Unbeta’d for now. One more after this one. Enjoy.
Chapter 34 – Goodbye, Hello
“I can’t believe we had to delay the pledging for an additional three months!”
“Sookie, my favorite breather, stop grumbling! You’re already married, what’s the problem with the delay on the pledging? Besides, you get to do it on the first night of the Summit, no waiting until the last night like they usually do.”
“Really Pam? YOU are the one that had to re-do all the plans when they moved the Summit and now you aren’t gonna get bitchy with me?”
“I would think that you’d be more concerned about the plot you and Barry unraveled only three days ago! Everyone at the Summit would have been killed tomorrow if you hadn’t discovered the bombers.”
“Meh, working on the task force for sixth months has numbed me.” Pam’s eyes widened and Sookie amended quickly. “I take the situations seriously Pam, believe me. What has changed is . . . well, I stopped getting personally invested in what the humans involved were planning and doing. I can’t afford to be upset by the actions of a few idiots – when each and every act of terror they try to commit actually creates more sympathizers to the cause of vampires. It will only help when Weres come out later this year.”
“Fair enough. And yes, you can’t afford to get worked up right now.” Pam turned Sookie back to the mirror. “Now, can we finish this hair so I can get you in your gown?”
Sookie sighed but turned so Pam could continue to play. “Maybe I’m stalling because I’m worried about whether the dress will fit or not.”
“STOP! It’s going to be fine. Now, look down so I can curl these escaped strands of hair in the back. Eric won’t be able to keep his hands off them.”
“As we’ve witnessed the acceptance of the sacred blade and exchange of blood, I pronounce Eric and Sookie Northman as pledged.” Roman announced the pledging and the attendees at the Summit broke into polite applause as the couple kissed on the dais. When the noise died down, Roman put his arm out to the dance floor and the attendees backed away to make a dance area. “Would you start the dancing Eric?”
“My pleasure Roman.” He led his newly pledged wife to the center of the dance floor and positioned them to dance as soon as the band started. There was a moment of absolute silence while they waited and that’s when the room heard it: the rapid second heartbeat coming from Sookie’s abdomen. Pam, Thalia and even Barry moved to stand with the couple in a defensive move while vampires seemed to change from a bored to interested, and in a few cases, almost feral. After seeing the reaction, the group’s assigned council guards moved to the dance floor to offer protection as well.
Roman broke the silence and handled the situation. “It is now obvious that the Northmans are expecting. I’m certain that many of you wish to congratulate the couple; I know I did when Eric informed me of their news several days ago.” He paused and turned to share his very serious expression with everyone. “I’ll remind you that Council member Northman, his bonded and pledged wife and Council employee, and their children are protected by the Council. Any attempts to harm them will mean immediate death.”
While most of the group seemed to stand down, a few pushed closer to the couple. “The Task Force led by Eric Northman has taken down the Fellowship of the Sun headquarters in Dallas – including a complete destruction of their vampire weapons cache. While in Dallas, the telepath that you’re all eyeing right now was crucial to the erasure of the modified taser weapons they had. She not only ensured the weapons were all found, she confirmed from mind reading that vampire glamour had deleted any memories of the construction and written plans for the tasers.” Roman paced trying to push back more of the vampires.
“She’s only a human.” One vampire yelled. “She should be a donor for her blood and her telepathy should be shared with all the monarchs.”
Roman moved into the crowd to stand in front of the vampire who spoke out. “King de Castro, we’ve discussed this before. As part of the Northmans’ task force, her work benefits all vampires. That same Task Force is also responsible for all your lives right now.”
“What do you mean?” One vampire yelled from the back of the room.
“This was meant to be discussed during the Task Force update tomorrow night, but I’ll give you the short version now.” He sighed, frustrated that the reaction to Sookie’s pregnancy caused a stir that required the discussion at all. “The Task Force arrived a week ahead of us as planned to scout out any problems. The Fellowship from Dallas is gone, but as we all know, there are still splinter organizations that remained across the country. Posing as hotel employees, several members of the Task Force were able to learn of a plot to kill every attendee at the Summit by detonating bombs at dawn tomorrow morning. They were able to prevent the bombing and gather enough evidence on the plot to have an arrest made. The information was kept out of the news for now since we’re hoping to catch any stragglers linked to the plot when the bombing does not occur.” He pointed to Sookie and the team surrounding her. “You all owe that woman your lives. We all appreciate that she is willing to share her talent for our cause.”
“Appreciate? Willing?” De Castro shook his head. “Again, she’s a human. Why is she not a slave to Council?” He moved forward and raised his hands pointing at various Council employees. “All these employees for Council – all human employees I mean. Why employ them at all?”
Roman nodded to two Council guards and they moved closer to the situation. “Felipe, like I said before, we’ve had this discussion before. Your views are outdated and honestly, the only way for you to move forward is to change with the times. If we are to co-exist with humans, we cannot see them as slaves.” He got closer to the King’s face and added. “Since I can see that our prior conversations have yielded no change in your attitude, I’m sending two Council representatives to stay with you. You’ll be monitored and punished for any infractions. Your days of treating human like cattle are over.”
As Roman had hoped, Felipe reacted poorly to the threats. He dropped his fangs and moved to attack the Council Head while screaming, “NEVER!”
The Council guards took Felipe’s head.
“I suppose I should explain further in case there are any others who share Felipe’s beliefs.” He moved to the dais and with a motion had the Task Force join him. “While visiting Vegas – specifically Felipe’s casinos, Mrs. Northman discovered that humans were missing from the casino at an alarming rate. Further investigation showed that the humans were taken captive and kept as slaves. This all came out last month and we had planned to charge King de Castro formally tomorrow night. Though a surprise, Felipe’s actions allowed me to handle the punishment a day early.” He glared at the room. “Our former practices must stop if we are to survive. Let the death of de Castro serve as a deterrent for those of you still keeping unwilling slaves.” He paused then added, “Any questions?”
The room was silent, several of them concentrating on the crew mopping up de Castro from the floor.
“Very good. Now, I believe our newly pledged couple was about to open the dance floor.” He turned to the band. “Let’s get started. I know I want a dance with Mrs. Northman after her husband has taken her for a spin.”
Six months later:
“Thank you Council Member Northman for your update. You and your Task Force are to be commended for the work you’ve done this past year. You’ve earned your break.”
“Thank you Council Head Roman. We are very much looking forward to our break.”
“Where are you headed? Are you staying in Maryland?”
Russell stood. “Are we done with the formalities yet? I have a surprise.” Roman raised his eyebrows at him. “Correction, we.” He waved his hand in the direction of the other Council members, “Have a surprise.”
Roman smiled and replied. “Yes Russell, we’re done.” He nodded to two valets stationed to the side of the meeting room and they opened the doors.
Sookie gasped. The room in front of her was decorated for a baby shower. Of course, Pam and Russell’s partner, Talbot peaked out and smiled. It was clear they were the masterminds behind the theme and the whole shower. “It’s gorgeous!” Sookie exclaimed as she walked in. The decorations were in blue for a boy, and red for Eric’s favorite color (and to match the blood beverage dispenser). “This is perfect for us and our baby! Thank you so much!”
Eric smiled as well. “Yes, this is certainly a surprise. Thank you all.” He guided his very pregnant wife into the room to start the party.
Further surprising Sookie, she saw her family and friends from Bon Temps, Eliane, and Ginger waiting to party with her. “You’re all here! YAY!”
“I weren’t gonna miss your shower Sook! That’s my nephew you got cooking in there.”
“Thanks Jase.” She moved to hug Jason and it started a round of hugs to all the guests attending. Since Sookie had something special to say to each one of them it took almost half an hour to get around the room before she was placed in her ‘Mommy throne.’
Talbot played host. “Now Sookie, we’ve been told many many times that you don’t need anything, but Pammy and I couldn’t let this birth go without a shower. Consider this a celebration of that little miracle you’ve got in there.”
“Thank you Talbot. This is all lovely.”
“That’s Uncle Talbot. Somehow I guess I can be an Uncle. I mean, my partner is marrying your – what is she? Technically she’s your step daughter – but we won’t go there. So I guess I’m a step brother in law . . .”
Russell cut him off. “You’re rambling sweetheart. We’ll both be Uncles.”
Roman actually rolled his eyes. “Now that we’ve gotten that settled, can we start with presents?”
Sookie gave the group a confused look. “I thought you said this was a celebration – not presents.”
Russell clarified. “No, we said we know you don’t need anything. This whole thing honors your,” his finger pointed back and forth between Sookie and Eric, “Love of tee-shirts.”
Sookie smiled widely. “That’s just perfect!”
So for the next hour, they opened a variety of onesies – many completely inappropriate but all hilariously funny.
(Note – Eliane claimed being an Aunt, hence the Nerd shirt from her and Jason is of course, the stud).
“There!” Sookie licked an envelope and smiled. “The last ‘Thank you’ note from the shower.”
Eric chuckled. “Now you can go into labor.”
“I’m pretty sure since it’s two days after my due date that was bound to happen even if I hadn’t finished all the notes.”
“Of course, but baby Godric was kind enough to wait so you could focus on him and not writing after he’s born.”
“Let’s hope he continues to be a considerate baby.”
“He will and you aren’t doing this alone. Between the two of us, we have the whole day covered. Besides, for the first weeks, we have everyone here in Homer to help.”
With difficulty, due to her size, Sookie worked the desk chair back. “It is nice to have everyone here – but in the new guest house.”
Eric got up to put his hands around her middle when she stood. “I’m glad the guest house was finished in time for Christmas.”
“Pfft, you paid for extra crews to come in from Seward. The completion was a guarantee.”
“How are you feeling? You’ve been at that desk for over an hour.”
“It feels good to move.” She spun in his arms to face him. “I’ve been thinking.”
She didn’t continue and he could feel her reticence. “About what?”
“I know you finished the carved boat.” Before he nodded, she could feel the lump in his throat. “We don’t have to, but maybe it’s time?”
“It’s time. Actually, everything is ready for me to launch. We only need to bundle you up and head to the ocean.” He headed towards the stairs. “I’ll tell Niall we’re headed out so he doesn’t worry.”
When he met her in the foyer, she spoke to him while he buttoned her coat. “Thank you for having Gramps here for Christmas.”
“He’s your family, now mine.”
“Yes, but I mean here, not the guest house with Jason and Lala and the guards.”
“Lover, I don’t see Niall enjoying himself with the bachelors.” He smirked. “It helps that he can mask his scent with the vampire guards here though. I’m sorry your cousins cannot.”
“I feel bad – like Niall had to choose me over them.” She sighed. “But, Niall only celebrated Christmas with them since they live on Earth – and they’ve had him all these years. It was my turn, well Jason’s too.” After he’d put her gloves on she turned to him and said, “Let’s go Sweetie.”
They drove in silence to Homer Spit where Eric planned to launch the boat he’d lovingly carved for Godric’s shirt. To add to the boat, Sookie surprised him with a framed portrait of the ultrasound when they’d discovered she was having a boy. The frame had Godric Northman painted on the wood. “He would have loved to know our child.”
“He will know our child Eric. He’s here with us, I’m sure. We can’t enjoy how he knows our child, that’s the difference.”
“You always know what to say.” He lit Godric’s shirt on fire and pushed the boat from the shore. Standing tall, he embraced Sookie and his unborn son while watching the boat drift as it burned. Thousands of words he wanted to say to Godric sped through his head; none seeming correct for the situation. Over the past year, he spoke with Sookie often about his maker and vampire father. He discovered Sookie had been right many months ago, the dead can scar, and he had the marks on his heart to prove it: marks that would forever hold the memories of Godric; marks that would keep the joy, the fun, and the pain for him so he could call upon them when needed. With Sookie’s help, he’d come to live with his maker’s death and he was ready to let go. His voice full of emotion, he decided on one statement. “Right now we say goodbye to the pain of losing Godric.”
Sookie shook her head. “No Eric. Now,” Sucking in a large breath, she added. “Now we say welcome to baby Godric.”
“Of course we’ll welcome baby Godric.”
Frustrated that he didn’t understand she stomped her foot. “No, I mean now we get to literally say welcome ‘cause my water just broke.”
Dumbfounded that he hadn’t realized the wet he felt was from his wife, Eric looked down, then back to Sookie’s face and came out with a profound. “Oh.”
“Yeah oh. That wasn’t a wave from the ocean that came over your feet you know.”
A/N – I always LOVED Rebellina11’s use of the quiet Summit to ‘announce’ Sookie’s pregnancy. Hope she doesn’t mind that I ‘leveraged’ that idea.