Sookie woke up early the next afternoon, and instead of hopping out of bed and getting a quick start to her day, she chose to stay between the silky warm covers for a while longer.
Daydreaming had never been too much a part of her life. There had always been too much to see and do, too many tides of future courses to direct, too much fun to have to waste time sitting still and playing in your own mind.
Other people’s minds were much more fun.
Today, however, she chose to blame the new sleeping times for her relaxed approach to life.
She acknowledged with a grimace, that for the most part, she had no cause to be relaxed. When one is being hunted by an insane wannabe incestuous bastard and his foaming band of rabid followers, lazing about all afternoon in bed wasn’t generally the best way to deal with them.
There was something about this place, however, that allowed Sookie to breathe a little easier. She knew in large part it was due to having formed an understanding with Eric, but it was something else, too.
It was probably the protective measures his sibling had enacted over the entire property, she decided.
No fairies could pop in or out. While the protections didn’t affect her and Niall as their powers were far stronger than the metallurgy and wards were meant to control – something she didn’t feel the need to tell anyone save Eric if it happened to come up, it did stop the others in her party.
That was a bonus.
She rolled over to her other side and cuddled into her pillows, and all too soon the worries returned.
Niall’s condition scared her. His magical signature was as strong as always, but there was a distressing aura about his face and the way he carried himself of late that was…concerning.
For all intents and purposes, it appeared as though the pureblood fairy was aging!
Niall couldn’t get old, the child in her heart declared. From the time her memories of him had first formed, he had always been filled with vitality – a slightly eccentric powerhouse of curiosity, opinions, of action led by personality and time-earned knowledge.
Niall had always been honest in his benevolent favoritism toward those of his line with the most and best use of their power. To Preston’s dissatisfaction he had named her his Successor, and it wasn’t solely because she was his favorite relative. She was even stronger in some ways than her pureblood grandfather, a fact that gave him much glee.
Of course then Breandon had to start his illogical shit. If ever there was a person she wished her thoughts could end, it would be that bastard.
Maybe the appearance of age was simply a temporary result of all the worry associated with Breandon and his ilk? Now that Eric and the vampires – powerful vampires Niall truly respected even if it would hurt him to say so – had been brought on board, perhaps the lessening of that weight would allow her grandfather’s shoulders to rise once again. He had always had such impressive posture and would never have allowed himself to even appear to bow under pressure.
Yes, she decided, Niall wasn’t really aging; he was only concerned.
Discontent, she tossed back to her other side.
The vampires as a group had been an enormous surprise. Stan or Richard, whichever persona he happened to be wearing at that moment, was a joy to behold. She secretly suspected the King had far more depth than he wished others to note, and also suspected that his ways (somewhat purposefully) drove Eric mad on occasion.
She couldn’t wait to drive Eric mad herself…and there would be nothing “rare” about the occasions either!
He was every bit the forceful personality she had suspected from her previous encounters and was glad to know her suspicions of him had proven correct.
Suspicions…hopes…sometimes a rose of the same color…
There was a loving, protective side to him that warmed her heart while everything about his handsome body warmed her…core.
His talented hands and lips, and that tongue…such bespoke much experience honed throughout the centuries in the true art of mating, and she pouted that the time for such wasn’t yet upon them. She was ready, more than ready, to ride him nightly until both collapsed in extreme bliss, but she owed him the chance to know her far better before taking that step.
A fairy mating was, indeed, a life-changing event for all involved.
Plus she wanted time to bring his vampire daughter to her side as well. This Pam was a blast! Sookie had thoroughly enjoyed watching the sword play between Pam and the nutty King, had expertly noted the Child’s strategic skills in both attacking and defending, and had been rightfully impressed.
She had easily seen beyond the Child’s pouting manner to the woman concerned about her family, and had heartily approved of the Uncle’s method of calming reassurance. They were such fun to watch from the sensual comfort of her Eric’s lap.
The Maker…now that was an interesting individual. She had enjoyed quietly observing him from her comfortable position.
She had known of Eric’s close relationship with his Maker from the time spent on that dreadful show, had known in a vague sense from centuries of fairy-gossip that his Maker was a fine example of what a good Master should be.
His intelligence, his power, even his temper were known by the royalty in the Fairy Realm just as by those in vampire circles.
The better she came to know Godric in person, however, the more tempted she became to slow-roast that inebriated old sow for foisting something like Appius off on her beloved Eric. The mere idea was unspeakably insulting to the likes of both Eric and Godric!
A secret smile tugged at her lips as she recalled the dark intensity in the ancient being’s vastly experienced eyes. While she had never cheated on anyone she happened to be in a relationship with, and while she would never even think to cheat on Eric now that she finally had him, a few choice if naughty thoughts never hurt a person, did they?
She snuggled back into her soft coverings and as she slowly drifted back to sleep, however, it was thoughts of Eric’s strong arms, talented hands, and endless blue eyes that caused her smile.
An hour or so later a soft knocking at her door jarred Sookie awake, and with relief she read the person’s signature and knew it to be Claudine. From her bed she waived the door unlocked and open, and stretched when her cousin entered the room.
“Well look at you still slug-a-bed,” her cousin teased lightly.
Sookie patted the side of the bed and scooted over so the other woman could sit.
“And your point,” she replied drowsily. At that moment another knock sounded, and after a brief mind-check, she allowed Gelsey to enter as well. Claudine raised curious brows when Sookie mumbled something about Grand Central Station, but obligingly moved so her blonde cousin could slowly leave the bed.
She invited them to have a seat at the table in the other room while she tended to her needs, then popped a full breakfast onto the nearby sideboard when she returned.
The scene before her held a comforting sense of familiarity.
Once everyone had their plates and cups filled, for all her apparent shyness Claudine, as usual, went straight to the point.
“Is this Eric everything you had hoped he would be?”
Both ladies tittered obligingly when Sookie blushed even as she grinned broadly.
The Quizzing by her beloved Inner Circle had begun.
“Oh, yes, he’s everything I had hoped and more.”
Claudine giggled happily while Sookie sipped her coffee.
“Do tell,” enjoined her guard who was still slightly miffed at her latest escapade.
In an effort to soothe the woman’s rightfully ruffled feathers and to extol the virtues of the vampire in her heart, Sookie did.
Pam rose the next afternoon fully intending to pick her Kingly Uncle’s brains about these fairies and whatnot. She could absolutely trust Godric’s word in all things, but sometimes Stan would notice minutia and think to tell her about it where others might not. Some of them still considered her a baby vamp…but considering their greatly advanced age, to them she guessed she was. But first her quarters required immediate attention…
That morning she hadn’t felt it necessary to delay going into her dayrest simply to look for Stan’s latest fuckery. Something had been changed but she couldn’t immediately find what it was, which of course was the entire point. These versions of his “use your vampire senses to figure out what the hell I did” games never edged toward the dangerous, just the annoying…and sometimes messy, but that’s what the maids were for.
Now clad in her “kittens and puppies playing with skulls and femurs” sleeping costume complete with fluffy bunny slippers and fluffy silk-lined robe, she stood immobile in the middle of her bedroom and sniffed.
If an attentive visual survey didn’t reveal anything quickly, sniffing while continuing to look was always the next option. Then would come listening…
As a member of The Royal Family of Texas – how she adored placing the proper emphasis on the proper words – she naturally had her own lavish quarters in the Family Home…which she visited often enough to warrant having her own place reserved anyway.
Her grandMaker always kept the best blood on hand, not to mention the living sweet and savory selections, erm, paid donors her Uncle made available.
Pam surveyed the sumptuous decor and freely admitted that she was most generously spoiled by her Maker, her grandMaker, and her Royal Uncle alike, and why shouldn’t she be? She was usually kind to non-smelly vampire guests and to cats of all breeds!
She focused her inhalations in another direction as she began fluffing away the irritating flat place that resting immobile in her daysleep usually left in her hair.
Stan didn’t always tinker with something in her quarters (for the sole purpose of sharpening her focusing and discernment skills, of course…), but it wasn’t at all uncommon, either. She would love to insult his purpose in doing so by calling him The Royal Brat, but she knew him better than that.
Unlike her esteemed Maker, she didn’t automatically discredit Stan’s actions as those of an annoying ankle-biter. Eric tended to see him as a juvenile troublemaker who never took anything very serious for long, but she knew that wasn’t the case, at least, not normally. He was far more serious and devious than he wanted people to realize, thereby proving that he was every bit the vampire his older Sibling would have wanted.
The brat persona was just that – a persona. That he was also an innately, and inanely, curious and enthusiastic person was added flavoring to that facade.
He also cared enough about the members of his “family” to pick stupid sword fights to help them blow off steam and tinker with something in their room to keep them on their vampy little toes.
Three minutes passed and she still hadn’t scented out what he had done. Her impatience was mounting which was not helping the situation.
Fucker was sly, she’d give him that. She slowly made her way around the room deliberately sniffing the air
She needed to dress and then go raid her grandMaker’s better blood supply before officially starting her day. She fairies to sniff and Daddy’s New Girlfriend to interrogate – she just did not have time for Stan’s Games right now!
Something tingled in her gut as she neared her nail polish cabinet. She bent to sniff at the gold handle, and sure enough caught a whiff of Stan’s faint scent.
The fucker must have been wearing gloves…
With utmost caution she moved to the side and slowly opened the door – he was known for spring-loaded surprises (the last time had involved an overabundance of baby powder of all things), and when nothing happened, she peeked around into the overstocked interior.
Nothing seemed to have been disturbed which was disturbing in itself. After carefully combing through the numerous contents twice, she cursed Stan’s dedication to honing her vampire skills even though she knew it was for her own benefit.
Twenty minutes later she triumphantly began changing clothes. She had finally found the little shit’s “Gotcha” message hand printed, one minuscule letter per bottle, on the bottom of six containers.
He had chosen only variations of peach at that.
At least The Royal Brat had good taste.
Pam exited her quarters and was joined halfway to her grandMaker’s office by the blur that was her Maker.
“Going to raid your grandMaker’s blood supply?” Eric could feel both the waking hunger and the curiosity rolling off his child and naturally proceeded to tease her a bit. That he was also en route to lightening his Maker’s load of stored blood wasn’t mentioned.
He had the same refined supply in his own chambers but Dad’s was always better…and he wanted to spend some time alone with his child.
Eric had gone into his daysleep with thoughts of Sookie weighing delightfully on his mind, but had also been vaguely concerned about how she and Pam would truly get along.
Thus far things had seemed to go well, but he would take no chances. The two woman who occupied his heart…
“Of course,” she replied, her heels clicking steadily down the hall. “The same as you,” she added knowingly. “GrandMaker always keeps the best supply on hand.”
Eric snorted in agreement. Here the Palace was filled with well-treated, well-compensated (and quite sexually ambitious for the most part) donors and his Maker generally preferred to drink from…containers. More convenient and less hassle than dealing with humans, he had calmly explained more than once.
Pam unknowingly echoed Eric’s thoughts. “More convenient and less hassle than dealing with humans, as he’s said often enough. And I guess he’s right,” she conceded with a moue. “Sometimes even I don’t feel like bothering with breathers.”
“Same here,” he agreed thoughtfully.
Before meeting and promptly falling under Sookie’s spell, he wouldn’t have minded going a couple of rounds with a tasty trio to start his night off right, had in fact stopped to do just that en route to the Texas palace, but in the mere blink of an eye, all that had changed. He acknowledged with a wry smile that he wasn’t even bothered by the fact that it didn’t bother him.
Keeping her eyes sternly focused on their path, a few moment slater Pam stated softly, neutrally, “Our nights of exchanging twins and triplets are pretty much over now, aren’t they.”
It wasn’t a question.
Feeling a strange prick behind his eyes, Eric replied equally quietly, “It looks that way.”
After a slight delay and a barely audible swallow, Pam quipped with appropriate snark, “Well, then, more for me.”
“Remember your raising – only the tastiest of the limber ones will do.”
“Of course,” she sniffed disdainfully, and if the sniff was a bit less for show than the norm, no one mentioned it.
**A/N: Now I’m feeling a bit teary myself! What did you think?**