ONE YEAR LATER
Sookie and I made a point of making sure that we made plenty of time for one another, despite our commitments to Louisiana.
In fact, one night a week was always completely ours, and our competent sheriffs knew better than to disturb us unless the shit had well and truly hit the fan.
Happily, it hadn’t, but I was ever vigilant as a good king—a good husband—had to be.
Of course—every other night too—my bonded and I made it a point to enjoy time with each other.
Indeed, I’d come home early—after rushing through a series of meetings that could have been taken care of via email—and found my bonded sitting on the balcony of our bedroom in our Shreveport home.
Out of necessity, we spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans, but we both preferred the quiet that came with country living, and—though the estate we occupied most of the time had a Shreveport address—our closest neighbor was three miles away.
“Everything good?” she asked as she moved forward on her lounge chair so that I could take my place behind her. She nestled against me like the kitten I’d gotten her for her for her birthday nestled against her.
“Yeah. Freyda still thinks she’s being sly with her takeover plans, but our spies are keeping tabs on her. If she becomes dangerous, the Council is ready to act against her. Hell—I think they want her to initiate her plan so that she can be removed. But do not worry. Karin and Thalia won’t let her get close to either of us.”
Sookie sighed. “I know. It’s just too bad she couldn’t just accept things.”
I said nothing, kissing her neck and sending comfort into the bond.
After all, I didn’t think it would be “too bad” for Freyda to die at all.
“It’s been a year since you were made king,” Sookie commented after a few minutes of silence had passed.
“I know,” I whispered.
“And what a year!” she chuckled.
I nodded in confirmation, even as I continued my ministrations on her sweet flesh.
Our coronation had gone off without a hitch. A certain amount of backlash had come when Sookie had been named my queen instead of my consort, but that had died down very quickly after Sookie had thwarted a plan by the newest incarnation of the Fellowship of the Sun church before a summit in California. Needless to say, Agnes was a big fan.
Louisiana had been “anxious” to thrive. And so she did. The vampire population had nearly doubled following my coronation, and my newest project was a series of levies that would protect the city—even the poorer regions—from Katrina-like storms.
Rasul was doing very well as Sheriff of Area 1 and had bonded with Indira.
Arkansas was still a poor vampire territory, but—then again—it always had been. Russell and Bartlett had agreed to keep it and saw it as a “pet project” for them to work on together.
Nevada was taking longer to rebound than Louisiana, but—when the extent of Felipe’s mismanagement had become known—that lag had not been a surprise. He’d been ensnaring Louisiana for only a little while compared to what he’d done to Nevada! And—of course—when his plans for the other territories along the Mississippi River had been made known among vampires—no one lamented his death. Indeed, many vampires had thanked me for it—privately, of course.
Despite all of Nevada’s problems, however, Sandy was gaining respect because of her Herculean efforts, and I had little doubt that she’d succeed in completely recouping her state with time.
“Jason called,” Sookie said. “Michele and his engagement party is Monday night. He wanted to make sure that you could make it.”
I chuckled. “Who knew that your brother and I could ever become cordial.”
She jabbed her elbow backwards good-naturedly. “Don’t pretend that you don’t love hanging out with him.”
I chuckled. Indeed, once I’d gotten to know Jason Stackhouse—and once he’d begun treating his sister as he ought to (after a little gentle prodding from me)—I hadn’t minded the young man (a fact which had surprised me more than anyone else).
Sookie leaned into me even more. I could hear the cat’s purr; I was content enough to do the same, and—from the feelings coming through the bond—so was Sookie.
“A new werepanther was born today,” Sookie commented lazily.
“Calvin’s group is flourishing,” I commented.
“Thanks to you,” she returned.
“I am not breeding for them,” I chuckled, though I was quite pleased that the melding of werepanther and wereleopard groups that I’d arranged had worked out well. Calvin had become a very close ally, and his own wife was expecting a second child.
In addition, a group of Weres near New Orleans had become useful to me too, and a portion of a large Texas pack had broken from the main group and had settled in the Shreveport area. Their packmaster was a woman. To say a female Were-leader was an anomaly was an understatement. In fact, though I’d heard of a few, she was the first I’d met in my thousand years, which likely explains why she was expelled from her original pack for proving to be a better strategist than her misogynistic packmaster. She was respected by her people, and Sookie liked her quite a bit.
And a telepathic stamp of approval was enough for me.
Meanwhile, Alcide Herveaux had left Louisiana with the remnants of the Longtooth group. They’d settled in Montana.
As for the other Supernaturals in our lives, some things had gone as expected, and other things had not.
Niall had actually stayed away for the past year—though he sent Sookie an occasional letter from the Fae world through Desmond. Niall assured my bonded that Dermot was staying put, and her uncle had even found a fairy mate whom he’d already impregnated.
That news had made me glad. After all, the last thing that Sookie had needed was for Niall to begin thinking of her at his heir! Niall had Dillon, his son, but I was pleased that there were now more Brigants in the Fae realm.
Even as the Fae had stayed out of our lives for the most part, the Dae had become a very common feature.
Indeed, the Dae in my life were more like in-laws than anything else. Desmond had stepped into the role of a father for Sookie—and Jason—and my bonded loved the part-demon very much. Diantha had become Sookie’s personal daytime guard, something that I appreciated very much. Nargal and his family flittered in and out of the picture as Sookie had get-togethers or hosted holiday celebrations.
I found that I did not mind welcoming the Dae into our home—though Nargal’s wife and most of his children carried Dae features that would not have made them welcome in the human world.
But what was a horn or two here or there? Or a forked tail for that matter?
And Sookie loved her new Dae family very much. She’d become especially close with Nargal’s wife, Klonna.
Like Rasul, the other sheriffs I’d appointed in Louisiana were working out extremely well. Even the most inexperienced, Palomino, had doubled the earnings of her area. Meanwhile Rasul, Maxwell Lee, and Pam seemed to have made deals with the devil, given the increase in their own areas’ revenues.
Not that I would have minded Lucifer’s involvement. Though a rogue, he was entertaining.
As long as he stayed away from my bonded!
For that reason, it was probably better if he stayed out of Louisiana.
Pam had franchised Fangtasia in Dallas (something that pleased Stan Davis since he made money from the venture as well). My younger child took delight in the fact that she was earning more revenue than I ever had as the Sheriff of Area 5. I was simply proud of her and made sure that she knew it with regular shoe deliveries. Her child, Miriam, was coming along nicely as well. And I could tell that Pam was extremely content.
Karin, too, was adapting nicely to life in Louisiana. I could not ask for a better Second-in-Command. I did not micromanage her—instead letting her roam around the state as she felt she needed to do.
Thalia had settled happily into the old Bon Temps farmhouse. Strangely, Molly and she had formed a romantic attachment, and—working together—they oversaw much of the security in the state remotely, though Thalia would occasionally “make a visit” to someone she felt needed an “attitude adjustment.”
As for Bubba? Well—he’d taken to living wherever Sookie and I were at any given time (though there were strict rules concerning Sookie’s new kitten). Sookie enjoyed having her friend around—though I made sure that she had additional guards with her at night.
Bubba was great, but I’d learned my lesson with the fairies, Neave and Lochlan.
Of course, arguably, Sookie’s guards were now superfluous. Sookie, when she did venture from our warded homes, was most often with her witch friend and assistant, Amelia.
And Octavia had taught Amelia to cast protective shields without the need of a cauldron.
Plus, Sookie had learned how to “pop” whenever she needed to—or wanted to.
Which had made for some very entertaining games of hide and seek between us.
I did so love to hunt!
“Oh—Ames and Bob sent us a postcard from their honeymoon,” Sookie chuckled. “Though Amelia is against naming their next kid after you, they wanted me to make sure that I thanked you again for paying for their week in Barbados. Amelia even said that she was forcing Bob to leave the bed tomorrow so that they could see the island,” she grinned as she flamed red.
That was okay. Ericka—Bob and Amelia’s first child—was an adequate enough namesake. The unexpected child had been born two months before and had traveled with her parents on their honeymoon—though I’d paid for a nanny to accompany them as well.
“Would you enjoy a honeymoon?” I asked my bonded.
Yes—I’d asked for Sookie’s hand in “human” marriage as soon as the Supreme Court had ruled to uphold marriages for any consenting individuals above eighteen years old (human or vampire).
Luckily, I’d had an easy time proving that I was older than eighteen.
Sookie and I were due to have a Christmas wedding.
“How about we go north—somewhere where the sun isn’t up for very long each day?” she suggested with a purr that rivaled her kitten’s.
“Mmm,” I sounded, “but I thought you would enjoy somewhere tropical. Somewhere that you could sunbathe.”
Sookie shrugged. “We can vacation at the beach another time, but—after we get married—I think I’d rather be pale and well-loved, versus tan and waiting for you all day.”
I kissed a freckle on her neck. “Then I shall make sure that you have exactly what you wish.”
She moaned into my touch. “You always do.”
A/N: Well–that’s it for Not Without Action!
This started off as a SHORT based on a prompt by ericluver. But it didn’t stay “short.” LOL. I hope that you have all enjoyed this ride through (and hopefully beyond) some of the events in Deadlocked. I hope that you have enjoyed my take on the tale!
Please take a moment to comment if you have a reaction to this story. I hope you enjoyed the story. And I really appreciate everyone still out there reading. I’d love to know you are still there–lurking. I plan to continue writing E/S stories in the True Blood/SVM world as long as there is still interest. In fact, I’m planning to begin posting The Trunk again next week.
Once again, many thanks to Kleannhouse (fearless beta), Sephrenia (talented artist–my WordPress site has a lot more pics, including cast banners), and ericluver (without whose story suggestion this tale would not be).
Not Without Action .pdf Above is a link to the full .pdf of this story if you'd like to keep it. 🙂