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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chapter 63 ~ Testing the Light

“Sook, you’re going to wear a hole in the floor if you keep pacing like that,” Lafayette observed, frowning from his spot on the couch where he was thumbing through the fashion magazine Pam had left there the night before. “Why are you so nervous anyway? You said they’re your cousins, right?
And it’s not like you haven’t had time to get used to being around fairies, what with dozens of them roaming around here every day. So what gives, girlfriend?”

Sookie stopped her agitated prowling and stared at her friend. Beside him was a stack of pages he’d torn out of the magazine—fashion pages to glean ideas from. Even in a crisis, Lafayette was intent to keep up with the trends. She envied him his calm demeanor. ‘Of course he’s not aware that these cousins could be wolves in sheep’s clothing. I bet if he did he wouldn’t be so calm. He’d probably be pacing with me.’ But she couldn’t tell him that. She and Eric had decided that, until they knew more about Niall and the intentions of the fairies it was best to keep their concerns to themselves. Today she was going to learn as much as she could from her faery kin, and then tonight they’d summon Niall and find out how far they could trust him and determine just what were his intentions.

Unable to explain her anxiety, Sookie offered Lafayette a strained smile. “I’m just nervous, Laf. These fairies are my cousins, and beyond that they’re coming here today to teach me to use my faery powers. This whole situation is just really strange for me.”

Tossing the magazine aside, Lafayette stood up and, arms outstretched, went to give Sookie a hug. He could only imagine how shot her nerves were with everything that had happened to her in only a few days. Frankly, he didn’t know how she wasn’t sitting in a corner somewhere rocking back and forth while babbling to herself. It’s what he’d be doing if their situations were reversed. “Gimme some sugar,” he said, enfolding her in his embrace. “Sook, it’s all going to be ok. Knowing that Viking of yours like I do, if this wasn’t a good idea he wouldn’t be letting you do it, so that means it’s going to be ok, right?”

It was exactly the right thing to say. Sookie relaxed against him as she expelled a heavy sigh. Lafayette was right. Eric wouldn’t be letting her meet with Claude and Claudine today unless he thought it was safe to do so. If he thought for one second that this meeting today could end up with her or Peanut being hurt he would have locked her down in the panic room with him.

“You’re right, Lafayette. Eric wouldn’t be letting this happen if it wasn’t safe. I don’t know why I’m freaking out over every little thing lately.”

He held her at arm’s length while he scowled at her. “Gee, Sook, maybe’s it’s because the weight of the world just dropped onto your shoulders in less than a weak. You need to quit being so damn hard on yourself, hooker.”

Smiling at her long time friend, she laughed, “Lafayette, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Waste away into nothing. Now you just sit down and relax until these cousins of yours get here,” he entreated, pushing her down into the comfortable couch he’d been sitting on. “I’m going to go get started on lunch. I’m guessing that after this lesson of yours you’ll probably be wiped and need some of my good home cookin’. That dayman of your Viking’s dropped off some more food this morning and there’s the makings of some fine gumbo. All natural gumbo.”

“Bless you!” Sookie’s stomach couldn’t help but growl at the thought of Lafayette’s famous gumbo. She’d never said it while Gran was alive, but his gumbo was the best in Louisiana, even better than Gran’s.

,Lafayette placed a chaste kiss on her forehead. “I think we all deserve to bask in the magnificence of my world famous gumbo after the last few days we’ve had. So you stay here and rest a bit until your cousins arrive.”

Twenty minutes later while Lafayette was busy in the kitchen chopping onions for his gumbo, Liam, Captain of the Faery guard, strolled into the house and announced, “My Lad—Sookie,” he self corrected, “the guards down at the end of the drive say that your cousins are here and need you to invite them in.”

Looking up from the history book she was reading, Sookie nodded. “Thanks, Liam. I invite Claude and Claudine in.”

Rising from the couch, she walked into the entryway where Liam remained stationed at the door so she could greet her guests properly. A few moments passed in silence before she watched Lucas, the Prince of the Centaurs and his brethren escort the two new fairies to her door. Her remaining fae guard were stationed around the house. Sookie looked closely at her cousins. Unlike her fae guard, they were dressed in earth clothing. Their appearances were a surprise—unlike her faery guards Claudine and Claude were statuesque dark haired creatures with dark flowing hair tied back in simple leather cords. Claudine wore a form fitting pink and white sheath dress that accentuated her curvaceous figure. Stunning wasn’t a strong enough of a description for her. Claude, equally and impossibly beautiful, had shoulder length coal black hair and was dressed in tan slacks and a white button up shirt. Their skin was nearly translucent, glowing in the softness of the sunlight filtering through the trees.

When Claudine and Claude were both on the porch, they bowed their heads respectfully and Claudine said, “It is an honor to meet you, your highness. We are pleased to be in your service.”

Waving her hand to indicate they should come inside, Sookie declared, “Please, just call me Sookie. No titles. They make me uncomfortable.”

As Claude and Claudine made their way inside, Sookie looked at Liam and asked, “Do you mind waiting outside while we get to know one another?”

“Of course not. I’ll be just outside the door if you need me.” Liam bowed his head to his queen and then left her to her lesson.

Door closed, Sookie looked at her cousins standing in the entryway and began, “So you’re Claudine and Claude, right? My cousins?”

Claudine nodded her head and affirmed, “Indeed. We’ve waited quite some time to be able to meet you, Sookie.”

When Claude merely nodded his head, his manner not quite friendly, Sookie offered nervously, “Well before we get started let me introduce you to Lafayette. He’s going to be around here a lot and is one of my best friends so you’ll be seeing him often. You’ll probably meet Sam sooner or later, but he’s offsite working right now.”

Sookie made her way into the kitchen with her cousins following behind her. “Lafayette, my cousins are here.”

Turning from the counter where he was laying out all the ingredients that would need to simmer to make a proper gumbo, Lafayette took in the two guests. He had been prepared to see two pretty fairies just like the others roaming around here, but the two standing in front of him now put all the others to shame. The girl was pretty, but the guy? Hot damn! Wiping his hands on his apron, Lafayette put a whole lotta sway in his hips as he sauntered forward and greeted, “Well hello there, handsome.”

Sookie recognized the look in Lafayette’s eyes, and she definitely recognized that prowl. Lafayette was on the hunt. She stifled a giggle behind her hand before explaining, “This is Claudine and Claude. They’re here to teach me to wield my fairy magic.”

“Claudia, nice to meet you,” Lafayette greeted without really looking at her, nor noticing he hadn’t gotten her name right. “And Claude, it really is a pleasure.”

Sookie looked to her cousins to see if they were insulted by Lafayette’s behavior and was shocked to see that Claudine was simply smiling and shaking her head while Claude was eyeing Lafayette with the same gleam in his eye that her friend sported. She was even further surprised when Claude’s cold manner effervesced and he became open and warm, the most charming smile she’d ever seen lighting his face as he stepped past her to greet Lafayette.

Claude, ignoring the women in the room every bit as much as Lafayette, offered, “Believe me, Lafayette, the pleasure is all mine. My cousin says that you will be around here often?”

Lafayette nodded, his eyes trailing up and down Claude’s body with the utmost appreciation, “Well I’m living here now, so most definitely.”

“My time here is definitely beginning to look up.”

Stepping forward and clearing her throat, Claudine announced, “Brother, don’t forget why we’re here.”

Waving his hand absentmindedly, his velour brown eyes never wavering from the vision of Lafayette, Claude declared, “You take care of the preliminaries and come get me when you’re ready to start the actual training. I’ll just go over … safety procedures with Mister?”

“Reynolds,” Lafayette supplied readily. “Lafayette Reynolds.”

“I look forward to getting to know you better, Mr. Reynolds. I’m sure we’ll work well together.” Claude hadn’t been looking forward to spending so much time around Sookie and her vampire, but if this fine specimen was going to be at hand for him to take enjoyment from he could certainly stop bitching about the chore of being some backwater girl’s teacher now.

“And closely,” Lafayette added with a demure grin and downcast eyes. He raised them slowly, his long eyelashes fringing the want percolating behind them only to find Claude’s waiting for him. Both men smiled.

Sookie, knowing Lafayette as she did, turned to Claudine and said, “I recognize that look in Lafayette’s eyes, we’ll be lucky if there’s any furniture left standing by the time everything is said and done. So how about we head to the living room and you can explain these ‘preliminaries’ that Claude mentioned?”

Claudine nodded, “That would be a good idea. I’m getting the impression that your friend is much like my brother,” she said conspiratorially. “And you’re right about the furniture. It might be wise to put away the breakables!”

The two women chuckled and headed into the living room to talk while Lafayette gestured to the table for Claude to sit. “Have a seat, Claude. I’d love to take the girl’s suggestion and find out just how sturdy this table is, but I have gumbo for about 25 men to get simmering, and I’m hoping to have reason to be a tad bit peckish myself before you leave.”

“A fine idea,” Claude agreed as he took the seat at the table, admiring the look of Lafayette’s backside as he turned towards the counter to continue chopping vegetables. “So how long have you and Sookie known each other?”

“Forever. We were both born and raised in this town. I’ve been friends with her for as long as I can remember.”

“And you two are close?”

“As close as friends can be.” Slanting his eyes towards Claude, Lafayette observed, “You don’t seem particularly thrilled to be here.”

Nodding, Claude remarked, “I have little use for women, and I don’t see why I have to teach her how to wield her magic. She already has the use of the royal guard, and I’m not a patient sort of man.”

Lafayette stiffened. Claude added quickly, “And faery magic is complicated. It takes years to learn to wield it and we’ve wasted years, precious years, not being able to contact Sookie sooner. I don’t understand why Niall and Oberon would not allow her to be in contact with us sooner—for training, I mean. Waiting so long to begin could bring about all our downfalls. Very little about this situation pleases me.” His tone was sullen but as his eyes trailed over Lafayette’s form again, he added, “but since meeting you I’m not as upset with my circumstances.”

Turning from the counter, Lafayette asked, “So you guys knew about Sookie?”

“Niall and Oberon did. They’ve known about her since the day she was born, but they insisted that no one among our family contact her. It doesn’t make sense to me. Not only would she be better prepared to fight in this war, but many of the horrible things that have happened to her would not have if we had been allowed to step in as her kin.”

“What horrible things?”

“Her Uncle Bartlett for one.” Claude, being the way he was had no idea that Lafayette didn’t already know all there was to know about his friend Sookie, nor did he think to ask. He also had no problem discussing personal business with Lafayette. He was not a man of boundaries … unless they were his own.

“You mean you could have stopped his death?”

Claude laughed coldly. “No, we would have stepped in to facilitate it much sooner. Pedophiles are not tolerated in my world any more than they are in yours. Add to this the fact that Bartlett abused a faery princess and my line would have made sure his death was the most horrific possible. Sadly, the first vampire my cousin associated with killed him before we were allowed to introduce ourselves and handle the matter for her.”

Lafayette stilled as the realization of what Claude was saying washed over him. A furious, dark look drew across his face. His hand tightened around the knife he was holding and he felt anger roil inside him. He was now remembering how Adele had banished her brother from her life, though no one at the time knew why. Jason had been the only one to keep contact with him, going over to his house every Saturday to mow the lawn and do small chores, but no one else knew why Adele stopped speaking to her brother or sought to keep Sookie away from him. He also remembered the shocked and pained expression on Sookie’s face when Bartlett had shown up to Adele’s funeral. Everything clicked and he hissed, “Son of a bitch! That motherfucker!”

Seeing Lafayette’s outrage, Claude asked, “You did not know?”

“I’d have killed that bastard myself if I had!”

“I thought you said that you and Sookie were life long friends? How could you not know?”

Staring at Claude, Lafayette guessed, “You really don’t know much about women or humans, do you?”

“Never had the need.”

“Well, then to answer your question, information like that is really personal. Some women wouldn’t like others knowing things like that about them. Might feel ashamed and whatnot.”

Shaking his head, Claude asked, “Why would my cousin feel shame? She did nothing wrong. The shame should have been Bartlett’s for being so unnatural. Sookie should be proud of herself for standing up to him and telling her Grandmother, why would she feel shame? Is this another one of those human quirks?”

Arching a brow, Lafayette asked, “Abused children in your world do not feel this way?”

“First, there are very few abused children in our world. Fairies are a part of nature and thus it is not in our makeup to have such unnatural desires. Second, of course not: a child subjected to that kind of abuse would feel anger, and later satisfaction when her abuser was brought to justice. The only shame to be had would be on behalf of the abuser for being caught, and the abuser’s family for having such an unnatural creature in their line. The child is innocent and has no reason to feel shame. If this is the case in your world then you humans are far more inferior to me and my kind than I had originally believed.”

“Hey now, not all of us think that way! I don’t think Sookie should feel ashamed, but it does happen. But anyway, you shouldn’t be sharing personal stuff about Sookie like this. She wouldn’t like it.”

“But you are her friend.”

“I am, and I’ll always listen if she wants to talk, but if she wants to keep secrets that’s her right. So how about we get back to talking about how my presence here makes you a bit happier in your assignment, hmm?”

Claude visibly relaxed, shifting in the chair, sliding his ass down, stretching out his long legs as he spread them, displaying himself. It was an arrogant move, a confident male move and Lafayette’s throat went dry. “Very well, let me begin by assuring you I do both top and bottom.”

The cook felt a flutter of nervous excitement in his chest and tried to remain calm. He could not take his eyes off the bulge in the fairy’s pants. Lips pursing as he chuckled, Lafayette nodded, “Same here. How’s your oral?”

The faery looked up nonplussed, eyes glowing with a raw lust, and grinned. “Better than yours.”

“I’ll take that as a challenge.”

“Just as it was meant.”

As Lafayette and Claude squared off in the kitchen, Sookie and Claudine were going over the fundamentals of fairy magic in the living room. Claudine was explaining that the most difficult hurdle in wielding fairy magic was learning to truly harness her light, because her light was the foundation of all her fairy powers. It was used to do everything from teleport to performing simple shielding spells.

“So basically you’re saying,” Sookie asked, “is that I have to learn to look inside myself, locate my light, harness it, and direct it in specific ways in order to use it, and I have to do all of that in a second if it is to be used for protection or battle?”

Nodding, Claudine affirmed, “That is correct. You must learn to harness your light without hesitation. It should be instinctual, an extension of yourself. It is not easy to do and that is why almost all of our training will focus on this. We can’t even begin to attempt anything else until you learn to harness your light, but once you’ve learned to do it you should find everything else much easier to master.”

“So how are we going to go about this training? And what exactly is my ‘light’?”

“Your light,” Claudine began, “is your connection to life. The Fae are creatures of life itself. We are Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. We are embodiments of creation. Our inner lights are our connection to the world around us, to life around us. It is what tethers us to natural magic.”

“That sounds kind of complicated, and doesn’t really answer my question of what it is.”

“You need to stop thinking in human terms, Sookie. Science, while fascinating and powerful, is still no substitution for magic or life.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that some things simply are. There are no complete or concise explanations. Your God for instance.”

When Sookie’s eyes narrowed in speculation, Claudine continued, “Can you quantify the existence of your God? Can you explain how he came to be, where he is, how he acts, thinks or speaks? Or course not, but that does not mean God is not real and true. Can you adequately describe what is right or wrong? Taking into account there are thousands of different civilizations in this world, many of which have conflicting beliefs and social standards? Of course not. There is only the idea, the belief. Our light is such a thing. It is simply because it is. No more, no less.”

“I guess I can understand that,” Sookie conceded, “but I still need to understand it better if I’m going to find it and use it.”

“It is inside you, Sookie. Once we begin the meditation training to focus your inner self you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. It is learning to take hold of it and harness it that will be the challenge. Besides, from what I’ve heard you’ve already used it a time or two.”


“When you mate with your Viking. Your guards said the other night that the whole house lit up when you were mating, and, from what Niall has said, the night you two blood bonded your light created the field of flowers in the back to forever mark the location of your binding. Your light created the circle that will take you to Eric’s side if you ever need to be with him.”

Sookie’s eyes widened. She hadn’t known that! She could vaguely recall the fading light in her skin after her intense mating sessions with Eric, but truthfully most of the time she was so out of it from the orgasmic bliss her Viking treated her to she really hadn’t taken the time to think about it.

“Alright then, so you literally mean light, don’t you?”

Claudine nodded again, “We are creatures of light, Sookie. All of us. Humans, fae, weres; at our basic foundation we are simply energy, or light. It is only in fae that there is a steady core of light that connects us to natural magic that we are truly able to harness. Our bodies are simply shells to contain our light. In other creatures their light is spread throughout their body and thus is much weaker.”

Claudine tilted her head to study Sookie for a moment before offering, “Though since you are so very different you seem to exude power not only from your inner light, but from your body itself. So your body may be a conduit for the power of The One inside you.”

“How so?”

“I’m not sure. As connected as we are to Life, not even the fae understand the power of The One and you are the first being in creation to be so connected to The One. There is no way for anyone to teach you about your powers in that regard. That is something you’re going to have to learn on your own. Claude and I are here to help you learn to wield your fairy magic so that you can use it to defend yourself and fight Sargon. We cannot help you learn to use your connection to The One.”


“I’m sorry, Sookie.”

“So how about you explain the basics to me and we’ll see if we have time for more training today. I still have lots of interviews to get through today, so I’ve only got about three hours to spend with both of you.”

“You might not even be able to spend all three of them. While you won’t actually be wielding your faery magic for sometime, learning to find your light and harness it can be very taxing. We might not be able to use up the whole three hours if your body begins to wear. Claude and I will monitor you as best we can, but ultimately you’ll need to make sure you yourself aren’t pushing beyond your limits.”

“Understood, so how do I find my light?”

“I’ll explain the process to you and then I’ll call Claude in here. Having other fairies close can help you sense your own light. Especially since we’ll calls forth ours, hopefully it will entice your own light to reach for us making it easier for you to find it. Then comes the difficult part, harnessing it.”

“And how do I do that?”

“Simply put, you must wrap your soul around it and absorb it into your will.”

Sookie scoffed, “Simply put? Yeah, could you explain it better?”


“No? That’s it? Wrap my soul around it and absorb it into my will?”


“Yep, this is going to be hard.”

Claudine laughed before taking her cousin’s hand and assuring, “All fairies learn to do it, so be assured it is possible. While most have more time to learn to wield their magic like this, you do have the comfort of being more powerful than any of us. Not to mention from what I understand you work best under pressure.”

“Doesn’t make me any happier about this.”

Trailing her fingers over her cousin’s stomach, Claudine offered, “You have more to be happy about than most, do you not?”

Seeing the longing look in Claudine’s eyes, hearing the wisp of want in her voice, Sookie asked softly, “You don’t have any children, do you?”

Shaking her head sadly, Claudine’s voice held her distress. “No. I am just as afflicted with infertility as all other fae. My royal blood does not preclude me. I freely admit I am envious of you and the babe you carry. I have been capable of bearing children for more than a thousand years, and have wanted one for longer, and still my womb is empty. I hope you realize how lucky you are.”

Setting her hand atop her stomach, Sookie assured, “I do. I know how lucky I am, and I really hope my children will be able to help you all with your infertility problem. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful about all of this, but it is a little overwhelming for me.”

“Greatness tends to do that, but you are strong, Sookie; you would not have made it this far if you were not. Now, enough sadness. Let’s begin with the meditation techniques.” Turning towards the kitchen Claudine called out, “Brother! It is time.”

There was a muffled curse before a clearly petulant Claude came skulking into the living room. “Can’t you do this by yourself? Lafayette is teaching me how to make Gumbo.”

Seeing her brother’s rosy complexion and reddened lips, Claudine scolded, “No he wasn’t. He had it on the stove a few minutes ago and you two were getting friendly. Play after work, dear brother, you know that.”

Sookie stifled a giggle behind her hand and offered, “I’m sure you could stay for dinner and dessert if you’d like, Claude.”

“Lafayette already invited me cousin, and I have graciously accepted.” Plopping down into one of the chairs, he threw his long legs up on the coffee table. “So are we calling our lights and helping her meditate?”

“Yes,” Claudine agreed. Facing Sookie she instructed, “I want you to close your eyes and think of a beautiful memory. Focus on it clearly, visualize all the details. Once you can picture it perfectly I want you to then focus on your feelings behind the memory, and follow them. They will lead you to your light.”

Sookie drew her brows together quizzically, “How do I do that?”

Claude growled, “We are so screwed.”

Cutting a sharp glare towards her brother, Claudine snapped, “She has not had centuries of practice, nor has she lived in Faery amongst fairies learning how to harness her emotions. Give her some slack, Claude. Her lack of education is not her fault, and this will go a lot easier if you’d stop sending out so many negative emotions.”

“Well, if I’m getting in the way perhaps I should go join Lafayette again,” Claude sneered. While he wouldn’t admit it, he was terrified they were going to lose and die because of Sookie’s inexperience, and as unfair as it was, he was taking his fear out on her.

Claudine’s tone was harsh as she rattled out a string of words Sookie couldn’t even begin to understand, but she assumed was some sort of Faery language. In the ensuing silence, Claude looked dutifully chastised and turned to Sookie contritely. “I’m sorry, Sookie. The stress of the situation is getting to me and I do not mean to shame our family by behaving poorly. I’ll do my best to help you.”

Waving her hand dismissively, Sookie soothed, “I understand. I’ve done my fair share of lashing out at people when I got too worked up as well, so let’s call it square and see if you guys can help me sort this light business out.”

Nodding, Claude leaned forward with his arms on his knees and directed, “Sookie, you asked how you followed your emotions. Well, you follow them because your emotions are who you are. They are your soul, the pathway to your light that connects your soul to life.”

“This mystical talk is really starting to make my head spin,” Sookie joked half heartedly.

Claudine smiled benevolently and offered, “Once you begin connecting to the natural world around you, natural magic and the power of The One more, you will definitely begin to understand and make sense of all of this. Right now you are shedding the blinders of humanity and beginning to see life as it was meant to be seen. Not through the lens of scientific doubt and speculation, but wonder.”

“Don’t the fae like science?” Sookie asked.

Claude responded as if talking to a child. “Yes, it is a wondrous enterprise, a systematic study and theory established over centuries by humans who wish to understand the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world—”

Claudine continued, “But, my dear cousin, it looks for testable explanations and predictions and believes in only that which can be rationally explained. Science breaks when it encounters the paranormal, it seeks to dissect and analyze and interpret and cannot. Science precludes understanding life itself. Life, Sookie, the creation of it, is meant to be an awe inspiring phenomena. Not reduced to cell growth, charts, and statistics. Understanding does not have to mean minimalizing. But that is a discussion for another time. For now, let’s focus on the task before us.”

Taking Sookie’s hand, Claudine began to stroke it soothingly as she supplied, “Close your eyes, little cousin. Close your eyes and think of your fondest memory, one that brings forth powerful loving emotions in you.”

Sookie closed her eyes and searched herself for something appropriate. She went back to her time in the cabin with Eric. There were many good moments back there to choose from. Eric’s walk in the sun? Building a snowman? Eric in full Viking regala? No. There was one even better. She thought on the night that Eric had read Godric’s journal. While it had started as a heartbreaking moment, afterwards, when her mighty Viking had cried like a little boy lost in her arms and begged her to heal him, her heart had felt like it would burst. That was the moment that Eric Northman truly gave all he was to her. Not just his love, lust, and desire. Not just his need, want, and possession, but everything else. That night Eric gave her his pain, his insecurities, his hope and dreams, his need for her to be strong in the few moments he allowed himself to be weak. There, that night, they truly became one, and it was her fondest memory.

When a small smile formed on Sookie’s face as a lone tear slipped down her cheek, Claudine continued, “Focus on the memory. Who were you with? What were you wearing? What did the air feel like? Do you have any associative scents that can call the memory to you clearer? What words or touches were exchanged? Draw forth the memory as perfectly as you can and hold tightly to it. Make it real in your mind’s eye.”

Sookie did as she was told. She remembered the feel of the warm air in the cave from the roaring fire. She could feel the hard, unyielding length of Eric’s body surrounding hers as he held tightly to her. The softness of the bed of furs contrasting deliciously against her skin as she held just as tightly to him. She could feel the desperate ache in his soul, crying out for comfort from Godric’s loss. The haunted look in his gaze as his eyes pleaded with her to take his pain away even as his voice called for just the same. She remembered it all and her breath hitched as the memory washed over her, taking her from the living room so she was once again in the little cave that symbolized so much for her.

Across the room Claude watched more tears slip down his cousin’s cheeks and whispered to his sister, “I don’t think she’s doing it right. It’s supposed to be a good memory. She’s crying. Stop her and let’s start over.”

“Shh!” Claudine did not take her eye’s from Sookie as she ordered, “Listen, Sookie, be in your memory and let my voice guide you. Take hold of your emotions, take hold of the love you feel, the love whatever memory you’ve called for inspires in you, and follow it. You’ll know how. You are Fae and the power is in you. Claude and I will call forth our lights so hopefully it will help you.”

Claudine and Claude both called forth their lights and let the warmth of their power flow over their cousin as Claudine continued, “Follow your feelings of love, Sookie, they will lead you to your light.”

Sookie was no longer listening. She didn’t need to. Unlike with other fairies that had to work so hard to find and take hold of their light, the exact opposite was happening to Sookie … her light was reaching out for her, giving itself over to her.

Sookie’s memory of the cabin faded away as raw power rushed her. She felt her entire body enrobed in a welcoming heat, it held her and became one with her. All other times when her light had come forth it had been a result of her lovemaking and joining with Eric. This time she had been looking for her light in order to wield it and thus the response was entirely different.

Claude and Claudine gasped in shock and quickly rose to back away from their cousin when her body lit up like the sun. She floated off the couch to hover in the air as pulses of energy began to roll from her body. The very air was vibrating and neither could fathom what was taking place.

Looking at his sister while Lafayette came scrambling out of the kitchen to see what the hell was happening, Claude asked, “Do you know what is going on?”

“I think we’re being given a front row seat as to why Sookie is so much greater than either of us. Look at her.” Claudine’s voice was filled with awe as she gazed upon her cousin. She’d never even seen Oberon light up in such a way. The front door flung open as Liam and the other faery guards came barreling inside to see what was causing such power to radiate out of the house. They piled up in the doorway, agape as they all stood in awe as Sookie’s power began to manifest even further.

Sookie was unaware, in the thrall of her power. It was all consuming, so warm and loving that it swept her away. She didn’t realize that her power began to create life around her as a soft blanket of brilliant green grass and moss rolled out to cover everything in the room, bright and colorful exotic flowers exploding into full bloom across the new grass and moss-covered furniture and walls. Pure magic emanating from Sookie caused the fireplace to rock over as a small pool of stone formed at the base and from out of nowhere a shimmering waterfall came into existence. Only magic could create such a phenomena. Only when the entire room was blanketed in new life from Sookie’s magic did she slowly float back to the ground as her light receded. Her eyes stopped glowing but were still glazed as Sookie focused on Claudine groggily and slurred, “Did I do it right?” and then fainted dead away.

No one moved. No one said a word. Everyone was too overwhelmed to do more than watch Sookie collapse onto the grass, moss, and flower-covered couch in unconsciousness. For long moments no one said anything until Claude applauded wildly, bursting out with laughter. “Maybe we’re not so screwed after all.”

Claudine ignored her brother as she rushed to Sookie’s side. Obviously Sookie had used far more magic than could be healthy. She still had no control of her powers and expanding them in such a manner in so short an amount of time could not be good for her. She crouched next to Sookie and reached for her hand, soothing it worriedly. “Cousin? Cousin, can you hear me?”

As if on cue, the house phone began to ring and Lafayette was the only one that thought to answer it. “Hello?”

“Where is Sookie? What is wrong with her?” Eric’s voice was hard as steel. He’d felt everything happening to Sookie in the underground lair. Pam and Haldar were still dead but he’d been woken from his daytime rest at the feel of Sookie’s power rousing itself. He’d felt the warmth inside her, and while it had felt wonderful and loving, he worried she was taxing herself too much. His worries were confirmed when suddenly the rush died away and he’d felt an all-consuming exhaustion overtake her before he knew she’d fallen unconscious.

Upstairs, Lafayette offered worriedly, “She’s right here in the—uh—living room? She passed out though. I don’t know what the hell happened.”

Eric snapped his cell phone shut. He decided he no longer cared for keeping his daywalking a secret and headed out of his sanctuary. Within moments he was by Sookie’s side. He heard and ignored Lafayette yelp in surprise, but no one else reacted to his presence at all. While Sookie’s guards were constantly shielding their scents to prevent vampire attacks, her cousins had planned on there not being any vampires around during their visit and hadn’t taken such precautions … and yet Eric was completely unaffected by their scent. He registered it, and it did smell delicious, but his only concern was for Sookie. He didn’t even care that the living room was now well and truly living.

Gathering Sookie up into his arms, Eric patted her cheek gently and begged, “Min älskade? Lover, open your eyes and speak to me?” He could feel the extreme exhaustion in her and knew she’d greatly over taxed herself. Cursing in his native tongue, he stood with his mate in his arms and dashed to their room. He was going to give her his blood and he would not expose such an intimate act to others.

He situated himself on the bed with Sookie cradled in his lap and then bit into his wrist before pressing the wound to Sookie’s mouth after tilting her head back. As his blood poured down her mouth he thought, ‘That is the last time she practices her magic without me present. Those damn fairies will be lucky if I don’t feed them to Pam and Haldar! Risking Sookie like this! Risking my son!’

Feeling the strength returning to his mate and sensing her slowly returning to consciousness, Eric decided she’d had enough blood and allowed his wrist to heal. He was pleased when Sookie subconsciously licked the remaining drops of blood from his skin. As her eyes slowly fluttered open, he hissed, “Never again!”

Sookie felt her mind clear slowly and looked around as she asked, “What happened?”

“You tell me, Lover. I was woken from my death by the feel of your body expending more energy than is healthy.” Setting his hand atop her stomach he added, “Such foolishness is dangerous to our son, Sookie, you should know this. You should not be trying to wield your magic in such a way until you are better versed in your fae abilities and better able to control it all. You will not do so again.”

Shaking her head as she sat up fully in Eric’s lap, Sookie argued, “I didn’t do anything! Claudine told me to meditate and search for my inner light, and I did! I was just trying to find my light! I didn’t try to wield my magic. Claudine said it would take awhile before I could.”

Eric peered curiously at Sookie as he monitored her words through their bond. When he felt only truth coming from her he realized, once again, Sookie’s power had taken control of her instead of the other way around. It was a problem that was going to have to be addressed. Releasing a sigh, he sat back on the bed and trailed his hand up and down Sookie’s back as he explained, “I fear your power took hold of you as it has in the past. It expended itself, it seems, and it exhausted you to an unacceptable level. You passed out and I came to retrieve you. I gave you my blood to help strengthen you.”

Eyes widening, Sookie’s hands flew to cradle her stomach as she rushed, “Eric, I didn’t mean to do anything to hurt Peanut! You know I’d never do that! Claudine told me I’d be lucky to find my light today, let alone be able to do anything with it.”

“Egil is well, little one, but I have decided that you will no longer practice your magic without me present. It is too dangerous.”

“Eric, I—“

“I do not blame you for this, Sookie, it is just a precaution. Until you can control your magic instead of it controlling you I will be with you. I can pull you back if need be, but for the time you cannot do this alone.”

Sookie thought about it for a moment before deciding Eric was right. She had no idea what happened downstairs, and she hadn’t been trying to do anything, so obviously it wasn’t a good idea for her to try to harness her light without Eric again. She nodded. “Alright. I guess it would be stupid for me to try again without you there to pull me back since I didn’t even know anything was happening this time.”

Glancing around to see that Eric was sitting with her during the day she smiled weakly and offered, “Guess the secret is out of the bag, huh?”

“Indeed, but no one other than your friend Lafayette seemed all that surprised. Are you feeling better?”

“Feeling hungry actually.”

Eric smiled and kissed Sookie’s brow before saying, “Well let’s get you some food and then ask your cousins what happened.”

Floating to his feet with Sookie in his arms Eric headed out of the room. He was stopped when Sookie announced, “Eric, I’m fine now. I can walk on my own.”

“I’ll carry you.”

“I want to walk.”

“Well, I want to carry you. You’re carrying my son so I should carry you. My logic is sound.”

“You ever notice how your logic always leaves you in the right?”

“But of course. Why would I maintain a viewpoint that didn’t benefit me?”

Chuckling, Sookie thought about arguing further, but decided against it. He had been protective of her before she got pregnant, and she’d known he would get worse now that she was carrying his son. She was just glad he wasn’t tucking her in bed like a child and insisting she “rest”. Laying her head down on his shoulder as he continued on she said, “I’ll be gracious and let you have this one. Next one’s mine.”

Eric chose not to respond, besides, they’d made it to the bottom of the stairs which were surrounded by everyone he’d left when he’d taken Sookie to their bedroom. All wore expressions of concern and he announced, “My mate needs food and then we have some things to discuss.”

Lafayette shot ahead of Eric as he offered, “I got gumbo on the stove, but it ain’t near to being ready. Needs to simmer a few more hours, but I can whip something up for her real quick. Sook, what you in the mood for?”

As Eric carried her into the kitchen behind Lafayette Sookie replied, “Oh that’s alright, Lafayette. I can make myself some eggs.”

“No,” Eric denied. “He is paid to cook for you, and that is what he shall do.” Focusing on the man that no longer had an uncontrollable amount of fear in his presence due to his recent glamouring, Eric continued, “She needs something substantial. Something to help her recover the energy she lost.”

Nodding his head, Lafayette said, “Venison steak and eggs, coming up. Over easy, Sook?”

“You know me too well.”

As Lafayette busied himself with getting everything together he couldn’t help but comment, “So what’s with your Viking not catching fire? Awfully sunny day.”

“That is one of the things we will discuss.”

Cracking some of the eggs Sookie’s Were guards had collected from her new hen house into a pan, Lafayette pressed, “So when’s the wedding?”

“Wedding?” Sookie asked.

“Yep. He’s going around calling you ‘mate’ and all, certainly acting like a husband, and now that he’s got you in a family way I’m wondering when the wedding is.”

Before Eric could say anything, Sookie replied, “Not any time soon. We got enough on our plates as it is.”

Now that definitely got Lafayette’s attention. He took Sookie’s words to mean that Eric hadn’t asked her to marry him, that he didn’t care enough about Sookie’s human beliefs to go through such a ceremony. Turning to look at the Viking, Lafayette demanded, “You ain’t asked her yet? What you think you can just claim her in whatever way you want and not uphold her own beliefs? She ain’t your whore and she deserves to have a wedding. I don’t know why she puts up with you treating her like you do!”

“Lafayette!” Sookie cried. She worried that he would incur Eric’s wrath with such words. They were still on shaky ground after the last couple of days, and she knew that Eric was stressed from the distance between them.

Eric surprised both Sookie and Lafayette with his reaction. “I have asked her to marry me, and told her she can have whatever kind of wedding she wishes. SHE is the one that wants to wait, not me. Yell at her for not allowing me to wed her as I wish.”

Turning surprised eyes on Sookie, Lafayette gasped, “Sookie! Adele would be spitting mad if she knew you were refusing to marry the father of your baby! What is you thinkin’ girl?!”

Turning bright red, Sookie defended, “I’m thinking just what I said, we got too much going on to worry about planning a wedding now. Besides, from what I understand, I’m going to be as big as a whale soon. I plan on walking down the aisle, not waddling thank you very much! I am going to marry Eric, just not now. I’m not going to be standing at the altar worrying that someone is going to assassinate my groom.”

Satisfied that Eric was going to eventually make an honest woman out of Sookie Lafayette turned back to the stove. By this point the kitchen had filled up with Sookie’s cousins and some of her Fae guard, all who were staring at her in awe. Eric noticed the looks and focused on her cousins to ask, “I take it what Sookie did was not planned?”

Shaking herself out of her stupor, Claudine answered, “No! I—I don’t know what happened! I’ve never seen anything like it! Not even High Lord Oberon has been able to manifest his light in such a way.”

Eric considered her words for a moment before deciding, “Since it was an accident, and you did not deliberately set out to endanger my mate and son you will not be punished for this offense. However, in the future if Sookie is taxed in such a way because you are not instructing her properly, measures will be taken. You are here to guide her through harnessing her fairy powers. If you are incapable of this you should tell me now. I will not tolerate another mishap like this.”

Seeing her cousin pale at Eric’s overt threat, Sookie soothed, “Eric, it’s not her fault. Just like with everything else about me my faery powers apparently aren’t normal. Claudine was just trying to help me meditate to find my light, she told me it would be hard to ever manifest it. No one was expecting this to happen.”

“And that is why she will not be punished,” Eric conceded. “However, I’m saying measures must now be taken to prevent another occurrence. I understand that your faery powers are unusual, but that does not mean I do not expect you to have the best care. If your cousins are incapable of helping you control your extraordinary powers then they will need to be replaced with someone who can. I don’t care if Oberon himself has to come instruct you, this will not happen again.”

The oppressive silence that descended upon the room was ended when Lafayette set a plate of steak and eggs in front of Sookie and announced, “Eat up, Sook.”

As Sookie began to eat her food, Eric focused on Sookie’s cousins and asked, “I want you to explain what happened as best you can. Explain to me what you were trying to do, and then explain to me what actually happened. If you can identify where everything went wrong that would be helpful.”

Before Claudine could say anything, Claude interrupted, “How about you explain to us how it is you’re in the sun? Only extreme amounts of faery blood could allow you to do this.” Flicking his eyes to Sookie, he sneered, “If you are so worried about our cousin’s health perhaps you should not be drinking so much from her on a nightly basis.”

Eric reacted before anyone could even blink. He had Claude pinned to the wall with his hand around the fairy’s throat, fangs down, eyes glowing, as he snarled, “You dare!”

“Eric!” Sookie cried.

When it looked like Claudine was going to rush to her brother’s defense, Liam, Captain of the Fairy guard, grabbed her, pinning her arms to her sides. Looking down at Claudine, Liam announced, “Remember your place, princess. He is our king, and your brother has overstepped his bounds.”

Eric could hear Sookie beginning to stand, and ordered, “Continue eating, min älskade, this will not take long.”

Sookie slowly lowered herself back to her sitting position and tried not to interfere. She knew from experience that interfering when Eric was in his “king” mode never ended well. She could only hope for the best and reminded herself to give Eric a stern talking to later. She did not intend for her future husband and king to rule through fear.

Eric focused back on Claude, growling, “As you are related to my mate, I will spare your pathetic existence this time. The reason I can walk in the sun is due to the magical connection Sookie and I share. I need no faery blood to daywalk. It is now a permanent part of my power base. I take very little blood from Sookie, and what I do take is because her physician and the Pythoness have both dictated it is necessary for us to continue with our blood exchanges despite her condition in order for her to stay strong as my son grows inside her.”

Eric tightened his hand around Claude's throat, enjoying  the panicked look that came over his face. “And if you ever disrespect me, or my relationship with my mate again I will end you. Sookie’s relation or no.”

Dropping Claude to the ground, Eric returned to his seat and waved his hand at Liam as he ordered, “Release her.” When his guard had done as he asked, he focused on Claudine and demanded, “Now, answer my previous questions.”

Claudine began to wring her hands as she looked down nervously at her brother who was slowly regaining his feet. Her eyes darted to Sookie who was slowly cutting her steak into little bites, and finally stammered, “I was teaching Sookie how to meditate in order to find her inner light. I didn’t think it would be hard for her to find it, and obviously it wasn’t, but I thought it would take many, many hours of practice for her to be able to actually access it in any way. I’ve never heard of any fairy being able to access their Light, let alone manifest it on their first try. I never dreamed this would happen. I don’t even know how it happened. Sookie is probably better able to answer that question. I—I don’t have any answers as to what happened or how everything went wrong.”

Eric looked at Liam. “Did you sense anything amiss? Do you have any idea what took place?” He wanted to allow Sookie to eat more before he began questioning her.

Liam shook his head, “I felt nothing amiss until Sookie’s power exploded out of her. I rushed into the house with the rest of the guards and witnessed Sookie’s power altering the living room as it has. As Claudine said, nothing like this has ever happened. Not even High Lord Oberon is able to use his Light in such a way, nor was he able to harness it on his first try. This is unprecedented.”

Shaking his head, Eric teased Sookie, “Why is nothing simple with you?”

Sookie shrugged, “You get to be difficult, high-handed, and overbearing, so I get to be an anomaly. Fair’s fair.”

“That it is, lover,” Eric chuckled, ignoring the scowl Sookie sent him for calling her his lover when she was still upset with him. “Finish eating and then explain to me what happened.”

It only took Sookie a few minutes to finish her food, she had been very hungry after all, and while Lafayette picked the plate up and went to the sink to wash it, she explained, “Well, I started meditating like Claudine told me. I pictured one of my favorite memories and then focused on the feelings the memory evoked. She told me to follow the memories and it would lead me to my light, and that’s when everything went wrong.”

“What happened?” Eric pressed.

“Well, Claudine made it sound like I would only be able to find my light, but actually taking hold of it and being able to do anything with it would take a lot of time and training. That’s not what happened. As soon as I found my light I didn’t have to do anything. It’s like it was waiting for me and it took hold of me. One second I was looking for it and the next it was coming out of me. I don’t really remember it very well.”

“It overcame you,” Eric finished, gazing at her with a moment of naked longing. Her fragility overwhelmed him, no matter what measures he put in place to keep her safe, his efforts were constantly tested and coming up short. He couldn’t bear this, and more, he wouldn’t allow it. He was silent for a moment before declaring, “As I said before you will no longer practice your fairy magic without me present so I can pull you back if such a thing happens again. It is too dangerous for you and our son to exert yourself in such a way.”

While Sookie didn’t like the high-handed approach Eric had taken to delivering his edict, treating her like a child in front of everyone, she knew he was right. She’d had no control earlier and she had pushed herself to the point of exhaustion. She couldn’t allow it to happen again. Nodding, she agreed, “You’re right. You’ll need to be there from now on.”

Looking at Claudine and Claude who had finally regained his feet though he didn’t look too happy, Eric asked, “Are you capable of continuing Sookie’s lessons? Or do you need to be replaced?”

“I don’t think replacing us will do any good. As we said, this is a whole new situation we’re dealing with. We can tell Sookie how normal faery lights are accessed and used, and she’ll just have to figure out the rest on her own since her power is so different. Even if you did request Oberon to come he couldn’t tell her anything we don’t already know. He has more power than us but not different power like Sookie’s.”

Accepting the explanation Eric took Sookie’s hand and led her into the living room. Neither had really taken the time to look at it before, and once they were standing in the now verdant and alive room Sookie couldn’t help but gasp, “Oh my gosh! I did all that? Is that a waterfall? Where’s the water coming from?”

Looking around the room, Eric announced, “I like it. Makes the house smell fresh. It smells like my homeland. We should leave it this way.”

“Absolutely not! We can’t have a meadow for a living room!”

“Why not?”

“Well—we just can’t!”

Arching a brow, Eric asked, “And what would you like me to do about it? Your magic created this room, I very much doubt it will be easy to undo.” To prove his point he headed to the former fireplace turned rock waterfall and tried to pull part of the rock off. Not even his vampire strength could pull it down. Facing Sookie he said, “I think it is here to stay.”

Looking about the room, Sookie lamented, “But all my furniture! And! And there’s grass everywhere! My Gran would pitch a fit!”

“Well what would you like me to do about it?”

“Fix it!”

“Magic made it and, from my inability to destroy any of the rock with my strength, I’m guessing only magic can fix it.”

“He’s right,” Claudine announced. Everyone was standing in the doorway watching them. She leaned down to pick one of the flowers from the grass and moss covered floor, everyone noticing how a new flower immediately popped up to take its place, and continued, “Usually only the faery that uses their light to create magic in this way can undo it, unless a fairy of greater power overrides it. From that display earlier I doubt we’re going to find one. I’m afraid that until you learn to use your magic and undo this yourself the room is going to stay this way.”

Looking around the room, Sookie muttered, “Well spit!”

Eric moved to Sookie’s side and kissed her cheek as he soothed, “It’s not so bad. We shall enjoy the oddity of this room while it is here, and once you master your fairy powers you can set the room back to rights.”

“I guess there’s really not much else that we can do. So what now?”

Eric considered his options and finally decided, “I shall die for the day. You’ve had enough of your fairy lesson for today as well. See if you can finish up some more of the reports. Your garden gnome should be arriving soon and your Were guards can escort him to the new greenhouse set up so he can begin his work. I’ve left instructions that if he needs anything we don’t have he is to give you a list. Whatever Bobby cannot procure through human means, tell your Were guards and they’ll put some of our supernatural resources into play.”

“Ok. I guess I’ll see you tonight. What are you going to be doing tonight by the way?”

“Ahmose is coming over and we are going to hold a war council. Ahmose will also be bringing his witches. Octavia and her apprentice will also be arriving. I am thinking of them taking up permanent residence here. We’ll discuss this tonight once they arrive. The hackers will be arriving as well. We’ll need to see to that situation as soon as possible. You remember our agreement?”

Sookie nodded firmly, “I do. I know it’s going to work.”

“Very well. I will see you at sunset.” Eric placed one last kiss to Sookie’s brow, ignoring the feelings of annoyance his actions provoked through the bond since Sookie was still so upset with him, and headed back to the underground safe room.

When he was gone Sookie looked back at her friends, and said, “I guess I should get started.” Addressing Liam she asked, “Liam, can you tell the Were guards that I need to continue with their interviews. Those that I didn’t get to yesterday need to come inside so I can finish theirs.”

Liam bowed and left the house as Sookie focused on her cousins. Looking at Claude, Sookie began, “I’m sorry about earlier. Eric is pretty set in his ways, and those ways are violent. I’m working on it though.”

Before Sookie could say anything else, one of the fairy guards grumbled, “He should not have disrespected the king as he did. He’s lucky he got off as lightly as he did.”

Not wanting a fight to break out, Sookie stepped forward to take Claudine’s hands and offered, “You’ll come back tomorrow?”

“Yes,” Claudine agreed. “We’ll come by at 10am, and hopefully the lesson won’t be as disastrous as today’s.”

“Hopefully,” Sookie chimed in, smiling.

Once Claudine and Claude left, Lafayette sauntered into the room and said to Sookie, “I am definitely going to be getting me a piece of that fine ass.”


“What? Did you see that cousin of yours? Every inch is so totally lickable. And biteable. And—“

Lafayette! No talking about what you intend to do with my cousin! That is on a need to know basis, and I don’t need to know!”

“Prude.” Heading back into the kitchen to check on his gumbo Lafayette tossed over his shoulder, “Just to let you know he challenged me to an oral standoff, so leave room in your schedule tomorrow for us to have a showdown. I never back off a challenge like that.”


His laughter was his only response. Shaking her head at her friend, Sookie headed for her bedroom to get her laptop so she could started on her interviews. She wondered idly what her gnome was going to be like. She’d heard about them in stories and such, but she’d never actually thought they were real, however, considering what all she’d learned about the supe world she really shouldn’t be surprised.

During the day Sookie was able to polish off almost all the rest of her were interviews. She only had a few left. Frannie had arrived and she got her settled upstairs in one of her guestrooms. She hadn’t told Eric yet that she had told Quinn it was alright for his sister to come live with them, and she knew that the resulting argument when he did find out was going to be epic, but she was his queen, damnit!, and she had a right to make some decisions of her own. Besides she didn’t think Quinn would be able to focus as well on their protection if he was always worried about his sister. It was one of the selling points she planned to use with her Viking once he rose. She also took a nap just before sundown, wanting to be refreshed for the discussion with the hackers and the ‘war council’ Eric was going to be holding. She was determined to sit in on it. Eric wasn’t going to shield her from it because he thought she was too weak hearted to hear the fighting plans.

So it was just at sunset that Sookie awoke to the feeling of Eric’s fingers trailing up her leg as he crouched down by the side of the bed. Releasing a yawn, Sookie asked, “Are they here yet?”

“They should be here momentarily. They were collected and delivered to Fangtasia. Ahmose is escorting them here. You’ll need to invite them into the barrier. You should have time to eat something before we begin.”

Sookie sat up and stretched, reaching out to rub Thor’s tummy as she asked, “Are Pam and Haldar still arguing?”

Grinning devilishly, Eric said, “Haldar is much older, he rose before Pam and made sure to wrap himself around her so that the first thing she saw when she woke was his smiling face.”

“Bet she took that well.”

“She broke his nose and tried to rip his fangs out. As well as another part of his anatomy. They are downstairs bickering as we speak.”

Jumping up off the bed, Sookie said, “I don’t want to miss it.” Scenting the air she moaned, “It smells like Lafayette’s gumbo is done.”

“Yes, the house is rather pungent at the moment.”

“Does the smell bother you?” Sookie asked as she headed out of the bedroom to get herself a huge bowl of gumbo.

“No. I actually enjoy the smell of certain foods. Cajun food is very aromatic. Do not expect Pam to enjoy it, however. She does not like the smell of many foods.”

“Well it doesn’t matter. I love the smell of Lafayette’s cooking.”

Before Sookie could say anything else she heard Pam and Haldar arguing from the living room and she could barely suppress her giggle. Eric came behind her and set his hands on her shoulders as they both stopped to listen.

“I’m going to stake you, Haldar!”

“My Pammy! How your harsh words wound me!”

“What the fuck did you just call me!”

“My beautiful, luscious, Pammy.”

“You inbred idiot! Don’t you ever call me that again!”

“Kiss me and I’ll promise not to.”

“I’m going to shove my Jimmy Choos so far up your ass they’ll come flying out of your mouth if you don’t get the fuck away from me!”

“I don’t mind a little ass play as long as it goes both ways, my love.”

“You are so fucking lucky that Eric forbid us from fighting inside Sookie’s house! Otherwise I’d toss you straight through that fucking wall!”

“I love it when you get rough. Shall I collect the whips and chains? Eric promised there would be plenty of time after the war council for us to play. I get to go first!”

“You son of a whore!”

“My parents were married, thank you very much. Now come here and let me caress your gorgeous breasts, it has been far too long since I’ve felt the weight of them in my hands.”

“That’s it! I don’t care what Eric said! I’m staking you.”

“My love, why do you deny me? We always had such chemistry.”

“The only chemistry I have with you is the kind that either blows you up or melts you. Don’t you fucking touch me! Get away!”

Eric knew that tone in his child’s voice: Pam really was about to lose control and it was time to step in. Sweeping Sookie into his arms he dashed into the living room entrance and set her on her feet. Pam and Haldar were on opposite sides of the grassy mound that was once a couch, squaring off. They had been so involved in their spot they didn’t even notice their arrival.

“You’re barely a step above micro-bacterial sludge and I can’t believe I ever let you touch me! You conned me back then into allowing you into my bed, and I’m going to make you pay for it!”

“But I was in it, and I have to say Pam, you are quite the adventurous lover. I loved the way you came apart in my arms when I pleasured you. Remember how you screamed my name?”

“I was faking. You couldn’t find your way around a woman’s body if you had a GPS system!”

Clearing his throat to get their attention, Eric said, “You two can finish this later.” When Pam and Haldar continued to stare heatedly at each other he added, “It was not a request.”

Pam gave Haldar one last withering glare before focusing on Sookie. Arching a brow she asked, “Taking a radical approach to decorating?”

Looking around the room Sookie blushed and explained, “My fairy magic lesson didn’t exactly go as planned.”

Haldar looked around the room and announced, “Well I like it. Gives the house a little something extra in my opinion.”

“I hate it,” Pam countered. “Sookie, you must change it immediately.”

“You’re only saying that to spite me,” Haldar argued.

“I’m saying it because it’s true, you idiot!”

“Pam! Haldar!” Eric did not like being ignored when he gave an order. “Did I or did I not just tell you two to behave.”

Looking up at Eric, Sookie whispered, “These two are better than watching a soap opera! Remind me to make popcorn next time.”

Looking down at his bonded, Eric replied, “Be that as it may, their antics are coming to an end. You need to eat. Ahmose will be here soon.”

Haldar grinned at Sookie and moved forward to sling his arm around her shoulders as he steered her towards the kitchen. “Come, my queen. You can eat some of that food your funny little human friend made. Did you know he asked if all of me was this big before going to the guesthouse? He is very amusing. I can see why you keep him around.” He knew his casual touching of her would annoy his blood brother, and, as expected, his arm was quickly knocked off Sookie’s shoulder as Eric growled at him while leading her into the kitchen in his stead. He chuckled, slapping Eric on the back in good humor.

While Sookie was getting herself a large bowl of gumbo, pouring it over the rice Lafayette had graciously made as well, Pam took a seat at the table and then kicked Haldar’s chair out from under him as he was sitting down. When he crashed on the floor she sneered, “Graceful.”

“If you wanted me under you, Pam, all you have to do is lift your skirts. I’d be there in a second.” Haldar was back up and in the seat even before he finished his sentence, grinning at Pam as he spoke.

Turning to her Maker, Pam pleaded, “Please, Eric, I promise not to take your credit card for a whole year if you let me stake him.”

“No, and I already told you no more shopping for a month. I got the bill the other day and you spent double your allowance.”

“But, Eric!,” Pam cried, “La Perla was having a sale! If you think about it, in the long run I was saving you money.”

“I see it differently,” Eric responded rigidly. He pulled Sookie’s chair out for her and once she was seated and eating he looked at Haldar and Pam and ordered, “When Ahmose gets here I expect you both to be on your best behavior.”

“If Pam can get over her burning passion for me that she refuses to admit to having, which is the cause for all this drama I might add, I can certainly assure I’ll be on my best behavior.”

Pam growled, “Please, who would want a woolly mammoth like you, Chewbacca!”

Shaking his head at Pam, Haldar explained, “Chewbacca was a Wookiee, not a woolly mammoth. Really, Pammy, your insults are getting just plain ridiculous.”

Pam and Haldar continued to trade insults to each other while Eric and Sookie watched as she ate her dinner. Eric waited for Sookie to take her final bite before ordering, “That is enough!” Receiving a text on his phone he looked at Sookie and said, “Ahmose has arrived with everyone. Invite them in, Sookie.”

“I invite Ahmose and his companions in,” Sookie said aloud. Standing, she allowed Eric to take her hand and lead her onto the porch to great their guests. Pam and Haldar followed behind them.

It only took a few minutes for Han and Ivan to escort Ahmose’s party to the house. The centaurs and minotaurs were wandering around the house along with the griffins, but they all kept out of visual range. Ahmose had brought only the hackers and the witches. Eric was still leery about allowing other vampires near Sookie and inside her barrier. Until he had a chance to meet each vampire and take their measure, and go over the personnel files that Pamela had collected on them he would hold off assigning a nighttime vampire guard to accompany Han and Ivan. When Ahmose was at the foot of the stairs with the four hackers as well as seven other people, including Octavia and Amelia who Sookie recognized, Eric stepped forward and greeted, “Welcome. Han, Ivan, I’d like you to check in with Quinn and the other daytime guards. Check on the progress of the buildings I’ve ordered constructed and see about the security system they’re working on. I want a full report when we finish with the hackers before my meeting with the witches.”

He waited for them to bow and head off to follow his orders before glancing at the four humans he knew to be the hackers. Seeing their dazed expressions he asked Ahmose, “They were glamoured accordingly?”

Nodding, Ahmose replied, “I rose a few hours ago so that when the fairies that collected and teleported them to Fangtasia arrived I could glamour them as we discussed. I glamoured them into paying no attention to the route here or what is going on until after I release them. I implanted no suggestions or desires, as per Sookie’s request. I have only to release them and no time will have passed to them.”

“Very good. Sookie wishes to try this her way, offering them the chance to join us of their own free will before we simply take control of them,” Eric explained.

“I’m telling you that they are going to want to help us. I know it. I have spent a good bit of time in their heads over the years when they all gathered in Monroe. I know they’ll help,” Sookie insisted.

“We shall see,” Eric stated. Waving his hand to indicate Ahmose should escort them inside, he directed, “Get them into the living room and then release them.” He focused on the witches next. “We will meet with all of you after handling the hacker problem. If you require refreshments, go to the guesthouse around back and ask for a man named Lafayette. He is the cook.”

Eric took Sookie’s hand and turned to head into the house when he was pulled up short by the sight of his child. Pam had been standing behind her, and the expression on her face was one he had never seen. Following her line of sight he saw that she was looking quite intently at the apprentice of Octavia Fant, he believed the girl’s name was Amelia. However, while the girl was attractive, the look on Pam’s face was not one of lust. Tapping into his Maker bond with Pam, he tried to gauge her emotions to understand the odd behavior, and the emotions inside her stunned him. He had only ever felt such an emotion once in his life and it had led him to turning Pam. Feeling it inside her now, and knowing what it meant, knowing it was a witch causing these feelings, made him curse.

Haldar looked between the still tense and immobile Pam, the girl Pam was so focused on, and Eric before asking, “Eric?”

Ahmose had seen the way Pam’s eyes zeroed in on one of the witches and he came to the quick conclusion of what was transpiring faster than even Eric. He couldn’t begin to fathom the problems this was going to create, or how his new king was going to handle this. He stood stoically, hands clasped in front of him, and waited to see how this would unfold.

Eric looked at his long time friend and explained, “She is feeling the pull.”

Eyes widening, Haldar hissed, “She can’t! The girl is a witch! It is forbidden!”

“I know that,” Eric grumbled.

Looking up at her Viking, Sookie questioned, “What’s going on?”

Before Eric could answer, Pam seemed to shake herself out of her stupor. Tearing her eyes away from the girl she had zeroed in on the moment she stepped out of the house, Pam asked her Maker, “This is it, isn’t it? This is the pull you told me I would have to wait for?”

“She’s a witch, Pam,” Eric replied, as though that explained it all.

“But I feel the pull, Master,” Pam countered.

Realization hit Sookie like a thunderbolt and she remembered the law about turning witches that Eric had informed her about. Sookie gasped, “Oh no!”

“Eric, I—“ Pam began.

Eric cut her off by dragging Sookie into the house. He was both hesitant and abrupt. “We’ll discuss it later. We have important matters to see to.”

Amelia, having realized that the tension that had suddenly filled the air had to do with her, and definitely having noticed the intense stare from the female vampire called Pam leveled her way, leaned toward her mentor and asked, “What is going on?”

Not understanding herself, as she was not a vampire and not privy to such an intimate details of vampire making, Octavia replied, “I have no idea, Amelia, other than you seem to be the cause of it.”

“You noticed that too, did you?” Amelia attempted to laugh the tension away but backed up a step and let out a surprised squeak when Pam became a blur of motion to leave the porch and appear in front of her.

Pam held Amelia’s gaze and ordered, “You will not leave until I speak with you. Do you understand?”

Amelia nodded nervously and stuttered, “Uh—I—I won’t. We’re supposed to meet with the king about the queen’s brother anyhow.”

“Good.” Pam studied Amelia for a moment more while Ahmose moved past her to follow Eric and Sookie into the house. The hackers followed up on the rear, still in a glamoured dazed.

Haldar remained on the porch watching Pam watch Amelia before calling out, “The king is waiting, Pamela.” While he considered Pam a true ally and friend despite their bickering, he wanted Pam as distanced from the witch as possible. He cared a great deal for Pam, and his heart hurt that she was in this situation. He knew there was no way she would be able to turn the witch girl, and he was saddened that the first human she’d felt the pull for was not going to be hers. He would advise Eric to send the witch girl away so Pam would not be burdened with having to watch the girl grow old and die.

Pam let her gaze travel over the girl she would find a way to turn, law or no, before spinning on her heels and heading into the house after her Master and mistress. Haldar looked at the witch girl for a moment as well before following after her and shutting the door behind them.

Back in the living room, Sookie looked up at Eric and asked, “What is Pam going to do? There must be a clause in the rule about turning a witch if you feel the pull to them, right?”

“No, there is not, and this is a matter I shall discuss with Pam. We have other things to discuss.” He looked over Sookie’s shoulder and watched as Ahmose led the hackers into the living room. He saw Ahmose arch a brow at the newly decorated living room and explained, “There were a few unexpected side effects to Sookie’s fairy magic lesson today.”

“So I see,” Ahmose chuckled. He moved forward to inspect the waterfall and added, “It is most intriguing. I wonder where the water is coming from and going to? I see no hole at the bottom of this small pool. And this water seems to glow. Truly remarkable.”

“We don’t know,” Sookie replied. Looking at the hackers as Pam and Haldar finally joined them she said, “You can release them now. We might as well get started. They’re definitely going to have a lot of questions.”

Ahmose nodded, “Very well, my queen.” Studying the hackers, he withdrew his mind from theirs and watched as they blinked their eyes in confusion.

Before the humans could freak out Sookie stepped forward and said, “Orca.”

The four humans’ eyes went wide while Eric stepped forward to ask Sookie, “What about an Orca?”

Looking over her shoulder at her mate, Sookie explained, “It’s their safe word. I want them to know we’re friends.” Focusing back on the people in front of her she quickly explained, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re confused and we’ll explain everything. I know who you are, and I know what you do, and we need your help.”

The four humans looked at each other in confusion before Samuel Matthers, a tall lanky brown haired man from Monroe stepped forward and asked, “Who are you and how do you know us?”

Pointing to herself and then everyone else in the room, Sookie began, “My name is Sookie Stackhouse. This is Eric Northman, Vampire King of Louisiana, future High King of the entire supernatural world. That is Pamela Ravenscroft, his child and right hand. Beside her is Haldar, former Vampire King of Sweden and long time friend of Eric. And that is Ahmose, Vampire King of New York, and we know about you because I’m a telepath. I ran across your mind, Samuel about seven years ago and have been keeping track of you and your friends ever since. Just to make sure you stayed the good guys and didn’t start using your hacking skills to cause trouble instead of solve it.”

While the four humans were stunned into silence, Sookie continued, “I’m very sorry about you being brought here like this, but there was no other way. If you’ll listen we’ll explain everything. I know all of you really well. I’ve been following you for a long time. I know you’re responsible for the Enron mess being brought into the light, and I know about all the good you’ve done over the years. I guess you could say that I’m a fan. We really are in trouble, and we need your expertise to help us save the world, which I do believe has been your mission all along.”

“Ya say you’re a telepath, lass?” asked Briana O’Connor, the woman from Ireland. She was about as tall as Sookie with a wild mane of curly red hair and bright green eyes.

To prove her point, Sookie said, “You just thought of a pink sheep walking on its hind legs playing the bag pipe.” Pointing at Samuel she continued, “You’re counting prime numbers and trying to decide if you’ve finally gone insane.”

Moving on to Sarah Sanchez Zapatero, a tall, olive complexioned, slender older woman from Spain she offered, “You’re thinking in Spanish so I don’t know the exact words, but the pictures I’m picking up are of your living room and tea cup poodle. I know you all speak English but people think in their native language. I’m picking up a great deal of worry from you, and I assure you that none of you are going to be hurt tonight. We are no danger to you.”

Indicating the last of the humans, a goth-looking twenty something man with a mop of black and blue hair falling in his eyes, she finished, “And you, Boris, are thinking in Russian, but from the mental images you’re broadcasting I think you’re wondering if we’ve brought you here to be turned, and the answer is no, even though I can tell from your emotions it is something you’re interested in.”

Samuel was the first to recover. He cast a worried glance at the vampires around the room, and said, “I’m not sure if I believe you’re a telepath. We’ve run across some reports of such suspicions in government files, but for now I’m unconvinced. So for now, how about you tell us why we’re here and we’ll take it from there.”

“Da,” Boris said as he stepped forward. His voice was heavily accented. He’d joined up with the other three when he was 13 when Samuel recruited him. He was the youngest in the group, followed by Brianna who was a few years older, then Samuel with Sarah being the oldest. “Why are we here and what do you want, and also, what the fuck is up with this room? This is like some acid trip gone wrong, no?”

Looking up at Eric Sookie suggested, “Maybe we should move this to the kitchen?”

“Awfully cramped in there,” Eric replied without taking his eyes from the four humans. He would allow Sookie to take the lead unless the humans became unruly. For now he would wait and watch.

Shrugging her shoulders Sookie countered, “Do you have a better idea?”

“No. Let’s go into the kitchen.”

A few minutes later Sookie was seated at the kitchen table with the other four humans while the vampires stood around them. Sookie clasped her hands together and looked each of the four humans in the eye before beginning, “It’s a long story.”

“Well, since ya done kidnapped us, lass, I guess we got all the time ya’s gonna give us,” Brianna replied.

Sookie smiled brightly and began her tale. She started with the night Bill Compton came into her life and for the next hour and a half she explained everything that had happened and why exactly they were here. When she was done she smiled up at Eric when he sat a glass of water down in front of her as she had taken no breaks during her explanation. She took a long drink before asking, “So will you help us?”

The four humans looked long and hard at each other before Sarah focused on Sookie and asked, “How can we know you’re telling the truth? This could all be some dramatic lie for you to try and get us to use our skills for your own personal gain.”

Sookie stood up from the table and said, “Everybody follow me.”

When everybody was on the front porch Sookie called out, “All of you come on out. We have a point to make.”

Slowly all the centaurs, minotaurs, griffins, faery guards and Cerberus began emerging from the tree line around Sookie’s home. She watched them surround the house and when there was a large thud behind her she turned around to see that Boris had fainted while the other three humans were standing on the porch slack jawed with her Vampires directly behind them. Setting her hand on her hip, Sookie asked, “Any other questions?”

Brianna’s eyes darted nervously between the figures before her and rushed, “They’re holograms or something. They can’t be real! We’d have found something in government files if these things were real.”

Sookie looked at Cerberus and called, “Cerberus, will you come up here for me please?”

The massive three-headed dog trotted forward to step up beside Sookie. He was so large that his back paws were still on the ground while his front paws were placed on the porch beside Sookie. One of his heads nudged Sookie while the others gazed curiously at the four new humans.

Sookie pet the head nudging her and explained to the hackers, “They are real, and I’m sure the only reason you haven’t found records of them is because Sargon is controlling all the governments you monitor. If you doubt Cerberus or any of my other guards are real I’m sure they wouldn’t mind you coming forward to touch them.”

Brianna eyed the beast worriedly before mustering up her courage and moving forward. She reached out a shaky hand and slowly pet the head closest to her. Feeling the solidity of the beast and finally realizing that this was indeed happening she looked at Sookie and muttered, “You aren’t lying, are ya lass?”

Samuel swallowed thickly before looking at Sookie and asking, “What exactly do you need us to do?”

Moving away from Cerberus, Sookie said, “We need you to combat Sargon’s technology. He’s been around for many millennia and is so well connected that we can’t make a move without him knowing. We need you to handle the technology part of our protection, and we need you to try and access his security to see if you can find anything we can use against it. Basically anything you can do to help us fight him. If you could find out where his base is, or where and who his sources and people are. Well just about anything you can do would be more than what we’ve got right now.”

Eric stepped forward as well and offered, “Let’s move this back into the house. You’ve been shown that all we’ve said is true, and now we have much to discuss. Firstly being as to the measures that need to be taken so I can be sure that you will not endanger my mate or child.”

“What measures?” Samuel asked as he moved to check on Boris.

Glancing down at the still unconscious human Eric answered, “We’ll go over that. Haldar, pick up the human and try to rouse him. Be gentle! Time is wasting, and we have none to spare.”

Ten minutes later everyone was back in the kitchen, Boris having finally been roused and assured by his comrades that what he’d seen hadn’t been a dream. Sookie had also explained the magical bond that they wished to form between them and vampires loyal to Eric to ensure that they couldn’t betray them, and would also allow for tracking of the hackers should they be kidnapped. Now they were waiting to see what the hackers had to say.

Samuel voiced what the other three humans were wondering. “What happens if we say no to all this?”

Sookie smiled, she could see inside the minds of each one and she knew what their answers were already. “You aren’t going to say no. You forgot, I’m a telepath. I’m inside each of your minds right now. I know your group caught onto the fact over a year ago that there was some centralized power structure tapped into all other governments and organizations. You didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t connect the dots until the other night when Sargon revealed himself to me. You guys have known that something big was happening around the world, but had no solid proof. I’ve just given it to you. You’ve already decided to help us fight Sargon because you know no one person should have that kind of power. What you’re skittish about now is whether or not to engage in the bond we’re asking for.”

Samuel exchanged looks with his associates as Brianna remarked, “Not sure I like the idea of you being inside our heads, lass, but you’re right. We’ve known something wasn’t right, that someone was pulling the strings of every major government organization and power structure the world over for a while. We just couldn’t find definitive pathways to follow. From what you’re saying that’s probably because this Sargon fellow has actual plants in each organization that delivers the information to him directly. Leaving no technological trace for us to follow.”

Shrugging, Sookie replied, “I don’t know about that. Computers baffle me. That’s why we need you.”

Boris, still shaken from the whole ordeal, rallied his courage and pressed, “And if we refuse the bond?”

Sookie wrung her hands as she begged, “I’m asking that you don’t. I understand you don’t want to be backed into a corner. I really do. I hate not having a say in my life also, but we need you to agree to this bond. The world is literally resting on our shoulders here, and there can be no mistakes. I hate having to ask all of this from you, but we don’t have a choice. We need your help, but we also need to know that we can trust you, and, for your own safety, the bond works so that we can find you if you’re taken. It is important that you know we are concerned for your welfare here.”

“And how do we know you’re not lying that the bond isn’t permanent? How do we know it can be undone, as you say? You could be maneuvering us into position to enslave us and have your own hacker team.”

“We could,” Sookie conceded. “But we’re not. I promise the bond is reversible. I wouldn’t allow you to be bonded to vampires if it wasn’t. There is another type of bond that was discussed, and I refused to take part in it. You have your right to your freedom, and, if we all survive this, you’ll be able to pick back up your lives where you left them if you’d like. Or you can continue to work for Eric and me unbonded, but right now, while fighting Sargon, we need you to be bonded to us.”

Samuel wasn’t convinced. “And we’re just supposed to take your word on this? How do we know you’re telling us the truth?”

“Because,” Sookie began, “you all know that vampires can glamour and control human minds. It’s why you’ve avoided them so much. You know how valuable you are and didn’t want vampires to enslave you.”

Flicking her eyes to Boris, Sookie continued, “That’s why you told Boris he couldn’t associate with vampires while he was part of your group, and why he’s been thinking of going out on his own because he really is interested in being turned.”

Their attention turned to Boris who cast his eyes down guiltily, a flush creeping into his face. He picked at some imaginary lint on his pants and said nothing. As his companions’ faces hardened at this further proof of her telepathy. Sookie used the advantage to press home her point. “You obviously know that if we wanted to, my vampires could glamour you into doing anything we want, but we haven’t done that. I will admit that Ahmose put you under his glamour to be unaware of events after my fairies picked you up from your homes and brought you here until we could talk to you, but only a few hours were lost to you. No other orders or suggestions were put into your minds. We’ve sat you down, explained everything as equals, and are asking for your help instead of simply enslaving you as we could. We’re also offering the chance to leave once the fight is done if you desire, despite the fact I know Eric wants you to keep working for him once Sargon is gone because he’s very impressed with all of you, but as I said, that choice is yours.”

“Leading off with the fact you could enslave us but haven’t isn’t really reassuring, lass,” Brianna said. “What else have you got?”

“Faith,” Sookie offered. “I’m asking you to have faith that me and mine are the good guys. I’m asking you to have faith in us, our cause, and our intentions.”

“Faith,” Sarah asked incredulously. “You’re asking us to take all of this on faith? To bind ourselves to your vampires and fight some huge supernatural war on faith?”

Nodding her head, Sookie insisted, “Faith is pretty much all I’ve got right now. I’m hoping it’s enough to see me through this war, and I’m hoping it’s enough to convince you to help me save my mate and my husband.”

When Eric gave an inelegant snort, showing quite clearly what he thought of her words on faith or his needing her to save him, Sookie glared at him as she continued, “I’m young, I’m inexperienced, I’m not super fast or super strong. I’ve never fought a war. I don’t know how to use any of the powers I supposedly have, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to master them in time to be much good for anyone. I’m pregnant with the first vampire god baby, and I’m mated to this arrogant ass that refuses to admit he needs the help of humans. So yes, faith is all I’ve got to go on. Faith that God won’t give me more than I can handle, and faith that you four recognize the truth when you hear it.”

The four hackers exchanged looks before Samuel asked, “Can we have some time to discuss this?”

Standing, Sookie said, “I’ll lead you to one of the guestrooms upstairs so you can talk this out. Once you’re done come on back down.” When she saw Eric step forward as if to argue the point she stated firmly, “Seeing as how we kidnapped you from your homes and dumped all this on you so quick you have the right to discuss it before we go any further.”

Eric held Sookie’s gaze for a moment. He wanted to argue the point, but seeing the steely determination in his mate’s eyes he decided to concede the point. Besides, he needed to speak with Pam about the witch, and this would give him the opportunity to do so. Stepping aside he indicated Sookie and her human hackers could pass. When they left he focused on his child and waited for Sookie and the humans to be far enough away before announcing, “We must speak of the witch.”

Ahmose and Haldar remained quiet as Pam moved to stand in front of her Maker. Each understood that this was a matter that needed to be discussed privately between the two of them, and it was not their place to interfere. They looked at each other and nodded in understanding before Ahmose offered silently, “We’ll be outside. We’ll see if Han and Ivan are done checking with the day’s guards and judging the progress of your security.”

Once both vampires had left maker and child alone, Pam stated, “I’m turning her.”

Eric released an unnecessary breath and replied, “You cannot. She is a witch.”

“I felt the pull. She was born to be my child.”

“And had she never taken up witch craft she could have been, but she has learned to wield magic and is no longer suitable to become vampire.”

“She is mine.”

Eric stepped forward to put his hand on Pam’s shoulder. He could not imagine how she must be feeling. To feel the pull? To find one born to be her child, but be unable to turn her? He could not imagine such anguish. He could not imagine what he would have done if he’d found Pam, felt the pull towards her, only to find she was a witch and beyond his reach. Before he could say anything Sookie came to stand in the kitchen doorway. He did not take his eyes from Pam as he asked, “How long will they be?”

Sookie looked between Eric and Pam, guessing what the tension between them was, and answered, “I don’t know, but I can tell you that each has pretty much decided that they’re going to help. They just need this time to talk each other down from the panic.”

Still not looking away from Pam’s pleading gaze, Eric pressed, “How can you be sure. You said people think in their native tongues and you do not speak Spanish or Russian.”

Not bothered by Eric’s inattention to her, Sookie replied, “There are mental images, and feelings from Sarah and Boris. I can feel their determination to help us, though from the pictures I’m getting from Boris he’s going to want to be turned after this is done. He seems to have taken a liking to Ahmose the most, but that’s for you to work out with him. All I can say is that they’re going to help us. Just give them some time to get over their shock.”

“Very well,” Eric conceded. “I ask that you leave Pam and I alone. We have things to discuss.”

Understanding, Sookie agreed, “Of course. I’m going to take Thor outside and talk to my Fae guards. They’re going to need to jump back to the homes of the hackers and get their computer supplies. I’ll need to talk to Quinn about where they can set up too. You take all the time you need.”

They watched Sookie disappear from sight before Pam announced, “You cannot stop me from turning her. It is my right to make a child I feel the pull to.”

“Pam, do not force me to do something we will both regret. You know very well I can keep you from turning the girl. I can command you not to, and, if need be, I will kill her. A witch cannot be made vampire. That’s why we’re in this situation as it is.”

Pam’s gaze turned to stone when Eric mentioned the killing of her future child. “Do not threaten her. She is nothing like Sargon. She would never try to take over the world. I will keep her from becoming a danger. We can keep other vampires from learning she is a witch. Soon you will be High King, you are High King, you can make this okay.”

“How do you know what she is like?”

“I know because I feel her.”

“And if you cannot control her? Sargon’s Maker could not control him.”

“I’ll figure that out if it does indeed become a problem.”

“It is a problem that needs to be addressed before she is turned!” Eric hissed. “You cannot turn her and hope she won’t become a monster like Sargon! She could turn on you before you have a chance to fight back just as Sargon’s Maker found! She is too dangerous a liability!”

Pam would not be swayed. “She will make a wonderful vampire, and my situation is vastly different from Sargon’s maker. He was probably manipulated and felt no pull. In fact, I’m sure the stories say that Sargon had to convince his Maker to turn him. I need no convincing. I feel the pull to Amelia, and that means it is not only my right, but my responsibility to turn her. You should not be trying to stop me, you should be trying to help me.”

Eric shook his head forcefully. “Pam, it is too dangerous. A vampire having that kind of power is not wise. We cannot afford the possibility that she would turn into another Sargon.”

Eyes narrowing, Pam countered, “If you are so worried about a vampire having too much power how do you explain the fact your son will have the power of a God? That all your children will? How do you justify all the powers you now have because of being bound to Sookie? You were made powerful enough to fight Sargon, to combat his magic. Your logic dictates you and your children do not have the right to exist either.”

That made Eric pause and Pam leapt at her chance. “I’m not saying I’m going to turn her tonight. I realize we have too much to do, too many problems currently, and that you’ll need me focused, but I am going to turn that girl, and I expect you to stand by me. I’m standing with you, fighting for my vampire god brother that will help you unite the universe under one rule, so you should help me find a way to turn that girl despite the law forbidding it … father.”

“That was low.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true or necessary.”

Eric held Pam’s gaze for long moments before offering. “I will think on the matter. I promise nothing. For now I ask that you distance yourself from the girl until the issue is resolved. If you cannot turn her it will only hurt you more by becoming close to her.”

Shaking her head, Pam denied, “No. I know I will turn her, and I want to get to know her.”

“You were always too stubborn.”

“You love that about me.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Eric leaned forward and kissed Pam’s forehead before announcing, “Let’s go outside and you can annoy Haldar.” He was calling a temporary truce.

Pam was in the mood to accept it. “Haldar annoys me, Eric, you know that. I’m the rational one.”

“Of course you are.”

“I am!”

As they headed outside, Pam asked, “How long do you think the hackers will take in reaching their decision?”

“From what Sookie said they have already reached it. They just need time to get over their shock and fear. Hopefully it will only take a few hours. I want them to get started on my technological defenses as soon as possible. Mainly I want them to find a way for us to make use of cell phones and email for large scale communication.”

“Perhaps you’re forgetting how flighty humans are.”

“Mmm, yes. Being around Sookie has spoiled me. She does tend to push fear to the back of her mind in order to act in situations like this.”

As they strolled out of the house, Pam teased, “I don’t know about you, but I could stand for that girl to have a little more fear in her. She charges in far too often for my tastes.”

Eric couldn’t deny that. Sookie had too much courage and not enough self preservation instincts. It drove him crazy how willing she was to put herself in danger, her desire to fight. His woman needed to stay back and let him do the fighting. Of course saying so to her would only further the distance he currently stood from her good graces and bed. He’d have to find a way to keep the fighting away from her as often as possible. The world he could marginally control. Sookie? He was learning he had less control than he thought.

When they came to stand on the porch shoulder to shoulder they could see Ahmose, Haldar, Han, Ivan, Liam, Lucas and Sookie in deep conversation with Quinn and Alcide, no doubt discussing the progress of the security and living measures that Eric had ordered. Haldar, hearing Eric and Pam approach, decided to lighten the tense atmosphere and called out, “Pammy! Come tell the others how you could barely keep your hands off my cock upon rising tonight! Why I had to fight you off time and again you so longed to feel its length in your hand!”

Pam let out an outraged gasp before growling, “You bastard! I was trying to rip it off! And don’t call me that!”

Placing a hand over his heart, a feigned wounded expression on his face, Haldar cried, “My love! Why do you say such lies! You reached for me with love and lust! Desperate for my touch after all these years!”

Pam screeched and shot off the porch, but Haldar was already darting away as he broke into singsong. “Pam and Haldar sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! ….”

As Pam chased Haldar, Eric came to stand beside Sookie and shook his head, smiling humorlessly to Ahmose. “I swear they are good warriors and not at all soft in the head.”

“I would hope so. Should we interfere?” Ahmose asked, not understanding the complex relationship between Pam and Haldar.

Shaking his head, Eric informed, “No. Despite their tendency to act like children and attempt bodily harm to one another, they actually care quite a bit for each other.”

Sookie looked up at Eric and asked, “Where did Haldar even learn that song?”

Smirking devilishly, Eric said, “Pam died for the day long before either of us did. He spent a good deal of time researching ways to annoy her on his phone before seeking his rest. I believe he memorized several such songs to tease her with.”

“Oh, she’s going to love that,” Sookie laughed. Looking at her primary vampire guards, she greeted, “Han, Ivan, I haven’t had a chance to say hello to you two tonight. You guys are doing good?”

They both nodded their heads while Han answered, “We are well, Sookie. We were just catching up with your daytime guards on the status of things.”

Going into king mode while Pam continued to chase Haldar, Eric asked, “Yes, and what progress has been made?”

Han seemed to come to attention as he began, “The perimeter fence is almost up. All the wiring is laid and once the fence is in place they’ll electrify it and begin placing all the security cameras.  Compton’s house has been gutted and several walls already extended to increase living space. Renovations will commence tomorrow. The space for the meeting area was cleared and the foundation poured. The garden gnome has already started the growing of all the fruits and vegetables Sookie said she’d enjoy. He has said that the first batch shall be ready within a week.”

Pleased with the progress made Eric continued to discuss various security measures needed here and in general with his war council as Sookie stood by him and tried to keep up with the conversation. Weapons, tactics, troops, these things weren’t really her expertise. Her attention was only drawn when she caught something from the hackers upstairs. She’d been monitoring them continuously and knew they would help, but now they were ready to discuss their own terms and needs. Looking up at Eric, she said, “They’re done.”

Not needing to ask what she was talking about Eric turned to face the house as he ordered, “Pam, Haldar, that is enough. The hackers are coming.” Both vampires abandoned their play as quickly as it began and came to stand at Eric’s side as everyone looked towards the house and waited for the four humans to come out. It only took a few moments.

When the four hackers were standing on the porch, looking a little nervous, Eric asked, “Your decision?”

Samuel, the leader of the group, stepped forward and declared, “We’re going to help you, and we’ll have faith in you and form the bonds you want us to. However there are some stipulations and requirements we have.”

When Eric started to growl Sookie kicked his leg and stepped forward as well. She knew their concerns and would address them. “You’re right, you should only have to work on the Sargon problem for now.  Until you trust us more you don’t have to make a decision as to whether or not to help Eric with anything else he’s doing to build his empire. That is your decision alone. We just have to have your help with Sargon. I promise that none of you will ever be alone in a room with a vampire if it makes you uncomfortable, and you’ll have access to the security footage in the house to make sure it didn’t happen and the knowledge was glamoured from you.”

Looking at Boris, she added, “I can’t promise you you’ll be turned. I know you want it, but that’s not an order I can give to any vampire. The bond between Maker and child is special and I won’t force it on anyone, human or vampire. You’ll need to discuss it with Eric and any other vampires in our circle.”

Looking back at the others, she continued, “I know none of you want money for this, only the stipulation that we see to the upkeep of your homes and responsibilities while you’re here with us, and I promise it will be taken care of. You will have your own place here. We’ll have another guesthouse built here on the grounds, and any supplies you need just let me know and we’ll get it. My fairies are ready to take you home and gather anything there that you need right now.”

“You really can read our minds, can’t ya, lass?” Brianna asked amazed. She offered a shaky smile to Sookie as she furthered, “We appreciate your offer, but for now we think it is best if we don’t leave this magical barrier you have up. If Sargon is as well connected as you say, and as we suspect, he probably knew we were taken the moment your fairies snatched us out of our homes. He couldn’t of known who we are and what we can do or he’d have to have taken us for himself by now, but he’ll definitely know you wanted us for something if he’s monitoring your movements outside this barrier as you say. We can’t risk going back and he might be waiting for us. We’ll hole up here and make a list of the things we need. Your fairies can go get it for us.”

Pleased that the hackers had thought of this, Eric agreed, “A sound idea. We will have the bond formed tomorrow night as it is too late to start now. The witches we have will go over the specifics of it with you tonight while you tell my mate everything you need. She’ll see that you have most, if not all of it, by the end of the night. I’m taking it there’s not much you can do for my defenses until you have your equipment?”

Shaking her head, Sarah replied, “Not really. What little technological equipment we’ve seen here is nice, but not advanced enough for our needs. We can’t do anything until we have our equipment.”

“Very well.”  Looking down at Sookie, Eric said, “Take them to the guesthouse and let the witches explain the bond to them. Also check on the progress they’ve made on your brother. I need to speak with Ahmose and go to Fangtasia to finalize a few loose ends from my takeover.”

“Alright.” Indicating the hackers should follow her, Sookie began leading them towards the guesthouse in the back as she said, “You can’t believe how much I appreciate all of this. We’ve been so worried ….”

Sookie’s words died off as she led the small group around back of the house. Eric looked at Han and Ivan and said, “Sookie is not leaving the barrier tonight so you two shall come with us. I need you to help Ahmose, Haldar, Pam and me to go through the vampires Ahmose brought to help guard Sookie. I also need you to help me compose different lists of vampires and other supernaturals we can recruit to join our inner circle. Ahmose tells me that Caesar and his entourage will be arriving later tonight and I’d like you to help Pam and Haldar go through them all, deciding who can be used how. Make sure the Weres know they are to report to Sookie tomorrow during the day for further analysis.”

Looking to Ahmose, Eric continued, “I’ll need your help with the paperwork tonight. I’ve never run a kingdom, let alone one in public and another in secret.”

Ahmose bowed his head to Eric and assured, “Of course, my king. I have built many kingdoms and believe my assistance will allow this transition to go quite smoothly.”

Eric let his gaze travel over the vampires around him and announced, “You should all be aware that Sookie is going to be practicing reading your minds. I’ve told her she needs to get started on that skill as soon as possible. For now, it is my decree that only the five of you are to know she will have that particular skill. I do not wish other vampires to be aware. We’ve kept the knowledge from Sookie’s Were guards, but her Fae and other supernatural guards know. They’ve sworn to keep the secret. I would ask that each of you present yourselves to her so she can practice. Work out times for her to try with you. I understand you all are uncomfortable with your minds being read, but as you should know, Sookie will only read you when she feels she has to. For now, however, she needs to hone the skill. Any objections?”

The only two that looked like they had a problem with it was Pam and Haldar. The two vampires exchanged a long meaningful look, neither truly at ease with the idea of their personal thoughts being heard by anyone but them, but understanding it was necessary. Sookie would not intrude on their thoughts once she mastered her skill unless it was absolutely necessary. She was far too polite for that. After coming to a silent agreement, Haldar broke the ice with, “As long as you aren’t offended by what our thoughts are.”

“He’s right, Eric,” Pam agreed. “You are so touchy where Sookie is concerned. If she happens to pick up on our fantasies while reading us you can’t punish us for them.”

“Even if they are very detailed fantasies focusing on those marvelous legs of hers,” Haldar teased.

Pam purred, “Don’t forget the breasts, Haldar. One of Sookie’s best attributes is her rack. Superb.”

“And the lips,” Haldar growled, clearly enjoying the escalating game. “If we have to present ourselves to her and sit there trying to let her read our minds I doubt there’s much of Sookie’s body that won’t pop into our minds. So let’s be real clear that we can’t be punished for our thoughts.”

“Or desires,” Pam quipped, never one to back down from this kind of escalation.

Eric scowled at the two. “You are forbidden from fantasizing about my mate!”

Pam rolled her eyes as she scoffed, “Like that’s going to happen! I always picture her in a Little Bo Peep costume myself. Haldar, what’s your top fantasy so far?”

“Valkyrie. Definitely Valkyrie.” Pushing it as far as he could, Haldar asked, “Eric, do you and Sookie role play?”

Eric looked back and forth between Haldar and Pam and hissed, “You two are incorrigible, and I hope Sookie makes you listen to Taylor Swift music nonstop while she’s working with you! Now let’s go to Fangtasia! We have work to do.”

As everyone headed to the cars Haldar leaned down to ask Pam in a whisper, “Who is Taylor Swift?”



  1. Hmmm Lala and Claude huh? interesting combo. Uh oh Sookie isnt going to like Claude spilling her secrets. Claudine needs to pop Claude in the head. Go Sookie the anomaly. LOL Eric needs communication lessons if he ever wants back in Sookie's good graces. LOL about his view on viewpoints. ROFL for Lala and the wedding talk. LOVE the waterfall and meadow in the living room. Hmmm Wonder what will happen with Ames and Pammy. Haldar and Pammy are making my sides hurt laughing at them. Glad the meeting with the hackers went well so far. Eric really needs to learn the word please, at least where sookie is concerned. Reasonable requests from the hackers I'd say and smart idea to stay inside the barrier. "He was learning he had less control than he thought." About frickin time he starts to learn. Pam's ideas aren't going to help Eric back into Sookie's good graces either. Doesnt anyone consider that Ames being turned might be a GOOD thing in the fight?


  2. sorry send off more tomorrow KY
    1-"You need to quit being so damn hard on yourself, hooker.” s/b hookah not hooker

  3. great chapter , love Pam and Haldar they are too muc, Bo Peep LOL Kristie

    1-Caps "Cracking some of the eggs Sookie’s were guards had collected from her new hen house into a pan, Lafayette pressed, “So when’s the wedding?” "Sookie's Were guards"
    2-Caps "Sookie’s cousins and some of her fae guard, all who were staring at her in awe" "her Fae guard"
    3-Caps "He is our king, and your brother has overstepped his bounds.” "he is our King, "
    4-Caps when Eric was in his “king” mode never ended well." " was in his "King" mode"
    5-Caps "She did not intend for her future husband and king to rule through fear." "future husband and King to rule"
    6-Caps "soon and your were guards can escort him to the new greenhouse set up so he can begin his work. I’ve left instructions that if he needs anything we don’t have he is to give you a list. Whatever Bobby cannot procure through human means tell your were guards and they’ll put" "your Were guards can escort" "tell your Were guards"
    7-CAPS "Liam, can you tell the were guards that I need to continue with their interviews. " "the were guards that"
    8-CAPS "“He should not have disrespected the king as he did." "disrespected the King"
    9- CAPS but she was his queen, damnit!, " "his Queen"
    10-CAPS " kitchen. “Come, my queen. You can eat some" "Come my Queen. You"
    11-CAPS "The centaurs and minotaurs were wandering around the house along with the griffins," "The Centaurs and Minotaurs" "with the Griffens" you are usuing them in a sense of category and it should be capitalized.
    12-Caps "Amelia nodded nervously and stuttered, “Uh—I—I won’t. We’re supposed to meet with the king about the queen’s brother anyhow.” "the King about the Queen's brother"
    13-Caps " “The king is waiting, Pamela.” "The King"
    14-Caps "Ahmose nodded, “Very well, my queen.” Looking" "Very Well, my Queen"
    15- "Looking up at Eric Sookie suggested, “Maybe" comma "Eric, Sookie"
    16- Caps "Slowly all the centaurs, minotaurs, griffins, faery guards and Cerberus" "Centaurs, Minotaurs, Griffins, Faery guard" you are using tehm as a class so they need to be capitalized.
    17-Caps " going to take Thor outside and talk to my fae guards" "to my Fae guards"
    18-Caps "Make sure the weres know they are to report to Sookie tomorrow during the day for further analysis.” "sure the Weres know"
    19- Caps "“Of course, my king. I have built many" "Of course, my King."
    20-Caps "knowledge from Sookie’s were guards, but" "Sookie's Were guards,"

    sorry i left alot of them out... i thought about contacting California Kat since she is an English professor about the capitlaization issue and i still might so we know if the ones i left un-checked are correct.... anyway change it you want ot not but the ones i feel are most neede are the Weres since when i first read it i see the verb.