*A/N: So…this chapter starts off with a dip into Sevrin’s POV – hope y’all don’t mind?*
After rising the next afternoon in his own safe accommodations, Sevrin contemplated the previous night.
The Willa part had been nice…
Real fucking nice…
He was glad there was no one around to hear his subtle growl of appreciation for that sweet brunette youngling.
Remembering the Pamela portion of the evening quickly chilled his rising ardor, however. She had left much to be desired.
There was something strange going on with the new inmate.
To him, if a vampire had committed a crime so foul that their own Maker, Monarch, or Magister relinquished them to his “tender mercies”, they no longer warranted anything more than the most basic of considerations. A sun-proof place to go into their daydeath, enough sustenance to sustain their bodily functions, and time enough to recover from one punishment so that the full effect of the next could be appreciated. All else was candy and those bastards were the least deserving of such coddling.
Sevrin…was not a coddler.
He paused in his contemplation to gloat briefly. Once placed into his holding, no one had ever escaped. Although successful rehabilitation was sadly rare – more were ended than fixed, most of the lifers eventually adjusted and worked within his system if they wanted to survive. A hard night’s work and a fair attitude would result in being treated fairly, and that was the best they could hope for…well, unless they approached him and expressed true and meaningful contrition for the actions that had resulted in being placed into his care. A small number had left his care by showing that sincere and worthy remorse, but he didn’t bother advertising that as even being an option. He didn’t want to have to deal with all the fakers.
Precious few bothered anyway, and of those few, even fucking fewer actually meant it.
Sevrin allowed himself a feral grin. The liars, the wanna-be manipulators, the con artists…they didn’t know his secret.
No one did.
He’d have been killed as soon as possible had anyone ever found out. It might have taken half an army, but sooner or later he’d have been ended.
Some of his gifts were common knowledge, like his eidetic scent memory and his unusual strength, but he was bizarrely well equipped to deal with the trash left in his possession. He could tap into any vampire’s thoughts at will…not that he ever wanted to – vampires were not a sweet bunny-ass’d species, all told.
He couldn’t take a meandering stroll through their heads or anything like that, thank fuck, but once he dropped the barriers he could definitely hear what they were thinking about loudest in that moment.
It was rarely good.
Vampires being the worst gossips of all the species, every older undead fucker on the planet knew of the Northman’s Telepath, so once he had received the call, he had been looking forward to meeting her. He’d wanted to ask her about her ability and how far it went, how much she could hear, if could she hear other species, and other things of that nature but hadn’t wanted to blow his cover. During his long life he’d heard about but had never met others who could do what he did. He hoped for her sake that her shields were as strong as his, though, because otherwise she’d go mad as a rabid dog. Having shields of steel was a necessity since he absolutely detested catching even stray thoughts from other vampires.
Thank all the applicable gods that he didn’t have to hear the bitching and whining of any other species, though. Vamps were fucking bad enough. The only good things about this so-called gift were that he hadn’t had it before his Turning and that he could shut it off at will.
Rarely, however, if his subconscious went rogue and decided there was something he should investigate, it brought down those massive shields all by its fucking self and let thoughts in whether he wanted it to happen or not.
Usually he didn’t mind, after he found out the point, that is. His subconscious was a damn good ally most nights.
His thoughts automatically zeroed back in on the new inmate.
While he was dragging the Viking’s trash down the hall by her chicken-neck, his “good ally” had decided to help. Unfortunately nothing came through that made any damn sense, but overall there was a sense that the bitch was guilty of far more than she wanted her Maker-dearest to realize.
And that it involved Sookie.
How was he supposed to tell the Northman that his progeny had something to do with something negative happening to or about his obviously-cherished Sookie? That shit didn’t even make sense to him and he was the one who heard it! And how in seven hells was he supposed to clue that blond son of a bitch in without blowing his secret wide fucking open?
Sometimes Sevrin hated his job.
He always hated his fucking gift.
What to do…what to do…
With a groan Sevrin threw his head back on his pillow as he considered rising for the day and dipping his toe right back into the mess he’d voluntarily stepped in last night.
It looked like it might be a while before he got back home at this rate. Of course, that pretty little thing with the blushing cheeks and that sweet little smile certainly softened the blow.
He hauled his ass out of bed before he decided to think too long about things that could be blown.
Eric rose late that afternoon to a warm Sookie curled on her side around his long form. Her soft breaths and slowed heartbeat told him that she was asleep, but the girl-child within was awake. He could feel her movements gently bumping against his side and wondered how Sookie was able to sleep through all that but figured she must be used to it by now.
Intrigued with the baby’s activity, he turned to face the love of his unlife and softly rested his hand on the side of her enlarged abdomen. A few moments passed before the child who would become his daughter moved, and he couldn’t tell if his hand had been high-fived or kicked, but the motions within the womb of his beloved were fascinating.
Over the next several minutes her movements seemed to calm down until she gave one harder kick which caused Sookie to grimace in her sleep. Eric gently rubbed where he was positive it was a foot had kicked and was relieved when Sookie burrowed her head into where his shoulder now rested and slipped back into a deeper sleep.
He inhaled deeply and relished her scent that had saturated his quarters during the day.
A huge grin of blatantly smug satisfaction lit his face.
He finally had his woman not only in his home, their home now, but in his bed in his quarters…their bed and their quarters if he had anything to say about it. And it had been surprisingly far less difficult than he would have thought, at that.
After he and Sevrin had returned the previous night, Sevrin had – for him – politely declined his offer of a safe place to pass the day, said he would return the next night, and then left in his vehicle to parts unknown.
Willa, he thought, had hidden her disappointment well. Besides, her beau would be back the next evening anyway. Still gently rubbing Sookie’s almost-motionless midsection, Eric silenced a chuckle when he reviewed his memory of Sookie teasing Willa about her new beau, then simply smiled in gratitude to whoever was listening that the now two main females in his life got along so very well.
If only Pamela had ever…
He shut the door on that line of thought; such ponderings would do him no favors.
After the teasing, and after Willa had gotten some of her own back with her comments about Sookie’s butter pecan ice cream and Vidalia onion snack – he had to agree…it smelled atrocious – it wasn’t long before Sookie had brushed her teeth and was ready to turn in.
Willa, apparently sensing an on-coming private moment, had simply asked Eric where her room was. He had taken this opportunity to smoothly escort both ladies down the steps to the massively reinforced underground level – he refused to call it a basement – to the vampire-safe quarters. He had one hand filled with Sookie’s bags and the other around her waist for saftey, and he had noticed even then that Sookie hadn’t said or even asked anything. A suspiciously quiet Sookie was a curiosity indeed…
When presented with her sleeping quarters Willa had been pleasantly surprised with her large pale blue bedroom complete with matching full bath. Sookie had “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” appropriately as she and his Child explored the rooms. Soon enough Sookie yawned (again), and his obviously smarter Child had taken the hint.
The second the “goodnights” had been said and her door closed, to Eric’s everlasting shock and joy, Sookie had turned to him and calmly asked where their room was.
Their room…and she didn’t stutter.
His heart had nearly burst, and he could still feel the tingle in his lips from the scorching kiss he’d impulsively claimed at her words.
Afterward, and partially to hide the fact that his eyes had grown moist with her declaration, he had instructed her to wait where she was for a moment, grabbed her bags, then sped to his quarters. After depositing her bags atop the uncluttered dresser and flipping on the bedside lamp and the overhead lights, he had rushed back to her side, gathered her in his arms, and carried her over the threshold to his quarters.
The sound of her laughter tickled his mind as he savored it once again.
His quarters, a study in crisp white and dark blue, had met with her vocal approval, and in short order she had claimed the empty chest of drawers he had offered.
“Eric, why do you have two chests of drawers if this one is completely empty?” She asked her question with humor, but her expression was soft and sweet.
“They came as a set,” he replied with a shrug. He had looked at her expanded waistline then and quickly moved his things from the top row of drawers in his dresser to the empty second row. “Here, you can use this top row of drawers, too. They would be easier for you to reach. And don’t forget the closet.”
With a grin he opened the door to the deep walk-in closet and enjoyed Sookie’s reaction as her mouth dropped in surprise when she saw the expansive and highly convenient built-ins.
“This…this is big enough to be another bedroom!”
“It used to be another bedroom,” he said wryly. “Is this all you have with you?” He knew Willa had packed her things, but this didn’t seem to be nearly enough.
“Pretty much,” she replied as she peeped into a drawer filled with socks. “Why do you have so many socks? You don’t usually wear them.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Sookie rolled her eyes at him then exited the closet to begin transferring her things into the empty drawers.
A few minutes later Eric took out his wallet and flipped through it as he spoke. “Tomorrow I want you to order yourself whatever you need. The entire house is equipped with wifi and there are laptops and a PC in the office off the main living room upstairs that you can use.” He placed a plastic card in Sookie’s hand and continued. “Use this. We can go shopping later for things for the baby, but you need more clothing and, um, personal things now.”
She blinked back a sudden wave of warm tears as she stared at the credit card in her hand. He meant every word of it, she realized. He truly wanted her to have what she needed to be happy and comfortable. Years earlier she would have sworn that he was somehow trying to buy her or trying to control her in some way with his money or by creating a situation where she was indebted to him. While some of that might have been a little bit true when they first met so long ago, now she knew better. He had changed, but then, so had she.
Now…now he wanted to give to her security and sometimes that came by way of giving her things. He wanted to make her happy, to show her his affection in a tangible, useful way. He wanted to take care of her because he cared about her, loved her, and it gave him satisfaction to provide for her.
Eric’s heart stuttered when he scented then saw the tears leaking from her eyes. Had he pushed too hard? But she had…
At that moment she looked up into his worried blue gaze, and a brilliant smile brightened her face. She placed the card on the dresser and slid her hands around his trim waist.
“Thank you. I will.”
He exhaled gustily as his own arms easily encircled her new, and somewhat moving, girth. For a couple of long minutes he basked in the glory of their newfound understanding.
“Come on,” he said to the top of her head, “let’s get you to bed.”
She nodded and sniffed, then finally let go.
As Eric gently rubbed in ever-widening circles around her stomach, he allowed himself to sink almost into downtime as he recalled curling around Sookie and caressing her in much the same way hours earlier. Sinking into his dayrest with his Sookie in his bed, draped over his body in such a way as to ease her back, had been bliss.
“Ummm, that feels so good,” Sookie’s sleepy words eventually interrupted his thoughts.
Eric leaned up a bit on his elbow to better see her face and savored his fairy’s drowsy, contented smile.
“Good afternoon, Lover. Did you have a nice nap?” He could tell by her scent that she’d been out of the rooms at some point to eat and take her pale orange supplement, but had returned for some rest.
“Um-hum,” she answered affirmatively, then stretched. When his hand’s movements became more suggestive, she scrunched up her face.
“No, we can’t. I haven’t had a shower today.”
Had she been ill?
“I wanted to but I was alone here, well, you know what I mean. I thought about what you said and you’re right. If I fell or something, it could get bad before anyone woke up for the night. I’d rather stay dirty for my baby than risk it, but I definitely need a shower.”
Eric nodded, then kissed her forehead in mute appreciation for her use of common sense.
“I spoke with Pete, the head of my P.I. department, and he thinks his mother would be able to keep an eye on you dur….” his voice trailed off at Sookie’s marked glare. “What?”
“Keep an eye on me? What am I, a toddler?”
“Erm…I meant “to keep you company during the day”?”
“That sounds better. Carry on,” she playfully instructed with a wave of her hand before resting that hand on his waist.
“I don’t want to now,” Eric faux-pouted, his hand now slowly caressing her back.
“Awww, don’t pout, big guy. It doesn’t suit your handsome face,” she played along.
“Nope, does not.”
He faked a credible sniff but couldn’t quite manage the trembling lip he was attempting.
“Ok, ok, what can I do to make it up to my big pouty Viking?” Sookie failed miserably at trying to keep her giggle contained.
“Let me help you shower?” His sparkling blue eyes were eager as he made his oh-so-innocent suggestion…which was completely ruined by his waggling brows.
“Ha! Well, if that’s what it takes to make it all better,” Sookie replied with suitable, if obviously phony, exasperation, “then lead on. I was going to ask you to anyway.”
Willa rose a little later and with a huge smile on her face. Sevrin said he’d be by that evening and she couldn’t wait to see him. The kiss…oh, that kiss… Memories had kept her up almost past sunrise that morning. She showered as quickly as she could, dressed with much more care than usual, then made sure her hair was as good as it was going to get.
As she left her sound-dampened room, her vampire hearing proved far better than she’d like as she heard Sookie’s muffled moans coming from near what she guessed was her Maker’s room.
Was she ok?
Just as she started to worry, she heard Sookie gasp and moan again then tell Eric to keep working her nipples, to keep rubbing and sucking on them to toughen them up for later nursing…
Never had she climbed a set of steps faster.
**A/N: So…what did you think? Sevrin? Sookie? Eric? *wonders if they’ll have to take a shower to get clean after their shower?* Poor Willa…*snicker* Reviews feed the muse!**