**A/N: This chapter was finalized during a pre-migraine that went full-on “street sweeper/jackhammer + burning-ball-of-pain in my head” migraine, so please ignore any/all mistakes. I’d have waited, but hell, it’s been forever since the last chapter, and I’m really excited (well, when the thump-thump-thump in my head isn’t, well, thumping) about one part of this…you’ll see. Hope it’s legible…**
The rest of the week was spent preparing for The Fairy Invasion, the term being assigned by Godric himself. Stan spent a total of eleven seconds expressing his miff that no one liked his name for the incoming Fae contingent: The Visitors.
Eric had cuffed his head for the suggestion, which had naturally led to an enthusiastic round of Floor War. Godric was simply glad that they were in the Palace’s spacious ballroom, and with an eye-roll left them to their play.
As the ancient vampire paced through different sections of the Palace ensuring that Fairy-proof barriers had been erected to protect sensitive areas (sleeping quarters, control centers, and the vampires’ more public blood-storage ‘kitchen’), he thought about his reaction to his youngest Child’s enthusiasm for the upcoming Invasion.
Shame lightly clouded his heart when he realized that he was, in fact, jealous of his Son’s less jaded outlook on life. Granted his Youngest was many centuries younger than his own vast accumulation of years, but that was no excuse to rob the Child of his joy.
It made sense, he guessed, to envy someone the ability to experience something new when, in his life, everything under the moon was old, tired, or rife with known hazards…but that was not Stan’s fault.
While this was an incredible opportunity to teach his Child more about defensive measures, offensive tactics, and strategies for seeing through lies, tricks, and manipulations, it was also a chance for him to step back and simply take joy in a child’s delight.
Also, the longer his Child existed, the fewer chances he would have to experience something new, something captivating, and he would do well to allow Stan the beauty inherent in discovery and fascination for as long as he could. His world would turn dreary far too quickly as it was.
He resolved to do better…and promptly ordered more wards erected by the Palace’s overly-compensated witch.
Apparently their upcoming “guests” were supposedly able to mask their alluring scent…but considering Godric’s well-earned distrust of the Fae species on a good night, he decided a bit of extra security along those lines never hurt anyone. He added “Create a Fairy Scent-Masking Spell” to the witch’s orders.
Never trust a Fairy…
Stan’s enthusiasm never waned, which gleefully irritated his Older Brother. Both, however, were mildly surprised by Godric’s increased tolerance for his Youngest’s tendencies, although that certainly didn’t mean they stopped with the cautions and clues, however.
Godric, and Eric to a lesser extent due to his lesser knowledge of the fair species, continued with their attempts to impress upon the tall tow-headed King that Fairies Were Not To Be Trusted In Any Capacity. Godric, true to his alliteration problem, would lightly insist that Fairies were fickle, flighty (somewhat literally), and ferocious when riled.
That they also smelled like vampire candy but blatantly (if somewhat understandably) begrudged anyone a bite of themselves was also a bone, well, blood of contention.
Not even a sample…
Their warnings didn’t exactly work. Stan had always been a brilliant and curious creature, quick to appreciate new knowledge and experiences, and impossible to dissuade once a course had been set – a trait Eric simply called “pure bullheadedness”.
To his irritation, chagrin, and secret pride, he wasn’t entirely wrong.
And so their attempts turned from dissuading to informing. The brat might be determined to know more about this new-to-him species, but at least they could ensure that he stepped into the Fairy-mire with eyes wide open.
Stan, of course, listened to his wiser and more experienced elders with both ears, but naturally didn’t disclose this fact in too much detail. If his apparent “disinclination toward caution” proved to be a bit of a thorn in Eric’s paw, all the better.
What was the point in being a “little brother” if not to annoy?
Regardless, the preparations continued.
Sagely, Eric and Godric chose to approach the encroachment with a satisfactory amount of dread. While Stan was, of course, the King whose word was law, he, being both wise and rather lazy, had immediately proclaimed that His Brother Eric’s word was also law.
Godric, to the Ancient’s chagrin, had long ago been appointed King In Stead (most vampires lost their sense of humor when Turned, it seemed, however some still got the joke), and while Stan ensured the upcoming comfort and safety of the upcoming Visitors, Godric, with Eric by his side, ensured the safety and protection of the vampires from The Fairy Invasion.
All hoped their efforts would suffice in the end. A Vampire/Fairy war might prove delicious, but no one wanted such an escalation.
There were yet far too many mysteries involving The Twit and The Fairy Agenda to solve.
Patience was, ostensibly, a virtue.
Eric paced the confines of his quarters. It was Friday afternoon and within hours The Fairy Invasion would commence, and he was not looking forward to it. He was rather glad that Pam wasn’t around…yet. With her snark, tendencies, and appetite, things could go pear shaped in an instant.
At least it would be amusing.
The past few nights had been spent making, changing, discarding, and making new plans on how to deal with the flighty little snots. There had been no further communications from the wily old man as to the reason for their visit, but at least there had been no further expectations of pomp and ceremony, either.
Some vampires, of course, loved their pomp and circumstance. Ceremonial crap was the blood of their existence, especially the older ones.
Eric, and thankfully Godric, too, favored a far less over-blown existence.
The Viking preferred his jeans, boots, and t-shirts on a normal night, had a secret affinity for what Pam called “lounge wear” when staying in, and, although he would admit it with just the right touch of mock humility, he knew he looked rather dashing in a tux.
But ceremonies for Fairies? He thought not.
It was enough that they were expected to provide “safe and proper” housing for them in the Palace – literally, to Eric’s thinking, in the lion’s den as both lions and vampires had fangs of a sort and a taste for blood…of a sort.
Damn…he needed to focus.
He paced faster. Eric knew Godric would present himself well – either nothing at all untoward would happen or he’d take them all out in one fell and bloody swoop and grin afterward. He worried about the tow-headed brat, however. That level of fascination and enthusiasm just wasn’t healthy.
They were vampires, damn it – they weren’t supposed to be enthusiastic! Enigmatic, focused, bored…yes. Enthusiastic? No!
Eric felt as though he had failed in teaching the brat how to fucking vampire. He’d have to redouble his efforts, it seemed.
Godric paced the confines of his quarters. The Damn Fairies were coming that evening and he still wasn’t exactly sure of the point of their visit. Niall’s purposeful ambiguity did not settle well with him.
So what if the old goat wasn’t perfectly happy with the way his kind were represented on that stupid show! Hell, he himself wasn’t happy with most of what The Powers That Didn’t had chosen to include about vampires, but there wasn’t fuck-all he could do about it, not now!
It still rankled that his attempts to “guide” The Twit had somehow been thwarted…and he couldn’t help but wonder how much The Damn Fairies had to do with that. It certainly wouldn’t surprise him.
What the fuck was he expected to do with a finicky flock of fantastically fragranced fucking Fairies?
The ancient vampire smirked at himself. When perturbed, his penchant for multi-lingual alliteration would sometimes come through, but at least it was rather amusing.
Fucking Niall…that old bastard had to have something up his sleeve to willingly thrust himself and “his heirs” into the presence of their genetic arch-enemies.
Godric fully expected them to come flouncing in, make a big, useless fuss over whatever it was they’d found to bitch about, then flounce back out miffed over something inane and superfluous.
All show, no depth…fucking Fairies.
Stan paced the confines of his quarters. He knew Eric, and to a lesser extent his Maker, considered his fascination with the Fairies unworthy of his time, but so what!
They were Fairies!
As he wasn’t encumbered with memories of fighting them or dealing with their sneaky tendencies, they were an enigma to him, an enigma he wanted to solve.
Well, and taste, too, but that was beside the point.
Godric and Big Bro had both warned him about their delicious scent and seductively attractive appearance, and that had only tweaked his curiosity.
What else could they expect? Pretty, tasty, and sly – what wasn’t to like?
At the appointed time, 8:30 pm, they gathered at the appointed place, the helipad atop the Palace. It had been decided through a quickly-sent missive (from Godric to Niall whose lack of response implied agreement) that it would be safer for all concerned if the initial meeting should occur outdoors. An enormous tent had been erected for both privacy and protection from the elements should the weather prove temperamental.
Once atop the building, Eric and Godric immediately assumed their time-tested stances of stoic alertness – feet planted firmly apart, arms crossed, and faces appropriately devoid of expression.
Stan, for once (according to Eric) chose to act like a proper vampire by mirroring their strongly alert stance. With mild rancor, Eric might also reluctantly admit that Stan’s previous preparations had also been appropriate for a vampire.
He had ordered his most qualified guards to patrol the perimeter of the helipad rooftop, alert to any threat to either species, and more guards were stationed atop other buildings in the Palace’s compound.
It should be stated, however, that as absolutely known by his Maker and barely acknowledged by his Older Brother, Stan was no fool.
While he was genuinely interested in learning about another species and culture and whatnot, he was also concerned about the safety of not only his immediate family, but the vampires in his kingdom as a whole. The Visitors would need to be protected, naturally, but he couldn’t escape the idea that perhaps his vampires might need to be protected from those Visitors. To that end, all guards now carried both silver and iron weaponry and hardware.
Eric and Godric knew of these measures, and approved.
Perhaps the tow-headed brat did possess a grain of common sense after all… The Viking’s approval had been appropriately grudging, but when he had found out about these other measures, he had nodded his head toward Stan in respect.
To Eric’s chagrin, Stan had noted the date on his calendar.
As they stood waiting on the helipad, Godric on high alert, Eric on disdainful alert, Stan was working hard to maintain a bored vampire façade. He knew what was expected of him, of course: Kingly King Crap. That, he could do.
Feigning patience was infinitely harder.
Eric chuffed silently. Fairies were so damn unpredictable. While they had apparently agreed by not disagreeing that an 8:30 pm meeting was acceptable, that obviously didn’t mean they would actually show up on time.
Godric…waited. He kept his seething impatience and fatalistic dread of having to deal with Those Damn Fairies firmly tamped so as to not annoy his progeny, but that was the best he could do.
Thankfully for all concerned it wasn’t long until a space near the trio took on a slightly thickened, shimmering quality, and suddenly they were enveloped in air so sweet they could taste it.
Hard-pressed to keep their fangs sheathed, the three automatically stood straighter and increased their awareness exponentially. The guards were far enough away that the changes in air quality went unseen, but they did notice the changes in their King, their King’s Maker and their King’s Royal Sibling, and went on high alert.
With nary a sound, suddenly Niall stepped through what appeared to be a mobile Portal.
With haughty regality he surveyed the area, noted the placement of his old acquaintance and his progeny, noted the location of the guards, and nodded his unnecessary approval.
At this point in a normal situation Stan as King would have approached the “visiting dignitary”, but since his Maker – a being of higher station – knew the man whereas he did not, he instead gestured for Godric to begin the introductions.
When he received via their bond a burst of approval, he knew he had chosen well.
Godric approached Niall cautiously lest the old goat had somehow ‘forgotten’ to mask his scent. Once assured that everything was well, he stopped and indicated his Youngest.
“Niall Brigant, my Child and King of Texas…”
At that point Stan sent a burst of a feeling Godric translated as “pause” to his Maker, and approached Niall with a suitably serious expression and his hands firmly by his sides.
“King Richard d’Alsace. Welcome to Texas. I understood there were more in your party?”
Eric and Godric were both very surprised. Not only was Stan acting exactly as a seasoned monarch should, but he was using his real name?
Would wonders ever cease…
Niall inclined his head toward both Maker and King-Child.
“The rest are only awaiting my signal that all is well before appearing.”
Apparently satisfied that all actually was well, the older Fairy nodded toward the shimmering Portal.
Eric and Godric watched as six more figures stepped slowly out of the Portal, each moving with a grace not found in the current realm.
Eric suddenly stilled, his involuntary gasp drawing Godric and Richard’s attention…and Niall’s knowing smirk.
One of the females was far too familiar to be purely accidental.
**A/N: Was it legible? Sorry for the long wait, but at least y’all knew about that tendency going into the story, right? So…was it worth the wait? What did you think?**