Hi – needed to get this posted since I missed for too many days – it’s not beta’d. Sorry.
I have GS Camp this weekend so no promises.
Chapter 33 – Gramps
Sookie noticed two things immediately about the man who appeared in front of them unexpectedly. First, his tunic had an embroidered symbol on it; the same symbol that was carved on her grandmother’s jewelry box.
Second, she couldn’t hear anything from his head, yet his head wasn’t like a vampire void either. Not having the telepathic check was unnerving but she said nothing; Eric would protect her if needed.
Eric’s first reaction was to panic but he quickly tamped that down; he didn’t want to concern Sookie. Instead, he decided to remain open but cautious while speaking with Niall. Indicating his position as Sookie’s protector, he moved closer to Niall with Sookie partially behind him. “Niall, I’m not sure I appreciate the unannounced visit. My wife and I are on our honeymoon.”
Eric nodded firmly. “On New Year’s Eve. May I introduce you to my bonded . . .”
“I know who she is Northman.”
Sookie looked closer at the stranger who had appeared suddenly then Eric and shook her head to indicate she didn’t know him. “You have me at an advantage then, sir. I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“We haven’t met in person Sookie. I’m aware of you because you are my Great-Granddaughter.”
Having learned she was a fairy was one thing; meeting a fairy relation – quite another. “This is the fairy stuff; you’re why I’m part fairy.”
“I am. My son was your true biological grandfather.”
“How is that possible? I’ve seen pictures of Grampa’s father, and that’s not you.”
“Mitchell Stackhouse was unable to father children Sookie. Your grandmother and my son, Fintan, were lovers.”
It was as Sookie had feared since hearing she was a fairy; she suspected the way fairy genes entered the family was a secret – and an affair was a big one. Seeing the frown on her face, Niall put his hand up. “I know this is upsetting and it will take you some time to come to an understanding. To help with that, I have letters and other information for you. I’ll leave that for you to review at your leisure. For now, I need to give you some critical information.”
Eric looked to Sookie for guidance on their reaction. This was her family, her information. She agreed with Niall’s statement. “Alright, we’ll leap to the part where I accept Gran had an affair. What do you need to tell us?”
“Actually, it’s a bit of a long story. Can we sit somewhere?” He looked around and on that deck; the only furniture was the porch swing.
Eric guided them into the living room and Niall started his story. “First, Northman, I want to assure you that your immunity to the sun and silver is permanent. My visit isn’t wasting a precious day in the sun for you.”
“So it was my wish for him, I stole his wish?” Sookie asked and had a wave of guilt all over again.
“It was the wish you made on the coin, but you didn’t steal it. Here me out, please?” She nodded and he continued. “That spelled coin was created by a witch and a fairy. That fairy was your Grandfather Fintan.” He turned to Eric. “Your maker saved Fintan during one of our battles on earth and Fintan offered a cluviel dor as a gift in exchange – that’s what we call the token. Fintan used so much magic to create the cluviel dor, he died prematurely.”
“Oh my!” Sookie exclaimed. “How early?”
“He was only 900 years old. At half fairy, he should have been able to reach 2000.”
Though Sookie’s eyes bugged out of her head, Eric was the one to speak. “What does that mean for Sookie?”
“Without your blood, she could easily live to somewhere between 500-700 ye ars. With your blood,” Niall shrugged. “Double that at least. Other fairy hybrids have shown immunity from many human ailments like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. As a member of the sky fae though, she needs the sun which is why you can’t turn her and I’m sorry about that. Honestly though, knowing you have each other for over 1000 years?”
Sookie smiled and looked at Eric. “I’m in shock but a thousand years and I can eat burgers all that time? I’m good with that.”
“Agreed.” Eric smiled in return.
“You’ll need time to ponder this information, I’m sure.” Niall said as he pushed himself back into his chair more. “Now, back to my story. As I said, Godric saved my son in a battle. Fintan specifically thanked him for the act.” Eric’s eyes grew wide. “I see you know what that means, Northman.”
“I do and I’m explaining it to Sookie right now.” He turned and looked at her. “Sookie, thank yous and fairies are serious business. You can’t say thank you unless you intend to repay – well it puts you in the fairy’s debt.”
“You’re kidding? . . . . Right?”
“I am not. You can say your kindness was a pleasant surprise or something vague like that – but thanking? That’s a no-no.”
“Oooookay. Got it.” She turned back to Niall. “Please continue.”
“Well, as your husband said, Fintan was in Godric’s debt and he committed to repaying him. At that time, they parted but Godric understood the importance of the ‘thank you’ and they made plans to meet again. It was five years before they did, and in that time, Fintan had done some research.”
Niall shifted in his chair and Sookie used the pause in his story to offer him a drink. Niall accepted so they broke for a moment while she made a tray of drinks and snacks. Niall took advantage of the private moment with Eric and whispered to him. “You love her?”
“Yes. She is my life.”
“You will treat her well?”
“She resists spoiling but she will never want. Godric also left her a large bank account.”
Niall nodded. “Good, good.” He looked directly into Eric’s eyes then added in a warning tone. “If you hurt her . . .”
Eric interrupted. “I meant it when I said she is my life. Hurting her would hurt me.”
“Then we have an understanding.”
Niall relaxed his posture when he heard her returning and accepted the glass of tea she’d prepared. “You know. I’ve had Eric’s blood.” She looked at him pointedly. “I heard everything.”
Niall gave his shrug again. “Looking out for my kin.”
“Thank you.” She gasped. “I just said thank you to a fairy. Oh no! I said it again!”
Niall chuckled softly. “Sookie, you’re fine. You can thank a family member. There is no debt with me or cousins you will meet.” She let out the breath she was holding and relaxed into Eric. “Ready for more of the story” She nodded and he continued.
“Sookie, Fintan was able to obtain some information where Godric’s vampire and Fintan’s human bloodlines would eventually merge.” He put his hands out and waved to both Sookie and Eric. “Specifically, the two of you.”
“WHAT? No way.” Sookie was shocked by this information.
Niall chuckled. “Yes way, my dear. In the five years that passed between their meetings, Fintan devoted significant time to studying what type of offering could satisfy the debt he made by thanking Godric. At one point, he tracked down a witch who was also a seer. She told him of the merged bloodlines. With that insight, he worked with the witch to create the cluviel dor.”
“Godric’s note said the note was spelled by a witch – did he not know the true origin?”
“He did know that it was Fintan’s magic but that witch was necessary as well. You see, normally a cluviel dor is for one wish. This token was designed to allow a mated pair to each make a wish.” He pointed to the two of them. “In this case, that’s you.”
Sookie smiled and tears spilled at the same time. “So I didn’t steal his wish? I only used my wish.”
“That’s correct Sookie.” He smiled indulgently at her. “Fintan explained his vision and what he’d created to Godric, though he didn’t divulge your name or the timing. Godric knew he only needed to leave it in the box for you.” When Eric stiffened, Niall added. “Fintan didn’t know about Godric’s passing. Your maker did not know anything ahead of time. I assure you, he didn’t go to the Fellowship with beforehand knowledge of his death. Fintan told me Godric put the cluviel dor in the box in case he didn’t live long enough to see you meet your mate.”
“Thank you for explaining that.”
“Your maker was a great man, I’m very sorry for your loss.” Eric nodded and Niall said nothing further on that topic, though he could see Eric was deep in thought for a moment.
Sookie changed the subject. “What about Barry? Are we related?”
“Yes, yes. Cousins. Perhaps we can schedule a get together and you can meet your other cousins. I’d also like you both to get more training on your fairy talents.” Sookie’s eyes went wide. “Yes Sookie, I know about your light talent. Barry will soon discover his . . . well, it’s best if he knows I guess. Barry will soon teleport. He has the ability now, he needs only to practice. You can help him train.” He paused. “You know, given his royal bloodline, he’ll be strong enough to teleport you both out of a mess.”
“Mess?” Sookie didn’t understand what he meant.
“I know about your new jobs. You’ll probably need to go undercover and Barry can be a great asset for a quick escape if needed.”
Eric’s smile returned at that comment. “That’s great news. I’ve been worried.”
Sookie was puzzled. “What about Jason?”
Niall smirked and shook his head. “You can’t figure out his talent?”
“Is there a sex talent or something? One that ensures the women don’t care if he never calls again?”
Niall burst out laughing. “It’s related to his . . . ah social habits. He has something akin to glamour.”
“He can make others agree with him if you will. Not you – that’s why you always fought as kids. But he never fought with Hoyt or his other friends. Girls? Never had to work hard for anything; then they’d be fine when he was done.”
Sookie gasped. “And he could always sweet talk Gran outta a whoopin’ if he was in trouble.”
“I’m sure he could sweet talk her.” Niall’s face clearly saw the humor in Jason’s actions – Sookie did not. “This will come in very handy with your children’s homes, Sookie.
Sookie interrupted him. “You know about my charity?”
He nodded and continued. “Jason can be part of the interview process with suspect parents and get to the truth by willing them to tell it.”
“I had planned to listen in.”
“I know – but you and Jason can divide and conquer; travel to different locations and cover more kids this way.”
“I know. I know all about your plans and I’m so proud of you.” She beamed. “You have fairy kin that live on earth that will help as well. Next time we meet, I’ll talk more about this. I’m planning to support your efforts. Your centers will be nationwide before you know it.”
“That’s wonderful news!”
“It’s a worthy cause. I wish . . .” The smile dropped from his face before he continued. “I wish I’d been able to help you when you were young.” Eric could feel Sookie’s mood sour and he moved to tuck her in closer to him. “I found out about your Uncle after it was too late.” Niall reached for one of her hands and she allowed him to take it. “I’m sorry Sookie.”
“It’s over and done, but thank you for the sentiment.” She quickly changed the subject. “So should I tell Jason? He’s back home already, but I can call him.”
“That would be best. Tell him I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
He released her hand and stepped back. “I’m certain you have much to discuss so I’ll leave you to your short honeymoon. I’m going to pop over and introduce myself to Barry since you won’t be able to keep it a secret that I was here.”
“Wait, how did you know to come?”
“My dear, Fintan needed some strong magic to create a cluviel dor – that came from me. When you activated the cluviel dor, I felt it and I knew.”
Sookie looked confused. “That’s the thing. I didn’t hold it and wish for anything. So how can you be sure it was my wish that caused his ability to be in the sun?”
“It wasn’t necessary for you to hold the object; you only needed to make the wish.” She looked unconvinced so he added. “You also wished for immunity to silver, remember?” She nodded. “You got both parts of your wish. Get some silver and test it.”
“You know the wishes? How?”
“I get a vision when the magic is called. I know,” he turned to pointedly look at Eric. “I know both your wishes.”
Shocked, Eric questioned Niall. “So both wishes will happen?” Niall smiled and nodded. “How?”
“Magic.” He shrugged his shoulders. “How are you walking around?”
Eric and Sookie chuckled. “Fair enough.”
“With that, I’ll leave you to . . . talk.” He moved close to Sookie and handed her a business card. “Call me anytime you want. . . . Can I have a hug?” She took the card from him and put her arms out.
“When will I see you again? What do I call you?”
“I’d like to see you again soon and meet your brother. You can call me what you want to, Niall or Great Grandf . . .”
He chuckled. “If that’s what you want though it would be a first for me . . . really any fairy.”
“I’ll give it some thought.”
Eric and Sookie were quiet after Niall left, both deep in thought while they lounged on the swing. Eric was focused on what he’d learned: his wish was also going to happen. Being immune to sunlight already had his head swimming; he wasn’t ready to take on a baby discussion right at the moment. He also didn’t want Sookie to worry about his wish. After a long while Eric spoke. “Can I wait to tell you about my wish? I know that seems selfi . . .”
“Of course you can! It’s your wish.”
‘If only you knew. Maybe I should have asked first. I wonder how quickly it will happen?’ He nodded acknowledging her words but not agreeing with them. “Can we swim in the daylight?”
“After I get you some sunscreen. Your pale ass is going to burn without it. Possibly even with it.”
“You don’t use it, where will you get it from?”
“Eliane has it. Unless we aren’t telling them about your daywalking?”
“I have a better idea. Let’s take a walk to the guest side.” Excitement spiked in the bond at his idea to surprise everyone.
“You’re gonna have fun with this.”
When they walked into the kitchen of the guest house, all the Mickles were there having a late breakfast. Diana screamed when she saw Eric, causing her husband and his brothers to jump from the table. Billy, the oldest of the boys calmed everyone quickly. “Guys, remember Eric told us he can daywalk with Sookie’s blood.” The other brothers settled and Diana put down the tablecloth she’d grabbed to cover Eric from the sun.
Eric smirked. “Well, that was true. But something else has happened . . .” He looked at Sookie and smiled before finishing. “Now I’m permanently immune to the sun and apparently silver, though we haven’t tested that yet.”
While the brothers congratulated Eric, Diana ran out offering to get the silver pendant she wore to coven meetings. When she returned the witch handed the necklace to Sookie and explained. “I’m not gonna try it. You should. He won’t hurt you if it doesn’t work.”
“Gee, thanks Diana.” Sookie held the pendant out and turned to Eric. “Where?”
He put his hand out, palm down. “Touch the back of my hand.” With a cringe, she did as Eric asked and touched him lightly.
He spun his hand around and grasped the pendant and looked up. “No reaction at all. I’m immune from the sun and silver.”
Eric put his hand up. “Magic. That’s how it was explained to me.”
“Does this mean we’re all fired?” Doug asked. “You won’t need guards any longer.”
Sookie interrupted the conversation. “I’m going to find Eliane. You talk to these guys.”
He kissed her and she walked from kitchen while listening to Eric explain that he still needed caretakers and guards for his vampire guests. That made her smile; she liked everyone on Eric’s staff and would hate for anyone to be out of work. Course, with a chuckle she remembered that she could hire anyone in her company if needed.
A concept that she still wasn’t accustomed to.
“Sookie? Is that you laughing?” Her friend called from the office in the guest house.
“Yes Eliane. I need something.” She’d made it to the office and sat in one of the guest chairs.
“Sure, what’s up?”
“I need some high SPF suntan lotion.”
“Sookie, you put oil on your skin – did something happen?”
Eric popped his head in the door. “Yeah, I happened.”
“Oh! This is cool, I knew you could daywalk occasionally, but I’ve never seen it. I guess you need the lotion. I’ll go get it.” She moved to leave the office. “Cool idea, to do that on your short honeymoon.” She looked to Sookie. “I guess we aren’t going over the details for your first shelter today?”
“Oh shoot!” Sookie exclaimed. “I forgot. We didn’t plan a day in the sun.”
Eliane stopped leaving the room. “I thought you guys did specifically plan for Eric’s sun days.”
Eric got that smirk again. “Not anymore. This,” he motioned up and down his body, “Is a permanent condition.”
Eliane was dumbfounded for a moment before she joked, “I’ll need to find my highest SPF for your skin.” She smiled at Sookie. “Do they make SPF 1000? You know, for the number of years it’s been since skin has seen the sun?”
Sookie interrupted Eric’s reply. “I hear Barry. I need go see how he is after Niall.”
“Of course.” He grabbed her hand and the bottle of suntan lotion from Eliane before guiding her down the hall to Barry. In Barry’s day office, they discussed Niall and agreed to call their newfound great grandfather after their initial meetings with the Council.
After they finished discussing Niall, Barry asked. “So are we discussing the first shelter as planned?”
“No we’re . . .”
Eric jumped in. “Sookie, how long will it take? I mean, I hear of some of the details from you, but I’d love to get more involved. Now we have the time for me to participate.” Eric suddenly pulled back. “Unless it’s something you want for your own.”
“Not at all. I’m pleased to share my shelters with you.” She called to Eliane to join them.
They settled in at the meeting table and Sookie started. “So, do we have the house finalized?”
Eliane smiled and pulled out a floorplan and elevations. “I go on the fifth to sign everything then it’s yours.” She pointed to the upper floor. “Six bedrooms and there is a large living room on the lower floor that could be converted into another one that could sleep four. With two in each of the upper rooms we can house sixteen. I’ve already sent these plans requesting the use of the location as a shelter to the Parish and we’ll have our approval before I sign.”
“How much work, well in addition to that living room conversion – I want to do that.”
Eliane read from the list on her iPad. “New roof, landscape work, and I suggest a bathroom addition. Right now, there are three full baths – with all those kids and staff?” She shook her head. “They’ll be a line to get in one of the bathrooms at all times.”
Sookie chuckled. “Yeah, agreed, we’ll need more.”
Eric pulled out one of the sheets on the table. “This is your budget?”
“Not just for this one shelter, but for establishing the foundation in general and staffing the first two shelters.”
“I see Ginger on the list . . . as an employee? She works for Fangtasia.”
“Well, with Indira taking over Fangtasia, I know she plans to bring in her own manager, a friend. You know darn well I wasn’t going to let Ginger go jobless.”
Eric raised an eyebrow at his wife. “But it’s Ginger – you’re mixing her with kids.”
“I have faith. Eliane is going to do a makeover and I’m sending her to some early childhood education classes.” She tapped the page with Ginger’s name on it. “She’s gonna be great.”
Heading out of the water after their swim, Sookie watched as Eric towel dried his gorgeous and completely nude body on the way to their outdoor pavilion. Suddenly, Eric could feel her ogling his ass. “I can almost feel your eyes boring into my backside.”
“It’s a backside worthy of such admiration.” He turned and gave her a smoldering look, hoping for some sexy time. She burst out laughing.
“That’s not the reaction I was expecting.”
“I know. It’s . . . well . . .” He raised his eyebrow at her. After a moment of giggling, she finally got out. “You’ve heard of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?”
He was perplexed. “Only because I watched it with you a few weeks ago.”
“Well, you’re um . . .” More laughing happened before she finally spit out. “You’re Eric the red-nosed vampire.” She laughed so hard she doubled over for a moment. “It probably won’t fade by the time we meet with the Council.”
“They won’t notice it.” She shook her head, not believing that for a second. “Even if they do, I was planning to tell them about my daywalking.” He put his arm out towards the pavilion where he’d had a mattress placed while they were visiting the guest house. “You ready to walk again, or do I need to carry you since you’ve lost your balance from laughing so hard.”
“I can walk.” She calmed and they made their way to the pavilion, hand-in-hand, talking about how life was going to change with his status as a daywalker. “I wonder if I’ll need sleep?”
“We’ll know soon enough. I’ve been up since mid afternoon yesterday so I need a nap. If you get cranky, I’ll put you down for one too.”
“I think I’d like to sleep again; maybe even dream.” He winked at her. “I know what I’ll dream about.”
“That naughty nightie?” She joked.
He laughed. “NO! That would keep me up – in more ways than one.”
Eric decided there was no point in waiting to tell her about the wish; he suddenly wanted to share the information while they were still together on their mini-honeymoon. “I’d like to dream about our children.”
Sookie stopped walking suddenly at his words. “Eric. I know we talked about alternatives to having children but honestly, I thought you were only trying to appease me.”
“Not at all. I would love to raise a family with you. Children created from our love.”
She was saddened and a little angry at him. “Don’t say that. It will make our alternatives seem like less than ours somehow. We can’t make our own children.”
“Sookie. However we would come to be parents would be a gift and I mean that. But, what if I told you my wish was coming true and the impossible could become possible?”
He could see her head computing what he’d said and he gave her a moment. Her smile combined with tears told him she got it. “You wished for a baby?” He nodded. “OUR baby?”
“Yes. Our baby.” She was quiet and he watched and felt her emotions shift from surprise, excitement, and almost giddy to worry. “Wow, you went through a full range of emotions there. You ended with worry – what’s that about?”
“We haven’t started with the Council – when will this be happening?”
“I don’t know, but you get family leave from Council. It’s standard for all Council employees. Anyway, even without family leave, we’ll schedule any serious task force work around your needs. The task force is ours to manage.” He thought she’d be relieved but she wasn’t. “Sookie?”
With a plop she landed in the sand and answered quietly. “What if I suck as a mother?”
Feeling was serious; he refrained from laughing and sat next to her in the sand. “How could you possibly be a bad mother?” As she was looking down, he gently took her chin and turned her head to face him. “You are the most caring person I’ve ever met. At the core, that makes you perfect for motherhood.”
She shook her head. “It takes more than love. I don’t know how to put a baby to sleep, when do I feed them real food? How do I handle questions about where babies come from?” She gasped then added. “What about diapers and the environment? Do I use cloth?”
Now he did chuckle because he hoped it would lighten the mood. “Lover, we’ll research and get all the answers when we need them, or we’ll learn as we go. I bet we’re going to get stuff wrong – but we’ll get through this together. I plan to be a fully engaged father you know.”
“I promise. I think we should get started you know.”
He shook his head and waggled his eyebrows. “On making a baby.”
“Oh yeah. That, I don’t suck at.”
“Yes you do.” She looked offended until he amended. “But it’s the good kind of sucking.”
“How’s the teleporting practice going?” Eric turned to Barry in the plane while they waited for Sookie and Thalia emerge from the plane’s kitchen with snacks.
“It’s slow. I’ve moved from one room to another in the house and that took significant work.”
“But you keep progressing, right?”
“Hell yeah. The first day I could only move inches. I hope I can move and carry something – or someone like Sookie – before our first field assignment, but I doubt it.”
“I think you’re right. They’ve waited far too long for us to start this task force. We’ll be working on something immediately. I heard from Roman they’ve tried to contain the threat in Dallas, but it’s still there.”
Barry smirked. “You’re hoping we get sent to Dallas since Gabe is still there.”
“I wouldn’t mind that bonus if we go.” He smirked in return. “I bet I wouldn’t be ah . . . meeting Gabe alone either. Would I?”
Barry tried to appear casual. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh, so you spending time with the prisoners in New Orleans was a rumor?”
“Not exactly.” Eric raised his eyebrows at him in question. “That Debbie was screaming – and I don’t mean her thoughts. Somebody had to do something. She could have disturbed Queen Ravenscroft.”
Eric responded drolly, “Yes, such a risk during daylight.” They both burst out laughing at that. “Well, in any case, if we get an opportunity with Gabe, you’re invited.”
“It will be my pleasure. Rapists get no mercy.”
Eric’s face turned dangerous. “No. No they don’t.” Eric rubbed his chin like he was thinking. “So, if you cut off Debbie’s tongue for screaming, what do you cut off a rapist?”
The ladies returned before Barry could answer and Eric had everyone sit for a final review of the Council meeting protocol. While the humans ate, Eric summarized what he’d been sharing the past few days. Though he’d never personally attended a Council meeting, Eric was sure they were laden with protocol. He emphasized that while Roman and Russell had been friendly at social events, they should not expect the same when they were in Council mode.
The group remained calm and attentive while Eric reviewed the information; each silently keeping the thought that Eric had already discussed this – twice before – to themselves.
“Got it Sweetie.” Sookie offered when he was done. “When do we land?”
“Another twenty minutes.”
They exited the limo outside Council Headquarters and Eric guided his team in. Roman met them at the door to provide a rundown of the agenda for the night. As Eric predicted, the meeting was all business and did include some specific rituals and times when Barry, Thalia, and Sookie had to wait outside with their guards.
Once the plans for Eric and his team to infiltrate the Fellowship of the Sun in Dallas had been approved, the meeting closed officially. The atmosphere in the room changed suddenly when Russell turned to Eric and said. “So now that you’re a daywalker, are you planning to use sunscreen or will need to nickname you Eric, the red-nosed reindeer?”
Sookie smirked at him while the room chuckled. “Told ya they’d notice.”