“Oh! Eric, look at this!”
“Pam, I will send you home if you continue to break the rules we agreed on.”
“This isn't pink, it's bubblegum! An entirely different shade.”
“When I said no pink, I meant no pink.”
“You didn't specify for shading, Eric.”
“What about this one, you guys?”
Eric and Pam turned to face Sookie who was holding up a baby bedding set with frogs on it. Both vampires' faces showed their disapproval of the choice.
“Absolutely not! My son is not sleeping in a bed of frogs. I see no bedding sets here that are acceptable. I will commission a seamstress to create appropriate bedding. It will be made of Egyptian cotton and the finest of furs. Not these … percale monstrosities.” Scowling, he read the fine print on a zippered plastic bundle of sheets and tossed it disdainfully back into a bin.
“Eric is right, Sookie; that set is completely unacceptable. Frogs are disgusting creatures, but I do not think that all of the bedding sets here are unacceptable. This one for instance is absolutely divine! You must get it for Egil!”
Sookie eyed the pink satin bedding set that Pam was holding out towards her dubiously. She shook her head. “I have to agree with Eric on this one, Pam, that bedding set is a bit much for a boy. I like this one so much better.”
“But Sookie! It is covered in frogs, and I already told you that they are disgusting creatures. Egil is a prince and he deserves to sleep in a bedding set fit for royalty!”
Holding tightly to the pink bedding set, Pam insisted, “This one is definitely fit for a monarch.”
“A queen maybe,” Haldar muttered from the side where he was still pursuing the baby sets offered at the high end baby store they'd teleported to in Los Angeles. Beside him stood Han and Ivan, both of whom had wisely decided to remain out of the baby bedding argument currently raging on.
Lafayette moved to stand next to Sookie and added, “I think the set Sookie picked is just precious, though I can see what Pam is saying about hers. It really is gorgeous.”
Elbowing Lafayette in the stomach, Sookie insisted, “Laf! You're supposed to be on my side.” Turning her gaze to Eric, Sookie held out the bagged bedding set and pleaded, “Come on, Eric! Isn't it just the most adorable thing you've ever seen?!”
“No. You are the most adorable thing I've ever seen. That is a blanket covered in frogs, and it is not worthy of my son.”
Sookie's eyes glistened, her heart melting at Eric's words, but she didn't get a chance to respond before Haldar made a whipping noise while moving his hand as though he was welding a whip while laughing, “We're going to need a bowl for all this pussy whip!”
Pam and Lafayette shared a laugh while both Eric and Sookie scowled at the former Swedish king before focusing back on one another. Still holding tightly to her frog baby bedding set, Sookie again tried, “Eric, this bedding set is perfect for Peanut! Look at the cute little froggies!”
“I can see it perfectly, and that's how I know it is inappropriate. Egil deserves much better.”
“But Eric, why—“
Clasping his hands behind his back, Eric asked, “Did we or did we not agree that we would only purchase things for our son that we both agreed on?”
Shoving the bedding set back on the shelf, Sookie muttered, “You tricked me into that promise! I never would have made it if I knew you were going to be so obstinate about everything!”
Following after Sookie as she made her way out of the baby bedding aisle to head towards the toy and learning center, Eric contended, “I didn't trick you, however, I did anticipate you wanting to decorate our son and his nursery in entirely inappropriate things so I made sure I had the means to stop you.”
“How are froggies inappropriate?”
“The fact they are frogs. As Pam said, 'disgusting creatures'.”
Sookie didn't get a chance to reply before Lafayette let out a little squeal and darted around her to pick up a large rainbow teddy bear off the shelf and insist, “We have got to get this!”
“Lafayette,” Eric growled, “you are being just as troublesome as my child. Why can neither of you grasp the fact that Egil is a boy?”
Pam passed Lafayette and picked up a lavender bear with white trim. Her lacquered fingernails tapped on the bear's glass eyes as she turned and added, “Metrosexuals are all the rage now, Eric, and this is a much better choice.”
Turning to look at Sookie, Eric remarked dryly, “We should have come alone. These two are nothing but trouble.”
“Hey! Look at this!”
Everyone turned to look at Haldar who was holding up a box. When he had everyone's attention, Haldar explained, “It's a breast pump! It's just like those machines for cows, Eric; you can hook it right up to Sookie!”
“Did you just compare my mate to a cow?” Eric asked in a none too pleased voice.
Sookie simply glared before replying, “While I do need one of those, I do not appreciate the comparison, Haldar.”
Haldar shrugged, “Well, this is the most expensive one they have, so it must obviously be the best. Do you want it or not?”
Eric simply jerked it out of Haldar's hands and tossed it into their cart that, as of yet, held nothing else. This was because Eric and Sookie couldn't agree on anything they wanted to purchase.
Pam took this time to try and drop a pink and white fluffy baby blanket into the cart, but Eric snatched the blanket from mid air, glared at his child, and chucked the blanket to the opposite end of the store as he hissed, “No pink!”
Giving his child one last glare, Eric moved to follow after Sookie as she was headed farther down the toy aisle to look at their selection. He rolled his eyes and let out a quiet groan as he saw her pick up a stuffed frog toy.
Spinning around, Sookie looked up at Eric with a grin, and said, “Look, Eric, they have all kinds of frog toys! Not just Kermit! Please lets do a froggie theme in Peanut's room! It's so cute!”
“No, it is not appropriate for a prince.”
Reaching around Sookie, Eric plucked a solid black teddy bear off the shelf and offered, “I will allow this toy.”
“You will allow?”
Eric hesitated for a moment before trying, “I like this one.”
“Better, Viking, but I still like the froggies.”
“Well I don't.”
Exhaling an exasperated huff, Sookie put the frog back before facing Eric again. “Eric, we've been here for an hour already, and the only thing we've managed to get is that breast pump. You don't agree with anything I pick out.”
“And you're not agreeing with anything I pick out.”
Planting her hands on her hips, Sookie scoffed, “Eric, as soon as we got here you asked where the children's swords were!”
“Egil will need a child's sword to learn on. Mine will be too large for him for some years yet.”
“You are not giving our baby a sword!”
“And you're not giving him a frog!”
The two were staring off before Eric's attention was drawn to the cart at the sound of many boxes falling into it. “Pam! No Barbies! You put those back!”
“But, Eric, these are all special editions!”
“No!” Focusing back on Sookie, Eric insisted, “Sookie, Egil is royalty, a vampire god, and he deserves a nursery fit for a prince. Frogs and princes do not go together.”
“Fat lot you know! Ever heard of the story The Frog Prince?”
“No, and I don't care if there is a frog prince, we are not having frogs in Egil's nursery.”
“Fine! Then what kind of theme do you suggest?”
An easy grin gracing his features, Eric supplied, “Ragnarok.”
“Isn't that the Norse story about the end of the world? The fall of the gods and all that?”
Nodding, Eric added, “Yes, and then the rebirth of the world, the gods, and humanity.”
Haldar, clearly surprised, asked, “You know that story, Sookie?”
Beaming with pride, Eric informed his friend, “Indeed. Sookie has always been fascinated by the stories and history of our people. She even named her horses Freya and Baldr.”
“You two really are made for each other,” Haldar laughed.
Ignoring Haldar, Sookie vetoed, “Eric, I do think that story is fascinating, but it is not appropriate for a baby's nursery.”
“Because it is about an apocalypse!”
“Yes, and then a rebirth. Is that not a good thing?”
Crossing her arms, Sookie asked, “And how would you decorate the room?”
“I would hire an artist to paint murals along the walls depicting the death of the world and the gods, and then the rebirth.” Looking around the baby store, he added, “I will also have to have special stuffed toys made. None of these are appropriate.” He paused for a moment in consideration and then remarked brightly, “I can get a stuffed Thor's Hammer made!”
“No. No apocalypse themes in Peanut's room!”
Further back from the group, Ivan commented to Han in Russian, “Perhaps they should have discussed some of this before we came. This trip is turning out to be pointless. At this rate the only thing we're going to leave with is that breast pump.”
“Indeed,” Han concurred. Personally he didn't much see the point in decorating a baby's room. The Pythoness had said the child would grow quickly so he would only really need a nursery for a few months, probably not even six, before he would need items for a toddler.
As Eric and Sookie continued to bicker, Pam leaned over to whisper to Lafayette, “Did you see those Gucci baby bags?”
“Sure did, hooker; lets go check them out. There were some Tony Burch and Burberry ones too.”
“I think I saw some Prada ones, too!”
As the duo headed off to the other side of the store, Lafayette added, “Yeah, but I'm pretty sure most of the Prada ones were black. Sookie won't want a black baby bag.”
“Why not? Black is slimming and goes with every season.”
“Sookie is more interested in cute than slimming.”
Pam's eyes shot to the ceiling as she scoffed, “Well Sookie can't be trusted with fashion. If it were up to her she'd still be shopping at WalMart. Thankfully, Eric has nixed that nonsense in the bud, and insists she buy only designer clothing now.”
As Pam and Lafayette wandered off to look at designer baby bags, Sookie's voice rose in abject protest. “You are not giving Peanut a sword, a hammer, or any kind of weapon!”
“And you are not going to give him stuffed frogs or any of the other silly toys you've picked out!”
“Eric, babies are supposed to have cute things!”
“Not my baby!”
Trying to be helpful, Haldar offered, “How about you do the nursery half in half? Half done in a Ragnarok theme, and the other half done in frogs?”
“We are not having an apocalypse theme!” Sookie insisted.
“That is not helpful, Haldar,” Eric agreed. “And you should be agreeing with me,” he added.
Glaring up at Eric, Sookie asked, “And why should he agree with you?”
“Because you have no taste.”
“Wow—I can't believe you actually said that to your woman, Eric,” Haldar chuckled.
Sookie ignored everyone else to address Eric's accusation. “How can you say that?! I do too have taste!”
Eric's mouth bowed in disagreement. “No, you don't. Those monstrosities you call couches are proof of that.”
“It's not my fault they are covered in grass! You know that was an accident! And you know I don't like them looking like that!” She couldn't keep the whine out of her tone and frowned.
“Actually, I was referring to them before you covered them in grass. Frankly, I'd say they look better now than they did before. Haldar, tell Sookie she has terrible taste and should agree with me.”
Haldar threw up his hands in mock defense, shaking his head as he laughed, “I'm not touching this one. I may have a hard head, my friend, but even I know you don't tell your woman she has no taste. I'm just going to go check out the bags with Pam. I think it's safer next to her.”
As Haldar strolled away, Sookie hissed, “You take that back!”
“No,” Eric declined, “because it is true.”
“It is not!”
“It is too. If it were still up to you you'd be wearing polyester and cotton all the time! Not the silks, chiffons, and furs I clothe you in!”
“There is nothing wrong with cotton, Eric.”
“There is nothing wrong with Egyptian cotton, anything else is for commoners.”
Sookie exclaimed, “You are such a snob!”
“You say that like it's a bad thing. What's wrong with preferring the finer things in life?”
She stomped her foot petulantly. “We're shopping for a baby's room! Why would you want to dress a baby in silk just so he can spit up on it!”
“Because it will be royal spit.”
“You are so totally crazy!”
“Need I point out you're the one screaming in a baby store, and the one that wants to surround our son with frogs? I think you're the one that is crazy.”
Han looked at Ivan and shrugged. “Want to go look at the baby books? We might be able to find a gift for the prince.”
“Yes, obviously these two are going to be at it for awhile.”
While Han and Ivan took off for another part of the store, Liam looked after them longingly. He wore an invisibility cloak so that in the event Sargon was somehow watching them he would remain unseen and could snatch up Sookie and Eric quickly if something went wrong. As such he had to remain close to them, but he really wished he could follow after the others. Still, his responsibility was to protect his monarchs, and he would. Even if they were currently screaming at each other in the middle of a baby store.
“Oh! You make me so mad!”
“Likewise! Why you cannot see reason is beyond me! Sookie! Do not walk away from me, woman! And put that damn frog toy back!”
Three hours later found Eric and Sookie strolling hand in hand down the private beach a vampire friend of Eric's owned. The shopping trip to the baby store had turned out to be a bust. Eric and Sookie had argued over everything and in the end the only things they'd left the store with were the breast pump and the black teddy bear. There had been a hissy fit from Pam when both Eric and Sookie had told her she couldn't get any of the designer baby bags she and Lafayette had picked out. Sookie was adamant she wanted a froggie baby bag, and Eric insisted that Egil would have a leather and fur one. In the end it was decided that each would meet with an interior designer, have their design for the nursery drawn up, and then they would compare and try to come to a compromise.
The moment found them somewhat alone. The fairy royal guard was stationed all around the beach, ready to scoop them up and teleport them home at a moment's notice. The rest of their group had already been taken back to the compound to spend the day however they pleased, but Eric and Sookie had wanted to spend the day at the beach together. Eric was in a pair of black swim trunks, and Sookie was in a sapphire blue one-piece bathing suit. The small bulge of her baby bump was discernible, and Eric's hand was continually drawn to it.
Despite the many arguments of the day, Eric and Sookie were both enjoying themselves as they watched the waves roll in. The area was completely deserted, and since the fairies had made themselves invisible, Sookie and Eric could enjoy their first moment of solitude they'd had in weeks. They'd been strolling along the beach in silence for a while before Eric headed her around one of the small sand hills to lead her to the picnic he'd ordered set up.
Seeing the display on the sand, Sookie smiled and looked up at Eric as she asked, “Did you do this?”
Grinning, Eric replied, “Indeed. I thought you might enjoy a picnic on the beach.”
“You are so sweet sometimes.”
“Then perhaps you should take a bite out of me and savor my flavor.”
“Perv,” Sookie laughed as Eric led her to the edge of the picnic blanket and helped her settle herself down on one side before he moved to the other. He'd made sure plenty of Sookie's favorite foods were here. Lafayette had prepared Gran's fried chicken, potato salad, fried pickles, and brownies. Once they were seated Eric poured Sookie a glass of the homemade lemonade and as she took her first sip he began piling food onto a paper plate for her.
Sookie gave a little laugh as she watched Eric pack on more and more food onto the plate so it began to bow under the weight. Pickle logs were rolling off the rim and onto the blanket below. She watched him jam more into the potato salad, standing them up like little soldiers. She bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud as he scowled, then gingerly added another plate underneath to try and bolster the first. Ever since they'd learned she was pregnant he'd become obsessed with her eating as much as she possibly could. She was sure if she gave him half the chance he'd spend a good portion of every day cramming food down her throat. Setting her glass of lemonade down, she accepted the overflowing plate he offered her and set it down carefully, even so, watching a brownie square go rolling off into the grass. She took her first bite of chicken as Eric uncapped a bottle of True Blood and downed it as quickly as possible.
Swallowing her chicken, Sookie offered, “Eric, you know I wouldn't mind if you wanted to drink bagged donor blood, right?”
Eric's brow rose. While they'd never discussed his eating habits, now that he could not feed on her as much as he had been before her pregnancy, he'd never expected her to make such an offer. Still, he couldn't help but reply, “No, if I cannot have your blood I would rather suffer through this crap than drink from anyone else.”
“Oh Eric, that's beautiful.”
“I thought it was more along the lines of selfish, but I'm willing to settle for beautiful.”
They sat in companionable silence as Sookie ate as much of the food as she possibly could. When she moved to set her plate down she saw Eric frown, and immediately soothed, “Eric, I promise you, I ate plenty.”
Looking at the plate of food he'd made her, and seeing that she hadn't even eaten half, Eric argued, “Sookie, you are growing a god inside your belly. You need to eat more to compensate for this. I don't want Egil taking too much out of you.”
“Eric, if I eat any more I'm going to explode!”
“I very much doubt that. I've been around for a long time and I've never seen a human explode from eating too much.”
“Ever seen one puke from eating too much? Because I assure you that is a distinct possibility, and if I eat any more I'm going to throw up all over you.”
Eric hesitated for only a moment before relenting, “Very well. Would you like to go swimming now?”
“Oh yes! Will you teach me to surf?”
He stood and helped her to her feet. “Not today, Sookie, after you've birthed Egil I will bring us to the beach again and teach you then.”
Setting his hand atop her small bulge, he added, “I don't want to do anything to risk you or Egil.”
Eric's tenderness caused Sookie's reciprocal one as she covered his hand with hers and whispered, “Eric, you can be such a sweetie sometimes.”
“Then why are you crying?” There were indeed tears in her eyes. Her tears made him feel weak, and inadequate, and helpless. She was his woman and nothing and no one should ever make her cry. Ever.
“Eric, these are happy tears.”
“I'd prefer you express your happiness with blow jobs.”
“Well, I would!”
Reaching forward to wipe the tears coursing down her cheeks, he begged, “Please stop crying. You know I can't stand it. Is something bothering you? You've been crying a lot over the past few days. I know things are not right between us, but I hope you know if something is bothering you that you can come to me with it, right?”
Nuzzling Eric's hand where it cupped her cheek, Sookie explained, “Eric, you really need to catch up on your pregnancy reading. Pregnant women cry. A lot.”
Eric's eyes widened as he gasped, “You're joking, right?”
“Nope. It's caused by the hormonal imbalance from being pregnant.”
Seeing Eric's horrified expression, Sookie soothed, “Don't worry, you'll get used to it. Crying and mood swings are a big part of pregnancy.”
Hearing the twinge of fear in his voice, Sookie couldn't help but tease, “Oh yeah. Pregnant women have huge mood swings! Practically every day! Mood swings and crying go hand in hand with food cravings and getting fat.”
“First, you are not getting fat. Your body is blossoming with my child. Second, if this is a joke you need to tell me right now.”
Sookie couldn't help but laugh, “I'm not joking, my hormones are going to be all over the place for the next few months, and that means I'm going to be crying one minute, laughing the next, and a few seconds later maybe screaming my head off.”
“So basically you're going to make my life a living hell until Egil is born?”
“What, you thought you were going to have it easy through all this? If I have to push a baby the size of a watermelon from between my legs you sure as hell have to listen to me cry and scream about it!”
“You may scream at me all you like, but you cannot cry.”
Sookie smiled with bemusement. “Eric, what's wrong with crying every now and then? Sometimes I like having a good long cry. I feel better afterwards.”
“I cannot abide you crying, Sookie. In fact I believe previously I actually banned you from it. The ban still stands.”
When Sookie simply arched a brow at him, clearly wanting an answer, Eric explained, “Min älskade, when you cry it makes me want to kill things. Specifically whatever has upset you. I want you to always be happy and smiling, and when you cry I feel like I'm failing to give you everything you deserve, failing to be a good mate and protector. Furthermore, when I see you cry it makes me sick to my stomach, and I can't stand it. You cannot cry every day for the next few months, Sookie, I cannot take it.”
More tears filled Sookie's eyes as she replied, “Then you shouldn't say such wonderful things to me!”
Eric's eyes widened as Sookie launched herself into his arms and hugged him tightly. She was mumbling something about him being the sweetest man ever into his chest as he hugged her tightly to him and buried his face into her honeyed curls. “I cannot help but say these things to you, Sookie, but I don't want them to make you cry.”
After a few minutes Sookie got control of herself and said, “Eric, I'll never cease to be amazed at how romantic you can be without even trying.”
Leaning down to lick the last few tears from her cheeks, Eric responded, “Good. As long as I'm always surprising you you'll never get bored with me. Now no more tears. Lets swim for a little while. We'll need to get you home soon enough.”
Sookie allowed Eric to lead her into the water. Once they were waist deep, Eric faced Sookie and said, ”Wrap your arms around my neck and hold on tight.”
Once she had, Eric gave her a devilish grin before he wrapped his own arms around her waist and began kicking his feet so fast they shot through the water. Eric's feet and legs were moving so fast it was propelling them through the water like a jet ski. Sookie laughed in delight as Eric moved them in circles by leaning slightly to the left or right.
“Go faster, Eric,” Sookie squealed as the water rushed past them.
Eric laughed as well and sped up to accommodate his lover's request. This continued on for a bit more before Eric announced, “I hear a pod of dolphins about five miles out. Want to go see them?”
Sookie's face lit with her pleasure. “Can we? Or is it too far from our guards?”
“It should be fine. I'm sure a few of them will find a way to follow us.”
“Oh, can they fly?”
“They don't fly in a traditional sense, but they can levitate and teleport so that's just as good as flying. Now come, and I'll show you some dolphins. I'm going to turn around so I can swim better, and I want you to put your arms back around my neck. If I'm going too fast or your arms start to get tired let me know and I'll simply fly us there.”
Sookie plastered herself against his back and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I'll be fine. Now lets go see the dolphins!”
Eric enjoyed the feel of Sookie holding onto him as he swam them in the direction of the pod of dolphins his superior hearing picked up. It took mere minutes to reach them and when he did Sookie's burst of happiness through their bond delighted him.
“Look, Eric, they're playing!”
As if sensing Sookie's delight, the dolphins that had been jumping into the air abandoned their play and swam towards Eric and Sookie. They began circling the couple before one mother and her calf decided to get closer. Sookie's smile was beatific as the duo approached.
“Do you think I can pet them?”
“I'm pretty sure that's what they're expecting,” Eric observed. Truthfully he was slightly surprised the dolphins had come this close, but he was glad they had since Sookie was radiating happiness through the bond.
Sookie let go of Eric's neck and swam around him to tentatively reach out to the mother dolphin. She was delighted when the momma dolphin responded by nuzzling her nose against her palm. “You're gorgeous! And this must be your baby!”
The baby dolphin had followed his mother's lead and nudged Sookie's other hand for attention as well. Sookie giggled and pet him along with the mother as she said, “I'm about to have a baby too. I hope he turns out as cute as you!”
Eric just shook his head at Sookie's obsession with cuteness. His son would be handsome, to be sure, but not cute. Swimming forward to press himself against Sookie's back, he reached around to pet the momma dolphin before telling Sookie, “I'm sure if you took hold of her fin she would take you for a ride.”
“Really, you think so? You don't think she'd mind? I don't want to frighten or hurt her.”
“Sookie, she came up to you. Obviously she's not frightened. Just take hold of her fin and see what happens.”
Still looking a little unsure, Sookie swam beside the dolphin and took hold of her dorsal fin. She barely had time to get a firm hold on it with both hands before the momma dolphin shot forward through the water with her calf following. Sookie let out a delighted whoop and held on tight as she was propelled through the water. Looking to either side of her she was even more pleased to see that the entire pod was moving with them with Eric trailing behind.
Further back Eric followed his mate as she swam with the dolphins and luxuriated in the feel of Sookie's emotions tearing through him from their bond. She was loving every second of this, and he congratulated himself on providing her with something she obviously loved. It was only when he began to feel her tiring through their bond that he swam up next to her and said, “Okay, Sookie, you've had your fun, but it's time to be getting back.”
Still clinging to the dolphin that was giving her quite the ride, Sookie begged, “Just five more minutes! This is amazing!”
Eric decided to relent. “Okay, five more minutes but then we need to go home. I can feel you starting to get tired and I don't want you overexerting yourself.”
For Sookie the next five minutes passed entirely too quickly and all too soon Eric was gently prying her from the back of the dolphin. She gave him a pout. “I was having fun!”
“I could tell, but you were also wearing yourself out. I promise I'll take you to many beaches in the future and you will be able to play again. You and Egil both will get to ride dolphins.”
Sookie let out a squeal when Eric suddenly wrapped his arms around her waist and under her knees before shooting out of the water and into the air. Waving down at the dolphins as Eric flew her bridal style back towards the beach she called out, “Bye! Thanks for the ride!”
Eric could only laugh at Sookie's unfailing politeness. Even to animals. Once he'd landed them back on the beach he set Sookie down on the picnic blanket and said, “Eat a little snack and I'll be right back.”
Sookie watched as Eric collected a small waterproof bag and asked, “Where are you going?”
“I'm going to dive down and get you some seashells. I'll be right back.”
He was gone before she could respond, but once his words sank a warm smile covered Sookie's face. Her Viking really was a sweetie. Before getting her snack she called out, “Liam?”
Dropping his invisibility Liam shimmered into view next to Sookie and asked, “Yes, Sookie?”
“Can one of you pop home real quick and get a camera? I want some pictures of me and Eric on the beach.”
“Very well,” Liam agreed before becoming invisible again and moving to speak softly with one of the other guards. As Captain of the guard he would never leave Sookie's side, and thus needed to delegate the task to another.
A few moments later Sookie was munching on some fruit with the camera sitting beside her as Eric returned from his little diving expedition with a small bag of colorful seashells he'd harvested from the ocean floor.
Moving to take a seat next to Sookie, Eric presented her the bag and asked, “Do you like them?”
“I love them! I'm going to use them to make a picture frame and put our picture in it! Come over here and lets get our picture. Liam, do you mind?”
Liam once again shimmered into view as he collected the camera while Eric moved to sit behind Sookie and pull her into his lap. Both of them smiled brightly for the camera and Liam got several shots before returning Sookie's camera to her and becoming invisible again.
Sookie quickly finished her snack before looking at Eric and asking, “What are we going to do when we get home? Earlier you said we had a busy night ahead of us.”
“Well we have your magic lesson later, but when we get back the first order of business is meeting with the hackers and witches and checking everyone's progress. The hackers told me that they're just about ready to try and infiltrate Sargon's systems and try to dig out a location on him. I'm hoping tonight they will be ready.”
Sensing he was giving her a very watered down version of tonight's schedule, Sookie asked, “And how are things going with the Louisiana takeover?” When he seemed to hesitate a bit, she pressed, “Eric, you promised to share things with me.”
Releasing an unnecessary sigh, Eric explained, “As you know my declarations at my coronation were very radical. As expected, about three fourths of the vampires in the state left with their pets, but we've had five times that many apply for entry.”
“Well, isn't that good news? Good vampires with human companions instead of pets?”
“Possibly, or they could be minions of Sargon and he's surrounding us.”
Sookie gasped, “Oh no! I didn't think of that!”
“Sadly, nor did I until after I'd already made all the decrees. I stand behind my new laws, of course, but it does present a problem. Running background checks on all of them will take awhile, but that still won't tell us if they're in Sargon's pocket or not. It is a dangerous situation.”
When Eric fell silent, Sookie promised, “Eric, I'm trying really hard to get my telepathy up to par. I'm working with our vampires every day to try and read them.”
“I know you are, Sookie, and not only do I appreciate all the effort you're putting into training yourself, but I'm incredibly proud, but for now it is not a skill I can count on. I hope to be able to utilize it soon, but for now I'm going to see if the hackers can track each of the incoming vampire's movements and communications. I'm hoping they can take control of some government drones or satellites and monitor them appropriately.”
“I'm sure they'll be able to do that. They are very skilled.”
“Indeed they are,” Eric replied before asking, “Can I ask what other kinds of people you have run across over the years? I have to admit I was very surprised when you divulged the hackers' existence to me.”
Sookie thoughtfully ate a few more grapes. “Well, I've only been exposed to a few people extraordinary people over the years since I've never been able to leave Bon Temps, but there is a genius living near us.”
Nodding, Sookie explained, “He's a real nice man, but definitely an oddball. He lives entirely off the grid about 20 miles from Bon Temps in a cottage he built himself in the woods, and he's probably the smartest man alive. His thoughts move so fast I can barely make sense of them.”
“What is he doing out in the wilderness?”
“Avoiding society. He's not very good with people. He doesn't understand them. He understands logic and actually thinks in pure logic.”
“So do I.”
Shaking her head, Sookie remarked, “Eric, you really don't. Your emotions drive your thoughts, influence the way you think and act.”
“And his do not?”
Shaking her head again, Sookie detailed, “He doesn't really feel like a normal person. I can't explain it. He's not a sociopath, but he doesn't feel like the rest of us. He really and truly thinks in pure logic. The numbers are all that matters to him. Part of the reason he fled society is because of all the chaos. To him the logical thing to do is the only thing to do, and when he lived among people their illogical actions not only stumped him, but interfered in his thought process. He literally can't understand the illogical.”
“So he fled it.”
“So what does he do out there?”
“He does a lot of things. He's working on an equation that will tell us how to best use the worlds resources in order to prevent starvation. And while I'm not sure how it will work, he's also working on an equation that can mathematically pinpoint where terrorists are most likely to be in any major city. Also, I think he's very close to proving string theory.”
Eyes going wide, Eric asked, “Are you serious?”
“Yep. Of course I can't understand any of the math equations going through his head, but he is very excited about them all. He also has some great ideas about genetically engineering plants to increase their photosynthesis process so they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen faster. When we beat Sargon I was actually going to talk to you about approaching him. I think as long as we agree to leave him in relative peace, and of course credit him, he'd allow us to work with his theories on plant engineering. If we could make plants like that we could start working on reducing greenhouse gases. Not to mention a lot of his other ideas are not only revolutionary but could help us save the world.”
“If he is so useful we should approach him now.”
“No, Eric, we should leave him alone. He really is happiest all by himself out there, and he deserves to be happy for as long as he can. I'm sure he'll help us when we approach him, but having to deal with people is tiresome for him. He prefers the life of a hermit. Let's leave him alone as long as we can until it is necessary for us to approach him.”
Reaching forward, Eric brushed a wet strand of hair from Sookie's face and exclaimed, “You amaze me. You have so much power in you and yet you never think to use it unless it helps someone else. You could give your Mother Teresa a run for her money.”
Blushing, Sookie denied, “I am nowhere near as good a person as she was. She gave everything she had and was to others. I'm far more selfish. You and Peanut are mine and I'm not letting you go.”
“My fierce little Valkyrie, you know I love it when you get all possessive over me. Now finish your food. We need to be getting back.”
Sookie gave him a little grin before eating the rest of her snack. Once they were done she and Eric quickly packed away their picnic before signaling for the fairy guard to teleport them back home. As soon as they popped into the living room they saw everyone standing there with worried expressions and Sookie couldn't help but blurt, “What now?”
Sam and Lafayette exchanged glances before Sam announced, “Tara's back. She's at the front gate.”