Eric paced the familiar confines of Godric’s office.
Since the night his part on that bloody show had finally ended, things had simply gotten out of hand. That such a state was the norm where his Maker and his Royal Sibling were concerned wasn’t the point.
This was different.
Now, instead of having to deal with incompetent show runners, writers, and directors, he had to deal with Fairies and Demons…and the Sookie Situation.
He checked his watch again and snarled quietly when he saw that only a quarter of a minute had elapsed.
It had been a week and a half since the conference call with The Cowardly Informant had taken place but at least quantifiable progress had been made in the past week thanks to Sookie’s bright idea and the then forthcoming auspices of one Dae attorney.
When their usual sources had proven useless, they had quickly realized that they would need to look elsewhere for relevant information.
Vampires did not routinely deal with the Fae – the species was all-but considered a literal fairy tale considering how few tended to visit the Earthly Realm and how well the remaining hybrids hid themselves – so their many undead contacts had proven useless. Whether that uselessness was entirely true or somewhat feigned was debatable considering that all communications had been via phone or v-conference.
Shifters tended to be an insular lot at the best of times…and also tended to have bad memories at the best of times…, so their even fewer two-natured contacts had been just as useless.
Eric had been thoroughly enjoying his time with Sookie – the honeymoon phase was no exaggeration, but the wait to end Breandon had been wearing on his nerves. He was a vampire of action, a Viking for fuck’s sake, and sitting around waiting on anything – news, opportunity…anything, was especially taxing.
But then Godric…and Sookie…had stepped in.
No matter how involved everyone seemed to be “in their own lives”, Godric felt everyone relevant should meet for however short a time once in the late evening to hear Niall’s most recent report from his home realm. As the old goat rarely had news of any importance to impart, the meetings were usually short and everyone could resume their favored activities.
That night’s meeting had been no different…at first.
After having observed Stan grumping about in righteous boredom for a solid seven minutes – the Dear Royal Brat had already cleared his desk of several months’ work, business, agendas, and had even changed the oil in every vehicle in the Royal Fleet himself the night before – Godric had asked in his benign way, “If you want information about the Dae, why not ask…a Dae?”
Sookie, who had been sitting somewhat dejectedly on Eric’s lap, had stood up to pace until suddenly stopping with her head cocked to the left in strong contemplation. She asked Niall, “What about my godfather Desmond? He’s as Dae as they come and surely he would be willing to help. He knows everybody.”
Eric flicked his gaze to his Maker then back to her. “Desmond Cataliades? He’s my attorney…,” he had proclaimed, then continued with a truly feral grin, “and as such, he would be bound by confidentiality clauses.”
Godric had then nodded, his expression pleased in a rather frightening manner.
Pam, Eric remembered, had jumped up from her chair seat and clapped her hands with an “Oh, goodie!”
Curiously, and thankfully considering how very aggravating he could be when bored, within seconds Stan had reverted into his King Richard mode as he shed the overblown mantle of ennui.
It seemed as though the lack of progress had gotten on everyone’s nerves more than he’d realized.
Three minutes later a highly rewarding conversation took place in the Ancient’s office with Niall nodding toward the camera as though he himself had offered the suggestion.
For his part, Eric could have kicked himself for not having contacted the old demon earlier, but he had – rightly, as everyone had assured him thereafter – wanted to keep the situation under wraps.
If word had spread to any of their enemies…
The threat to Sookie, and therefore the Monarchy of Texas, would be seen as a weakness by enemies of not just the Monarchy but by anyone wanting to attack Eric or Godric, too. Also, logically, the fewer who were aware of Sookie’s current location, the better, and Eric suspected that Niall’s security was more at risk than the old Fairy cared to admit.
Calling upon his old acquaintance had been a risk…calculated, of course, but it had still been a risk.
He was relieved that it had paid off so well.
Desmond Cataliades…his go-to guy wasn’t simply an attorney although he excelled at his craft. He was also an extremely competent dae-of-all-trades with his dae fingers in many pots and his dae ears open to the voices of many, and his dae nose could sniff out lies and misdirections…like a demon.
He knew people – usually of the Dae and other persuasion but had some human contacts sprinkled in here and there – in places high, low, and in-between.
And these friends usually proved rather useful. During the past week since being contacted, Cataliades had sourced, verified, and triple-checked more intel than they had known they would need.
Godric’s tandem suspicions had not only proven to be spot on as usual, but the information gained had allowed them to form their final strategies on several fronts.
Even with his web of spies and true friends, however, it had taken Cataliades a while to flesh out hints, snippets, tales, and stories which he would weave into highly detailed progress reports forwarded in real time as they coalesced and discussed nightly with the group via Skype.
The informant had, to no one’s great surprise, gone deep underground after the video conference, an action Eric actually considered wise given the male’s less than brave temperament combined with his fear of his relative. But, in the way of the Dae, Cataliades had managed to not only locate him, but had quickly thereafter also managed to “secure the full and complete cooperation” of the male’s feared half-brother Eugenios.
No one had asked Cataliades how he had managed to “secure” the older Dae’s “full and complete cooperation” but the malicious gleam in his eyes had been a sight to behold…from a safe Skype-distance away, of course.
The surprisingly ancient demon godfather had been coldly furious when he’d learned about the threat to Sookie. Although he had spent considerably less time around his goddaughter in the past couple centuries, during her childhood she had been a fixture upon his knee when Niall would visit Fairy enclaves in The Old World, and later he had helped Sookie better wield her mental powers that had been increased as a direct result of his blood.
Needless to say, the demon was…irate.
After bringing him in on the situation, the nightly briefings that had been boring disappointments now had bite. Normally attended by the relevant parties…which definitely included Sookie, he thought with chagrin…the information exchanged and expanded sometimes infuriated all involved.
A time or two, or three, the meetings had devolved into snarl-filled chaos – but who could blame him? His mate was the one being threatened and until Breandon stopped with the cowardly hiding in the various Fairy Realms and became accessible, his hands were fucking tied!
The tow-headed brat’s increasingly frequent threats to muzzle him hadn’t helped…or rather, had helped far more than he cared to admit. Richard – said brat’s royal persona – understood the severity of the situation and had taken all available precautions (and had invented several others) but his Stan side could – and did – deserve a right good pummeling every now and then.
Not that he ever truly gave into the urge. In his heart the Viking recognized Stan’s attention-diverting ploys for the oddly deescalating strategies that they were but a good-natured (and easily avoided) cuff to the ear every now and then was required, right?
And because they were of mostly equal size and build it wasn’t as though he was taking untoward advantage of the brat…right?
Naturally both Siblings took comfort in the knowledge that their mutual Maker wouldn’t allow either to in fact harm the other, so every now and then they would allow themselves the luxury of an all-out, room-destroying, some-holds-barred brawl.
Chairs, communication devices, conference tables, and the rare wall would suffer, but bones and dignity never did.
When such diversionary tactics were unofficially employed to help Eric blow off steam (and because Richard would devolve into Stan to help his Brother out…and because Stan genuinely liked to scuffle), Sookie would roll her eyes and pop to the Fairy Wing or back to the quarters she now shared with Eric. Pam and Niall would roll their own eyes in disconcerting unison before leaving for saner grounds.
A droll “Go get’em, tiger” could sometimes be heard during the mass exodus.
Godric would linger in his role as “advisor”, mostly to advise when playtime was up while scanning back over the reports sent over by the demon, then return to his own devices which, to Eric’s amusement, still included the Fae Claudine.
Eric had no illusions of any permanence brewing between the couple as neither truly wished to change their current single (Godric) or waiting-to-breed (Claudine) status but was glad that the two could find “pleasure” in the other’s “company”.
Coming to a stop, Eric leaned against Godric’s desk as he contemplated the extraordinary amount of “pleasure” he found in Sookie’s “company”. Although there had never been a time since her arrival in this realm that she had been otherwise, he still relished the knowledge that she had officially moved into his quarters.
The physical part of their relationship was as intensely passionate as he could possibly wish now that they had finally gotten past the “getting to know ya” stage, but the other parts had suffered a few very minor hiccups here and there.
He would certainly never try to keep her out of loops that involved her again, thank you very much, and whenever possible she would tone down her almost naive desire to act first and think later.
Neither of them was especially skillful when it came to the foreign concept of “compromise”…but as each was slowly learning, long-lasting relationships required more than body parts.
Eric’s fangs throbbed at the memory of how much tastier some body parts were than others…then fully descended in strong frustration because his head could currently still be between her lovely thighs if not for this fucking Breandon bullshit.
Physical accord was certainly not one of their problems yet the threats to his beloved seemed to affect every part of his new life with her – but having to wait for the coward to get his ass back to the Earth Realm so he could rend him limb from limb was the most maddeningly infuriating part.
His expression then sobered somewhat.
The situation was causing an even more significant delay.
Their first blood exchange had been mostly accidental; their second had not. The third and final exchange, however…
To his delight and extreme relief, Sookie had not been the least bit angry when they had exchanged blood the first night they had officially shared what had been his quarters.
Her ability to mask her delicious scent was on par with Niall’s, but so was her ability to teleport wherever she wanted to be. Her deliciously persuasive desire to officially share his bed and his quarters overrode any potential safety precautions he may have thought of raising had they discussed the move more thoroughly.
Somehow his “I wish you were here,” said quietly over the house phone during the early morning hours before letting his dayrest overcome him had resulted in an almost instantaneous pop with a whispered “Here I am” behind him. When he had turned around, there she stood in the living room of his quarters…surrounded by all her trunks, bags, valises, cases, and eight fluffy pillows.
In the following excitement and atop most of those pillows, passions had flowed…and so had their mutual blood.
The next night, after having explained all he knew about blood, blood sharing, and bonding, the exchange had been far more planned and even more…electrifying.
Unfortunately, however, that third and final bond would have to wait.
To her impatience and frankly his own, he refused to take that final step until her safety was assured, until he could be certain her decision to permanently bond with him was driven by nothing more than her desire to be with him for as long as time allowed.
The waiting was taking an odd toll on his patience. Never before would he have guessed that the night would come when he would actively wish to permanently bond with anyone…ever. The entire process invited an illogical weakness into his existence – an attack on her would be an attack on him, and if her life were ended, so then would most of his. His body might well continue on but would lack the majority of his vampire soul, and a vampire missing that part of themselves was as good as dead.
Yet here he was fighting the urge to pace with agitated impatience to end the situation which was not only putting her life at extreme risk but which was holding up performing the final bond.
For having only known her for such a short period of time – less than a month had passed, for Odin’s sake…but he couldn’t imagine a life without her. She simply felt…right.
Yes, things had definitely gotten out of hand since that bloody show had ended.
He straightened up when he heard his Maker and his Royal Brat of a Brother approach the door.
A glance at his watch proved that the time for their nightly scheduled meeting with Cataliades was quickly approaching and knew that Sookie and Niall would pop in after dining with the rest of their party.
Pam would be along whenever she decided her presence was needed. Thankfully she seemed to get along well with Sookie, but then, their interaction had been mostly limited.
The smug grin returned to his face as he considered why.
Once the Siblings and their Maker had taken their seats, as usual they rehashed the information gained during previous meetings. In the past such sessions had served to spark new theories and ideas, many of which had led to revised plans and better tactics.
“So the informant’s much older half-brother Eugenios is a small-time player to The Hexarchy of controlling Dae family units but is a big deal to his own extended family. He and some of his buddies in their sector do not want vampires – much less the Dae – to go public and they don’t particularly like the Fae, so without approval from The Hex they decided to mess with the talking suits over the show.” Stan paused to check with Godric and Eric. In the end he had chosen to have nothing to do with that series – running a mostly-accidentally-acquired kingdom had been a little more time-consuming than he’d thought…or liked – and by the time the last couple seasons had rolled around, he’d been glad to not be associated with what had turned into a joke of a show. But, because of his lack of experience with it, he looked to Eric and Godric when anything about the show came up in conversation.
“In the end this little sub-set of demons not only made the Fairies look like idiots, but they also managed to nix any mention of their existence.”
Godric nodded. That was exactly what he had suspected. The words spoken by the informant had sparked the thought that it may have been Dae interference causing problems with at least the show, and Cataliades’ well-sourced information had proven it beyond any doubt. Conversations with Niall had revealed that the Fae had been enacting their own agenda with that twit of a writer.
His musings were interrupted by Stan’s voice.
“Now, why would the informant, presumably through ties with his half-brother, know about happenings in the Fairy Realm? Barring generic inter species rivalries, how are the Fae any business of theirs? In what way are the Dae tied to the Fae?”
“All I can say is that the Dae can play in a way with the Fae in May,” sang Pam as she entered the room with a ballerina-esque flourish. Then, before anyone could roll their eyes at her bad rhyming abilities, she added as she sat next to The Royal Uncle, “Is it that the demons are concerned with the fairies, or that the fairies have involved the demons? Which party would have more to gain from working with the other?”
“In the end and perhaps regarding the situation with Sookie, that is the question, isn’t it?”
He eased up from his desk chair to slowly pace the room.
“As far as Desmond has been able to discover, The Hexarchy as a whole has no issue with any other species. Inters-pecies squabbles abound as they always do, but there are currently no species-wide agendas against any others. Even the actions taken against that writer and show,” he waived his hand in the air negligently, “were understandable. Annoying and interfering, yes, but even so, they were understandable given the species of the groups responsible. The WVL has been informed; they can do with the information as they will.”
Godric stopped to regard his gathered vampires.
“What interests me is why this Eugenios’s group would know of happenings in the fairy’s realm and, without The Hexarchy’s approval, why would they want to? What does this group have to gain from the fairies or… what would the fairies have to gain from interaction with a demon-based group? Why was this information so unsecured that the demon’s much younger half-brother would have had access to it? Who all is involved? Are they in any way connected to the current threat to our Sookie or, possibly, Niall? What plots are these and how far do they reach?”
**A/N: So…what did you think?**