'A baby? … A son? … A reborn god? … Many children, many reborn gods.' Eric lay stretched out on his side gazing down at Sookie while she slept. He had spent very little time with her over the last two days. Instead, he roamed the wilds of the woods around his cabin, trying to clear his head, rejoining her only when he felt through the bond that she had fallen asleep. He knew the distance he had put between them had hurt and worried her, so each day he left her a note promising that he would explain everything to her as soon as he figured it out for himself. That the distance he was keeping had nothing to do with her or them as bondeds, but just a way for him to sort through all that Odin had revealed to him. He knew Sookie was an insecure woman, and he didn't like that he was hurting her, but he'd needed time alone to make sense of his new world.
tonight was the night they would be driving back to Stockholm, and he
was no closer to determining how he felt about everything he had been
told than he was two days ago. He was still suffering the effects of
shock from learning that not only was he part fae, half god, and Odin's
son, but that he was about to sire the first vampire baby in history. A
baby who would consequently be the god that had sired him, reborn in a
new body. If this wasn't enough to get his head around, this son would
be the first child in a line of many, and their mother was his bonded, a
human woman, or, perhaps, only partially human woman, who would never
grow old or die as long as he gave her his blood, and together they were
destined to remake the world.
might be hardest for him to accept was that all of it was predestined.
That even Godric had played a role in an immense mythological chessboard
where Eric had found he was more pawn than king. He had lived a
proactive life, used to leading and having others follow, of clear
decision-making, of being autonomous. It was unfathomable, unimaginable
even to him that his cunning adaptation over the long centuries he'd
walked the Earth as vampire were all part of some master plan. And that
ALL of it centered on the sleeping beauty next to him.
knew he needed to at least come to terms with the baby. He couldn't
keep this from Sookie for much longer. No doubt the moment they met with
the Ancient Pythoness and Niall, one or both of them would bring up the
pregnancy. Not to mention that within a very short time, the pheromones
excreted by Sookie would alter her scent, and the entire supernatural
community would know and recognize it. He had to tell, and soon, but he
couldn't speak with her about it until he knew how he felt about it.
remembered, as a human, being proud to learn his wife Aude was carrying
his child. Remembered, too, praying for a son. However, he also
remembered having very little to do with his first born son, or the
children that followed, and this would not be an option with Sookie. She
would expect him to be a father by today's standards, and he just
didn't know if he could do that. He didn't know if he could hold a baby
and rock it to sleep. He didn't know if he could devote care and
attention to a being that was so small and helpless. He found children
amusing, as he'd told Pam at the club months ago when the shifter
brought two, but that was only for short periods. Being around one all
night every night of his existence? He doubted he'd find that as
amusing. He wasn't sure if he could care about a baby, and, if he couldn't care about his son the way Sookie would need him to, it would break her heart.
had no doubts that, once she got over her own initial shock, she would
be excited. He knew she had wanted children but forfeited that dream to
be with a man whose thoughts didn't hurt her. However unknowingly, she
had made that sacrifice when she chose to be with Bill, and it carried
over now into her relationship with him. So, to her, this would probably
be a blessing once she came to terms with the fact she was giving birth
to a god.
Sookie just didn't have it in her not to love
a child, especially her own. Once she had time to think about this new
development, he knew she would be all about embracing that woman's dream
of a perfect little house with a dog and their children playing in the
yard, and she'd expect him to be the adoring father. She'd expect him to
care for their children as he cared for her … and, if he couldn't, he
didn't think she'd be able to forgive him.
had to come to terms with how drastically his life had just changed,
and he needed to be ok with it. As Odin said, he needed to be strong for
Sookie. While she would be excited about having a child, she would also
be terrified. Terrified of the truly unknown as this event was
unprecedented. Terrified that their enemies would target their child.
Terrified that she couldn't do this no matter how much she might want
it. He had promised to be her strength when hers faltered, and he could
do no less now.
been staring at her angelic face, following the line of the lush curls
of her blond hair, the color so like his own, falling over her naked
shoulders and breasts, but now let his eyes move down to her belly where
her hand rested as she slumbered. It was flat and smooth, showing no
indication of the new life it held, but, soon enough, that would change.
Soon she would grow round and heavy with his son. So, how did he feel
about that? How did he feel knowing his seed, his seed that had long
been dead, had taken root inside her body and a part of them both was
growing in her womb to house the spirit of a former warrior god?
am uncertain about all of this. Pam was my only true child, as I barely
remember my human children. Times were so different and I spent so
little time with my family back then, always out for months on end
raiding, by today's standards I would be a stranger to them. But this
child? This child I will live with day in and day out. Sookie will want
me to take a significant part in his life, and in the lives of the
children that follow. I will need to. If they will truly be vampires, I
will, in essence, be their Maker, and Sookie will not have the means to
teach them to be what they are. She can love them, and care for them,
but she cannot teach them to control their blood lust. She will not have
the strength or speed to keep up with them, and, in order to establish
the Maker and child bond, I will need to be with them. I will have no
choice but to help raise them, but I don't know if I can.'
Eric smiled ruefully.
'I have only held a baby three times in my life. All three times were
when my human children were born, and I held them only once after their
births. Then I handed them back to their mother, and had so little to do
with them. I never saw my children grow to true adulthood. My eldest
was but 13 when I was turned, and I don't know what happened to them
after I left with Godric. It's been so long I can't even remember
mourning their loss. So how can I care for this child? How can I be the
father that Sookie will not only want me to be, but need me to be?
Demand me to be?'
attention turned to Thor who moved restlessly in his sleep near the
bed, apparently dreaming. He was surprised to find himself feeling
ashamed for not having been around to play ball with the dog. The little
domestic moments in the cabin had been enjoyable for him, satisfying on
levels he hadn't conceived. The emotions were strange and disquieting,
and he was feeling apart from himself.
He focused again on Sookie's lithe form. 'Is
this child something I can be joyous over? Or merely accepting of?
Sookie will know if I am not happy with this development. She will sense
it in me. She has begun to be able to read me as much as I read her,
and it will break her heart if she learns I am not happy about this. Do I
even want to be happy about this? Do I want to be a father in the
truest sense of the word? I have been vampire so long; the idea of
siring children has never crossed my mind in a thousand years. In all my
millennia on this earth I have never thought, wished, hoped, or even
dreamed of this. So how do I feel now that the impossible is my reality?'
there beside his true mate, his bonded, his lover, his Sookie, Eric
felt utter chaos inside him. He had no heading. No compass. He was a
ship without a rudder … and that's when he got an idea. He needed help
in accomplishing the task of determining what all this meant to him.
Odin had given Sookie a means for him to do that.
Rising from the bed
carefully so as not to wake her, he made his way to the chest holding
Godric's journal and the talisman that Odin had given Sookie. Taking out
the Aegishjalmur, he sat down cross-legged before the fire with it
clutched in both hands.
Closing his eyes, he whispered, "Give me guidance. Sort the chaos of my mind."
effect was immediate. Power radiated out of his Mjolnir, the last of
the power of the Norse gods embodied inside him, flowing through his
arms and into his hands to surround the Aegishjalmur. The amulet began
to glow and Eric's eyes lit up as visions overtook him. He saw the
future … and it was glorious!
saw him and Sookie standing side by side with dozens of tall strong
golden haired warriors that resembled him greatly. He saw women, so much
like his Sookie, smiling at him, and he knew, he knew,
they were their children. The vision shifted and he saw himself teaching
a young golden haired vampire boy how to wield a sword while Sookie
looked on as triplets played beside her as she breastfed another baby.
The boy was fast and agile, his fangs descended in his excitement
as he sparred with his father. Eric grinned and watched as the vision
shifted again. This time he saw himself in battle, a vicious and bloody
battle as he swung his new sword with deadly precision while three boys
that looked so much like him heaved their own as they watched each
United, they were an unstoppable force as they took down
an entire army. He felt pride well up in his chest as the vision shifted
yet again. This one showed him sitting on a throne in a great hall with
Sookie beside him, and lining the walls were dozens upon dozens of
other thrones occupied by their children. They were mighty, they were
great, and they were his. The vision shifted once more,
and he saw himself making love to Sookie who was heavily swollen with
child. He saw his hands smooth over her blossoming belly and, as he sat
before the fire in the cabin, his cock hardened with desire just at the
sight. As this last vision began to fade, and awareness returned to him,
he heard whispered words in his mind.
Behold the future. Behold destiny. Behold what is right and good, Chosen King of the Mother. It awaits you.
light faded from his eyes and body as the Aegishjalmur fell silent in
his hands. Eric sat staring at it, reviewing what he had just seen. He
saw himself with a family … his family. A family of
mighty warriors and beautiful daughters that looked so much like their
mother. He saw himself standing side by side with his sons as they took
on entire armies of humans with advanced weapons intent on annihilation.
He saw himself holding his pregnant mate as he made love to her … and
it was good! Unnamed emotions rose up inside him and he couldn't
decipher them, he couldn't understand them, but he realized one true
thing. He wanted this.
He was unsure how to be a father, but he was certain anything a human male could do, he would excel at. 'Besides,
certainly Sookie will handle most of the infant care and I will only
truly take part in the raising once they are up and walking. Once they
are capable of moving around and learning, then I shall raise them much
as Godric raised me, and I raised Pam. It should not be too hard,
especially if they carry any of the memories from their former lives.
There isn't much I can do before then anyway. Babes are meant to be
cared for by the mother. I am still unsure how the birthing and caring
of these babes will go. If they are vampires, they will need blood, not
food, yet in the vision, I saw Sookie breast feeding.' Eric thought
on that oddity as he stared at the talisman before deciding that most of
these questions they would learn the answers to from the Ancient
Pythoness, or through simple experience when the children came.
Still holding the talisman, his gaze was drawn back to Sookie lying asleep on their bed and he smiled. This is right. He would be a father, and she would be a mother. They would raise children that were gods reborn, but they would be their
children. They would carry his blood and hers. She would love them, and
he would train and guide them to be great. He was still uncertain what
the future held for him and Sookie with regard to the full prophecy, but
he knew now that he no longer cared. Prophecy or not, he was going to
be a father. As the images of the future he'd seen floated in his mind,
he thought, 'And I think I'm really going to enjoy it. My
sons will be great. I will teach them as Godric taught me, and my
daughters will have their mother's heart. Their beauty will be without
finally made peace with what Odin had revealed to him, he returned the
Aegishjalmur to its resting place beside Godric's journal and moved to
lie on his side next to Sookie again. There were still many problems
that he and his bonded would need to overcome, but he knew to his
marrow, together, they would rise above them. He would fight anyone and
everyone he had to in order to keep Sookie safe, and she would always be
there waiting for him to welcome him with open arms when his warring
was done. It would be a nice life. He had some concerns as to the
supernatural world's reaction to learning that Sookie would give him
children, but if Odin said the Pythoness would rally them around, he
could be certain it was true. The Pythoness herself had made it clear
she was in his and Sookie's corner completely. The supernatural world
would follow her lead without question.
his arm around Sookie's waist he drew her into the curve of his own
body. It had been two days and he wanted her intensely, rabidly,
passionately. He was also fairly sure that Sookie would need the comfort
of his touch to soothe her hurt and worry from over the distance he'd
put between them over the last few days. He'd felt her longing through
the bond, and he'd wanted to answer it, but he'd needed to come to terms
with and accept Odin's revelation. He was still angered that he'd been
led to believe a lie his entire life, and that he'd been kept in the
dark about why he was so different than everyone else, but if those
secrets allowed him to find his Sookie, he could make peace with them.
his hand up to cup the fullness of Sookie's breast, he leaned down to
nuzzle her shoulder. They only had a few hours before they had to leave
for Stockholm and he wanted to make good use of them. It had been far
too long since he'd been buried inside her.
"Sookie," he purred before scraping his fangs along the curve of her neck. "Wake up, my Sookie, I want you."
a sharp burst of lust through the bond, Sookie's eyes fluttered open.
She let out a gasp as strong, insistent fingers slipped between her
thighs and began to stroke the satin warmth of her. She wanted this, she
wanted Eric, but first she needed answers. His separation from her the
last two days had hurt her. She understood he needed time to think, but
she hadn't seen him at all for two whole days! He couldn't just slip
back into bed with her and carry on like nothing had happened!
his hand away from between her thighs, she sat up abruptly. Eric now
saw her eyes were pinched and red rimmed and he felt a pang in his chest
realizing she'd cried herself to sleep, and, checking the bond, he saw
his actions wholly to blame. The hand on her breast went to grab her
shoulders and draw her back down into a reaffirming embrace but Sookie
shifted her body away from him and his hand fell instead to the space
between them on the bed. She glared down at him.
knew what she wanted, knew and felt it. He had intended to speak with
her all along; he'd just been hoping it could be after they mated.
Realizing that wasn't going to happen, he shifted, moving to support his
head on the extension of his raised fist from his crooked elbow, and
said, "You wish to talk first."
the sheet up over her breasts so he'd look at her eyes and nowhere
else, Sookie affirmed, "Damn right I do. Where have you been?"
"In the woods around the cabin. I was never far from you, just far enough away to think."
"Because you couldn't think around me?"
"Not about this."
"What is 'this'?"
"What Odin revealed to me about myself … and us."
Sookie's voice hitched with worry. "What Odin said to you made you rethink 'us'?"
her insecurities had been beating at her, Eric sat up as quickly,
pulled Sookie into his lap bridal style, and kissed her forehead softly,
assuring her, "Sookie, no. Not like that. We're
together now, lover. You belong to me in every way for all time. I've
told you before, and I'll tell you as many times as I need to in order
for you to finally get it … I'm never letting you go. I'll never let
another have you. I want you for eternity, and I will have you."
His mouth slanted down onto hers and he kissed her again. "You're mine, Sookie, know it, feel it, get used to it."
held his gaze for a long moment. Seeing the truth in his eyes, she let
out the breath she'd been holding and cuddled into his chest, tucking
her head under his chin. "You hurt me, Eric. I was worried. You just
left me here and took off. I didn't know what to think. I didn't want to
push you, but I didn't want you to just up and leave me like that."
am sorry you were hurt," he acknowledged and hurried to continue when
he saw her brows furrow. "I am sorry my actions caused you hurt," he
said, nuzzling her nose with his own. "Sookie, what Odin told me truly
left me speechless. Our lives are about to change in a way that no one
else's ever has. Odin didn't just tell me he was my father, he told me
about the inescapable nature of our connection, he told me about our
future, and, I needed time and space to come to terms with it all, to
decide how I felt about everything, before I could return to you. I've
done that and now it is time to move forward."
thought about telling her everything, but decided it had to wait.
Selfishly, he knew if he told her now she'd become upset and wouldn't
have sex with him and he couldn't have that. He needed her, needed her
body, needed the intense rapture he felt when he was deep inside her and
she was holding on to him for dear life. It was going to take her some
time of her own to come to grips with Odin's revelation and they had to
return to Stockholm in just a few hours. She'd have to play her part in
front of the other vampires in attendance, and he didn't need her overly
emotional and showing fear. He decided it would be best if he waited
until they were back in Bon Temps. He'd get her home, sit her down,
explain that she was now pregnant with a god, that their son was only
the first of many, and then he'd help her come to terms with it.
decision made, he cupped Sookie's face in his hand, and explained, "I
will tell you everything when we get home. There is a lot to go over,
and much of it will shock you. We must leave for Haldar's court in a few
hours, and I don't want you upset when we get there. Just as I needed
time and space to accept everything, you undoubtedly will as well. Because of this, I would prefer to wait until we are back home and you
can have both. However, I want you to know that I am
happy about this. Concerned about the problems and repercussions likely
to result from this new development, but I'm happy for us. I want you to
understand that now."
"Is it bad? I mean, if it had you hiding out in the woods for two days, it couldn't be good."
his thumb over her full lips, Eric promised, "It's not bad, it is just
completely unexpected. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Nothing.
It took me awhile to get over the shock, and understand what it meant
for us, but, now that I've done that, I'm happy about it. You will be
too. Once you've taken the time to get over your shock, I'm certain you
will be even more pleased by this news than I am."
"Then I want to know now."
"No. It is best to wait for when you won't have to be around others."
trust me. It is best if we wait until we're home for us to discuss
this. As I said, there is much to go over and where I took two days to
get over my shock and sort through it all, you might want more. That is
not an option right now. We must return to Stockholm tonight, and I do
not want your thoughts consumed with this."
searched his face. Eric's beautiful eyes were observing her, his
features relaxed and open. Nodding, she replied, "Ok. We'll wait, but,
as soon as we get home, I want to know."
"And I promise to tell you … now, my lover, it has been two whole days."
where his thoughts were headed, Sookie acted as uninterested as she
could as she worked to stifle a smile. "Not my fault. I was here the
whole time, and, as you said, we need to leave soon so I should start
packing all our stuff in the suitcases. Let me up." She went to wriggle
off him and he held her steadfast.
she was teasing, Eric played along.
"Come my Sookie, let me worship
you." His mouth fell on the curve of her ear and he raked his teeth
against her lobe. He could feel her heartbeat accelerate, could scent
her arousal, and his grin turned feral.
"Why should I?" Her eyes danced with amusement.
"Because you are my goddess, and deserve to be worshipped." His eyes were bright with hunger.
"Try again," she grinned.
Sookie to lie on her back beneath him his hands began to map out her
body, charting it with his fingers, as, through the bond, he sent her
hot, carnal images. Her grin was lost as she struggled to breathe. He
ran his tongue along her neck, sliding down to dip into her throat, his
teeth nibbling at her shoulders.
"Because I am going through withdrawal. I am addicted to your body, and I need my fix," he confessed.
She gasped as Eric swirled his tongue around her nipple and let out a low, shuddering moan, "Harder."
his fangs along her sensitized peak, his tongue wrapped around her
nipple and tugged, drawing it deep into his mouth. Sookie arched up,
pushing her breast against his mouth as hot tendrils of pleasure poured
down her nerve endings. Eric growled, "I cannot suffer the torment of
not being inside you any longer … end my pain, my älskade, take me
inside you and let me worship you as you deserve to be worshipped."
her knees to cage his body between her thighs, Sookie set her hands on
his shoulders and drew them languidly down the front of his chest.
"Well, since you put it that way, I guess I can ease your suffering, but
first I want you to make love to me with your mouth. Then I'll welcome
you inside me."
"As my lover wishes."
Eric moved down her body to settle between her thighs, he inhaled, the
seductive scent of her sex filling his senses. She watched him swallow
hard. His large hands caught her behind her knees as her thighs spread
wantonly, wanting, waiting. His mouth sealed itself over her sex; his
tongue thrusting like a blade and Sookie lost herself to the searing
pleasure. He flicked her pearl and suckled its hardness. He began to
devour her. Writhing, her hand dug frantically into his hair to hold him
to her as she moaned, "Oh, Eric."
He loved when she moaned his name, but he intended to make her scream it. Over and over.
And he set to work doing just that.
later, Eric pulled the Land Rover Haldar had loaned them into the
underground parking garage at the Swedish king's home. He left their
baggage in the car so that the servants could load it into the limos
that would transport them to the airport. He'd put Godric's journal, and
Sookie's talisman in her shoulder bag as he didn't really concern
himself with any of the other belongings. Anything else was replaceable
should something happen to them.
Sookie's hand, he led her into the house with Thor padding behind. The
puppy had slept the entire way on Sookie's lap as she lulled him to
sleep with gentle pets. Eric had just gotten off the phone with Haldar
and the king had told him, in a tone laden with subtext, that Han and
Ivan were in his office waiting for them. From the king's cryptic words,
Eric figured something was wrong that he did not wish to discuss over
the phone. Eric waited while Sookie handed Thor to an attendant, who was
instructed briefly on what to feed the dog. That taken care of, they
proceeded quickly to Haldar's office where Eric knocked only once and
was given leave to enter immediately.
Eric pulled her into the large, masculine office of the king, Sookie's
smile faltered as she took in the grave expressions on everyone's faces.
Han and Ivan shared a concerned glance, Haldar got straight to the
point. "Eric's queen is up to something. She disappeared a few days
after the two of you arrived here, and hasn't been seen since. Her
child, Andre, has been running the kingdom in her absence, and there
have only been reports of phone calls between them. She must know there
are spies in her court, but, not knowing who they are, she simply left
to keep anyone from knowing what she's up to."
Looking at Eric, he
continued, "You should be prepared for an attack when you get back. Han
and Ivan have already changed all your flight plans. The jet you were
going to take will leave as scheduled and arrive at the original landing
point. You will take a different plane and arrive at a private air
strip to thwart a potential attack upon landing."
sent a wave of comfort to Sookie through the bond when he felt her
seize up in fear. Tightening his hand around hers, he reasoned, "She
would be a fool to attack us. Not only do I have the added advantage of
my telekinesis, but also Han, Ivan and I are three of the best warriors
in the world. She has no hope of defeating us through force."
is more," Han cautioned. "The Pythoness can no longer see events
clearly. Our enemy blocks her sight, but she tells us she sees shadows
of danger." Staring pointedly at Sookie, he conveyed the bad news.
"Sookie, she says something bad is about to happen to you after you
return home. She says she sees you crying, and she sees shadows in your
heart. She says you are not harmed physically, from what she can see,
but something is going to happen to upset you greatly. You need to
Looking up at Eric, Sookie whispered tightly, "We should have stayed at the cabin."
her comfort through the bond, Eric's voice was controlled. "There is
nothing we can do but head straight into it. We go home, and we face
whatever problems there are to face."
Haldar smiled. "I knew that would be your answer. Your jet is waiting. Luck in battle, my friend."
hour later, Eric, Sookie, Han, and Ivan were all seated inside the
plane's cabin. Thor was curled up in his own seat, mouthing a squeaky
toy which made for occasional amused glances from everyone. Sookie's
head rested on Eric's chest. One of his arms wrapped around her
shoulders while another reassuringly stroked up and down her arm. Her
tension was palpable and he was trying to send her calm through the
bond. Han and Ivan watched the easy companionship the two now shared,
and Han asked, "Do you both bear the true markings?"
Sookie looked up at Eric while her vampire pressed, "You know of our markings?"
Nodding, Han answered, "She told us you would bear them … may we see?"
regarded Han silently for a moment before flicking his gaze to Ivan's.
Both enforcers wore eager expressions. Deciding there would be no harm
in it, he released his hold on Sookie to begin unbuttoning his shirt. He
slid the silk garment from his shoulders to bare his full chest with
the new black markings along his right side. He watched Sookie raise her
purple cashmere sweater beside him to show her hips and abdomen that
were marked as well. "Can you tell us what they mean?"
and Ivan gazed at the markings with undiluted awe. Just as the Ancient
Pythoness had foretold, The One had used the connection Sookie provided
to mark them both. Each was now a vessel of The One's power. Eric and
Sookie had no equals in this world save each other from the moment their
marks appeared. They were truly great. Shaking his head, Ivan replied, "Not our place to explain. Answers to your questions are at home. She tell you everything."
lowered her sweater as she looked irritably at Eric who was putting his
shirt back on. "Don't you ever get tired of hearing people tell us
that? 'Later' seems to be all they can say."
laughed and kissed the top of Sookie's head as he re-buttoned his silk
shirt. "My lover, 'later' is only hours away. We'll have our answers
"I want your answers first, Eric. I want to know what Odin said to you."
Before Eric could reply, Han asked, "You spoke with your father?"
Eric and Sookie both stiffened. The Viking leaned forward and hissed, "You knew!"
She told us he was your father, however, she did not mention that he
would speak to you. That is strange. As a vampire, the magic of your
blood wards your mind in stronger ways than a human's. With his power so
depleted, Odin should not have had the strength to pull your mind from
your body to speak to you as Isis spoke to Sookie. Nor should he have
had the strength to come into your mind. How did he speak to you? What
did he say?"
sat back against the couch he and Sookie has been sitting on and draped
his arm across the back to pull her against his side again.
"That is my
and my bonded's secret. You have yours to worry about. None of what he
said, or how he contacted me, is any of your business." Moving his hand
from Sookie's shoulder, he dropped it to her waist to settle atop her
stomach, his fingers fanning out possessively, and added, "Besides, I'm
sure you know the most important details of what he revealed to me
already. Do you not?"
the unstated, Han and Ivan shared a secret smile before Han confirmed,
"Indeed. The time for the world to be remade is here. The Old Ones
Looking between the three men, Sookie groused, "Oh that's just great, now all three of you are in on a secret concerning me that I still don't know about. That is so not fair! Why can't I know what's going on if it has to do with me?"
her gently, Eric assured, "I promise to tell you all that I know as
soon as we are home, my älskade. You can wait a few more hours."
"Would you say that if I were the one with the information, and you were having to wait?"
"You still haven't told me everything your grandmother said to you, and I'm patiently waiting for that information, am I not?"
he had a point, Sookie stuck her tongue out at him and dug her book out
of her bag to continue reading. Eric chuckled and took out his own book
while Han and Ivan did the same. The rest of the trip was made in
mostly silence with only brief conversation.
As the jet taxied on the runway, Sookie pulled out her cell phone and
tried to turn it on, only for her phone to beep that the battery was
low. While Eric was checking his messages she asked, "Do we have a phone
charger for my phone in the car we came in? I want to check my
"No. Do you not have the spare battery I gave you?" Eric replied as he scanned through the messages Pam had left him.
just used up the last of it. I forgot to bring a charger with me, so I
had to use the spare battery. I got a message from Jason saying he was
going on a little mini vacation a few days after we left, and I had a
message from Sam and Tara about how he just kind of up and left, and I
wanted to see if he was back yet."
"We'll be home soon enough and you can check then."
watched Thor run off the tarmac to a grassy area to relieve himself and
then bound back happily. He put his front paws up on her legs and she
smiled, scooping him into her arms.
continued. "I'm afraid we're going to have to take a side trip to
Fangtasia first," He placed his hand at the small of Sookie's back and
led her toward the convoy of their waiting cars while the flight
personnel loaded their luggage.
"Why? It's Monday. Aren't you closed?"
Pam has contacted me and said the queen and her entourage are there
waiting for us. Pam said that the queen claims she has new orders to
give me concerning the Fellowship problem, but Pam suspects Sophie-Anne
is up to something. I must agree since she has so suddenly reappeared
after her two week sabbatical."
Sookie could feel her fear rise. As she slid into the car beside Eric, she blurted, "Do you think she's going to attack us?"
and Ivan took up their positions in the front seats, while Thor curled
up in the seat well. Eric soothed, "No. Pam is not just my child, but
also a smart woman. She has ensured several of my underlings will be at
the bar by the time we arrive there. This little meeting will be in
front of witnesses, and furthermore, the queen would be a fool to try
and attack me in such a way. She had little hope of besting me before I
gained my new power, let alone now. She is reckless, but not stupid. She
will seek to do away with me when I least expect it. Whatever she plans
for tonight will be to strike out at me psychologically, not
fears were not eased. She continued to fret all the way to the bar as
Eric stroked his thumb over the pulse on her wrist. He would whisper
softly to her that everything was going to be ok; that he would let no
one hurt her, and that the queen would not be able to hurt him. Sookie
knew this in her head, she knew that Eric, with his telekinesis, was
nearly invincible, but that did not keep the doubt out of her heart.
Until Sophie-Anne was permanently out of their lives she would fear the
they pulled up to the bar, Sookie waited for Eric to come around the
side of the car to help her out. Since the bar was closed, Ivan simply
turned the car off and he and Han got out to follow them inside the
bar's back door, flanking them as they usually did. Depositing Thor
inside Eric's office, Eric and Sookie moved down the hall to enter the
main area of the bar and found Sophie-Anne sitting regally in Eric's
seat atop the dais. The queen was dressed in a bright red cocktail dress
with matching diamonds and rubies, and beside her stood Andre, and the
twins Sookie had seen the last time she'd met the queen. Bill was
standing off to the side of the stage beside Pam, and he looked just as
confused as she felt. The bar was filled with about ten other vampires.
Some she recognized as being underlings of Eric's, and the one's in
suits she assumed worked for the queen.
led Sookie and their enforcers toward the queen. He stopped them before
the stage and bowed his head while Sookie curtsied at his side. From
the corner of his eyes, Eric saw Bill stiffen. The younger vampire had
obviously scented that Eric had finally laid claim to Sookie in every
way. Resisting the urge to smirk at the Civil War veteran, Eric focused
on the queen as he rose from his bow along with Sookie and greeted, "My
queen, it is a pleasure to see you again."
it?" Sophie-Anne asked as a secret smile lit her features. She looked
predatory. She let a moment of silence roll out before she asked, "Did
you enjoy your vacation, my sheriff?"
"Indeed." Tightening his arm around Sookie's waist, Eric purred, "It was most pleasurable."
Slanting her gaze towards Sookie, Sophie-Anne agreed, "Yes. I can see that … or, rather, smell it."
shifted uncomfortably. The queen's eyes narrowed with cynicism. "The
scent of your semen is heavy on the girl. Is she enjoyable? I was
informed she had no knowledge of intimacy before I sent Compton to her,
so I wonder if she is able to keep up with you. Your reputation as a
lover is well known. You go through more women than I do."
knew the queen was trying to shame Sookie, but he could do nothing
about it. When in public, certain appearances had to be tolerated. He
sent Sookie warmth and affection through the bond as he replied, "Sookie
has surpassed all my expectations. As your majesty said, I have had
many lovers, none can compare to her."
Tapping her fingers on the arm of the chair as she continued to regard Sookie, Sophie-Anne laughed, "Well, that is
something, is it not? Such high praise from so famed a bed partner as
the mighty Northman. 'Tis a shame he is not interested in sharing. I
would be very interested in sampling such a delicacy if you are all my
sheriff claims you to be. Tell me little telepath. Would you come to my
bed if your Master allowed it?"
Before Sookie could respond, Eric pulled her tightly against his side, and firmly stated, "Sookie is mine alone, and I will never share her. Her answer is not needed as the situation you propose will never arise."
was silence in the bar again as Eric and the queen stared off. The
tension was charged, pressing in on Sookie with flashing neon danger
signs (Bridge Out! Falling Rock Zone! Slippery When Wet!) and she
trembled in spite of herself. The waves of strength and support Eric was
sending to her through the bond did little to soothe her fear. She was
so afraid that the queen had a trap in place for them, and she didn't
want any fighting. She was embarrassed by what the queen had said, but
knew she was only trying to goad Eric. Sookie was more than willing to
get past the hurtful, barbed words if it meant the queen would let them
was the one to finally break the standoff. She smirked at Eric and
laughed, "You never did like to share your toys. I maintain my position
that I wish I had managed to secure her first, but I guess it is enough
that her skill is made available to me. I did, however, find myself
inspired by your intention to take another child, Eric. I decided to
expand my own little family while you were gone."
had not lived this long not to miss the subtext in her words. He could
taste her malevolence. All his senses were ramped up, coiled, ready.
Sophie-Anne's words worried him. She had taken more children than most
vampires did, and, as of yet, only four were still living, so her
turning another vampire in itself was not unusual, however … there was
something in her words that made his nerve endings twitch, something in
her eyes that disturbed him, something in the arrogant smirk on her face
that put him on edge. Something was not right, and he was beginning to suspect the night was about to go very, very wrong.
the corner of his eye he watched Pam shift so subtly no one else
probably noticed it, and he knew she was sharing the same thoughts. Her
earlier emails had said she had no idea what the queen was up to, as
Sophie-Anne was being very secretive, but he knew Pam was ready to fight
for him if the need arose. Focusing on the queen, he asked neutrally,
"You have taken another child? Did you decide to turn Sookie's cousin,
smile grew fangy. She looked demonic. Her words were for Eric, but her
eyes blazed at Sookie. "Of course not! She was a pretty thing, but not
vampire material in the least. I grew bored with her. She outlived her
usefulness, and was disposed of. I like fresh pets, as you know,
Sookie's eyes went wide in understanding. 'She killed Hadley! Oh my God! She … she killed her!'
She felt Eric pull her tautly against his side as he shoved strength
and resolve to her through the bond. She could feel tears pricking her
eyes as she fought to stay in control. She couldn't endanger Eric or
herself by speaking out of turn while before the queen. She would cry
and scream—and mourn for her cousin later. Right now, she had to keep
was glad that Sookie was able to keep control. He desperately wanted to
kill Sophie-Anne, but his honor would not allow him to attack someone
he'd sworn allegiance to unless they betrayed him first. His word was
his bond. He was often tricky with his promises, but he had never broken
a sworn oath. He refused to rise to the queen's baiting and simply
queen was not pleased that the human hadn't reacted by screaming in
anger or bursting out crying at the news her cousin had been killed, nor
was she pleased Eric had no reaction either. She decided her teasing
was at an end. It was time to reveal her reason for calling the meeting.
"Well, I guess it's time for me to introduce you to my new child."
Flicking her hand at Andre to show he should leave to collect the new
vampire from across the street where her new child was waiting in her
limo, the queen continued, "This child had no particular skill or use
for me, but the entertainment alone I shall receive from this turning is
payment enough for the gift I have bestowed upon the mortal." Looking
directly at Sookie, she added, "I'm quite interested in your opinion of
my new child, little telepath."
Eric's body tensed. He had been a fool to think the queen would strike out against him
psychologically. All knew he had few weaknesses. Godric, who was gone,
Pam, who was quite capable of protecting herself, and now Sookie—they
were his only weaknesses. He was a fool not to consider that the queen
would once again use his bonded to further her own goals. He didn't know
who Andre was about to lead into the bar, but he was sure it would not
end well for the emotional wellbeing of his lover. He began sending her
comfort and support through the bond in preparation for whatever was
about to unfold.
didn't hear Andre and the new vampire enter the bar from the front
door, but she knew when they had the moment she saw the horrified
expression cross Bill's features, while Pam's fangs snapped down. Pam
rarely showed emotion, so seeing the clear rage on Eric's child's face
sent fear ripping down her spine. Whoever was about to join the Queen
before her was not going to be someone Sookie wanted to see a vampire.
She tried to mentally brace herself, to prepare … but for what? For
'Oh God don't let it be Lafayette,'
she silently prayed. With his recent connections to the vampire world,
it very well could be. Sookie's heart was hammering in her chest.
too, saw the reactions from Compton and his child, and knew the queen
had succeeded in striking out at Sookie. Per court protocol, neither he,
nor his bonded, could look away from the queen until given leave to do
so, so neither of them had turned to see Andre reenter the bar behind
them along with Sophie-Anne's new child. However, neither of them missed
the words the queen said as she watched Sookie closely.
"Jason, say hello to your sister."