Chapter 72 – The Road to Peace

Chapter 72 – The Road to Peace

January 16, 2005

“Mina, I need to call it a day.”

“I can see that Sookie, shall I call someone?”

“No, I’ll be fine.  Holly will come in when she sees you leave.”

Several months had passed since the return to Bon Temps and things were going well.  At her therapist’s suggestion, Sookie started writing about her experiences with Felipe and Appius.  What started as a therapeutic process became a passion and the Ancient Pythoness encouraged Sookie to turn her memories into a book for publication.  She felt it would help with all the interspecies work coming up.  The relationship between The Ancient Pythoness and her child and grandson was still strained, but she continued to try and make progress.  Giving Sookie this idea was an example of her attempts to repair the relationship.  Liking the idea of a book, Sookie had hired a writing assistant, Mina Helms, to help her and they had written well over 2/3rds of the planned book so far.  Instead of just starting with Appius and Felipe; she went back to the beginning – meeting Eric (using the story they told the public of course).  She’d just finished telling Mina about the days after the battle in Vegas so now they were filling in the pieces since they’d returned.  The ending section of the book hadn’t even been lived yet.  They wanted to hold off printing until the big reveal of all supernatural species before finalizing it.

“So,” Mina started, “We’ll continue tomorrow.”

“Yes, I’ll make some notes of items to cover and hopefully I won’t fall asleep on you.”

“Well, you are pregnant and still chasing after a four year old.  I won’t take it personally.  Plus it’s YOUR story and if it puts you to sleep, I can’t be blamed for that.”  Sookie gasped and lobbed one of the throw pillows from the couch at the woman.  “Violent now too.”

“Ha!  You don’t know the half of it.”

“Actually, I do.  You’ve told me everything.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”  She paused at the doorway.  “Does this next section finally explain the name of this place?”

“Maybe.”  Sookie laughed at Mina’s grimace.  At Frannie’s suggestion, they named the estate Sharanya, a name of Sanskrit origin meaning protector or refuge.  The property, fully combined to include Gran’s farmhouse now, had certainly earned that name providing a haven for friends and family when it was needed.  It was Frannie that suggested it continued to earn the name since she announced after living there for only two weeks that it was the safest she’d ever felt in her life.

Holly popped in stopping Sookie from going into a crying fest recalling Frannie’s comments.  “You OK Sook?”

“Yeah, just tired so I sent Mina home.  I’m fine though, I’m going to plan for our discussion tomorrow.”

“Do you want to get downstairs?  I think Hunter took his nap with Eric.”

“He did.  I’ll join them.”  Accepting Holly’s hand, she stood with difficulty and they headed towards the family chamber.  Hoyt and Holly had both earned the family’s trust and were given access to the underground chamber.  Eric found this beneficial when the occasional need for extended hours with Hoyt was necessary.  “Where’s Frannie?”

“Homework.  Her teacher left an hour ago, but she has quite a bit of work to get done.”

“If you see her, tell her we’re all down here please.”  Holly nodded and deposited Sookie into bed with her boys and left her to her thoughts.  To get started on her preparation for Mina, Sookie created a timeline for the next section of the book; getting the council up and running.  Once she had a few key items identified, she started filling in the details of their life since the battle.

The first order of business was getting Frannie and Hunter into therapy with Margo.  As a daemon, Margo was the only choice for Hunter since her mind would be quiet for both of them (not that the book would detail that).  Margo had been a godsend.  Hunter had only needed a few sessions before he said, “I’m all talked out of this.  I miss my first Daddy, I love my new Daddy and Mommy and Frannie.  I know it’s not my fault that Daddy died.  Can I have that time back for play?”  Knowing his thoughts helped Sookie support his desire to stop his sessions and that was the end of therapy for Hunter.  Eric was hesitant, thinking the boy was glossing over his feelings, but since Margo was remaining and he’d had the healing from Claudine, he relented.  To ease his concerns, Sookie promised to monitor him on a regular basis and intervene if needed.

Frannie was not so lucky.  On one hand, the letter from Quinn had helped diminish the guilt over her happiness with Sookie, Eric, and Hunter and the girl had grown closer to Eric by the day in those first few weeks.  On the other hand, she was still struggling with her abuse as a captive in Felipe’s palace; something that Eric wished he could rectify by resurrecting Felipe and torturing him for years.  Sookie still wondered if Frannie should have been glamoured, but the girl made that decision and she chose to respect it.  As a family, they struggled with the knowledge of what Frannie had endured before Sookie got to Vegas and helped her to move beyond it.  Even Hunter knew the details – as much as he tried to keep his shields up, it was hard when he slept and that’s when Frannie’s nightmares came.  Since they’d soundproofed the underground chamber, Eric had a surveillance system put in that would allow him to hear Frannie while he was at work and she was sleeping.  It didn’t matter what meeting was happening or who was in attendance, if Frannie cried out from a nightmare, he went to her.  Sookie usually trailed behind him at her human and rapidly decreasing speed so they could both tend to the girl.  The first days after Vegas, she had a nightmare every night, at least they slowed down.  Even now, in January, months after everything had occurred, Frannie could have at least one episode a week and Eric still ran to her every time.  Some teens would have seen this as an invasion of privacy but not Frannie – at least not at this phase in her life.

How he managed to run the kingdom while giving so much time to Frannie and Hunter still puzzled Sookie, but she couldn’t be more pleased that he kept his promise of family first.  Unlike other kingdoms and territories, Eric expanded their senior staff beyond just Pam and Arthmael as his second and enforcer to include heads for security, interstate business, human relations and budgeting.  These representatives took many of the meetings that would normally require Eric and / or Sookie and instead, they usually only needed to meet with their staff nightly for a shorter update.  It also helped that they didn’t use ‘court’ to conduct his kingdom business.  Rather, everything was a scheduled meeting and their staff quickly learned the definition of a ‘short but meaningful’ update.  He didn’t tolerate talk for the sake of it during business hours, he didn’t like fluff in his staffs’ updates and god help anyone who ran late.  Thinking of their staff had Sookie smiling.  Hoyt was really growing into his role as Eric’s full time assistant.  He quickly learned what Eric liked and he guarded his boss’ time ruthlessly.  For Eric, that more than made up for the lack of education and experience others in the role would have.  Holly was just as efficient with Sookie’s schedule and they both felt that they couldn’t have hired a better pair.  As a bonus for their hard work, Eric had started a house for them on the property and it would be ready soon.  In the interim, they lived in Sharanya.  Cody played with Hunter in the evening; then Hoyt and Holly took a break for his bedtime, returning after he was asleep.

Jason had been offered a position in the territory and simply said no thanks.  He liked his no pressure job, he had a good thing going with Michelle, who now worked days to match Jason’s schedule.  Not that she would include this in the book, but they did have the talk with Jason about how Sookie and Eric really met.  It was long and painful but in the end, Jason accepted his role in the draining and death of a vampire that started everything and the fact that he’d been glamoured.  To ensure that the real story never got out, he was glamoured so while he kept the memories he could never speak of them.  The most exciting news for Jason and Michelle was the wedding they were planning for the spring.  Hopefully Michelle wouldn’t be showing her pregnancy too much by then.  Since Michelle moved to a day shift to match Jason, a new nurse was hired to work nights and he also helped with occasional child care as needed.  His name was Carter and like the other nurses for Gran, he was a were, but a were lynx not wolf.  He was recommended by Dr. Finard and everyone felt like he blended in easily.

Sookie was doodling while she thought and realized she’d gotten off track.  Her assignment from Mina was what happened after the battles and the burials so she went back to her timeline and started making notes.  She realized that after October was when things started to settle – but it was a very busy October.  The first meetings of the council went very well.  The group was excited to be working together and Godric, with Eric at his side, led the group with ease.  The first order of business was learning about each other.  Godric had sent a template to each member requesting specific information about the species the member represented.  They spent the entire first night sharing information about one another.  It wasn’t just for fun, it was important.  This group was going to use the information to create a code that all supernaturals would need to follow.  The code was reviewed and tweaked and finalized by the end of the year, then sent to each territory leader for distribution.  Sookie was proud of the work they accomplished so quickly and felt they were as ready as possible for the reveal of all supernatural.

In October, they also had the coronation in New Orleans.  It was full of all the pomp and circumstance that her husband absolutely HATED.  He was a good sport though and he even wore the crown for the whole ceremony.  He took it off right after the ceremony for the party and it hadn’t been out of the glass display case since; hers either for that matter.

They both understood the need for respect from their subjects and the court traditions, but rather than ensuring that respect from people on their knees, they focused on running the territory fairly for all species while enforcing the codes of conduct from the council.  Several minor attacks by those still loyal to Felipe or Appius were dealt with quickly in the first weeks and they hadn’t had another incident since then.  Both Sookie and Eric believed the swift and decisive handling sent the correct message to any still living under the old rules.

Hunter, however, enjoyed some of the ceremony in New Orleans.  He really liked the fall festival parade and his own little suit that matched his Daddy (Pam had won him over on suits as long as he matched Eric).  He needed some additional guidance about court behavior after the ceremony though.  As soon as the doors to the throne room opened to begin the coronation and he saw that Eric had a little chair made just for him, he squealed in excitement while he started running towards the thrones and needed to be swooped up quickly by Eric.  A stern look was all it took for him to behave for the duration.  Well, a stern look and his hand clutched by Daddy’s the whole time.  Frankly, most of the attendees ate up his antics (snickers and giggles could be heard) so it was really fine, though not something they wanted repeated.

They did enjoy a reception after the coronation ceremony.  Instead of just having a stuffy formal ball, they worked hard to make it a party, a thank you party for all their friends that participated in Felipe’s demise.  Sookie and Eric kicked off the dancing with a romantic waltz then they added the kids, Sookie dancing with Hunter and Eric with Frannie.  They’d all practiced before the coronation since they knew all eyes would be on them.  The first few lessons were awkward for Frannie, she’d never danced before, but Eric and Sookie put her at ease and she was the image of grace on the dance floor.  Sookie giggled thinking about how several of the guests had requested a dance with Frannie but besides Eric, Hunter and Godric they were all denied save one:  Sam was permitted the honor as a thank you for protecting her during the battle.

At that time, Frannie was still struggling with her grief and trauma issues, but as long as she had Eric, Pam or Sookie, she was fine.  Since she was looking back, she realized that while Frannie still had some confidence issues, she really had come far from the grieving and abused girl they’d taken in.  As Frannie worked through her problems with the counselor, the rapes had naturally come up.  When Eric heard the details, since she felt open enough to discuss her experiences with both Sookie and Eric, he’d found himself overly protective of Frannie.  In December one of the guards on the property, a young Were, had tried flirting with her during the day; including grabbing onto her arm when she didn’t pay him any attention.  In addition to making Frannie uncomfortable, the action left a bruise and as soon as Eric rose and heard the story from Frannie’s Britlingen guard, Kavan, his reaction was so brutal that vampire blood was needed to heal the Were – at least he allowed it.  Nobody tried approaching her since the incident and the Were was sent to Arkansas under Alcide and Potts’ territory.  While Frannie was probably a ways from wanting to date, Sookie couldn’t imagine what would happen when she was ready.  Eric would probably insist on going with her.

With a smile on her face, Sookie recalled the decisions they made about the Palace in New Orleans and they decided to retain it for the rare times full ceremony was needed in their territories.  They kept the first floor with the throne and other meeting rooms intact, but divided the remainder into a decent sized apartment for their own use when they needed to be there and a home for Rasul now bonded and pledged to Cynthia.  Sookie and Eric had commissioned a nursery for the couple as part of the palace remodel.  Their baby boy, Khaldun John Salib had been born in early January.  They chose to honor John Quinn for his efforts in saving Cynthia by using his name for their son.  Eric brought the whole family down to help out with the baby for the first week.  Since Cynthia had no immediate human family, she had cried about Gran’s departure but Gran promised to visit again soothing the girl.  Sookie smiled at the memory knowing that like so many of the other kids now, little Khaldun was another adopted grandbaby to Gran.

In December, they celebrated their first Christmas together as a family.  With his telepathy, Hunter had never had the fantasy of Santa.  In fact, he’d never been surprised by a wrapped box in his life.  Not this year.  Sookie and Eric had spoiled the boy with surprises for the first time.  Sookie was pretty sure Eric was more excited about the holiday than Hunter.  As a bonus, having so much family around helped Frannie get through her first Christmas without Quinn.  They did have some very special gifts at Christmas:  Most notably some additional vials of fairy blood from Claude and Claudine; enough for Eric to confidently spend two additional days in the sun while they were on a short vacation to his, well their island.  The fairy blood was a thank you for Sookie’s idea regarding human surrogates for Fae.  Niall had approved the move and two fairy fertility specialists had come through the portal to study under Finard.  Likely years of legal discussions on custody and dealing across realms would come out and the supernatural council would be part of it, but Sookie remained hopeful.

The vacation to the island was needed.  Nan had been difficult up to and through the coronation, but the schedule was manageable.  Those initial appearances were just to lay the foundation of what was to come:  The announcement of the supernatural council scheduled for late January.  After the coronation, things changed with Nan creating a gruesome schedule of public appearances for the family and sometimes just for Sookie and the kids.  Nan did have a good plan, getting the States accustomed to a very friendly looking supernatural and royal family; it was the details where she got it wrong.  Instead of just taking Eric’s stipulation about no travel as seriously as he meant it, she continued to book interviews out of state many times for just Sookie and the kids; then she would try to pressure Sookie or Eric into doing the interview saying it would look bad if they canceled.  It came to a head just before Christmas when Eric called in Godric and together they ‘explained’ Nan’s errors to her.  In addition to the scheduling liberties she felt she could take, Nan continued to treat Sookie and the children poorly and Eric reached his limit.  Nan was strangely missing through the holiday and when they had their first meeting after the New Year, her behavior was definitely improved.

That got Sookie thinking about their ‘guests’ at Eric’s warehouse from the Vegas takeover.  She was perfectly happy with Yvetta’s comeuppance:  She’d been given to Thalia as a pet with several rules for her life:

*Yvetta was kept bald; waxed clean of head hair at all times.  This was Sookie’s idea.

*Yvetta was blood bonded to Thalia, an act the petite vampire readily agreed to because she could monitor and control her new pet through the bond.  Now that they knew a blood bond could be broken, the move wasn’t permanent.  Thalia said she would have done it anyway – to effectively punish the woman that had caused Sookie so much pain.

*Yvetta was ordered by Thalia to work at the local nursing home as an aid (and due to the bond she had to comply).  Yvetta spent her days cleaning bed pans, changing the elderly patients and doing laundry.  To ensure the patients were not adversely affected, Yvetta was also ordered to be pleasant.  Reports by the nursing home management confirmed that she was.

*Yvetta’s wardrobe was purchased by Sookie and Pam at Wal-Mart.  It was not stylish in any way.  It was also the most fun Pam had had shopping at the super store.

As for the other prisoners, Eric kept Victor and Lorena alive and captive and used them when his beast needed the satisfaction for the first few weeks.  Other vampires in the area were also given access to the two vampires for torture so Sookie knew they were certainly paying for their crimes.  Sookie really didn’t like this but her suggestions to kill them fell on Eric’s deaf ears.  It wasn’t the violence or torture that bothered her; it was that their remaining alive was a reminder of Vegas.  Finally, shortly after Christmas Eric announced they’d met their final death and honestly, she was relieved, almost like a bad chapter in their lives had been ended.

Sookie put her head back and relaxed.  That pretty much caught them up for now.  The next excitement was the reveal of all other supernaturals.  ALL.  OF.  THEM.  Ironically, the date of the reveal was Hunter’s birthday – but he really didn’t care that he was sharing his special day with something so important.  Eric and Sookie promised to carve out some special time for just him and he knew they would.

Godric would be making the announcement on national television that would be broadcast across the globe.  The Ancient Pythoness had not yet completed her councils in all countries and regions, but Asia was in place and together with North America both councils had agreed to mediate issues with other locations as needed.  They all braced for a few busy months but the timing couldn’t be helped.  Weres and Shifters had delayed their announcement twice already and surveillance was just getting too good.  They wanted to be proactive and the North America and Asia councils together with the Ancient Pythoness believed an announcement of all species now was the way to go.  The night after the announcement, the Northmans and the Herveauxs would be doing their first joint interview and coming out with everything.  Eric was planning to use his extra vials of fairy blood to stay alert the two days following the reveal of all supernaturals.  He’d shared two bottles with Godric so he could also have that protection.  While they both agreed the announcement was the right thing, the backlash could be problematic.  Eric was concerned but felt they were ready.

OOOoooOOOooo

“I can’t believe the announcement last night and now I’m the reporter doing the follow-up interview.”

Eric chuckled at the newswoman.  “It is historical.”

“Well, I know you picked our station and me, so thank you.  We have two hours before the actual interview and I worked on my questions today.  Don’t worry, I’ve been sequestered all day as you requested.”  Eric already knew that, she’d been guarded by his own team and he knew she never left the suite in the hotel they’d provided for her.  Now they were in the studio of NBC Nightly news, filming the follow-up interview after the announcement about all supernatural creatures was made by Godric the night before.

Vicki Martin had been selected to do an in-depth interview of both the Northman and Herveaux families as part of their spokesfamily roles.  This was intended to help the public understand what Godric had told them on air the night before.  In the end, it was Sookie who had selected the reporter, having discretely spent time at all three of the major network studios reading minds to find the best fit.  The woman was nervous – fumbling a bit with the cards in her hands; Sookie guessed they were her questions.  She wanted this interview to go smoothly so she tried to calm her.  “Vicki, can we go over the interview before we’re actually on camera?”

“You wouldn’t mind a dry-run?  I know you have a little one and I don’t want to tire him out too much.”  Vicki gestured to Hunter who was wrapped around Eric, his usual position.

“A dry run will help him.  Let’s sit shall we?”

Both spokesfamilies situated themselves on the oversized sofa with Vicki across from them.  “First, let me get everyone’s names and faces straight.  Eric Northman, Spokesman for the Supernatural community, Supernatural Regent for Louisiana and Texas and co-leader of the supernatural council we heard about last night.” She pointed to Eric and he nodded so she moved down the line.  “And your wife Sookie, also Spokeswoman, your Queen, and Supernatural.  Followed by Frannie, your daughter and Hunter your son.”

“Correct.  That’s my family.”

“And the little one is due when?”

Sookie answered.  “March.”

“And to clarify, you openly hold royal titles within the supernatural world yet you haven’t requested to be referred to as king or your majesty?”

“It is only relevant in the supernatural world, not humans.”

“Got it.  So our next family is headed by Alcide Herveaux and you and your wife Cara are Spokespeople for the Supernaturals and you rule Arkansas and Oklahoma, right?”

“Yes.  And our baby is due in April.”

Sookie couldn’t resist her usual dig at Potts’ baby bulge.  “Even though she’s so much bigger than me, she has the extra month to go.”  Vicki laughed and when she turned away for a moment, Potts stuck her tongue out at Sookie.

“Alright, let’s get to the announcements.  You’re going to cover what first?”

Eric, who had been designated as lead, answered.  “First is who – or what – we are beyond our titles.”

Vicki was confused for a moment then the AHA came to her.  “OH!  Goodness.  I was told we’d have different species represented but everyone looks so normal.”  She got some glares and backpedaled quickly.  “I ahh . . .  that’s not what I meant, I mean well, I guess that thinking is going to need to change.”

“I believe the fact that everyone looks so normal could be evidence about how similar we all really are.  Let’s just move forward.  So I’m the obvious one, I’m a vampire.  Sookie, why don’t we just move down the line?”

“Sure, I’m mostly human and 1/8th fairy.  The little man is 1/16th fairy.”  She gestured to Hunter.  “Fairies, as Godric explained last night, are one branch of a group called Fae and they actually come from another realm or world called Faery.”

Frannie went next.  “I’m human, though my mother and brother were weretigers.”

“So last night we heard that when two pure-blooded two natured humans mate, their first born is another full shape shifter?”  Frannie nodded.  “So when you mate, there is no shape shifter produced?”  Eric actually growled at hearing the word mate with regards to Frannie, the history was too fresh as far as he was concerned.  The growling startled Vicki and she leaned back in her seat.

“You WON’T ask my daughter such questions when we are filming this.”

“No, I apologize.”  Even with the apology, Eric was still glaring at her while Sookie rubbed his arm.  Vicki almost ran from the room but seeing Eric’s wife was working to calm him down helped her stay put.  She dug deep for strength knowing this was the opportunity of a lifetime and proceeded with the species identification.

“So Mr. Herveaux?”

“I’m a two natured or shape shifter; specifically I shift into a Werewolf.”

“And Mrs. Herveaux?”

“I’m a half human half daemon, another branch of the Fae.”

“Well, just to be clear, I’m human.”

“As far as you know.”  The group chuckled at Sookie’s comment, except for Vicki.  “I’m sorry Vicki, but the truth is, there are some people who don’t know they have supernatural genes.  I didn’t for example until about a year ago.”

“OH!”

“Yes, oh.”

“Should we move on?”

“Yes, a few questions for the Herveauxs if you please.”  Frankly, Vicki needed a few more minutes taking her focus off Eric.  He was scary when he growled.  She had a few tough questions for him and frankly, she was terrified to ask but she just HAD to ask – she couldn’t appear weak or afraid.  The dry-run was a good idea.

While Vicki asked Were related questions, Eric thought through their situation for about the millionth time.  He wanted to get through the questions once, have everyone relax for a few minutes, do the interview and fly home.  The past 24 hours had been tense.  Several branches of the Soldiers of the Light made themselves known about 12 hours after Godric’s announcement.  Nothing too bad, just some vandalizing of vampire and now other known species businesses.  Eric just believed it was the start.  He questioned the decision to be spokesfamily as he grew nervous about the coming months, but the Ancient Pythoness had been reassuring, going overboard to get back into the family’s graces.  She clearly stated, and Godric confirmed via their bond that they would not be hurt in an attack against supernaturals.  Eric went on to clearly question the seer specifying individual names of his family and friends regarding potential attacks.  She needed to admit that some fighting would occur, but each person Eric named would survive based on her visions which admittedly had some measure of error – but it was the best he could do.  After her lack of knowledge regarding the words hurt or harm, he even pressed on.  He almost chuckled as he recalled for a second that she challenged him saying he wasn’t making her earning his forgiveness easy.  He simply said, ‘easy isn’t better’.  That shut her up.

“So Mr. Northman.  I understand you will be reviewing the council?”

“Yes.  First let me address why we have our own council.”  Vicki nodded.  “We want assure the public that we have a hierarchy for working with the general public in place as well as governing our own regulations.  If you recall, the hierarchy was announced in the fall.”

“I will be reviewing that as part of the introduction to our interview.  The public should be well aware of the leaders in their states at this point.”

“Perfect.  Well, this is just phase 2 of the announcements if you will.  We have many rules and regulations for all supernaturals.  The supernatural council that was announced last night has been working since October to solidify our codes of conduct.  The sheriffs that have been in place working with local authorities are still responsible for enforcing these regulations.  They report to the monarchs in the state or territory.  If further intervention is needed or it crosses states or territories and there is chance of misrepresentation, the issue goes to the council for final decisions.”

“And human power structures already in place are unable to handle these situations?”

As they planned, Alcide took this question.  They wanted to show a united front.  “Not at this time.  We’re not saying never, just not now.  Let me give you two examples, one extreme, one quite common:  First, a blood offense against a human.  We have regulations that cover willing versus unwilling donors for vampires.  This also covers when glamour is used.  Are there any human groups prepared to address and decipher these situations?”

“No I suppose not.”

“Well, we have vampires able to detect glamour that can.”

“That makes sense.  You had a second example.”

“So bullying is a problem for everyone.”  Vicki nodded; this was frequently in the news.  “This situation is extreme among shape shifters and can include intimidation with partial shifting.  Again, is this something human authorities are prepared to handle?”

“Not at all, you’ve got me convinced, though I hope we can evolve to learn and deal with the population together.”

“Agreed, and the supernatural council is the first step.”

She turned to Eric.  “And your father, that’s what you call him, he runs the council and you are his second?”

“Yes, he’s my maker and I call him my father.”

“We met him last night on TV.  He has a presence, I don’t know how else to describe it.”

“He’s just outside the door listening you know and that presence you mention is due to his age:  He is 2000 years old.”  Godric and Eric had spoken and agreed that ‘slipping’ that information in was better than making a grand announcement.

Vicki was shocked at that information and blurted out her first thought.  “He must be fierce.”  Hunter giggled imagining his Pop-pop as fierce.  “Why is that funny Hunter?”

“I was imagining Pop-pop as fierce.  Mommy can get madder than him.  Nothing ever seems to upset Pop-pop.”

The look on Vicki’s face was priceless.  “You call a 2000 year old vampire King, head of the Supernatural council Pop-pop?”

“What else would I call him?”

“I guess I have no idea.  I should probably get back to the council but my head is spinning on how I can get the Pop-pop tidbit into the interview.”  She shuffled through her cards, had what looked like an AHA moment: then turned to Eric.  “I’ve got a place for that.  So if we can get back to the council and your role.”

“Certainly, Godric and I run the council and have every species represented, including humans whom are represented by my wife.”

“But Mrs. Northman is part fairy.”

Eric explained.  “She is, but she doesn’t even know what that means since she was raised as a human, and we do hope to add full humans to the council.  To start up, we needed her, her knowledge of all species and more importantly, her ability to work with all species to build a relationship within the group.  You heard Godric speaking about her as the peacekeeper among them.”

Now focusing on Sookie, Vicki continued.  “So, is this ability to work with other species part of what we learn from your book?”

“Yes, it describes how that all came about.  I also have been studying comparative religion and plan to finish that degree.  Although different species isn’t religion, I’ve found the concept of appreciation for all beliefs and customs has been invaluable in my role.”

“On your book, any blurbs or juicy tidbits you can share?”

“Not yet – it’ll probably be the summer before it’s out.”

“I can’t wait.  In the interim, perhaps you can give our audience a glimpse into the life of American Supernatural Royalty.”

“What would you like to know?”

“Well, mother of two children, one on the way, councilwoman, queen. . . how much help do you have?  Nannies?  Cooks?  Cleaners? Gardeners?”

“I put my foot down about Nannies.  While we do have friends and family who occasionally stay with the kids, Eric and I are raising the children, not help.  I gave in and we have cleaning staff for the main house and my Gran’s farmhouse but have not yet employed a cook.  We have access to caterers for events but between my Gran, Eric and I we cook all the regular meals within the family.”

“Eric?  The vampire cooks?”

“His smothered pork chops are phenomenal Vicki.”

“I’m shocked to say the least.”

Eric jumped in.  “And Sookie and I fight over gardeners all the time.  She’s quite the landscape designer and has even dabbled in horticulture and grafting, but she simple doesn’t have time to execute on all the plans she has for our properties.”

“Grafting?”

“I was trying to create new night blooming colors and varieties for the gardens.”  Vicki’s eyes were wide.  This was not how she thought the interview would go and she knew she was going to be the talk of the news casting world when this aired.

“Interesting.  Are the children’s interests as diverse as yours?”

“Well Hunter is working on pre-school topics, but he does read at about a 5th grade level – we just read that much together.  He is also taking violin lessons and studying Swedish.”

Vicki had taken a sip of water and choked on it.  “Swedish?”

Eric offered with a shrug, “Well it’s easier for children to learn languages.”

“Hunter, did you choose Swedish?”

“I did.  Since that’s where my Daddy’s from, well he spoke Old Norse, but I can’t really learn that easily.”

“And Frannie?”

“Well, I’m at a sophomore level in high school, I take Piano and the flute and I decided to learn Spanish.  Since Eric is polyglot, he helps us both with our language lessons.”

Hunter giggled.  “The best is that Mommy isn’t learning either language and we use them around her and she gets mad.”

Frannie, Hunter and Eric shared a mischievous grin together while Sookie mocked annoyance.  Vicki’s wheels were turning in her head – she had to get this family dynamic during the interview.

From his listening spot, Godric was pleased.  This was the face of supernatural they wanted to portray and for the Northmans, it was their true colors.  There were sure to be skeptics out there and it would take time but honestly, vampires or any supernatural that didn’t learn to behave in society would be removed.  Plain and simple.  Eric WAS the measure for any vampires going forward.  The council would be firm on that.

The group continued to practice for their interview for another hour.  There was a moment of silence as Vicki held onto a few more question cards and looked warily at Eric.  She explained that public would want to know his thoughts on some particular topics and if she asked them in this controlled interview, he would have the opportunity to calmly answer as opposed to a press conference or something akin to a paparazzi event.  Eric agreed to hear the questions suspiciously.  Hunter stiffened in his arms and Eric knew he wasn’t going to like the questions.  Eric not liking the questions was an understatement; he was furious.  There were three question cards in Vicki’s hand, one each for Hunter, Frannie and the baby.  Basically, she was requesting details of biological parents, the adoption, and what measure had been put into place to ensure the safety of the children while they lived with a vampire.  Godric, entered quickly and took Eric to a meeting room to discuss the answers.  In reality, Vicki was correct:  Others would ask and this was his opportunity to get the answers out on their own terms.  The questions had already come up in some of the prior publicity appearances they’d had but they were able to brush them aside.  With so much focus on supernaturals right now, that wasn’t an option.

After a short break, they started the actual interview.  Vicki was pleased to capture the family dynamic she’d seen during the rehearsal – it was making her look like a rock star and as she discussed with Godric on the side, it was helpful to the overall message for Supernaturals.  The interview had been going smoothly and now it was time for those difficult parenting questions.

Sookie actually answered these questions as per Godric’s plan.  She spoke about the gift they’d been given to have a family.  “I’m positive that every parent understands my belief that each of our children is a gift.  That we didn’t procreate the children via traditional means doesn’t make Frannie, Hunter or the baby I still carry any less ours.  I challenge those concerned about the parentage of our children to ask anyone who adopted or used artificial insemination if they’re any less the parent of those children.  I would guess that such a question wouldn’t even be asked, so I’m unsure why we need to address such a tactless question.  I appreciate that Vicki has given us the chance clarify our family on our terms and I hope that we have no further need to discuss the topic again.  I understand that other concerns have been raised about children living with vampires, even suggesting that our children be removed from our care.  For that question, I’ll simply say this:  Being a vampire is not akin to being a monster and my family and I will not entertain any further queries about whether the kids are safe living with vampires.  Any of our friends and neighbors, the kid’s tutors, or our Reverend for example would simply tell you the same thing.  The topic is hereby off the table for any further interviews.”

Following that, Vicki closed the interview out thanking the Northmans and the Herveauxs for the opportunity to share their lives with her and the public.

The red light went out on the video camera and Eric embraced Sookie.  He knew she was nervous about being the spokesperson for the parentage topic and he couldn’t be prouder.  “You have truly become my Queen my dear Sookie; worthy of the title.  More importantly, you are the most amazing mother and you just proved it by fighting for our right to be a family.”

She leaned in and quoted Jason from about a year prior, “Nobody fucks with my family.”

A/N

Thanks on Yvetta ideas:  You may recall that several chapters ago I asked for Yvetta ideas – and I got some – but for the life of me I can’t find them short of reading pages and pages of reviews.  I apologize to those that added to my thought process and hope I have time to scan them in the coming days so I can give credit.  For me, after I searched for a while I decided on posting the chapter since I don’t know when I can post again.  My mother in law arrives tomorrow to stay with us for a while and that takes away writing time.

Reference:  Chapter 56 – Shock in case you don’t recall why ‘easy isn’t better’ shuts the AP up.

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18 thoughts on “Chapter 72 – The Road to Peace

  1. Pingback: Beauty Update | magsmacdonald

  2. This chapter was like a fine wine, so refreshing! Well done. Thanks for gift wrapping the three amigos. I hope it was painful.

  3. Such a spectacular chapter! All so wonderful; the interview & all the answers, especially Sookie’s stance on parenting, all their answers about the family! Sookie writing a book about her experiences is great & a therapeutic way for her to deal with those feelings positively. Yvetta’s punishment is hilarious & most fitting! To be blood-bonded to Thalia! LMAO! Eric & Sookie are just terrific parents! Cannot wait for Roo.
    And you, young lady! Reading about all you do makes me tired! I’m happy to read that it’s Girl Scout Cookie time…gotta get my Thin Mints! I am a GS cookie junkie!

  4. You leave the best reviews – I smile when I see I have one. I always knew Thalia would get Yvetta – I just needed to tweak the details.
    Hope you like the final chapter in real time – then two outtakes – or rather glimpses into the future.
    Have a good night. Find those mints!
    M

  5. Fantastic as usual. I just love their family dynamic. Each member has such a special role whether it be family or friend. It’s just inspiring and Eric really is the model father, husband and son. What more could you want! Love this story.

  6. Wow, you managed to pack a lot of info into this chapter! The Northmans are definitely the model for the perfect supernatural family. Godric being referred to as “Pop-Pop” on national TV was hilarious. Waiting patiently for more after your company leaves!

  7. Loved this story!!! I first read Make a Wish and Loved that one as well. I just wish we were able to see Eric be a daddy to baby Roo for a couple of chapters.

    Thanks for writing!!

  8. The tv interviews were priceless; Eric was spot on…Vicki was nuts with some of those inappropriate questions. However, I really wish Yvetta had met her final end…she is such a heinous individual who doesn’t deserve to live. No matter what spiteful, silly acts they might inflict upon her…it will never be enough to compensate for her betrayal to another human being (Sookie). I wouldn’t want the reminder of being associated with her in my life at all. Sookie really is a much better person…to allow her to remain alive…even if they are making her (Yvetta) perform good deeds. It just goes to show Sookie’s humanitarian side, well played.

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