**A/N: This space intentionally left blank.**
Sookie was sick of being preggers. Granted the unlimited food combinations had been fun, and granted Eric’s mostly undivided attention had been…incredible, but at what felt like Month 1,492 of providing housing for the wiggliest, most inconsiderate life form on any realm known to any sentient creature, she was just plain over it.
She wanted her body back and she wanted it back now. Her back was nagging her more and more every flippin’ day, her ankles belonged on some other species, and her boobs went from “touch me and die” to “seriously, touch me and die” from hour to hour. It was a sad day when bras became the enemy.
And what the hell was up with having to go pee three minutes after sitting down from just then having to go pee?
“Calm your thoughts, miss.” Edna’s kind but firm voice drew Sookie from her increasingly frustrated thoughts. She opened her eyes and the elderly Were nodded toward her hands, and Sookie sighed.
They were glowing like tiny suns.
With a huff she began trying – trying really, really hard – to think of far more pleasant things to power-down her freak-show hands, but seriously, reigning in the sun from ones hands wasn’t nearly as easy as bringing it forth was.
Thank goodness for Edna, though, and not just for drawing her attention to her hands yet again.
The older Were lady was a godsend. She had kindly joined them in their hidiest-of-hidieholes a couple weeks ago hauling, among many other things, the results of extensive on-line shopping adventures with her.
And pies. Many, many pies… How the woman had known that she’d love strawberry-rhubarb-Vidalia onion pie Sookie would never know, but all five of them had been delicious.
Five pies in three days was a personal record.
The other goodies the woman had brought hadn’t lasted much longer, either. Evidently she’d spent her time pretending to work in that former house baking.
Sookie sighed in fond memory and hoped someone could find more true Vidalia onions for more pies. Sweet onions were all fine and good but only a true Vidalia was a true Vidalia.
Oh, well…some huge biscuits would do. Huge biscuits…slathered in butter, honey, and sweet relish would be incredible but it wasn’t like anyone would let her in the kitchen except to shovel even more food in her mouth and even then they preferred to bring it out to her like she was some sort of queen with an addiction to footstools.
Between Edna, Diantha, and Gladiola, not to mention Eric, Willa, and even Sevrin, she hadn’t been allowed to do more than breathe, grow the interloping alien, and wipe her own butt in…well, it felt like forever.
Even Dr. Ludwig managed to pop in for weekly check-ups.
Talk about another godsend. Despite the abundant erm…difficulties…with the doctor’s twin sisters, she and Marlene got along splendidly. Sure, the little doctor was gruff, but she seemed to have developed more pati…well, less impatience with the evolving fairy-hybrid.
Oh, those sisters… She felt badly for Marlene when the truth about them came out. It couldn’t have been all that great of a welcome-home-from-your-vacation gift.
After Eric and Sevrin had a very honest, rather firm impromptu discussion with the good doctor the moment she returned from her vacation, somehow they, and who knew who all else, had used information given to them by Marlene herself to finally locate and “secure” the other two of the set of triplets. One of them, Carlene had been innocent just of everything except being utterly effin’ clueless. She had been so firmly intrigued by the scientific discovery aspect of the research that she’d simply missed all the potential problems with the ethics, but her reaction when she’d finally seen the light had been nicely and vocally informative.
Sookie knew that if Eric had described the other doctor’s reaction as “vocally informative” he meant that this Carlene person had likely raised holy hell about it all.
She had been the one to direct Eric and Sevrin to Darlene’s likely locations.
The doctor had indeed named names, locations, and a whole slew of other useful and not-so-useful facts. She had been so cooperative, so aghast and furious and self-flagellating, that her peoples’ medical community and her all-important “head of the family” had absolved her of all guilt.
More importantly, so had Eric and Sevrin.
The other triplet, Darlene? Not so much. She’d known exactly what she was doing and what would happen with her research, not to mention her actual suggestions – she just didn’t care. Sookie wasn’t sure if that one even knew how to spell the word “ethic”.
Even during the vampires’ interrogation she had boldly stated that it wasn’t her business how her theories and findings were used, that she had the right to go where the funding was and that it was her business what she chose to research and where she chose to spread her knowledge.
That had not gone over well.
From what Eric had told Sookie during that night’s foot massage, it had gotten so bad that Marlene and Carlene had called in the head of their family line to decipher and determine the extent of Darlene’s involvement in Sookie’s unfortunate situation.
Come to find out, Darlene had known and, in whenever capacity needed, had been involved all long.
That triplet would never see the light of day again.
The head of their family line had sentenced her to spend the rest of her life in some sort of underground prison facility in their home realm, wherever that was.
Her Dr. Ludwig, Marlene, had been appalled, apologetic, and well nigh apoplectic when it had all came out.
It was so bad that the doctor had even offered Sookie a discount on all future services.
“There now, your hands are hands again, and the house is even short a couple pests.”
Curious, Sookie looked down to the floor around her chair and, sure enough, saw several tiny charred remains of no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and what might have been a former little housefly.
Super-nova hands could come in right handy, it seemed.
“Isitsafe toentertheliving room?” Diantha’s rapid query was understandable.
Apparently even inadvertent fairy-light messed with something in their demon-ness. It didn’t hurt them in any way but it did make horns they didn’t normally have suddenly appear on their heads.
Privately Sookie thought the horns her magic revealed or called forth or whatever were pretty cool, but it did take The Flowers hours of concentration to make them go away again.
Diantha and Gladiola were safe so long as they remained in any room other than the one she happened to be in. Trial and error had been fun.
They weren’t the only ones affected by pregnancy hormone-related emotional bursts of accidental nova-hand magic…although the effects on Sevrin and Willa weren’t nearly as distracting. To them, they weren’t affected unless they actually touched her – anywhere, not just her hands, but even then what they felt was likened to an almost painful burst of static.
Eric? Thankfully he was immune to all of it.
Well, except her tears which came in illogical, untimely, and annoying bursts over anything and everything.
Clydesdales pulling whatever commercials? Check.
Can you hear me now commercials? Check.
Starving abused pet rescue commercials? DOUBLE FUCKING CHECK.
Anytime she tried to find her ankles? TRIPLE DOUBLE FUCKING CHECK.
Sookie smiled a little slyly. She suspected that if it were any vampire other than her three the “burst of static” would result in a crispy-fried vampire but it wasn’t as though she could test her theory.
Just give her time.
Vampires always did seem to come nosing around with the wrongest of intentions, so she figured it was just a matter of time.
Too bad it didn’t seem to affect the Dae in the same way although she was glad nothing terrible had happened to either of her Flowers.
She looked down to find Edna yet again propping her feet up on the always-conveniently-available footstool.
The alien womb invader did another summersault in approval. Gee, thanks…didn’t need that organ anyway…
“Come on back; it’s safe,” Sookie replied to Diantha and hoped she was bringing her the pickled pears and sauerkraut she’d wanted earlier…before her hands decided to illuminate the county.
And some white cheddar cheese, but the kind from Vermont. With crackers. And pickles. And those red hot cinnamon candies.
She put her head in her hands and wondered when the hell these weird cravings would end.
With her luck, when the kid turned 21.
“Herenow, what’sthatlookfor?” Gladiola, the warrior of the two, wasn’t normally the most emotionally responsive sister, but she did have her times.
Sookie sighed deeply…then sighed again.
“I’m just sick of these weird cravings, sick of being pregnant, sick of not being able to move, sick of my back hurting and my boobs hurting and sick of having to go to the bathroom 20 times a day.”
The demoness made the mistake of snickering with ill-timed but not ill-intended humor.
Sookie accepted the platter…with a glowing hand.
A set of majestic, shiny green horns appeared on Gladiola’s forehead.
Gladiola wasn’t snickering now.
She wasn’t angry, not by any means – if anyone understood accidental preggo magic, it was the Dae – but she wasn’t thrilled, either. It was hard as hell to disguise the sharp-pointed horns curving up from her forehead via magic and certainly not possible with mundane means, but at least she wouldn’t have to leave the house until she’d coerced them into disappearing again.
At least they didn’t hurt.
Sookie crammed her mouth full of pickled pears and concentrated until her hands de-illuminated, then celebrated her success with a huge bite of kraut.
Then she apologized to the horn-bedecked Flower.
Edna just shook her head at all of them and proceeded to fold more laundry. As a Were she’d grown up knowing of the Dae and the Fae, and during her daily life had sniffed out the rare example here and there, but had never even thought of interacting with either species except maybe across a counter or some such, yet here she was literally living with two of the one and one of the other.
My how times can change!
She’d come to adore them all, honestly. The Flowers, as she thought of them collectively, were very nice if odd-looking (and dressing…) young ladies, although they were older than she was. She hadn’t asked them, of course, that would have been just too rude, but she could tell they had some age on them.
The Were could also tell that either one of them would give her life to protect the wrongly-done fairy-hybrid in their midst, and they would do so without reservation. Although neither had been in any way responsible for the acts of others of their species, if was as if they were trying desperately to make up for what had happened. Unfortunately restitution could only come from those responsible, and she had it on good authority – of the Northman variety – that the main one responsible, the penis as it were, had already met his higher power.
If there was any justice in the universe, that boy was roasting slowly.
As she put the folded items away and extracted yet another load from the dryer, she pondered the triplets. Of course Marlene had been innocent. Her bedside routine might be a bit, erm, rough around the edges, but that one lived for her patients. That Carlene had been so caught up in trying to help with her research that she might miss how her input was being corrupted was understandable, too. That one lived for researching ways to improve fertility for supes. There’d never been an underhanded bone in her body!
But Darlene…! Edna slammed the dryer door shut.
If she ever came across that filthy piece of work, well, there wouldn’t be anything but a bit of bloody hair left afterward. But according to the Northman, Darlene would be spending the remainder of her life in an underground prison somewhere in another realm, and honestly, that was just too good for her.
But at least their species lived a long, long time, as far as she knew.
She glanced at the calendar as she toted the warm load through the house to the den where her charge was thankfully sitting on her butt and baking that baby. It was going to be a long night but at least Sookie was taking it easy for now.
Tonight would be the second night of who knew how many that the two male vampires would be gone.
Thanks to Carlene’s information, their people…investigators, whatever they called them, had chased down an abundance of leads lately and while most of them yielded little to no information – and certainly no Dae bodies – it seemed as though they’d finally gotten lucky this time around.
Eric and that sexy beast Sevrin had left just after dark the night before en route to, of all places, New Rochelle, N.Y., although it was unlikely they’d remain there for long. Apparently trails had a bad habit of hopping continents (and realms) rather often.
Silly trails…they really needed to stay put once in a while.
Edna had never been to New Rochelle, though, hadn’t ever been any further north than she currently was, honestly, but the place sounded nice.
Rochelle…pretty middle name for a girl-baby… She did wish Sookie would tell them the names she’d picked for her little girl-to-be, but oh, well, sooner or later she guessed.
But that one was stubborn, gleefully so judging by the twinkle in her eye when asked about names. She didn’t dare ask Mr. Northman, however. He tended to growl.
Maybe Willa would flub up and admit that she knew…she’d have to ask her (again) after while when the lady in question rose for the night.
Everyone could tell that she’d been torn between going with her Sevrin and her Maker, but in the end she’d chosen to stand by her friend instead.
Such a sweet girl…vampire…whatever. A toddler-vamp, as they say, but very well controlled and she had a lovely ability to float things through the air. Didn’t work so well for soup, though, oddly enough.
Edna had heard all about that family she’d come from, knew that her father Mr. Burrell had been a bad piece of work, but hoped the mother had been a better person. She didn’t know anything about the sister and, really, didn’t want to. It wasn’t any of her business what those people got into, now was it…
After placing the basket of warm clothes on the sofa she went back into the kitchen to check on the two racks of whole chickens she had baking in the oven. Between her son, who would be starving by the time he Shifted and came back in from patrolling, the two Flowers, the hybrid, and herself, there wouldn’t be any leftovers.
At least she had four pies – blackberry/rhubarb, chocolate/ginger/peanut butter, peach/cherry, and a oddball hamburger/lemon/mushroom concoction – ready to bake once the chicken dinged.
Dear little thing…what weird cravings she had…
Edna hoped “the boys” would be back soon, didn’t think so given how wily those creatures had proven to be. Either way, whenever they did come dragging back in, she hoped there would be far fewer Dae on the planet for their efforts. She’d be glad to help, she would, even if she’d been told the Dae weren’t good eatin’.
At least with “the boys” gone there wasn’t nearly as much laundry.
**A/N: So, how’s that for an update/slice-of-life? Answered a few questions, I hope (tummy-settling mints available by the door). What’d ja think?**