AN: I do hope you enjoy this chapter. Any and all comments are always appreciated. 🙂 Many thanks to Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball for the use of their characters.
“And do you know the name of this human family?”, Eric pressed.
“He didn’t want to reveal it, but I insisted. If his information proved to be worthless, I had promised to destroy whatever or whoever he wanted to help with my blood. It was a way to maintain our quid pro quo.”
“The name, Godric. What is the name?”
“What?” Sookie questioned after hearing her family name.
“Hale. Does that name mean something to you?” Eric asked.
She didn’t respond. She couldn’t respond. Her mind boggled at the thought of her own ‘Six Degrees of Separation’. Her initial inclination was to get the hell out of Dodge, but the longer she focused on everything that she’d learned over the past 24 hours, the more she wanted answers. It was clear that there was a long history of events, decisions made centuries ago, and people who intersected that influenced her life and the situation she now confronted. She felt like she had been a bystander in her own existence and she could no longer have that. She would be an active participant. There was no more room for passivity…..or for running.
“Yes, that was my Gran’s maiden name. What else can you tell me, Godric? Who was the fairy? Did you ever find out what he did with the blood?”
Godric considered how he would reply to Sookie’s inquiry. He knew some things, but much still remained a mystery. “The fairy’s name was Niall. He di”
“You’re not surprised” Sookie interrupted with the change in demeanor not going unnoticed, “You didn’t even raise an eyebrow. You knew. You knew there was a connection to me. How?”
Seeing the distrust roll over Sookie’s face, Godric knew he could ill-afford to hold back the truth. “There is a hint of my blood within you, child. It’s very faint, but it’s there. You may be a stranger to me, Sookie, but I assure you, my blood is not. I don’t know exactly why Niall wanted vampire blood, but I know what he did with it. It appears some time ago he gave it to an ancestor of yours.”
Unwavering, she pressed “Is this Niall still alive? If he is we need to find him.”
“I have not had contact with him since that one night long ago, but I have heard that he lives. He has great standing among his kind. I doubt he would enjoy seeing me again, but….”
“You….you I think he would be most interested in seeing.”
Eric had been watching the exchange between Godric and Sookie. He was left hurt by his maker’s omission. It had been over 1000 years and Godric had not given the smallest indication that his turning had been anything but a chance meeting — a meeting of two warriors. Now he understood things to be much more premeditated. Godric was sent there for him. And he was supposed to be some kind of answer to the killing light. It also made him question whether his introduction to the Stackhouses had been coincidence, or had it been planned like his meeting with Godric. Yes, he had many questions.
Moving to stand in front of Sookie, Eric said “NO! I will not allow it. Fairies are not to be trusted, and I think trust is running pretty thin on many accounts.”
Sookie peered around Eric to look at Godric. Placing her hands on Eric’s arm, she said, “Eric, wait. Wait.”
Eric turned to her and she offered, “You know what I’ve been through in the past 24 hours. You know how confusing this all is. And I know you’re confused, too. But wouldn’t you want to know if there was some secret about who you were? Hmmm? I know you would…I know you do.” Eric looked pointedly to Godric and then returned his gaze to hers as she continued. “Well, I need the same thing. And I would be grateful if you’d help me. Please.” When Eric didn’t respond, she added “Eric, trust me.”
Eric’s eyes sharpened as the last sentence left Sookie’s sweet mouth. He was unhappy with his maker, but he felt an unprecedented need to protect her. And going after the fairy went against that desire. Considering her words and the longing he could feel through her blood, a spark hit his eyes as he finally answered, “How grateful?”
“Pft! So can I take that as a yes? And why do you always have to go there?”
“Where?” he said smugly
“You know where. There! Argh! Never mind. Yes, I’d be grateful and you’ll just have to wait to find out how much….after you help me find Niall.”
Eric chuckled. “As I said, you’re too easy. In all seriousness, this is going to be dangerous, but I do understand the desire to know the truth. So I will help you on two conditions. First, you will stay close to me as we do this. You will not leave my side. And second, you will do as I say.”
“No. Nope! I won’t agree to that.”
“Sookie, I say that not to control you, but because I am more experienced. You, yourself, acknowledged that you are but 24 hours into the supernatural world. Trust that I am more versed in the supernatural customs, that I am more aware of the nature of the the beings we may encounter, and my strength and skills are quite unmatched.“
“Hmpf. Well you continue to amaze me with your modesty, Eric. Fine. I see your points, even if you continue to prove my point about your big head.”
Eric couldn’t help but let the small smile break on his face despite his worry. While he enjoyed their tango, he couldn’t deny his concern. They would be embarking on a mission fraught with danger and the unknown….and they would confront one of the most powerful supernatural beings in existence. But he would help her. And he would help himself. It was undeniable that they were linked. Godric linked them — by blood and by history. There was much that they needed to learn and it seems they would do it together.
The evidence of Eric and Sookie’s connection was on display. Godric could see how Eric instinctively protected Sookie and how he sought proximity to her. He saw how she leaned into his touch. He also saw how Sookie’s wants influenced his child. He had never known Eric to give real weight to the wants of others. If an arrangement could be mutually beneficial, more the better, but it was unlike him to acquiesce so easily. He rather enjoyed seeing this side of Eric.
Recalling their long history together, Godric noted how Eric had made it a point to maintain some distance between himself and everyone else. It was not uncommon for vampires to maintain some measure of emotional distance. Experiencing loss after loss after loss easily takes a toll leaving many vampires to a lonely existence. Denying any emotional investment in anything or anyone for whom mortality was a prominent attribute became a means of self-preservation. Humans, in particular, were quite fragile. As a result, Eric chose to maintain a barrier between himself and his emotions. It was a difficult task considering how deeply Eric loved, but he had been successful in this endeavor for the last half of his undead life. There was, however, an exception to that rule and it was Pam. She was human and the only other being that Eric allowed himself to get close to. They had created a collaborative and collegial working relationship and through that course had grown fond of each other. In some ways, Pam was the sibling that he had never had and in others, she was the daughter that had eluded him in his human days. And now, seeing the interactions between Eric and Sookie, Godric couldn’t help but feel comforted by it.
“Eric, Sookie, if you would allow me, I would like to help. I know you both have questions, but I have few answers. Let me help you find those answers.”
Eric may have been confused by the omission of his maker, but his trust in Godric was unwavering. He knew that Godric would be a great ally and he also knew that Sookie would need protection and having Godric to help keep her safe was a tremendous advantage.
There wasn’t much to consider from Sookie’s point of view. Godric could identify Niall and could help find him for her, plus, considering what Eric said about age and vampires, they’d be crazy not to have him come along. But they needed some ground rules.
“That works for me, but we need to have an understanding. We need to do this together. I don’t want you or Eric shoving me aside like I’m some poor little girl who can’t help herself or needs protectin’. I’m telling you that I may be a lady, but I’ll fight to the death for what and who I believe in. I won’t be trifled with. I’m in this just as much as you two are. Got it?”
Eric recalled his own previous glimpse of this Sookie. She could be a fighter and he knew standing in her way wasn’t without its own dangers. The girl was perfectly capable of drawing blood and he feared that his maker might have the opportunity to learn that same lesson.
Godric raised his hands as a sign of his surrender. “You have my word, little one. We shall be in this together.”
“Thank you, Godric. And what about you, Eric? I need to hear it from you, too. And not your sexual innuendos, either. Let’s have it. I agreed to your conditions, but that doesn’t mean you can treat me like a child. Just so you know, you may be stronger than me, but cross me and I swear I’ll find a way to make you pay. And I can promise you, it’ll hurt.”
The only response that Eric could give was a very tight nod of his head. Fiery Sookie was a sexy Sookie and he had to limit any big movements for fear that the growl that desperately wanted out would find its release.
For Sookie’s part, she felt pretty good about drawing her line in the sand. She had her fears that they would lock her away in the name of protecting her and she wanted to have their word upfront that they wouldn’t do that. To their credit, they agreed to their partnership. The three of them would seek out the fairy Niall and then she would find out what he had to do with her family.
Now that the negotiations were over, Godric motioned for Eric and Sookie to take a seat as he sat across from them. They would have to prepare before beginning their hunt and he wanted to know more about Sookie. He could sense not only his blood, but there was the energy he had referred to. She was part fae and he suspected that she may have some fae abilities. The question was what were they, how strong were they, and could she wield them at will. Considering how he would broach the subject, he finally settled on being direct. “Sookie, I believe we’ve established that you are part fairy. I think it would be beneficial for you to learn more about your heritage. You’ve heard our reference that fairies are powerful and dangerous, yes?” Sookie remained silent, but nodded in agreement. “Part of the power that fairies have manifests in certain abilities like teleportation, harnessing of light, conjuring, and telepathy to name a few. I do wonder if you have any of these abilities.”
“No. I can’t do any of that. I don’t have any powers. You say I’m part fairy, but I’m telling you I’m just plain ol’ me. I’m a waitress…nothing special.”
Eric interjected, “Sookie, remember what you told me earlier. The story of your Gran. She said that you shouldn’t be peeking where you didn’t belong. She said you were nosey.”
“Your Gran said this to you?” Godric asked.
“Well….yeah. What does that mean? What are you trying to say?”
Eric and Godric looked at each other and the one word crossed their minds at the same time, ‘telepathy’.
“Hey….tell me. What are y’all thinkin’? I can see you’re thinking somethin’.”
Eric looked to Sookie and answered, “Sookie, we…Godric and I…we think you might have shown signs of telepathy when you were younger. It was an interesting choice of words your Gran used. ‘Peeking where you don’t belong’…that could easily refer to telepathy.”
“Come on. You can’t be serious. Really, I have no powers.”
Moving to kneel in front of her, Godric took Sookie’s hand, “You have an energy, Sookie. I can sense it. Eric, do you feel it?”
“I do sense something different in Sookie. And….” Eric hesitated as he recalled their earlier encounter and the electricity that passed between them.
“What?” Godric pressed.
“Last night…as we were coming to a…an understanding, there was a moment when we touched….we touched and there was a charge that passed between us.
“What? What’s fascinating? Wha..what does that mean? I mean, really, that charge, it could be easily explained. Static electricity, anyone?”
Reaching for her hands, Eric held them tightly between his own. “Sookie, you know it was more than that. I felt something very different and I know you did too.”
Eric’s touch calmed her. She didn’t want to believe any of it. She was finally wrapping her head around being part fairy. After all, who knew vampires existed. If they existed, why not fairies? But what she couldn’t accept was that she was special, that she had supernatural powers. That went against everything that she grew up believing.
She looked to Eric’s hands holding hers and she smiled. They’d come a long way in the past 24 hours. They had a rocky beginning, but now….now she found comfort in him. Looking up, her smile grew as she found the softness in his eyes. “Okay….I won’t fight this. But I can’t help that I’m having a hard time believing it. If you’re right and my Gran was referring to my ability to read minds, then that means she was keeping secrets from me and I don’t know what to think about that. But, you guys are forgettin’ somethin’ important…..I can’t read minds now. Maybe whatever ability I had is gone. And the electricity thingy — I got no clue what that’s supposed to mean. It’s never happened before.”
Godric became more intrigued by the fact that an electrical charge occurred between them. He had already witnessed their closeness, even though they were new to each other, and now there was this current that flowed between them. It was difficult to know what it all meant, but he knew for certain that there was something unusual between them and he considered that Eric might possibly be the key to unlocking Sookie’s gifts.
“You’ve had Eric’s blood, correct?”
“Yes. Let me guess, it’s a smellin’ thing, right? You guys do know how intrusive that is. I mean…really, yuck…it’s unnerving.”
“You are right, I can smell it. When one takes the blood of a vampire, their scent hangs over you much like a cologne or perfume.”
“Ha! Eau d’Eric.” Sookie decided to find the humor where she could get it. Eric on the other hand wasn’t so fond of her newfound nickname; he grumbled, but said nothing.
“Tell me, did the energy between you happen before or after you had Eric’s blood?”
“Ah…before, I think. Eric?”
“Sookie is right, it was before.”
“Interesting”, Godric mused out loud.
“Okay….I’ll bite.” Realizing what she had said after hearing Eric’s fangs descend, she added “wait, wrong choice of word. I meant why is it interesting? Now come on, put those fangs away. There will be no biting…none, nada.”
“Pity”, Eric snarked.
“Eric, you’ve had your fun.” Godric chided. Turning his attention back to Sookie, he continued, “To answer your question, Sookie, I was just considering how your gifts might react with Eric’s blood. You see fairies have what is called an ‘essential spark’. It is what makes fairies powerful. In your case, you are a human/fairy hybrid. Your fairy essence could easily lay dormant so that you don’t present with any fairy abilities outside of any passive characteristics like your appearance. You, Sookie, are quite lovely as a fairy would be. However, it seems with you, my dear, that is not the case. More than likely, when you were younger, you had the gift of telepathy – the ‘peeking’ that your Gran referred to. Now you speak of this energy transfer between you and my child. I feel confident that if you were to reflect on your past, you might find other things that seemed preternatural.”
“Well, you’re making it sound much more than it was, I’m sure. “ Sookie pressed.
“It’s apparent that there is a link between the two of you. I can see it just being in your presence. I initially suspected that it was because you have had some of Eric’s blood, but now knowing that there was a…a power that flowed between you prior to any exchange of blood…..well, that changes things. That suggests that your powers were already active. The question now is will Eric’s blood influence your abilities. Will it heighten any that you’ve already exhibited and will it reveal others?”
“I have to tell you this all sounds crazy. I can’t believe that I have some magical power. And I really can’t believe the thing about me and Eric…pft. If I was to believe any of this that would mean that over a thousand years ago” Sookie took a moment to chuckle to herself. “That would mean a thousand years ago you were destined to…a…make Eric, if that’s the word for it, that your blood would be given to my ancestors by some fairy, and that Eric and I, well, that we would meet. And to top it off, you think Eric’s blood might give me more powers. Yeah, pretty much…saying it out loud doesn’t make it sound any better. It all sounds crazy.”
“Sookie, I don’t believe that Eric’s blood would give you any powers. What I believe is that his blood might enhance or possibly release your already existing powers, those that may be dormant. I also believe that prior to our search for Niall, we need to test you and, if we can unleash more abilities, it would be better to do that now. They could prove to be valuable in our search.”
Eric watched the exchange between his maker and Sookie. He had been listening intently to the conversation and wasn’t sure how he felt about what Godric was saying. He didn’t like the idea of his life being so influenced by outside forces. That thought alone made him uncomfortable and he wanted answers, too.
“Godric, are you saying Sookie should take more of my blood”
“Yes, I think she should, but first I’d like to do a test to see what she’s developed so far. If I’m right and I believe that I am, we should see more gifts manifest. Sookie, would you be open to that?”
“I…I don’t know. I can’t really wrap my brain around it all. I…I think I trust you and I believe that you wouldn’t suggest something that would harm me, but I’m scared.”
Eric interjected, “Godric, I would like to speak to Sookie alone. Please.”
Godric agreed without hesitation. With a bow, he turned and walked out the door of the hotel room.
“Sookie, tell me what you’re thinking. I can see the questions fluttering across your face.”
“Well, to be honest, I’m trying not to panic. My whole world has been turned upside and I’m beginning to think that a lot of what I knew about my childhood wasn’t real. But I’ll tell ya, there’s another part of me that’s pissed off. I feel like I’ve been lied to and that’s a hard thing for me to forgive. Even though I don’t think anyone lied to my face, I was definitely kept in the dark. And lying by omission is still lying.”
“I understand that your world is not the same as it was yesterday and I understand your apprehension, but I think you’ve handled yourself quite well. You’re a strong woman, Sookie Stackhouse.”
“I still want to find the truth. I want to find Niall. And I want to find out why someone is trying to hurt me. So if we’re going to do this, I need to know a few things.”
“What would you like to know?”
“First, the libido thing. It’s more than that, isn’t it? Cause I’ll tell you, it felt like more than that.”
The crossroads staring him straight in the face, Eric had a choice to make. He could continue with the omissions and risk her wrath once discovered, or he could reveal everything to her now and see if they could start anew. When they first met he had no compunction about his omissions, but now….now they were, indeed, partners and, exploring his feelings, he found that he actually cared about what she thought of him. He found that he wanted her to like him. It was strange and unsettling, but he couldn’t deny its importance to him. Taking a deep unneeded breath, Eric made his decision.
“You’re correct. There is more. Yes, the libido increases, but there are dreams….dreams of the vampire that can be highly sexual.”
“I knew it! I knew that dream wasn’t me! Whew! That explains a lot.”
“I wouldn’t do your happy dance quite so soon. While my blood may encourage your dreams, anything you may feel outside of that is all you.”
“What do you mean? I don’t feel anything!”
“You’re very cute in your denial.” Waiting a beat, he continued, “It appears in order to start our new endeavor on the right foot I must confess a few omissions of my own.”
Sookie straightened up as she waited to hear what he had to say next. She didn’t like being lied to. They were about to embark on a potentially dangerous mission and now she had to question her trust and, in doing so, wondered if she could continue on with him by her side. Nevertheless, she needed to hear what he had to say, so she motioned for him to continue.
Keeping his eyes on her, he said, “My blood. There are a few other side effects which I neglected to share. Yes, I told you of the increased libido and there are the dreams, but I failed to tell you that I could now feel your emotions. And I can also sense your location.”
Sookie stood to gain her distance from Eric. Her anger was percolating under the surface, washing over her, and she was ready to blow. She felt manipulated and lied to, and she didn’t like it one bit. She started to pace back and forth as she tried to decide what she was going to do.
To his credit, Eric said nothing and he made no motion to console her or to explain himself. He remained in his sitting position watching the wave of anger pour over her. He also couldn’t help but notice the lovely shade of red she turned, but he decided that was one secret he needed to keep.
After several minutes, Sookie finally stopped her pacing. She pinned him with her eyes and spat, “Eric Northman, you’re a fucking a-hole! And I should just walk out of here and never look back, but I need to know the truth about who and what I am and it appears that I’ll need you to do it. So I’m telling you now that if you ever lie to me again, directly or indirectly, you better pray that I NEVER find out. Cause if I do, I swear to God I will wait until daylight and I will track you down and I will stake your ass. And since I’m no killer AND I am a lady, I DO MEAN ASS! Now I’d like for you to leave, if you please. I need to calm down and I can’t do it looking at your mug.”
Eric noticed a glow of her fingertips as Sookie took him to task, but again said nothing. He rose, nodded his acknowledgment, and left the room. He met Godric outside in the hallway.
“So I take you heard everything?”
“Yes, I dare say a human would’ve heard it. She is quite angry with you. I don’t blame her, but I also don’t blame you. I understand you’ve only just met and it is not our way to be forthcoming with our gifts and vulnerabilities, especially not to a stranger. But, things have changed now and you have been warned. You are now on equal footing. I would suggest you keep it so.”
Eric silently agreed. Several minutes passed between them when Godric asked, “She is quite something when she’s angry isn’t she?”
Eric smiled as he agreed, “Yes…Yes, she is.”