! It’s the bond. We’re sharing abilities. That has to be it! The flash of light must be when it happens.”
Still concerned, I stood and helped her to her feet. If that was the case, Sookie certainly didn’t seem to be rejecting the idea. In fact, she seemed excited by it.
She giggled and leaned into my chest. “If you keep making me come like that you might not need to turn me… And you’ll be the most powerful vampire ever.”
I lied. Well, I pretended to be as lighthearted as she was at the moment. “We could take over the world. Mwahhahah.”
She stayed thoughtful as we shared a quick, confused shower and finally came to some conclusion. She smiled like an exuberant child. “Eric, if you can do everything I can do, all the Fae magic, and all of your Vampire stuff too, you really would be unstoppable.”
I rolled my eyes, unwilling to admit that it was a possibility. “Granted, it does seem that we are sharing powers or tapping into the same source, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. It could be a progression of your ability.”
“Ok. I can buy that… How long have you been able to read minds?”
“You’ve known?” I had a handful of reasons for not telling her, but the only reason involving her was that I liked hearing her thoughts. It wasn’t a test that I listened in. It was entertainment. It was insight. I could hear how much she cared for or disliked individuals. Her thoughts are what made me realize that standing between her and Alcide would damage our relationship and what made me realize I could trust him. He was just as protective of her as I am. Sadly, I was sure that now she’d start using her shields. It would rob me of the clues I’d been using to not fumble through the more human behavior she seemed to prefer.
“Not for sure. Well?” Her eyebrow was raised and I could tell she was getting impatient.
“Once or twice after Dallas, it increased after Russell’s, and I nearly went crazy once our bond was permanent. It took me a while after I recovered to control it. It seemed like the more of my blood you have, the clearer it all became. Only once on a vampire, it was the Arkansas vampire during the trial.”
“I heard him too, but it was the third time for me.”
I’d suspected that she could read vampire minds all along and was just wise enough to hide it. “When were the other times?”
“The night you killed Longshadow, when we made our ‘deal’; I heard you, and then in Dallas when Stan kissed my hand when we met. I caught his birth name, nothing more.”
Equal parts relieved and disappointed, I watched her start to dress. I had hoped that she had been able to read my mind. Knowing that she couldn’t or didn’t only gave me more fucking questions. If she can’t hear that all I want is her, then why would she trust me? Why would she want to be with someone with my reputation? Why would she not think that I want to use her like nearly every other vampire she’s come across? Even my talk with Alcide yesterday made me believe that she could hear our thoughts. ‘After what Bill put her through, she’s not even fang shy. And Vampire is the only thing she’s not.’ It was easier to believe that trusting vampire was a result of her telepathy. Perhaps it was just her intuition. As easily as she had deduced what our bedroom would look like, it could be a safe assumption.
She towed me down the stairs and into the kitchen balancing a laundry basket on her hip and interrupting Alcide and Jason’s plans for taking the ATVs out for a ride.
She all but barked at her brother. “Sorry to interrupt. Jason I need you to come here.”
She impatiently tapped her foot while she waited for him to rise.
“Jason, stand still and just trust me.”
She lifted my arm, placing it over the bruise from Norris’s uncalled for attack.
“Ok, Eric, you know how when you flood the bond with that calm feeling to chill me out, it’s like that. Close your eyes and focus wellness into your hand.”
Her getting extra abilities from me, was one thing. She is Fae. In a thousand years, other than the anecdote Febes shared a few nights ago, I’d never heard of a Vampire gaining extra abilities. The idea of my being telepathic and immune to sunlight was ridiculous enough.
Rather than seem combative, I closed my eyes and played along. Shock isn’t a strong enough word to describe my reaction when I actually felt my hand begin to pulse.
She spoke in nearly a whisper. “You’ll know when to stop. I imagine it as the feeling you get when you know to stop feeding.”
Sure enough, the pulse in my hand diminished and felt more like a tickle and when I lowered my hand and opened my eyes, her brother was staring at me dumbfounded and unharmed.
Sookie was practically dancing in her excitement. Though, I wasn’t sure why. She’d been terrified for me to be seen during the day.
“Ito ba ay isa sa mga wikang kilala mo?” I understood that. She asked if she was speaking a language I knew.
“Ito ay hindi na ginagamit na. Ano ito?” I’m not sure how I knew how to tell her that I didn’t used to and ask what language it was. I wasn’t sure if I was getting excited myself or just feeling her.
“Filipino. This is so AWESOME!”
I just smiled. “Sookie, I’m not sure what this means.”
Alcide finally brought some calm to the conversation. “Can one of you please tell me what’s going on?”
Jason being present increased my need to ‘sugercoat’ as Sookie called it. “I told you the other night, when we had sex, there was a flash of light and then I felt no need to go to rest when the sun came up. Well just now the flash happened again and when we were done I went to heal her… marking and it was gone. I bit her arm and we watched it heal by itself like mine would. Sookie had the thought that we might be sharing powers through the bond and that seems to be the case now.”
Sookie didn’t give him the chance to respond. She held her hand out, producing a fiery orb. “Try this, all I have to do is picture it, feel it and it’s there.”
“Well there’s one you don’t have yet. How do you move as fast as you do?”
I shook my head, trying to think of a way to explain. “I just do. I had to learn to control it, not do it. Like your telepathy.”
“Bummer… oh well. Focus on the kids. What are they doing?”
As I thought about them, it was as though, my mind traveled to the den. The television was tuned to the Disney channel and Manen was looming over her brother, hounding him to be more careful with his legos. He looked up at her, unaffected and told her to be more careful with her big feet. When I laughed, Hunter looked up towards my vantage point and smiled. Then he offered me a wave. He really was an exceptional child.
“Hunter is building with legos, looking for a ‘skinny yellow piece’ and Manen is angry with him because she just stepped on one barefoot. It’s like I’m in the room with them.”
She smiled up at me, still bouncing excitedly. “That’s my favorite one so far.”
She ran to the fridge and back to me, carrying two true bloods. Since I’d just had her blood, I shouldn’t find myself ‘hungry’, but the moment I laid my eyes on the bottles, I felt empty.
Sookie had ‘doctored’ them as she does, but as I poured them down my throat I realized I wouldn’t have balked if she’d left them cold and gritty.
“I see what you mean. It really does demand fuel doesn’t it.”
“Yeah… That could be the other shoe. If using the powers increases your hunger too much it could prove to be an issue for me for a while, but I’m adjusting.”
“It could, but now you have extra blood, remember.”
She giggled as she walked to the laundry room, grabbing the basket and her brother’s duffle and disappeared into the hallway.
Alcide stood with his arms crossed staring at me. His face was wrenched and I was unsure if it was anger or astonishment. “This… is a problem.”
“I prefer to look at it as a puzzle.”
“You go right on with your bad self then, Kimosabe. But unless you plan on keeping all that shit to yourself, she may very well end up being the target of thousands of kidnapping plots.”
“Eric, how many vampire know you can fly?”
“Maybe a dozen.”
“Uh huh. And by the time those three upstairs are home, they’ll know you’re a daywalker.”
“With you so far.”
“You can always claim that you got lucky and ended up with 2 vampire gifts, but if anyone catches on to the other shit, Sookie might as well have a target painted on her ass.”
Fuck. “They’ll assume…”
“That she’s your own personal magical fucking Sinterklaas! Yeah.”
“I suppose it’s a good thing that they aren’t as obvious. Yes? Remote viewing and healing are passive. And I already speak several languages. I’ve actually helped as a translator a few times.”
“If I were you, I’d designate a few to play dumb on. Like Swahili or some shit. Knowing them all… Problem.”
“I think you’re worrying too much.”
“Really? Her ability to read minds got her beaten, raped, drained, and at deaths door. What do you think will happen when some asshole figures out that she’s made you the most powerful vampire in the world.”
“Mr. Know-it-all, shut the fuck up for a minute and think. Since fucking is what brings on the power transfer, unless you’re going to stop fucking her you’ll get more powers. The Kings and Queens aren’t the problem. It’s assholes like Compton that are position hungry enough to look at her like a tasty cross between a fuck doll and a piñata!”
I wanted to twist his head from his shoulders for talking to me like I’m a fool, but I was too preoccupied with the fact that he was right.
I nodded. While the extra powers wouldn’t hurt my reputation in the least, all of it would make Sookie more vulnerable.
I found Sookie as she was returning from the garage. “Do you want company when you go?”
She smiled and stretched up to kiss my neck. “Only if it’s you.”
I smiled, excited to spend some time alone with her. “What do we need to do before we leave then?”
“We need to touch base with Tobin and make sure things are running smoothly.”
I took her hand and let her lead the way out to the camp. “He seems to be doing really well at taking care of things.”
She nodded. “I was worried that the guys might give him a hard time since he’s so young, but when I was outside last night I overheard a couple of the guards thinking that Stan and Russell should try to steal him because their day guys aren’t as on point as Tobin.”
She smiled at me. “Very. Serious when he needs to be and he doesn’t mind working hard.”
“You prefer him to the other valets?”
“Oh, I like all three of the boys a lot, but I guess you could call Tobin the ‘teacher’s pet’.”
“Alcide thinks he flirts with you.”
“Not really. He’s respectful. I think what gets to the PM is that Tobin is intimidated by me so he makes jokes to hide it. Alcide reads it as flirting because he and I joke around so much.”
“He hates it.”
“I know. He considers the posturing he does as preventative maintenance.”
I couldn’t help it. I started laughing. “No kidding. He just yelled at me.”
“Shit! He’s still alive though, right?”
“Only because he was right. We should be very quiet about my new powers. He pointed out that, especially the way I’ve gotten them, your ability to gift powers makes it worth the risk to take you.”
“What does that mean?”
“It won’t be long before everyone is scared enough of us to think better of it.”
“You’re ok with that? People being scared of you?”
“I don’t particularly give a shit what people think of me as long as we’re safe.”
We found Tobin in the driver seat of one of the Shreveport RVs. His laptop was on the dashboard and his lap was full of books and papers.
Sookie told him to ‘park his ass’ when he tried to rise when we entered.
He nervously cleared his throat, staring at me. So I sat in the seat next to him and Sookie sat on my lap. He seemed to relax slightly. “Uh, Manny just called. He’ll be back with lunch in a few. Breakfast went off without a hitch. One of the Jackson guys stabbed one of the Dallas guys.”
“They were fucking around. Showing off their belt candy. Stupid fuckers were flinging their knives into the dirt and one of them missed. It went right through the top of his boot. He says he doesn’t need to go to the hospital, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t lose a toe.”
“No. It just happened about an hour ago. I haven’t seen him yet. He checks in with me every couple hours.”
I shook my head. “Tray? Checks in with you?”
He nodded and cleared his throat again. “He says he’s just the head of security. Calls me the DO. Director of Operations. He told everybody to come to me since I report to y’all.”
“Is there anything we should know about?”
“Other than the two tards that like playing with knives? No. Everything else has been like butter. No probs.”
“What’s this that you’re doing?”
“Oh… I’m just… I’ve been using my downtime to study. History.”
“Right now… I’m working on a paper on the perspective of the liberation of the internment camps of WWII.”
“Japanese or European?”
Sookie and I said in unison, “Violet Kazue de Cristoforo or Yala Korwin.”
We shared a look and a smile. How well read she was still surprised me. She continued as she took a notebook from his lap to scribble out the two names. “They’re both camp survivors. After you read them you might have a better idea of which perspective to write about. You’ll find plenty online.”
He tilted his head and thanked us and then Sookie wasted no time telling him that the ranking family member at the house tonight would be Jason (it was more of a warning than anything). She reminded him which restaurant dinner was coming from and that Alcide would be here while we ran errands and then she slapped his hand on our way out.
I should’ve known that she’d insist on checking on the injured guard. When we stepped into the crowded RV, 9 Were froze where they were, terrified.
“What are y’all up to?”
They all stammered and she started laughing at them.
“No one says a word to the other kings. We’ll handle this internally. Get out.”
One of them kissed her cheek on the way out. “Thanks Sunshine. Let me know if you need anything from Jackson.”
She slapped his hip as he went by. “I’ll catch up with you later, Doug.” She smiled up at me and winked. “That’s the broken nose from Jackson.”
I could have been angry that he was so friendly with her, but I was more amused that he was so friendly even after she’d hurt him.
The only Were left was the one that couldn’t walk out. Vertice.
She stood over him with her arms folded. “You fucking idiot. What in God’s name made you do something so stupid? There are children on the property…”
“Ma’am, they weren’t around. I’m sorry.”
“I’m not worried that they’d have seen you! I was just going to mention that even our 6 and 4 year olds know better than to PLAY WITH KNIVES!”
“Ma’am, I know what I’m doing…”
“What-fucking-ever dude! You’re just another prideful mother fucker who gets an honorable mention for a Darwin Award. Who did this?”
She huffed and put her hand out. “Hold your foot up.”
“Ma’am, I’m gonna…”
“…Get gangrene! Give me your fucking foot.”
He was terrified. I was shocked at how bossy she was being, but he was visibly scared and not of me. He leaned back and lifted his foot. Sookie rolled her eyes at him and directed his leg to rest on her thigh. She wrapped her hands around the fool’s ankle and set herself to heal him.
I watched awe take over his face and when she was done, he started to sputter.
“Shut up. Go get your knife.”
“If you’re going to act like children, I’ll treat you like children. You can have it back when your visit is over. Find someone to take your dumb ass to get a pair of boots before your king rises.”
I started laughing as he bolted out of his seat and ran to his bunk.
He bowed to her as he held it out. “Thank you ma’am.”
She yanked it out of his grip and stormed out. I was still laughing as we searched for ‘Ferris’. He got the same ‘riot act’ as Vertice and just as humbly relinquished his blade as Sookie ordered him to pay for Vertice’s new boots.
‘Queen of the Supes’. She just had a 250 pound Were groveling. Two of them. It was beautiful.
In the day and a half of work, the construction crews at Fangtasia had done an impressive job. The space had been gutted of everything including the carpeting and drywall. The walls to the bathrooms and storage area had been pulled down and no sooner than we were through the doors, a foreman charged towards us so that Sookie could address an electrical matter. She managed it just as decisively as she had the Were’s at home and then made sure of the plans, confirming that the carpenters and electricians were aware that the local Stagehand Union and Sound company was scheduled to come by tomorrow to make suggestions for the stage and wiring. I was awed that she’d even thought of the detail. I hadn’t.
As we left the small errand of the drycleaner, she turned to me. She was wearing the sweetest of smiles. It was almost innocent, if it weren’t so sexy. “Eric, do you feel like shopping?”
“What do we need?”
“I was thinking about getting something special to wear tonight.”
“Where are we going?”
“Anywhere is fine, but I want to get Pam a gift after this morning.”
It took me the rest of the drive to make myself stop thinking about ‘this morning’. Oh, what had she done to me?
As though she was using radar, she immediately found a rack of Versace and grabbed several dresses to try on.
I fingered my way through a few racks while I waited to cover that I was a slight melancholy of the old Sookie. It was bittersweet. I love, surprisingly love that she is so open and accepting now, but I have to admit that I miss the look of righteous indignation she used to get. It wasn’t so long ago that a Versace gown would have been tossed in my face for the insult of being a ‘kept woman’. As foolish as it seemed, even to me, I liked her insolence. Perhaps it was just that comparatively things were simpler then. As it seemed, I was getting a taste of what Alcide had mentioned. Sookie’s life had never changed in small increments. My ‘life’ taken a lot of changes in my years, most of them painfully slowly. And now Sookie’s landslide was my own. I had just decided to forget it, to accept that the changes in her life helped to bring her to me, when she called to me.
I found myself staring at the door to her changing booth. “What can I help you with?”
“Hey love, can you come in here? I need some help.”
When I stepped in, she was wearing only her boots and under things, all of it blood red and if that wasn’t enough to make my cock twitch the smile that she had waiting for me would have. “What did you need?”
“I’m having zipper trouble.”
I reached for the dress hanging at the front of the hook. “This one?”
Her hand whispered over my cock as she opened the zipper on my jeans. She breathed against my neck, “No, Viking. This one.”
I didn’t have the control I needed. We were too close. Her scent was too strong. Her smile was too daring. She was still insolent, just in a different manner. “Sookie, are you sure this is a good idea?”
She took the small step necessary to press her chest against mine. “Are you afraid you can’t be quiet?”
Her warm hands found their way under my shirt. She slid her panties down her thighs slowly, folding herself completely in half and showing me her new jewelry. She continued her fun, reaching into my pants, stroking my cock, kissing me. Nicking her lips and tongue on my fangs, teasing me with the taste of her until it hurt to hold back. Until I knew holding back any longer would be dangerous.
I shoved her over, even then she tried to tease me. As I lined up she bent her knees, causing a miss. She enjoyed the slap I gave her ass for her taunt enough to ask for another one before she stopped playing and gave me what I wanted.
The chore of remaining quiet fell to the wayside. Her perfection was wrapped around my dick and I was too happy to hear her little noises as I yanked her hips back and forth. Fucking her. Claiming her. Mine. Only letting her stand so that I could enjoy the blood trickling down her chin. She’d bitten through her lip. Kissing. Pinching her nipple against the hoop. Moving her soft, hot body against mine. Mine. Until we broke the dam and fell back, completely relieved. No confusion. No concerns. Just come this time. The simplicity was wonderful.
The din coming from the camp caused a unified panic for both of us when we returned home. I quickly scooped her up and launched us over the house and quickly found that it was cheering rather than mayhem. The yard was a wreck and every off-duty guard was standing around what appeared to be an obstacle course designed for Manen and Hunter. The children were speeding through it on small ATV type vehicles while the unified pack of Weres stood audience to the race.
I watched, rather bathed in their fun while Sookie took in Alcide and Jason’s explanation. The ‘power wheels’ had been Jason’s idea and the guards built the track for them out of items they found while on patrol. It was all very inventive.
When their fun was finally over as their batteries died, they thanked Jason and Alcide before I took them upstairs to help them clean the yard off of them.
Manen of course grabbed her own clothing while I put together an outfit for Hunter. He was barely out of his shower, Manen barely in, when Sookie’s panic hit the bond.
She was standing at the entrance to our room.“Eric! Go into the room and see if you smell anyone but us.”
I went in, wondering what had alarmed her. I carefully went through the room, smelling nothing out of the ordinary.
Sookie and Alcide were waiting when I came out shaking my head. “Sookie our room hasn’t been entered by anyone but the 4 of us. What’s going on?”
“No, that’s impossible. Sookie, we die during the day. It’s like the part of our brains that controls our body completely shuts off. You saw her in the sun in Rhodes. We don’t have any reason to believe…”
“Eric when we walked out of that room earlier, she was on her back on my side of the bed. Now she is on her side, in the middle. Has she ever raised this far from sunset before?”
As young as she is, even on cloudy days, I’d only ever seen her rise as early as fifteen minutes, if that. When I started shaking my head, she grabbed Alcide and me by our wrists to tow us into our room.
“Is she ticklish?”
“Only her sides.”
She uncovered Pam while Alcide and I looked on. Sookie’s fingers had barely brushed Pam’s side when she flinched. Sookie put more into the tickle gradually and got an increased return from Pam until she rolled to grab Sookie’s hand.
“Sookie? What’s going on?” Her eyes were wide and confused, probably no different than mine. There hadn’t been a flash of light when my girls had been together this morning. How?
Sookie asked Alcide to start opening the doors. He was hesitant as walked over and pushed open the first one, showing the door to the hall with a halo of ambient sunlight around the jamb and I could feel Pam’s horror as his hand reached for the second knob. He patiently inched the door open letting in enough light to cause Pam severe pain. Her skin would crack and blister. The smell of scorched flesh would fill the room and our noses… Something close to pain hit me in the chest as Pam slid from the bed, covering herself with the sheet on her way through the doors. Sookie followed.
After uselessly trying to find the cause, I led the way so that Pam and Sookie could have some time alone. They’d both been flooding my bonds with them with an immeasurable amount of feelings to the point that I needed to put some space between us.
As soon as we walked out, our excuse to leave was waiting in the door to their room.
I picked up Hunter and started down the stairs, Alcide did the same with Manen.
We took them to the den and sat down while we both tried to figure out a way to explain it to them.
Manen got sick of waiting for the answer. “We know she’s awake. Where is she?”
I smiled at the cheeky child. “She is taking a bath with Momma. How do you know she’s awake?”
Hunter giggled. “I heard her dreaming. Momma fixed her.”
“What do you know?”
He shrugged. “Momma woke her up. She can’t burn anymore.”
Alcide looked over at me. “Makers can share gifts, right?”
I nodded. “It happens.”
“I guess we don’t have to worry about it then.”
Hunter and Manen both looked confused so Alcide and I quickly explained that no one must ever know that Sookie can ‘fix’ vampires. And as soon as they both agreed, Manen ran off to bring back a brush and an elastic for her hair.
Alcide looked like he was juggling hand grenades as he put a braid in her hair and when he was done, she ran her hand over it. “No wonder Momma does your hair.”
It was the ugliest braid I’d ever seen and she was still laughing as she bumped Hunter out of my lap so I could ‘do it proper’.
I was rewarded for passing the test with a kiss. She leaned over towards Alcide. “Thanks for trying.”
But when she tried to kiss his cheek, he dodged it, calling her a brat.
Once she wrestled her way to kissing him, the two of them asked to watch a movie and were both asleep before the credits to the Parent Trap were over.
Alcide and I were dazed enough that we watched about half of it before we realized it.
Now that I have a longer day, I suppose I could expect to get bored more often, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever be bored enough to watch ‘Haley Mills and Haley Mills… Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah…’
No. That won’t be happening.
After a failed attempt at playing Resistance II, we gave up in favor of collecting the girls.
They were soaking in the tub. “Rude. Knock much?” Leave it to Sookie to remind a Vampire of etiquette.
“The kids are napping and we are bored.”
I got more sass. “Well, this one is occupied; find somewhere else for you two to take a bath.” Pam tried to hide it, but the little bit of a laugh that escaped was nothing compared to how amused she was.
Alcide whined, “What’s taking you two so long?”
Sookie teased him with a breathy voice. “Every time we get clean, we get dirty again.”
He was buying it, and remembering the morning show. “She’s teasing. I’d have known if they were doing anything interesting up here.”
Sookie stormed out of the bathroom, making a show of how ‘angry’ she was at our interruption as though I couldn’t tell otherwise.
It was fun to watch her stomp around the room and dress like a slutty school girl, complete with tiny skirt and pig tails.
I needed to remember to ask Alcide what a ‘hentai porn star’ is, since that was what he thought she looked like. He settled on calling her a hooker, earning him a slap in the chest hard enough to stop his heart.
Alcide and I followed her outside as she went from RV to RV. Alcide was far more tense than he should have been and it wasn’t until Jason found us with the kids that he seemed to let his guard down at all. He might actually be more protective of her than I am.
He was only momentarily distracted by playing with the children before he wandered away to watch over her. I caught sight of him helping her to unload the food once Tobin arrived.
Sookie eventually announced that dinner was served and then dashed inside, leaving me and Alcide to make the plates for the kids. I was keeping them company while they ate when Sookie came in.
I watched, reeling as the fucking Queen of two states started serving beer and treating the security guards like customers at Merlotte’s. It was fucking infuriating.
I cared nothing for my mood until Hunter kicked Manen for ‘breathing his air’. As much as I tried to calm myself, nothing worked until Sookie had made her plate and joined us.
She hadn’t been trying to annoy me. She considered her servitude part of being a gracious hostess. Station was obviously something she’d have to be educated on.
The four of us dressed quickly and searched out the Kings to be on our way.
As soon as the car was in motion, the questions about details that Alcide warned me about started with Russell. “Pardon my French, but bull shit.”
I let Sookie answer him, knowing that she would amuse his curiosity more than I would. It was hard enough to pretend to be anything other than galled that he’d ask at all. “Bull shit what, Russell?”
“Bull shit, my dear, about your little ménage au quarte. I don’t buy it, by try as I have, I cannot figure out a reason for the farce.”
“That isn’t because you’re slipping, it’s because there is no farce.”
“Why are you marrying one instead of the other?”
She giggled at him. “Because marrying them all isn’t legal yet.” I smiled at her quick, and flip, answer.
“Do you have a schedule?”
“Not officially. There is… intimacy by opportunity.” We waited, hoping that the interrogation was over. They certainly heard the noises coming from our room last night. Both couples were enjoying each other immensely and simultaneously, so there should have been no doubt unless he thought that we were acting out the noises as a charade.
When she got no indication that they were ‘buying it’, she probed. “Guys? What’s up? Does it all make any difference in the scheme of things? Keep in mind, before you make a federal case out of our foursome that I am a mind reader, my dear. We could talk all night about what I’ve gotten out of the minds of your staff and pets.”
“I suppose it makes no difference. Am I to understand that this is your wedding party as well?” Believe it or not, in the bond her victory felt like her smile.
Since Russell didn’t seem to be pushing any longer, I relaxed slightly. “Who better? But don’t forget our flower girl and ring bearer.”
He accepted my answer with a nod and Sookie spent the rest of the drive nagging them about where, why and whined ‘are we there yet?’.”
As it turned out, our destination was the ‘Midyette Plantation’. Pam and I were the only ones who didn’t know of the location since Sookie and Alcide were both locals and the other Kings had researched it.
A caretaker led us to the back terrace and left us. Russell smiled at us and held his arms out dramatically. “Sookie, I humbly present to you our wedding gift.”
I almost insulted him by laughing. Russell Edgington does nothing ‘humbly’.
It pains me to admit how excited wedding plans made me. I felt preposterously giddy looking over the property. The scene was set as a dress rehearsal. Tables set in a dining area framed by scentless flowering bushes, and hundreds of chairs neatly lined up and dressed in padparadscha. I was far more excited than I could ever blame on Sookie through the bond.
Sookie would be my wife. Sookie would choose to marry me. Sookie would do so without a pact between tribes or families. Sookie and I would raise the children together, even if they weren’t ours.
She would be mine. I would be hers. Because we wanted it. Because we love each other.
Fuck my thousand years of not caring.
I was happy.
I was happy for the first time ever.
The best I could do is still myself to keep from embarrassing myself with tears.
I left the appreciative display to Sookie, cowardly as it was.
Russell explained some standards as to dance floor placement and Sookie interrupted by pulling the three Kings together for a thankful ‘group hug’ that they seemed to actually be getting accustomed to.
Our benefactors took turns listing the items that were inclusive of their gift, including a remarkable place setting of gold and ivory with Sookie’s Padparadscha table linens. They left only the most intimate choices to us such as cake and clothing. They’d done so much for us that I was tempted to start hugging vampire.
I managed to control myself, barely.
We rattled on and on about the wedding until we were all back at the house. We congregated in the kitchen true bloods and scotches in hands. A bit later we were joined by Jason and Angela who updated us on the children’s ‘crash and burn’ 3 pages into their bedtime story. I wasn’t surprised considering Angela chose to read Little Women to them.
Jason stood next to me as wedding discussions continued and I could hear and feel how happy he was for Sookie, and even though Crystal was the furthest thing from his mind, I still found myself feeling sorry for him.
As talks of which movie we’d enjoy tonight started, we were all startled by a pop. It isn’t a sound Vampire hear often, but it is unmistakable and usually not a welcome visit.
Almost instantly, Sookie was wrapped in Claudine’s arms and Alcide lurched to his feet, readied.
“Claudine!” She ducked behind Sookie, using her as a human shield. “Settle down. I’ll keep them back. Everyone this is my friend Claudine. What’s wrong? I tried getting in touch with you but Claude wasn’t very helpful.”
“Nothing is wrong, necessarily.”
“Claudine, if everything is ok then what are you up to that you popped into a vampire nest… into a room with 6 vampire in it, no less, rubbing your scent all over me in the process?”
She stared at Sookie, somehow indicating that they needed to be alone.
“Everyone, could you excuse Eric and me for a moment. There seems to be something Fae afoot.”
Sookie took my hand to follow Claudine out to the clearing in the yard. It gave us enough space that we had some privacy and the breeze provided Claudine with a modicum of security.
Once we were settled into a position, I felt Sookie take hold of me for extra assurances. “Claudine, I have him. He can’t move. What’s up.”
“Ok, I have two messages for you from Grandfather and I don’t have much time so let me cruise through as fast as I can. First, Grandfather spoke to the Fates. He wanted to figure out a way to release you from your bond without angering you by killing the Viking. Don’t make that face.”
Sookie’s face was warlike and when Claudine mentioned it she stuck her tongue out.
“He was very unhappy to hear that you two are soul mates. It turns out that over his lifetime Eric has ‘missed’ you several times. Oddly, the Fates aren’t always… well you’ve heard the saying ‘the best laid plans of mice and men…’ yeah, you should see what they’ve managed to mess up.”
I wanted to batter the bitch. She was just like her half answer grandfather.
“Message number two: Grandfather is anticipating trouble within the Fae realm. He is closing it off as we speak and is very sorry that he cannot come to you himself and very sorry that he does not know when he’ll be able to. Maybe not for years. He regrets not knowing the children very well. You’re hard to find when you’re not surrounded by Vampires so you might have already noticed some changes. I was sent at the last minute in spite of the danger, obviously. Grandfather has, I guess you could say, opened the dam on your and Jason’s powers. Fintan had used his magic to make you seem more human. He blocked your supernatural powers, but Grandfather figured it out. Something about your only power being a witch power made him look into why you didn’t have any Fae powers. There’s a lot of info regarding that but unfortunately I don’t have time for it. The most important parts are that you’re still more human than Fae so you can die, but it would take something serious to kill you since you can heal now. You can bestow powers and you have our life span since you’re Fae royalty. And by the way, watch how much you drink- it’s not just a social lubricant, it’s a magical one too.”
If she was getting locked away, I had to ask, “Why were you seeing the children?”
“Don’t trust grandfather. He isn’t being truthful, even with me. The children are too vulnerable.”
I watched the cryptic brat stoop to kiss Sookie’s stomach. “Tell Manen and Hunter that I’ll miss them.”
Then she was gone.
Sookie stared at me, on the verge of tears and I couldn’t imagine why. When she let me go, I pulled her close and held her, waiting for her to explain.
We stood there, still, for several minutes and I finally decided that a push was needed. “Lover? Quiet doesn’t suit you.”
She didn’t answer, or move, or… I turned to the bond and it was a mass of everything, seemingly ready to burst.
I stood back and she was catatonic. Her eyes were open, but there was nothing in them. “Sookie!”
I tried shaking her.
I took her face in my hands, trying to get her to look at me.
I tried shaking her again, I was panicking. “Sookie?”
When I saw her blink I got more scared.
She blinked a few more times and her eyes finally met mine.
“What happened? Lover, what happened?”
“Eric, promise me to try not to freak out. I just ‘saw’ a lot and I need to tell you but I need you to stay calm.”
“I’ll try.” She took my hands.
“Manen is your daughter.”
“Absolutely, I’ve already talked to Carol about adop…”
“…Her soul, honey. You would have named her Atje after your mother…. And she knows.” There’s no way for her to know my mother’s name. No way for Sookie to know about any of it. I hadn’t spoken that name since I said goodbye.
“Sookie, are you sure? What did you see?”
“I’m very sure. I saw… a lot.”
I locked onto her face, trying to gather my thoughts. Trying to get a grasp on what she was telling me. Trying to stay calm like she asked. The infant I put in a mound with her mother could not possibly be the little girl upstairs. Reincarnation is a con meant to bilk sad people out of their savings with assurances that they once led amazing and exciting lives. There is no possible way this was real.
“I’m starting to think that the Fates like to knit.” This can’t be real.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because Hunter was Pam’s little brother, Michael.”
I laughed, like I would if I were watching this scene in a movie. I would declare this to be insane and farfetched and quit watching, but… “We knew that there had to be a reason for all of this.”
“There’s one more thing.”
I couldn’t bring myself to care I was still tripping over the shrapnel of the last bomb. “I don’t know if I can take anymore at the moment, Sookie.”
She grinned as she reached up and thumbed a tear from my cheek.
“Then it can wait. Let’s go clean up and pretend to care about the movie.”
I went directly to my bathroom as quickly as I could to avoid any discussion with anyone.
I splashed water on my face, trying to settle my nerves. My nerves? Battle after battle. Blood bath after blood bath. Thousands of women and meals and cruelties. Torture and captivity. I’d never been so shaken. Never.
The insanity of this whole situation had just crashed around me. I’d ‘missed’ Sookie? Soul mates? The reincarnation of the daughter I lost when I was 17 and the brother Pam watched over until he was aged and unwell being delivered to us centuries later? The impossibility that there was ‘more’ to what Sookie saw? I found myself dizzy and braced myself against the counter.
I eventually had to clear away more tears. Angry, confused, perhaps even happy tears.
When I finally came out of my hiding place, Alcide, Sookie and Pam were waiting for me expectantly. Pam was full of angst, no doubt feeling my torrent without knowing the cause.
I walked over to her, pulled her ear to my mouth to give her the splinter of privacy. “Listen carefully and believe me. Claudine’s visit brought on a cognition for Sookie. Pamela, Hunter doesn’t just remind you of Michael, Michael has found his way back to you in the form of Hunter.”
I expected disbelief, to be honest. Pam and I were similar enough in disposition, that I expected to hear or feel a ‘bullshit’. In spite of the ‘tough as nails’ exterior Pam usually projected, she completely broke down, never thinking that it was a lie. She held onto me while she sobbed, too overcome with so much in one day.
Perhaps with Sookie’s new talents, disbelief should be tossed aside since it seems that nearly anything is possible.
I gave her the time she needed so that she could settle from her shock and then clean herself up.
Visitors be damned, I wanted to sit on Manen’s bed and hold her all night. No, forever. I owed her a thousand years of stories and love and time. She was going to get it now. She was going to get everything now. Now that I had it in me to give.
I understood instantly what she meant this morning. ‘Not dead, just not born yet.’ The day had yielded too much. I was on the verge of breaking down just as Pam had. I held her so long that the saucy little thing actually seemed to get annoyed with my attention, so I had to make myself pull away and let Alcide and Sookie tell her goodnight.
As I turned out the light, I heard Hunter giggle. “I told you so, Far. I told you soon.”
I smiled back at him through the gapped door. “I’ll never doubt you again, Kapten.”
I was conscious that most everyone found the movie hilarious, so I’d have to remember to pay attention to it the next time I had the opportunity.
As it was, I was quietly dissecting the ‘cluster fuck’ and knowing that it wasn’t over. For Claudine, any Fae for that matter, to betray her kin, her clan to a vampire was unheard of. She was old enough to have seen the fresh wounds left from the last time Vampire and Fae ‘disagreed’. It was global and it was devastating for both races. For her to even question Niall’s motivation enough to warn me, us, was worth a raised eyebrow or two.
But the fates were working for us. Maybe? Things did seem to be falling into place.
The original question of why the four of us seemed so comfortable together seemed to be filling out. Can knitting be done in 3D? The longer I thought about things, the tighter, more intertwined it all seemed. The least of which was Alcide. His ‘purpose’ couldn’t be just so that Manen has someone to turn with or for Sookie to have someone to watch over her during business. There had to be more.
I think I quite possibly gave myself a headache by the time the movie was over and we managed to wriggle out of our conversation with Stan.
Exhaustion. Plainly. As long as I have gone, 20 hour ‘days’ didn’t come often. Even when they did, I had to seek them out. It was almost 1 AM and the day held a month of discoveries.
The bed almost seemed too big tonight. The girls laid inches from each other nose to nose and I couldn’t get close enough to Sookie if I could climb inside of her.
I laid with my eyes shut, but felt nothing more than the urge to discuss… everything.
“Lover, you said there was something else.”
Her hand gave mine a squeeze. “Are you sure? This isn’t little like the earlier news.” Even if I didn’t want to know, now I needed to know. How the fuck could anything pale what we’d learned earlier?
“Lover, I wasn’t at all sure I was ready until you said that.”
She rolled to climb over me and pull me to the bathroom, shutting the door behind us.
“Are you sure you’re ready for it? It’s been a big day.”
I nodded as put my arms around her, worried that this could be news of a coup or an enemy we aren’t aware of.
“I’m sorry to drop this on you. You know I didn’t plan this. I didn’t think it was possible. I’m pregnant.”
I shoved her away from me. “Sookie, I need you to explain how this happened.” I knew how it happened. She’d fucked that Were and lied to me, to everyone.
“The vision I had didn’t help me much in that department. The best thing I can figure is that it has something to do with the flashes of light.” The only thing keeping me from killing him where he laid in my bed, the only thing keeping me from killing her for that matter, was that Sookie had me sewn to the floor.
“Release me. NOW!”
“I can’t. If I do you won’t listen to me and you’ll do something you’ll regret.”
“What makes you think that I’d regret killing you both for this?”
She lifted my hand and put it to her throat, leaving me in complete control of it, but only that. “Right now, I understand what you’re thinking and why, but Eric, I swear I haven’t lied to you.”
“How the fuck am I supposed to believe that?”
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t given a ‘how to tell a vampire he knocked you up pamphlet’.”
“This isn’t funny. Release me.”
“You can’t hold me here forever.”
“I don’t plan to. If you kill me, you’re free to leave. If you think I’d lie to you about this, Eric, after everything we’ve gone through, then I want you to. I know you can. You can snap my neck like a tooth pick or if you’re angry enough, you can give my throat slow pressure and watch the light behind my eyes dim.”
I hissed, “You’re right about that.”
Her eyes started to tear up. “Eric, please. I couldn’t stand it if you thought that little of me. Kill me if you don’t trust me.”
I simply shook my head. “It’s not possible.”
“I warned you.”
“Sookie, you’re sure?”
She nodded. “There’s more. It’s twins. They’ll both have strong Fae gifts like me. They’ll both have blonde hair and blue eyes and turn into white wolves…”
“That’s not possible!”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “Do you mean that I’m pregnant at all or that the fates’ sense of humor proves that you’re the ‘sire’?”
I hadn’t told her. I hadn’t told her yet. “I can’t!”
“Eric, are you really going to try to a take a trip to impossible with me? I am a smorgasbord of supernatural powers. You and Pam are daywalkers, if I can bring 2 vampires back to life for days then why would it be a leap to think I could wake up your DNA? I don’t know how, but it seems that it is possible, whether I’m ready for it or not.”
Vampire don’t procreate…
If it were possible I’d have thousands of offspring all over the fucking planet. Hundreds in Shreveport alone.
But she’s not lying…
This can’t be true, but she’s hurt that I don’t trust her…
She asked me… to… to… end her…
She’s a fighter. She’s been a warrior when no one expected her to be. She risked her life to save me. She’s fought her way through things that normal people would have hidden from, yet she’d rather die than have me doubt her.
I shouldn’t have pushed. I should have waited. I…
Sookie lifted my other arm, putting my hand on her shoulder and wrapping her arms around my ribs. She laid he head on my chest and I felt her pain, her sadness… her fight was gone.
She was giving up.
A sudden rush of images crossed my mind. Our patio. Sookie, Pam, Alcide and I. All easily recognizable. The mystery was the two… Manen? Hunter? This is years ahead and they’re beautiful. Perfect. And two little angels that look just like Sookie, chasing after Alcide- all becoming wolves. Just as young as Manen is now. Incredible power. The eight of us together, still as a family. Still caring for the children as one parent. Nurturing their powers as Sookie’s family should have for her. Manen and I took to the sky to watch over… Erika and Dagny. Faultless. Glorious and over too soon.
Sookie looked up at me, waiting for me to respond, but there was nothing I could say that could tell her what I was feeling, or how sorry I was.
“Eric, I’m sorry. I had no idea. If… I… I never meant to…”
I shushed her and tried to say something, anything. “Sookie, I don’t know what to say. I never expected…” I pulled her to me, unable to find words to dignify the moment. “How did you know?”
“Intuition I guess. When you told me what your mother and wives went through, it rang a bell. Our conversation last night darned a lot of holes for me.”
“But you didn’t say anything.”
“Neither did you. You weren’t ready. We’re going to spend hundreds of years together. Would you have ever told me?” After what I just put her through, I was surprised that she’d speak of a future with me.
“I hadn’t thought of being Were in years. I never spoke to anyone about it. I’m not even sure if my maker knew… My father would be ecstatic over this. All he cared about was breeding.”
“Well then, I’m happy to hear Tijs would approve, but Fijtje and Oma would be happy for you.”
More names, details… “Where did you get those names?”
She gave me a proud smile. “From what I saw earlier.”
“What did you see?”
She giggled at me. “That based on naming traditions back then… you’re really lucky that your grandfather lived until the week after you were named. Otherwise you’d have had a hard time contemporizing ‘Leendert’. Arie was a lot easier, I suppose.”
I shoved her face into my chest to quiet her. If Pam ever heard that name, I’d never hear the end of it. “I hated that name. My family had come from Friesland to Sweden only a couple of generations before, but they held onto the old names.” When she started laughing, I set her loose so that I could wash my face again. “Do you want to wait to tell everyone?”
She smiled at me. “I want to wait until after the wedding, if you don’t mind. Except for those two.”
“Should we tell them now?”
“We already did. They’ve been snooping since ‘not possible!’.” She slapped the door delivering a shock to the two spies on the other side of the door.
Pam was in good spirits when the door opened and immediately accosted Sookie about throwing the ‘baby shower’. She’d actually researched them in the hopes of one of the waitresses would get pregnant.
I was rolling my eyes at her as Sookie and I put ourselves back in bed.
Sookie snickered at her and stretched out to give her a kiss. “Of course you can’t, Mummy. Mother’s don’t throw their own showers.”
I watched over Sookie’s shoulder as Pam froze and the tears built up in her eyes. She was off the bed like she was shot from a cannon to hide in the bathroom.
Part of me, only a small part surprisingly, wanted to be selfish, but I’d seen for myself how things are (rather, will be). How happy the four children are to have four parents. Four living (mostly), happy, sane parents.
Even I understood that a child can’t be loved too much.
What had Sookie done to me?