**A/N: NO pre-A/N – just enjoy the story (and beware the monster A/N at the end…)!**
With an unexpected pep in her step, the next morning Sookie passed through the Portal into the now-familiar brightness of the Fae realm. She absentmindedly caressed the letter in her hands as she searched for Godric, a task she knew from experience might take some time. There was no telling where the ancient brat might be or what kind of mischief he might have instigated while wearing an all-too-innocent expression. She grinned as she remembered some of their previous “adventures”, and wondered how long she had been gone according to “fairy time”.
When she didn’t find him in any of his usual haunts, she decided to save time and pop to the places she knew he was likely to pass, and left a scent trail as a calling card of sorts. Afterward, she temporarily gave up and popped into her quarters.
She wasn’t in any hurry, and it wasn’t as though she had commitments in either realm. The time difference was a hassle, truly, but everyone she cared about who knew her on the other side – a grand total of two between Eric and Mr. C – knew about the time factor and would therefore know not to worry if she were to disappear for up to a week or so.
Despite how silly her cousins were and even taking into consideration the arrogantly grandiose character of Niall, the Fairy Realm truly felt more like her home now. It was at least as much, if not more so, comfortable to her as the human side, and if she wanted to come home to think and rest before moving into the undoubtedly understated yet also undoubtedly “luxurious” new house Mr. C was readying for her, then that was fine, too.
Where else could she think about all the recent changes in her life without worrying about vampires and shifters and witches, oh my!? Eric’s actions the evening before had somewhat made her rethink her opinions of him, in some ways at least.
Having decided to enjoy a bit of a respite in the Fairy realm, Sookie exhaled with a smile, and felt herself relax. She would enjoy a nice, honest chat with her favorite cousin, and perhaps with her favorite Faepire, too…if she could find either of them. She grinned broadly at the thought that maybe they had disappeared together somewhere…
With a shrug, she placed the letter onto the silk covers of her bed that was somehow always freshly made, grabbed one of her favorite gowns, raided her underwear drawers, then headed for her bathing room. There was nothing like a fairy bath to smooth away the harsher effects of the human realm.
Once ensconced in the warm scented water, having been warned “the fae way” of her arrival, one of her maids had popped into the room to offer assistance.
As with all the maids, she was very well informed as to the happenings at the palace, and was glad to inform her charge that Niall was away on “state business”, and after sharing an eye roll with Sookie, she went on to state that Claudia had taken a fully-loaded picnic basket and had “popped away for the day”. After chatting for a few minutes about the rest of her relatives, Sookie as usual politely declined help with her bath, but did request a small meal and a tall glass of cold water.
During the first couple of weeks in the land of her ancestors, she had been shocked to learn that not only were the sun, the air, and the stars different from all she had ever known, but the water itself was different, too. While her people were Sky Fae (she wondered why they didn’t just call themselves Sun Fairies), they also needed the magic inherent in the waters of their own realm. The chemical sludge that came oozing out of the taps in the human world was a pathetic substitute, one she avoided whenever possible.
As she relaxed into the warm, fragrant bath, she took the opportunity she’d been wanting to consider the recent changes in her life. When she’d first returned to the human side, she’d had a vengeful fire burning in her soul. Vampires and grandmothers could all go directly to hell without passing “Go” and collecting that $200 in Monopoly money.
To this day she still seethed rather justifiably over Bill’s treatment of her, but was starting to realize that just as some humans were shitasses, so were some vampires. The Turning might exaggerate some of the more instinctual sides of their personalities, maybe even bring some of their worst aspects to the surface, but the simple act of becoming a vampire didn’t necessarily make a good person go bad.
She would have to remember to point that out in her book if she ever got around to writing the damn thing.
Godric and Bill would both make excellent examples of that line of thought. While she couldn’t prove it, she would bet money that William C. Compton was just as much of a craven bastard before he was Turned as he was afterward, and that was probably what had drawn dear Lorena to him in the first place. Being Turned only gave him a much longer life-span to enjoy the sordid, distasteful lifestyle he preferred. His mother really should have spat.
But Godric, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. Sure, he had been Death for a long, long time, but she blamed the lack of a kind Maker’s presence for that. If as a baby vamp he had been raised, as it were, by someone who had treated him well and taught him how to be a vampire with grace and logic, things probably would have been far different. Even so, he had done well considering how young he’d been when Turned. In today’s mindset he would still have been classified as too young to even drink alcohol, much less blood.
From what he had told her, while he had still been Death when he met and chose Eric, the already ancient vampire had not only allowed his new progeny to remain the person he had been upon his Turning, but Death had slowly allowed himself to revert, however slowly, back to Godric. As old as he was, he had retained enough reason, and a good enough heart, to allow the Viking’s influence to bring him back to himself.
Despite having his own many flaws, Eric was apparently a genuinely good guy when he wanted to be, and Godric had gladly admitted that the child had used his influence on the Maker to encourage the elder to ease back into being a better man.
Sookie smiled wryly. It seemed that Eric really could be a genuinely good guy when he wanted to be.
When he wanted to be.
With a contemplative expression on her face, Sookie decided that more research was necessary before forming too firm an opinion about Eric just yet. He did seem to have changed his behavior toward her recently, but in all honesty, that could simply be because he wanted her letter carrying services.
It certainly wouldn’t pay to forget that Eric was very much “vampire first” in his dealings with her.
However, getting Eric back in touch with his Maker seemed to be what he needed most in the world, and perhaps Godric’s acceptance of all people, regardless of whether they were human or vampire (since he truly didn’t think that much of Weres) would help Eric to do the same. His love and devotion to Godric was admirable, and Sookie thought with slight bemusement, astounding.
She’d had no idea that Eric was capable of such amazing, lasting love and loyalty…no idea at all. And if she hadn’t known that about him, what else didn’t she know? Were there other things about himself that he had hinted at or maybe even shown her but she’d been too blind or deaf to notice?
True, he could be one of the most manipulative assholes in the universe, more than willing to eagerly toss aside her own safety, comfort, and choices so that he could use her in his plans, but what if that event, however atrocious it had been, had been a mistake on his part?
As she gazed down at the multi-colored translucent bubbles slowly moving in the large tub, she had to wonder. What if that person he had been then wasn’t who he actually was inside, and he really had just made a mistake? A terrible one, certainly, a very painful and heartbreaking one for her, but in the end, just an epic… mistake?
What if that person wasn’t who he really was at heart? What if he really did regret it all as much as it seemed like he did?
She didn’t know.
Sookie also had to wonder what things with Eric might have been like if Bill hadn’t ever been in the picture. Fucking Bill was nothing but a painful complication she had never needed. He had been a waste of her time, her energy, her heart, and even her damn virginity, and as much as she didn’t actually want to think about her, she was beyond certain the asshole had caused her grandmother’s death.
Maybe she should have just ended his sorry ass the other night.
She snickered when she remembered literally setting fire to said ass, but her face fell when she realized that he would still be a problem. His kind liked to sit around and sulk, playing perceived insults repeatedly in their own mind until invisible molehills became insurmountable mountains of whine, petulance, and woe. She knew he had been both furious and terrified when she finally tossed him into the elevator, and could well imagine him bathing himself in seething fury as he planned all sorts of retribution. At least he would be incapacitated for a while.
According to Niall, when a fairy used their Light to burn a vampire, any wounds would take far longer to heal than a normal injury would. She really hoped he was still a burnt-ass’d dickless wonder…
Shaking her head in an effort to dislodge unwelcome thoughts of the slimiest slime ball in her history, she turned her reflections to others. She wasn’t sure she even wanted to think about Jason. She didn’t have anything in common with him, never had, really, but certainly not now. After the way he had acted over their grandmother’s death, she just couldn’t see having anything to do with him again. He was basically a low-down semi-drunk male whore with no ambition, few morals, and very little respect for his sister…a male Hadley, in fact.
Letting him know of her return would be the right thing to do, but she wasn’t in any hurry to initiate contact with him, either. It was something to think about more in the future.
Sam and Tara could wait, too. During her time in Fairy, she’d thought about them as well, and all she could remember is how they would spend more time talking about themselves and using her for what she could do for them than trying in any way to actually help her. Even simple conversations with them were a headache as she had to tiptoe around so many subjects lest they “get mad”.
She missed the Tara from her youth. As kids they had gotten along great, but time had brought Tara nothing more than a deep bitterness and a judgmental attitude that had no place in the telepath’s life. Sometimes friendships simply ran their course, and sadly, that seemed to be the way things stood with her former best friend.
It was well past time to let go of Sam, too. He was just plain weird, she snickered to herself, and had a very odd double-standard that she didn’t appreciate. He expected his waitresses to wear those too-short shorts and tight shirts, yet felt that he had the right to approve or disapprove of his employee’s romantic interests. Nosy old dog, that wasn’t any of his business!
That same inconsistency spilled over to how he ran his business. He never could figure out if he wanted Merlotte’s to be an adult bar or a family restaurant. Such indecision seemed to be a running problem in the rest of his life, too.
Lala…now he was great, she remembered fondly. She missed his outrageous humor, his blunt outlook on life, his bold honesty… Out of all of the people she knew from her old life, he was the one she would choose to keep if he still wanted to associate with her. She had been gone for quite a while…
After mentally clearing out her friend list, she felt better, as though an odd weight had been lifted from her bare shoulders. Her life was her own, and it was thankfully entirely up to her how she chose to spend it, and with whom.
Later, after dressing and enjoying her meal and while continuing her on-going rehydration, she began to truly wonder where Claudia was. She didn’t expect her whatever-times-removed cousin to immediately pop to her just because she happened to stop by for an unplanned visit, but it was odd that she hadn’t at least stopped in for a minute yet, especially since Claudia generally had very few duties. She couldn’t care less whether the other cousins did or not.
With a shrug she contemplated the luxuriously soft and fluffy bedding and how great it would be to curl up in it – full from a large, delicious dinner, she definitely felt a nap coming on. She called her maid back and asked her to let both Claudia and Godric know that she was home for a little while and to wake her when either one returned, then tucked Eric’s letter in the drawer of her bedside table. With a happy sigh, she slid between the silken sheets.
Eric paced the well-appointed confines of his office. Once he had signed Fangtasia over to Pam, he had bought and appropriately renovated a distinguished-looking office complex in Shreveport to use for his Sheriff and business needs. That he had added a large, doubly reinforced, multi-room basement with concealed access via his office wasn’t mentioned. The pathetically minuscule back room he’d used as the bar’s office was now just an unpleasant memory – here he had as much room to think, store, hide, and plan as he needed.
Unfortunately he had not taken into consideration his habit of pacing. His meeting with Sookie had taken place three nights ago and he had neither seen nor heard from her since. He knew time moved differently in Fairy, he knew that, but that knowledge hadn’t helped.
Last night he had even given into the temptation to investigate her new address. The fly-by had proven informative… as had Mr. Cataliades’ vehicle parked in her driveway. Now he knew how Sookie had managed to stay so informed about earthly happenings during her time…away.
It also perhaps explained why her new home was in the same exclusive development as his own home only one street over, the same prime subdivision in which a certain Dae attorney also resided.
That section of the county might as well be called Supeville. The quietly yet enormously expensive – and well-protected – homes could more readily be called mini-estates. The grounds were well-tended, outsiders were regarded with extreme suspicion, and the area was infested with affluent Supes of all varieties. From well-heeled vampires such as himself to Dae attorneys and TV executives to the rare Were construction king (and one Were architectural engineering queen – she truly excelled in her field) to the powerful witch who lived in one of the corner lots, all they had needed was a Fae to complete the set.
From the similarly enormous fenced-in yards to the wide, tree-lined streets, everything about the area seemed to invite those searching for a quiet place to live their lives without the complications of “city life” while remaining close enough to Shreveport for convenience.
Technically speaking, Sookie was almost his neighbor… well, if he removed a couple of bothersome houses… He would wager his ‘Vette that she had no idea.
Finally tired of pacing, Eric once again lowered himself into his office chair and stared at the papers on his desk. He had decided well before now not to ask Sookie to help him with the upcoming conference, and in fact wondered if he could persuade her to go back to Fairy during that time for her own protection.
Just because he hadn’t heard from William fucking Compton didn’t mean the Vampire King of Louisiana was dead, and he didn’t trust the fucker to keep his hands off the telepath.
The fact that he hadn’t heard anything only increased his worry and suspicion as the self-important little fucker delighted in sending innumerable and highly unnecessary memos almost nightly demanding details that he had no use for and wouldn’t understand anyway.
Eric hadn’t heard a peep from the Wuss King since Sookie had literally burned his ass. The Viking couldn’t help but chortle at the memory, but the pleased mood didn’t last for long.
Somehow, three mornings ago, during his dayrest he had been able to feel when Sookie had slipped through the Portal, and that sudden void had left an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was also oddly more noticeable than it had been before she had returned with Godric’s letter. Perhaps he was simply more attuned to that knowledge of her, that feeling of her, being in the back of his mind? Whatever the case, It was disturbing in a way he couldn’t exactly describe.
It felt too much like she was gone.
**A/N: I’ve noticed that there seems to be some interest in a Sookie/GODRIC version of this story, and I’ll be honest, there was a point (in Chapter 6) where even *I* had an excrutiatingly hard time keeping the HEA (happily/happy ever after) being with Eric instead of his delicious Maker. (If you read back over that chapter, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.)
So…after I’m finished with this version, I’m strongly considering a (pardon the term) revamp where Sookie and Godric have their own HEA. It would feel very weird to me in a way since I created my own character of Cara for my Godric stories (if you sense a bit of possessiveness over her character, that’s cause I am); but if enough of my fantastic readers would like to read this as a Sookie/GODRIC story (same up to Ch. 6 but veering completely after that), I’ll give it more serious thought. It would be a while until that time, though, since I have to finish this one first (gotta be fair to Eric, ya know…he deserves his own chance!), not to mention all my other WIPs.
All that being said: So, what did you think of this chapter? Your kind reviews always brighten my day (or very early morning, as the case probably is)!**