A/N I’ve converted some of my friends into Trubies. OUR LITTLE ZOO IS GROWING!
Please R&R, it makes me so super happy and it’ll make me smile!
MUCH LOVE TO ALL MY READERS AND REVIEWERS SO FAR!
Why don’t you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot, fire away
You come on with a “come on”
You don’t fight fair, but that’s ok, see if I care
Knock me down, it’s all in vain, I’ll get right back on my feet again
Hit me with your best shot, why don’t you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot, fire away
Well, you’re the real tough cookie with the long history
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case
You better make sure you put me in my place
~ Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar
Sookie’s secret had shocked me to the core; I’d been prepared for a bunch of different scenarios but not that. How on earth was she still so sweet, so untainted? I had never met the woman that she had called Gran but I knew that I liked her. Very few people would chase away their only surviving blood relative on the word of a young, misunderstood girl. The thought that Sookie had been subjected to such thoughts from a family member had angered me, and I was glad I’d had 2000 years of learning to control this anger. I knew first hand what a curse and a gift our telepathy could be, and I too had been subjected to less than pure thoughts over the years. None of them had come directly from any of my bloodline though. The improper thoughts had always come from leering men and curious women. I was glad though that Sookie had shared her secret with Eric – he would be able to help her heal rather than simply forget.
My own secret was one that until recently, when the truth had come out, I had been so ashamed of. I’d believed that I had caused my mothers death. I’d lost the love of my baby brother over it. I hadn’t told a single soul over the years. Only my little brother had known about my plan with Marc and he’d taken the secret to the grave with him. Although Ari, Khai, Riei and Oeri had been around when I had killed Marc, and they had been loyal to me for over 2000 years, I was still wary of telling them the truth. None of them had been a fan of Marc and his antics with my mother, but they had been loyal to my mother and therefore hadn’t questioned her relationship with him. I had no regrets in killing Marc, he deserved to die for the things he had said and done over the years he had tormented Caesarion and I, but I did regret the events that it led to.
I was still worried about telling Godric. Sookie had told me that it would be wise to tell him, but I was worried that it would alter his perspective of me. We’d never had secrets in our human years, but it seemed since we both became immortal that the secrets had simply piled up. I would tell him though, when we finally had a moment together where someone or something wasn’t coming after us. It was the least I could do really, given that he had been honest with me about wanting to meet the sun.
As Sookie collapsed into Eric’s arms I knew she would be okay. I was aware of what had caused such a reaction but I would deal with it after I had killed the final Were and detained the two others around the corner. A blur shot past me from the elevator as my bonded took the matter of the other two Were’s into his hands. “Keep them alive. Throw them in the basement!” I ordered him mentally as I took on the final Were. Angered that Sookie had been hurt, and that once again I was relying on my vampires to help me out when I was perfectly capable, I grabbed the final Were by the throat, using the vast amounts of vampire blood in my system to my advantage as I hoisted him off of the floor. Using my telepathy, I wiggled through his mind until I found exactly what I was after. “Who sent you, George?” I demanded, calling the creature by his first name in an attempt to spook him. It worked. His eyes widened as he struggled to get out of my grasp. His mind started working overtime and yet there were holes in his thoughts whenever he thought about who sent him. I could only assume that he had, by some miracle, managed to be glamoured. It meant he came from the same vampire that the first Were we had questioned had come from – Edgington.
A blur appeared and George was taken from me, a cool hand brushing against my warm one as Godric took over holding the Were in place. “What were your plans for my companion and I? Were you going to kill us, give us to a vampire who would drain us, or were you simply going to ‘enjoy’ us yourselves for a few hours?” I questioned the Were, already aware of what exactly they had planned for us. I’d heard it from their minds, but the Were didn’t need to know about that. The mention of the Were potentially wanting to have ‘fun’ with Sookie and I caused both male vampires to growl. Eric was tending to Sookie on the floor, holding her close to his chest, and the mention of her potentially being used by a Were caused him to hold her tighter, baring his fangs at the animal in warning. Godric growled too, gripping the Were so tight it was struggling to breathe.
“Oh I know! You were supposed to capture my companion and I and take us to a drop off point specified in a text message you were sent, weren’t you?” I continued to pull information from the animals mind, filtering it through to my boys in order to keep them up to date. I’d warned them, through our Maker-Childe bonds, not to come down and try to help. George looked completely baffled as to how I was aware of everything, and I offered him a knowing smile. “End him baby, we already have two of his friends in the basement to torture and question, I could do without my business smelling like Were any longer.” I gave the order to Godric, who looked more than pleased at the prospect of killing the intruder, especially because he had my permission. He didn’t need permission to kill, he was old enough, strong enough and wise enough to make up his own mind, but the last time he had killed without me saying it was okay we had ended up having a bit of a lovers tiff.
In one fluid motion my bonded snapped the creatures neck, ceasing its movement. Dropping it to the floor he had his arms around me seconds later, checking me over for any signs of damage. “I’m fine, it’s Sookie I’m concerned for.” I reassured him quietly, wiggling my way out of his arms. Moving to Sookie and Eric I dropped to my knees beside them.
“Why isn’t she waking?” He gritted out through a clenched jaw. “What happened to her?” he demanded, keeping his tone as even as possible. I could feel his anger and frustration, and his concern, through our weak bond however.
“I know exactly what’s happened, lets get back into the penthouse where it’s safe and I’ll let you know.” I responded softly, brushing Sookie’s bangs back from her face before I rose to my feet, Eric following suite as he carried Sookie. “Four dead Were’s in the lobby, two alive Were’s in the basement. Please take care of them for us, my children. Can someone contact Ludwig too please?” I mentally requested of my children. It was only a few seconds later, as we were stepping into the elevator, that the door to the emergency staircase to the penthouse opened and three of my boys appeared, taking care of the dead bodies without saying a word. I loved their ability to get a job done quickly and efficiently and not ask questions about it.
Eric had Sookie flat on the sofa the moment we entered the penthouse, and he was clucking around her like a mother hen. He fluffed up pillows to keep her head up, elevated her feet and even removed her jacket so that she wouldn’t be too warm. If I weren’t so concerned about her I would have found his actions adorable, especially given his big, bad Viking vampire Sheriff persona. Throwing out my gift I could hear Jason and Hunter in one of the bedrooms. Jason was reading to Hunter and had only just started the story. That would buy us some time. I didn’t want to worry them.
“Will you tell me what’s happened now?” Eric demanded of me as he finally finished fussing over Sookie. Sighing, I padded over to the other sofa, sliding myself onto it. Godric sat beside me, an arm wrapped around my waist as he held me close.
“She depleted.” I stated grimly.
“She did what?” A look of confusion passed over Eric’s face at my answer before he schooled his features.
A pop noise filled the room as Ludwig appeared, carrying her little doctors bag in one hand. “She depleted, vampire,” Ludwig reiterated, “and you’re supposed to have good hearing.” She muttered under her breath as she moved to Sookie’s side, batting Eric out of the way. Setting her little bag down, she started to rummage through it, looking for the right tools of her trade.
“She hasn’t been in the sunlight for a while, and the sunlight powers her abilities. I didn’t think it would have such an effect on her as she’s only an eighth fae, clearly I was wrong though.” I mused, pursing my lips together. Although only an eighth, Sookie seemed to have all the characteristics of a fae with higher blood toxicity. “I have to be in the sun at least once every three days, for at least four hours. Then again, I’ve learnt how to stockpile my magic and only use exactly what’s necessary. I think Sookie may have used up all of her current magic and her stockpile magic while fighting off one of the Were’s.” I elaborated, knowing that to the vampires it might be a difficult concept to grasp, especially considering the fact they hadn’t seen the sunlight in thousands of years.
“So Sookie lost all of her magic?” Eric questioned, quirking an eyebrow as he placed a cool hand onto Sookie’s forehead.
“She hasn’t lost her magic, vampire. She’s just used it up. She needs rest and sunlight and she’ll be back to normal to no time.” Ludwig explained, packing away all of her little tools which she had been using to check Sookie over with. “Seems a common occurrence in your bloodline, princess. Her case isn’t as bad as yours was, not by a long shot, but it still isn’t a good thing to have happen to you. You women and them dang fangers.” She tutted, clearly displeased with the fact Sookie and I were bonded to ancient vampires.
“Still not a fan of the fang, Lulu?” I teased the short doctor as she closed up her bag. We’d found ourselves getting on well, so well in fact that I had been privy to her real first name.
“Fuck no. The pay well though.” She shot Eric a toothy grin, showing off her jagged teeth. Trolls weren’t the prettiest of creatures, but they were hard workers and utterly honest – even if it made them sound cruel. I laughed at her honesty, completely at ease with the situation. I was well aware that Sookie would be okay; I’d been in her situation quite a few times before I’d learnt how to control my own magic. With a shake of her head, Ludwig popped away, leaving me in the room with two vampires and my fae cousin, who was still flaked out on one of the sofas.
“How long will it take for her to wake? Is there anything we can do to help her? How did you heal and how long did it take?” Eric was firing questions at me left right and centre, and thankfully my perfect memory enabled me to recall them all.
“It varies by person, but I wouldn’t think it would take too long for Sook to return to her full strength. When she wakes she’ll be a bit slow and groggy, so perhaps some of your blood will help her. There’s nothing we can do but wait it out. If it were daytime I’d take her outside and the sunshine would help heal her faster, but alas it’s night.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“You didn’t answer my final question. How long did it take you to heal and how did you heal. Ludwig said this happened to you before too.” Eric picked up on my short answer, moving to sit on the couch. Taking Sookie’s prone form in his large hands, he moved her gently so that her head was resting in his lap. Slowly he brushed his fingers through her hair, smoothing her wild blonde mane. I could feel my bonded’s curiosity spike through our bond and I sighed at the realisation that I would have to tell him about my depletion stage, and the time I spent elsewhere recovering. Damn Niall and his motor mouth when he had come to visit the other night!
“Before the Great Reveal I was somewhat nocturnal so that I could keep on moving with my boys. I very rarely saw the sunshine. There was a time where I went eight months without seeing a single ray of sunlight as we were running from a pack of Were’s in Spain that wanted us for the death of their pack leader. We didn’t kill him. The fool got himself caught in the middle of a feud in another pack. I was awake in the day but I couldn’t leave my boys incase the Were’s found us, and we were staying in those cheap hotels so as to avoid detection and the curtains were flimsy. I had to stay awake all day to ensure that no sunlight reached my children. Of course by staying awake all day in the dark, and running all night, meant that I was exceptionally tired and my magic hadn’t replenished itself. The Were’s found us one night and we were forced to fight back. I sent a blast of light towards three Were’s and although I killed them I blacked out, having used up all my magic. I woke up in a bedroom that although wasn’t mine, felt like it was mine. It transpired that Ari had contacted Niall the moment our skirmish was over and informed him of my blackout. Niall took me to Faery for a week, which is the equivalent of around fifty years on earth. I needed to be in Faery as other faeries can help one another heal, hence why I’m staying in the room with Sookie now. My presence alone is helping her heal. Another reason he allowed me to stay in Faery for so long was because it’s always sunny there, always daytime. There is no nighttime, because of course that’s when the vampires come out. It doesn’t help that the sunlight in Faery has no effect on vampires, but they use it as a deterrent.” I explained with a small shrug. At the time it had been a big deal as it had been a new experience, and I had been forced to spend so long away from this realm, but over the years I’d gone back a few times, for an hour or so which equated to a year and a half in the human realm. I had used the time to allow my boys to travel, so that they could have their own lives rather than dedicating it to looking after me all the time. We’d all found the separation hard though, which was why I only ever went for such a short amount of time.
“You were away from this world for so long my sweet? You were hurt that much?” The concern in Godric’s voice was palpable, and I couldn’t help but offer him an affectionate smile at his care. Even in his human years when he’d been treated like nothing more than dirt he had been caring and compassionate.
“I wasn’t hurt, just tired. I make sure to spend time in the sunshine regularly now though, as depletion isn’t a particularly nice experience.” I responded quietly, lifting a hand to caress my vampires face.
“Will it have any long lasting effects on Sookie?” I heard Eric ask from the other sofa. Removing my hand from Godric’s face, I shifted my eyes to the blonde vampire holding my cousin’s prone form to him.
“No, she’ll just need to rest all day tomorrow. I promise you I will take her outside and we’ll sit by the pool all day. I can conduct last minute checks for the party from there.” I vowed as Eric lifted his head to look at me. I offered the Viking a reassuring smile, knowing how important Sookie’s wellbeing was to him. I found it so strange, after rummaging through his memories and thoughts the first time we met, that such a fierce man, who’d killed and maimed for 1000 years, had such a wonderfully endearing soft side. Underneath the big, bad vampire there was a human man there, wanting nothing more than acceptance and love. I could see why my Godric had turned him, and oddly enough I found it nice that some of my blood, even if it were only a drop, managed to get inside of him during the turning process. I would never have biological children of my own with my bonded, so the more vampire children we could sire together the better.
“I don’t like the thought of you both outside of the penthouse in the day, without any protection. I thought my brothers were going to hire more Were guards for you both?” Eric spoke up, looking between Godric and I. It took me a moment to register the fact that Eric referred to my boys as his brother, but the second my brain caught up I couldn’t help but grin at him. Obviously feeling my happiness through the weak bond we had formed when everyone in the nest, my bonded’s Childe flashed me a smile of his own.
“I concur. The thought of you both out and about without anyone there to look out for you makes me feel uneasy. I need to know you’re safe in the day my sweet. I couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to you.” Godric gently rubbed my side. He still had an arm around my waist so he gave my hip a slight squeeze too. Touched by the concern of both men in the room I lent against my beloved, resting my head on his shoulder before I offered a hand out towards Eric. Taking it, the Viking locked our fingers together.
“I know you both care, and you’re worried for us, but there’s no need for it. We’re both wearing our little charms.” I nodded towards the pearls around Sookie’s neck and the band around my finger, which glistened under the artificial lights in the penthouse. “This is my home, and I won’t live in fear. If any Were’s try to come for us, I’ll fight them off, or pop both Sookie and I up here.” I reassured them. I could see that Eric wasn’t completely convinced, and I could feel that Godric wasn’t either, but I had no intentions of soothing their worries with pretty words. There was always a chance Sookie and I would be hurt, be it either at the hands of supernatural creatures or from simply crossing the road. I wouldn’t live in fear, and neither would my cousin.
We fell into a comfortable silence for a few minutes, Godric’s arms wrapped around my body as he held me close to him, and Eric’s hand still locked with mine. The temperature difference between us all didn’t bother me, and simply being near my bonded and his Childe was soothing. Although I would never admit it I was worried and nervous for tomorrow night. The VRA would be decided upon, and if passed I would be able to give Caesar’s Palace to my boys, who had more than earned it over the years. I’d built up my empire for them. I had all but given up on finding Godric, so I’d spent the last hundred years or so preparing for my passing. I’d set up plenty of successful businesses, invested a ton of money and I’d even spoken with Mr. Cataliades about my will, in which I’d left everything to my children. I wanted their lives after me to be as easy as possible. They had dedicated over 2000 years to me, they had given up the sun for me, rescued me every time I’d been in trouble, taken bullets for me, claimed me in front of others to save my purity, allowed me to viciously attack them in order to build up my strength and had loved me unconditionally from the very start. I was a lucky woman to have such beautiful and wonderful children, whose loyalty and bravery knew no bounds. I’d only had 400 or so years left to live before Godric had appeared quite literally on my doorstep, so I’d wanted everything in place for my passing.
“Are you going to turn Oscar into your Childe?” Eric broke the silence, his free hand smoothing Sookie’s hair as he gave my hand a gentle squeeze with the one I was holding. Nodding my head, I let my intentions be known. As soon as Oscar was back in the safety of the penthouse I would make him my Childe, and I would help him grow into a magnificent man, and vampire. I could feel Eric’s internal struggle for a moment and I frowned, unable to locate the source of such a struggle. Oscar had willingly gone into Felipe’s mansion to spy for us, knowing it could lead to his true death, and he’d sampled my blood after I’d been poisoned with iron and Hep-D, which could have severely weakened him and led to his true death too. I felt the young boy was deserving of a family, a support system to help him navigate his way through the rough world of vampires and their politics. Eric’s emotions settled a moment later though, and his eyes left Godric’s, moving to me instead. Holding my gaze, he took a small, unnecessary breath before he spoke up. “Would you do the same for me too please?” he asked in a quiet tone.
His question shocked and surprised me, but it seemed that Godric had anticipated it, as I felt a soft acceptance tinged with happiness through our bond, which I had instinctively checked the moment Eric had uttered his request. “You would want to be my Childe too?” I double-checked that I had heard him correctly, not wanting to jump to conclusions.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the past day or so.” He nodded his head, losing himself in his thought for a moment. “I can feel the love you have for Godric, and the love he has for you in return.” Eric murmured, looking between my bonded and I for a moment before his gaze returned to me. Godric’s arm around me tightened a little, and I felt his happiness and love flood our bond. “I can feel your care for Sookie, and her care for you in return. I can feel the love you have for my brothers and how much they love you too, and I want to be a part of that.” The Viking confessed, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on mine. “I want to be your son.” He stated in a confident tone, nodding his head with his words, as he seemed to mentally come to the conclusion that he wanted that for himself.
It was a struggle for me to keep my emotions in check as Eric confessed his want to be my Childe too. If I were a vampire, then by now I would have more than likely turned between 150-200 others, but I had purposefully kept the number of vampires sharing my bloodline to a minimum. I wanted an elite group of vampires, of men who were strong and mighty, loyal and brave, accepting and ever growing. The Viking fitted every single category perfectly.
Untangling myself from my bonded, I crossed to Eric before I pulled him gently into an embrace. I was standing however, so his head came to rest upon my chest, but as his eyes closed and he let out a low purr of contentment I knew it wouldn’t be an issue. “Jag skulle älska ingenting mer, min son” I murmured against the top of his head as I dropped a motherly kiss there. I could feel Godric’s happiness flowing through the bonds he shared with both Eric and I, and they were practically humming. The three of us lost ourselves in our bonds for a moment, but the ringing of my cell phone broke the moment.
Dropping one final kiss to the top of Eric’s head, I let him go as I moved back to sit on the sofa beside Godric. Sliding myself in under his arm, I retook my previous position as Eric moved Sookie further onto his lap, tending to her, running his hands over her smooth skin and brushing her bangs out of her face. I smiled at the scene before me, pleased I would soon be able to call the fierce Viking my Childe – a Childe I shared with my bonded. Sliding my finger across the screen of my phone, I answered the call.
“Caesar.” I answered curtly, knowing that only a few people had the number for my untraceable phone, and therefore the information was much more likely to be of a sensitive nature.
“Miss Ata?” Bubba’s chirpy voice sounded from the other end of the line, and I found myself surprised to hear from him so soon. He had only left for Felipe’s the night before. “Oh thank goodness, I was mighty worried you wouldn’t pick up!” the slightly simple vampire sighed in relief, though it was completely unnecessary. It was another reason why I adored Bubba so much; he had retained so much of his humanity after his turning.
“Why? What’s the matter? What’s gone on?” I tried to keep my voice even and my questions as casual as possible, but it simply wasn’t meant to be. Hearing the strain in my voice, and of course the words being uttered by Bubba on the other end of the line, Godric rubbed his hand over my slightly exposed hipbone, soothing me. Even Eric glanced up, frowning lightly before I felt a small trickle of comfort and reassurance through the weak bond we shared.
“It was last night Miss Ata. Oscar was offered a human who’d lived on lemons for a long, long time. He took the boy to our room and tasted him, but the human came running back downstairs a few minutes later saying Oscar had blacked out. We had to call Ludwig in and even she was baffled. Ludwig told Felipe she had no idea what had happened. But when he was long out of earshot, and I can say this ’cause I was good and swept the room for bugs and I know no one is listenin’ outside, she told me that Oscar had been a faery in human life! A faery Miss Ata, just like you and Miss Sookie! She says that’s why he has an intuition or something, and that he’s from the earth. Ain’t that mighty cool?” Bubba was practically beaming down the phone, but my blood ran cold at the news. Oscar had been fae too, and because he wasn’t from the sky he had been turned. Now I understood why he had been turned, given that he was so young. It was rare for a vampire to turn their human companion until they were of an age that was similar to the age the vampire had been turned at. It would be strange for an older vampire, in the sense of their human age, to sire a Childe who was considerably younger than them in human years. If Oscar’s blood had been that of the fae, then it was potent, and he could have been accidentally drained, making his turning simply an accident too.
Now it all made sense where the boys intuition talent came from. The earth fae were known for their intuition, as nature informed them of everything they needed to know about. The trees carried stories; the winds held the gossip, the leaves the details of a person’s life. I felt sorrow wash over me at the thought of Oscar as a human, knowing all these little details about people but having no idea why, or what to do with the information. Unable to form a coherent sentence, I barely felt the phone being taken from my hand, but Godric’s voice brought me crashing back to reality.
“Bubba, how is he? Has he healed yet? Do you know if Felipe made him sample the human on purpose? Do you think Felipe has put the pieces of information together and now knows?” My bonded reeled off a list of questions, and I shook my head to clear my thoughts before I lent in towards him, straining up to hear the addled vampire on the other side of the city.
“He blacked out but he woke up a moment ago for the night. Ludwig woke him with a shot of some nasty smelling stuff when she got here, and of course he spent the day sleepin’ like the rest of us. He seems right as rain. Ludwig bought him some bagged donor blood ’cause she said she don’t trust Felipe as far as she can throw him. As for whether it was done on purpose or not I have no idea. I assume not, but after everything that happened with Miss Ata and the iron shot I ain’t too sure. Either way, we gots plenty of information for ya so we could come on home now if you want us?” Bubba offered, a hopeful tone to his voice.
Pulling myself together, I gently took the phone back from Godric as Sookie started to stir in Eric’s lap. Eric’s eyes snapped from me to Sookie with lightening speed and he started to murmur encouragements to her, trying to coax her out of the blackout she had suffered thanks to her depletion. “Bubba, it’s me. Sorry about that, my brain needed a moment to catch up with everything else. Am I able to talk to Oscar?” I requested, chewing on my lower lip as Sookie started to whimper. I could feel her pain starting to seep into the bond we had created during our mutual exchange, so I used my gift to take it away from her, easing it out of her system to aid her recovery. I could feel Eric doing the same, and even Godric was aiding my cousin. I sent a little wave of gratitude to him, to let him know I was thankful for his help.
“Don’t you worry any Miss Ata, I completely understand. He’s consuming quite a few bags of donor blood now, so I don’t think you can talk to him just yet.” Bubba sadly informed me. Feeling disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to check in with my future Childe I sighed quietly before I trudged on. “I’m pleased you have plenty of information Bubba, and I’m so, so happy that neither of you have met an untimely demise because of it, but I need the pair of you to stay there a little while longer. If you stay tonight, and then come back here tomorrow we should be okay. Bubba, if you say you’re going back home to Mississippi for the VRA passing then you should be able to leave, and if you tell Oscar to say that he’s found his own place to live so he won’t be taking up a guest room at Felipe’s mansion then he should be able to get away too. I have a feeling Felipe isn’t a fan of guests.” I rolled my eyes, remembering the few times I’d been forced to stay in Felipe’s home when he’d had parties and other events on to entertain the monarchs of the other states. Although he had always provided me with a large room he had always made a fuss about the fact I was staying over. It was another reason I disliked the monarch.
“I wanna talk to my mom.” I could hear Oscar on the other end of the phone. Some rustling followed before I heard the phone changing hands. “Momma?” Oscar’s voice was quiet, and I could hear he was still in pain. The way he called out for me though, referred to me as his mom, it tugged at my heartstrings and I found myself tearing up. I wanted to run over to him and scoop him up, steal him away from Felipe’s mansion and to remove his pain. My other boys were now so old that we had all passed the cute ‘momma’ phase and I was now simply known as ‘mother’ to them. To hear myself being referred to as momma stirred my longing for a full biological child of my own, but I held back on those feelings, not wanting my bonded to feel guilty for not being able to give me that.
“I’m here my Childe, I’m here.” I crooned, keeping my voice sure and steady in a hope to offer my youngest boy some support.
“I wanna come home momma. I feel so tired and weak. The lemons, I can’t consume them.” He carried on in a timid tone. Sookie was still out of it, flaked over Eric’s lap, and I watched as the Viking tore into his wrist, offering his blood to Sookie who, with some coaxing and massaging of her throat, started to swallow down the red liquid. I knew it would only aid her a little, and that it would be rest and sunlight that would finish the healing process, but I wasn’t about to stop Eric from giving his blood to my cousin. I wasn’t about to make him feel helpless by not being able to truly help her.
“I know my little boy, I know. I just spoke to Bubba and I want you both to stay there just for this evening, and then tomorrow night I want you both to return back to me. We can’t break our cover just yet. Spend the evening resting if you must, Bubba can find out more information if needs be. I need you at full strength for the party tomorrow night, as I want you right by my side.” I smiled; hoping some of the happiness at the thought of having my youngest back with me would transfer into my tone of voice.
“Ludwig told me I was part fae in my human years, just like you are. She said that was why I had a reaction to the lemons.” Oscar informed me, as if Bubba hadn’t just told me that a moment before. The fact Oscar had been a human/faery hybrid in his human years troubled me, especially when it was taken into consideration the fact that I was a sky fae and my bonded was a water fae. There was pretty much a representative from every fae clan; all we were missing was a member of the fire fae.
“It would certainly explain your intuition, if you were a member of the earth fae clan. Perhaps you were meant to be turned and perhaps we were meant to cross paths, little one? The fae need to stick together these days.” I reasoned, now feeling content that Oscar’s little gift had a source.
“How’s Sookie?” Oscar shifted the topic, and I could feel that he wasn’t too keen on staying on the topic we had been on, for fear of finding out something he didn’t like the sound of. The conversation would happen soon, but for now my little vampire needed to focus on healing.
Returning my gaze to Sookie as she lay out across Eric’s lap I watched as she licked at Eric’s puncture wounds, which were now closed, seeking out any final droplets of his blood that had eluded her. Her eyes were moving behind her eyelids and I could tell she was only seconds away from opening her eyes. “She’s fine. We had a run in with a few more Were’s this evening, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle.” I soothed his concern as Ari and Khai entered the room, followed by Pam and Isabel. The four vampires took their seats on the remaining surfaces and waited, with eerie silence, for me to finish my phone call. I caught sight of Pam looking to Sookie with a worried expression, though she soon straightened out her features.
“I don’t like the fact you aren’t safe” Oscar confessed after a moment of silence, and I couldn’t help but think about how similar his words were to Eric’s a few minutes ago.
“We’ll be fine, don’t worry about us. Both Godric and Eric will take care of us.” I glanced between the two male vampires who nodded in agreement. “Now, go and recover, I need to speak with Bubba for a little while longer about the information he’s found out for us.” I started to end the conversation, not wanting to put too much strain on my youngest Childe. His young age meant that any serious illness or damage to his body that he obtained could lead very quickly to his true death.
Oscar wavered for a moment, before he finally said his goodbye. “Stay safe momma. Love you.” He hurriedly, and somewhat shyly, confessed his feelings before he handed the phone back to Bubba. I couldn’t stop my tender smile at my young boys declaration of love.
“Love you too, little one.” I murmured down the phone as Bubba raised it to his ear, knowing full well vampire hearing would allow Oscar to hear that my feelings were returned. “Can you tell me everything you found out please, Bubba?” I requested as the older vampire took over the phone.
“Sure can Miss Ata. King de Castro has a few guests in his home at the moment. One of which is actually Russell Edgington. I thought the AVL said he was dead?” I could hear the inquisitive tone in Bubba’s voice. I spared a glance towards Eric who was still nursing Sookie, and he looked up before he offered me a sheepish glance.
Sighing at the situation, I returned my attention to the phone call I was currently engaged in. “It seems like the AVL lied about that. In his need for vengeance Eric buried Russell in cement, where he assumed he would remain for the rest of time before he met his true death at the hands of starvation. However, someone has clearly dug him up. Do we have any idea as to whom would have done such a thing?” I aimed my question towards Eric, who fell into a state of contemplation. There was silence for a moment as he mulled over my question. Pam glanced over to her Maker, chewing on the inside of her lip as she too thought it over.
“There are only two people, besides Pam and I, who know where he was buried – Bill Compton and Alcide Herveaux.” Eric answered solemnly. There was suddenly a hive of excitement on the other end of the phone. Bubba’s excited voice rang out as he responded to Eric’s statement.
“Mr. Bill is here at Felipe’s mansion! He was with us in the sitting room last night.” Bubba filled us in. Both Pam and Eric growled at that piece of information, and I found myself angered by it too. Couldn’t the pompous ass just piss off and leave us all alone? First he had tried to hunt me down, tried to force his blood into me in a hope that I would end up tied to him so that his Queen would be happy, and then after I booted him up the ass and sent him on his way he went and fucked up my cousin’s life too. Mr. Compton and I would be having a serious discussion the next time we were in the same room together. “There was Mr. Russell, Mr. Felipe and Mr. Bill. Oh and there was also this other vampire, one of Russell’s children, but I was never told his name.” Bubba informed us all, and I could hear the confusion in his tone. Bubba had never liked not knowing everything.
Looking to Ari he understood exactly what I was after and disappeared off, returning a moment later with one of our laptops, which he set up on the table in front of me. Accessing the videos from Bubba’s contact lens cameras from the night before, we watched for a moment as he and Oscar greeted Nevada’s monarch. I heard a grumbling noise from Eric’s direction, and looked over in time to see Sookie open her eyes, squinting at the lighting in the penthouse after spending so much time blacked out. “Welcome back, cream puff.” Pam purred towards Sookie as she struggled to sit up. Eric quickly supported her, allowing her to rest against his firm, strong frame. Dropping me eyes to the screen, I watched as both vampires were shown to their room.
“Call me that again Pam and I’ll zap your ass with my magic light.” Sookie grumbled under her breath as she rubbed her temples. I chuckled quietly at her comment, but I sensed Eric’s turmoil through the weak bond we shared. Sending comfort to my new son I tore my eyes away from the screen for a moment to look over at my cousin.
“I wouldn’t recommend you using your magic for a little while, Sook. You depleted and therefore it’ll take some time for you to build back up your strength and your store of magic.” I filled her in, knowing I would need to go into greater detail in a moment.
“I did what?” She swiveled her gaze to me and the confusion was evident on her features.
“Depleted. You used up all of your magic too quickly. Your shot at the Were was beautiful, there’s no denying it, but you used a bit too much whammy with it and it sapped all of your energy and magic with it. We haven’t been out in the sunlight enough so you haven’t been able to stockpile your magic as much, which means you aren’t that strong in a fight as the sunlight is what powers us.” I reminded her, recalling the conversation from a few nights ago when we had discussed our magic and the different types of fae.
“Am I…am I completely human?” Sookie asked, and the tone of her voice was hard to place. I could hear an underlying happiness at the thought of not having to deal with being different anymore, but I could also hear a tinge of sadness. Sookie was part fae, always had been and always would be. It was a part of her and I could understand the sadness it would cause her to loose a part of herself. However, she was completely wrong in her assumptions.
“No, you’re still very much part fae. It’ll take some time for your magical stockpile to build back up again, but we’ll spend the day lounging by the pool to help you out. Eric also gave you some of his blood, which will help with the replenishing process.” I lied with a smile, covering my emotions so as not to give the game away. I wanted Eric to feel like his offer had done some good, and I wanted Sookie to be grateful towards her bonded. I knew she was always grateful towards him, but I figured they would need some time to reconnect. We were being attacked on all sides by Were’s, and probably other supernaturals in the near future, so alone time together to concentrate on our emotions was a rarity.
Sookie turned her head towards Eric, smiling gratefully before she pressed a chaste kiss to his lips, which he readily returned. “Thank you.” She whispered, burying herself into his chest. I could feel her tiredness through our weak connection, so I pushed some of my energy towards her, hoping it would help to keep her awake for the night. With Sookie now awake, and Eric taking care of her, I returned my attention to the screen in front of me just in time to see Bill and Russell enter the room. The volume was up on the laptop, so we were all able to hear Bill trying to claim Sookie as his own. I was blindsided by rage not only from Eric, whose anger I had expected and anticipated, but from Pam and Godric too. Even Sookie was angered herself that Bill was still trying to claim her, still trying to make everyone think she was his. I decided then and there that Bill Compton would have to go, even if it meant taking over Louisiana. At least then my cousin would get to live her life in peace.
We listened as Felipe continued on his tirade about how I would be his and how Russell wanted to sample us both, so he could compare us as if we were some fancy wines. “You can have Miss Stackhouse, Bill. It is Northman I want. He will meet the true death for ending my Talbot. You know he killed him simply because he missed his mummy and daddy?” Russell was shaking his head on the screen, and without realising it I placed the phone down on the table. Bubba was still on the other end of the line, but he was silent as we all watched the video. I noted from the corner of my eye how Eric tensed at Russell’s words, and it took Sookie’s gentle soothing, along with a wave of calm and affection from Pam, Godric and I for him to relax. “We will have to take out his Maker though first. You know Miss Caesar don’t you Bubba, you could join her little ‘nest’ and find out about her relationship with the Gaul?” Russell continued on, and I let out a low growl at the mention of them trying to harm my bonded. No one would ever harm him ever again, or so help me Isis I would rip him or her apart with my bare hands and make them suffer for it.
“The Gaul is mine, he will die by my hands. Ata will be my Queen, and with the slave out of the way she will have no one to hide behind.” Felipe commented in his overly smug manner. Another growl slipped from between my lips and I found myself wrapped up in my bonded’s arms a moment later, perched upon his lap.
“Don’t worry about me, my darling.” I heard his accented voice slip into my ear, but I was still blinded by my need to harm Felipe, to tear him apart for even suggesting that he would kill my Godric. Still growling lowly I caught Eric’s eyes and for a moment we just watched one another in silence. Something seemed to pass between us, an agreement perhaps, that together we would end Felipe should anything happen to Godric.
“I love you.” I reminded my bonded as I turned to look at him, burying myself in his chest.
“I love you too.” He whispered in my ear, pressing a tender kiss to my temple before he turned his attention back to the computer screen. Feeling a little more confident and rested, Sookie rose up onto her feet, crossing the room to sit on the sofa beside Godric and I, in the space I had vacated when I’d been hauled onto his lap. Sookie’s movements set off a chain reaction as all of the other vampires in the room moved to stand behind us, so they would be able to see the screen too.
Listening to Russell as he stated that he murdered my mother, I had to stop myself from crying. I wasn’t crying because of his actions, I was crying because I’d thought her death was my fault for 2000 years, and only now was it coming to light that there had been foul play involved. Sensing this, and understanding my reaction, Sookie took hold of one of my hands, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
However, as my Godric was unaware of the truth and the reasons behind my feelings, his curiosity got the better of him. In less than ten seconds I found myself in one of the windowless hallways, pressed to the wall with Godric’s slightly larger and firmer frame holding me securely in place. There was no anger or dominance to his stance; it was simply reassuring and safe. “Your emotions are all over the place, my darling. I can tell though it is not due to Russell mentioning the fact he was the cause of your mothers’ death. What’s the matter, my sweet?” he asked me softly, bringing his hands up to cup my face, forcing me to look up at him.
I was at a loss with what to do. I couldn’t tell him out in the corridor, with the hearing of the remaining vampires in the living room, as they would be privy to my secret too, and I would feel cruel to have my children simply overhear my darkest secret. They deserved to be told face-to-face. On the other hand it would save me from having to talk to them, to tell them myself. I didn’t want them to think any less of me. They would probably already think less of me because I’d kept it quiet for so long, and we’d all agreed to never keep secrets from one another.
Capturing the eyes of the man I adored with my entire being I lost myself in the pale blue colour for a few minutes, internally debating with myself the best course of action. My bonded waited patiently, and I could feel him keeping a close eye on our bond. He couldn’t love me any less for this one little secret, could he? After 2000 years he still loved me, surely one little piece of information wouldn’t cause us to part ways for the rest of time. Sighing quietly, I brought my own hands up, resting one on his broad shoulders and the other against his cool, left cheek. “I have a confession to make, but I want to make it in front of everyone. You all deserve to know.” I decided in a whisper. I would bite the bullet and tell everyone, if only to clear my closet of the skeleton hiding in it.
“I love you no matter what it is you’re going to tell us, okay?” Godric murmured as he closed the distance between us, brushing his lips against mine in a soft kiss. I nodded in acknowledgement of his words, yet inside I was anything but reassured. His arms wrapped themselves around me in a tight embrace as he pulled me flush to his chest, tucking me safely under his chin. Shutting my eyes, I wrapped my own arms around him and allowed myself to get lost in his cuddle. It had been so long since I had last stopped and simply stood still to cuddle someone. We broke apart in silence, and with my hand locked with his we walked back into the living area where we took our seats once again. The vampires in the room had heard our brief exchange in the corridor and yet they didn’t mention anything as we re-entered the room. I was grateful for their silence.
“Have my Were’s reported back to you yet regarding their little mission?” We watched Russell question Felipe, even aiming the question to Bill as if he might know something.
“Ata informed me, during our heated debate, that all of them are in the city morgue.” Felipe responded and I felt my Ari’s amusement at my description of the Were’s locations. Although it had felt good to put the vampire monarch in his place I had let slip the tie I had with my children, and the power I held as a bearer of the fae.
“She killed them?” Russell asked quietly as Felipe nodded his head. “That bitch!” Russell screamed, causing me to flinch at the volume. I would have expected the vampires in the room to follow suite but they remained perfectly calm and expressionless. “I want you to keep sending waves towards Caesars Palace at sunrise and just before nightfall, so that she’ll be taken right before those waste of space vampires can do anything about it. They’ll be awake and powerless to help her. I want them vulnerable and worried for her. Tell the Were’s I want Stackhouse too. You are to bring both of them to me!” He ordered, rising to his feet to pace the room.
I could feel the tension building up inside of me, and the anger. The last thing I needed was for more Were’s to be sent to my establishment. I would need to get in contact with the local Were pack quickly, to ensure that Sookie and I weren’t caught up in another skirmish.
“Sookeh is mine, do not bring her into this!” Bill protested, and I watched as Sookie visibly shuddered in horror at his pronunciation of her name. I restrained my laughter, as I didn’t want to cause offence. Over the years I had been subjected to almost every accent in the world, and the southern twang was unfortunately down in my least favourite ten. I could feel through the weak bond I shared with Eric his possessiveness of Sookie given the situation. He loved her and cared for her and I could feel just how much he would hurt anyone who dared to touch her. It was reassuring to know she was so well cared for.
“I want them all in this. Northman killed my Talbot and Stackhouse dumped him down the drain, they are both accountable for their actions. You are lucky that I’ve been so forgiving of you Bill, for we are of the same blood. You are my great great-grandchilde, and I am grateful that you dug me out of that concrete hell, but if you continue to push your luck I will have no concerns with staking you where you sit.”
The video cut off there and for a moment I was puzzled as to why, however my mind switched back quickly to the information we had gathered as the shock sprang around the room. Bill was a descendant of Russell’s bloodline, and had betrayed both Eric and Sookie by digging him up, in the process putting my boys and I in danger too. All of the vampires in the room had their fangs down in anger as they came to the same conclusion as I had. Bill was pushing his luck before, but now he had overstepped the mark.
“Bill betrayed us. He betrayed me.” Sookie spoke properly for the first time since she had recovered a little, and the sadness in her voice damn near broke my heart.
Turning to look at my cousin, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes and my sympathy for her ended right there. She was not going to cry over that waste of blood! “Sookie. If you dare shed a single tear for that bastard then I will beat the holy crap out of you when we’re training tomorrow.” I threatened her, keeping my voice deadly serious. I used my weak tie with Eric to send him a slow stream of reassurance, to let him know I wouldn’t really beat the crap out of her. He understood immediately if the relief through our tie was anything to go by.
Looking aghast, Sookie’s eyes narrowed in my direction. “You wouldn’t?” She challenged. Never breaking eye contact, I quirked an eyebrow in challenge, and she crumbled under my gaze. “He was my first love, my first time, the first guy I trusted. You can’t expect me not to be hurt by his actions!” she protested, suddenly shifting onto the defensive.
“Oh be hurt by his actions all you like, but don’t you dare cry. Do you think he’s crying over you? No, he’s not. Instead he’s sat inside a mansion on the other side of the city with two vampires who are older and more powerful than he is, planning Eric’s true death and a way to enslave you and tie you to him for the rest of your life. But sure, if you feel like crying over him then go for it.” I scoffed. Wafting my hand in her direction, I picked up the phone from the counter, remembering that Bubba was on the other end of the line still. Raising it to my ear, I was aware that he would hear the movement of the air as I lifted the phone, so I remained perfectly silent. I would let Sookie stew for a few minutes.
“Something happened with the lenses and they just blacked out then, it was so strange Miss Ata! Mr. Russell said he had another Childe though and that he was waiting for him to arrive, but I never got to meet him before Oscar became ill and I was sent to tend to him.” Bubba explained after a brief pause of silence.
“Okay, thanks Bubba, keeps us updated should you find out anything else.” I ended the call, hanging up on the famous vampire. Sookie was still giving me the stink eye but I ignored her. There was no reason for her to be upset over Bill. I had never been in her position as such, and was therefore in no way entitled to judge, but she would need to toughen up and let go of Bill if she wanted to continue having a flourishing relationship with my new Viking Childe.
“Whose this other Childe of Felipe’s then?” Pam enquired, though of course her vampiric hearing meant she heard the conversation with Bubba and the fact the addled vampire never met the other Childe of Edgington’s line.
“I don’t know, and I don’t think we should care about them right now. I think our main priority is keeping ourselves safe from Felipe, Bill and Russell” I switched into business mode, not wanting another person hurt in my hotel on my watch by any supernatural being.
“But they could be a threat too, don’t we need to plan for all possibilities?” Isabel interrupted. Though her point was valid I was running short on patience and the need to discover whom this other Childe was happened to be bottom of my to-do list. The VRA passing was tomorrow night and I was yet to finalise details, not to mention the fact that we were all attacked earlier and that more attacks were coming, and that Sookie was in danger from depletion again if she didn’t get any vitamin d into her.
“We’ll deal with that after the VRA passing, nothing will be tried there as it’s too much of a public event and with everyone watching from around the world the other supernatural creatures won’t want to expose themselves.” I brushed off her concerns, storing them away for another night. Running a hand through my hair, I turned my attention back to Sookie, who was grimly looking down at her lap. Eric’s blood was still smeared across her lips and chin, but it didn’t seem to bother her. Spending so long in the company of vampires desensitised you to blood and gore. It was all a nightly occurrence for them of course.
“You were right.” She confessed after I gave her a moment of silence to contemplate her words. “He probably doesn’t really care for me on a personal level, a level beyond my blood and gift, and the fact he’s plotting how to get rid of my Eric makes him unworthy of my affections any longer.” She stated in a quiet voice. A part of me was wishing I had a tape recorder for this moment, but the other part of me knew this would be a turning point for her – a private one. “I’ve spent so long crying over him, pining over him, and all he’s ever done is let me down. When he was suppose to meet me after work the second night we met he didn’t bother pitching up until I was a bloody pulp, when I was attacked by Gabe in the fellowship he never bothered to come for me, when Godric’s nest was blown up it wasn’t his body shielding me, when the maenad scratched me up he wasn’t the one to call the doctor for me, when I was stuck in Russell’s mansion with the physco after me he never came up with a plan to get us all out alive and when I went away for a year he never even attempted to buy my house for me even though his new position gave him the resources to do such a thing.” She rattled off the list of things Bill had never done for her. If it weren’t for Eric, and on occasion my Godric too, then Sookie would have died an awful long time ago.
The Viking was reliable, supportive and understanding. Yes he manipulated and withheld the truth on occasion, but he always had my cousin’s best interests and her survival at the forefront of his mind. I could feel Eric’s rejoice as Sookie came to terms with her feelings, as she began to understand that her relationship with Bill wasn’t as beautiful as she had thought it was initially. I could see her working out how many times Eric had been the one to save her, how many times Bill had let her down. “He started off our relationship as fake, and though to me it was real and always will be, he doesn’t deserve my affections any longer. He lost them a long time ago, and I blindly gave them to him. Eric earned them, and that’s a lot more valuable.” She came to her conclusion, and Eric was quick to scoop in for a passionate kiss, filled with his love and adoration for my little fae cousin.
I couldn’t help but feel proud at my cousin’s final epiphany. “What’s this little confession you have to make, Ata?” Khai spoke up, causing everyone in the room to look at me expectantly. Of course the vampires had overheard me speaking about my confession, but Sookie simply looked confused.
“I’m going to tell them.” I told her quietly, dropping my gaze for a moment. Using the Maker-Childe bonds I had forged thousands of years ago I summoned all of my children to me, and it took them no time at all to enter the living area of the penthouse and arrange themselves neatly around the room on many of the available surfaces.
Taking a deep breath, I felt my bonds with the vampires in the room fill with love and support; some of it even came from both Pam and Isabel, which surprised me even more. Godric’s arm around me tightened a little as he pulled me back to his chest, letting his solid frame support me physically and the emotions through our bond support me emotionally. “Back in my human days, my mother was involved with Marc Antony, as I’m sure many of you are aware of thanks to the history textbooks. Now, I don’t know if you believe everything you read anymore but he was not a nice man. He used to tell my brother and I that we were disappointments, that because of our fathers’ death we were no longer legitimate heirs. He used to call me all sorts of names because of my gift, and would make it a regular thing to try and bring my little brother and I down. He wanted to replace my daddy, and no one ever replaces my daddy.” I lifted my gaze from my lap to look up at everyone in the room, who were all politely giving me their full attention.
“He got too big for his boots one night, and after a particularly cruel week of tormenting, name calling and abuse I decided that enough was enough. I went down to the armoury where the guards stored our weapons, and took out my family khopesh. Nobility and my family were the only ones who usually used it, and on occasion the guards who defended our cities many temples would have their own versions to wield. I used my ability to sort of glamour human minds to sneak through the palace without anyone noticing or questioning me, and entered Marc’s room. There was a scuffle, and I lost hold of the khopesh. He had me against the wall by my throat, and I could practically feel him choking me to death. I instinctively reacted and grabbed his iron sword, which was leaning against the wall beside me, and I slammed it into his chest.” My voice dropped off, as did my gaze, which hit the floor. I checked all of my bonds – strong and weak – in order to gauge the reactions of everyone in the room. All were shocked and surprise apart from my bonded who was calm and collected.
“I returned to my room and my little brother, leaving Marc dead on the floor, only to be summoned to my mothers room a short while later. Caesarion and I entered and we found our mother, having apparently killed herself because she couldn’t live without Marc. I killed the man she loved, and she killed herself because of his death.” I murmured, knowing the vampires would hear me. “I was responsible for my mothers death.” I whispered, testing the words aloud in front of a crowd. Although it was out in the open now that my actions hadn’t been the cause of her death, I was still ashamed of my actions, and the guilt I had carried for my entire immortal existence.
Silence fell through the room as everyone processed my confession, and my children all seemed to be lost in thought. “But Russell killed your mother, not you.” Pam offered softly, in a tone I would have never expected from the blonde vampiress.
“I know, but for the past 2000 years I’ve carried around that guilt, thinking it was my fault that my mother died. Caesarion pretty much disowned me that night, and we didn’t speak to one another or see one another for 11 days. The next time I saw him he was flat on his back, with his eyes shut, on the embalmers table.” I hauled in my emotions, something I had learnt to do over the past 2000 years, and steeled myself for the onslaught of abuse from everyone in the room.
“Why didn’t you mention it to us, mother? We could have helped you carry the guilt, even though it wasn’t your fault.” Agmund asked quietly, crawling his way across the floor to sit at my feet, looking up at me. The angle he was sat at, and the tipping of my head towards the floor, meant that I was looking right into the eyes of one of my Viking children.
Taking a deep breath in, I slowly let it out again, focusing on Agmund. “I didn’t want any of you to think differently about me.” I threw my thoughts out there, shutting my eyes in a hope I wouldn’t have to witness the expressions on their faces when they realised I lied to them, that I did something so terrible that I was undeserving of their love and devotion.
I was suddenly bombarded with love, understanding, adoration, devotion and support from every angle, and I whimpered under the intensity of the emotions. A light breeze was the only warning I received before I was sat down on Agmund’s lap, all of my children nuzzling me from each side, offering comfort and support. Khai was sat in front of me, and he gently swept my bangs away from my eyes, allowing me to open them. “We could never think differently of you mother, you are a part of us and we are a part of you. We all knew what we were doing when we signed up for this, and we will always love you regardless of what you did, or in this case didn’t, do. We love you, you can feel that.” He reassured me gently, pushing his feelings through our bonds. Raising my hands, I traced the outline of the faces of each of my children, pulling each one in turn for a kiss to their foreheads.
“Gratias vobis ago.” I murmured to them all, stealing a glance to Sookie.
“I told you everything would be fine.” She stated quietly, and I gave her a small smile of acknowledgement that she was right and I was wrong. I would never say it out loud though, but she understood. Turning my attention to Godric, I felt sick with nerves, but the calm washing over me from him helped to soothe me.
“I already knew.” He whispered, holding his hand out to me. My boys helped me onto my feet before I took my bonded’s hand, allowing myself to be pulled down onto his lap where he comfortably tucked me against his slightly larger frame. Shocked that he already knew, I looked up to him with wide eyes. All of that worrying over nothing?
“Out in the corridor you were worried as to how I was going to take it, and as thoughts of me were involved I was able to see your side of the session with Sookie, able to witness everything that had transpired in the day that your mother had passed. I was there though when you held your mother, just before the embalmers came for her. It was your anguished cries that enabled me to overpower my Maker and kill him. I could smell an unfamiliar vampire nearby, so I assumed that they were the one to end your mother. To me it was the sort of thing a vampire would do, but of course you were unaware of our existence then, all you had to go on were the myths and legends.” He answered me solemnly, rubbing any available skin on my body that he could get his hands onto.
“Why didn’t you say anything, then or now? You could have come to me, shown yourself to me, shared your theory with me. Why didn’t you tell me when you got here that foul play was involved in my mothers passing, why did I have to find out from Russell?” I asked a multitude of questions, though none of them were asked in anger. The first half were done in pain – he had been near me and yet hadn’t come to me – and the second half were done in curiosity.
“I was afraid, worried about how you would react to my new state of being. I had nightmares about you no longer wanting me, and I couldn’t have lived with that. I figured that if you believed I’d died then you would get some closure, that you would be able to move on and not be stuck with someone who could only give you the nighttime, someone who was so young in vampiric terms that they were in need of much more blood than you could ever give. I didn’t want you to have to suffer.” He admitted, dropping a kiss to my temple.
“But we both suffered.” I reminded him gently as I felt a hand on my ankle.
Looking towards the large fingers, and the cool feeling against my skin, I smiled fondly at my new Childe’s offer of comfort. Pam and Isabel were silent, though I could feel light influxes of calm from them, as if they were expecting me to blow up like Mount Vesuvius at any moment.
A humourless laugh escaped the lips of my bonded, and he sighed in defeat. “Yes we did, and if I could go back to then knowing what I know now, I would reveal myself to you in a heartbeat, or at least spend the next 2000 years following you to ensure your safety, and our meeting much sooner.” His kiss to my temple started to migrate down my cheek, to my jawbone and down my neck, where butterfly kisses were placed, trying to make me giggle.
“You never answered my second question.” I pointed out, trying not to sound too breathless. Judging by the amused expression on Pam’s features, along with her usual smirk; I came to the conclusion that I was failing miserably.
“I never told you because I thought you already knew. I thought you figured it out a long time ago my darling. If I had of known sooner that you were carrying around that unnecessary guilt I would have told you the truth and helped to spare you from that burden.” His kisses stopped, and I was disappointed at the loss of such a pleasant feeling. Sensing my disappointment through our weak bond, Isabel laughed quietly.
We all fell into a comfortable silence for a few minutes, none of us moving. My boys were still all sat on the floor, and had each reached up to place a hand on me. With my eyes closed I missed the moment Isabel pulled a small box from her pocket, showing it quickly to Godric who nodded once before Isabel tucked the item away.
“There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there? You have many more layers.” Pam questioned quietly, breaking the silence. Lifting my head I opened my eyes and I looked up at the female vampire opposite me, thinking about just how much more there was to her as well. Glancing to Ari, my eldest, I could see the side of her that cared for him, the soft side that she so rarely showed. Moving my gaze to each of my children I could see the torment they had undergone over the years for me, because their dedication was much more than a promise to my mother. Our connections were based on strong foundations, there was more to our relationships and bonds than loyalty and blood. Shifting my eyes to Isabel I could see the devoted best friend, the companion of her Sheriff. I could see how proud she was, could see her tormented human life and how free she was in her vampiric life. I could see beneath the surface though that she was hurt, still upset that her human lover had been the cause of her Sheriff’s capture and Sookie’s almost rape. She was carrying that guilt like I had been carrying the guilt of my mothers passing and, like me, it wasn’t her guilt to carry. How was she to have known her human lover would have betrayed her in such a manner?
Looking to Sookie I could see a woman now – she’d been a young girl before but the supernatural world had forced her to grow up quickly. She’d grown so much over such a short period of time, and she was handling it far better than most. I could see the stubbornness, the thin layers of insecurity buried at the bottom, slowly crumbling as the man she sat beside made her feel better about herself, taught her how to love herself. Her bravery and dedication, loyalty and willingness to do anything to save another set her out from the rest of the women I had ever met in my entire life. In Eric I could see the calm and collected Sheriff, the political mastermind, the plotter and the strategist. I could see the soft underbelly to him though, the little area where Sookie had nestled herself into. I could see the warrior, the fighter and the man at war with his emotions. I could see him embracing some emotions and holding back on others for the time being. I could see the man behind the ‘monster.’
Finally I turned to look at my Godric, my bonded, my chosen companion for the rest of eternity. In him I could see the survivor too, the man who had seen far more than any man should. I could see the small layer of sadness, the desolation he had felt when he had been up on that rooftop, willing to burn. I could see his closely guarded nature, his well thought out choice of words and his honour towards promises and those worthy of such a gift. I could see the man who had beaten the odds, flourished when he should have died, embraced his new life rather than detested it. I could see the vicious and cold killer, the vampire who had murdered and maimed for thousands of years, and yet I wasn’t put off by it in the slightest. It was all part of him, all of these layers, just like they were a part of everyone else in the room.
Turning back to Pam I wondered for a brief moment what she saw in me, what they all saw in me, but I realised that it wasn’t for us all to know. We weren’t meant to know ourselves so well, because then we would never surprise ourselves, and those were always the best kinds of surprises. It was like riding a bike. You haven’t been on one in years and yet the moment you get back on the saddle you can remember perfectly well how to ride it, and yet it still surprises you. Offering Pam a smile, I laughed quietly. “There are many layers to each of us, more to learn about one another. I have a theory that perhaps, maybe, our blood bonds are enabling us all to understand one another better, to get to know how one another ticks. I think it will be important over the next few days.” I admitted quietly. The room fell into silence once again for a few minutes, and my bonds with everyone present were alive and manic, emotions and thoughts flying everywhere. Eventually everyone settled though, and I could focus solely on my own emotions and myself. Analysing them, I found something that surprised me.
“I’m frightened, Ata.” Sookie confessed, causing us all to turn and look at her. She was curled up against Eric, buried into his side, and the worry on her features more than likely matched my own. Eric was soothing her with softly spoken terms of endearment in his native tongue, and the way his hands ghosted over her hair, stroking her to soothe her, even helped soothe me.
Deciding to be more forthcoming with my secrets, because if they were out in the open they could no longer hurt me – and I could be supported with them as Sookie had been supported when she had spoken out about her uncle – I took a leap of faith. “So am I Sook. So am I.”
Jag skulle älska ingenting mer, min son (Swedish) = I would love nothing more, my son
Gratias vobis ago (Latin) = I enact thanks to you all