LightgirlLA: update on security personnel: 4 person hacking team. 2 men. 2 women. preparing to find some secret base today. Eric took Sookie somewhere yesterday. another trip planned for next week. Do not know the day yet.
Savior4them: what kind of security equipment are they using?
LightgirlLA: no clue. i have no access to the underground area they have stored all the equipment in. i do know they stole it all from some high tech convention a few weeks ago. they were excited that no one would know they'd taken it for months somehow.
Savior4them: you must find out what kind of equipment they have. also nail down the exact date and time Sookie is leaving next week. along with the location they will be traveling to.
LightgirlLA: i will try. i think one of Sookie's guards is becoming suspicious of me. i have to be careful.
Savior4them: are you readying everything for the evacuation plan?
LightgirlLA: yes. i found the package you left. i was able to sneak it into the compound by bringing back a little bit with me at a time in my backpack. i am working to get everything set up.
Savior4them: work quickly. the moment to extract Sookie could come at a moment's notice.
LightGirlLA: i am. what about my brother and me?
Savior4them: once Sookie is somewhere secure you will need to come up with some reason for the both of you to leave the compound. get to the rally point and my people will pick you up.
LightGirlLA: Ok. I will do my best.
Savior4them: meet same time next week.
Frannie logged off at the same time as Newlin with a nod and a small smile on her face. Everything was going according to plan, and soon she, her brother, and Sookie would be far away from all of this mess, and Eric fucking Northman would never be able to hurt any of them ever again.
Back at the compound, Eric stood behind Sookie as she called to her power and let it surround her. They had decided to make her lesson first priority this morning so they could then see Dr. Ludwig before he would rest for the rest of today. At the moment he was closely monitoring their bond to make sure she didn't over exert herself. He was very proud of her progress thus far, and indeed, she had surprised everyone with how quickly she was able to call her power and initiate its use. The problem was once she started using it she could never keep control of it and each and every lesson ended with Eric having to use their bond to shut it down and pull her back.
At the moment, Eric was watching a wave of Sookie's power roll across her front yard and he couldn't help but smile as the land changed to fit her will. The rose bushes surrounding the house and planted all throughout the front yard and surrounding areas her Gran had planted decades before morphed and changed. Despite the season, the flowers shook off their winter grey and bloomed with vibrant color. Some roses were now displaying all the colors of the rainbow, others changed to display brilliant red and white designs, and others were a brilliant white and blue.
Eric's smile grew as her power spread further, changing more of the landscape.
As the rolling wave of power engulfed the house and surrounding acreage, the changes were spectacular. A rock waterfall sprouted from the side of the house near Sookie's bedroom window and cascaded down the side; where the water was coming from he had no idea, but a small pool was created that began to grow into a long winding stream that moved out and through the property. On either side of the stream the grass changed from a dark green to a brilliant green while beautiful tulips sprouted up all along the banks and around the trees. Which were changing as well. All the colors of the fauna surrounding them changed and began to glow. It was truly wondrous.
Moving to inspect the waterfall and the small pool and stream, Eric was surprised to see tiny balls of light appear in the water before they flared brightly. When the light dimmed he was even more shocked to see beautiful koi now swimming in the water.
As they swam off down the stream he watched more and more lights in the water flash before turning into koi to begin filling the small waterfall-fed pond that had formed at the side of Sookie's house to then swim off and fill her newly forming stream.
Letting his eyes shift back to his mate, Eric was once again struck with how beautiful she was. Her long hair was billowing out around her, moving with the ebb and flow of her power, her skin was sparkling brighter than his beloved night sky, and yet it was not her power that made her so beautiful in his eyes: it was simply her. He wanted so badly to pull her into his arms, to surround her and let her fill his senses and be his whole world, but that would not be happening. For many reasons.
It was only when Sookie's power began to spark madly, shooting out around her like lightning, as her strength waned and he felt her weakening through the bond, did Eric interfere. Reaching for her through their bond he took hold of her as only he could and pulled. Sookie's power slowly retreated back into her and she slumped into Eric's arms when he moved to catch her, anticipating her fall.
Smiling wanly up at her bonded, Sookie mumbled, “I controlled it for a lot longer that time, didn't I?”
“Indeed, and accomplished some rather marvelous landscaping,” Eric teased.
Shifting her gaze to take in the area around her, Sookie gasped, “Oh dear.”
“Are you not pleased?”
“Well yeah, but I was only trying to spruce up the rose bushes a bit. The rest? I have no idea where it all came from!”
Seeing her newly upgraded house, Sookie groaned, “What is with these waterfalls?! I'm not trying for that at all! And if my bedroom is flooded I'm going to be super pissed!”
Chuckling, Eric swung Sookie up into his arms and flew her up to her bedroom window to see that the waterfall truly appeared from the side with no source for the water. Both looked into the window to see her bedroom in pristine condition, as usual, but the source of the water remained a mystery. When he floated them back to the ground so she could see her new koi pool that fed her stream, Sookie added, “Well, it's pretty at least.”
“Yes, but once again most of it was out of your control,” he acknowledged.
Releasing a sigh, she looked up at him and apologized, “I'm sorry. I'm really trying, but I can't seem to control it.”
Eric stroked her cheek, sensing her distress and soothed, “Sookie, you are much farther than any of us anticipated. We all believed you would still be trying to manifest your power, so I consider us well ahead of schedule. You will learn to wield your power soon enough.”
Still feeling a bit disappointed in herself, Sookie turned to face Claudine, who had come to join them beside the pond, and asked, “Is there anything I can do differently? I can call it easily now, and control it for a bit, but then it's like I go away and all there is is the power inside me. I can't think or feel or see or hear. All I know is the feel of my power until Eric pulls me back.”
Claudine, just as amazed by Sookie's display as everyone else, replied, “Sookie, again, your power is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Claude and I discussed it with Oberon and we're certain now it's not Fae power you're wielding.”
Understanding dawned on Eric and he interjected, “It is the power of The One.”
Claudine nodded, “Yes, it may resemble Fae powers, but ultimately, Sookie, you are the true vessel of The One, so your power is unlike anything any of us have ever seen. No fairy will be able to truly tell you how to wield it. Our power comes from The One, but we cannot access the true power of The One as you seem to be able to do.”
“So basically I'm on my own,” Sookie stated sadly.
Wrapping his arm around her waist, Eric pulled her back into his chest and nuzzled her neck affectionately as he denied, “You are never on your own, min älskade.”
She allowed herself to luxuriate in his embrace for only a moment before turning around and looking up at him. “But I can't seem to control it! How am I supposed to help you if I have no idea what I'm doing and no one to teach me?”
Stroking her troubled brow, Eric replied, “The same way you've accomplished everything in life up until now. The same way you learned to harness your telepathy and build your shields. You simply do it. Your mind is an incredible thing, and I have no doubt you will figure this out.”
“But will it be in time?”
Eric had no reply for her, well, not one that would allay her fears, but he was saved from having to say anything as Liam materialized beside them and said, “Dr. Ludwig is here for the queen's exam.”
Eric took her hand and led her towards the front of the house. “Good. Bring her in. We'll be in the living room. Sookie needs a snack after that.”
Letting Eric lead her towards the house, Sookie waved at her Centaur guards who were currently stationed around the yard with the rest of her Fae guard. Further back she could see the Minotaurs inspecting her new stream and she smiled as she saw the Griffins swoop down to join them. She had to admit that she really enjoyed being surrounded like this with so many magical creatures, and she really wished her Gran were here to see it. Knowing her, she'd be making the rounds every day offering the Fae guards the milkshakes they'd discovered in her world and had become so enamored with, and her centaurs all the burritos they wanted as they seemed so fond of them since Lafayette had introduced them as part of the menu a few weeks ago. She'd also be offering her Were guards cookies and milk at every turn, and insisting the Minotaurs come in for tea every afternoon, and Sookie just knew her Gran would have asked the Griffins for a ride in the sky at least once a day.
Seeing movement from the corner of her eye, Sookie turned to see Tara glaring at her from the side of the house before her friend stomped off towards the guest quarters again with her own guard trailing behind her. Tara was still throwing a fit several times a day about what she considered unfair treatment, but Sookie was beyond the point of caring about the disgruntled girl's hurt feelings. It was, quite frankly, beneath her notice at the moment.
'Of course not everyone is as pleased with my new friends,' Sookie thought to herself as she watched her best friend once again make her feelings on the situation very clear.
Seeing where his bonded's gaze was directed, Eric rolled his eyes and lamented, “Tell me again why we can't lock her up in the guest house?”
“Because it's mean.”
“If I didn't enjoy how sweet you are, min älskade, it would drive me crazy!”
Sookie just laughed as she and Eric made their way up the front steps and into the living room. They had barely got seated on the couch before Liam appeared with Dr. Ludwig. A few more pops were heard about the room as more of her guards appeared with all the equipment Dr. Ludwig had brought for her daily check up.
Dr. Ludwig smiled at Sookie and greeted, “Hello, your majesty! I hope you are feeling well today.”
Returning the small woman's smile, Sookie replied, “A little tired at the moment, but other than that I'm great. I hope you're doing well, too.”
“Always.” Eyes slanting at Eric, Ludwig added, “though I would have preferred our session be private as has become the norm.”
Eric's fangs dropped as he hissed at the small doctor. He didn't need the woman encouraging his Sookie to ban him from her doctor appointments again. He'd only just begged his way back to her side for these precious moments, and he didn't need the meddling pipsqueak fucking it all up.
Slapping Eric's leg, Sookie admonished, “Hush you.” Smiling at Ludwig, Sookie explained, “Eric pointed out that regardless of our problems they shouldn't interfere with Peanut and—”
Tossing a quick glare at her mate, Sookie continued, “And I have to agree that Eric should be at all the appointments from now on. As long as he behaves himself.”
“Well I guess we should get started then.”
As Ludwig busied herself getting everything set up, Eric leaned down to purr into Sookie's ear, “You know I can never behave myself around you, lover.”
Leaning away while leveling another glare at him, Sookie warned, “You'd better or you can wait outside.”
Sookie continued to glare at Eric until Ludwig called her attention back as she informed her that everything was ready. She weighed Sookie, and took a small blood sample by pricking her finger instead of trying to draw it with a needle. Once she had the blood in the machine to be analyzed, Ludwig announced, “Okay, we'll get the sonogram done and check Peanut's growth.”
“Egil,” Eric growled.
“We're not naming him after a sword!”
“Well, we're sure as fuck not naming him Peanut either!”
“If you two are quite finished,” Ludwig drawled, “we can see how the baby is doing. Though, Sookie, I must again say I'm not pleased with your weight gain so far. According to my analysis so far Peanut is at 13 weeks, and that means you should be putting on a bit more weight. You are coming to the end of your first trimester.”
She could feel Eric's angry gaze and maintained a nonchalant ambivalence, hoping he wouldn't take umbrage in front of the good doctor. It was not to be. Eric growled, “You did not tell me that Ludwig has warned you to gain more weight in your appointments.”
“Because it's not a big deal, and she didn't warn me, she just said she'd like to see me put on a bit more.”
Before Eric could say anything, Ludwig chimed in, “Well, I'm warning you now. It's time to start packing it on. You've lost three pounds since our first appointment, and while that is somewhat normal for women in their first trimester, I don't like it. And while—”
“What the fuck!” Eric was up and staring down hard at the little doctor as he hissed, “you knew my pregnant woman was losing weight and you didn't tell me? You little shit! I should snap your fucking neck right now!”
“Eric! Leave her alone! I told her not to tell you because I knew you'd overreact!”
Spinning around, he pinned Sookie with his eyes, “You are pregnant! Pregnant women gain weight! Not lose it! You're overexerting yourself. I fucking knew it! I knew I was letting you take too much on, but I wanted to make you happy. Well, fuck that! From now on you're on bed rest! You will do nothing but eat and sleep!”
As Eric began pacing back and forth going on and on about all the things she wasn't allowed to do anymore, and all the ways he was going to make sure she ballooned up to the size of a Goodyear blimp, Sookie sat back on the couch and let her mate have his hissy fit. She knew he needed a chance to bitch before she could reason with him.
After several more moments of uninterrupted ranting, Eric noticed that Sookie was making no effort to argue with him, and turned around to see her leaning casually back on her grass covered sofa as she regarded him with a cool detachment. “Well? Are you just going to ignore me?”
“I'm not ignoring you. I'm letting you have your temper tantrum before I point out to you that many women lose a bit of weight in their first trimester because of the morning sickness. Three pounds is nothing, and I'll gain it all back plus plenty more, but you're out of your goddamned mind if you think I'm going to sit in my bed eating all day long between marathon naps. I'm fine, Eric, healthy as a horse.”
“You're losing weight,” Eric stubbornly insisted.
“Eric, come here and sit down. You're too tall for me to talk up to like this. It hurts my neck.”
When Eric stiffly sat beside her, Sookie reached over and took his hand as she soothed, “Honey, I'm fine. I didn't want Ludwig mentioning my tiny insignificant weight loss because she knows as well as I do that right now it's normal for women to lose a few pounds in the first trimester, and you'd know it too if you'd read some more of those baby books I got you.”
His eyes slid to the side. “I started reading those books and I couldn't finish. Reading what you are going to have to go through to birth Egil is not pleasant.”
“Eric, you've been around for awhile, and you had a family. Your people lived in longhouses, for crying out loud! You can't tell me you don't know how babies get here.”
Were Eric a different sort of man, or vampire for that matter, he would have blushed. Instead, he explained, “Birthing was done behind closed doors. Men were not a part of it.”
“Well, you're sure as hell going to be there when I pop your son out! I'm not doing it by myself!”
Squeezing her hand, Eric agreed, “Indeed. I want to be there, but it will not be pleasant. I cannot stand to see you in pain and what I read terrifies me. I cannot read anymore of those books.”
“Believe me, Eric, it won't be easy for me either, but maybe you should skip the birthing sections of the books and read some of the other parts. For instance, the chapters on the first trimester that clearly state that it is perfectly normal for women to lose a bit of weight in their first trimester due to morning sickness. Which you know I've been suffering through.”
“You told me it was getting better.” He was very nearly pouting.
“And it is, now that I'm going into my second trimester my morning sickness is supposed to subside and I'll start putting weight on. It's from here on out that I really need to focus on eating more, and I will. I promise. Peanut and I are fine, and you don't need to freak out over this.”
Looking deeply into his bonded's eyes, Eric pressed, “Are you sure? I know how hard you have been working, and perhaps I should hire you some personal assistants. Or better yet I can give Bobby to you. With my new position he's really not qualified to handle my affairs anymore and Haldar has sent for some of his former assistants, and Ahmose is sending me a few of his. I was planning to let him go, but I can give him to you to take on some of your work so you can rest more.”
Rolling her eyes, Sookie insisted, “First, you can't give Bobby to me since he's a human being. Second, Bobby really couldn't help me with a lot of what I do around here and you know it. And third, you can't fire Bobby. He loves and adores you.”
Rolling his own eyes, Eric scoffed, “Bobby's infatuation with me is his own problem. I have never given him any reason to believe he is anything more than an employee to me, not to mention I have told him if he doesn't start kissing your ass he'll be unemployed very quickly.”
“I know. I saw that little tidbit in his mind the other day when he dropped off the baby decorating books and magazines I requested, and I also told him he didn't need to treat me any differently. I told him he doesn't like me and I don't care, but I won't let you fire him for it.”
“Sookie,” Eric growled, “that worm is nothing to us. You are a queen. The mother to my son. Future mother to all my children. He should kiss the dirt beneath your feet and thank his God for the miracle that is you.”
“Eric, do you ever hear yourself talk? Bobby has the right to his own emotions, just as you and I have the right to ours. I don't want him pretending to be my friend. I'd rather he do his job and keep his mouth shut just like he has been doing.”
Unwilling to relent, Eric said, “Well, I have no need of him so I'll let him go. He's not qualified to be my day man anymore with my new position, and as you don't want him there is no need to keep him around.”
“If you are truly firing him because you have no need for him that is fine, but you need to give him severance pay, a glowing reference, and a little help in finding a new job.”
“You cannot be serious.”
“I most certainly am. It's a hard job market right now.”
Eric opened his mouth to argue but then thought better of it. 'I'll send him to Isabelle. She needs help in New Orleans, and I like the idea of him annoying her. I may have forgiven her for Hugo, but I haven't forgotten; this will be a nice way to get back at her.'
Containing his grin, Eric agreed, “Very well. I'll get him another job and give him severance pay.”
Uneasy with how quickly Eric had complied with her demands, Sookie asked, “What is your angle?”
Plastering on his most innocent face, Eric replied, “I don't know what you mean, and besides, we still need to discuss your assistant.”
“I don't need an assistant.”
“You do. You just said you'll be entering your second trimester and it is time for you to focus on getting bigger.”
Before Sookie could reply, Ludwig agreed, “As much as I hate to agree with the Viking, I'm going to. Sookie, I do believe it is time for you to start thinking about getting some help.”
“I'm not an invalid, and I'm perfectly capable of handling my duties,” Sookie insisted.
“I understand that,” Ludwig replied, “but soon you will tire much more easily, and you are going to start gaining weight and will need to slow down as the pregnancy progresses. Soon you will need help to do things, and it would be a good idea to get an assistant now so that by the time you absolutely need them he or she will already be well acquainted with what needs doing.”
Were Eric not still pissed at the little hobbit bitch at his side for failing to tell him Sookie had lost three whole fucking pounds while carrying his son he would have thanked her for getting his mate to see reason where he could not. Instead he simply waited for Sookie to decide to concede. Just like him she hated admitting defeat, but he knew she would do what was best for her and Egil.
After mulling it over for a moment and deciding Eric and Dr. Ludwig were right, Sookie had a great idea. “Fine. You guys want me to have an assistant? Well, I think Frannie and Tara would be perfect for the job.”
Jaw literally dropping open, Eric barked, “Are you out of your fucking mind?!”
“No, I'm not. Frannie has been asking how she can help out around here, and I think it will really help to bring Tara around to help out a bit. See what it is we're doing.”
“They are my assistants! I should be able to pick them!”
“Well, as soon as you are willing to pick people that aren't annoying or traitors, you're welcome to do so!”
Sookie forced her voice to remain calm. “Eric, I want people I can work with. Frannie and Tara both live here, and I like them.”
“And are not trustworthy.”
“First, from everything I've seen in Frannie's mind when I've scanned her thoughts, she is completely devoted to me and my happiness since she believes I saved her and her brother from some king in Nevada. Second, while Tara is a little lost right now I really think that this will help her find her way back. She can see we're the good guys if she's in the thick of things.”
“Or she could betray us again!”
Getting agitated, Sookie asked, “And how would she do that with a guard shadowing her every step? A guard who would immediately teleport her to your side for judgment the second she made even the tiniest action that could be construed as treason?”
When Eric remained stubbornly silent, Sookie continued, “And Frannie just wants to feel useful. I doubt she could help with much, but she could help me gather reports, and run a few simple errands with me. She could type up my reports and deliver them to you, and there are just any number of little things I do that she could do for me. Which would allow me to rest more, as you are so adamant I do.”
Rolling the matter around in his mind, Eric could find no plausible reason to forbid it other than he didn't like the girl or Sookie's traitorous idiot of a friend, and he doubted Sookie would accept those as legitimate reasons to not hire them. And seeing his bonded's determined gaze, Eric decided to relent. He knew he needed to pick and choose his battles with his bonded, and, as he was determined she start sleeping and eating more, he knew he needed to save his wins for those.
“Fine, you may appoint them as your assistants, but Tara is still never to be alone with you, and she is to have a guard with her at all times.”
When both sat back on the couch with their arms crossed over their chests, pointedly not looking at one another, Ludwig said, “Well let's get the sonogram done, and by then the blood work should be done as well.”
Soon Sookie was stretched out on the couch with her shirt pushed up and her pants unbuttoned as Ludwig squirted some of the cold gel on her stomach. In moments the 3D image of their baby was on the sonogram display and tears filled Sookie's eyes as she reached for Eric's hand where he stood behind the couch hovering over her.
“Isn't Peanut beautiful?”
Refusing to let his own tears fall in front of Ludwig, but feeling them gather in his eyes nonetheless, Eric agreed, “He is magnificent, and definitely my son.”
Knowing exactly what he was referring to, Sookie smirked, “That's his umbilical cord!”
“So you say,” Eric replied smoothly as he brought Sookie's hand to his lips to kiss each of her fingertips.
“Well, everything is looking good. He's developing nicely, and he is moving around quite a bit. With as quickly as he is growing it shouldn't be long before you start to feel him move inside of you, which now brings us to another concern.”
Eric was instantly erect, demanding, “What? What is wrong? Does she need to go on bed rest?”
“Eric, will you stop trying to get me into bed?!”
“Never," his eyes glowed heatedly, “but this time I simply want you to rest.”
Before the couple could get into another fight, Ludwig said, “Nothing is wrong, but as this is a vampire baby, I am concerned that when he starts kicking and really moving about as he develops he could hurt Sookie. While she is definitely not human, her body is still quite frail compared to the child she carries.”
“Damn, I never thought of that,” Sookie lamented.
“Me neither,” Eric added. Stroking his hand down her hair, he asked, “What do we do?”
“For now, there is not much we can do. As I said, I have no idea how this is going to progress. This might never be a problem that ever develops, or it could be one that becomes quite serious. All we can do is monitor her at this point, but it might be a good idea to increase her feeding from you to two or three times a day and have on hand some of your blood for her at all times. As a precaution, mind you.”
Turning her suddenly fearful gaze up to Eric, Sookie whispered, “Eric, what if—”
“Shhh,” Eric soothed as he leaned down to kiss his bonded's lips softly before resting his forehead against hers. Uncaring that Ludwig was watching them he promised, “Sookie, we were told this is destiny and we were told you would have many more children. Obviously nothing terrible will happen. It is your comfort I am concerned with. I do not want you to spend the rest of your pregnancy in pain.”
He pulled back to stroke her hair behind her ear, “I will feed you many times during the day to make you stronger, and give you plenty of my blood to keep on hand in case he kicks you and you need to heal.”
“You make everything sound so easy.”
“That's my job as your mate.”
“Well, that solves that. I'm guessing you two want copies of these sonogram images?”
While Ludwig saved copies of the images onto flash drives for both Eric and Sookie and began printing out pictures of them, Eric vamped to get a clean cloth from the bathroom and returned to kneel beside her on the floor and gently clean her stomach. When it was free of the offending gel he kissed her slowly blossoming belly softly before re-buttoning her pants for her and pulling her shirt back down. Helping her to sit up, he took his seat next to her and waited for Ludwig to hand them their copies of the sonogram images before she moved to get the results of her blood work.
Ludwig went over the results and assured, “Everything seems fine. So, for now, my advice is to focus on gaining weight.”
Looking at Eric, she added, “And I'd like a sample of your blood as well.”
“I'm going to see if I can formulate a super form of it for Sookie to keep on hand in case Peanut's growing and moving does indeed start to hurt her. If I can increase the power of your blood it could be invaluable.”
Eric could see nothing wrong with her plan and allowed her to take several vials to work with. Once that was done Ludwig focused back on Sookie and said, “Okay, I'll see you tomorrow for your next check up.”
“Thank you, Dr. Ludwig.”
When she was gone Eric turned to Sookie and begged, “Will you please take a nap and eat something?”
“Yes. I'll admit I'm a little tired. My lesson today took a lot out of me, and I should probably eat something and lie down for awhile.”
Beyond relieved that Sookie was not fighting him on this, Eric leaned down to sweep her up into his arms and carry her upstairs as he barked towards the kitchen, “Lafayette! Make Sookie lots of food to eat before her nap and bring it up to her in her room! Have it ready in 15 minutes!”
“Sure thing, boss man!”
“Thank you, Laf!”
“No problem, baby girl!”
As Eric shouldered his way into her bedroom, Sookie admonished, “You didn't have to shout at him. Couldn't you have gone into the kitchen and asked nicely?”
Not having a reply that wouldn't piss her off, he simply chose to ignore her comment and proceeded to strip her down and put her into a nightgown before tucking her into bed snugly at vamp speed so she'd have no time to complain.
As Eric tucked her covers in around her securely before moving to fluff her pillows, Sookie decided to let it go. Eric had gone full-on into overprotective mode and she decided to indulge him for the time being. By the time he was satisfied she was comfortable, Lafayette, accompanied by Thor, was sashaying into the room with a full plate of his homemade secret meatloaf recipe, cheesy mashed potatoes and his world famous collard greens. Her mouth started watering.
Thor jumped up on her bed and parked his body against hers, rolling over with his mouth agape and tail thumping. She reached down to chuck him under the chin which encouraged wild thumping.
“I figured you would be tired after your magic lesson, love the new look outside, by the way, and had this all going so it would be ready by the time you finished. Eat up, Sugar.”
Before Sookie could take the plate, Eric snatched it up, and dismissed, “You may go.”
Lafayette rolled his eyes at Eric's rudeness and flashed Sookie another grin and sauntered away, as he said, “I'll just go see what Claude is up to.”
“I guess I won't see you until later tonight then, huh?” Sookie giggled.
Turning at the door to waggle his eyebrows suggestively, Lafayette purred, “Count on it, Sook! If you knew the things that man could do with his mouth—mmm!”
Sookie just continued to laugh as her friend shut the door behind him. “Eric, I think—mmph!”
Eric shoved the meatloaf-laden fork into her mouth and ordered, “You are going to eat every last bit of this.”
Chewing the food quickly, Sookie began, “Eric, I can—mmph!”
Another forkful disappeared between his mate's lips as Eric insisted, “You've lost three pounds, Sookie, and that is unacceptable. Apparently I will need to feed you myself to ensure this stops.”
Forcing the food down her throat, Sookie turned her head before Eric could shovel more food into her mouth and argued, “Eric, stop! I'm not a baby! I can feed myself!” Thor watched the food battle between them, hoping for a dropped morsel.
“Apparently not. Now open up.”
When Sookie pointedly clenched her jaw causing her lips to become a thin line as she crossed her arms across her chest and glared at him, Eric growled, “Sookie, don't you fucking argue with me about this! You're wasting away and I won't allow it!”
“Wasting away?! It's three freaking—mmph!”
Grinning as he managed to shovel another overly burdened forkful of mashed potatoes into her mouth, Eric insisted, “Sookie, the sooner you finish, the sooner we both can get some rest.”
Sookie chewed quickly, then moved her hand to cover her mouth and hissed, “Eric, I'm not going to let you feed me like a baby!”
Eric let his worry shine in his gaze as he begged, “Sookie, please do not be difficult about this. You are tired and underweight. Let me feed you and then we both can get some rest.”
Seeing how upset he was, Sookie decided to allow him this one small, tiny, not to be repeated win. He was obviously upset, and if this would make him feel better she would allow it, but just this once. Later tonight when he rose she'd make sure he understood she could feed herself.
“Fine, but just this once.”
When Sookie opened her mouth, Eric smiled and popped another forkful between the lips he so longed to feel against his own. ‘Just this once, my ass,’ he thought to himself as he watched her chew before she obligingly opened her mouth again.
Slowly but surely, Eric fed Sookie every last bite of the food Lafayette had brought up except for a last chunk of the meat deposited into Thor's grateful mouth. When she was done he gave her a sip of the water she kept near her bed before readjusting her covers once more and bending down to press a kiss to her brow.
“Get some rest and I will see you tonight.”
Sookie just yawned and gave him a small wave. She curled around Thor and with her belly full of good home cooking, and the events of the morning weighing on her, she allowed herself to sink into her bed and let sleep take her.
Smiling softly down at his bonded, Eric set his hand atop her stomach and whispered, “You get some sleep too … Peanut.”
With a last wistful smile at his growing family, Eric left the room and headed for his day chamber. He needed to die for the day so he'd be prepared for the night ahead.
In New York, Ahmose knelt before his Maker and said, “Mistress, I do not understand why you keep me here. Should I not be with the High King and Queen?”
“Not yet, my child. Sargon blocks much of my sight but I see something terrible happening here in New York. Something that could force an altercation between Supes and Humans and you must be here to thwart the attack.”
“But the High King—”
“Must not be a part of it. Eric's position, his purpose, cannot be revealed to the Supe community at large yet. If it is, Sookie's existence will follow. That cannot happen. When the attack takes place you must be the one to fight it, and you must be the face of the Supe community that humans and Supes alike see. Eric and Sookie must remain hidden for as long as possible.”
Understanding his Maker's reasoning, Ahmose asked, “Do you have any idea of when or where the attack will take place?”
Releasing a very human sigh, the Pythoness replied, “No. He blocks far too much of my sight. I can only see the devastation. People dying. Buildings burning. Humans and Supes fighting each other.”
“And you are sure this is his doing?”
“Perhaps not directly. We know he helped to create the Fellowship terrorist cells, and there may be more. Though Newlin has been defeated most of the remaining cells have not been located yet, and they will certainly not abandon their hate just because their leader is dead. They are probably acting independently and not directly lead by Sargon, but their goal of chaos is most definitely his doing.”
Setting her hand atop Ahmose's shoulder, the Pythoness added, “Many burdens and sacrifices come your way my child—I cannot guarantee you will survive them.”
Hearing the emotion his Maker rarely allowed herself to display, Ahmose assured, “I have lived a long life, Andromeda. If my time nears, I do not fear it. Especially if my true death will in any way aid the King and Queen.”
“Perhaps you do not fear it, Ahmose, but I most certainly do.”
Cupping her child's cheek and allowing them both a rare moment of tenderness, she added, “Our relationship was never normal, child, and distance between us had to be maintained so you could be here now, but never doubt that you are dear to me. That you have always been dear to me.”
Turning to kiss the wizened hand of his much beloved and revered Maker, Ahmose assured, “It is the same for me. I may not have always understood your orders, but I have always respected them. I know the heavy burden you have carry, have carried for thousands of years, but your reward is coming.”
Looking at her child with unseeing eyes that saw everything others could never imagine, the Pythoness simply smiled. She saw her fate. She had seen it as a human so long ago, and she was ready for it. But her child? Her child she would protect to the best of her ability.
Grinning, Sargon moved away from his scrying bowl where he had watched the pathetic interaction between Andromeda and her child. As though either stood a chance against him! There would be an attack, all right, and he would make sure it would cause much strife between humans and Supes. He needed to force Eric to expose himself to the Supe world. The more problems he caused the boy, the easier it would be for him.
“Your fate is most definitely coming, Andromeda. I am coming, old friend.”