SOOKIE POV, CONTINUED
“Very few who are only one-quarter Fae inherit the fairy spark,” Mr. Cataliades informed, his voice laden with an apology that I wasn’t sure I wanted to know anything about. “One such as yourself—one of only one-eighth blood . . . .” His voice trailed off. “Well, that’s unheard of.”
“What of Hunter?” I asked. “He’s less than me.”
Desmond shrugged. “Even more unheard of.”
“So you know about Hunter?” I asked.
He nodded. “Yes. I met your great-grandfather and then Finn because my family members have worked for Brigants for as long as fairies have needed attorneys in this realm.”
I accepted that information with a nod.
“I have kept track of all of Finn’s descendants—and I did more too.”
“What’s the more?” I asked.
He looked away, his eyes betraying guilt again. “Finn didn’t think any of his descendants would inherit the Fae spark. As long as Finn’s children didn’t have a spark, individuals like Breandan wouldn’t be able to find them. But—if they did somehow get a spark—Finn wanted them to have an advantage.”
“Telepathy,” I gasped with realization.
Mr. Cataliades nodded. “Some fairies can read minds, and some cannot. The gift is random—really. But—with demons—the ability is wrapped up in the blood so completely that it is inherited without a doubt. In other words, if a child’s father or mother has it, the child will have it—without fail.” He took a deep breath and then spent some time letting it out. “Finn asked me to give Adele blood both times that she was pregnant. The magic of my telepathic gift has existed in all of Finn’s descendants—because my blood is a part of you all—but it takes a fairy spark to transform that gift from dormant to active.”
“You’re the reason why I can read minds?” I gasped.
Desmond still wasn’t making eye contact with me. I took that as a bad sign.
“Yes. Telepathy was meant to be a gift that would give anyone in your family who had the Fae spark an advantage over other Supernaturals—including vampires. Finn begged me to give the gift to all of his spark-bearing progeny, and I relented to him because of our friendship. In retrospect, I would have denied him. But—please believe me—I didn’t know that you would gain telepathy without any of the controls that made it,” he paused, “normal.”
“Normal,” I said flatly.
“Yes. Normal. Telepathy generally comes with control, Sookie. Among all the Supernaturals I know with the gift, the ability to discern between thoughts and spoken words is innate—as is the ability to close one’s own mind off against receiving or sending thoughts.” He shook his head. “I never imagined that it wasn’t that way for you until after Finn was dead.”
“It wasn’t that way for me,” I concurred flatly.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and—given the look in his eyes and the way his mind opened up to me—I believed his apology.
“Why didn’t you tell me all this before—when you first met me?” I asked.
Mr. Cataliades sighed; the sound seemed to hurt him. “The queen—Sophie-Anne. I enjoyed being her employee, but she was crafty. The day you and I met, the car she sent me here in was bugged. Hadley’s apartment was bugged. Of course, Sophie-Anne’s palace was also bugged. And, then, there was the fact that the queen had me watched. Had I paid you more attention than she expected—or if I had sought you out before I had the excuse of Hadley’s estate—it could have been bad for both of us.”
“What? Why would Sophie-Anne watch you?” I gasped.
“There comes a point in time when an attorney knows a critical level of his client’s secrets. Sophie-Anne didn’t dare have me killed, but she couldn’t afford to distrust me; thus, she kept very close tabs on me.”
“So you knew you were being spied upon?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I had ways of eluding Sophie-Anne if needed, but—honestly—I don’t have much to hide. And I certainly didn’t want to risk you. Gladiola was to enquire about your ability and offer help, but she was killed before she could,” he added sadly.
I frowned at the memory of her death. I’d not known her well, but she’d seemed nice.
He shook his head. “Despite knowing Hadley and eventually figuring out that she was one of Finn’s descents, I didn’t know about Hunter’s existence—let alone his ability—until you asked Niall to find out his location.”
“How did you learn about it then?” I asked.
“Niall asked me to perform the search,” Mr. Cataliades responded. “As I said, I have worked for the Brigants for centuries.”
“Does Niall know that Hunter’s a telepath? That he has the spark?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Niall didn’t ask, and I offered nothing to him beyond the address.”
“Thank you—for that,” I whispered before taking a long drink of my water. In truth—after the day I’d already had—I could have used a stiffer drink. And I knew that the night was only just beginning.
Mr. Cataliades seemed perfectly content to let me stew in silence for a few minutes as I drained my glass.
“Would you like me to get you more?” he asked with a slight smirk as he motioned toward the empty glass.
I shook my head. “No thank you. So—just to clarify—you’re telling me that Hunter and I are both telepaths because of you?”
“Yes,” he confirmed. “Finn and me. His spark combined with my blood.”
I sighed deeply. “I kind of hate you right now.”
“I really don’t blame you,” he said sadly.
I closed my eyes for a moment. “Where are your loyalties, Mr. Cataliades? I know you are an attorney, so I’m not asking for State secrets or anything, but I need to know.”
“Call me Desmond,” he reminded softly. “And—as for my loyalties? Finn was my best friend. You are of him and you are of my own blood. I have no children of my own. So you are the closest thing I have. You and Hunter. My loyalties are yours—first and foremost—though I have always felt it best to keep my distance. Perhaps, that was a mistake. But—please believe that I have been trying to help.” He paused and his earnestness seemed to be a living being in the room. “That is why I have strived to help Eric get out of the marriage contract his maker forged. Otherwise, I would have counseled him to accept the contract without contest, for the situation with Freyda would likely be good for Eric on a professional level.”
“Really?” I asked.
He shrugged. “It is well-known that Victor dislikes Eric. Yes, de Castro is relatively fair, but—if a choice had to be made—Felipe would choose Victor over Eric.”
“Why did Felipe leave Eric alive during the takeover? Do you know?” I asked.
Desmond contemplated for a moment. “Eric really is a good asset, and a vampire of his age isn’t that common in the Americas. But—frankly—it was likely Appius that made Felipe pause.”
“Appius!” I gasped.
“Appius was an unimaginable monster—and a complete asshole,” Desmond said flatly. “But no one wanted to cross him. He was strong and unpredictable. Likely, Felipe would have figured that Appius would have been extremely disappointed if his eldest child was killed in something as petty as a state takeover.”
“Really?” I asked, flabbergasted that Appius could have been the source of anything “good” for Eric and me.
“Yes,” Desmond responded with surety. “But now that Appius is gone, the threat of him is gone too. Don’t get me wrong—Eric is powerful on his own. And he’s careful of himself, but he does have weaknesses,” he said, looking at me significantly.
“I’m his weakness.”
“You. And Pam.”
“But once I embrace my lineage? Come out publically? Will I be more of a weakness to him? Or less of one?” I asked him, studying his face for an honest answer—though I was certain that he’d been forthright with me up to that point. Still, I had to be sure. The last thing I wanted to do was to make Eric more vulnerable, and the plan could still be altered if need be.
“It is hard to say,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Being a fairy—the great-granddaughter of Niall Brigant—will make many vampires stay away. But it will entice others. Most in positions of power—kings and queens—will know better than to try to take you by force, though they might try to secure you in other ways.”
“What other ways?” I asked.
“They will offer you money or try to seduce you. They will offer Eric alliance after he is king—or try to seduce him. They might threaten those you care for. Or they could pretend to be your friend until they gain an advantage.” He frowned. “You must be careful of those in power, but—if you reveal yourself as Fae royalty and Eric succeeds in becoming king—you will almost certainly ensure that those in power will, at the very least, pause before acting against you in a violent manner.”
“What about others?”
“Vampires who keep themselves outside of the power structure might make attempts to get ahold of you. And, then, there will be the occasional insane or obsessed Supernatural being,” he said gravely.
“Like Victor,” I muttered.
“Yes,” Desmond agreed. “Exactly.” He looked at me as if to study me. “You must be sure, Sookie. Once you make your family connections known—once the supernatural community knows that you are part-fairy—there will be no going back. Your telepathy is already well-known, of course. But—some vampires believe things about fairies that might make them covet you.”
“The insane and obsessed ones,” I muttered, repeating his earlier words.
He nodded. “Exactly. Some vampires, for example, believe that fairy blood will help them to safely venture out into the sun.”
“Can it?” I asked, thinking of Eric.
“No,” Desmond responded. “That idea is myth. What is true is that the blood of a full-blooded fairy will make a vampire intoxicated in a way that will make him or her extremely vulnerable. I have witnessed fairies sacrifice their own kind—just to capture a vampire after he or she is drunk and virtually helpless. That is why wise vampires—like the Viking—are very careful in their dealings with fairies. For instance, Eric knew all along about Hooligans and the fairy presence there. However, instead of seeking out treats there, your vampire issued an Area 5 edict that no vampires were to go within a certain radius of the business, or they would be punished harshly.”
“I didn’t know that,” I responded.
Desmond shrugged. “The edict was made years ago—obviously before Eric would have had any knowledge of you. Such laws work to protect younger vampires from urges they might not be able to control. Older ones—like Eric—are affected by the scent of a fairy, to be sure, but they are generally disciplined enough to avoid putting themselves into unfortunate situations.”
I thought about every time that Eric had smelled fairies on me. I’d always figured that the scent was like an aphrodisiac to him. And—of course—I’m sure it was. His rubbing, biting, and having sex with me comments certainly betrayed the fact that he was attracted to the Fae scent. However, thanks to Desmond’s words, I was beginning to understand just how much care Eric had always had for me, for—even when I smelled like fairies—he’d never hurt me or taken too much blood from me.
I also thought about how he’d drained the fairy, Colman, after he’d tried to kill me, but had killed Appius instead. That had been a difficult night all around—what with Alexei going more nuts than usual.
Talk about your insane, obsessed vampires!
However, looking back, I knew that I’d initially misinterpreted some of the things that were going on that night.
For example, when Colman and Claude were together in my yard—fighting Alexei in a twisted game of cat and mouse—I’d assumed that Colman had come to harm me and that Claude was either trying to stop him or would have tried to protect me from him. When I learned about who Colman was and that he’d blamed me for his unborn child’s death and wanted me dead, I’d developed a soft spot for Claude because I’d thought that he wanted to protect me. In fact, I’d assumed that the only reason Claude had moved in with me was because he wanted to guard me—as he worked behind the scenes to talk Colman out of his revenge plot. It hadn’t occurred to me to ask why Claude didn’t stop Colman when he went to stab me. It hadn’t occurred to me to question why it was a be-spelled Dermot—NOT Claude—who managed to throw his knife into Colman’s back, allowing Eric to grab the fairy and drain him.
Still, even that night, I’d recognized that Eric was showing a lot of control after “drinking” Colman. Of course, the intoxicating effects of Colman’s blood were partially counteracted by the sobering scene—as well as Eric’s pain over losing his bond with his maker. Not to mention the pain he’d been enduring throughout the night thanks to Appius and Alexei.
Nevertheless, I’d seen bloodlust in Eric’s eyes after he’d finished off the fairy. But he didn’t come near me—not even to kiss me. Instead, from many feet away, he’d told me that I was his “dearest,” before he’d flown away to go take care of Pam, who’d also been injured by Alexei.
Yes—looking back—it was easier to see certain truths.
Eric didn’t touch me after he’d drained Colman because he didn’t want to risk harming me. Instead, he’d made sure that I knew how he felt about me and let me feel those feelings through our bond. And then he’d left—to protect me. After all, I was his “dearest.”
Dearest. I smiled a little at that thought.
Likely, Eric had also not wanted to feel the effects of his drunkenness in the proximity of Claude and Dermot.
On the other hand, Claude had been “caught” with a fairy who wanted me dead, but—because of my desire for a family who loved me, especially in the face of Eric’s deranged vampire “family”—I’d bought my fairy cousin’s explanation that he’d been trying to convince Colman to stop his plans. Hell—I’d been grateful to Claude for “trying” with Colman since I knew that Claudine had been happy with her chosen mate and would have preferred it if Colman wasn’t harmed.
I shook my head and looked up at Mr. Cataliades, who seemed to be waiting patiently for me to finish having whatever thoughts I needed to have. I had to say that Supes were often good at recognizing the need for silence when it came to making major decisions. Humans didn’t have that same skill. Come to think of it—Pam didn’t either (unless she happened to be in down-time). So maybe the “skill of silence” had nothing to do with “species.”
“So?” Mr. Cataliades asked.
“Oh—I’m definitely still claiming Eric, and I’m claiming my lineage. The way I look at it, keeping it a secret hasn’t stopped fairies and vampires from coming after me to this point.” I shrugged. “And maybe I’m just tired of trying to be normal when I’m not normal.” I sat up a little straighter. “I’m the part-fairy, part-human, apparently part-demon, telepathic, bonded and pledged mate of Eric Northman, one-thousand-year-old vampire.” I chuckled. “That’s my normal, and—even though I was scared and/or in denial for a long time—I’m now liking my chances at being happy for the first time in a long time.”
Mr. Cataliades smiled and took my hand. “Sookie, would you allow for me to claim you as my goddaughter? As I said, Finn was my best friend, and you have your telepathy because of me. The least I can do is to claim you. And—with that claim—would come my protection as well. I am only part-demon, but I have influence among many Supernaturals. And many vampires would be loath to fuck with the Dae.”
“Unless they are really insane or obsessed?” I chuckled, wiping away a tear of gratefulness at the same time.
“Indeed,” he smiled warmly.
“You’d really do that, Mr. Cataliades? Wouldn’t associating yourself with me add danger to your life?” I asked, touched by his offer.
He nodded. “It is Desmond,” he emphasized quietly. “Know this: I would have died for Finn. And—if I didn’t think it would have drawn attention to you—I would have tried to get to know you after he was gone, especially once I knew you were having difficulty with your telepathy.” He sighed and ran his hand through his thin hair. “Finn didn’t want any Supes to ever learn about his family with Adele. That’s why I covered my tracks very carefully when I came to see Adele after his death.”
“That’s when you gave her the cluviel dor?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
“What did she want to wish for? You said that it involved me, but you weren’t specific earlier.”
“She thought about wishing that your telepathy would go away,” he said softly. “It was then that I began to comprehend that what was meant to be a gift that you could use to protect yourself was actually a burden. For not realizing that sooner, I am sorry.”
“What did you tell Gran? About wishing my mind-reading away?” I asked, my voice trembling.
“I told her why Finn had wanted you to have telepathy in the first place. In turn, she told me that you had begun to learn how to construct your shields, but that things were still hard for you. In the end, I . . . .”
His voice trailed off.
“You what?” I asked.
“I didn’t envy her the choice, but I told her I wouldn’t blame her if she used the cluviel dor to undo what I’d done. Clearly, she decided not to.”
“When was this? When did Fintan die?” I asked him.
“You were nineteen,” Desmond said somberly. “Adele told me that you were at work when I came to the house.”
I nodded. “I was already working at Merlotte’s by then.”
“Finn hadn’t visited your family for a very long time by then—though he kept tabs on you all. However, he was very fearful that he would inadvertently lead Niall’s enemies to you—so much so that he used his magic to block the portal near your home.”
“But that magic died when he died,” I sighed.
“Yes,” Desmond confirmed. “In a letter to Niall, he asked that his father use magic to hide that portal—and to conceal Adele’s home from fairies who might be traveling nearby. He confessed that it was his own desire to look in on your family which had led Neave and Lochlan to your parents on the night they were killed. He never recovered from the guilt of your father’s death. And he hunted the fairy twins after that. But they eventually killed him.”
I closed my eyes in pain as I recalled Neave and Lochlan. I was even more glad that they were dead than I’d been before.
“But Niall chose not to close the portal or conceal Gran’s home as Fintan asked,” I said, shaking my head.
“No. It was more than half a decade after Finn died before Niall responded to my request to meet to discuss Finn’s wishes. Some rumors had Niall captured by Breandan during that time. Other rumors just indicated that he was in hiding. The most charitable reports said that he was in mourning because of Finn’s death. I do know that—around that time—Claudine was instructed to keep an eye on you from afar. When Niall finally sought me out, I gave him Finn’s letter, which outlined his wishes that your family be concealed and left alone. When Niall seemed anxious to seek you out, I told him that you had a relationship with Eric. I had hoped that the Viking would prove a buffer between you and Niall. And, honestly, I worried about Niall finding about Eric on his own.”
“Because a fairy’s natural inclination is to kill a vampire who’s hanging around his kin,” I sighed.
“When I first met Niall, he worried that he would lead his enemies to me. But he wanted for us to have a relationship.”
Desmond nodded. “Finn had the same dilemma. In the end, he realized that even keeping his distance wasn’t being distant enough—when it came to certain fairies.”
“The insane and the obsessed,” I noted, my mouth feeling dry.
“Yes. To his credit, Niall has been trying to eradicate that ilk from amongst his people all of his life. His mistake was the same as Finn’s.”
“Thinking that he could protect his family by hoping that we’d stay a secret,” I sighed.
“Yes. But secrets have a long time to be revealed in the supernatural world,” the part-demon said. “It was naïve of Niall to believe that you would remain a secret. Just as it was naïve of Finn.”
“Oh, God! Hunter!” I exclaimed.
“I have already arranged for him to be guarded full time,” Desmond said calmly. “In fact, I know that you visited him just yesterday.”
“Really? How much money . . . .”
“Do not worry about that,” he waved me off. “In truth, I have been considering relocating Remy and Hunter so that the boy can be trained. Luckily, Niall expressed no interest in having a relationship with him—spark or not—given the fall-out with his relationship with you. And—again—I worried about drawing attention to Hunter with my presence, so I’ve had to rely upon others to watch him. I trust them, but . . . .” He shook his head with frustration. “It is difficult to know what is best to do.”
“Remy has a job in Red Ditch. They have a nice home there. And Remy’s doing his best to take care of Hunter,” I pointed out, though I cringed a little as I recalled Remy’s proposition to me.
Desmond sighed. “I will continue having them guarded then. And I’ll arrange for Hunter to receive some private training from someone who cannot be traced back to me.”
“I’ve been tryin’ to help him—a little,” I said.
He smiled at me. “That’s good. But you are about to get a whole lot more notorious.”
I frowned. I hadn’t thought about what my decision to “claim” Eric and my heritage would mean to my seeing Hunter. “Will you—can you—make sure that Hunter stays okay? Even if it’s better that I don’t know the specifics—just in case?” I asked the demon lawyer.
He nodded. “I will pull Hunter and Remy out of Red Ditch only if their guards find that vampires or fairies are sniffing around the child.”
“If that happens, Eric will help,” I said quickly.
Desmond nodded. “I will keep that in mind and call upon him if needed.”
I breathed a sigh of relief as a weight upon my shoulders seemed to lift.
“I want to keep seeing Hunter—if there’s a way for me to do it secretly,” I sighed. “But I won’t endanger him.”
“Understood,” Mr. Cataliades said. “I’ll see what I can do. But it might be a few months before it is safe.”
I nodded in understanding.
We were silent for a few moments. “Did you mean what you said? Would you really claim me as a goddaughter?”
The part-demon smiled. “Yes. Without reservation or pause,” he added.
“Niall never publically claimed me,” I shared.
“A calculation he—no doubt—thought would be safer for you,” he responded.
“It made me feel like a dirty little secret,” I said honestly.
“Well—soon you will have a lot fewer secrets,” he smirked.
I nodded. “Yes. Thank you, Desmond,” I said, trying out his first name for the first time.
“You are very welcome, my dear. Now—tell me how we are going to make your vampire a king so that I can help with that part too,” he smiled, his eyes alit with anticipation.
Supes and battles!
Even if I was ready to embrace being a Supe, I didn’t think I’d ever really come to appreciate bloodlust.
An extra thanks to Kleannhouse, who pointed out that I’d posted the chapters in the wrong order!!!