Chapter 65 – Monday Morning Quarterback
September 23, 2004
Eric wanted to get in – his blood was practically forcing him to move, but Lala and Godric kept him back while Hoyt quickly wiped the silver and Appius’ remains from Sookie using his shirt then carried her towards Eric. Frankly, Hoyt was afraid to touch Sookie given Stan’s warning about Eric in protective mode but with the silver in the room, he had no choice. He considered having Eric wait the extra moment or so it usually took for the silver to drip off the ceiling – as it had done in the tunnels – but he knew Sookie would’ve wanted to be in Eric’s arms as quickly as possible.
The transfer went smoothly and Eric paused just a moment thanking all the possible Gods that he finally had Sookie back in his arms. Some small bits of silver still clung to her and he felt a few minor burns but it was worth it. Hoyt and Lala moved far away from Eric while he was taking his moment; Lala choking back tears at seeing the man who was only moments ago a fierce warrior put his forehead to Sookie’s and breathe her in. Lala would never tell anyone but he saw the bloody tracks fall from Eric’s eyes while he clung to his wife. As Eric settled onto the floor with his wife in his arms, finally, Godric guided the room back; he knew going near Sookie would be dangerous to everyone in Eric’s current condition.
Before he woke her, Eric sniffed and visually confirmed she only had a few minor cuts on her back. Other than that, she appeared physically well with the exception of looking starved. He growled at the discovery of her all too prominent ribs. With his assessment complete, Eric pricked his finger on his fang and after quickly healing the cuts on her back; he placed it in her mouth stroking her throat to get her to swallow. It only took her a moment to wake and start crying. He’d expected this as did the most of the fighters in the room so he chose to indulge her for now. He still had Felipe to kill, a kingdom to claim and orders to give but for the moment Sookie and Roo were all that mattered. With Sookie now in his arms, he fully understood Godric’s comments about controlling his beast. Felipe must have rolled himself in her outfit and though Hoyt had cleaned her, she reeked of Appius as well – she smelled so strongly of others his beast wanted to take over. With Godric’s helped he fought his animal instincts and did not rip the outfit off and claim her as he wanted. Russell and Stan watched with concern, both knowing the strength it must be taking for Eric to keep calm; then Stan looked at Godric and motioned for Russell to do the same. The men realized that Godric was taking on so much of Eric’s rage and sending calm – the Gaul was shaking to maintain his own control. They moved to stand near him, just in case.
For Sookie, just sitting on his lap sideways wasn’t enough so she turned to face him and straddled his legs as he knelt on the floor. She clung to him, pulling him closer so she could lick his bloody tears – not out of shame; she just believed those tears were private. Her taking some of his blood to wake eased some of her ache so she put her finger in his mouth and pricked it on a fang so he could also have some of her blood. The bond healed and she spoke for the first time – the relief evident. “Eric . . . Finally. My God Eric. It’s over.” She sobbed over and over again.
Whispering words of endearment as he rocked her, he savored the moment of having her back in his arms. “Shh Sookie, it IS over and we’re together.”
Trying to connect to him as closely as possible, she pressed into him even further. The actions weren’t sexual at all; they were about comfort for her. Since Godric was helping with control, the actions also served as comfort for Eric and nothing else. Once the crying stopped she was able to speak. “I can’t believe how long we’ve been apart. That can never happen again. Even if her Grace. . .”
“It will NEVER happen even if she commands it. I swear to you I won’t let her make that decision for us again.”
Now that they’d both calmed a bit, he shifted her slightly away from his chest so he could touch and talk to Roo and he did so – right in the room full of his fighters and other supes. “Hello my baby. I’ve missed you just as much as I’ve missed Mommy. I hope you haven’t forgotten the sound of my voice.”
He could hear the murmurs behind him; most were positive. Some, like what heard from Felipe, were not. “That’s not your baby Northman. Give it up.” Oh, in a moment Eric would reveal a secret to Felipe but he chose to ignore his words for now.
Besides, he heard a loud punch and then Pam exclaimed, “Shut the fuck up.”
As he always did when he spoke to Roo, he turned his head to listen. He could feel a bulge now in Sookie’s belly, even though Roo was still hidden from everyone’s sight. He turned to Sookie. “Roo is also mad at me for taking so long to get here, but he’ll forgive me if we rock him to sleep later.” The statement was complete with his standard eyebrow wiggle.
She smirked. “Still a dirty old man.” There were some chuckles as everyone in the room could hear the conversation.
“Look at me Sookie, I’m coated in blood; I AM dirty.”
“Yes, I can’t imagine how I’ll get the blood stains out of that shirt.” Finally taking in the room, she ended their bubble. “It looks like you still have a king to kill sweetie. Can you please take care of that?”
“Yes min kära. Always such a demanding wife: Take the trash out, put Hunter to bed, kill the king – the list goes on and on.” He playfully commented while he shook his head from side to side.
Now that Eric was much calmer, Godric could finally relax and enjoy the feelings from his son’s reunion with his dotter. Knowing Eric wanted her covered from her hideous outfit, he approached him with the tuxedo jacket Eric had managed to take off before the fight. After Godric righted the thrones that had been knocked over from the fight, Eric sat her right down in the seat she’d bowed to for the past 7 weeks. Then, he pulled two of those ridiculously oversized socks from the jacket’s pockets, removed her shoes, and redressed her feet in the socks. “These are from Jason; he saw me grabbing some new ones and remembered that you always liked the brand he had. He insisted. Since he was quite angry at me for keeping him home tonight, I gave him this point.” That action meant more to Sookie than anything else at the moment, though it puzzled almost the entire room. Once Sookie was situated, he positioned Pam in Freyda’s seat and Pam and Sookie immediately clasped hands; Pam even going as far as raising Sookie’s hand to her mouth to kiss it. “I have something else for you.” He put his open palm out towards Pam and she placed something on it.
Sookie gasped, “My rings! I’ve missed my rings Eric.” She held out her hand and he slid them on noting they spun around loosely on her finger.
“Perhaps we should move them temporarily to a different finger.” He kept his anger under control. He didn’t want to discuss the weight loss here. When the rings were moved to her middle finger for safekeeping, he kissed them and stood to begin addressing his prizes but he stopped as he remembered something. “Oh, one more thing; check out the inside pocket of my jacket.” After unfolding the paper, her smile was wide and tears welled in her eyes at the same time. “He wanted you to have that picture right away.” She nodded a crooked smile in thanks.
When she was done with the picture, she took a moment to really look around the room and couldn’t believe what she saw. Her vampire friends – MONARCHS – from several states holding bloody swords, Packmasters she’d met over the past few months, Uncle Desi, and friends from Bon Temps. Seeing all those faces had the tears starting again. Eric watched her take in the room and he knew she was feeling appreciation, disbelief and love. “They all came for you Sookie. Every one of them is here for you. Sam is in Vegas as well, but he’s guarding Frannie.”
“I . . I’ll never be able to tell you h . . . how much this means to me. Thank you.” Her voice squeaked as she tried to get the words out.
While Eric was assisting Sookie, several guards from Eric’s army had positioned stands in the room to secure Felipe, Freyda, Victor and Bill. They were now on display to the right of the dais.
Victor spoke for the king. “This is treason, you will all be killed. When our armies get. . .”
“Your armies are gone or have surrendered Victor.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Believe it. I’ve amassed over 500 fighters: Were, daemon, vampire and in case you missed it – fairy. Your training grounds in Arkansas? Demolished. Your loyal group in New Orleans? Surrendered. Your group outside this palace? Leveled. I even found the small group you had housed in Utah – the ‘no vampire’ state. They’re all finally dead. So unless you have another secret army, you’re screwed.” Eric trusted in their intelligence information, there may have been a stray vampire here or there that was loyal, but not an army.
He and Victor had a stare down for several moments and when Victor said nothing, Eric gladly dealt with Felipe. Standing before the vampire now in chains, Eric announced, “Felipe, you have knowingly separated a bonded pair for over seven weeks; you participated in the spilling of my bonded’s blood. . . “ Felipe began to deny the action. “Don’t bother. We found the blood in your maker’s chamber and we already know his pet was glamoured to cover the conversation you had with Appius explaining how you obtained her blood.” He paused just a moment to see if Felipe would try to deny anything. “Now, back to the charges. You attempted to impregnate my bonded with the intention of keeping the child or children when her contract clearly states that she is protected as well as her offspring.”
Felipe spat out to the daemon lawyer. “You didn’t tell me that!”
With a shrug of his shoulders he responded. “You didn’t ask that specifically.”
Eric smirked and continued. “For these charges I am going to take your head but not before I enjoy teaching you a few lessons.” Realizing the violence that was about to occur in the room, he approached Sookie and offered to remove her.
She declined. “After what I’ve already seen in this room either by order of Felipe or himself personally, I’m ready for this Eric. I can handle it.” The bond filled with pride at his wife. She really was truly a worthy mate. “In fact, before you begin . . . I have something I’d like from Felipe.” He raised an eyebrow at her feeling determination and a bit of mischief in the bond – whatever she had in mind, she was going to enjoy. “Can you have him brought here, in front of me?”
“Of course min kära.” When he turned towards Felipe, Godric was already pulling him forward. “What would you like from Felipe?”
“I want him on the floor – like he had me every night. After I release him to a resting kneel, I want an apology.”
Eric smiled and thought her request was just perfect. He wished he thought of it himself. He yanked on Felipe’s chain. “You heard my wife.” He pointed to the floor. “Down.”
Felipe didn’t move until Sookie spoke. “Be a man Felipe. Recognize you’ve been defeated and have the decency to acknowledge your transgressions against me.” Eric needed to ‘help’ but he finally was down with Eric’s foot pressing on his back. “Do you remember Felipe, the night you told me I was the lower than the lower vampire in your kingdom? You told me I wasn’t even worthy enough to call you ‘majesty’. I wonder . . . would the woman that was that beneath everyone warrant the amount of time and resources you used to procure her? I think your own actions prove that you knew my worth and you used your petty little words to bring me down. IT. DIDN’T. WORK.” She pause before she considered adding the word she wanted to call him all these weeks; she decided to go for it. “FUCKTARD.” The room chuckled. “Now rise and apologize.”
“And THAT is what makes YOU lower than the lower vampire in your kingdom. I knew you wouldn’t, but no mind. My HUSBAND will extract the apology in the form of your pain. I don’t need the words.”
She never raised her voice, she never added emotions. She only emphasized a few key words. Eric was never prouder of her than at that moment. “I will min kära.”
He turned his head to the door. “Glad, Diantha will you join us please.” They walked in with Ahmed and his family and Finard. “Ahmed graciously lowered the ill will wards for us in exchange for his family’s safety. Not here at the moment, but still deserving recognition are Frannie and Quinn. They’ve been helping Sookie since her first day here. Quinn has been supplying information between Sookie and me on a daily basis and you saw he fought for our side tonight.” He looked into Sookie’s eyes. “Though he was told to stay out of it per my wife’s orders. He jumped in after securing Andy min kära.” He wasn’t going to announce here and now that per a text he’d received, Quinn had been badly injured and Dr. Ludwig was trying to save him at that very moment. Felipe didn’t deserve even the smallest amount of satisfaction. “And Frannie, well she helped save the day: She’s been putting stakes in Sookie’s shoes for a while now, thus enabling Sookie to have the weapon that killed your pathetic maker. A 2000 year existence, gone at the hands of a female human.” Feeling that statement needed to sink in for a moment he paused before continuing. “Finally, you should know that Dr. Finard’s wife and son have been safely hidden at our home for the past seven weeks. This brings me to your lesson one Felipe: Holding family members captive does not yield the desired results. In fact, it creates opportunities for your enemies to find ways to hurt you by helping these people. To emphasize this lesson, I’ll take your right hand.” He raised his sword and lowered it quickly. Felipe grimaced, but made no noise. Eric knew that would change before he was done with his lessons.
After thanking Ahmed and Finard personally, Eric gestured to Dario. “Felipe, I’d like you to meet Dario from Area 5 in Louisiana. Unlike Malcolm, Liam and Dianne, his spy work was never revealed. If you had done any research on my area, you would know that Malcolm, Liam and Dianne were frequently in my basement for punishment and would be the first vampires I suspected of spying for you. I guess your lack of knowledge on my asset contracts is another good example for this second lesson. You might not be aware, but did you know that Desmond Cataliades is Sookie’s Godfather?” He paused after that statement for effect. “I think this concludes the examples needed to teach you your lesson two: Always do your homework Felipe.” He accentuated the lesson with a pat to Felipe’s cheek.
“Pam, what should we take from Felipe for this lesson?”
“I think you should take the left foot. You know, catty-corner.”
Eric executed on Pam’s suggestion then he paced a few times back and forth in front of his prizes, the vampires chained to the poles; then he continued. “I’ll now reveal something that I know has puzzled you for quite some time. . . “ Eric was interrupted by the entrance of The Ancient Pythoness.
The room bowed or kneeled collectively – even Eric and Godric since this was a formal setting – and she told everyone to rise. “Please proceed Eric. I just came for the happy ending.”
Keeping his opinion to himself about the Ancient Pythoness’ happy ending, he continued. “Yes your Grace.” Turning his attention back to Felipe he continued. “My maker is Godric. Most know that by now and it turns out that was the impetus behind this whole disaster. That’s what this is Felipe, a disaster, yes? Seems your own insane maker thought he could take me from Godric somehow by capturing Sookie.” To ease his own feelings at remembering what Appius wanted, he looked at Sookie and sent love through the bond. She returned the feeling and he reluctantly broke his gaze to finish his lesson to Felipe. “Well, what you don’t know is that Godric’s maker just joined us.” Felipe’s eyes grew wide. “Yes, her Grace is my grandsire which should scare you, but the connection that is even more impactful is how she feels about Sookie; she considers my bonded to be her granddaughter and she treats her accordingly.” Saying the last words stung a bit since it was a lie, but Felipe didn’t need to know that. “Speaking of granddaughters, I’m not sure if you heard this before, so I’ll repeat it just in case. The reigning Prince of Fae,” He gestured to Niall to join him. “Niall Brigant is Sookie’s great grandfather. I think we can summarize these facts by saying you really fucked up here.” The room chuckled at his wording. “So your lesson three is: Know who the fuck you’re dealing with. I wish we had more time so I could really enjoy this but unfortunately, you need to be killed for us to move forward so I’ll just take your other hand quickly and get to the next lesson.”
Felipe was struggling with his control at this point, and Eric was very pleased. “Now, I need to make a quick call.” The room waited while he dialed and spoke to someone on the line. “Very good Rasul let me put you on speaker phone.” He placed the phone on a small table that Alcide pulled from the back of the room. “Share your update, please?”
“All Felipe’s loyal followers have been killed here in New Orleans.”
“Thank you Rasul. We’ll need you and Arthmael to track down Lorena since she wasn’t here.” He looked towards Bill. “Oh sorry Billy boy, but your beloved maker will be with me and all my fun toys again – you remember those toys don’t you?” His focus returned to Felipe. “So New Orleans has fallen, just as I said before. Felipe, Rasul was never loyal to you. He pledged to me immediately. This became especially true after the stunt you pulled with his bonded. Oh and you’ll be happy to know Cynthia is perfectly safe, still pregnant and staying with us in Louisiana.” He heard Sookie gasp with excitement and quickly nodded to her, confirming his words. “Since we’re talking about loyalty – take a moment to look around Felipe. You see the other monarchs, the packmasters? Do you know why they are here?” He waited and Felipe said nothing. “Answer me.”
“Loyalty. Loyalty to MY WIFE. She has befriended almost a COUNTRY’s worth of vampires and Weres. Loyalty that had them offering their assistance in freeing her. This is your next lesson, lesson four: Loyalty cannot be earned through threats and intimidation, it’s earned by mutual respect, and my WIFE has respect in spades Felipe.” To complete the match set, he took the left foot.
“My final lesson involves my WIFE and her bracelets.” His smile was wide as he knelt before her. Knowing he was about to remove the bracelets, she put her hands out. “You see, these bracelets were a necessity for Sookie while she was here but not for bonding sickness.” He snapped both bracelets off and tossed them towards his honored guests affixed to the stands. Roo’s heartbeat could be heard immediately and he couldn’t contain his grin. “Min kära, could you stand for a moment so I can get a good look at Roo?”
Before his eyes, he could see the bump appear and he beamed with pride before he kissed it reverently then stood next to her. “This Felipe,” He pulled his coat back from Sookie’s stomach just enough to show the bump “is a 17 week pregnancy.”
“She only just got pregnant. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“She never lost the baby you idiot.”
“WHAT?!” Eric turned quickly to seek the source of that voice. He’d expected a reaction from Felipe, but it was Niall who called out and he was looking quite angrily at the Ancient Pythoness. “Explain! You told me the date she would be confirmed as pregnant; that was just this week.”
“I told you the date her doctor would announce the pregnancy to Felipe. We will discuss it later. Felipe needs to be dealt with.” He huffed but kept his mouth closed and the Ancient Pythoness ordered Eric to keep going.
Eric tucked that argument away feeling a bad outcome from Niall. “For your attempted murder of my baby, I’m going to take your remaining children from you – right here, right now.” He turned to Dario. “Bring them in.” They all watched as Felipe’s remaining children were brought into the room in chains. NOW he got more than just a grimace out of Felipe. His face fell and he even started pulling against his chains. Eric wasn’t sure if it was out of desire to save his children because he cared for them, or because he knew the deaths would be very painful since they were in the same room. All his children had been rounded up from various fighting locations and transported, including using fairies as needed so Eric could execute them in front of Felipe – ensuring the most pain as possible. Eric spent some time with each child ensuring Felipe felt the sting of each death and he shared his task with any who stepped up – and several did. By the end, he could see and finally hear that Felipe was in agony from the loss of so many children at once. “So your final lesson, lesson five is really not for you. It’s for anyone who thinks they can fuck we me and mine. You were never going to win, you were never going to impregnate her or keep her. She’s my bonded, she’s my family, she’s MY wife, and this,” his hands went to cover the bulge, “is MY baby.” He moved to Felipe and gripped his head. “The lesson is . . . you try to take or hurt what is mine and you die.” With that he ripped Felipe’s head from his shoulders, slowly, and threw it to the side feeling great satisfaction at the act.
She stood and bowed her head. “Yes your majesty.” He felt her amusement at using the title and he smirked at her.
“Freyda is yours; you can kill her now or have her returned home.”
“Felipe wrote the contracts that he was the sole monarch. His death suffices.”
“I want to have her at home for some playtime.”
He nodded in acknowledgement. “Bill will be sent to Rasul so he can take vengeance against him for the injuries to his Cynthia, but when his lunatic maker, Lorena, is found I want her in Shreveport.” He paused. “It seems I’m neglecting our other guests. Bill, I believe I’m sending you to Rasul without fingers. I’ll temper my strength so I need to rip them slowly. That’s alright with you, I’m sure.”
“I think my collar would look especially fetching on Bill, don’t you think?”
“Yes, and I can’t believe I forgot to remove it.”
“No matter.” She said as he reached for it. “Make sure it’s a really SNUG fit please.”
He smirked at his wife and squeezed the collar around Bill’s much larger neck. After finishing his time with Bill he addressed Victor. “Victor also needs to be transported to Louisiana for further . . . fun and games.” He turned to Sookie. “I promised Thalia I would leave her something.”
“Well, you can’t break a promise to Thalia.” She looked around the room for one other foe she definitely wanted to have punished. “Where is our dear Yvetta?”
Hoyt moved to the donor room and came back dragging a bound and gagged Yvetta. “Got her right here Sookie. Eric asked me to hold onto this one.”
“Well thank you Hoyt. Eric, can you transport her with the others to Louisiana?”
“Yes dear.” The room chuckled at their banter.
Sookie was putting on a good show and Eric knew it was just that: A show. Her emotions were all over the place, even while her face displayed a pleasant smile. Only a few more tasks for the night and they could retire and deal with the remaining issues tomorrow night. With Felipe dead, he was free to make his claim. Standing next to Sookie as she was back seated in the throne he declared, “I, Eric Northman, and my WIFE, Sookie Northman, hereby claim the throne of the Southwest and newly acquired Louisiana and Arkansas territories. If you live in these territories, you will pledge fealty to US or die.” He had no intention of keeping all the states. Per an agreement with Stan and Benito, they would share the territories via newly drawn contracts to be signed as quickly as possible. The claiming was required protocol since he killed the king. Sookie kept her mouth shut. She was human; no vampire would accept her but they would deal with that later. About a third of the room dropped to their knees to pledge, the rest were from other states there for the party or to fight with Eric.
Once they rose Eric addressed the fighters. “I thank my friends and allies for making this victory possible. Alcide has assured me he has secure rooms for everyone’s rest this day. . . “
“ERIC, I mean your majesty.”
“Eric is fine Hoyt. What’s the problem?”
“The farmhouse was attacked. I sent Jase a text a short while ago telling him everyone was OK. He just replied – seems Potts couldn’t get to Alcide and Thalia’s been trying as well.”
“FUCK, Eric I’m sorry, I lost my phone when I shifted.”
“Alcide! Get Potts on the line now!”
Alcide grabbed a phone that was handed to him and dialed while walking to Eric. Potts answered and Alcide dove right into the conversation. “You’re on speaker. What’s going on?”
“We were attacked about 20 minutes ago. I guess Felipe started suspecting some problems at the palace and he deployed Lorena with several fighters and a witch to the farmhouse. Turns out the witch was the one who spelled Sookie’s soup to cause the miscarriage. Anyway, Lorena ordered the witch to take the ward down. She was pretty powerful and as a result, got some cracks in the perimeter. Amelia was working hard to repair the cracks from the inside and prevent any further problems. This all happened very quickly Eric. Remy and Jason started moving everyone to the tunnels per your instructions. Hunter was scared so he was clinging to Remy and he saw . . . Eric, the witch poked enough holes in the ward for Lorena and one fighter with a gun to get through before Amelia could seal the hole. I took the witch down with a fireball but before Thalia could capture Lorena and her fighter, Remy was shot. He died standing in front of Hunter as a block against the bullets. Hunter saw everything.” Sookie’s grip on Eric increased in strength as she took in the words. Her little man was going to struggle with this outcome. Now, she realized, he could truly live with Eric and Sookie. That was something she knew he wanted, but she also knew he would never have wanted Remy dead to have that occur.
Eric growled, “Where is he now?” Potts knew exactly who HE was.
“I called Ludwig for the dose and gave him one of Gran’s shots. He’s out now, but he was hysterical and crying for you.”
Eric turned to the fairy prince. “Niall, can we use some of your men to transport some folks back to the farmhouse and return with Hunter and Potts? Hunter will need Sookie and me right now.” Niall agreed. Eric barked to the phone. “Potts, pack for you and Hunter – just a few things for a day or two. Tell Toni to pack for her and Celia.”
Niall nodded to his men and Eric selected Hoyt, Andy, Catfish, and Dr. Finard to leave Vegas. “Return with Potts, Hunter, Toni and Celia please. Mr. Reynolds, I’ll need your help with Hunter, can you go with the fairies and wait for him in the courtyard?” Lala acknowledged with a nod.
The head of the Royal Guard bowed to Eric before he and two of his soldiers left with their passengers to teleport from the closest courtyard. Before they left, Hoyt and crew waved to Sookie. They each wanted to give her a hug but they recalled the words of warning from Stan just before the fight: That Eric would be overly protective of Sookie for a while, and anything – even an innocent hug – could set him off.
“Before they return, Stan, Benito, Desmond, can we take care of our business?”
The Ancient Pythoness addressed Eric. “What business?” She knew damn well what business and how she wanted this night to end; she just needed to be sure his plans were in synch with hers.
“We are doing some reorganization of the states.” His answer was cool and several in the room expected some kind of backlash and were surprised when she calmly replied.
“I would be interested in your planning and I have some requests for several in this room as well.”
‘FINALLY!’ Godric thought. ‘We are going to hear what this all was about.’ He approached the table where some maps and contracts had been placed. “Your Grace, would you care to enlighten us with your thoughts?” He kept his finally to himself out of respect due to the room of vampires.
“I will. Let’s see how the states look.”
Eric summarized their plans:
*Benito will add Arizona to his territory.
*Stan will take Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Kansas
*I will take Louisiana and Texas
*Russell has already taken New England and as a result,
*Godric was given Mississippi with Toni taking Kentucky – though that is not ratified yet.”
“What of Tennessee? It’s mostly Were so there isn’t a vampire monarch right now. You also haven’t mentioned Arkansas or Oklahoma.” The Ancient Pythoness asked with a smirk.
“Since it appears you know my plan already, I’ll just ask the candidates directly even though I had planned to discuss it with them in private. Here comes Potts now.”
She walked in and stood by Alcide. “Lala took Hunter to Sookie’s room, he’s still out.”
“Well good timing since I have something to ask you both.”
“I apologize for the audience, but it seems I have no choice.” His words were directed at Alcide and Potts, but his angry gaze was on the Ancient Pythoness. “Potts, I’d like you to take Oklahoma and Alcide you should take Arkansas. We’ll transition them over the next six months so you can settle in.”
“WHAT? We aren’t vampires.”
“I actually knew that Alcide, but isn’t it time we moved beyond that? What of Odair? Your Grace, you’re here, can’t you confirm these appointments? Does anyone in the room disagree?”
“I will confirm them now. Your map is approved with the following additions:
*Packmaster Reynaldo of the Wall pack in South Dakota will take Idaho and the Northern Rocky Mountain region: The Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska. These states are predominately Were horses, and his leadership makes the most sense. The current monarch will be returning to Europe to assist me with some territory changes as well.
*Packmaster Karl Moreland will take over Tennessee, again a predominantly Were state.
*Elena Ulanov will remain in place for the mid-Atlantic region: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.”
Eric started again, “So that covers the US. Do we need contracts for these appointments?”
“I have more requests tonight, but Desmond, can you prepare one listing all these with signatures for everyone. We will sign them tomorrow at first dark.”
“Yes your grace.”
“So the next business is something that has been needed since before the reveal.” She moved to stand near Sookie who was again back in the throne. “Can you guess what that is Sookie?”
“A council of some sort that will enforce the laws you already set for yourselves.”
“Yes, a council representing all supernaturals. All monarchs except King Reynaldo and Karl Moreland are here. Niall, would you please have a fairy collect them so we can conduct our business with everyone present? My handmaiden will call to explain.”
Niall was still seething about something, but his prize: A seat for his son on the council was still not confirmed so he agreed. “Yes Pythia.”
“So while we wait, let me tell you the appointments:
*Russell Edgington will represent vampires; Stan Davis is your second.
*Odair Braguini will represent Weres and all shifters; Martin Reynaldo is your second
*Jason Burke will represent Daemons – He is from Russell’s new territory. I will notify him to be here tomorrow evening, Desmond Cataliades is his second.
*Claude Brigant will represent Fae – including elves; Claudette Brigant is your second.
*Octavia Fant will represent witches; Amelia Broadway is your second.
*Sookie Northman will represent humans; Barry Horowitz is your second.
*Godric will lead the council; Eric Northman is your second.
*The Northman family will be the face of Supernaturals to the general public.”
In terms of hierarchy, all kings and queens report to the council and the council members report to my son, Godric, and his second, Eric.
There were some murmurs as she finished the list and Godric was the first to speak out. “How you have made these selections?”
“Right now I am the only authority – globally for vampires and sometimes all supernatural. Many of us know this is not working. We also have monarchies that blatantly disregarded the rules the reveal council put together. I cannot oversee the world. I hand selected the US council and will do so around the world region by region. Once everything is up and running, we can discuss other ways of selecting seats. For now, we must secure the supernaturals, ensuring we follow our own rules; then we can inform humans of our council. Until then, we need to be focused on better relations with humans. Eric and Sookie, this will be your focus in addition to your other duties. You will be the supernatural ‘spokesfamily’ to the world.” Before she could elaborate on that, Packmasters Reynaldo and Moreland entered the room. “Ah, Packmasters let me explain further why you are here.” The Ancient Pythoness explained the restructuring of the states and their promotions while the rest of the room talked about the appointments.
While she was occupied with Reynaldo, Sookie whispered to her husband. “Eric, I’m going to be part of this council and working on human relations?”
“You don’t need to be.”
“I’m not human.”
“You’re mostly human, and you can certainly represent humans.”
“But our family. . .”
“Which is why you don’t need to accept.”
“She does my grandchild.”
Eric held back his tone as much as possible when he replied. “I’m certain we’ve made it clear that we won’t blindly follow your orders any longer.” Many in the room gasped at his comment; nobody disobeyed the Ancient Pythoness.
“I am not ordering this; she needs to accept because we need her, you – both of you actually. This U.S. council is just the beginning of a plan for coexistence; the long term goal is a global council that encompasses human representatives that the human population acknowledges. We all know that Sookie is our best hope for bridging the supernatural and human worlds. Supernaturals of all types risked their own lives to rescue her: Vampires, two natured, witches, elves, and fairies. She already had favors and friends of pack status in multiple states. If all that wasn’t compelling enough; she took out one of the most evil vampires ever made. She demonstrates acceptance – who else would we want on the council. As for the two of you? What other human and vampire have such a relationship – have a family? Can you not see the impact your family will have on human and supernatural relations as our ambassadors and spokespeople?”
Eric cut her off. “That’s why you allowed all this: The captivity and failed miscarriage. Isn’t it?
“I needed you to pull many supernaturals together for this, yes. Sookie needed to kill Appius to give her credibility with humans of her commitment for justice and it doesn’t hurt her standing with supernaturals.”
“But I didn’t kill him alone.”
“No. You had help from your human friends did you not?” Sookie’s eyes grew wide as she took in the information. “I can see I have given you enough for now. We can reconvene tomorrow to discuss this; I ask that you consider my words and have an answer by then.” She turned to the room. “I suggest you enjoy the party that Freyda and Felipe had planned. The night is very young.” With her final words, she left the palace and teleported away.
Godric approached Sookie, still a bit in shock over the night’s events. “Sookie, I am certain that was a great deal of information for you to take in, especially after the night you have had. You and Eric should go and relax for a while. We can straighten up this room and reset the party.” He opened his arms. “We shall reconvene for our celebration at 2AM.”
Niall stopped them. “Eric, Sookie can we meet before you leave for a while?”
Eric had already lifted Sookie into his arms. “No Niall. You planned to stay here today anyway – whatever you have to say can wait.”
Niall grew angry. “I brought the fighters you requested, I am only asking for a few minutes of your and my granddaughter’s time.”
“And we very much appreciate it. If you really considered her to be kin, you would give her the time she needs now. I can’t promise you we’ll be back tonight; if we aren’t we can meet tomorrow.”
“I will seek Sookie out during your daydeath.”
Eric’s face grew dangerous. “Absolutely not. Do not attempt to see her during the day. She’s not leaving our chamber.”
Ignoring the glare from Niall, Alcide approached them. “The entire palace has underground rooms. I’ve got a suite ready for you. Hunter was moved to one of the bedrooms in the suite and Lala is sitting with him in case.” He gestured with his hands. “I’ll lead you down.”
Eric carried Sookie to the room, asking security questions on the way. “There is enough of our security for the day?”
“We’re putting most of the vampires in a few rooms where we can concentrate the resources. I’ll be outside your door as will Potts and that’s in addition to the regular patrols until Glad and Diantha take over. They’ll be able to help in case Sookie needs anything. You’re covered.”
“Thanks for this – but you do realize you aren’t guards anymore.”
“Yeah, until she’s home safely, I’ll ignore that comment.”
“It’s only a problem for one night. We have a bit of business tomorrow evening then we head home.”
“Business like how you set me up to take a state?”
“Well, I didn’t intend for you to learn about it quite that way and her Grace has already approved, so I think it’s a done deal – but we’ll discuss it further tomorrow.”
“Oh we will old man. For now though, we’re at your suite. Sookie, Potts brought you some clothes.”
“Yeah, real ones. It’s good to see you Sweets.”
“Thank you Alcide. We’ll try to come back before dawn. ”
As they entered the room he suggested their first steps. “Min älskade, I’d like to start with a bath. I know we have much to discuss but I want to just hold you now.”
“I want that too. Can we just peek in on Hunter first?” They both knew Hunter needed to be discussed, but they also both knew it was likely a formality to discuss it: They would be raising the boy now.
They tiptoed into the room and whispered to Lala. “Hi there.” Eric put her down and she moved to hug her friend giving Eric a moment with the boy he would now claim as his son.
“Hey Sookie, he’s still out. You’re going to your room?”
“We are. Just knock on the door if he wakes. He’ll need us.”
Sookie watched as Eric squatted at the side of the bed to look at Hunter’s face and gently place his hand on the child’s back. Eric’s concern and caring for the boy was evident and she had to catch the sob that nearly escaped from her mouth. With the bond fully open, he felt her and looked up. “He’s been crying. I can’t imagine the pain he’s going through; seeing his father die for him.”
He stood and she wrapped her arms around him. “We’ll get him through it. Maybe a witch can help glamour the details away?”
“I’ll have Octavia look into that.” He turned one more time to look at Hunter; then took Sookie’s hand to leave the room.
She stopped him before they walked out the door and turned back to her friend. “Hey Lala?”
“Thanks for being here.”
“You’s my girl.”
In their temporary room, Eric started a bath and undressed both of them. Sookie rinsed quickly in the shower to remove any further traces of silver then she moved to the tub with Eric. They simply sat quietly with her back to his chest. Eric was waiting. While she had a short cry right after Appius died, Sookie had held herself together after the fight and he was sure she was going to lose it. It didn’t take long before she spun around, tightened her hold and finally let go. Her words just came out as she thought them, no logic all feeling. “It was so long Eric, so long without you. I gave up hope many times. Bill yanked me everywhere. They beat Ha . . . Hadley in front of me many nights, until finally she stopped showing up. Then I worried about where she was or is. I was so scared for Roo – ever . . . every day he was getting bigger. The things Felipe did to people – right there in court were something out of a horror movie. I thought you’d never come. I was always so cold, it was so cold. . . ” She went on for a while, letting out anger, sharing tidbits of her nights at the palace. He blamed himself, taking on each hurt as a personal failure on his part. That wasn’t Sookie’s intention, but he couldn’t stop feeling like he’d failed her. Finally, she stopped talking and she was horrified by what she felt. “ERIC! I was venting, not blaming. I can’t finally get you back and now have a wall between us of guilt and shame. I love you; I just haven’t been permitted to say anything about my captivity. Please, let me speak freely about it without your taking the blame personally, I beg you. I’m sorry I made you feel this way.”
“There is no wall; I AM guilty for being a vampire, for not strategizing, for keeping my child safe instead of running.”
“DON’T EVEN! We both chose to stay in Louisiana for Pam. I would never leave any of your people behind so I could hide.”
“We will get through this. I want you to share whatever you want to share, with me, with Pam, Gran whoever will help you. I WILL feel guilty and that will diminish as will your anger. For tonight, we both must allow each other our honest feelings without making them into a wall.” He took her face into both of his hands. “Please?”
“OK, we feel what we feel.” She sent him love and thankfulness which he returned.
They clung to each other with the love flowing between them until Eric couldn’t hold back anymore. “Sookie, I need to exchange with you, I know we each had a little but I need more. I need it so badly it hurts, can we please . . .”
“You don’t need to ask, I need it too. How do you want me?”
“I don’t have a blade right here, so I’ll turn you and give you my wrist and then bite your neck.” He paused for a moment and she could feel his apprehension. “What is it Sweetie?”
“I will likely enjoy the exchange and I’m sorry, you’re probably not ready for anything like that.”
“You let me decide when I’m ready. I want to enjoy the exchange too. I’ve only had a handful of hugs for weeks. I’m craving physical contact right now.” She turned around in his lap and grabbed one of his hands to pet her lower lips. “Help me enjoy it too my king.”
He laughed at her sudden eagerness and pulled her even tighter to his chest, causing some friction to his cock that had swollen at her actions. Sookie heard the familiar crunch and eagerly latched onto the bloody wrist in front of her. He’d only stroked her for a moment before he bit and she came right away. When his wrist healed, she spun around again and lowered herself onto him. He groaned at the contact and her eyes rolled back in pleasure. Frankly, she didn’t think she’d be ready for this, but once Eric mentioned enjoying the exchange she was filled with her own lust and it she was enjoying it dammit!
When they started kissing, their movements became even more frenzied and messy. By the time they had both reached very happy endings, most of the water was out of the tub and they laughed. It felt so good to laugh that it became contagious and they walked into the bedroom both feeling much better. “So min kära, are we joining the celebration?”
“Umm, maybe after we check out the bed?” She did her innocent look: Lip biting and foot twirling. That got Eric EVERY time and his cock rose to the occasion. This time he decided to love every inch of his wife, including a stop at her baby bump for some Roo time, before entering her and moving at a slow pace that drove Sookie to the edge many times before pushing her over.
As they snuggled for a few minutes before getting dressed, Sookie asked him his thoughts on her hair. Honestly, he hadn’t thought about it so he was unsure how to respond. “I can feel you’re struggling with your answer, just say what’s on your mind.”
“I received your hair in a package and spiraled out of control a bit. I scared Pam with my despair but she was very wise that night. She told me it was just hair and like my fingers, it would grow back. That in the scheme of things, it really didn’t matter.” He ran his fingers over her hair, mostly about 2 inches long at that point. “She told me to feed you full of my blood to speed up the re-growth – and I will do that – but I think I’ll just call you pixie or Tinkerbell for now.”
“Just don’t be surprised if I blast you with fairy dust from my wand then.” She smiled for a moment but the mention of a children’s character had her thinking of her little man. “What about Hunter? How are we going to help him?”
“We will love him and raise him. He will miss Remy but we’ll get him through it.”
“You two became even closer while I was gone, didn’t you?”
“Yes. We helped each other. We both slept in your room. We’ll have to figure that out since I want to do bad things to you in our bed min älskade.”
“Yes, we’ll figure that out, go slowly to transition him. I mean, the boy knows about sex, it’s not something you can keep from a telepath, but we aren’t having sex in the same bed with Hunter.” She played with his fingers for a moment. “Eric.”
“Yes my love.”
“I know we’re going to be busy, but can we go to our Shreveport home, just you, Hunter and I for a few days?”
“Yes guards, but I mean, in the home, just us.”
“I will make that happen, though you need to spend some time with Gran before we do that.”
“I will. Maybe we can do a funeral for Remy then go.”
She felt a burst of regret from him then he started speaking. “There’s something else we need to do, or rather, someone else we need to bury Sookie.” He took a quick breath. “It’s Quinn. He was killed when he and Alcide did a run of the perimeter. Alcide got him to Ludwig quickly, but it was too late, I received a text a short while ago.”
She cried for her spy friend as Eric suspected she would. “Eric, he kept me sane many days. He risked everything for us and died. I’ll never be able to replace what Frannie lost today.”
“No, but I guess we have another orphan to take in.”
“More like a younger sister, but yes we’ll take Frannie. I won’t leave her alone, not after everything she’s done; everything she’s been through.”
They were quiet for a few minutes and finally Eric spoke when he felt Sookie’s emotions settle. “Well Sookie, my Queen, we’ve checked out the bed, are we going to the party? Or we can just stay here – this is YOUR choice.” He wanted to make that clear since nothing in the past few weeks had been her choice at all. They would have obligations but outside that, she would choose everything for as long as it took her to feel safe, secure and loved again.
“Queen – pfft.” She waved her arm around. “We’ll talk about THAT later. The party? I want to go – can we check on Frannie before?” He nodded. “When we get to the party I want to thank everyone. Can I hug them?”
“Yes. I can handle that I think.”
“I do want to meet my Great Grandfather too.”
“Well, that could become unpleasant Sookie.”
“How do you mean?”
“I am unsure about something and fearful of why he was so upset that you did NOT lose Roo.” When he said that last part, he moved to kiss the baby again.
“You think he WANTED me to lose my baby?”
“If you had lost Roo, whose babies would you be carrying now?”
She was quiet for a moment and when her eyes widened, he knew she got it. “Barry’s. He’s a fairy.”
“Yes. Babies that would be at least 1/8th fairy as you are. He was also quite adamant about his Royal Guard army only being ready this week; ironically just after you announced your pregnancy to Felipe.”
“Well, so much for wanting to get to know my kin.”
“Fairies are more focused on positioning, strategy, and goals than family. This is just that reality hitting us in the face.”
“I want to know if what you believe is the case – I want to confront him.”
“Then we’ll do that.” He stood first then put a hand out to help her. “First we need to get dressed. Alcide said you had clothes here, let’s hope he had mine delivered as well.”
“Whatcha gonna do without your best friend in Louisiana now that he’s running Arkansas?”
Eric didn’t bother to deny the friend comment and answered her from the closet where he was searching for clothes. “I’ll have to get by on phone calls and video conference I suppose. I’ve selfishly purchased a plot of land just north of the Louisiana/Arkansas border for them to build on though. We can get there in an hour if we fly our plane. The property is large enough for us to land.”
“Our plane huh?”
“It was Sophie-Anne’s, I didn’t buy anything.”
“But the drive to the Shreveport airfield is an hour.”
With a sheepish look on his face, he peeked out from the closet to inform Sookie, “I may have built a private airfield right outside Bon Temps.”
“Merlotte may be almost finished with his new light tight hotel in town?”
“We have lots to discuss. Seven weeks without my holding you back? God only knows what else you’ve purchased or done.”
“Nag me later dear. I found a gown, underwear and jeweled flats for you and I did find a suit here for me. Let’s get to the party.”
“It must be really bad if you’re trying to distract me with underwear, but I’ve been denied that luxury for so long it worked. We’ll talk about what you did in Bon Temps later but if that’s a thong in your hands, all bets are off and I’ll be kicking someone’s ass for packing one.”
They discovered Frannie was asleep when they stopped by her room, so Sookie decided to check on her during the day when she could. Eric had arranged for a guard outside her room so Sam could join the party and they asked the new guard to contact them when Frannie woke.
As they walked into the throne room, about a third of the room bowed as they entered and Sookie whispered to Eric, “That’s gonna get old.”
“Get used to it, my Queen.”
“Why did so many bow? Most are from states you don’t rule.”
“Until Desmond produces the contract for us to sign, I still have all of Felipe’s territories officially. Vampires are big on protocol and contracts.”
“Except Felipe and his insane maker.”
“Yes, except them.”
As Eric had approved, she hugged each person that helped with the fighting, giving extra thanks to Stan, Benito, Kat, Odair, Antonia, Russell and Bart. These monarchs risked their entire territories to take up a fight against Felipe and she was truly touched. It would take many weeks of storytelling for Sookie to get caught up on their meetings and involvement, but she looked forward to speaking with all of them as they wove their new work and monarch responsibilities with their friends. Sam was there and after Eric explained how he’d arrived and what he’d done for the fight, she took a moment to thank her dear friend for protecting Frannie. “She’s very special to me. You’ll be seeing her more since she’s coming home with us – well if she’ll have us.”
“I think she’ll be a great addition to your family and the town Sookie.”
Godric was next to greet them with Toni attached to his side and she cried in thanks for her Papa’s help. “I know you helped with more than just your blade. Eric needed a strong father, and you were there for him. Thank you.” She reached for Toni next. “I’m glad you’re OK from the ordeal in Boston. Godric would never have been the same if he lost you.”
“Sookie, you never cease to amaze me. If I were you, I’d be hiding in my room right now, trying to get over my ordeal. Yet, here you are being gracious just like, well just like a Queen would be.”
“Lord, everyone get off the Queen talk. I just want to go home and have some chocolate cake and fried chicken. I’m no Queen.”
They laughed for a moment until Eric felt Sookie stiffen. From the corner of her eye, she saw Niall and was not looking forward to what happened next. She wanted to know the truth, and at the same time, she DIDN’T want to know the truth. Standing tall next to her husband, the King, she let him lead.
“Niall, you wanted to speak to us.”
“Yes. First I wanted to officially meet my Great Granddaughter.” He leaned in and gave Sookie a hug. Sookie couldn’t help but respond; there was something soothing about being close to him. “I also have my son Claude with me, and I thought Sookie would like to meet a cousin.”
“Hello Claude.” Sookie also gave him a hug and that same warm feeling was there. “It’s nice to meet more family. We should get you to Bon Temps so you can meet my brother.”
Niall’s face showed a bit of disdain and he responded. “There’s no need for that. Jason doesn’t have the spark; he’s worthless to me as kin.”
Niall’s words were so harsh; Sookie couldn’t even think of a response for a moment. Finally she spoke up. “I’m sorry you feel that way Niall. I’d like to discuss your inappropriate feelings on this at some other time. I admit that statement gives me pause over wanting to get to know you, even if I am curious about my other family and this spark thing.”
“I’m sorry great granddaughter. As the Prince of Fae I need to prioritize my life for the benefit of all my people. I’ll endeavor to remember you don’t think that way going forward. On this I will concede to your point of view and take the time to meet Jason. As for the spark, it is your fairy essence or magic – for a hybrid you’re unique with the strength of your spark.” Niall needed to win Sookie over and quickly. She might still be carrying this ‘Roo’ but perhaps he could convince her to mate with Barry or a full fairy at some point. “I do have gifts for you, well for both of you actually. I hope you will accept them.”
“Gifts are not needed Niall.”
“First, I would be honored if you would call me Great Grandfather, please. As for the gifts, well, you may reconsider in this case. Can we move to a meeting room?” Sookie lead them to the closest meeting room – her ‘favorite’, meeting room 2, and they settled in. “First, at the request of the Ancient Pythoness, I have had our top fertility specialist in Fae create sperm for you that uses your husband’s DNA. I know you’re still having your baby right now, but this sperm is in stasis and can be used for a future pregnancy.” He handed her a box that contained the sperm, at least she figured that’s what was in the box.
“I don’t understand. How do you have Eric’s DNA and how did you create sperm with it?”
“How we have it is simple. Her Grace provided me with a knife coated with your husband’s blood. It was the knife intended for you but he jumped in front of it.” Sookie still appeared confused. “At the trial during the Summit?”
“I know when you mean. I’m not misunderstanding, I’m just stunned.”
“How we created it? Well, you may be aware of our extreme fertility issues. We have focused all of our scientific resources and people on fertility. They are really quite accomplished with their work and creating this sperm was standard work for them.”
“We’ll take this gift and consider it. I’m sure Dr. Ludwig or Harold can hold onto it for us. Thank you.” Turning to look at Eric for a reaction she found nothing. His face was blank and the bond was actually empty – Eric was so stunned he shut it down for the moment.
Claude handed Niall another box and he in turn handed it to Sookie. “This contains a dozen vials of pure fairy blood. This is for your husband to drink. It will enable him to . . .”
Eric interrupted. “Daywalk? The rumors I’ve heard over the years are true?”
“They are. I thought you could save them for Sookie’s labor if that happens during the day, or some other occasion. I will promise you a dozen each year you are with my great granddaughter and I’m in a position to provide it. You can share this with your child and sire, but I ask that you keep the blood in the family.”
“Thank you Great Grandfather. I think you’ve stunned my husband so I’ll thank you for him as well.” Sookie grabbed Eric’s hand and squeezed it, taking him from his stupor. She wanted to turn the conversation a bit and needed him. “While we appreciate these gifts, I do have something that somewhat concerns me. We have some questions for you.”
“Eric, can you lead this conversation?”
“Yes Sookie.” He focused on Niall. “Forgive me for this conversation, but several thoughts occurred to me while we were all talking earlier. I am unsure how to ask . . .”
“Spit it out Northman.”
“You seemed quite upset that Sookie was still pregnant.” His stare at the fairy was intense as he continued. “Were you wanting for her to become pregnant with Barry’s sperm? Some fairy breeding?”
He had the decency to look guilty. “It’s not what you think Sookie. I hadn’t planned to take the children. There aren’t that many hybrids on earth and this was an opportunity for more.” Eric could feel Sookie’s hurt through the bond and he reached to pull her closer.
Eric was angry at his wife’s hurt and he spat out, “And what of Breandan? Shouldn’t you concern yourself with cleaning up the problems in your realm?”
“Breandan is no longer a threat.”
“Part of my delay in preparing the army was realizing that if I truly wanted to protect the fae/human hybrids I needed to end him. We worked quickly and took out the threat.”
“A threat that has been in place for decades, you ended in weeks?”
“Eric, it wasn’t a problem of how to take him out, it was answering IF I should take him out. We have a huge population issue. I can’t kill fairies indiscriminately. To take out Breandan, I needed to take out several dozen of his followers – full blooded fairies. It came down to Sookie’s spark. It’s stronger than many full blooded fairies so that put the decision on the side of killing the threats. There are a few of his followers we are still rounding up but with Breandan gone the risk is minimal.”
Eric shook his head. He would never understand the fairy mind, but he moved on. “Well, I’m happy that threat is over. Your comment though – part of the reason for the delay in your army was because you were waiting for Sookie to become pregnant with Barry’s sperm. Wasn’t it?”
Again, he had the decency to look guilty. This news actually gave him a stab of pain that he knew was from Sookie. She wouldn’t be able to let that one go.
“Niall. You willingly, knowingly kept me here on the hopes that I would give birth to more hybrids?” She had to choke back a sob that started to escape. Sucking in more air, she continued. “I appreciate that you want to get to know me, and I even offered to have you meet Jason, but after that information? I think I need time before I can see you again.”
“Sookie, you don’t understand. I was assured you would not be hurt and I have an entire species for which I am responsible.”
“Do I look unharmed to you? I’m not talking about bruises Niall. I’ll need time.”
“Sookie, sure they cut your hair. I’ll have a serum delivered to you – it will grow your hair immediately when you drink it.”
Eric could feel that Sookie was shutting down from the conversation so he wanted to end it. “Niall, it appears that we have different definitions of hurt. We appreciate the serum, the sperm and the blood, but I do ask that you give Sookie the time she has requested. Before we head back to the party though, I can’t help feeling concerned that you were willing to have Sookie feel pain just to have more fairy hybrids in the human realm. Is there anything about the sperm you just gave us that we should know?”
“You can have Ludwig test it, there’s nothing fairy about it. It’s essentially what you would produce if your sperm were live.”
“We will test it. For now, we haven’t really spoken about more children. After tonight we’re taking in two orphans and Roo will be here in about 22 weeks. Your gift will go into stasis as you mentioned until we decide.”
“I understand.” He said aloud, but he fully intended to convince Sookie to breed. Her spark was too strong to waste. “Now, we’ve hidden your Queen, the guest of honor tonight, away from the celebration for long enough. Perhaps we should join everyone?”
Sookie and Eric left the meeting room while Niall and Claude stayed behind. She was heartened to hear Claude start yelling at Niall about not understanding what he helped to put her through. Perhaps there was hope for her and her fairy cousins.
They had made one round in the room greeting the guests before they heard some crying in the hallway. It was Lala carrying Hunter; he’d woken and wanted Eric. Having recognized it was Hunter; Eric vamped quickly to the boy before Lala even made it to the room. He gathered him up and moved back to Sookie’s side. Being with Eric and seeing Sookie had quieted Hunter immediately, but Eric continued to soothe the boy as he was still visibly upset and crying silent tears. This was a side to Eric that most vampires had never seen – a caring emotional man. Since he was the ruler to many of the vampires in the room, Sookie was concerned. “Should we go back to our suite Eric?”
“Yes, but we’re leaving only so we can focus on Hunter. Sookie, I don’t intend to hide my family from the vampire world. In fact, I should officially close the party and introduce him.” He moved to the dais still holding Hunter in one arm with the other arm banded around Sookie’s waist. “As a final good evening, I thank everyone again for your assistance tonight. Tomorrow evening, we will reconvene at first dark and make the state monarchy changes we discussed earlier official. Feel free to stay and enjoy the festivities but my wife and son, Hunter, are going to retire for the day.” Again, a group of vampires bowed as Eric guided his family out of the room. Sookie was surprised to hear the word son and she heard from Hunter that he was relieved. Her little man had feared what was going to happen to him now that Remy was gone.
Once in their room, they sat together on the sofa in the common area with Hunter snuggled into Sookie. Hunter started. “Did you mean that Uncle Eric?”
“Mean what Hunter?”
“You called me son?”
Eric hadn’t heard Hunter’s thoughts so he was unsure if he had pressured or upset the boy. He backpedaled a bit. “Well, we want you to stay with us. I don’t plan to take your father’s place in your heart Hunter. He loved you and I know you loved him. But if you’ll have us, we’d like you to be ours – and you can call us whatever you want.”
“You aren’t going to make me go away?”
“Never. Is that what you thought?”
Instead of hearing Hunter’s answer, he heard Sookie gasp. “Hunter. You never wished your father dead. Don’t ever think that because you love Eric you wanted this to happen.” She turned to Eric with tears in her eyes. “He thought he should be punished by going to live at an orphanage because he wished he could live with us and he believed his thoughts killed Remy.”
Eric was heartbroken for the boy and reached for him. “Hunter, that won’t happen and you have NOTHING to be sorry or punished for. We all know you never wanted your Daddy dead.”
“Even if I sometimes wished you were my Daddy?”
“Hunter, I sometimes wished you were my son. That didn’t kill your father and neither did your thoughts. Some bad vampires that have since been” he struggled for a word, “Removed killed your father.”
“I know. I saw Thalia capture them and Potts burned the witch.” Sookie and Eric shared a look. That was also something he didn’t need to remember and Eric planned to call Octavia for help as soon as he could.
Quickly changing the subject off of Thalia’s actions, Eric asked. “So, do you want to stay with us and be a true big brother to Roo?”
He smiled. “I do. You’re so much bigger now Sookie. Can I feel the baby?”
“Sure can.” She leaned back and Hunter placed his hands on her belly.
“This is so cool. Have you felt any kicking yet?”
“Not yet, but any day now per Dr. Ludwig.”
There was a knock on the door and Eric rose to get it leaving Hunter with Sookie. “It’s Sam with Frannie, Eric. I’ll get it. She’s going to need me.”
“Of course.” He returned to the sofa and asked Hunter. “So Little Dude, are you ready to meet your new big sister?”
Well all – I can finally share now: Sookie originally lost Roo in my book. I even wrote it – but I could barely get through it to write it, then when I went to edit it – I was damn near hysterical so I had to rewrite some significant chapters and change up some ideas. The plan was for Finard to impregnate her – but that Ludwig would sneak in the ‘Eric DNA sperm’ instead of using Barry’s. I just decided that for my Eric, he’s doesn’t care if Roo is his DNA or not. And that’s the big secret I’ve been keeping for a long time now (though I think I leaked it someone in a reply to a review).