Into the night, desperate and broken, the sound of a fight, father has spoken.
We were the kings and queens of promise; we were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser god, between heaven and hell.
Into your eyes, hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives, through blood and pain
In defence of our dreams, in defence of our dreams
We were the kings and queens of promise; we were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser god, between heaven and hell.
The age of man is over, darkness comes at dawn
These lessons that we’ve learned here, have only just begun
We were the kings and queens of promise; we were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser god, between heaven and hell.
~ Kings and Queens, 30 Seconds To Mars
I barely waited for the door to our chambers to close before I let fly, “Sookie,” I hissed, “have you lost your mind? Me? Mentor a vampire? One I barely know? One I did not choose for myself?” I could see her lips trembling as her tears threatened to fall, but they were not going to dissuade me this time. She could cry. Sookie needed to learn a lesson about relationships, about how vital communication was to them.
“I…I…I’m sorry Eric! I don’t know,” she began, but I interrupted her teary apology before she could get going and go off on a tangent, as she so often seemed to do.
“You do know Sookie,” I snapped back, trying not to raise my voice. “You want what Ata has. You see how happy she and her boys are, and you want that for yourself. You want a large family of people who like you for you, who will treat you as you deserve to be treated, and I have no argument with that. What I find fault with is you volunteering me to mentor the young vampire instead of talking it over with me first and letting me decide for myself if it is something I want as well.” Confusion crossed Sookie’s face but I carried on.
“As you have not so gently pointed out to me many times since we met, a relationship is not one sided, it is about compromise, it is give and take, it is making decisions TOGETHER, not separately. Why is it I must consult you when a decision needs to be made, yet you, you…” My temper was getting the best of me so I turned and stalked to the window, taking a minute to calm down before I did something I would later regret.
I could smell Sookie’s tears and feel her turmoil through our bond, but I wasn’t sure she felt bad for the correct reasons. Sookie took a step towards me and I warned her with a growl, but she kept coming. I rounded on her and saw the surprise in her stance. “Sookie,” I growled, “You are the one who throws around words such as high-handed when I do things without discussing them with you first. I am calling you high-handed for the very same thing. When you learned it was I who bought your house and fixed it up, you didn’t thank me or even take the time to appreciate the time and work put into the restoration: You called me high-handed instead and tried to rescind my invitation
“At every turn, when I try to do something nice for you, to show you that I care, to show you that I want to take care of you, you throw it back at me and make me wonder what I could have been thinking of. Doing something nice for a human? Hah!” I stalked out of the room and took the elevator to the ground floor. A quick flight around the hotel would help me cool off a little bit before I was forced to remain inside for the day. I could feel how distraught Sookie was, but I knew she was safe and with people who would keep her safe until I returned.
I launched into the night sky, higher and higher until those on the ground looked like ants and I hovered there for a few minutes, letting the cooler air soothe my temper before I slowly started to descend. I landed where the porte cochére had been and quickly made my way back to the penthouse.
Sookie’s feelings had been gnawing at me since I left the room, but I’d been studiously ignoring them, instead concentrating on the stars and cloud formations, so I could return to my Sookie and hopefully have a civil conversation with her instead of a shouting match where neither of us is heard. I was surprised, though, when she called my name and ran towards me once the elevator doors opened: I just managed to catch her as she jumped into my arms before the doors shut behind me.
“Eric!” she clung to me like I’d been gone for a month instead of 15 minutes. Stroking her back, I carried her back to our chambers, not wanting to air our dirty laundry in front of everyone. “Where were you? I was so afraid you’d left for good.” She sniffed as I put her down, kicking the door closed behind me.
“No, Sookie. I have no plans to leave you, but I did need time to cool off before I said or did something I would later regret, so I went for a quick flight to cool down.”
Her voice was still shaky as fresh tears spilt from her already bloodshot eyes, “Eric, please, please promise me that when you need to leave you’ll tell me? I’ve lost so many people, been made fun of all my life because of this,” she pointed at her temple, “this curse,” she spat out. “I couldn’t stand it if you left me too. Losing you would absolutely break me. I don’t think I would ever recover.”
Of course, my departure had frightened her, all she’d ever known was people leaving her, mainly because she was different. I would never leave her, though. Not intentionally. Though there was space between us now, I opened my arms to her, and she melted into my touch. “I promise you Sookie, I will tell you when I need to calm down,” I said into her hair.
She looked up at me with a teary smile and pecked my cheek as she turned in my arms and snuggled back into me for a moment before leaving my embrace and going to the closet. I watched in the mirror, and as soon as she saw me, I stripped down and got into bed, making sure to exaggeratedly sway my hips.
Sookie’s face went bright red when she turned to face me with her pyjamas in her hand, causing me to laugh, “it’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before min kära,” I said with a smile.
She shook her head as she headed for the bathroom, “I know Eric, but still…” she said as she closed the bathroom door behind her.
Her response amused me and I found myself chuckling. “But still, what, Sookie? Do you think you were born wearing a robe and slippers?”
Her silence was answer enough, I decided, to make it one of my daily goals to remind her of this moment. In private of course, since it wouldn’t do to advertise her shortcomings to one and all.
“No Eric,” she mocked as she opened the bathroom door. “I don’t think I was born in a robe and slippers. I do, however, have some modesty and prefer not to see others in their birthday suits! Thank you very much!” She huffed as she threw back the covers, got into bed and curled up against my side, flicking the lights off as she went.
We were quiet for a moment, the silence enabling me to reflect on our earlier disagreement. Sookie would need to toughen up a little, to not cry every time she didn’t get her way. It was not weak to cry when the moment called for it, but Sookie didn’t seem to understand that. “Eric,” she said as she relaxed against me.
“Hmmmmm?” I hummed, playing with her hair. It had been a habit I had developed as a small boy, often playing with my mother’s hair. Sookie’s hair was softer than my mothers had been, lighter too.
“I really am sorry for volunteering you without asking first. It was high-handed of me, you were right. I’ll try to talk to you about things before I volunteer you to do something from now on,” She vowed, raising a hand to cover her mouth as she yawned. The events of the day had caught up to her.
Knowing it would do no good to try and continue the conversation with her so tired, and feeling her sincerity through our bond, I changed the subject. “Aren’t you cute, all cuddled up next to your vampire?” I said with a smile. I felt her fingers splay across my stomach, blunt nails dragged lightly across my skin in an ever so tempting manner. I shuddered. This woman would be the death of me.
She looked up at me from where she had laid her head on my chest, her eyes finding mine even in the darkness, “Not really,” she sassed through another yawn. I laughed quietly, unable to stop myself. Soon after, her heart rate and breathing evened out as she fell asleep, just before dawn took me for another day.
I rose to an unfamiliar sensation, although the scent was more familiar to me than my own. My Sookie had decided to give me a most worthy wake up call.
I smiled as I felt what her tongue and lips were doing to my member. A puff of breath escaped me at the unexpected sensation of her squeezing and rolling my balls in her hand. “Mmmmm,” I growled. “Sookie.” The sensations she was giving me were unlike any I had experienced for many centuries, and I thoroughly enjoyed them, right up to the point where she pulled my orgasm from me.
I smiled as I pulled her up my body, settling her weight against me. “Mmmmm, Sookie,” I purred, “You can wake me like that anytime you like.”
Blushing, she pulled the sheet up over us. “I’m glad you liked it.”
I shook my head, grin widening as I wrapped my arms around her, holding her close. “I didn’t just like it, min kära. I loved it. Now, I believe you wanted to have a talk last night, but my anger got the better of me. Why don’t we do that now, before we go and meet up with the others?”
Sookie nodded and rolled off me, sitting up a little and leaning back against the headboard. The seriousness of her actions did not escape me.
The moment Sookie had told me that wished to talk to me, I had assumed the worst, but it had been foolish of me. My Sookie had surprised me with her openness, with her curiosity. I had known all along that she would have questions for me and I had no problem with answering anything she asked. My confessions about wanting to live with her, wanting to marry her, had been thoughts I’d locked away for a long time, but finally voicing them and witnessing how much Sookie had grown had been enlightening. Knowing that when all of this was over, and we were no longer running from anyone, we would be moving in together was a blessing. Knowing, too, that I would finally get to put my ring on Sookie’s finger almost had me giddy with excitement. Never had I wanted to tie myself to someone so much.
My love thought I was a romantic? The knowledge that I surpassed Compton stroked my ego. Then again, I surpass all but my Maker in all things.
For some reason, she took offence when I laughed after her little confession. She didn’t understand why I was laughing, she thought I was laughing at her when I wasn’t, I was simply happy: For the first time in centuries, I was totally, unabashedly happy.
And now she’s correcting me on semantics? Apparently. Sookie doesn’t think of me as a vampire, which is surprising since that is one of the things about our relationship that is as unchanging as the tides. I am a vampire now and will be one until the end of my days.
“I know you are one, and I love you for it, and would never change what you are, but to me, you’re more man than a vampire. You have feelings, even if you don’t like to show them and you always do the right thing, even if it means putting yourself in danger. You didn’t have to walk out into the sunshine and silver yourself to Russell, you didn’t have to die out there with him and yet you were willing to do so, not only to rid the world of him, but also to stop him from getting to me. It wasn’t your place to save everyone else, yet you did so because you have a good heart. During the day, to me, you’re sleeping. I don’t think of you as ‘dead for the day’, and you most certainly don’t look it. When you’re sleeping, all the worry lines around your eyes and mouth are gone, your bangs fall into your face and you look so peaceful. Seeing you in your day sleep when I wake is the best start to my day. You think the best of me all the time, even when I’ve done something wrong, and I will always think the very best of you,” she told me and pushed the love she felt for me through our bond.
There was only one thing I could do about such an admission, and I did it: I leant over and gave my beloved a passionate kiss, which she returned wholeheartedly. She had endless surprises for me. Not only did she think of me as a man, but she also embraced my vampireness as fiercely as she defended those she loved. Just as I was about to let my hands roam, to try and repay her for her glorious wake-up call, she surprised me. Her tongue pushed up behind my front teeth, forcing me to drop fang.
“There they are,” she cooed, pulling back from our kiss. I offered her a fangy smile and she leant forward, pressing soft kisses to each sharp point. I shuddered, pleasure coursing through me, drawing a groan from me.
Retracting my fangs, I let her continue with her questioning. Sookie was full of questions, and I vowed that I would tell her the truth, but why did she want to know about the Longshadow incident? It was curiosity, plain and simple, hers and mine. I had never met a telepath before and was curious about how her gift worked.
I cringed when she asked me about the discussion Bill and I had after he staked Longshadow. I knew my confession would anger Sookie, but not telling her was not an option. I was correct. She did get angry. My little spitfire…
I learned one very important lesson: angry sex can be some of the best sex around if you are with the right person. And it can lead to other, more intimate but just as intense things.
Sookie was tired; I could feel it through our bond. After several rounds of lovemaking, I turned us over at a human pace, letting her rest her head against my chest my arms holding her to me. This little faery, with her fiery nature and sass…
“I love you,” I spoke softly, giving her hip a gentle squeeze, not wanting to disturb her too much as she teetered towards sleep.
“I love you too,” she dropped a kiss to my chest as I sighed in contentment. Never before had I been so comfortable with another outside of my bloodline.
“Rest for a while, lover. We aren’t in any hurry,” I soothed, playing with her hair. Happy, and wanting my love to rest, I started to hum an old song my mother had sung to my sister when she had been a child. Sookie’s eyes closed, her heartbeat slowing and her breath evened out.
Content to stay where I was, I closed my own eyes, letting myself savour having Sookie so close. I lost track of time, but a small knock at the bedroom door captured my attention. I could hear a heartbeat outside, the rhythm familiar.
“I’m afraid I tired her out.” I threw out the thought, focusing on the heartbeat beyond the door. I still wasn’t entirely sure how Ata’s telepathy worked.
“We have much to go over this evening, and we’re having guests later. I need her awake.” Ata sounded insistent, and I could just imagine her stomping her foot.
Restraining my laughter, as I didn’t want to disturb Sookie, I shook my head. “Sorry, Ata. Sookie needs her rest, Viking’s orders. I would also like some rest. Don’t you have your own vampire you can go and harass?” I teased. I felt, more than heard, Ata huffing. Who knew you could mentally send someone a huff? Fae telepathy was a wholly fascinating thing.
“Fine, but you better join us within the hour,” Ata offered a compromise before I heard her heartbeat move further and further away until I could no longer hear her in the hallway.
Content to stay where I was, I slipped into downtime, while still remaining conscious of the time.
Sookie stirred thirty minutes later, her arms tightening around me before she exhaled loudly, her warm breath fanning across my chest. Her heartbeat picked up a little as she woke. “Hey,” she spoke softly, tipping her head back to look up at me. “How long was I out for?”
Stroking her hair, I enjoyed the way she blinked sleepily. “Thirty minutes or so, min kära. Ata stopped by just after you fell asleep and mentioned that we have much to discuss this evening. It’s a shame, though, I was hoping for another round…” I leered and enjoyed the way Sookie blushed.
“Insatiable!” Sookie scolded, dropping a kiss to my chest before she pulled away, leaving the bed to change.
I watched as she moved around the room before I stretched, pulling myself from the bed. Needs must.
“Do you have your phone by any chance?” she asked from out of the blue, pivoting on the spot to watch me as I made my way to the wardrobe, and pulled on a fresh pair of silk boxers.
“Yes, why do you ask?” I answered, pulling on a pair of my trademark black jeans and a grey t-shirt.
“Well, I just realised that I haven’t contacted Jason or Tara or Sam, or anyone back in Bon Temps for that matter. They’re probably worried about me and since I don’t have a phone they don’t know how to get in touch with me,” Sookie explained.
With a grin, I moved to the bedside drawer, removing my phone and handing it over. “Call your brother, tell him you’re okay and that you’re with me. Don’t mention where we are, though, or when we’ll be back. Oh, and don’t mention that Godric is with us, or that it turns out you have another cousin. The less your brother knows the better,” I informed her, not wanting anyone to know our exact location. My phone was untraceable, so there was no way anyone could get to us that way.
“I understand not telling him where we are, but why not mention Godric and Ata?” Sookie frowned, hitting the home button on my iPhone so that the screen would light up. The moment her eyes hit the image set as my wallpaper she gasped, “ERIC! NO!” She looked up at me with wide eyes, her embarrassment flooding the bond.
Chuckling lightly at her human morals, I shrugged my shoulders, looking over to the screen of my phone to a photo of a very naked Sookie lying across her bed. She was on her front; the sheets down around her beautiful butt, exposing the vast expanse of creamy skin on her back. There was even a tasteful amount of side-boob on show, much to my delight. Her golden hair covered part of her back and her features were all soft and relaxed.
“My phone never leaves my sight, lover. No one else has seen it so don’t worry,” I replied with a boyish grin as I grabbed a pair of socks from one of the drawers and pulled them on.
“How many other photos are there?” She demanded as she slid her finger across the screen, unlocking it before finding the ‘Phone’ application and starting to type in her brother’s number.
“A few, but you won’t find them. I’ve hidden them, another measure to make sure no one will ever find them.” I gave her a playful wink, her mortified expression making me chuckle.
Sookie pushed the call button and raised my phone to her ear, seating herself on the edge of the bed to make her call. Grabbing a comb, I moved into the bathroom, leaving the door open to hear both sides of their conversation. Jason picked up on the third ring.
“Sook!? Sook, where the hell are you? You just bailed on us here again! Andy ain’t even opening another case file for ya, says you can deal with it yourself! You’ve had us mad worried!”
I rolled my eyes at the mention of the Bon Temps police; it wasn’t like they had that much power anyway, especially not in comparison to myself. Running the comb through my hair, I started to work it into its usual style.
“I can’t say where I am Jase, the more you know the more in danger you are, but I’m safe. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Andy and his cases, so you can tell him I’m fine and in no need of his ‘assistance’ or whatever,” Sookie practically growled, causing me to remember the night she had returned from Faery. Although Bill had ordered me to leave, I’d stayed and watched from a distance as the police officer had ranted at Sookie on the porch.
“Alright Sook, I’m trusting you here, but why would it put me in danger? Who’s after you? Who’s with you? You better not be alone! Whose phone ya callin’ from?” Her brother’s questions were insistent, and although they annoyed me, in the sense that he was asking Sookie so many questions that she was starting to become flustered, it also soothed me to know that her brother worried and cared for her. The year she had been gone he had come to me a few times, bringing me blood, sharing stories with me, helping me pick out pieces for her home. She was right when she said he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box, that had been an understatement, but he was a good man and he cared for his little sister. In my eyes, that was an admirable trait. I’d told him not to tell Sookie, should he see her upon her return before me, that I had bought her house. Judging by her surprise when I had appeared in her bedroom and witnessed her naked, he’d kept his promise.
“Let’s just say that, as usual, some crazy vampire is after me and wants me for himself. I can’t tell you who and I’m sorry, Jase, but it’s for your own good. I’m with Eric, this is his phone, and he’s taking care of me.”
I could hear Jason snort down the phone at the mention of me keeping her safe. “Yeah, I bet he is.” I heard him mutter and I had to stop myself from laughing at how quickly her brother had turned an innocent statement into a sexual comment. He was almost as good as me.
“Jason Stackhouse!” Sookie scolded. I could feel her embarrassment, mixed with a tinge of amusement, through our bond. During Sookie’s year in Faery, Jason and I had come to an understanding and I got the feeling that he respected me now, that he’d removed all of his previous judgments about me. I had to say that the feeling was mutual. Jason had proved himself a decent brother to Sookie, and a decent man overall.
“Sorry Sook. If tall, blonde and dead is listening in, then I guess I’ll say now that I’ll stake his ass if you get hurt.” Her brother threatened me. I didn’t take his threat to heart. I’d once had a little sister and I’d been fiercely protective of her. Unfortunately, her life was taken before she ever had the chance to find a partner: I would have loved nothing more than to question and threaten her boyfriends, to make sure they would treat her right.
Leaving the bathroom, I vamped beside Sookie, taking the phone from her. “I never knew you were so kinky, Stackhouse,” I purred, teasing the blonde human male.
“Hey man, there’s a lot you don’t know,” he fired back, and I couldn’t help but smile. “I’m being serious, though, you take care of her for me, bring her back in one piece when she’s safe, please? She’s all I’ve got left,” Jason asked, and I found myself nodding, although of course, he wouldn’t see it.
“I will, I promise it. I’ll return her back to you safely. I don’t know when we’ll be back, but we’ll keep you updated. Tell Tara and Sam that Sookie is safe, will you? They need to know that she’s okay so that they don’t worry and do something stupid. If anyone comes knocking during the night, speak to them through the door first, the last thing we need is for some vampire to get hold of you to draw us out,” I warned, wanting him to understand the seriousness of the situation.
He seemed to grasp it quickly. “Whoever it is, they’re older than you, aren’t they? It’ll be harder for you to take them down?”
Sighing quietly, I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Yes, to both of those questions.” I felt Sookie rubbing my thigh, pushing love through our bond.
“I trust you to keep her safe, I trust you to stay safe too. I know I’ve done some stupid shit in my time regarding your kind, heck I even joined the Fellowship, but Sook cares for ya and she’d be a mess if something were to happen to ya,” her brother told me in a low voice. Had I just earned her brother’s approval? That would make any future questions regarding Sookie’s hand in marriage easier.
“I won’t let you down. Sookie wants to speak with you.” I didn’t wait for his response, handing the phone back to my beloved. The last thing I needed was to get sappy with my beloved’s brother. He’d seen my devotion to her during her year of absence; he didn’t need to hear it.
I passed the phone back to Sookie, who eagerly pressed it to her ear. “I have to go Jase, but I love you and I promise to stay safe. Please keep yourself out of trouble,” she begged.
“I promise Sook, you go do what ya gotta do. I love you too.” And with that, they hung up. Sookie slipped my phone into my front pocket, rising to her feet.
“I need to finish getting ready. I’ll meet you in the living room.” She rose to her tiptoes, pressing a chaste kiss to my lips before she entered the bathroom, gently closing the door behind her.
Leaving the room, I could sense Godric and Ata’s presence in the living area. My bond with my Maker had been closed down a fair amount since we had gone to rest last night, but the feelings seeping through it gave me some indication as to what he was currently up to.
My vampire hearing picked up on the sounds coming from the living room. The door to the living room was ajar, the sounds increasing as I approached. Pausing at the door, I peeked through the gap.
My Maker was sitting on the sofa with Ata on his lap, facing him with her knees either side of him. The bottom of her pastel coloured sundress had been lifted up, my Maker’s hands planted firmly on her naked butt, providing her with leverage as she rocked. Godric’s hips snapped upwards, and with a loud moan, Ata’s head tipped back, exposing her throat. “Cridio, please, more,” she whimpered, one hand resting against the tattoo peeking out of the collar of Godric’s shirt, while the other tangled in his short hair, pulling him in for a kiss. Another thrust had Ata panting, and I watched as my Maker pulled back from their kiss, hands leaving her butt to cup her exposed breasts, the strap of her dress having been pulled down. I felt no shame in watching my Maker and his mate. If anything, I was relieved to see him finally enjoying sex after his centuries of self-imposed celibacy. It didn’t hurt either that his mate was beautiful, especially in her passion, holding the same ethereal quality as my Sookie.
Ata’s head fell forward, her forehead resting against Godric’s collarbone as she rolled her hips, her moans short and sharp as she careened towards her orgasm. Godric growled, one hand slipping from her breasts to play between her thighs. In the soft lighting of the living room I could see the tips of his fangs, and through our bond, I could feel him nearing completion. It was intoxicating to experience the build-up and pleasure coursing through my Maker.
Hearing the bedroom door open I brought a finger to my lips, prompting Sookie to remain silent and frown as she walked down the hallway towards me. Ata’s groans and Godric’s growls were loud enough now that even Sookie would be able to hear them. She did. Her eyes widened as she realised what was going on, a quick glance into the living room had her blushing like a nun in a brothel, hands covering her face in embarrassment. Personally, I could see no reason to be embarrassed. Such carnal pleasures were part of life.
Returning my attention to the scene in the living room, Sookie gently smacked my arm, shaking her head vehemently. I shrugged. If my Maker and his mate were going to have sex in the living room, they should expect an audience.
Ata’s lips met Godric’s once more for a passionate kiss before she pulled back, her hand in his hair tightening as her eyes slipped closed. Tipping her head sideways, she offered him her throat once more. This time, my Maker accepted her offering. Lurching forward, Godric sank his fangs into Ata’s neck. Ata howled, the combination too much as she came, her whole body shuddering. Godric snarled, snapping his hips upwards once more time before he too came, hands moving to Ata’s hips to hold her firmly in place as he fed. His lust-addled eyes met mine and I too shuddered at the intensity of the feelings coming through our bond. Sookie looked up at me, her face still flushed with her blush. Swayed by the feelings I was experiencing, I swooped down, capturing her lips in an equally passionate kiss.
I felt Sookie’s confusion before she returned my kiss, but she pulled away before I had time to deepen it. “We should’ve had another round,” I whispered hoarsely, licking my lips.
“As lovely as that sounds, we need to deal with…well…this.” She made a vague gesture towards the living room.
Smirking, I stood at my full height, giving the living room door a gentle shove to open it fully. Pulling Sookie into my side, I waited for my Maker and his mate to finish. Sookie buried her face in my side, her embarrassment endearing.
Ata’s posture relaxed and she slumped against my Maker, his pulls slowing before he sealed the wounds he’d made. Cupping her face with his hands he pressed a chaste kiss to her lips, their foreheads resting together as Ata tried to control her breathing.
“You know, when I told you to go and harass him I didn’t have this in mind.” I grinned, enjoying the way Ata shrieked at my sudden announcement of our presence. Plastering herself to the front of my Maker, a hand went to hide her breasts, while the other scrambled to pull down her dress, to hide her exposed body.
“Guess it got lost in translation?” Ata grinned, batting her eyelashes as she recovered from her freak out.
“Ah, so I have you to thank for the wonderful blowjob I was surprised with earlier, my Childe,” Godric grinned, his hands moving to play with Ata’s hair affectionately.
“I didn’t need to know that,” Sookie groaned, her face still buried in my side.
Godric pulled Ata’s dress down a little more, further covering her exposed butt. At a lazy pace, he helped her fix the top of her dress, covering her breasts. Ata fussed, embarrassed. “How long were you standing there anyway?” She demanded, her body finally covered.
“Three minutes and twenty-seven seconds.” I teased as Sookie removed her head from my side, finally looking at her cousin.
Ata’s retort was quick yet held no malice. “Creep.”
“Says the woman riding my Maker in the middle of the living room, knowing full well that several others are home,” I pointed out, not at all offended by her words. Some would see my actions as a little creepy, but Ata had to have known that she ran the risk of someone walking in on them. Perhaps she was a bit of an exhibitionist. It would worth exploring if Sookie was too…
Shrugging, Ata gingerly lifted herself up, her dress hiding my Maker’s lap. “I live by the motto ‘take what you can when you can.’” she grinned.
“I feel so loved right now, Carissimus,” Godric teased.
He was in no rush to move, his contentment flowing through our bond. Ata gave him a pointed look. “Cridio…” she murmured, chin dipping down to gesture towards their lower bodies.
The two were locked in a silent conversation for a moment before Godric smiled lazily, his hands disappearing under her dress to tuck himself back into his pants. After the sound of his zipper, Ata stood, her dress falling to hide her nude lower half.
Godric rummaged amongst the scattered throw pillows, producing Ata’s discarded red panties. He offered them out to her. My Maker’s mate took them and leant forward to put them on. Godric shifted on the sofa, watching her every move.
The elevator dinged suddenly. Ata stood quickly, pulling her panties up into place and adjusting her dress. “You’re fine,” Sookie assured her, her face still red from what she’d witnessed. A light blush had crossed Ata’s face by this point too.
The elevator doors opened and a curvy woman came bustling out, her handbag in one hand and her coat thrown over her other arm.
“Felicia, I thought you only worked during in the day?” Sookie exclaimed, grinning at the woman who turned to look at my lover, a large smile on her features.
“Miss Sookie, you’re awake! Miss Ata asked me to come back this evening and cook some dinner for the pair of you, she told me you’d had a long night and would be in need of some strength food!” The curvy woman, who I now knew as Felicia, smiled at both fae women.
“Good evening Miss Ata,” She greeted Ata, placing her handbag and coat down on one of the sofas.
“Good evening, Felicia. Did you have a good afternoon?” Ata asked, moving from the living room to follow Felicia to the kitchen.
“Oh yes thank you! I went to that little store you recommended and got some lovely face cream. Hopefully, it’ll keep my wrinkles under control!” Felicia laughed, pulling out pans from the cupboard.
“Wrinkles are the sign of a life well-lived,” my Maker commented with a smile, rising from his spot on the sofa to join Ata in the kitchen.
“You are too kind Mr. Godric.” Felicia grabbed some ingredients from the fridge and started to prepare a meal.
“Where are the boys?” Sookie asked, frowning slightly as she looked around the room in search of the six men who lived in the penthouse
“Up in the practice room, preparing the space for my training session,” Ata responded, grabbing a handful of pomegranates from a bowl Felicia had set out. The cook swatted playfully at Ata’s hand as she stole some food.
“Training session?” My Maker questioned, brushing a loose strand of Ata’s hair behind her ear before he leant in, stealing a kiss.
“Hm, they don’t taste bad,” he commented, stealing a pomegranate from her to look at it more closely.
Ata stretched, bones clicking, as she ate some more of her pomegranate. “Yeah, my training sessions help me stay nimble.”
Godric smirked. “I’d say you’re nimble enough, Carissimus.”
Ata nearly choked on the last pomegranate, coughing loudly, her eyes watering.
“Careful now, can’t have you choking twice in one night,” Godric continued to tease, though he gently thumped on Ata’s back to help ease her suffering.
Mortified, Ata blushed. Felicia seemed none the wiser, setting down a glass of water. “Fuck you,” Ata cussed out Godric quietly, taking a few gulps of water.
My Maker at least had the decency to wait until she’d finished drinking before he quipped back “You already have.”
Ata’s blush deepened and she shook her head, though she smiled as she did so. I could feel Sookie’s amusement through our bond, tinged with embarrassment at having overheard such an innuendo-heavy conversation.
“Training room,” Ata decided, leading us to the bookcase that led up to the second floor of the penthouse.
The sound of fast-paced music greeted my ears as Ata pushed the door open to reveal the large training room, illuminated by long strip lights, the lighting bouncing off of the wall of mirrors to increase the brightness of the room. I had to squint a little to allow my eyes a moment to adjust.
That moment was all I had before Ata had thrown an arm in front of us, pushing us behind her just as a knife flew past, embedding itself in the wall. Sookie shrieked, grabbing my arm. Her fear coursed through our bond. Ata was off like a shot, joining her boys in the middle of the room, leaving Godric, Sookie, and I standing in the doorway.
Ari, Khai, Egor and Agmund had their fangs down and were attacking Ata from each side, using their vampire speed to their advantage as they swiped at her, occasionally trying to bite her, trying to throw in a few punches and kicks. If I hadn’t been forewarned that they were training up here, it would have looked like a real fight. I could feel Godric’s turmoil, but Sookie calmed and led us over to a bench at the side of the room. “She says we should sit here while they train,” she explained, tapping the side of her head as we took our seats.
Oscar and Pam were already sitting on the bench, and my Childe offered me a warm smile as I sat beside her. She gave me a nudge, pushing her love through our bond. I returned it happily, bringing her close to press a kiss to her temple. “Good evening, my Childe.”
Pam hummed her greeting and we returned our attention to the scene before us.
Ata was fending off her boys easily, using her fae powers to deflect any oncoming attack. I was impressed, and through the bonds I had with the others in the room, I sensed that they too were impressed with Ata’s power and speed. Of course, vampire vision enabled Pam, Godric and me to see exactly what was going on, while to Sookie the whole scene looked like one big blur.
Ari was at Ata’s side promptly, fangs down, throwing his fist at her jaw. With super speed Ata had hold of his hand, twisting it until the bone cracked before sending him flying backwards. Rather than hitting the wall, he threw down his good hand, slowing himself so he skidded neatly along the floor, jumping back to his feet a moment later. In the meantime, Khai had approached Ata from behind at vampire speed, his own fangs glistening in the artificial light as he grabbed her head, tipping it sideways. Seconds before he sank his fangs in, Ata’s heel came up in his crotch causing him to double over. Grabbing him she flung him effortlessly over her shoulder, sending him skidding into Ari, both male vampires collapsing on the floor together in a heap.
A flash of metal caught my attention as Egor brought a broadsword down towards Ata. One moment she was there and the next she was gone. I could feel the shock from all of those I shared a bond with as we looked around for the Egyptian faery. Suddenly she appeared behind Egor, throwing her hand against his back. “BOOM. Goo,” she stated, calling Egor out before twisting her body seconds later as Agmund had crept up on her, trying to catch her off guard with his own broadsword. The blade clipped her arm as she tried to move out of its way and opened up a gash along the length of her forearm.
Howling out in pain, I could see Ata falter for a second before she popped away from Agmund to the other side of the room. As the blade clipped Ata, Riei and Oeri were at our sides, both with arms out in front of Godric to stop him from rushing to Ata’s aid. I could feel his anger through our bond, but I could also feel that he was taking some of the pain from Ata so that she would be able to carry on. I felt like I should be holding him back too, but unfortunately, he had 1000 years on me and could command me to let him go should he so wish.
The scent of Ata’s blood filled the air, and before any of us had time to stop ourselves our fangs were down, heads tipped back as we inhaled the sweet scent. It took a firm hand on Pam’s wrist to keep her from dashing to Ata to lap up her blood, which was running down her arm. Although Oscar looked strained, he was managing to stay firmly in place, having far more control than my progeny, who had more than 100 years on him. Ari and Khai were back on their feet as Ata backed away, the three remaining vampires stalking towards her in a taunting manner. Raising her good arm, she aimed at Ari and before he had time to react she had fired a mixture of gold and white light at him, sending him flying into the back wall, knocking him unconscious. Khai quickly received the same treatment, meeting his brother up against the wall.
Agmund sped towards Ata, broadsword raised in an attacking position. However, before he reached her, Ata started to shimmer and seconds later there were several versions of her scattered throughout the room, causing Agmund to skid to a stop. “That’s not fair, Ata!” he growled out, casting his eyes around the room at each illusion, all of which gave him a smug smile.
“You should know by now that I never play fair,” Ata’s singsong voice rang out around the room, though it was impossible to pinpoint the exchange point of origin. I couldn’t help but be fascinated with the fact that she could not only teleport around the room but also cast illusions. My memory reminded me of the night when Sookie had asked about Ata’s powers and she had listed the long array of skills the fae had. The thought that Sookie would be able to teleport herself out of sticky situations comforted me.
The blood from Ata’s wound had slowed by now, and with a blast of light from one illusion, which gave away that it was, in fact, the real Ata, Agmund’s sword was sent flying against the far wall, embedding itself blade first. “Hand-to-hand? You’re brave.” Agmund taunted as all the illusions disappeared, leaving only the real Ata behind.
“Come on then,” she demanded, gesturing with the hand on her good arm for Agmund to come after her. My fellow Viking wasted no time in racing towards her, throwing the first punch which Ata easily deflected, capturing his fist in her small hand where she crushed it, the sounds of his bones cracking were rather unpleasant and his howl of pain was no better. Where she had managed to get such power from was completely unknown to me, yet I assumed it was due to her advanced age and the vast amounts of ancient vampire blood swirling around her system. Using his other hand, Agmund took a precision shot at Ata, his fist connecting with her side, causing her to hiss in pain as her ribs creaked before she slipped from his grasp. The pair battled on for a solid five minutes and it took both Riei and Oeri to restrain Godric from rushing to Ata’s side. I even found myself wanting to dash to her side every now and then, but Sookie was keeping me in place. I could feel her horror and a tinge of awe underneath it through our bond as she watched Agmund and Ata punching and blocking, kicking and scratching, throwing one another around the room like rag dolls. Eventually, Ata managed to slam her hand into Agmund’s chest. “BOOM. Goo.” She stated proudly, raising said hand to her face to wipe away the blood trickling down from her newly broken nose.
Slowly she sank to the floor opposite Agmund, laughing quietly. “It’s been some time since we’ve done that,” she stated, as Ari, Khai and Egor moved to join them on the floor. All four vampires and the Egyptian faery were well and truly battered.
“You haven’t lost your edge, Amisi,” Agmund commented, pushing the bones in his fingers back into place as Ari twirled his wrist, slipping the bones back together as they healed.
The moment Riei and Oeri removed their restraining hands from Godric he was off like a whippet, racing to Ata and scooping her up in his arms before vamping with her to a corner of the room where he sat down with Ata resting on his lap as he gently grabbed her arm, licking the wound from Agmund’s broadsword in order to heal it. “Stop it will you, I’m fine,” Ata protested, trying to wiggle her way out of Godric’s grasp. His hold on her tightened and a low warning growl reverberated from his throat. “This is how I train, I’m fine,” she reiterated, as my Maker finished healing her cut. Soon he was licking the blood from her face and the moment she was clean he bit into his wrist, his fangs still exposed from the scent of her blood earlier, and he was forcefully pushing his wrist to her mouth. “I’m fine, it’s just a few bruises and dislocations!” Ata argued but my Maker was having none of it.
“You are hurt, take my blood, now,” he ordered in a no nonsense tone. Ata’s heavy sigh informed all of us that she wanted to argue but knew it would be fruitless, so grudgingly she pulled his wrist to her mouth and latched on, taking lazy pulls. Godric’s eyes wandered over her body, ascertaining any other damage to her. After only a few mouthfuls she pulled away, his wound sealing itself. The faint bruises that had been appearing on her skin were gone and her nose looked perfectly fine now, not to mention the gash on her arm was missing.
“See, all good. Let me go back to the group, I need to tend to my boys,” Ata ordered in response, folding her arms across her chest. My Maker’s face was stony but he lifted her up, carrying her back over to the group where he sat down, bringing Ata with him so she rested on his lap. During their little exchange, I, too, had taken a seat on the floor with Sookie resting in my lap and Pam at my side. Oscar, Riei and Oeri had joined us on the floor, and both Oeri and Riei had opened up their wrists, offering them to Ari, Khai, Egor and Agmund in order to aid their healing.
Seeing her boys feeding on one another, Ata held her right wrist out to Ari, who removed his fangs from Riei before sinking them gently into Ata’s wrist. A deep growl from Godric had Ari looking up at his Maker’s mate wearily. “Ignore him, you need to feed my Childe,” Ata cooed, brushing Ari’s hair back from his face as she dropped a motherly kiss to his forehead. I found it a strange sight, watching as a little faery/human hybrid nourished her vampire progeny, but then again, the family I had recently gained was an eclectic bunch anyway.
We sat in silence as the vampires who had been training with Ata healed, and finally, they were all licking their lips, sealing the wounds on the wrists of those they had fed from. Ari spent extra time tending to Ata’s wrist, nuzzling against her hand once her wounds were closed. She stroked his face lovingly. “Isn’t that painful!?” Sookie blurted out, finally breaking the silence.
Offering her cousin a small smile, Ata gave a shrug of her shoulders, pulling her hand back from Ari. “It was at first, but I’ve been through worse, we all have. The only way to train properly is to be hurt because the enemy isn’t going to play nice and be gentle with you. They want to kill you, so you have to be prepared for it,” she explained. I could see the logic in her words: If she trained against vampires who weren’t afraid to do damage to her, then she would have an accurate grasp on how fighting for real would be. On the other hand, she could sustain serious injuries when training, such as the broken nose and broadsword gash she received earlier. Vampire blood would heal her, though, and Ata had plenty of that on tap.
“I do not like you being hurt,” Godric stated, his voice laced with aggression and determination as if his words would stop his mate from training.
“And I don’t like the fact you’re getting all possessive and angry, but I’m not complaining about it. I train to maintain my strength and skill, or I die. I prefer life, thanks,” Ata snipped in response, rolling her blue eyes before she took in the group sitting on the floor. I could hear Godric’s low growls, but Ata gave his chest a hefty shove and he fell silent. “We will be having guests this evening, Niall and Claude are coming over. I received a letter from them this morning stating that they have important news for us,” Ata’s attention shifted to Sookie, Pam, Godric and myself. Her comment piqued my curiosity and going from all the bonds I shared, I could sense that my immediate family was curious too.
“I’m sorry for sleeping the day away, Ata,” Sookie apologised with a sheepish smile; I could feel her guilt through our bond.
Raising a perfectly shaped eyebrow, Ata wafted a hand through the air, brushing her apology aside. “It doesn’t bother me, you needed your rest. Besides, I happen to live with six men who sleep all day anyway,” she teased, giving her boys an affectionate glance.
“Did Niall and Claude give any clues as to the nature of the news they would be giving us?” I inquired, deciding to speak for the group as a whole.
With a shake of her head, Ata sighed. “No, they mentioned nothing, though they said it was important and usually if Niall claims something to be important it is. He doesn’t take that word lightly. I’m curious as to why Claude is with him, though; ever since the disruptions in Faery, he hasn’t left there. He owns a strip club in Monroe called Hooligans.” Ata pursed her lips together as if reliving some memory.
“When are they arriving?” Godric broke into the conversation, now over his little sulk, as it was apparent that Ata was feeling well and back to full health again.
“In about fifteen minutes, so I suggest Sookie and I go and eat. I have no idea how long they are going to be here, and once they’re gone we need to see about unlocking Sookie’s ability to hear vampire thoughts,” at this point she gave a pointed look to Oeri, who nodded, “and I need to go and try on the dress for tomorrow night that Riei bought for me.” She smiled at Riei who suddenly shuffled.
“You don’t have a dress for tomorrow…” he murmured, nibbling on his lower lip.
Silence. Silence lingered in the room and, even though I was over 1000 years old and found little uncomfortable these days, I really didn’t want to be in that room right then. “What do you mean I don’t have a dress for tomorrow?” Ata asked in a quiet yet authoritative tone. She was struggling to contain her anger and annoyance, and I found myself glad to not be Riei right at that moment.
“You told me you had it covered, so I didn’t pick up anything for you,” Riei stated. I could hear the honesty in his voice, but I could also hear the underlying stress. If Ata had nothing to wear for the party at Felipe’s tomorrow, then all hell would break loose. The Egyptian faery seemed the kind of girl who always got what she wanted when she wanted it.
“When I say I have it covered Riei, it means I don’t have it covered and you need to go and cover it for me!” She exclaimed. I was surprised, along with others in the room, to find no trace of anger in her voice, but instead, her words were laced with panic.
“It’s alright, we have this evening to go and find you something. You can always shop tomorrow in the day if you need too,” Ari attempted to diffuse the situation, failing miserably.
“I can’t shop tomorrow in the day! Toni is coming over at midday to start helping me get ready. Do you have any idea how long it takes for the ink he’s using to dry? Add to that the visit from the tech guys who’re going to wire me up to keep all of you in the loop and I won’t have a minute to spare! Then this evening we have Niall and Claude’s visit, coupled with the ritual to open up Sookie’s telepathy. We have no time!” She looked on the verge of tears and I swore that I could feel her stress and panic through Godric.
“Carissimus, I’ll go shopping with Pam and pick something for you while you’re helping with Sookie’s ritual,” Godric offered, taking his mate’s hands in his own and lacing their fingers together, pushing a large wave of calm through the bond, which even I could feel.
Although Ata’s body relaxed, the panic was still set in her eyes and her words. “Do you promise me?” She begged, unlacing one of their hands to offer him her pointer finger on her left hand. I frowned, unable to understand what exactly Ata was doing.
My Maker seemed to understand exactly what Ata wanted, though, and he lifted his left hand to press his pointer finger against hers. “I promise.” He vowed quietly, pulling Ata towards him to press a kiss to her forehead, their hands falling between them. Rising to her feet, Ata offered a hand down to Sookie, pulling her cousin up with her before the two girls disappeared down the staircase to the main living area. I assumed they were going to eat.
The moment they were out of earshot Godric rounded on Ata’s boys, his fangs had snapped back down and he was growling lowly at them. “I do not care if she is your Maker, you hurt her earlier,” he snarled, baring his fangs in a threatening manner to the vampires present, forgetting that four were just as old as him and two were as old as me.
“I’m going to reiterate Ata here by saying that that’s our usual training session. The reason she sustained such injuries is because she was out of practice. We haven’t had a session like that in about two years, she’s been far too sick for us to risk it. We work with her faery magic, practice with weapons and then follow it up with hand-to-hand combat. Riei and Oeri are always on hand to tend to all injuries, and as she is our Maker we are able to feel her pain. We are aware of when we should stop so we do not appreciate you trying to change our ways. We have trained in such a manner for over 2000 years; it won’t stop overnight,” Khai responded none too gently, keeping his fangs retracted. His brothers followed his lead, and even little Oscar was able to keep them retracted, even though every instinct in his body was probably screaming out for him to flash them given the tension in the room.
“Did it escape your notice that she was bleeding everywhere?” Godric spat, gesturing to a few small droplets of Ata’s blood that had managed to fall to the wooden flooring.
“It’s hard to miss when she smells so good,” Egor quipped, causing his brothers to rumble with laughter, but Godric’s next growl silenced them.
“You said she was sick?” Pam spoke up for the first time this evening, and if I didn’t know any better I would say that my usually cold-hearted Childe had concern in her voice. Pam didn’t do concern.
A pained expression crossed the features of all of Ata’s boys and they sighed collectively. “Around two years ago, she became incredibly sick. She was running a fever, unable to rest, unable to eat. It all started about three hours before sunset and lasted for around an hour. She passed out and was out of it for three days. The penthouse was on lockdown and we all slept in the panic room in order to keep her safe. The moment she woke she was complaining about this tugging sensation in her chest, it’s been plaguing her ever since,” Oeri explained, more comfortable with Ata’s health given that it was his field of expertise.
“Is she still in pain?” I broke in, disliking the thought of my Maker’s mate in any form of pain. She had accepted my Maker back into her life and had also accepted Pam and me at the same time, even if she and Pam still had a lot to work through together.
Egor shrugged his shoulders, running a hand through his blonde hair at my question. “We don’t know, we haven’t asked her for a while. It was particularly bad the night you guys arrived. I was amazed she even managed to get out of bed and move downstairs to meet you.” He pursed his lips together, taking in Godric and me before finally looking to Pam.
The click of Godric retracting his fangs drew our attention to him and he dropped his head a little. “I felt a tugging sensation in my own chest the moment I entered this building,” he murmured, and thanks to the vampire hearing of the room’s occupants we were all able to hear him perfectly.
“That’s very strange indeed…” Oeri mused quietly, tipping his head sideways as he observed Godric, who had lifted his head up by then.
The talk of tugging sensations reminded me of the moment Sookie had entered my bar for the first time. Thirty minutes before her arrival I had started to feel the tug, however, I had blamed it on my lack of blood consumption, as there hadn’t been a decent fangbanger to feed on for a few nights. As Sookie had entered my bar, the tugging had become almost unbearable, and the moment I had set eyes on her the tugging sensation stopped. During her yearlong absence, the tug had returned and I had once again blamed my lack of blood consumption. While I had survived on bagged blood, I hadn’t fed from the neck, or wrist, of a willing person in a long time. I had felt strangely detached from my vampiric nature while in Sookie’s home.
Deciding that it might not be coincidence, I spoke up. “I’ve experienced a tugging sensation too: When Sookie first entered my bar. It ended when I caught her eyes, yet it returned to me the year she was taken to Faery,” I explained, feeling the shock from Pam as she turned to look at me wide eyed.
“That’s why you wouldn’t feed!” She hissed, narrowing her eyes in my direction. My Childe had always been a drama queen, and when she had learned that I had stopped feeding ‘from the source’ she had thrown a tantrum, demanding to know what was wrong with me. I hadn’t told her of the sensations in my chest for fear she would laugh, or see me as weak, or tell me I was imagining things. I loved my Pamela, but sometimes it would be nice if she were to remember her gentler emotions.
With a shrug, I brushed her comment off, turning my attention to my Maker who was regarding me with a thoughtful expression. “Both of us experienced tugging sensations when in close proximity to our mates, and Ata experienced a similar feeling. Has Sookie mentioned it to you?” He asked.
“She hasn’t mentioned anything to me, but I wager that if she has experienced it, she’ll have spoken to Ata about it,” I responded thoughtfully, wondering exactly what it was our two women thought, and talked, about during the day when we weren’t around to listen. Perhaps I’d be able to convince them to buy a camcorder and record their days so that Godric and I could see everything they were getting up too.
“We should ask them, see if they have spoken about it and if Miss Stackhouse has experienced the tugging sensation.” Ari declared, rising to his feet in one fluid movement. His brothers and Oscar rose, closely followed by Pam, Godric and myself. With Ari leading the way, our group moved out of the training room and down the stairs into the living area, where we were greeted by the sight of Sookie and Ata sitting together at the island counter. They were consuming pastries of some sort while Felicia clucked over them, bringing them drinks and napkins and everything else she could think of. Taking the barstool next to my Sookie, I took a bit of pastry from the plate, offering it to her. Slowly she lowered her mouth to the food and I popped it in, giving her a moment to chew it. Ari and Khai had moved to the living area and were rearranging furniture for our guests.
Ari inhaled deeply, a knowing smirk crossing his lips as he looked back towards Ata and Godric. “Does this couch need cleaning?” He teased.
Ata closed her eyes, her cheeks flushing pink. “Ari…” She warned in her mom voice.
Ari let it go, though his smirk remained firmly in place. He continued to rearrange the furniture with Khai. Egor and Agmund were back by the elevator doors while Riei and Oeri were standing to one side speaking quickly in what I could only assume was Arabic. Godric had taken the spare seat next to Ata and was currently rubbing small circles on her lower back as she ate, a lazy grin on his lips as he enjoyed her embarrassment. Pam and Oscar were on the other side of the counter, watching the four of us intently.
Once Sookie had finished her mouthful I slowly moved her plate away, “Min älskling, have you ever felt a tugging sensation in your chest since we met?” I asked, knowing it was better to get an answer and then tell her why I had asked, though knowing my little fae she would ask before I had the chance.
Lost in thought for a moment, Sookie finally nodded. “Yeah, it was the first time I came to Fangtasia. The moment I saw you there was this tugging in my chest,” she raised a hand over her heart, scowling slightly, “and it was really annoying. I couldn’t understand why it was there, but I felt compelled to approach you. It’s why I asked Bill about you,” she explained, dropping her hand back to her lap.
“I felt the tugging too, and it stopped the moment I saw you. Hearing you discussing me is why I summoned you. I felt a compulsion to speak to you too, and saw it as the perfect opportunity: I was curious as to why the sight of you stopped the tugging sensation inside me,” I explained in return, allowing my eyes to drift from Sookie’s for a moment to watch as Felicia removed the empty plates and the used napkins from the table, seemingly unphased by the fact she was currently standing in a room with ten vampires.
Pam chose that moment to interrupt. “Not to mention the fact you wanted to sink your fangs into her and fuck her on your desk.”
Four sets of eyes rounded on Pam, and little Oscar was trying his best to hide a snigger behind his hand. “How was that helpful, Pam?” I asked in an exasperated tone.
“It was a vital piece of information,” she shrugged, returning to checking over her nails for any cracks in the paint, or whatever the hell else women did when looking at their claws.
Ata snorted gently, shaking her head before she leant against my Maker. “I told Sookie about the whole mate’s thing, I also taught her about the different blood bonds,” she pointed out. Finally, I was able to discover the source of Sookie’s newfound knowledge. It seemed Ata was giving her mini lessons during the day, and not just to help her with her fae powers. I was both grateful and annoyed with the Egyptian female. She was providing Sookie with information I was supposed to be telling her, but at the same time, she was probably helping her understand it better, given that she had most likely experienced everything both the fae and the vampire worlds had to offer.
Oscar suddenly stiffened beside Pam, grabbing her wrist. With a low growl, Pam dropped fang, exposing them to the young vampire. “Get off me, squirt!” She ordered firmly, but Oscar maintained his grasp on her.
“We have guests,” he declared in a quiet voice. Seconds later a loud pop echoed around the penthouse, and two faeries appeared in the middle of the room.
Niall was immediately recognisable, but I had never met the faery beside him. Ata was off her stool quickly, gliding over to the pair. Embracing Niall first, they exchanged chaste cheek kisses before Ata embraced the other fae male, kissing his cheeks too. “Great-granddaddy Niall, cousin Claude,” she greeted warmly. Tipping my head back subtly, I inhaled at the same time as Godric and Pam, wanting to at least smell the pure faeries. If their scents were to stick on Sookie later I would have no problem returning to my Viking roots and pillaging her until sunrise.
Sookie slipped from her own barstool, crossing over to stand beside Ata where she graciously greeted both fae males. Her greeting was not as comfortable as Ata’s had been, there was little in the way of physical contact, however, the warmth was still there. “Shall we sit? Can I get either of you anything?” Ata inquired, switching to what Sookie referred to as hostess mode. With a nod, the four faeries arranged themselves on the sofas, Ata and Sookie sitting opposite Niall and this Claude fellow.
“A glass of water would be much appreciated for both of us, thank you,” Niall spoke, his voice soft yet authoritative. As Ata was about to move to the kitchen in order to fulfil their wish, Felicia was bustling out of the kitchen area, holding two glasses of clear liquid. With a smile, she handed them to both fae males and my vampire hearing allowed me to pick up on her increased heartbeat while my sensitive nostrils picked up on the faint hint of her arousal. Clearly, she was attracted to one of the two men. Taking a moment to truly look at both men I guessed that it would be Claude she was interested in. Niall was far too old and grey. I was grateful that Godric had turned me in the prime of my life.
Claude was easily six feet tall; he was of slender build with black hair, which was perfectly coifed. His features were well proportioned and his eyes were a deep hazel. His ears weren’t pointed like they were for usual full-blooded fae, which led me to believe that he spent some time in the human realm in the past and that he’d had his ears surgically altered in order to blend in with the human population more easily. He looked to be in his twenties but since the fae aged so slowly, there was no real way to tell. Ata was over 2000 years old and yet she still looked to be in her twenties too. Claude, along with Niall, had masked their scent in order to stop the vampires in the room, including me, from attacking them. The loss of such an incredible smell was a shame.
“Nervii, Northman, Swynford de Beaufort, come and join us,” Niall gestured to the few vacant seats remaining. Without wasting time we all took our seats. Godric placed himself beside Ata and I took the spot on the opposite end of the sofa, trapping our fae mates in the middle. Pam eyed the seat beside Claude and went to make a move for it, but the faery quirked an eyebrow at her, causing Pam to stop in her tracks and mimic his action. I had never witnessed Pam stop what she was doing for anyone, and it amused me to no end. I’d even walked in on her once when she’d been going down on one of our dancers, she hadn’t even bothered to look up and greet me, she’d merely waved her hand in my general direction and continued with her task.
With a sigh my lazy Childe grabbed a barstool, placing it close to me before hopping up onto it neatly. “I want all other vampires out of the room,” Niall stated loudly, not bothering to remove his gaze from Ata and Sookie. If that wasn’t a dismissal, then I had no idea what was.
“Khai and I will start training Oscar,” Ari informed Ata, ushering the young vampire up the stairs and back to the training room, with Khai close on their heels.
“Riei and I will run over the ceremony for later once more,” Oeri added, disappearing with Riei up the stairs to the private library, closing the bookcase over the entrance to give us more privacy.
“Egor and I will check on the repairs downstairs, I guess,” Agmund scratched his head and called for the elevator.
Our group remained in an uncomfortable silence as Egor and Agmund waited for the elevator, but once they were inside with the doors closed Niall spoke up. “I usually dislike leaving Faery, especially during such a difficult time, however, I feel there is much we need to discuss so I’m going to jump right in and get to it.”
I was concerned by Niall’s abrupt and rather rude opening statement, however, since we were pressed for time it was for the best. “First a little history lesson for you. There is much disruption within Faery as we speak, which is why I cannot be here for long. It is also another reason why Claude is with me, he is my strongest fighter and therefore I cannot risk him being harmed until we are ready to send him in.” Niall spared an affectionate glance to the fae male and it surprised me that the man actually had a heart. I’d heard numerous stories over the years of his cruel ways, of how cold he was to others and how secretive and private he was. However, I had also learnt over the years that most fae were inclined to be standoffish, secretive and private. It was why Sookie and Ata were a welcome change from what I had come to expect of the fae: Both women were filled with goodness.
“We were the first beings on the planet as we are nature itself. The water fae took over Europe due to the abundance of coastline, the earth fae took over India and China due to the vast array of forests and earthy habitats, the fire fae took over Australia due to the heat there and the sky fae took over America and Africa due to the vast open spaces with little to stop us from absorbing the sun’s rays we need to thrive. Knowing where each subspecies comes from is important in understanding where I am going with this,” Niall started.
His eyes were locked on Ata and Sookie as he spoke; pain on his features as he remembered whatever it was he was about to speak of. “There hasn’t always been a war in Faery, there hasn’t always been a Fae Realm, either. Around 2200 years ago, there was a great battle between our kind and theirs.” He spared a glance to Godric, Pam and I. Ah he was telling them the story of the vampire-fae war. Godric had told me of the war when I had been turned, but of course, he hadn’t been present for it. However, he had heard about it from other vampires.
Niall’s eyes drifted back to the fae women sitting between Godric and I. Ata was listening, but it was apparent she had heard it before. Sookie, on the other hand, was already completely engrossed in Niall’s tale and, looking to my side, I could see that Pam had leant forward a little, curious to hear Niall out. I hadn’t told Pam of the vampire-fae war, as it had happened way before her turning, way before her human birth, and I, therefore, had deemed it unimportant. However, with the growing number of fae in our lives, it seemed she would need to know.
“The fae used to live in the human realm, as the pair of you do now. We blended into society, as we do now,” he lifted Claude’s hair out of the way to reveal his rounded ear, causing Sookie to gasp a little and look to Niall’s ear, taking in the slight point, “and we loved the freedom this world gave us. We could pursue whatever we wished; we could travel, meet new people and spend time in the sunshine. However, the vampire population started to boom. The vampires of old were creating progenies and their progenies were creating their offspring early on. You see, the vampires of old had no choice but to keep themselves hidden, and with such a low human population it was difficult to find people to feed on, but as the human population started to grow, so did the vampire population. Our kind had been living and breeding on this planet for centuries, and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to hide. Our species went to war, trying to wipe the other out in a desperate attempt to create one supernatural superpower that would have the majority control of this planet. The fighting took place all over the world; there were few places where either of our kinds was safe. Those who didn’t want to get involved went into hiding. Numbers on both sides were seriously depleted by the time a truce was called 100 years later. The fight had been long and bloody, and both sides were suffering. Instead, a deal was made. The fae would be able to come and go on this planet as they pleased, but they would move themselves to another realm: Faery. Using the magic they were gifted with at birth, the remaining fae pulled together to create the realm we now call our home. It was there where we started to rebuild our population, only to encounter fertility problems. The women were finding it increasingly difficult to have children, so I suggested that we send them to the human realm to see if they could conceive here. At the time, I was married to Mab. We had just taken the throne of Faery, bringing the sky and water fae together, and we were seen, in some sense, as Gods. Mab was all for it, to begin with, thinking it would be a great way to raise our numbers. What she was late in realising was that it was diluting the blood, and to her, the blood was the most sacred of all things.” Niall sighed and rubbed his temple. Mab was the woman who had kidnapped Sookie, taken her away from me for a year. She was married to Niall? Did that make her related to Sookie? Why on earth would someone kidnap his or her own kin?
“Realising what the breeding had done, Mab decided that she wanted to ‘harvest’ the offspring that were produced from the couplings and bring them back to Faery in order to assess their powers, their sparks. She wanted to breed the stronger hybrid females with the strong fae males in a desperate attempt to increase the potency and purity of the blood, to create an elite race. She was so driven, she wanted it so badly, that it became far too much for me. I couldn’t see the sense in forcing women who had grown up believing themselves to be human, who had family and friends in the human world, to live in an entirely different realm, having the babies of men they didn’t know or care for. Mab and I separated, taking over the thrones of our own crowns and ceasing to rule together, and we both eventually took new lovers. Mab is descendent of the water fae and of course, I am sky fae, it is why our two kinds have been feuding for so long, and it is the cause of the current civil unrest,” Niall explained.
“So, the current war in Faery is because you kicked your wife out of your bed and then fucked someone else?” Pam snorted, raising an eyebrow. “How dramatic.” She sighed, rolling her eyes as if she hadn’t done anything far more dramatic in her century on this earth. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at her in response. Her habits were wearing off on me far too much for my liking.
Grimacing slightly, Niall gave a small nod. “I suppose you could look at it that way. Ironically enough, Mab’s son from her new husband coupled with a human female.” Niall snorted, shaking his head with a smile. I couldn’t help but feel a little amused. “What is most interesting, though, is the offspring of said coupling. Mab’s two sons were pure water fae, and both of their lovers were human, so the children are half water fae, and heirs to the water fae throne should Mab and her sons die. While Mab is still around these days, her sons perished a few centuries back due to a strong case of iron poisoning caused by a group of vampires who had a bone to pick with them. The remaining children are the heir to the throne and could end this entire war should they so wish. We would get to live in peace again, though they would have to prove themselves strong enough to rule. Only one would be able to rule, though, and they would have to have a partner to help them. Faery is such a large place for one person to govern and with two species depending on them it would be a rather large task.” Niall stated. “The other child, the one who doesn’t get to rule, it is said that he will rule on this realm and they too will have a partner to aid them. It’s said they will be bound incredibly closely, and that they could even stop the war between all supernaturals.” I could see the glint in his eyes as he spoke, his excitement evident. I couldn’t blame him. If I were in his place, I would do everything in my power to convince the children to take my side in the matter, to stop the civil unrest and rule Faery peacefully. While the Viking part of me was ready for war and fighting, I had always had to suppress my softer side. War wasn’t always the right thing to do, and the deaths of many would always rest heavily on the leader’s shoulders. I had tried to avoid as many conflicts as possible in my time, but it hadn’t always been easy, or even possible at times.
We all sat in silence for a moment; processing everything Niall had just told us. The fae had tried to increase their numbers through reproduction with humans, yet it had gone horribly wrong: They had tried to call back the hybrids in order to assess them to pick the best to create the next generation from, much like humans do with their pet dogs. Niall had disagreed with his wife and the pair had split, only for Mab to have two sons who had both coupled with humans to create heirs. These heirs could bring an end to the fae civil war and all the associated disruption, and perhaps they could also ensure that no evil faeries would ever be able to take my Sookie from me again. I was starting to formulate ideas in my mind about how to go about finding these hybrid children, how I would be able to convince them to take the throne. I could give them money, my support; help build bridges between our kinds. I could see Godric agreeing to help. He had, after all, been preaching coexistence with humans in the Fellowship church, and surely coexistence with faeries would be the same thing?
“Have you found these hybrid children yet?” Sookie broke the silence, her gaze locked firmly on Niall’s features.
Slowly the corners of his lips lifted into a smug smile.
“I most certainly have.” His eyes drifted from Sookie, landing on Godric and I. “And they happen to be sitting in this very room, and both have sky fae lovers.”