Chapter 70 – It’s a
October 6, 2004
Several days had passed since the funerals and the mini vacation to Shreveport. Eric and Sookie were settling into their new roles and planning the Coronation with a representative, Jake Purifoy, from Extreme(ly Elegant) Events. Frannie did finally get her wish and she was permitted to ASSIST Jake with some particulars, so long as she didn’t spend more than 6 hours a week on the tasks. Just as you’d expect from royalty, she stuck her tongue out at Eric when he set the guidelines for her.
Today, the family was meeting with Doctors Ludwig and Finard to conduct an ultrasound. The pregnancy was almost a full 20 weeks, so they were hoping to determine the sex. While they waited for Ludwig, Hunter and Frannie continued their discussion about the baby’s gender; Hunter clearly wanted a boy. “Hunter, you aren’t outnumbered, Eric and you are boys; Sookie and I are girls.”
“What about Gran and Pam?”
“They don’t live in this house, goof.”
“They’re still family.”
Sookie interjected. “Don’t forget Amelia. She and Pam will be pledged in January.”
Opting to focus on Hunter’s obsession with having a baby brother, Frannie ignored the reminder from Sookie. “OY! What does it matter what the baby is?”
“It’s doesn’t, but you sure can get worked up quickly Frannie.” He laughed at her shocked face.
“If you’re done fighting, I’m here to look at the baby.” Ludwig announced the family. She tried to hide her amusement but failed. Yes, watching this family cracked her stony façade and she just gave in every time. Honestly, she couldn’t wait to see Eric with an infant given how he acted around Hunter and Frannie already. Women would probably start fainting when they saw the sexy vampire cooing at a newborn.
Sookie laughed. “Dr. Ludwig, we were so taken by their bickering, we didn’t hear you pop. Harold is in the room already.”
“I noticed. Come on girly; let’s get you set up so we can see what team wins.”
They moved to one of the larger bedrooms on the second floor that had been outfitted for Sookie’s prenatal visits and eventually the birth of Roo. The equipment was in position and Sookie already had her weight taken by Finard when he arrived and so she hopped up on the table and showed off her tummy. Ludwig started by talking about her weight. She’d gained 4 pounds since she returned from Vegas, and Ludwig was pleased about that but she wanted to see a bigger jump by the next appointment. Eric was also pleased with her progress; they had a few spats the past few days over food and Sookie was improving with Margo’s help – but it was a slow process. Finally, Finard pulled out the wand and glided it over Sookie’s tummy. He moved it back and forth making notes on the computer. It took so long Eric was ready to jump out of his skin. He finally caved and asked for an update. “Well? Is everything OK?”
“Yes, she is doing very well.”
“She Sookie or she Roo?”
Finard smiled up at the expectant father, “She Roo, you’re having another princess.”
Images of fancy dresses, ruffles, tea parties and baby dolls flooded Eric’s head. He had some difficulty holding back the lump in his throat, but Sookie let loose. She looked up at him with tears flowing down her cheeks. “Wait til we tell Pam.”
His response was that dammed up lump combined with a laugh. “We can’t. She’ll buy a new outfit for every day.”
Frannie questioned Eric. “You’ve been telling me that money isn’t an issue, what could be wrong with that?”
“If she’s already brainwashed you like that, you’re no longer permitted to spend time with Pam Frannie; I’m cutting you off.”
“I’m only teasing you Eric.”
“I don’t know. You were both enthralled by the winter coats on the Saks website the other day. She’s a bad role model.”
Sookie sucked in air. “And you’ve made it known you’re training my sweet Frannie to be a master manipulator.”
“Assertive and influential Sookie, there’s a difference.”
“I don’t think so, but I don’t to fight right now. Let’s look at Roo’s cute little feet again. Can you move the wand Harold?”
“You’re right Sookie – no fighting.” Eric said as he moved to her bulge and spoke. “Hello my baby girl. Daddy can’t wait to meet you and spoil you rotten. You already have a beautiful sister who can be your role model.” He squeezed Frannie’s hand. “And a brother that you can torment with all your girly stuff, but I know even if he acts like he minds he can’t wait to play with you.” Sookie was sobbing at her sappy husband. Not because he was cooing to his baby – he did that all the time when it was just family. It was because this baby could be hard on Frannie and Hunter and Eric was doing his damndest to keep them included.
They stayed in the room while Harold pointed out all the important parts on their growing baby; then waited for him to print pictures for Gran and Pam. Even after Sookie was dressed, they moved to the den and sat staring at the pictures, commenting on the different angles. They never noticed when Finard and Ludwig left.
Hunter looked to Eric and was very serious. “So the baby is going to call you Daddy?”
“That’s what I’d like.” Eric answered. Sookie was concerned about his question so she peaked into his thoughts. Tears formed before she could stop them. Hunter was jealous the baby was going to get to call Eric Daddy and he called him Eric. She’d heard other thoughts like this over the past few days, but Eric fawning over the baby pushed him to finally speak.
Eric caught on somewhat. “Is that something you’d like Hunter?”
“What about my other Daddy?”
“Hunter,” He moved the boy to his lap. “You don’t have to call me Daddy, I understand your struggle. You also can call me Daddy and I’d like that very much. Or, if you want, we can think of another name, like Sookie calls your Pop-pop Papa.”
“But Pop-pop wasn’t her Daddy. You ARE my Daddy.”
“I am, but the name isn’t required for you.”
They were dancing around what both of them wanted and it was driving Sookie nuts. She wanted to blurt something out, but she stayed quiet for now – this was their discussion. Finally Hunter said what he really wanted. “I want to call you Daddy. I still love my other Daddy, but you’re now my Daddy. Is that OK?”
“It’s more than OK Hunter. In fact, you’ve made me very happy.”
Frannie watched the interaction with interest. She hadn’t read the letter from Quinn – still out of fear. Eric had been so good to her that she now realized that if Quinn did request her to keep her distance, she wouldn’t be able to honor his final wish. That saddened her, but turning her back on Eric would hurt more. The man now tickling his son and laughing had been her rock. He would leave business meetings in the middle of the night if she was having a nightmare – something that happened often. He offered to glamour away her trauma and the memories – something she seriously considered but dismissed believing it would impact her life now negatively. He was helping her adjust to school. He contacted the Ancient Pythoness, even though it pained him to do so, to summon a guard from another realm; a female Britlingen named Kavan who would be moving in with them next week after getting her affairs in order. He was becoming her father, just as he was with Hunter.
She was just about to join in the fun with her little brother when Thalia called from the gate at the edge of the property. She used the ringtone that indicated the call couldn’t be ignored. Frannie called it the ‘batphone’ ringtone. “Northman.” Eric answered after lifting his head from blowing raspberries on Hunters stomach.
“You have two guests: Claude Crane and his sister, Claudine.”
“What do they want?”
“To see Sookie.”
Eric raised a brow to Sookie and she nodded yes. They were family and she had talked to Claude on the phone a few times about getting together. She just wished it was planned, not a surprise.
“Send them up. Are their scents cloaked? I have some younger vampires in the offices here.”
A short while later, they greeted their guests in the den. Sookie handled the introductions and they chit chatted about a few things before Sookie finally asked if there was a purpose to the visit or was this just introductions.
Claudine answered. “I’m a healer Sookie. I came to offer my services to you. Hunter can also be healed if needed, he’s part fae. Frannie, I understand you were mistreated and I would love to take your pain, but my healing only works on other fae.”
Sookie was surprised. “I don’t understand. I don’t have physical wounds. Neither does Hunter.”
“I heal souls and minds Sookie. It might take several visits, but it’s a special power I have.”
“How does it work?”
“Close contact, hugging. It’s that simple.”
“Huh, when I first met Niall and Claude and we hugged, it felt really good.”
“It’s like that. All fae have some level of the ability – that’s what you felt. When we hug and I actively heal you, it feels stronger. You’ll notice the difference right away. I can’t make you forget what happened in Vegas, I just speed up the time it would have taken to process everything.”
Sookie was quiet while she considered the offer. Hunter spoke first. “I’m good. I don’t need to be healed.”
Claudine countered, “Well Hunter, you’re still working with a counselor, right?”
“Yeah, but we just talk.”
“It doesn’t hurt; maybe just a quick hug is needed. I can see you’ve blended into your family nicely – so you won’t need much.” When they first walked into the room, she noticed how comfortable the boy was while being held by Eric; how he really didn’t leave the ancient vampire’s side at all. It was curious to her as she’d been repeatedly told vampires and fairies can’t mix. This family proved that theory wrong – at least for hybrids.
“Ok.” He walked over and Claudine embraced him.
After a moment he spoke. “Mommy – you’ve got to try this. I feel I dunno – like I’m floating or something.”
“Ok, I’ll try.” She moved next to Claudine and as soon as her cousin’s arms were around her she realized that Hunter was right. It did feel like floating. She felt like she was confessing the world’s burdens – she could physically feel the weight of her dark thoughts leaving her body. As Claudine said, her memories of the events were still present, just not the feeling. After being released, she put a hand out for Eric, almost a bit dizzy from the experience. He moved to stand behind her and wrapped his arms around her growing belly. “Wow. That really worked.”
“Good Sookie. I can come back every week if you need it.”
“Part of me feels like I don’t need it – but that could be the initial feeling.”
“Yes, you feel so good now, but time will tell I g. . .”
She never finished her sentence because Eric interrupted her. “SOOKIE!”
“You felt that one?”
“I did! I felt Roo kick!”
Claudine smiled at them. “You call the baby Roo?” Hunter nodded wildly to answer her before Claudine continued. “The healing would have gone into the baby, not that he or she would need a healing. It probably was more of a wake up.”
“Roo is a she and she’s definitely awake. Hunter, Frannie come feel this.” They both moved quickly to get their hands on Roo.
Hunter giggled. “I guess if she can kick like that, she’s OK,” He eyed Frannie, “for a girl.”
“She’ll be kicking your butt in no time goof.”
Sookie marveled at the hands feeling the motion in her tummy. She noticed Claudine had an almost wishful appearance on her face. “Claudine, would you like to feel her?”
“I’d love to.”
Hunter and Frannie moved to make room for the fairy and she placed her hands on Sookie’s belly. A smile formed even as a tear fell down her cheek. “Thank you Sookie.”
Sookie peaked into her cousin’s thoughts and heard that she’d lost several babies. Apparently, even a healer couldn’t carry to term easily. “I’m sorry Claudine.”
“It is the fate of the Fae I’m afraid.” Wanting to move off her own sadness, she moved back to her seat and directed the conversation to Sookie. “So your coronation is coming up?”
“Yes. Frannie is helping to plan it.”
Claudine had seen pictures of Sookie from before her time in Vegas and knew the woman maintained a long hair style. Claude had told her about the situation and that Niall had provided a potion to fix it. She hesitated to speak again, but finally asked. “I know you were given a potion for your hair. Have you decided to keep it short?”
“Ah, we didn’t want a hairy baby.”
“OH! It won’t impact the baby at all; it’s literally for YOUR hair.” She leaned into whisper the rest. “Though you’ll need to plan for some girlscaping since it will work on ALL your hair.”
“Good to know, and whispering doesn’t work around vampires.” They looked up to see Eric’s smirk. Sookie chose to ignore it. “Well the next time you see me, I’ll be back to my normal self.” The smirk on Eric’s face changed beaming at this news. He’d really missed her hair.
“Very good.” The cousins started to exit. “We’ll be going now. We both realized we could come over tonight at the last minute. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to help you for the past week. I apologize for the surprise.”
Eric offered, “No need to apologize, we’re grateful for your help.”
Sookie turned to Eric after they left. “What do you have on your agenda for the evening?”
“I have to make an offer to an assistant, as do you.”
She rolled her eyes and offered. “Yes your majesty.” Then ended with an exaggerated bow. “First we need to get to the farmhouse. No doubt Gran and Pam are fretting that we haven’t already been there delivering the baby news.”
“We aren’t telling Pam.”
“ERIC NORTHMAN! You are not serious! I can’t go ‘til March with THIS information.”
He growled at her yelling, not the angry growling either, and approached her. “Ooh, yell at me again my queen.” His arms wrapped around her and he planted a kiss on her lips.
“DADDY! Yuck – Frannie and I are still in the room.”
“Yuck? One day you won’t think that way my son.”
“Yeah, but today I do. Let’s get to Gran.”
“Yes sir. Tunnel or outside?”
“Tunnel,” he giggled, “we can sneak up on her that way.”
When they arrived in the living room where Pam and Gran were waiting, Pam noticed a difference in Sookie right away. “Sookie? What did you do? You look different.”
“What do you see?”
“Your eyes? Your stance, I don’t know that I can pinpoint it.”
“I got a healing from my fairy cousin, Claudine. She heals minds and souls.”
“Well you look different, do you feel different?”
“I do Pam.” Wanting to move off the topic of her healing since Frannie didn’t benefit, she distracted Pam. “Do you want to hear about Roo?”
“You bet your ass I do. Spill.” Gran whacked her head for cursing in front of the kids.
After they laughed at Pam’s correction, Sookie turned to Eric, giving him the floor. “Roo is doing very well. Sookie has gained weight, which is good. On the ultrasound, we saw the cutest little feet and button nose. We have pictures and video for you as well. Finard got her to move around so we saw her tush. . .”
“HER! You just slipped it in like that? We’re having a baby Pam?”
He sighed. “We’re not naming the baby Pam, Pam. We’ve been through this before.”
“I have another 20 or so weeks to change your mind.”
Gran was misty. “My baby girl is having a baby girl now. I’m so happy for you. Course, it truly didn’t matter what you’re having ‘slong as you’re both healthy.” She glared at Pam. “RIGHT PAM?!”
“Of course Gran.” She might have said the words, but she grabbed Frannie’s arm. “Come Frannie, now we can hit confirm on all those purchases we lined up.”
“I can’t right now Pam. I have some coronation stuff to review with Eric and Sookie, then homework. I’ll catch up with you after.”
Pam scowled. “Homework already? You only started two days ago!”
“I’m behind for this school year Pam. I’m sorry, I know we talked about shopping tonight, but it will just need to be later.”
Eric thought she had taken his comments about her and Pam seriously. “Frannie, I was only joking about spending time with Pam. You can go on with her.”
“No, I really do have some questions from Jake that we need to answer tonight so he has the information he needs.”
“Let’s get that done. I need to spend time at the warehouse tonight.”
Uh oh, Sookie realized that meant he needed to spend some time with his prisoners who were locked in the cells in the warehouse. Sookie guessed at the reason. “Frannie, can we meet in about an hour in the office? I just need some time with Eric before then. Why don’t you go with Pam?”
“Sure, I’ll just look at the ultrasound pictures again with Gran, shop with Pam and then head up.”
Once they were out of the farmhouse and headed up the hill, Sookie turned to Eric. “The healing?”
“It just brought back how broken she is. Now that we’ve learned that Victor was behind the idea to have her captured for Quinn’s compliance, I just want to keep him and hurt him forever.”
Sookie knew as soon as they’d learned about Victor’s role in Frannie’s captivity, Eric would seek vengeance. In some ways she was glad they kept him alive. He was angry over both Sookie and Frannie’s time in Vegas and having Victor and Lorena available to him gave him an outlet. On the other hand, having them around bothered her. Not that she didn’t want them to be hurt; she just felt in some ways, they wouldn’t get past Vegas with them around. This was Eric’s decision though.
“I wish Claudine could’ve helped her.” Sookie almost whispered feeling guilty over her healing.
“I do too, but that doesn’t mean you should be feeling guilty over your healing.” They had reached the office and he continued. “She’s been acting strangely since the ultrasound.”
“She’s thinking through something. Just give her some space.”
He sat and pulled Sookie to his lap. “And how are you my love?”
With a huge smile she answered. “Really good.” They kissed over her happiness for a moment before he pulled back.
“You think you can find something to yell at me for later? That was hot earlier.”
“Yeah, I got that you liked it when you poked me in front of Frannie and Hunter.”
“We still have some time until Frannie gets here.” He reached into her top and played with a nipple as he spoke.
This is why Sookie wanted the time alone. He needed to release and with their schedule, he really didn’t have time for a warehouse / torture trip. She play – yelled at him again. “Eric Northman, you need to behave!”
“Not when you yell at me like that.” His excitement grew so quickly, she could see it through his pants; that had her salivating.
“Yeah, whatcha gonna do about it?”
He ran to the office door and locked it; then moved to the couch and put a pillow on the floor. “I think we’ll start by putting something in your mouth that will prevent you from yelling at me.”
She moved to her knees in front of him immediately. “Yummy!”
The review of Jake’s questions went quickly and Frannie left to continue her homework. Frannie had chosen a combination of homeschooling – late afternoons and evenings, joining the Packsters, and music lessons rather than traditional school. She just liked the idea of being up later since Hunter and Sookie were on later schedules and getting her socialization in via the Pack group. Her first meeting was the coming weekend, before they left for New Orleans and she was a combination of excited and scared. Before she opened her first book, Mustapha knocked on the doorway to the den. “Mind if I come in?”
“No, it’s just me though, if you need Eric or Sookie . . .”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“Oh, about the coronation?” Frannie was clearly confused, she and Mustapha didn’t chat.
“About your brother.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You aren’t aware that Quinn and I were friends.” Her eyes widened in surprise and she shook her head ‘No’. “It’s the truth; we met years ago in the military and remained friends, though mostly over the phone for the past few years.” He paused for a moment. “I want you to know he was dedicated to you, his baby sister. When it was clear your mother wasn’t able to care for you, Quinn stepped in though he was only a young man himself. He received an honorable discharge to care for you.” He took her hand and continued. “Frannie, he loved you more than anyone can imagine. His work required that he put on airs with his particular clientele, but when he spoke of you? His face lit up and he softened; then he would brag about your accomplishments going on and on. Never doubt that he loved you more than anything and I know he’s looking down on you now, wishing for you to move on and be the best you can be. He was a man of honor as he demonstrated in his death. I know I will miss my friend and you’re missing your brother. I also know he would want you to be happy, and I think you landed in a place where that can happen. Don’t hold back Frannie.”
She was in tears as he ended his chat so he simply kissed her forehead and left her to her grief. Frannie decided right then, she was going to read the letter just after they finished eating later. It was time.
Sookie and Hunter were in the kitchen preparing a late snack when Eric finished his first meetings. Even though Eric was radiating lust he would have to wait so she quickly made the symbol for ‘wish’ so he’d know she felt the same but they needed to deal with other things first: Hunter needed to be fed. He acknowledged it and behaved until Hunter stepped out to use the bathroom when he pounced on her for a quick kiss and a hug that included extended rubbing before Hunter returned and Frannie joined them. They sat and planned their packing and travel details for New Orleans while they ate and Eric drank. “I got another call from Nan Flannigan.” Now Sookie knew why he was keyed up when he came in. He’d had several fights with Nan over her desires and planning FOR them, not WITH them. “She tried to TELL me that our in person appointment is overdue and she would be here tomorrow night.”
“Eric, we need to focus on getting out of here for New Orleans. We simply have too much to do. Both our assistants start tomorrow so she can’t be part of the schedule. She can meet with us in New Orleans.”
“Agreed. I told her all that. She huffed and I believe she’ll actually try to show up again here tomorrow.”
“Hope she likes the look of the gate.”
“That’s as far as she’ll get.” Eric answered as he watched Frannie with concern. The girl only pushed her food around on the plate and she barely engaged in the conversation. When she asked to be excused before everyone was done, Eric’s concern grew. Still, he knew she sometimes needed her space so he permitted her early departure. Hunter picked up on his concern. “It’s OK Daddy. She just wants to talk to Quinn. Something about a letter.”
He understood immediately and his concern for Frannie overshadowed his usual correction when Hunter didn’t use shields. She’d never read the letter from Quinn; he’d asked about it two days ago. It seemed that something tonight sparked that need. “I’m going outside for a bit Sookie.” With a kiss to Sookie’s forehead, he headed out. “I just want to make sure she’s OK.” He was out the door and close to the cemetery in an instant.
Frannie heard him moving behind her as she walked slowly towards Quinn’s grave. Without turning around, she informed him. “I’m OK Eric. I’m just ready to read the letter. I want to do it at his grave.”
Eric had installed benches in the area containing the Stackhouse plots, where Quinn had been buried with Adele’s blessing, and low voltage ground lighting leading the way from both the farmhouse and the new house. Knowing she would be able to make it to the grave easily only gave him some comfort. He insisted, “Ok Frannie, but I’m staying right at the edge of the cemetery, you call me if you need to.”
She selected a bench close to the headstone Eric had purchased for her brother. He’d gotten it on rush order and it included an engraved tiger. Unable to resist, she ran her hands over the engraving and thanked Eric in her head for about the millionth time for everything he’d already done for her. She really hoped the letter didn’t tell her she needed to stay away.
If you’re reading this then I’m gone and I’m sorry for leaving you. For some reason I felt compelled to fight my damndest against Felipe and his purely evil maker, Appius. Hopefully my death was in my efforts to help Eric and his army end both of them. The world will be a better place without them and their absence will be worth more than my continued presence. I believe that, it’s why I chose to fight even though Sookie requested that I not.
That leads me to Sookie. I want Sookie to care for you. I know you’re fifteen and only need guidance for a few years, but I want that guidance to come from Sookie and Eric. I probably just shocked you but let me explain. As we’ve discussed, I realize that my initial thoughts about Sookie and Eric were wrong. He loves her and is more than capable of loving in general. You don’t know this, but Eric’s dayman, Mustapha Kahn, and I are friends, have been for years. With the encrypted devices we have from Eric, we’ve been able to talk the past few weeks. You probably know by now that Sookie and Eric have a nephew, Hunter Savoy. Right now, he lives with Eric in Bon Temps. While the boy has a human father, the person who fathers him is Eric. He loves the boy and they spend as much time together as they can. There is nothing Eric wouldn’t do for him and these stories from Mustapha have made me think about your life when I’m gone. Sookie loves you and I know you love her; that’s going to be the easy part for you. Well, what I’m asking is that you give Eric the same opportunity. On a purely logical perspective, he can provide for you beyond what my inheritance will, though I am leaving you everything. Take any and all opportunities you are given from the Northman’s, please. Sookie won’t abandon you and if she wants you, Eric will step right up. All I ask is that you let him.
I know we always discussed that vampires are all evil, but I guess I’m stepping back and saying that they aren’t. Not at all. Just like there are good and evil humans, or shifters, there are good and evil vampires. From what I’ve learned, Eric’s one of the good guys and his maker, Godric, is practically a saint.
You’ve been the highlight of my life Frannie and I regret that my fighting has separated us, but know that I’m watching and I expect great things from you.
Go and live a wonderful life away from the trappings of Vegas.
After wiping the tears from her face, she touched her hand to the gravestone and said to him. “I already let him in. I’ll miss you forever but I know I’m going to be OK. Goodbye Quinn.”
Eric hadn’t waited the whole time and was already at her side when she looked up. “You OK?”
“Yeah. Let’s go to your office and call Cataliades?”
Eric was confused and wondered if Quinn had added legal shit to her letter. “He’ll be here for a meeting in about an hour. Is there a problem?” Eric actually panicked thinking that Quinn had written something to prevent Eric from being part of her guardianship or adoption paperwork.
“No problem, I just decided. I want to . . . I mean, I know that.” She shook her head to clear the nervousness. “Will you and Sookie adopt me? For real?”
His smile was wide as he answered. “It would be an honor.”