**A/N: To answer the question most often asked: I dunno. Bribery does seem to feed that FLM, so there’s that.
*Nora will not be a thing that exists in this story ’cause I don’wanna.
*I have decided that despite what Word (and WP’s version of spellcheck) would have me believe, “jigglingly” is, too, a word, and I am unanimous in this.
*This one’s around 11,000+ words (…and counting) long and I haven’t even inserted the intermission yet, so…bring pen and paper for notes, 2 snack sets, and a coffee subscription service. (A potty break and 3 “check on the kids/roast/WTF is hubby/bf/gf/sig’o doing NOW” breaks might be advised…)
In true vampire fashion, the guffaws and chuckles died quickly, although they’d lasted a bit longer than Eric would have expected…had he ever in his unlife expected what had just happened before his very eyes.
Vampires…are not chuckle-fools, especially the Berts. Surprised to discover they laugh…wait until I tell Godric…won’t believe it either. But…why wouldn’t they? Knew they were more than the brat-queen’s mobile security furniture… Poor bastards, never had a chance…
Suddenly, Sookie gasped as her eyes grew huge. He felt shock and fierce anger surge from his telepath.
All the now highly alert vampires in the room turned her way, but he ignored them as he blurred closer to her side.
She briefly glanced down at her desk but obviously chose the quicker method of speaking directly to him.
“Two of the servers out there work for drainers.”
The sound of hisses, a few snarls, and fangs descending en mass filled the suddenly tense room and she had to wait a moment until everyone had calmed down to continue. Only Eric noticed the look exchanged between Sigebert and Wybert.
“Well, one definitely does, but I don’t think the other one realizes it. All the other humans out there seem like they’re fine, but those two… I’d like to talk with them if I could?”
“Who are they,” demanded Eric and Pam in stereo.
“Seronica, she’s the one who definitely knows, and the other one is a guy named Paolo, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t realize exactly what’s going on with his roommates. It looks like he just thinks they’re generic druggies he has to deal with until he can get his own place but he hasn’t cottoned on to their pointed questions about his work here. I’ll need to talk to him more to be sure, but I definitely want to get what I can from her. As far as I’m concerned, everyone but them and that creepy Long Shadow can go home now, I guess?”
Eric nodded then looked to Pam. With convenient timing Thalia knocked twice on Pam’s office door then entered the room.
“The gag balled whiner is secure,” she announced with a deadly straight face although the barest hint of a twinkle in her eye belayed her expression until she demanded, “What is wrong?”
In no way did he want to give a final name to Sookie’s abilities but he had to…
“There are two humans out there that I need to talk to in here,” Sookie stated firmly with a hard expression.
Eric had to admire her foolish courage.
…and bald-faced – what was the word – moxie. It makes sense that she wouldn’t try to be deceptive about her telepathy as the Queen’s minions apparently know the score already…and are standing mere feet away anyway. That bridge had been crossed far before we’d arrived tonight…wonder how much they actually know? They’re always present but rarely included… More to the point, I wonder how much they really care…guess we’ll find out one way or another…
“One is definitely working with drainers but the other seems innocent so I don’t want him hassled, guys. He’s clueless, not evil. You can drop that Seronica chick and see if she bounces for all I care.”
Pam and, surprisingly, Sigebert snorted while Thalia almost cracked a smile. Eric felt a small burst of humor from Sookie just then and deduced that the she found the sight of fanged vampires snorting in humor to be a bit comical.
He had to agree.
“Humans make terrible play balls,” Wybert almost unintelligibly huffed with a long face.
Sigebert nodded, his own face scrunching up as if in memory.
Sookie blinked a few times before mumbling, “Well all righty, then…”
He caught Pam’s burst of wicked humor and at any other time he might have appreciated it, but the consequences of the night’s increasing complications wouldn’t allow for further distractions.
Two Berts and one Lorena suddenly appearing were bad enough…still have the two Berts to deal with but now I find there’s one, possibly two, drainers in my employ…have to deal with them regardless, or maybe especially because, of the queen’s minions… Fuck, had to be right here in the same damn room, didn’t they… Fuck. And why the hell didn’t Sookie pull me to the side to notify…will need to have a strong talk with her…procedures, protocol, discretion …but hell…brothers already knew of her and of her gift…can see the sense…no use hiding it…
But…for all we know…were sent solely to procure her once Compton became indisposed…his Maker a good excuse…can’t give them an opportunity…
He glanced around the room as he thought quickly. He didn’t dare allow Long Shadow to be in the same room with Sookie at any point, and he sure as hell didn’t want the twins alone with her, either.
While the dramatic vampire was an arrogant idiot who thought himself sly enough to get away with thieving from a far more powerful vampire, he wasn’t too stupid to realize that she…
“Wybert, Sigebert, would you escort the thief down to a cell in the basement? Thalia will show you the way. Pam, you and I will secure the drainers. Be gentle with the boy.”
Pam huffed…as did Sigebert before hurriedly shutting his face down.
Eric eyed that brother in what he thought might be a form of Twilight Zone bemusement. He could have easily predicted Pam’s huff, but he had never, ever, known either of the Queen’s twin progeny to be so…communicative in the past. They were seen, not heard.
Sookie giggled then said to that Bert, “Lemme guess – you wanted to see if she bounces?”
Sigebert held vampire-still for a long moment before he…he pouted.
To Eric’s eternal disbelief, the blond mountain’s lower lip actually poked out ever so slightly as he shrugged then barely nodded.
“Awww, Eric, can you let him get the girl? Please?”
That look…Odin, Sookie, don’t look at me like that! Must harden my expression…can’t let her know…know… Fuck. She’s reading humans… Humans are not magically excused of their crimes because of their non-vampire status… Well this is going to suck…
Regardless of the presence of the royal guards in the room and in fact taking into consideration the unexpected attention they had already paid her, Eric thought that now might be a good time to clarify a thing or two with the blonde telepath. Something niggled at the back of his mind, something he couldn’t readily identify, but in any case she needed to be aware that the results of her telepathy would be put to use regardless of the subject’s species.
Humans would not ‘get a pass’ based on their supposed humanity. Internally he snorted at the concept of humans being humane.
Their species is far more bigoted, homophobic, and intolerant of the stupidest things than vampires would ever be.
“I have no problem with that, but there is something I need to clarify with you. They are humans, Sookie. As a human yourself, you do not have a problem with that?”
Dead quiet, the kind of silence that could only come from vampires, descended in the room as all vampire eyes focused intently on her. The subtle sense of worry he felt from Pam made him wonder if his child held an unusual, for Pam, concern for the blonde.
The expressions on Sigebert and Wybert’s faces were the usual closed-vampire variety, but his gut told him they were far more interested in her reply than generic royal guards would be.
Sookie fiddled with a handy pen for a moment as she gave his question serious thought.
“See, here’s the deal,” she finally began. “That guy, Paolo? I’m pretty certain that he’s innocent, that he’s clueless as all get-out and that he doesn’t have any harm in his heart for vampires, so I want him treated gently. At this point it seems like he’s a good guy – heck, he even has a bit of a crush on one of the vampires, so it might be best to just glamour him into not revealing information about y’all to anyone. Let me get his roommates’ information first, though, because they’re involved somehow. If that’s the case he wouldn’t even have to move away from them then, would he…”
She paused for a second then added, “He really doesn’t seem to like them all that much so that wouldn’t be an issue. But that girl?” She huffed. “Yeah, she’s gotta go. Now if I thought that the human police around here would actually do anything about her or about drainers in general, it might be different, but from what you said they probably wouldn’t even bother doing their jobs right because they’re so prejudiced against y’all in the first place. Besides, as a crime committed directly against vampires, it seems to me in some ways like this is something you vampires should be handlin’ anyway.”
Sookie shrugged and it appeared as though she nibbled at the inside of her cheek, and Eric could feel her inner conflict.
“I don’t feel comfortable being anybody’s judge and jury; I don’t want that kind of responsibility hangin’ over my head cause I know I don’t know enough to do it justice. But at the same time here I am with a unique way of truly knowin’ their intent and a little bit about the extent of their crimes, both things that judges and juries wouldn’t know. While I never want the innocent harmed in any way or the very lightly guilty punished much at all, I don’t have a problem with you guys handlin’ crimes against or by your people the way y’all see fit.”
To Eric’s slight consternation she rose and began pacing which caused her scent to flood the room even more, but she couldn’t go far for the other undead bodies gathered around and seemingly hanging on her every word. She didn’t notice their focus, though, as she kept her head down.
“Like, that chick out there… If she’d only knowingly given information once or…maaaaaybe twice and nothing had come of it, I could see glamouring her to stop that, and maybe seeing if you could get more information out of her before glamouring her into actually respecting vampires, and then definitely firing her ass. But from what I’ve seen so far, she’s actively participated in selling it a couple of times, well if y’all’s blood was what was in those little bitty plastic containers.”
Even with her head lowered Eric could detect the grimace of disgust as it crossed her face. The accompanying shiver, along with the sense of horrified revulsion he felt from her, couldn’t be ignored.
She is deeply repulsed…deeply offended…by the thought of drainers…as she should be.
“I can’t abide unwarranted punishments but there’s no way you can let something horrible like that go, you know? And you shouldn’t, but since the locals won’t do anything about it, you guys will have to. Just don’t tell me what’ll happen to her or anybody else, though. There’s just some things I don’t need to know, ok?”
He felt an uncomfortable pinch in his chest when she raised her face to look at him. The open vulnerability in her worried eyes struck a strange chord.
After Eric solemnly nodded, she turned to look at the others in the room, and he felt a weird sense of relief when they all nodded in agreement, even the brothers.
When they saw the sweetly imploring look on her face, Sigebert and Wybert’s stoic expressions faintly faltered for a moment before hardening even more, and he noted how they seemed to both relax and stand a bit taller.
Good…good… her logic makes sense. Now, how to protect her from future knowledge of how vampires punish humans…much less other vampires? Too damn soft-hearted at her core…but… Fuck. Easier to hand her the sun…but I will try. Odd…twins seem…affected? Wonder why? Would like to see that drainer-bitch bounce, though…too funny. Humans as…play balls…did he mean basketballs? Wtf, Bert?
A nudge from Pam brought Eric’s attention back to the subject at hand.
“Understood. Pam, gently escort the boy in here, and Sigebert, you may contain the girl if you wish. Pam will point her out to you. Sookie, you stay in here. I do not know if this chick, as you call her, will bounce or not.”
As intended – the entire purpose of his idiotic joke had been to lighten her mood – Sookie snickered, and the snarky sound seemed to relieve the pall that had descended upon the room.
“Wybert, you and Thalia will surely be enough to contain and escort Long Shadow downstairs to any empty cell. Feel free to accidentally bang him against as many walls as you want.”
Everyone nodded the traditional vampire nod then blurred to perform their tasks. Once the room cleared, Eric looked over to Sookie now leaning against Pam’s desk.
He wasn’t sure how to ask the question – irritatingly enough, his mind automatically jumped through several different scenarios including but not limited to how it might leak back to his Maker… The light bond told him of her strongest emotions but so far that “ask the question” thing did seem to bring the best information.
“For the most part you have done well tonight. We have some things to discuss at a later time, but how are you holding up?”
She shrugged. “I’m fine. I think Long Shadow is a disgusting prick and I want to slap Seronica back into last week, and I’m still pretty concerned about,” she paused to point to the Berts last location, “but other than that, I’m ok. They seem like they’d be genuinely nice guys if given a chance. Could I get a ginger ale, though? The coffee is, ah, cold now.”
Eric eyed the barely touched coffee set-up and hid a smile…then actually grinned when he heard a loud thump followed immediately by an outraged shriek.
He met Sookie’s suddenly gleeful eyes and announced in a deadpan voice, “It appears she doesn’t bounce well.”
Sookie quickly put a hand over her mouth as if that would contain her laugh and returned to her seat while the outraged server whined and shrieked in the hallway.
Sigebert stuck his head into the doorway to ask a bit more jovially than the situation may have warranted, “It does not bounce, but where you want it?”
At the same time, Pam asked in a voice barely loud enough for Eric to hear, “Who do you want first?”
Eric, feeling a bit like an uninformed circus ringleader, asked Sookie which human she wished to speak with first, to which she replied, “Paolo so he can go on home.” Then to Sigebert she replied directly, “I’m going to deal with the guy first but it shouldn’t take long at all. Can you glamour her to shut the hell up until I need her to talk, please? She’s gotta be Lorena’s third cousin or something.”
The old blond warrior-twin chuckled and nodded with an evil grin before moving away from the door.
Blessed silence reigned once again as Pam gently – for her – escorted a nice-looking young man in his early twenties with shiny dark hair and eyes into the room.
Eric watched as the server and part-time bartender looked around in slightly nervous curiosity as he nodded before taking the indicated seat.
“I’m Sookie and I’m going to ask you some questions about working here. Now I want you to think about your answers before…”
The Viking, lounging in the corner while Pam had closed the door and was now leaning against it, allowed his thoughts to drift as Sookie began in her usual way. He idly watched as she took a few notes and couldn’t wait to read all she’d written from the night’s work.
He hoped the unexpected situation with the boy and the traitor could be dealt with easily so that he could wrap up the business with Long Shadow. To that end, once Thalia had whispered for vampire hearing only that he was secure, Eric quickly sent a strongly worded text to the dramapire’s equally odd Maker demanding immediate restitution. He’d gotten the number from Long Shadow’s Area registration info and hated that he had to use it – he couldn’t stand the idiot’s disgusting Maker.
Hot Rain…fucking slimy little toad… He truly is something that belongs in a toilet…maybe Sookie’s partially psychic? Maybe she just knows things and blames it on collective cattle thoughts? Wonder if she can hear cow thoughts…do cows have thoughts? They must…maybe… She didn’t act as though she heard Tina…bet dogs are out. Poor Merlotte… Will have to see if she can hear weres…wonder if there are were-cows…were-geese? Were-geese and were-swans would make fantastic day-guards…
While keeping part of his attention on Sookie’s questions and the boy’s responses, he mentally reviewed the rest of the night’s plans, where the speed traps between Shreveport and Dallas were, realized that Tina’s howls had long since quietened, and made a mental note to secure Pam the vintage Chanel compact mirror she’d mentioned several months ago.
By necessity he would be leaving her to deal with Long Shadow, Compton, his pathetic Maker, and possibly a drainer.
Poor abused, neglected progeny’o’mine…definitely deserves a little treat for her efforts…as if she won’t call to complain for hours…wish she could just come with…will leave the night, possibly two nights after Compton and Lorena’s ‘release’ so Thalia can…
“…been wanting to move out on my own for a while now so I’ve been saving what I can toward it.”
Pity suffused with warmth and what he thought must be compassion pinged him and he knew Sookie had made her mind up about Paolo. Feeling unaccountably generous for no reason he could think of other than that he could, he withdrew his wallet.
Three minutes later, Paolo drove home $500 richer and lightly glamoured to reveal nothing about vampires or his job to his roommates and to ignore said roommates’ upcoming sudden disappearance.
At least now the kid won’t have to move…can better afford living alone until chooses better people…
Sookie had noted the soon-missing roommates’ names so that Pam or, later, Thalia could follow through with any needed investigations and subsequent glamour or punishment.
Pam merely quirked a brow at her Maker – he realized how odd it must appear to see him doling out cash to humans for only the human’s convenience – before motioning for Sigebert to haul the other server into the room. His child’s snigger caught both Eric and Sookie’s attention, and both had to quickly smother their grins as the mountainous twin “led” Seronica in…by his firm grip on her long hair.
Once the mute but outraged server was plopped rather firmly into the chair on the other side of the desk, the tall blond mountain asked Sookie, “Talk?”
Sookie narrowed her eyes at the girl who had lied about her age to work in Fangtasia and shook her head. “I kind of like the sound of her voice better this way. Eric, how old do people have to be to work here?”
“I require that they be 21 or over, why?”
“Fuck a zombie,” Pam exclaimed. Eric mentally rolled his eyes at Sookie’s humor-filled shock.
Heh, wait until she hears some of Pam’s more creative phrases…
“Her name’s also not Seronica; it’s Sonia Brown, and she’s definitely pro-drainer. She…,” Sookie broke off and started writing, her furious scribbling quickly taking up the rest of the page.
Eric edged closer to read and was surprised to see Sarasota, Winter Haven, and Orlando, Florida listed along with the names of three males and two females.
It wasn’t much longer until Sookie finished with the girl…without having asked her a single question.
Eric accepted the notepad and at vampire speed read and absorbed all the information it contained while, to his pride although he wouldn’t have admitted it, Sookie sat glaring at the girl with her arms folded across her ample chest.
Finally he spoke.
Sookie looked over at him in curiosity and saw when he flicked his eyes toward his watch. She met his gaze with a calculating look of her own for a moment before reaching for the pad in his hand.
When she handed it back, she’d written, “She’s from Florida. Can’t that state’s king/queen/sheriff whatev deal w/ her? You’d be doing them favor contacting them abt drainers in their area, right? Drainers who somehow cater to retirees?”
Eric almost crowed as he nodded.
Yes…yes, that would work…can retrieve their prisoner tomorrow, and our hands would be clean. Need to wrap this shit up already…
“Pam, Sigebert? The prisoner can be housed in that last empty cell in the basement until she’s retrieved most likely tomorrow evening. I’ll contact Margot Lemming, Sheriff of Area 2 in Florida, to let her know we have some of her trash…trash with knowledge of other local trash.”
That proclamation brought a thoughtful expression followed by a slow gleam to Sigebert’s ruggedly handsome face. Eric could almost hear the pieces sliding into place and wondered if he would have to end what could have been one, maybe two invaluable allies this night.
“Last cell,” was all the vampire said before hauling “Seronica” up from the chair by her long hair before slinging her over his broad shoulder in an uncomfortable-looking fireman’s hold. The girl started kicking and wiggling violently but quickly stopped when the very tall vampire made as if to drop her.
After he and Pam left the room, Eric called for Thalia. Wybert, he figured, must have stayed in the basement for some reason.
Eric quickly sent a text to the Sheriff of Area 2 then checked his messages before ordering, “Thalia, protect Sookie while we’re in the basement. I need to check on…a few things.”
The ancient vampire nodded and moved to stand near the door. She showed no expression but Eric knew she would do her job well.
In a couple of nights, she can have both Compton and his screeching Maker for her troubles…so sad how many vampires don’t survive their first nights free after a silver-based incarceration…so sad indeed…
After he exited the room, except for Indira he dismissed the vampires and humans still gathered in the main area of the club. He ordered her to take Thalia a reserved blood and Sookie a ginger ale and whatever bar snacks she could find.
Then, with a malevolent grin, Eric descended to the now somewhat crowded basement. To his surprise, he noticed a strange form of music – soft in volume but of an unknown origin and quite irritating – about halfway down the steps…where he spotted Wybert washing his bloody hands in the deep sink near the foot of the stairs.
A quick sniff revealed whose copious blood the twin had spilled and he quirked a brow in question.
The formerly quiet brother simply said, “Never liked Compton. Too crude.”
“You are correct indeed, my friend.”
With a surge of optimistic caution to Pam followed by a firm impulse to give him what privacy she could, he blurred to stand before Compton’s cell and had to admit that he approved of the old twin’s handiwork as he admired the new damage. The arrogant procurer had fallen into either a hard downtime or a premature dayrest with this recent bout of blood loss – evidence of which had yet to be hosed off either his person or the floor beneath his chained body. His nose and lips were delightfully rebloodied and both eyes would show fine bruising later…assuming enough blood remained near them to bruise. Strange lumps seemed to be forming on the fronts of his knees as though he’d landed hard on them but he didn’t care enough to check any closer.
Eric had wanted to spend a moment of quality time with Compton before speaking with Long Shadow, but unfortunately the prisoner seemed to be down for the proverbial count.
Wybert had undeniably shown the bastard a proper greeting…of a sort, and Eric wouldn’t even have to change clothing.
Thankfully his rising memories of Sookie taking his blood were interrupted when Wybert, his hands now clean and dry, walked over to stand by his side.
Eric clapped him on his thick shoulder. “Nice work. He’s chained up differently, though.”
The royal guard nodded. “Don’t fight chained man. Not fair.” He scratched his eyebrow then mumbled quietly, “Not fair seduce to procure, to own, either.”
Had it been possible, Eric would have felt vaguely lightheaded with relief as he nodded in agreement…but he was definitely sickened at the Queen’s plans and means.
Apparently so was at least one of the brothers.
If both feel the same way we might just… So much could go wrong…so many possibilities…but this is good… Annnnnd huh…perhaps tales of the queen’s supposed “closeness” and control over her progeny have been more than a little exaggerated…so what the fuck is up with Andre? Evil little twerp…
“I completely agree. Contracts and the right to choose are far better.”
Wybert grunted in what Eric thought might be agreement, then the twin barked a laugh.
“Look at Billy-mommy.”
Lorena, held two cells down with Long Shadow between her and her child, had remained suspiciously quiet even with Wybert’s “visit” with her Sweet William… When Eric halted before her door, he had to stare in amazement. Someone, and it could only have been Thalia, had placed a blindfold over the overly dramatic vampire’s eyes and a set of headphones over her ears. A copious amount of duct tape now stuck to her hair and forehead prevented her from dislodging them. As with her progeny, her silver-cuffed wrists hung above her head and her bare toes touched the floor just enough for her to rest her weight on the balls of her feet.
Unidentifiable music, and Eric used the term loosely, screeched in a piercing beat from the ear pieces – that had been the strange noise which had caught his attention earlier. A cord from the ear-torturing device ran to an old iPod cleverly hung in a pouch nearby. He could only imagine the headache, the earache… Whatever that horrible racket was, it had certainly never been aired in his club and would definitely give her something real to screech about…if the silver ball gag…gag ball…weren’t still in her noisiest orifice. Wybert, Sigebert, and Pam all smiled fangily at the sight.
He had to give Thalia kudos for imagination.
A ‘best of’ collection of scream death metal bands from Finland? Thalia, you do have odd tastes… Appropriate… Hell, who am I kidding – painfully appropriate…well, if you’re Lorena…and I’m not…ha ha… Try shrieking at my Sookie now, bitch…
He stared in vengeful amusement for a moment.
Well, well, seems Lorena has found out how to hold her mouth that one certain way to prevent silver burns…would be a nice silence if Long Shadow would ever shut the fuck up. As if he doesn’t realize he’s been caught…how delusional is this fuckwit? Time’s a-wasting, Northman – time to get home to papa…
Twelve minutes later and with the enthusiastic encouragement of two Berts, a progeny, and the Viking’s own creative methods, the previously arrogant prisoner had begged to confess his crimes. A recording had naturally been made for his Maker’s edification – and the Magister’s convenience should it become necessary – in case that degenerate slackass ever return the text. He’d made certain Pam would have in her hands all the proof she would need to complete this mission.
Then it was time to go. Impatient to get on the road, he quickly spoke with Pam and was then hard-pressed to keep from blurring up the stairs but he managed to maintain his pace as he thought.
What to do with the brothers… I’ll have Thalia guide them to the safe house I have in mind…an Area safe house…she’ll know where it is… but will have to lose the brothers before we leave…let them go first then Sookie and I can head out…things seem great…surprising support tonight…shocking, really…and so much talking…, but no sense in taking chances, however…
Once back in his own office with Sigebert and Wybert in tow, he located and detached the key to that house and wrote down the security code they would need to enter within 30 seconds of opening the door.
“Pam is collecting blood bags for you to take with you but you’ll find everything else you need in the house. Thank you for your assistance with tonight’s…festivities,” he said with a half smile knowing full well how much both of the twins had enjoyed their ‘free time’.
Sigebert accepted the key and card, and then asked out of the blue, “You open tomorrow night?”
His uninflected question sent a jolt down Eric’s spine.
Taking an enormous chance but going with his gut, Eric scratched his eyebrow as he replied, “The club will open as normal.”
“Pam need help then? We can stop by.”
Wybert’s offer to assist Pam told Eric that the brothers not only knew he wouldn’t be there, but that at least Wybert…didn’t care.
Eric risked replying, “That would be most appreciated.”
Sigebert nodded then, to Eric at least, seemed determined to blow the rest of his mind. “Glad cat shut the hell up. ‘Bout time. Scratchies don’t like travel.”
“Or boxes,” Wybert added helpfully.
When the hell had the Berts become experts on cat care? Scratchies? Hmm…appropriate…
Eric nodded then ran a hand through his hair, a gesture of rare bemusement he seldom allowed himself. If anyone ever tried to convince him again that either brother was anything but extremely aware of their surroundings, he would enjoy the fuck out of decking their ass.
“If it would cause no problems with…anyone, your assistance with the tasks my child will have to oversee would be…most appreciated. You are welcome to the safe house as long as you want it. Should anything need to be brought to my attention…”
The mostly identical blond mountains nodded solemnly.
When they exited the room, they found Sookie, Pam, Thalia, and Indira gathered in Pam’s office and a large cooler sitting just outside the open door. Thalia stood in downtime to the side of the entrance but came instantly aware when they entered the now-crowded office.
Indira, standing near Thalia, spoke first. “If everyone is back, I shall take my leave. It was nice meeting you, Sookie.”
“It was nice meeting you, too. Thank you for the snacks and the company,” his telepath replied warmly as she rose from her chair still behind the desk.
Eric kept his surprise from his face. Indira was a shy vampire, respectful but reserved, and hearing her initiate conversation with a human was a pleasant experience.
Once she’d given everyone the traditional vampire nod and left, he looked to Thalia and gave the pre-arranged spiel.
“Escort our brothers to that safe house and consider yourself free from duty for the next month unless I contact you again. I will appreciate it if you keep in touch with Pam. Although Sigebert and Wybert will be here if needed, your capable skills may come in handy as well.”
The petite but powerful ancient vampire was as loyal as anyone could want, but required a more respectful approach, one Eric was glad to use with her.
Thalia nodded at Eric, the Berts, and Pam. Then, to Eric’s shock since the ancient vampire rarely acknowledged even most other vampires, she nodded to Sookie before strolling out of the office. The ancient vampire grabbed the heavy cooler of blood bags as if it weighed nothing and waited near the back door of the club.
The twins suddenly appeared uncomfortable and Eric had no idea why.
Sookie being Sookie, however, rose to the occasion in a way that touched a warm spot in his chest he was beginning to associate with her.
She rounded the desk to stand before the two vampires who towered over her then placed a hand on each brother’s arm.
“Thank you for helpin’ us out here tonight. I know that probably wasn’t on your agenda when you got here what with havin’ to haul Lorena around an’ all, but I do appreciate it. It was really good meetin’ you guys and I hope we can get together again sometime?”
Eric thought the smile on her hopeful face would have melted even the Magister’s frozen prune-pit of a heart. Something told him that if vampires could blush, both brothers would have been crimson by that simple but genuine wish.
Wybert ducked his head with what passed for a nod, and Sigebert quickly glanced left and right before looking her in the face.
“Would be good.”
She bestowed a beaming smile on the twin which called forth a rather surprising one from the male.
“Good. Y’all have a safe day, and good luck tomorrow night.”
She patted their arms a time or two then stepped back a little.
Then to Eric supreme shock and something that felt a lot like fury, Wybert, the shy, quiet one, raised a hand to awkwardly pat her shoulder.
Wybert…voluntarily touched someone…in public… Awww, so sweet…if he does it again I’ll rip his fucking arm off…
She beamed at him then, too, and repeated, “Y’all take care.” Thankfully the siblings left quickly thereafter.
Smart vampires do have survival instincts, after all… Discretion, vigilance, intelligence, survival instincts…the ability to remove odors from their person…all signs of a good vampire…
Eric was curious about his own reaction to Sigebert and Wybert. He’d known them from the queen’s court, of course, but had never been given, or made, a reason to know them better in the past. They weren’t just leaders of the queen’s Royal Guard, they were also her progeny – both considerations made them “the enemy”.
But…on this night, other than wanting to rip Wybert’s arm from Sookie’s shoulder, a strange sort of liking seemed to have reared its unique head. Liking, and perhaps, maybe, along with it came a slight commiseration. Their awkward acceptance of Sookie’s kindly, charming nature reminded him of his own first encounter with it… Yes, maybe that was why he felt a bit sorry for them…
Poor twins never stood a chance… Hope things go well for them…Godric has room in…but their fucking Maker…can’t break that tie… Best I can hope is if something occurs that I need to know, one or the other will contact me. Regardless, we’re not free until we’ve crossed the Texas border…got to get a move on here, people…
With the prisoners secure, no reply from the thief’s Maker, and nothing left to do for the night, he and Pam shut down the club in a well-practiced routine that took them all of twenty seconds.
Once outside the building, Sookie surprised Eric by calling Pam’s name as he unlocked her passenger door.
Pam, standing near the driver’s door, looked over at the telepath and raised a brow.
“I enjoyed working with you tonight. You have style and I’m not just talkin’ about your clothes.”
Instead of replying to Sookie, Pam spoke to her Maker, “Master, your human has good taste. Are there more where she came from? Can you order one for me?”
Eric snorted. Sookie laughed and got into the car, and Eric appreciated the privacy to part with his child.
With their heads close together so that no one could chance overhearing their conversation, she started, “‘Our’ brothers, Eric?”
“It would appear so. Sookie has a certain charm, perhaps a charisma, and like a spider in her web, she drew them in, and they seemed to go rather willingly.”
“Yes, I noticed that. She is a darling, isn’t she,” Pam stated rather than asked.
Eric nodded. “Yes, but so far in the best way possible.”
“She needs to know that not all vampires would appreciate her country bumpkin version of a welcoming committee, though. Some would have literally bitten her hand off and human body parts simply do not regrow like they should.”
Pam’s words may have sounded insulting but he felt her true concern.
So my child truly is developing a soft spot where Sookie is concerned. Thought so… Gotcha!
His mood cautiously lightening with every passing second, he couldn’t help but add, “Imma tell your grandMaker that you like a human!”
“When you arrive in Dallas, you can help teach her when she can be herself and when she…can’t, and how to tell the difference. Godric and I will concentrate more on general education, customs, and the like. I have texted Long Shadow’s Maker, Hot Rain. He knows the crime, the amount, the restitution requirement, and the consequences. I leave the final decision to you – deal with Hot Rain, call the Magister, or go with whatever other option you prefer. It’s in your hands now.”
“But it’s your club! That’s not a small amount of cash to get a human to sneeze at…”
He grinned. “Actually as of the other night, it’s Godric’s club.”
Pam snorted as she remembered. “And that one is rolling in the ancient dough.”
Eric waggled his brows.
She bumped her shoulder against his as she glanced out over the parking lot. “Be careful, Master.”
Surprising them both, Eric wrapped his arms around her and embraced her for a long minute before leaning back to kiss her forehead.
“And you, my child. You will have Thalia’s assistance as well as the fealty of vampires in this Area while it is still mine. I also believe the Berts will be of genuine assistance tomorrow night and will likely ask no questions, but if they do…”
“Your Maker called you to his side,” she finished for him. “And since you and Sookie have a first bond…”
“I of course took her with me.”
After a moment of silence he whispered so softly that she barely heard him, “And should you wish to pass along to Wybert information that needs to remain with him, lightly scratch your eyebrow just before and as you speak.”
Pam nodded but didn’t reply.
He sent her a strong burst of reassurance, courage, and pride, and she returned it with pride, reassurance, and a verbal request for a Sookie of her own. The possibility of cloning was even suggested.
With a laugh they parted, and while Eric loathed leaving his child behind in potential danger, he knew she could handle herself well and so was more than glad to get on the road home…in more locations than one.
I AM NOT GOING TO FALL ASLEEP.
I AM CAT – CAT DOES NOT FALL FOR YOUR STUPID BLOODY GAMES.
YOU CAN SHOVE ALL THE PILLS DOWN MY THROAT THAT YOU WANT
– no, don’t do that –
BUT THEY WILL…NOT…Wor…………
Stupid fucking morons think I’m still asleep. Geez people are easy to fool. Yo blondie…no, new blodine…it’s just a fucking keychain – kiss her and get the fuck on the road again already. This is comfy…comfy box…I like boxes…lemme move my head just………
OK, OK, I’M AWAKE! ATTENTION: THE CAT IS NOT ASLEEP…I’m just not going to tell anyone.. Thank Bast we’re here! I knew the moment the growling monster stopped moving and growling that we’d arrived wherever the fuck I’ve been kidnapped and taken…what the hell do you think woke me up?
My tail and the tips of my ears are beautiful…I should fetch a considerable ransom if these 2-leggers have any sense of taste.
But in the meantime, watch your shoes…you’d better keep an eye on your purses…and your beds…especially your pillows and hard-to-clean dust ruffles if I can manage the aim just right…
This disrespect will not be toler…oh, I smell fresh air…is that fresh grass?
Once in the car he turned to Sookie who automatically held her finger to her lips then pointed over her shoulder to the sleeping cat.
“We can talk,” she allowed, “but quietly.” She rolled her eyes before adding, “Let’s not wake that cat up. I’ve had about enough screeching for the night.”
Eric grinned as he started his car as quietly as possible then pointed to the glove box.
“Now would be a good time to get used to that.”
He watched as Sookie withdrew the bag containing a new smartphone and its accoutrements. It was identical to his except light blue instead of black.
“All relevant numbers and such have been programmed in for you but there are several applications you may find beneficial.”
For the quick trip to his home, he kept a peripheral watch as Sookie familiarized herself with the phone. He answered her questions as they arose but he sensed that they both needed some mental downtime after the strange turn their evening had taken.
Once at his house, he asked as he parked if she would like to come in knowing her human needs may require a break before the long drive, and she took him up on his offer.
Her expressions as he walked her through the silent house were a joy to watch – apparently his style of decoration was a surprise.
What, not enough coffins and cobwebs? Is the total lack of Dungeon Chic a vast disappointment? Oh, dear, was I supposed to have warm meals chained to the bland and boring walls? I’ll get right on that…
She never commented to he left her to her bathroom business.
He blurred back to the garage area and quickly transferred the cat and Sookie’s few travel items to the SUV before hooking the ‘vette up to the larger vehicle with varying degrees of legality.
When she exited the garage door, she had a question.
“Eric, do you have a pillow I could use? Riding makes me sleepy and we’re going to be riding for a while. Will we get there in time, you know, before the sun rises? Are you sure we don’t need to stay here and leave first thing tonight?”
Allowing more of the loathed vampire mask to dissolve away, Eric laughed.
“Yes, I do. That makes sense given the gentle vibrations and enclosed environment of a vehicle. Yes, we will arrive in good time because I drive, as you will see, like a ‘bat out of hell’, so there is no reason to wait.”
He held his hand out to her to encourage her to approach, and when she did he easily helped her up into her seat.
“I’ll be right back,” he said before closing her door.
Once back inside what would no longer be his home, he took the time to look around that one last time, and found he had absolutely no regret. The house had served as his home for years and years, but he felt no attachment to the place and didn’t mind in the least letting it go.
He blurred to his usual resting place and took the two pillows out of the plastic trash bag where he had gathered all ‘dirty’ fabrics. The Were housekeeping staff would have thrown the bag containing his used towels, wash cloths, sheets, and pillows out in the garbage during their next visit. Then they would have washed all remaining household fabrics to remove his scent and used overly-scented fabric softeners to cover what remained. A solution they had created would be heavily sprayed on carpeting and upholstered furnishings to the safe effect.
As he moved back through the house holding two pillows and the blanket that had been folded and placed on the foot of the bare mattress, he felt an inquisitive ping from his Maker.
Old boy’s getting impatient…better go. Vehicles are ready, the house is ready, Pam…even Pam is ready. It’s time to go. Coming, dad…on my way!
After securing the premises, he blurred to Sookie’s hastily re-opened door and handed her the top pillow.
“These will go in the back seat in case you need another pillow or…” He stared down at the blanket in his hand suddenly feeling like an idiot for having grabbed it.
“Oh, good idea,” she said as she grabbed the other pillow, tossed it into the back behind his driver’s seat, then took the large blanket from his hands. “This may come in handy, too, if I do fall asleep. Thanks, Eric,” she cooed with a beaming smile.
He cleared his throat, nodded, then shut her door.
Why did I grab that fucking blanket? Why? Because blankets just go with pillows…what? Fuck if I know. Time to go…
Within five minutes of hitting the open road, to his both relief and amusement, Sookie fell asleep. The blanket – he still wasn’t sure what had caused him to grab the damn thing – remained folded at her feet, so he deftly leaned over to grab it, shook it out, and settled it over her from her shoulders down.
The night wasn’t cold by any means but he did remember something he had heard in the ’70s about the human body cooling down when they slept.
This would have been a great time to discuss some things in-depth, but while he realized that, he also appreciated the chance to resettle himself.
A scant handful of miles – give or take, 180 of them at that – was all that separated his old and new…everything.
In a way he detested leaving under the cover of darkness as it were . It was far more in his nature to boldly walk up the queen’s steps, bust the doors into her Court wide open, and declare tall and proud that he was gone.
He was glad to leave her to her own devices while he returned to where he might should have been all along, that was true. But his exit felt…cowardly, underhanded and devious but not in the good way. Unfortunately he couldn’t make the grand exit he wanted, though, not with all the risks that would bring – risks that would affect the beauty sleeping so trustingly by his side.
For her, and for his Maker’s political ease, he would slip away leaving as few ripples as a blade of grass entering a pool of water…and he would be fine with it, in time.
An unnecessary exhale settled the subject, and he allowed his sensitive hearing to relax and enjoy the strangely soothing sounds of night traffic, the odd bits of passing conversation between occupants of other vehicles, the sound of Sookie’s heartbeat quietly pumping away in her sleep, and even the reassurance of Tina’s lighter, more rapid sounds of life.
As he drove off into the night, away from boredom and toil that brought him little reward toward his past and his future bright with limitless opportunities, the interior of his vehicle shrank until it felt more like a bolthole, a safe, warm retreat from…
Fuck, am I going to start snuggling the steering wheel now? Not even half-way to Godric’s and here I am going maudlin… I reek of maudlin, mawkish mush…annnnd now I’m even alliterating like the old man… Pops always did tease me about being Turned at an older human age than him…will now be sure that I’m about to go into my dotage if this shit keeps up…
To Eric’s infinite gratitude, Sookie woke up not long after. As she scrubbed her hands over her face to help revive herself, images of how she would appear in his bed bombarded Eric’s too-creative mind.
Sweet…smells so damn sweet… So soft…warm…pliable from her sleep…start with a kiss to her lips…down her jaw and across her throat…nibble a bit on that collarbone…a hand on her breast…other would be lonesome so would need to kiss that nipple…lick, maybe…definitely…suck it into my mouth…would be so hard, so firm…delicious…would lave and suckle and nibble…
“Eric, can we stop somewhere? I gotta pee.”
Annnnd there went that. At least now maybe by the time I find a place I can walk again…fucking cock…fucking tight pants…
“Of course. We’re approaching turn-offs for Tyler.”
“Tyler? We’re already in Texas? How long was I asleep?”
He thought her yawn was adorable.
“Approximately 40 minutes as we are now half-way to Dallas.”
“Eric? How fast are you driving? I don’t want to look…”
He laughed a little wickedly. “Like that proverbial bat out of hell.”
“Ugh, vampires and your super-duper drivey-wivey skills.”
He laughed even more wickedly. “Woman, I have skills you can’t even imagine.”
The instant blush warming her skin also warmed her natural scent in the most delightful way.
Her mouth dropped in shock at his pronouncement, and then…then she laughed in a way his cock found most delightful.
Delightful…nice…I need to start a banned-word list.
“I bet you do, buddy. How long until we find a place?”
“There is a 24-hour truck stop complex not too far ahead. I can top off the vehicle there, and if you are hungry they have human foods as well as a couple of small restaurants.”
“Some food sounds good but I want to get where we’re going, though. I know you’re anxious to see your Maker, and I can’t wait to meet him.”
“You will like him, and I am sure he will like you, too. And here is the turn-off…”
Several minutes later Eric pulled up to a gas pump on the non-trucker side of the complex. Sookie reached for the handle on her door but his burst of a growl and playful glare stopped her.
He just hrumphed before exiting his side and blurring to hers to open her door.
She giggled at his chivalry but gladly took his hand so he could help her descend from the slightly elevated seat. She grabbed her purse and headed inside.
Eric filled the vehicle’s expanded tank while keeping an eye on her as she headed to the restrooms inside the convenience store, then after he finished with the pump, he leaned back against the side of the SUV and kept an eye on her through the glass as she perused the snack and drink shelves.
After what felt like forever but was more like five minutes, she exited the store with a bounce in her step that, to Eric’s fascination, was ever so jigglingly reflected in her boobs.
He graciously, in his opinion, helped her back into her seat, but before he could start the engine after retaking his own, she stopped him.
“Here,” she said as she handed him a small bag. “I saw this and had to get it for ya.”
He took the bag in his hand and stared at it.
What? Wait…what?? Why? And what could a vampire need from a human store? It’s too small to be a True Blood, thank Odin, but…what could it be?And…why?
“Well open it,” she urged with a grin before twisting the lid to what appeared to be a sparkling water drink…orange by the scent.
He gave her a questioning look – her mood boasted a lot of excitement over this small…gift? – before shaking the bag’s content out into his large palm…and then he laughed loudly enough to cause Tina to partially open one eye in feline disdain.
It was a small rectangular keychain, but not just any keychain. The picture on it was of a black cat – a black cat with cartoonishly long fangs – in mid-hiss.
Beneath the picture were the words, “Kitty got hiss”.
Sookie snickered. “I saw that and had to get it for ya,” she explained, and the memory of his automatic hiss at Tina came to mind…as did the memory of the scene surrounding it.
Still smiling, he leaned over and, before she could pop the chip in her fingers into her mouth, he gave her lips something entirely different to do.
When he straightened back up in his own seat, he ran a proprietary eye over her pink cheeks and felt a little swell of pride over her increased heart rate and respiration. He glanced back down at the $2.98 keychain in his hand, and smiled.
“Thank you, Sookie.” He didn’t want to make too big a deal over it, but he knew then that he would always treasure the silly thing. Barely a few ounces in reality, in other terms it weighed…tons.
At vampire speed he added it to his own otherwise plain set of keys – up until, say, two minutes ago he’d never had a use for…keychains – and directly thereafter they left the 24-hour complex.
While she happily munched away on corn-based snacks with odd names (Bugles? Fritos? Why not just call them “salty bits of corn chemicals”?), he considered her gift. By her actions (munching happily away) and emotions (pleasant serenity with bursts of anticipation and tired excitement), it was obvious that she expected nothing further from the event.
In recent memory only Pam had bothered giving him anything without…usually…expecting something in return. Even the used underclothing fangbangers at the club used to toss at him for some reason – it had taken an “edict” to get that mess stopped – came with a side of unwanted desperation…and the lingering stench of used or infected body fluids.
While far nicer and sometimes even useful, the occasional political “gifts” he’d received had come complete with expectations of future support, and while those in his Area would sometimes give him tokens of appreciation when he’d just done his fucking job, those “tokens” had still retained an unwelcome whiff of future expectations. A genuine smile of thankfulness would have been far more valued.
Sookie’s gift, however inexpensive, had come as a spur of the moment tribute to a point in time, and held no conditions. There was no side of desperation, no hope of enticing his favor for future consideration, nothing.
It was what it was – a small token of fun and affectionate humor – which was a gift in and of itself.
In the strangest of ways, Eric felt both warmed and humbled by a $2.98 bit of formed plastic and metal.
Partly to bring his own thoughts back in line and in an effort to explain the old man, Eric began discussing his Maker in a bit more detail.
As the miles sped away – speed limits really were just suggestions – he gave her a very brief history of his own Turning, and while he didn’t touch on Godric’s former persona as Death, he did relate to Sookie a little about how his Maker had managed to evolve during the passing centuries.
“He isn’t like the usual vampire you will encounter in that he does not mind being asked questions, well, at the proper time. If he doesn’t want to discuss something, he simply won’t discuss it, but he won’t be angry with you for asking. In private he never stands on formality, and rarely even in public. So long as there is no true disrespect, he doesn’t usually care. At home he is more likely to be barefooted than shoe-clad. But you should be warned, however,” he said with a devilish twinkle in his eyes. “For one so unimaginably old, he is still often…quite young, and not just in appearance.”
Sookie, already softly smiling from his discussion, grinned.
“Yeah? Like, how?”
“I would tell you and be glad to do it, but sometimes my Maker must be experienced to be understood, and even then… “
“So this is one of those times when I have to see something to believe it?”
Eric nodded. She had no idea…
By now they had bypassed the city proper and were approaching satellite towns and communities on the outskirts.
“This seems like a long way outside of Dallas,” she commented suddenly.
“Given the size of the state, it’s really not, especially once you’re accustomed to the drive” he assured. “As you know, Godric has an official Area office in the city, and for convenience he usually stays in his quarters in the nest associated with it, but he prefers his actual home out here. He also has at least one official and one unofficial apartment in the city, too.”
Sookie nodded but remained quiet. A bond-check revealed a sudden case of nerves, and he smiled internally.
He could easily understand why any vampire, especially a young one, would quail at the thought of meeting an elder of such vast age and experience…and power – they would be smart to strongly respect and suitably fear the old boy – but he knew Sookie would never have reason to.
However…he wasn’t proficient in the skill of “reassuring humans”, so he had to go with his gut and hope it worked.
“In a few minutes you will be meeting the extremely powerful, old, and experienced reservoir of over two thousand years of life. But do you know who you will also be meeting?”
Sookie turned to regard him with very wide eyes. “Who?”
He allowed a boyish grin to surface.
When Sookie smiled back and the level of nervousness fell somewhat, he felt as though he’d won a coup.
“He is why I still live. Not just because he made me vampire, but because he taught me all that I know. He was already well over a thousand years of age when we met, so that knowledge covers a lot of ground. But more than that, he went far above and beyond what a Maker is expected to do for their Child. It is understood that a decent Maker will provide knowledge and resources for those they Turn, that they will treat their progeny with at least some dignity and respect, but anything beyond that is sadly rare.”
As he turned onto the well-kept but sparsely developed two-lane road that led to Godric’s place, he pinged his Maker…as though the old guy couldn’t detect his approach from Shreveport if he’d wanted, but felt it would be the nice…there’s that word again…thing to do.
“Godric was, is, and will always be more than a Maker to me. He is my father, my son, and my brother, as I am his father, son, and brother. We are both the Teacher and we are both the Student. One of the numerous valuable lessons he has taught me is that you do not stop learning when school is finished or when you Create a child or when you have existed for a thousand, even two thousand, years. Live is many things, and one of them is the act of learning and growing. I hope that he will take you under his enormous wings and that if he chooses to share his knowledge and experiences with you, that you will know it for the treasured gift it is.”
Wide-eyed and beaming with excitement, Sookie nodded happily.
He expected her to say something, anything, but when she didn’t, he concentrated on their tie and sensed that she was deeply touched and, thankfully, optimistic. And curious. The amount of curiosity surging through her mind surprised him.
Then he caught a glimpse of a far-away light, and that familiar feeling of coming home, of arriving at last to a place where he could find his rest after a long night’s work, was almost overwhelming.
Almost home…It has been far too long…remember when he purchased this property…had been a huge old ranch…long drive up to the house…glad the neighboring area hasn’t been over-developed…almost home…human neighbors just close enough to call them such…but good fences make the best… almost…home…
Apparently sensing the end of their journey – as if turning onto the long driveway leading to the main house hadn’t been a clear hint – he noticed when Sookie began shoving her various drinks and foods into the larger bag from the store. Afterward she gently placed her new phone into her purse along with the phone’s accompanying bits and pieces. The blanket, having been relegated to the back divider, was folded nicely and stashed atop the pillow she had used.
Her eyes lit up when she first clearly spotted the well-lit house, and he couldn’t wait to show her some of the collections Godric housed securely at this location.
The long driveway – paved, of course – wound in a loop in front of the house as well as led straight to the massive garage. Given the amount of baggage, feline and otherwise, that they had hauled with them, he chose to part in front of the house for the moment. The large, wide porch would be the perfect place for the telepath to meet his beloved Maker.
With a wry smile he noted that this time Sookie seemed more than glad to wait for him to open her door. Once steady on her feet, he quickly opened the back door and extricated Tina’s cage while her human owner grabbed her purse.
Poor cat is probably faking the sleep by now…probably needs a bit of a run…and a box…and maybe a chat with a pet psychic…wonder if they’re real…
The double front doors suddenly opened, and Eric heard Sookie gasp at her first sight of his Maker, and he could well imagine how this particular vision of Godric must have affected her.
Against the bright lights streaming from the interior, the dark figure of the ancient vampire appeared dark, deceptively slight, and oddly foreboding but not in a way that could easily be defined.
When the outside lights suddenly came on, he heard Sookie snort before she giggled.
“You’re an old faker, aren’t you,” she called out to the grinning figure now stepping forward.
Godric laughed freely in response to her astute observation.
Clad in dark beige cargo pants with a hole in one knee, a tight white long-sleeved button-neck thermal undershirt, and an open loose red cotton overshirt, he stepped forward to meet his adored Eric and whatever a Sookie might be.
Eric mentally snickered. Of course his Maker would be barefoot. Once he and Sookie climbed the few steps leading up to the porch, he gently lowered Tina’s carrier and immediately knelt before his Maker.
He could feel Sookie’s confusion but more than that, he could feel his Maker’s humor, resignation, and love…so much love. And respect – respect he had savored since the night of his rising. The kneeling thing had truly started as a way for Eric to show the world as well as his Maker how very much he revered the one who had Turned and raised him, but over time it had evolved into a bit of a game. He knew Godric in no way wanted much less required the obeisance, but he wanted to give it to him anyway, and if the old man happened to find the whole thing a bit much, then that was fine, too.
More than fine…
He felt Godric place a hand on the top of his head and could easily imagine the ancient one shaking his head with an exasperated grin.
“Rise, my son, and welcome home. Now get up off the floor, baby Viking. You learned how to stand years ago.”
With a huge grin on his face Eric rose, and the two exchanged a rare warm hug.
Once they parted, Godric surveyed his beloved child from the top of his head to the toes of his boots…and back up. His measuring gaze lingered on the new light in the son’s eyes for a moment before he raised a hand to muss the son’s hair.
Emotions bounded and rebounded across their hyperactive bond, but all he said was, “Someone needs a haircut.”
“So I’ve been told,” Eric replied with a tellingly easy smile and a flick of his eyes toward Sookie.
Godric raised a brow in silent glee…and then he inhaled. In a blur he turned suddenly sharp eyes toward the lady in question. He grinned an unholy grin and Eric couldn’t even begin to filter through all the emotions zinging through their bond, but he did know that extreme humor seemed to be the strongest.
“Fairy nice to meet you, Ms. Stackhouse. Welcome to our home.”
While Eric barely managed to keep his jaw from dropping – FAIRY? DID HE JUST SAY…FAIRY?? SOOKIE IS PART FUCKING FAIRY?!? – his Maker sent him another burst of outrageous humor at his shock.
The ancient vampire smiled a bit more serenely at Sookie as he nodded to her. With a kindly hand he raised her hand to his lips ostensibly to kiss her knuckles but Eric knew the sly old dog was taking in a far better whiff of her scent.
How could I have missed… Fucking fairy…! Sookie…part fucking fairy! He will tease me for this…decades… I should have fucking known…
The irony chaffed. Suddenly, however…
As the mental alarm sounded, he felt Godric almost bathe his inner mind with calm and reassurance. He knew his Maker would take care of those potentially lethal problems, knew he could depend on him, but…this was Sookie.
“Did you have a nice trip over?”
Eric almost made a little boy’s whiny face – despite the sniffing and the bond communication both before and after the alarm bells began their hideous toll, Godric still managed to display his suave manners without missing a beat.
Smooth old bastard…how the hell does he do it?
Sookie glanced between the two of them, obviously to Eric realizing that something was amiss, but she replied gamely, “I had a great trip, thank you! And thank you for having us in your beautiful home, too. This is a very pretty area.”
After giving a banal reply, he gestured for her and Eric to enter the house before blurring over to Tina’s carrier. Then Godric, one of the most powerful vampires on the North American continent, toted the now stretching feline into her new home.
**A/N: Well…there’s Godric. I hope his introduction into the main story was pleasing? While I have yet to write a “Godric/Sookie” story – and this won’t be one, either – it’s sometimes truly a feat of strength and determination to keep the two of them…apart. Godric was my first fanfiction love – yes, I adored Eric but I clearly saw his more negative aspects as well as his pretty-and-positive bits, and I wasn’t sure at the time that I could write his complicated ancient-Viking ass just right considering the vast amount of talent already doing so. But Godric? Yeah, that sly, charming son of a bitch called to me in a way I simply could not refuse (hence my first fic “Anticipation” – that one’s totally his fault). Now I’ve envisioned a version of Eric that I can write – and his personality is somehow subtly different in every story – but yeah, when I can, I’ll always find a way to insert a li’l Godric into my fic-life. I’ll never make him mean or too outrageous because that’s not how he is to me, but he can be sly, a little devious, a LITTLE outrageous, and so many other delicious things. He will also be barefoot a lot, too. Cause reasons. I hope you like his part in this long-ass’d fic cause I plan for him to be around a lot. So…all things being as they are, what did you think about this Part? There were some subtle things going on that I really hope you guys caught. Also, yeah, keychains and a barefoot Godric…can’t beat that…**