Chapter 69 – Here comes the sun
October 1, 2004
“So how do you want to do this Sweetie?”
“I don’t know honestly. I don’t know what the risk is min älskade.”
It was about 30 minutes before the sun was going to rise and Sookie, Eric, Hunter and Frannie were standing at the back deck at the Shreveport house. They left Bon Temps for a mini-vacation from life, as Frannie called it, the day after the funerals were over. Frannie was struggling with grief and guilt and honestly was being a little suffocated with all the people in the Bon Temps house all the time. Sookie agreed whole heartedly so they left for a few days away as Eric and Sookie had planned.
Frannie had an idea. “How about you drink the fairy blood, and Sookie and I are right here with blankets in case you need it. You should leave the doors to the house and the lower chamber open so you can run for it.”
“That’s a good plan, but we should move to the cottage, the distance from the sun to the chamber entrance is shorter.”
Three of the four started walking to the cottage and Eric looked back. Hunter was still on the deck appearing quite scared. He turned to his girls. “You go on and get some blankets out. I’ll see what’s bothering Hunter.”
“What’s going on Little Dude?”
“I can see that. What’s got you scared?”
“The sun hurting you.”
“We have a plan. I might get a little burnt but I won’t die.”
“Then why do it?”
“Hunter, it’s been 1000 years since I’ve seen the sun; I want to do this. I need to try it before Sookie has Roo so if she needs me during the day, I can be there.”
“How about this. I’ll drink the blood and stay in the house near the windows at first? You know, check it out.”
“And you’ll run before anything can happen?”
“Yes Hunter. I’ll run.”
The boy was visibly relaxing now so he asked. “If it works, are we really going in the pool?”
“Yes, I turned the pool heater up since its only going to be about 80 degrees outside today.”
“But really sunny.”
“Yes, really sunny. That’s why we picked today, remember?”
“We need to get moving if I’m going to do this safely from inside the house.” He put his arms out for Hunter and he jumped into them.
Another 15 minutes later and they all sat staring at Eric while he stood near the windows. At Hunter’s request, everyone moved a bit away from him so he could run quickly if needed. He didn’t. The first rays of sunshine entered the room and nothing happened. In a short while, direct sunlight was coming in the windows and Eric moved to put just a hand in. Sookie sucked in her breath as she watched the sunlight rise from his fingers and up his arm. He felt no burning, no pain, no desire to hide from it. The smile on her face shone brightly as he turned to her. “Sookie.” Was all he got out before he couldn’t even speak from the feelings coursing through him.
“I know Eric, I know. I can feel you ready to burst.” While still holding onto Frannie, She moved closer to touch the skin that was lightened by the sun. “I don’t feel any problems, do you?”
“None.” He smiled at Hunter, still a bit wary and off to the side and he beckoned him with his arms out. “Come here.” Hunter didn’t move from his spot so Eric decided to do something else. He was completely confident now in the fairy blood so he scooped up his boy and ran outside with him; Frannie and Sookie laughing behind them, both still holding the blankets in case. By the time the girls made it out, Eric was in the sky with Hunter and they were both laughing. They returned after circling the house twice and he grabbed Frannie next and took her up. She didn’t laugh right away; she was too afraid. “Open your eyes Frannie. I won’t drop you.”
When she did, she could see Hunter in Sookie’s arms and they were both smiling and waving. “OK, is that long enough for my first flight?”
Sensing she was still a little nervous, he gave in and returned them to the ground. On the way down, he asked, “Can you watch Hunter for a bit? I want to take Sookie for a little longer of a flight. Maybe you should both take a nap for a while if you can since I still want to swim and we will likely be up for a while when we return to Bon Temps tonight.”
As they landed, she offered, “Go, have fun but don’t let anyone catch you flying in the daylight.”
“I’m staying over the property to reduce that risk and even if anyone reported seeing something, who would believe it?”
As soon as he landed he turned to Sookie with a predatory look on his face and started stalking her. “Run my little Tinkerbell. I’ll give you 20 seconds head start; then I’m going to catch you.” He turned to look at Hunter and Frannie and grinned before yelling, “GO!”
She squealed and ran. By now the guards near the house, who had been warned about the daylight test, had stopped their patrol to watch the antics of their King and his Queen. Even Hunter and Frannie were laughing at the chase. As always, Eric moved at human speed for his pursuit but still caught Sookie quickly and zoomed right up into the sky with his prize. Hoping all would go well with the sunlight test, he had a prepared spot towards the back of the property for them with two guards patrolling close – but not THAT close. As they moved to a clearing in the trees Sookie saw something that looked like, “Is that a bed outside?”
“It’s just some really soft cushioning and blankets. I’m planning to make love to you in the sun min älskade. Frannie is staying with Hunter.” Her eyes darted around suspiciously and he guessed her concern. “There are guards somewhat close, but they can’t see us within these trees. Please?”
She smiled away her concern and walked him to the palette he’d prepared. “I’d like that too.”
They wound up kneeling in front of each other, just enjoying how the sunlight changed their hair and skin color. “I can’t want to see your full body blush in the sun.” Just the words had the blush starting from her forehead down.
“And I’m enjoying the sunlight in your hair. It’s always looked like gold to me, but now it shimmers too. I can’t wait to check out your ass in the sun.”
He chuckled, “Well, don’t let me keep you from that.” And stripped quickly for her and stood in the sun.
“Beautiful my King.”
“Your turn, my Queen. And he pulled her dress over her head.
She moved back from him to the other side of the palette. “Don’t you dare rip my underwear; we have to return home and look presentable.”
“You don’t think Hunter knows what’s going on?”
“Oh, I know he knows, but there’s being aware and KNOWING. Just like I believe my meat comes in plastic. I choose to ignore certain facts.”
“But your brother hunts.”
“Ask me anytime I’ve eaten something he showed me in its animal state.”
“You’re strange Sookie Northman.”
“Says the 1000 year old vampire with two children and one on the way.”
“Enough talking. Come here.”
“No, you come here.”
He growled and pounced. “I can’t decide what I want to do.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want to watch you come in the sunlight while being buried in you and part of me wants to watch the whole show first.”
“You want me to ah. . .”
“Make yourself cum. Yes.” He felt the lust in the bond drop instantly and it was replaced with shame. “Sookie?” As he watched, she turned away from his gaze and covered herself as best she could.
“I can’t do that right now Eric. I can’t have you just watching me being on display like that outside – anyone could see it.”
He understood immediately and was horrified he hadn’t thought his request through. “I’m sorry my Love.” He covered her body with his as he spoke. “I didn’t think about what I was asking. I would never share you with the guards – I did test if we could be seen but I realize I just asked for too much.”
“No, I’m sorry. This is your first day in the sun; it should be all about you. I just can’t be that” She struggled for the right word and found it. “Exposed.” The tears that had been pooling in her eyes finally spilled and it started full on crying. “I’m sorry. You got back a broken Sookie.”
“Sookie. You’re not broken. You are just as perfect as you’ve ever been. Anyone else who went through what you did would have broken. You. Never. Broke. I heard about some of your little digs at Felipe and the vamps in Vegas. Someone broken wouldn’t have had the strength to do what you did.”
“What did you hear?”
“UGH, they had a camera in my bathroom! One of the Weres who dropped off my clothes was thinking how excited he was about watching me! Disgusting.”
“Yes, but you had the option to shower at Finard’s.”
“I know, but they wanted me to shower so I got stubborn. As much as I wanted to shower as well I wasn’t backing down.”
“Same thing. He wanted it – but the Fucktard forgot I would need a razor for that. I heard from Quinn that the spa manager wanted to get me in there for pampering, so I pushed to get Felipe to think of the spa as an option.”
“You see, right? That’s not a broken woman Sookie.” She closed her eyes and started to shake her head in denial. With his hand, he gently turned her head to face him. “Sookie, open your eyes.” She complied. “You have some things you are working through, and I’ll be with you through every step but you are NOT BROKEN. We said goodbye to the pain the other night. Focus on that. And please, if I do something that bothers you – tell me. Can you promise me that?”
“I promise I’ll tell you.”
“Good. Now, do you want to head back?”
“But we didn’t. . .” She blushed without finishing. Thinking that sex was off the table, he was surprised by her comment.
“Sookie, we don’t need to if you’re not feeling up to it.”
“Right now, I’ll admit I don’t want sex to satisfy my horniness, I want to make love because I need to feel connected to you. There’s a difference.”
“I know. I do believe I can help you with that need min älskade.” Hoping to ease some of her exposed feelings, he grabbed the blanket she’d had in her hands when they took off from the house and pulled it over them; then proceeded to make love to his wife. Even though she’d been home for a few days, he still hadn’t eased all the hurt that their separation had caused. It was getting better but the time apart, knowing she was being harmed mentally, and not sharing blood had really cut him deeply and he knew she felt the same. Perhaps they both had ‘things’ to work through. For now though, he was enjoying each caress, the warmth and his favorite blush while she was in the sun. The blanket blocked some of the light but if it helped her, it didn’t matter. Niall had promised 12 vials of fairy blood a year. He’d get his wish some day.
For Sookie, the lovemaking was like a balm. When he’d asked for her to expose herself, she felt like she was falling off a cliff. She couldn’t stop the reaction and she knew as soon as Eric looked at her and called her name, he’d felt it too. Her only choice was to turn from him in shame. Shame because even though she hid it well, that’s what she felt some nights in Felipe’s outfits, and shame because she wasn’t able to grant Eric his wish. It was being outside in addition to the request that did it; she’d discuss that with her daemon counselor at some point. But now, he was looking into her eyes with love and reverence, worshipping her body and speaking the words of encouragement that she needed. He always knew what she needed. Instead of her usual screams, she came quietly, almost subdued but that didn’t stop the usual roar from Eric only seconds later. After they’d calmed for a few minutes she asked, “Do we have to go right back?”
“I think we can stay for a little while. I suggested that Frannie and Hunter take naps. You can sleep too min älskade. Get dressed first and I’ll carry you back in a little while.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
When they returned home Sookie almost sobbed at the sight in the den. Frannie and Hunter were cuddled together on the sofa; Frannie under a blanket. The air conditioner was on and they’d discovered that Frannie was just like Sookie: Always cold in the house. Eric had joked about buying men’s sleep socks by the case for his girls since Sookie turned her onto the practice. Their presence woke up the sleepers and they ate a quick lunch so they could head out to the pool as planned. The temperature could have been higher but the sun was bright with no clouds and the pool was heated. With his speed, Eric easily turned swimming into almost an amusement ride. Hunter delighted in holding onto Eric’s neck while he sped around the pool several times. After giving his son a joy ride, he then stayed in the shallow end working on his swimming skills. They’d had a few lessons before, but with the summer being interrupted by takeovers and other vampire politics, Eric didn’t get in nearly as much time with Hunter as he had planned at the beginning of the season. He was already planning the large pool in Bon Temps where he could make up for this summer as best he could next year.
Frannie and Sookie enjoyed time in the sun while they watched Eric and Hunter. Even after a week Eric noticed that Frannie still clung to Sookie; holding her hand even now as they sat in lounge chairs. Frannie was working through more than just the grief from Quinn’s death; as more came out from her time in the cells, he wanted to go back and torture all that were involved and bathe in their blood for his adopted child. He had to settle for now that her torturers were dead and he had the best daemon counselor he could find staying on the property. He’d convinced the psychologist (bribed her) to move in for as long as needed from her home in New York. She even drove out each day of their vacation to meet with everyone – well except for sun day.
The whole time they were outside Sookie would walk over an smear sunscreen onto Eric and Hunter every 20 minutes or so. When she’d done it for the fourth time, he glared at her and she stood firm. “Tell me how you plan to explain a tan or a sunburn Eric?”
He answered through gritted teeth, “FINE.”
Hunter just laughed at them, enjoying that Sookie won the argument with Eric. Once the sun was no longer directly over the yard, it started to cool too much for Frannie and Sookie so they decided to head inside and clean up for dinner.
Eric purposely gave Sookie the reason to take care of Hunter now. She’d had the momentary panic at being his mother the first night and he’d noticed that since then, she followed his lead on the boy’s routine. During the day she’d been on her own, but bedtime and baths had still included him. It wasn’t a matter that he didn’t want to care for the boy; he wanted her to grow in her confidence as his mother. To give her the needed opportunity, he told her, “I need to start dinner so I’m taking a really quick shower then heading to the kitchen.” He wasn’t blatant about what he was doing, but she realized quickly what needed to happen and reached for her little man. “OK, I’ll take care of Hunter while you cook. Thanks Sweetie.” They went upstairs to her old room, where Hunter was staying, and she started to fill the tub.
“Were you scared?”
She knew exactly what and when he meant. Lying wasn’t an option – he’d been too close to the situation the whole time, he deserved the truth. “I was. I had every faith that Eric was going to come get me, I wasn’t scared about that. I was scared for Roo though. You know I had those magic bracelets? They hid the baby.” He nodded while she approached to help him get out of the tangle he’d made out of his wet swimsuit. “Well, they didn’t arrive right away and I was afraid that someone would figure out I was pregnant.”
“I tried thinking to you every day.” He jumped into the tub and made a splash. The laughter covered her desire to cry and the water hid the few tears that she shed at that simple but touching statement.
“Hunter, you’ll never know what that means to me. Thank you.” He’d finished washing his body and asked her for help with his hair and she obliged. “Ok, you’re all clean. Are you staying to play in the tub or have you had enough of water today?”
“I can play while you get a shower Mommy.” He grabbed his tub toys as he spoke.
The layout of the bathroom would allow her to get her shower without being exposed, so she took up his offer; she knew Hunter wouldn’t care anyway – it was her own prudish thoughts that had her thinking it through. This was good anyway; Hunter was occupied and safe while she took care of her shower so she stepped in. Without realizing it, she started humming tunelessly from the shower stall and Hunter giggled. “What’s so funny out there little man?”
“Eric was right – you can’t carry a tune! I can’t believe I never noticed.” He cackled at her gasp even more.
From the hallway Eric was listening, just to check up on the two of them and he smiled. Sookie was going to be just fine with Hunter. He just needed to give them the opportunity. He wanted to listen as Sookie replied to the boy’s insult, but he had a dinner to cook.
A short while later, Frannie was showered and dressed heading downstairs. She was planning to start cooking dinner but stopped short of the entry to the kitchen. Eric was grinning widely while Frannie gawked at him. His cooking hadn’t come up yet, so she almost fell over seeing him peeling potatoes. “What are you doing?”
“Yes, I took lessons earlier this year so I could cook for Sookie.”
After another moment of gawking she replied. “You really are a weird vampire, you know that?”
“Weird but likable?” He cocked his head to the side.
She couldn’t help but giggle at him. “Yeah, likable. Do you want help?”
“I’m fine on my own, but you’re more than welcome if you want.”
“Sookie’s favorite, Ludwig thinks she can handle it.”
“FRIED CHICKEN?” Sookie came running into the kitchen having heard the conversation. She moved so quickly Hunter almost got dizzy since he was in her arms.
Both Frannie and Eric laughed at her enthusiasm. “Yes, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.”
“Gran baked a cake but it’s still in Bon Temps so you can have that later on after we’re sure dinner didn’t upset your stomach.”
“How long ‘til it’s ready?”
“About 45 minutes.”
“I’m going to work on some emails then.” She turned and walked to the den and set Hunter up with a book while she booted her laptop.
Frannie continued the conversation in the kitchen. “She just let’s you cook on your own?”
“I want to. We’ll need to get into a new routine but back when we were both working at Fangtasia; I cooked mostly on Sunday and Monday nights when we were home.”
Frannie just shook her head while she started prepping the beans. ‘It’s not bad with them at all, good even. I just wish I could feel happy without feeling bad about Quinn. But Margo has told me the guilt will diminish and I can accept the family I’ve been given. I love Sookie, so that part is easy. Hunter – well it’s cool to have a little brother. Eric was right, he’s four but he can be very comforting. I can’t believe we napped together. I offered to put him into his bed but he said he was so tired; it wouldn’t matter if I thought or dreamt. That leaves Eric.’ She paused from her thoughts and looked over as he was putting chicken into the hot pan; he looked at her and smiled ‘Eric, a vampire. A vampire that has agreed to take me in – willingly. Not just a roof, food and clothes thing but part of his family. For years I’ve been told and seen reasons to hate vampires. But that’s no longer the way I feel. Quinn and I were exposed to the worst vampires and it isn’t right to judge a whole species based on the Vegas assholes. Geez, I’m standing here COOKING next to a vampire.’
“What’s got you thinking so hard over there? Are the beans giving you trouble?”
“Nope, they’re all prepped. I was just thinking.”
She said nothing further for a few seconds so he followed up. “Anything in particular?”
“Us, the family I guess. Just thinking about how life has changed so much in a week.”
“Yes, and any time we’re pushing on your schedule or trying to do too much, tell us to slow down. Are things going well with Margo?”
“They are. It’s just not a pill I can take to stop feeling grief or guilt.”
“No, it’s not.” Wanting to change the subject from her grief, he brought up a text he’d received from Cataliades. “The legal paperwork has been filed. Sookie and I are your legal guardians, and Hunter’s adoption paperwork is in process.”
“That’s going to cause a stir. Your adopting Hunter I mean.”
“I’m sure it is. Until then, we have the legal guardianship so there’s nothing to worry about. We’ll likely need to use our spokesfamily endeavors to sway opinions towards us. It could take a while. The potential problems, is that what’s holding you back?”
She looked down. “I just need more time.”
“Fair enough.” He could see she really did need more time, so he changed topics. “Have you considered the Packsters club any further?” It was a club that Alcide suggested for Frannie. The Shreveport Were pack had a group just for the girls born into the pack that were not first born; those that would never shift. The group was the Pack Sisters or Packsters as it was called and it was a good place for the girls to be friends with others who knew about the Were life, but didn’t live it personally. The group was a combination of social opportunities and service to the community and Eric really hoped Frannie would consider joining.
“I don’t know. I’m . . . afraid.”
“Afraid? We’d be sending you with guards.”
“That’s not what I mean. Actually, that’s exactly what I mean. I’d be going to these social or community service functions with my own guards Eric. It’s not going to help me fit in.”
“I’m sorry Frannie. I can see your point, but I can’t let you go off without guards.” He didn’t really have an answer for her. There was no way she could be without guards. He’d at least find some female ones, but guards were part of her life. ‘Too bad I can’t get her invisible guards. Yes, yes I can!’ Now that he had an idea, he shared it. “Frannie, what if I was able to obtain invisible guards?”
“What?” She started laughing. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No. There is a race called the Britlingens and they are hired as guards. The Ancient Pythoness can summon them. They are quite fierce and in addition to superior fighting skills, they can become invisible. Would that be acceptable?”
“Don’t worry about that. I can cover the cost.”
“If you’re sure it’s not too much, I think that would be cool.”
“Then consider it done. I’ll start working on it right away.”
“This is great Eric. Thank . . .”
Sookie ran into the room and interrupted their conversation. “Eric, you left your phone in the den, your Papa is on the line.”
He put the phone on mute. “Did you tell him what we were up to today?”
“Nope, he asked me several times while we spoke though; wondering why he felt you awake already when he rose. I kept my mouth shut. Papa was not happy.”
His grin was wide as he put the phone on speaker and spoke to Godric. “Good evening Father.”
“You seem happy, yet you were up before me, that usually means something is wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong, I can assure you.”
“Are you going to tell me what has happened?”
“I never told you about the gifts from Niall.”
“Well, we have been busy. I am very curious now though.”
“Niall gave me the gift of the sun. Twelve days per year in the sun precisely. Today was my first time; my first vial of fairy blood. This will be especially handy when Sookie is ready to deliver Roo. Now I won’t miss it no matter when it happens.”
Godric was shocked to hear about Eric’s day. “I have heard the rumors about Fae blood, but I just cannot believe it is true and my own son spent the day in the sun!” Godric listened with joy and a bit of jealousy if he was honest.
“It is true. We flew in the sun, napped, and spent the afternoon in the pool. I plan to share the vials with you and Pam as well.”
“I ask for only one, maybe two and that relates to my news.”
“Now I’m curious.”
“Toni and I have decided to pledge and add to our family. It is the family part where I might ask for the blood. As far as the Pledging, we would like you both to be witnesses for us.”
Sookie beamed. “That’s great Papa. When will this happen?”
“And the family part?”
“We have agreed to add to the packs in our area through insemination with other pack members, but all parental rights will be ours.”
“That sounds like a good plan. Are you excited?”
“There are no words Sookie. I was never a father as a human, so this is truly new territory for me. We have a while to go though. This can take more than one try.”
“I know, but you can still be excited.”
After they spoke for a few more minutes, Eric declared that he had to finish cooking dinner which caused Godric to laugh and they agreed to speak once Eric was back to work in Bon Temps.
With everything plated, they all sat at the table to dig in, Eric with his goblet. Frannie was curious about the call. “So Godric is your maker, but you call him Father, and Sookie calls him Papa?”
He answered her question in terms of the current relationship and with just a comment about their prior years. “Over my 1000 years, our relationship has changed quite a bit. Now that I have Sookie and we decided to become a family, Godric and I have chosen to focus on our relationship as father and son. Sookie wanted to find a familial name for Godric and they chose Papa, though I believe Sookie’s first choice was Pop.”
“I couldn’t call him Dad and Father, as Eric calls him, is too stuffy. I want to have any of our children call him Pop-pop so I thought just Pop would be cute but he didn’t want to be named after soda.”
Frannie sniggered as she added. “Can’t say I blame him. Am I really supposed to call a 2000 year old vampire Pop-pop?”
“Yes, yes you are.”
“Mommy, why don’t you call him Dad?”
“I had a ‘Dad’ and I guess I just didn’t want to call someone else by that same name.”
“I get that.” Hunter was quiet while he kept eating, obviously thinking of something. Eric caught Sookie’s eye and she shook mouthed ‘later’.
Sookie was about to take another bite of her dinner when she dropped her fork suddenly, causing it to clang on the plate. Her hands went to her bulge. “Sookie,” Eric was next to her instantly. “What’s wrong?”
She was looking down at her bulge when he asked, so she raised her head. He panicked at seeing her tears. “The b. . . baby.”
“I’ll call Ludwig.”
“NO! I mean, no. I felt Roo. I just felt Roo for the first time.” She smiled through her tears and once he relaxed, he smiled too.
“Can you feel it on the outside?”
Her head shook. “Just inside. But it can happen any day now.”
“I can’t wait.”
“Me neither.” Hunter offered with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.
Sookie was enjoying the moment too much to reprimand him. With a final kiss to her forehead and one for Roo on the bulge, he returned to his seat so they could finish dinner. His face was a wide grin thinking about the baby.
A short while later, everyone was finished with their meals so Eric knew he had to get them moving back to Bon Temps for his meetings. Directing his question to Frannie and Hunter, he started with the plans for the night. “We’re heading back just after dinner. Are you both packed?” Frannie deflated a bit at the comment but she did not that she was packed. She had truly enjoyed the quiet time together in Shreveport. Eric tried to help. “Frannie, your room is all done. Pam texted me a picture.”
She perked up. “Yeah?”
“She worked with the foreman so it looks like you have windows in there. I think you’ll like it.”
“You’re not sharing the picture?”
“Nope.” He smirked. “I’m going to see to our bags.” She blew a raspberry at him while he walked out. Having finished his dinner, Hunter ran out to follow Eric, of course.
When they came back to collect everyone, he found the girls in the kitchen cleaning up. “Ladies, the cleaning staff is actually waiting outside to take care of that. I need to be back in Bon Temps for some meetings.” Sookie glared at him, and he knew full well it was the cleaning staff that caused it. “Sookie, you are a queen, Frannie is a princess. I have no problems with small chores around the house, but nobody is cleaning like this anymore.”
She threw the towel down on the counter and walked by him, taking Frannie by the hand. “FINE. We’re leaving so you can get to your meeting, but we’ll be talking about this.”
He loved it! He’d listen to her point of view, perhaps come up with a compromise but most of all, he’d enjoy a good argument with his feisty and completely unbroken wife.