**A/N: Behold: There’s some potentially good news, a bit of an awww, a surprise, and a prelude!**
After bidding Edna a good evening, Eric walked the Were lady to the door then retook his seat beside Sookie after checking the security system. He detested how weary she already seemed at such an early hour and vowed whichever troll sister was responsible for this mess would pay dearly.
Sookie had enough on her plate without having to doubt even the liquid that was supposed to nourish her and the babe.
“Do you think it would do any good to call Gail now and see if she could meet us at one of the office entrances tonight? I could tell her that I’m out of the orange stuff, that I’d had one left and dropped it or something. That would make it more of an emergency situation.”
Eric shrugged. “It certainly couldn’t hurt. We need to resolve the Ludwig situation as soon as possible.”
And now that the enemy in Fangtasia’s midst had been identified and contained, it should be somewhat safer, Eric theorized. The other personnel would be undergoing some Thalia-esque questioning later that night to ensure that their loyalties rested where they should, however…just in case. If Sookie felt up to it, what human staff there was could be interviewed too. Thalia could detect a vampire lie half-way across the planet and Sookie…was Sookie.
With a nod she began her struggle to rise from the sofa. The baby had gone through some sort of growth spurt during the past two days and her belly was noticeably tighter and slightly heavier. She kept waiting for her back to hurt more in response but luckily that hadn’t happened yet. She wasn’t talking to her ankles anymore, though. She figured they’d have a hard time hearing her though all the swelling.
At Eric’s inquisitive look – she knew he would gladly play fetch-and-carry for her if she needed something – she shook her head.
“Bathroom,” she mumbled, then added a little louder, “plus I need to get Gail’s information.”
Helpful vampires immediately surrounded her. With Eric on one side and a surprisingly gentle Sevrin on the other, together they were able to help her to rise.
Once assured she was steady on her feet, Sevrin returned to his seat as if sudden acts of kindness were an every-night part of his repertoire.
“As comfy as that sofa is, I guess it’s off my sitting list from now on,” she grumbled as Eric helped her waddle toward the bathroom. “And there’s, what, three more months of this mess to go? I’m suin’ somebody…there’s gotta be somebody I can sue…”
Sevrin grunted, his expression clearly stating that “suing” wasn’t an adequate option.
Eventually finished with her errands she returned to the room but wisely chose to sit in a chair instead. She placed her phone and the card with Gail’s information on the end table, then glared at her drink…on another table half-way across the room from where she now sat.
With a chuckle Eric handed it over.
Sookie took a sip then called Gail.
She was tired, she was hungry, and she was ready to put on her cranky-pants….better call while she could still fake nice.
After a few rings, Gail, whose voice Sookie recognized, answered.
“Gail? This is Sookie. I hate to bother you but I have kind of a situation over here.”
“Oh, hello Sookie. You’re not bothering me at all. What’s wrong?”
“You know that orange liquid I have to drink? Well, I was down to one jar but I dropped it and it busted,” she said convincingly as she crossed her fingers to “negate” the lie. Some childhood habits never died… “Do you have any more of it? Could we meet somewhere tonight so I could get it?”
“I figured it was about time to mix you up a new batch. I think Dr. Ludwig may have left you a couple more jars already prepared here in the pharmacy area. I’m here at the hospital for the night so I can check…just hang on…”
Sookie heard varying background noises and could tell that the Were was walking quickly.
“Well, there aren’t any more prepared in the fridge but I can mix you up another batch in no time at all. She’s on vacation but she left me the instructions because she knew you would need more.”
“You can mix it up? It comes in a powder or…?”
“Her sisters send it to her in a bulk powder form so she can make it as she needs to. It’s great for pregnant Weres who need a bit of extra nourishment to help them through a difficult or taxing pregnancy, especially when there are multiples in the coming litter.”
“Her sisters makes it?” Sookie shared a concerned glance with Eric.
“Oh, yes. Her sisters are both very dedicated medical researchers. She’s a triplet, you know. One of them, Carlene, works with pregnancy-related issues and conditions found in all species while the other one, Darlene, works primarily with those known for having the most difficulty reproducing themselves. Unfortunately all the Dae and Fae branches have troubles in that area and Darlene has made solving their problems her life’s work.”
“It’s so great that all three of them have gone into medicine to help others,” Sookie cooed appropriately. “And they came up with this powder through their research?”
“Um-hum,” the other woman affirmed. Sookie could hear her moving things around, heard a resealable bag being opened, heard the rattling of metal utensils being used.
A moment later, “Marlene, that’s Dr. Ludwig, well, it’s actually Patricia Marlene… Anyway a couple decades ago she worked with her sisters to develop a bolstering supplement that she could give a pack of panthers who were slowly dying out because of, um, well, problems, and that’s how the whole thing began. Over the years they’ve worked together to refine and expand the blend so that it would be suitable for any expecting female no matter the breed. I’ve heard she’s even given it to a few humans, too. Some benefit from just a tablespoon per jar while others, mainly the Dae and Fae and some offshoots of our lynx population, need a level cup per jar.”
Gail paused and Sookie heard more clinking, heard some liquid being poured…
“No lemon flavoring for you, correct? It’s why you get the orange-cream version…”
Sookie had to laugh at the woman’s tone. “Nope, nothing lemon for me, and the orange-cream version tastes just fine.”
Monuments later Gail’s attention returned to the call. “Dr. Ludwig, Marlene, she created the orange flavoring option, oh, several years ago when she became aware that the area apparently contained its own permanent fairy enclave in case any came along needing it. She’s a forward thinker, that one is, always wanting to be prepared.”
A fine moisture dampened Sookie’s eyes. “Several years ago” was when she’d first encountered the little doctor.
Forward thinking indeed…
Eric’s excellent hearing allowed him to easily follow the conversation, and the surprise on his face mirrored her own.
Sookie cleared her throat. “Is she having a good time on her vacation?”
“Oh, yes, that she is. She has a place in the Bahamas, her retreat if you will. I’m mixing you up a large batch but I’m sure she’ll be back before you need more. Poor thing never gets to take a whole vacation.”
The “dull thunk” mixing of liquid in glass jars with a wooden utensil could be heard in the background.
“If you would like you could come by the hospital this evening after your people rise and we could check your stats, too. It never hurts to keep an eye on those numbers, you know.”
Sookie glanced over to Eric who nodded.
“That would be great. We can bring the cooler back with us.”
Gail laughed. “Bring it in for a refill. See you after while, Sookie.”
After exchanging the mandatory goodbyes, Sookie ended the call and glanced at Eric and Sevrin.
“Ok, guys, what do you think?”
Sevrin shrugged. He would form no opinions until witnessing the female for himself.
Eric looked pleased as he said, “The hospital is the logical location for a meeting.”
“Hospitals such as Ludwig’s are a safe zone in the supe world. For decades powerful witches have layered numerous protection and curative spells on the buildings to shield and heal those within the affected structures. When you enter the main building in a little while, you should feel the whisper of magic flowing over your skin.”
Sevrin grunted as he looked toward the interior doorway with a slightly softened expression. “That is wise.”
“The hospital is protected by magic?” Willa asked in a sleepy voice as she entered the room mid-stretch.
For two cents Sookie thought about being jealous. Willa had obviously just “woke up” – her hair was still mussed and she still wore her pajamas – but otherwise she looked model-freakin’-perfect.
And she bet the brunette vampire could see her feet.
Without a word, although he could certainly sense her mood, Eric pulled an unnoticed ottoman over and placed her poor swollen feet upon it.
He crouched to the side and began rubbing one of those bare feet as he answered Willa’s question.
“The hospital is protected against attack from both without and within, and there are layers of healing spells placed upon it, too.”
“Well that’s smart,” she mumbled as she boldly settled on Sevrin’s lap. She almost instantly cuddled herself into his broad chest and closed her eyes. When she rubbed at her arms as if chilled, the throw on the back of the sofa rose and floated through the air in her general direction.
Bemused but not appearing unduly so, Sevrin simply caught the throw when it neared his hand, shook it out, and placed it around the sleepy weight in his lap.
Willa sighed and to all intents and purposes seemed to fall back to sleep.
Eric and Sevrin then exchanged surprised glances – this must be one of her vampire gifts finally emerging due to the old blood still active in her system.
Sookie tried to reconcile herself to having seen a throw fly itself across the room.
No one spoke, however, as all were curious to see if anything else would start floating or flying…and to see how long the youngest vampire in the room would “sleep”.
Eric and Sevrin both were very well aware that once a vampire rose from their dayrest the were immediately wide awake and couldn’t even fall into downtime from boredom for several hours.
After several very long minutes Eric came to the conclusion that Willa seemed to have genuinely fallen back into her dayrest. It was still early enough in the evening that a vampire her age would be; the oddness was that she’d risen early in the first place. When he checked their bond, the soft buzz of nothingness tinged with health reassured him, so he let her be.
Sevrin seemed to have the situation well in hand, he thought with slight snark, so he turned to Sookie.
“Well, then, would you like to go and take your own nap? It will be some time before we leave anyway, and you do need some rest.”
The warming light in his eyes suggested additional uses for their time.
Sevrin caught Eric’s attention and mouthed, “Give her blood. Her energy fails.”
Eric immediately nodded.
“Sevrin is right, you should feed from me. Regardless of the supplemental liquid, my blood is good for you.”
Sookie thought for a moment. Not only did taking a nap sound pretty damn good at the moment, but so did the idea of taking some Eric…in more ways than one.
“Will you rub my other foot too?” she asked with an unintentional pout. The one felt great but the other felt neglected.
Eric smiled indulgently. “Of course I will.”
“Then back to bed it is,” she proclaimed with a tiredly brilliant smile.
If model-girl could nap while being vampire, she could nap while being pregnant, dammit. And if the universe was fair at all, when she woke up maybe she could have some Eric, too…with a sip of his healing blood in the process.
**A/N: Go Sookie! Go Willa! So…what’d ja think?**