What do we need for this one?
Frying pan? Maybe – not really though:
I dunno – some of you might aww at the ending.
This one? Lord knows I need it cause I can’t believe I’m posting this already:
You might want this cause we fly through a few months here – but I wanted to end at Christmas:
Chapter 40 – So deserved
Everyone was gathered in the kitchen where Charles and Maxine were sharing stories from their honeymoon. They had arrived earlier that day but waited until sunset so Eric and Tori could listen in. Tori had joined them in the move to PA out of necessity but she’d become part of the family. The young vampire literally had nowhere to go when Eric released her from her coffin sentence for public feeding. Her maker had left her with only a small bit of money. Eric took pity on her (and blamed Sookie for his soft heart) and offered her a job as a night patrol guard for the property. She and Sookie hit it off. At first Eric was concerned that the young vampire couldn’t be too close to Sookie but they had two things in their favor: she was indebted to Sookie for her part in saving her life when Fangtasia went up in flames and Tori had never tasted fairy blood so she had no idea what she was missing. She enjoyed Sookie’s scent but that was it. Over the weeks, she quickly became ‘part of the family’ and when she had the night off, she spent it where everyone was ‘hanging out’.
Maxine had just handed out presents for everyone and they were laughing when Eric’s phone rang. He turned to Sookie. “It’s Godric, I’ll be right back.”
Godric called about once a week so nobody thought anything of this particular call and they went right back to talking about the honeymoon. Eric returned after only a few moments. “That was fast Sweetie.”
“He’s on his way over with Rasul.”
“Does he know something?”
“Yes, but I don’t know what yet; I wanted everyone to hear together.” He picked up the phone again. “I’m getting Thalia and Mustapha here. We’ll meet out back.”
The group settled onto the deck and their guests arrived quickly. “What have you learned Rasul?”
“More than I thought we should cover in a phone call.”
Godric had visited several times and Hunter just loved hearing stories from the ancient vampire so no one was surprised when Hunter moved his own deck chair to sit right next to him. Uncle Godric had gotten accustomed to the boy’s attention. “Eric, Rasul may have some disturbing information to share, should we see about . . .”
He lifted Sookie and Celia easily from their seat and sat again; both of them on his lap. Guessing where Rasul was headed with his question, he answered before he even finished the sentence. “Go on Rasul, we’re all fine with any information you share.”
Rasul only hesitated a moment then started. “All the facts started to piece together about 5 nights ago, I did some more research and discovered what I think is the whole story at this point then informed the Queen that my maker had called me. A maker’s call is not something she can deny so I was able to get up here as soon as I could.” With a heavy sigh, he started. “This is what I know.”
Rasul went on for almost an hour. While there were some gasps during his talk, the only constant noise from Rasul’s audience was Celia’s sucking on Eric’s thumb: The tale had left everyone speechless. Bill returned to New Orleans, specifically to court to report on his failed mission to collect Sookie and present his new child: Jason Stackhouse. The Queen, Sophie-Anne, was furious and dropped all discretion as an argument with Bill started right there in court. Rasul learned that the Queen’s newest child Hadley (this was the first of the gasps) had informed Sophie-Anne that she had a cousin that could read minds in Bon Temps. Apparently she had gained favor with the Queen due to her part-fairy blood. Having done some research, Andre and Sophie-Anne discovered that her blood would become even more Fae-like as a vampire so while they hated her tantrums and selfish behavior, she was turned for her blood. After her turning, it was like a pendulum had been swung. Where she had been cruel, she was kind. Situations that would have caused childish outbursts were handled by the baby vampire with a new maturity. They didn’t understand it, but were pleased since they’d planned to just keep her locked away and taken out only for blood and other entertainment. So Hadley hadn’t been locked up, but she wasn’t part of court life either and in an effort to gain more favor, Sookie’s background was revealed. From there, they put a plan in place for Bill to acquire Sookie. Hadley was invited to court and trained on behavior and was doing well.
Visibly upset by the news, Hunter moved quickly from his chair to join Eric, Sookie and Celia. Luckily Eric’s frame was large enough to add him to his lap. Having stopped the story to watch Hunter’s move, Rasul continued after Eric nodded assuring him the boy was fine. “The Queen hadn’t heard from Bill but she expected his seduction to take a few weeks at least. Forgive me Sookie, but per Hadley she described you as simple and therefore easy prey, so she didn’t think it would take him long.”
Hoyt scoffed. “Hadley was an idiot.”
“Yes, well the Queen was not pleased when Bill returned without Sookie. He discovered you were gone almost immediately and he took Jason as his new child. That was apparently the deal he’d made with Sophie-Anne as his payment for procuring Sookie. Of course, there’s nothing she can do to take Jason from his maker so Bill keeps Jason while Sophie-Anne does not get her prize.”
Sookie was almost afraid to ask. “How was Jason? How did he act?”
“He was really upset for what Bill was sent to do. Very emotional for a vampire honestly. Bill actually had to command him from attacking the Queen.”
“He tried to hurt her?” Eric was shocked.
“Yes, he said Sookie deserved peace and that he would do whatever he needed to protect her. Does he know where she is? I mean, he didn’t say anything but I could have missed it.”
“No he doesn’t know. He and Sookie weren’t speaking when we left the state.”
“I don’t understand. He was defending Sookie, hurting at being separated.”
“I believe vampirism is the cure for fairy hybrids that don’t have the spark.”
Eric shook his head. “Something you wouldn’t know about. We learned recently that fairy hybrids without the fairy spark, like Hadley and Jason, are destined for anti-social to almost evil behavior. I’d like to call Dr. Dayan and discuss this further at some point. For now though, please continue Rasul.”
Rasul continued to tell everyone about the rest of that very eventful court session. While Bill couldn’t be forced to hand over Jason, as the Queen would have wanted, he was taken for punishment. Rasul’s face showed a bit of sorrow when he told Sookie that meant that Jason would feel the pain as well. Luckily, the Queen only ordered a week of corporal punishment for what she saw as a betrayal. Even though she was angry at Bill, she still planned to welcome him back to her court as a valued member after his punishment was over. Rasul admitted that this was likely to keep Jason and his blood close.
Sookie’s response shocked those in the room. “So even though now we know the cure and Jason wasn’t entirely responsible for his actions, part of me feels like someone somewhere is giving him a bit of just rewards.” She rubbed her face as she thought about it. “I’m feeling so un-Christian now, but I can’t help it. Years of being underneath the rule of others, serving as a treat flavor for vampires? He so deserves this.”
Maxine put Sookie at ease. “Sookie, nobody here will judge you for feeling that way. Some of us may share those thoughts.” A few in the group offered a ‘here here’.
Eric got back to business. “What did she plan to do about Sookie? Has Hunter been mentioned?”
If possible, Rasul’s face became even grimmer. “She planned to start a search for “Sookie Stackhouse” and has secured a private investigator. His name is Doug Tompkins. I heard one report from him before I left. He found nothing through usual searches – his comment was that ‘Sookie Stackhouse fell off the face of the earth’. Using a recent picture of Sookie, he’s been questioning people in Northern Louisiana. So far he’s found nothing at the airport, train station or bus depot. Andre was going to Bon Temps to ask around like Bill did.”
“That’s hopeless, the town was glamoured.”
“He can’t read through glamour so you should be fine.” Rasul shifted in his seat and looked uncomfortable. Not being able to read his mind didn’t prevent Sookie from seeing that Rasul was nervous about something.
“Rasul, I can see the next part’s not going to be good.”
“No. The Queen was very upset that night. Hadley was threatened with her own punishment for withholding information about you for so long. Hadley’s been at the palace – hidden as a personal donor for the Queen and Andre for almost five years. She was owned by and bonded to another vampire, Nikki?” Eric nodded his head indicating that he knew her. “Ironically, Nikki was killed about a week after she showed up in New Orleans with her special pet.”
“Yes, how ironic. Killing Nikki, while hurting Hadley, would have been the only way for the Queen to have her. How did she prevent Hadley from wanting to kill herself since they were bonded?”
“She didn’t. Hadley was confined for her own safety for a long time. A witch was needed to spell her on several different occasions. It took a while, but my understanding is she did get over the feeling and being turned as I mentioned gave her an entirely new personality.” He turned to Sookie. “Had I known any of this when I first knew of you and Northman I would have shared it. I had no idea there was a connection between you and this hidden pet/child.”
“I understand. There’s more so please tell us.”
“To save herself, or so she thought, Hadley told the Queen about Hunter, her baby. I didn’t know she was the mother, is that true?”
Hunter yelled, “biology only, she’s not my Mommy.”
“My apologies Hunter, I was simply confirming she gave birth to you.”
“Yeah, unfortunately she did.” Hunter admitted.
“So in addition to searching for Sookie, she’s also determined to find Hunter. We need to plan.”
Rather than reacting with fear or panic, Sookie simply stated with confidence. “Then it’s a good thing Hunter Stackhouse or Savoy doesn’t exist any longer. Isn’t it Sweetie?”
“Correct. Rasul, Sophie-Anne’s investigator won’t find them. They simply vanished. No name change, no death, no hospital records after earlier this spring. Sophie-Anne thinks she has resources that can cover all areas of government and computer hacking, but she simply doesn’t have the access I do.”
“Eric, you’ve got to be sure. Any connection to you here, anything will have her invading this state. She’s determined. What protection do you have? Do Sookie and Hunter leave the property?”
“Susan Northman goes to West Chester University. Ironically, Tony William Jr., now known as Bob Sumner, shares the same class schedule as Susan. They’ve met a new friend there, Larry Gilmore, but we just call him Lala. We even have a transfer of her courses from The City College of New York where she started her English degree and left when she gave birth to Henry. Though back then they were Susan and Henry Brighton. Susan’s Uncle, Ryan MacGregor, took her and Henry in since she had no other family. It was through his employer, Godric that Sookie and I met.”
“You still have connections to Louisiana, folks visiting from there.”
“Not any longer. The last of the family has decided to live here permanently. They will have the same altered histories being remade like Susan and Henry.”
Rasul nodded in approval then asked more. “Guards?”
“Thalia and Tori at night; Tony Jr. and Sr. with their staff of five for day and extra night protection for the grounds. They shift and run the property on a rotating basis.”
“Rasul, if your Queen comes here, she’ll have to go through me to get to them.” Godric explained. “Eric’s guards and security system are connected to my offices. She’ll have a war if she tries anything.”
“And I’ll keep my ears open Eric. We’ll have to find a way to communicate.”
“I’ll get you set up.” Mustapha offered. “When do you head back?”
“Night after tomorrow.”
“Can you come here tomorrow night for a review of the equipment and procedures?”
Sookie was curious about something Rasul had said so she asked. “You said to save herself or so she thought. What did that mean?”
“Hadley was a fool. When the Queen heard she’d given birth and gave the baby away she was furious. She screamed at Hadley for wasting all those years of training and growing a source of blood. She was taken to receive the same punishment as Compton.”
“So she doesn’t know anything else about Hunter?”
“Sophie-Anne asked if Hunter was telepathic, but of course that couldn’t be confirmed by Hadley. Believing his blood tastes similar to Hadley’s, she wants him badly.”
With an authoritative voice, Eric stated, “The Queen won’t get him.”
The group on the deck all added their agreements.
Rasul returned to New Orleans with their private communication method in place. With the early detection warning from the Palace, the Northman compound in PA chose to relax and trust in their security and other precautions. Sookie and Lala enjoyed their philosophy class (it wasn’t Tony’s ‘cup of tea’ but he survived), Charles and Maxine had a small cottage built on the property (in between Sookie and Hoyt), Eric completed his cooking class and took over cooking the late night meal, closer to the kid’s bedtime while Sookie did her homework, and in August, they celebrated Celia’s birthday. Eric hosted a large party of course; ordering several carnival rides and games for the day and evening. They invited their new found friends: families from the local pack with young children. This small group worked directly with Godric and could be trusted with befriending the family. No Daddy had ever been prouder of his newly walking baby girl on her birthday and his precious Celia rewarded him by calling him Dada a week later. He didn’t bother to hide a tear of joy that resulted, and he hadn’t tired of hearing it – even when she would just yell Dada, Dada, Dada over and over again.
With Jessica and Hoyt and Johanna moved to PA permanently (legally using their new identities), Hunter started school with Jessica on a daily basis. He and Johanna continued to thrive and grow from the benefits of their improved health and constant care from Doc Maria. Hunter’s fairy chemistry continued to reject the all-human heart but Eric’s blood was administered about every other month keeping the situation in check. Student Sookie thrived as well, well ‘Susan’ did. At school she made just a few friends but kept her true background to herself. It just wasn’t worth the risk but it didn’t diminish her joy at getting back to school and finishing her degree. For life after Sookie’s school, Sookie and Eric had decided to co-write books. They both had a love of reading and literature, Eric had a perspective on history that few could match, and Sookie had shown talent for creative writing in school. Godric had a relationship with a publisher that they would approach when ready. The topics for a series had already been fleshed out and they had a storyline and name: Viking Voyagers would star a certain tall, blond and blue-eyed North Man and a petite but fierce shield maiden.
Eric was even having some success with Pam. He had no false hope that she would end her year and come out embracing his family, but she was starting to understand. As the final months of her sentence were upon them, she and Eric started planning. Pam would remain in PA, living in an underground apartment with Thalia and Tori. Thalia would be her guide (guard) when Eric was not directly with her. She would be on rotation for guard duty, two nights off per week. Those nights would be specifically planned and she would have a vampire escort from Godric’s staff. While he knew she wasn’t happy about these plans, she accepted them. In addition to meeting with Pam on his monthly meetings, he also spent time discussing Pam with Hunter. Hunter was justifiably scared of Pam, and while he would ensure his safety Eric would also limit their contact until Hunter grew more secure. One thing Pam knew without a doubt: If she tried anything – even just an attempt to scare his boy, she would be dead.
Everyone enjoyed the shorter days meaning longer nights with Eric as they headed into the holiday season. If Eric had fun prepping for Christmas last year, this year with two children made him giddy. Sookie had to pull him back on gifts. She allowed all the decorating he wanted and she kept thinking about the house from the movie Christmas Vacation every time they turned on the decorative lights. If she said anything though, Eric simply reminded her that she’d given him blanket permission on the decorations and said, “That’s what my son wants.” End of discussion.
So under a year and a half from the day they first met Sookie and Eric sat by the tree in their den, enjoying the quiet before they woke the kids for ‘Santa’s reveal’. Jessica and Hoyt left early, they’d had baby Erica (named after the family ‘savior’ as they said) a week prior to Christmas and she was a bit of a challenging baby (a screamer in fact). Bobby had moved in with Maria and had his own role as Santa this year for Dylan. That left Santa Eric without an elf until Ryan stepped up. Ryan had cousins, nieces and nephews, but had never participated in a kids Christmas morning. So he and Genny had stayed for a while to help assemble toys but they’d retired to bed.
As Sookie and Eric had done the prior Christmas, they chose not to exchange material gifts. Using Sookie’s idea from the year before, Eric stepped to the piano and told her, “I’m singing to you this year.”
She smiled and moved to sit by him on the bench. He selected a John Denver song and of course, she melted just like when he selected one for their wedding. This song, For You, was like a promise; a vow and he was singing it to her. She was in tears when he ended and he took her in his arms. Never had she thought that life could be this good, that she could love someone so much. Eric felt the same and he had waited 1000 years for Sookie and this family. “Thank you for my song Eric. I never even heard you practice.”
“I’m sneaky.” She chuckled at him and he gave her a kiss in return. “I love you Sookie.”
“I love you more Eric. I have something special for you this Christmas.”
“Do tell. Is it a song?”
“No, though I’d be happy to sing if you want.” She bit her lip, worried he wouldn’t like it.
“You’re so nervous, I can’t even imagine.”
“Well, it worked out so well for Hunter I thought . . . “ She paused and reached into her pocket pulling out a note.
“I’m on pins and needles Sookie.” Having mercy on him, she handed him a folded piece of paper. He opened it, smiled then pretended to think. After a few minutes he was still quiet so she nudged him. “Go on.”
“Go on what – now?”
“You want me to do it right now?”
“Yes Eric. Just like the paper says. Make a Wish.”
For You – in case you haven’t heard it before