TEN YEARS LATER
I was forty-three years old, but as I looked in the mirror, I could see very few changes in my appearance from the time that I had first taken Sookie’s blood ten years before.
From the time that I’d agreed to be hers.
As I left our bathroom, which hadn’t even had a toilet the first time I’d visited her at her home almost a decade before, I couldn’t help but to marvel at the direction my life had taken.
But the thing I marveled at the most was the woman “sleeping” in the large bed in front of me. I can admit—looking back—that I was an “incomplete” person before I met her. Oh—I’d eked out a life for myself. I had a job that I was good at and liked. And I’d even lucked into a “family” with Adele. However, before Sookie, there were a litany of things I’d accepted that I would never have: the intimacy of uninhibited touch, a helpmeet to share my life with, and a partner willing to support me.
Sookie gave me all of those things—and so much more!
Unfortunately, the world around us hadn’t always been kind.
As I lay down next to Sookie, I glanced at the clock. It would be an hour before she woke up, and—though she’d encouraged me, given the occasion, to spend as much time in the sun as I could—I found myself wanting to be close to her.
Moreover, I found myself in the mood to reflect upon our life together thus far.
The first night we met, I was certain that I’d fallen in love with her. Lafayette liked to tease me—telling me that I’d actually fallen for Sookie’s sexy outfit, which he’d picked out, of course. However, I’d never doubted my initial feelings for her—feelings that grew with each passing night.
The intensity of our first blood exchange that first night had been something that neither of us were prepared for. Not surprisingly, before that night, I had been unaware of most of the effects of vampire blood, though Sookie did explain them to me before our exchange.
The only hesitation I’d had was in hearing that she might be able to influence my emotions with her blood, but—when she promised me that she wouldn’t do that—I believed her. And she’d never betrayed my trust.
What she could have never prepared me for was the ambrosial taste of her blood when it hit my tongue. It was as if all of my taste buds were being massaged by it—as if every perfect taste in the world were being fed to me. And when she bit into me to complete the exchange, we both became animalistic with our need for each other.
That night, I learned to appreciate Sookie’s strength as she ripped our clothing from our bodies. I also learned that taking her blood took away any shyness that I had. Maybe it was because we were both a little “high” on one another, but I felt like a fucking sex god as I made her cum again and again with my tongue and fingers. And between her blood and her exquisite body, my cock was up to the challenge of pleasing her several times.
Of course, “he” had been storing up “his” energy for most of my adult life.
It was close to dawn before Sookie and I were done with each other that first night, and she’d had to stay at Fangtasia after she’d flown me back to my car only minutes before the sun rose.
Adele had given me an indulgent look as I’d dragged myself into the house at 6:00 a.m.—in an ill-fitting pair of Lafayette’s sweatpants and a Fangtasia T-shirt no less.
Because my own clothes had become shreds on Sookie’s living room floor.
Adele had put coffee in front of me and had—as always—proven to be a wonderful mixture of old-fashioned and delightfully modern when she managed to tell me that I ought not to be “catting” around, but that she was happy that I looked so “pleased with myself.”
It was also that morning that I finally found the courage to tell Adele that I was a telepath, something that I’d wanted to do for a while. In fact, not telling her had been making me feel guilty, so much so that I’d briefly discussed my guilt with Sookie the night before—between rounds of sex.
Recovery time, apparently, was also “talking” time for me.
Sookie supported my decision to trust Adele with the caveat that she glamour her not to be able to speak of my “gift”—the word Sookie that used to refer to my telepathy from the beginning.
Adele used the same word when I told her I could read thoughts. “What a gift!” she’d exclaimed.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that she took the news in stride, never looking at me or thinking about me any differently than she had before. In fact, if anything, she was happy to be able to fill in the blanks about me in her head. She’d simply shrugged and nodded, “I knew you were a special young man when I first saw you.” And then she made us pancakes. And then she insisted that I start calling her “Gran.”
As a history buff herself, Gran was keen to meet Sookie, and once I told her that “my” vampire would be coming over that very night, Gran was in a frenzy. In fact, we spent the day cleaning the already-clean house from top to bottom. However, when Sookie told Gran that she’d been in the South during the Civil War era and that she’d actually “turned” a slave, I thought that Gran was going to completely lose it. I chuckled as I recalled the way that Sookie charmed Gran; part of me knew that she was doing it for me—because she knew how much Gran meant to me. However, it was also clear that Sookie enjoyed Gran’s company.
A few hours after Sookie’s arrival that night, Bill Compton had shown up on Gran’s doorstep. I smirked as I recalled his surprise at finding Area 5’s sheriff chatting over tea and TrueBlood with the landlady of his target. Of course, his real surprise came when he took a whiff of me. It was clear from his fangs slamming down that my scent appealed to him. However, it was also clear that he could tell that I was Sookie’s, a fact which caused him to regroup, but—unfortunately for me—not to give up.
I found out how far Bill would go to get his own blood in me about a week after I’d become Sookie’s.
Whether it was at the queen’s behest or because of his own desire to taste my blood, Bill arranged for me to be beaten within an inch of my life by drainers in the area. Unfortunately, he’d already managed to lick up some of my blood and to force a few drops of his blood down my throat by the time Sookie got to me. To say that she was angry would be an understatement.
To say that she was possessive when it came to me would be an even bigger one.
Bill tried to sell the story that he had heard me being attacked and was merely “saving” me since he recognized me as belonging to his sheriff.
My vampire wasn’t foolish or gullible, however. And neither was I.
As soon as Sookie gave me enough of her blood so that I could speak, I told her that Bill had paid the drainers—with his own blood—to attack me.
I knew that for sure—since I’d been listening to their thoughts as they’d relentlessly kicked my ribs.
And that was when I was fully introduced to Sookie’s “dark side.” A moment after Sookie heard my words, she literally ripped Bill Compton’s head from his shoulders. Then she came back to me as if she were a vicious dog and I was the bone she was planning to keep from all other canines. Her eyes alit with her bloodlust, she gave me more blood and then picked me up into her arms before flying us to her home.
She was panting when we got there—although she obviously didn’t need to breathe. She quite literally thrummed with energy as she stripped me and then bathed me. Then she carried me to her bed, still behaving more like an animal than a “human.”
Not that she was human.
She touched every inch of me, making sure that all of my wounds had healed. And then her lust built—right along with mine—as she kissed every inch that she’d touched.
Then she straddled me, taking me fully into her body with one movement.
She rode me slowly—carefully.
That night, she made love to me as if assuring herself that I was okay, even as I tried to reassure her with my words and to calm her with my touch.
When she lay in my arms afterwards, she asked me if she’d scared me. She asked me if I wanted out of our arrangement.
I suppose that I should have been scared—seeing the effects of bloodlust upon her and understanding for the first time what being hers really entailed.
But I found that I couldn’t be frightened of her. And I found that I couldn’t even blame her for her murderous rage at Bill Compton.
And the last thing I wanted was to not be hers anymore.
I cringed as I thought about Bill Compton now—not because he’d had me harmed, but because of the handful of dreams I’d had with him in them once his blood was in me. I hadn’t minded—not at all—that Sookie’s blood would make her the star in my dreams. After all, I figured she’d be the star regardless. However, having Bill creep into a few before his blood had been adequately expunged from my body was disconcerting—to say the least!
Thankfully, “dream Sookie” always came to my rescue—just as the real one had. However, even having Bill leer at me in the dreams was fucking gross! I was just grateful that the most “dream Bill” had ever managed to do was to rub my arm before Sookie arrived to yank his appendages off and then to fuck me into oblivion.
Yes. It was safe to say that I appreciated “dream Sookie’s” efforts every night I dreamed about her!
After the Bill Compton situation, a lot of things seemed to happen very quickly.
Just as she’d said she would, Sookie used her uncanny sense of smell to pinpoint several suspects for Maudette’s and Dawn’s murders. And I helped by using my telepathy to “read” them. The killer turned out to be a man name Rene Lenier, who worked with Jason and had heard about Maudette’s and Dawn’s bites from him. Jason was, of course, ignorant of his friend’s sick and twisted “alter ego.”
Sookie had glamoured the criminal to turn himself in and confess everything.
Adele, whom we’d told about the plan since she’d been so worried about Jason and I’d been so worried about her heart, had been grateful to Sookie and me to the point of tears. After that night, she insisted Sookie call her “Gran,” too.
Thinking about Gran, I reached toward my nightstand, picked up my cellphone, and dialed her number. Years before, Sookie and I had asked her to move in with us; however, she preferred to stay in her home. We found time to visit her at least once a week—for Sunday dinners—but I still called her every day, just to make sure she was okay.
“How is my sweet boy?” she answered.
“Fine, Gran,” I smiled at her greeting. Though over eighty now, she was still going strong—despite a few health issues with her heart. I knew that Lafayette and Sookie had both offered to turn her, but she’d refused them, chastising them for not finding her when she was younger and beautiful.
However, to me, there was only one person more beautiful than Gran, and she was with me in the bed.
I hated the thought that we would all lose Gran one day, and I was hoping that she might change her mind about becoming a vampire. But—so far—she was unrelenting.
“So—what have you been up to today?” I asked her, putting aside my melancholy thought.
She scoffed. “You may tell my granddaughter that the doctor she keeps sending needs to learn some manners!”
I chuckled. “What did Doctor Ludwig do this time?” I asked her, even as I shook my head at the fact that Gran called Sookie—a 1700-year-old vampiress—her “granddaughter.” Gran’s logic was that since she was my wife, Sookie was also her granddaughter.
“She told me that I needed to take it easy now that the summer’s here, and she’s unwilling to appreciate my crabgrass problems! As if I haven’t already survived 81 Louisiana summers!”
I sighed. “Gran, it’s been in the 90’s all week. And humid as hell. Please, don’t tell me that you’ve been out pulling weeds in this weather.”
She scoffed. “And why wouldn’t I? They are not gonna pull themselves, and I’m more fit than most fiddles my age!”
I couldn’t help but to smile and to shake my head. I knew that Lafayette had been sneaking Gran a little of his blood now and then, for—though Gran didn’t want to become a vampire—she certainly didn’t want her joints to ache so much either.
“Did Lafayette give you a booster when he visited you?” I asked knowingly.
“Maybe,” she answered. I could hear the smile in her voice.
Lafayette had long ago been granted the honor of being Adele’s third “grandson.” And everyone got a kick out of his relentless flirting with Jason—despite the fact that the “first” Stackhouse grandson had settled down nine years before with a good woman who had helped Jason give Adele three great-grandchildren.
Strangely enough, I was actually partially responsible for Jason’s marriage. As I’d expected, the Bon Temps school board wasn’t that happy to learn that I was “dating” a vampire—once it became public knowledge that Sookie and I were together.
I found out later that it was Sam Merlotte who riled things up with the woman he was sleeping with at the time—a teacher named Luna Garza. He told Luna that I was being glamoured to tell my students that being bitten was “fun,” and—since she had a daughter in the school—Luna was naturally concerned.
Of course, being bitten was fun, but I certainly hadn’t shared my experiences with my students!
Halleigh Robinson, the school counselor, had heard about an emergency school board meeting that had been called to deal with the situation of my being “glamoured” and had driven to Adele’s to tell me about it. It had been a Sunday evening, so she’d interrupted the “Sunday supper” that Adele always insisted upon hosting. Only two weeks after I met Sookie, she and Lafayette had become a fixture at them—with each of them “eating” a TrueBlood like a trooper just because they liked Adele so much.
Though Halleigh was five years older than Jason, the two had already known each other; after all, Bon Temps was a small town. But Halleigh had never been interested in him, given his “lose” reputation. However, that Sunday night, something obviously shifted between them. And—within a week—Halleigh and Jason were an exclusive couple. Within six months, they were engaged. A year later, they welcomed their first child into the world, a girl they named after Adele.
Jason surprised me by changing so quickly, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked. After all, I knew how a good woman could hook a man. Sookie had certainly hooked me!
Hook. Line. And. Sinker.
Predictably, given the nature of small, extremely Conservative towns, I was asked either to give up Sookie or to quit my job at the school. However, the school board couldn’t fire me outright because there was no proof that I’d done anything wrong. Stubbornly, I stayed on until my citizenship was finalized fourteen months later, though a “monitor” was put into my classes to make sure I wasn’t filling my students’ minds with “vampire love.”
“Speaking of you visiting . . . ,” Gran started, breaking me from my memories. “When will I get to see you again?”
“Sookie says a month,” I sighed. “But I’ll be able to call you every night.”
“You’d better,” she said. “Are you ready? Excited?”
“Ready—yes,” I said. “And I’m happy,” I added.
“That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you,” she said sincerely.
“I love you, Gran,” I said.
“I love you too, sweet boy,” she returned. “Now—I’ve got to get back to the kitchen. Jason and Halleigh are bringing the kids over after church tomorrow, and I’ve got two pies in the oven. By the way—did you get the one I sent home for you with Lafayette?” she asked.
I chuckled. “I finished it off about an hour ago,” I smiled. “It was delicious, but—then again—you know that pecan is my favorite.”
“I’m glad you liked it,” she said, her voice a mixture of happiness and melancholy. “I’ll see you soon,” she added with a sniffle.
“Soon,” I agreed as she hung up.
I closed my eyes, extremely grateful that Gran was even still with us. Sophie-Anne Leclerq had not given up so easily when it came to her getting her hands on me. And that had almost cost Adele her life.
After Sookie killed Bill Compton, she was made to face the magister, who doled out what he thought of as “justice” to vampires who supposedly committed crimes. Of course, Bill Compton had committed a blood offense against Sookie’s claimed human—me. So she’d had every right to kill the motherfucker. However, Sophie-Anne had bribed the magister to hold a “trial”—actually, a week-long spectacle—in New Orleans, though the matter could have been dealt with via phone call, given Sookie’s status and age. To add to the drama of the “trial,” Sophie-Anne had arranged for Lorena, Bill’s maker, to be present. I learned that, despite the justifiable kill, Sookie still had to pay a fine to Lorena, something that she had been ready to do without the magister compelling her.
Sookie had thought—correctly—that Sophie-Anne would use her absence as an opportunity to kidnap me. But neither of us knew the level to which the queen would stoop in order to accomplish her goal.
That level turned out to be pretty damned low!
Both Sookie and I wanted to keep Gran safe from whatever machinations Sophie-Anne might be up to, so Adele went to stay with Jason for a while. Sookie assigned a vampire to protect them at night and Weres to watch over them during the day—just as Lafayette and a Were named Tray Dawson were to watch over me while Sookie was gone.
That is when Sam Merlotte became even more of a problem. Apparently, he owed the queen money, so when she called him to find out what he knew about me, he spilled his guts. Obviously, he didn’t know a lot; however, he knew enough to tell the queen about my affection for Adele. Sophie-Anne intended to use Gran in order to manipulate me to publically renounce Sookie’s claim on me. Then, the queen planned to claim me for herself and force me to bond with her child, Andre.
So instead of coming after me directly while Sookie was enduring her week-long “trial,” Sophie-Anne sent a large force of vampires to Jason’s home—where Merlotte had told her that Adele was staying.
The vampire tasked with watching over Adele and Jason, Longshadow, proved an untrustworthy turncoat and simply handed Gran over to Andre before glamouring Jason to think he’d actually put up a fight. Then Adele was made to call me. I was told that if I didn’t hand myself over, Gran would be tortured and killed. A demonstration of that torture was offered in the form of a loud strike and the sound of a breaking bone, followed by Gran’s cries of pain.
Sookie and my blood tie had been very strong from the beginning, and—by the time Adele was kidnapped—we’d bonded, making our tie permanent. Thus, even from a distance, Sookie had felt my distress. Telling the magister to go fuck himself, she’d left the farce of a trial she’d been forced to endure. And—for good measure—she’d killed Lorena on her way out when the bitch had tried to stop her from leaving.
But that didn’t compare to the hell she unleashed upon Sophie-Anne once she learned that Andre had kidnapped Gran. Sookie called upon all of the vampires in her retinue and allies from Texas and Mississippi including the kings of both states. However, the first vampire whom she called as she hurried back to Area 5 was an ancient named Thalia.
Thalia was what could only be described as a malcontent, and few would allow her to stay in their areas because they were intimidated by her. But not Sookie. Sookie left Thalia in peace, and—in exchange—Thalia was loyal to her and came immediately on the very few occasions when Sookie would call upon her.
Even as Lafayette drove me to the site Andre insisted upon for the “human exchange,” Thalia stealthily took position. And—as soon as Lafayette had Adele—Thalia attacked. To say that there was a bloodbath would be an understatement. I simply ducked my head and waited for the ancient warrior’s rampage to be over. By the time Sookie arrived, only one vampire sent by Sophie-Anne was left alive, and he was in chains.
Sookie called Sophie-Anne and let her listen to her child’s begging and screaming before she mercilessly ended him. And—then—in the most ominous voice I’d ever heard from anyone, Sookie told the queen that she would be coming for her next.
After dealing with Longshadow because of his treachery, Sookie took Gran, Jason, and me to one of her hidden safe houses and then apologized profusely to Gran for not adequately protecting her before.
I couldn’t help but to smile as I recalled Gran telling Sookie to “hush,” or else she’d make her go outside and “pick her switch.”
I smiled even wider as I remembered Jason solemnly telling my 1700-year-old vampiress that she did “not wanna get a switchin’ from Gran.”
Even Thalia had laughed at that.
Trusting no others with our safety, Sookie had left both Thalia and Lafayette to watch over us. By then, Lafayette had already given Gran some of his blood to heal her broken cheekbone, bruises, and scratches. I’d hated that Gran had been hurt like that because of me, but when I apologized, Gran threatened me with a “switch pickin'” too.
So I quit apologizing too, though I still felt some guilt.
The only thing that kept me sane until I saw Sookie again—three nights later—was being able to feel her life force through our bond.
Still, I worried about her—though Thalia told me that there was no need to waste the energy. It turned out that Thalia was right.
Sookie had several spies positioned around Louisiana, so she knew that the queen was not popular. Over-taxing her subjects and over-spending on her own lavish lifestyle had been Sophie-Anne’s biggest errors, for they had created an atmosphere of discontent, which had been brewing in the state for decades. Sookie capitalized on that discontent and used her spies in order to gather the vampires who would be willing to fight on her side.
In the end, not many of Louisiana’s vampires stayed loyal to Sophie-Anne, and she was easily defeated.
It was when Sookie “questioned” the former queen under extreme duress that she discovered why Sophie-Anne had been so obsessed with getting her hands on me.
The ultimate bad penny had resurfaced.
In addition to telling Sophie-Anne that I was part-Fae and likely telepathic, he’d also offered her a large sum of money to make sure that I would never be a problem for the Swedish monarchy. As if I’d ever been a problem before!
However—most disturbingly—Appius told Sophie-Anne that, once I was her prisoner, he would deliver another fairy hybrid to her—this one definitely a telepath. Following Sophie-Anne’s confession and subsequent “true” death, my bonded and I went to Sweden to deal with Appius and to figure out who the other promised fairy hybrid was.
There, Sookie and I lay in wait for Appius. And—after we caught him alone and unawares—Sookie glamoured him.
We learned that, in addition to making parts of my own life miserable, Appius had spent years trying to find out why I was born with my “defect.” This desire only increased when one of the king’s children had a child with the same “flaw.”
After the second instance of “defect” in my “family,” Appius redoubled his efforts to find out where the abnormality was coming from. Ironically, it was a very old vampire who helped him to uncover the fact that my family had fairy blood—royal Fae blood, in fact. As it turned out, I was 1/8 fairy, and my paternal grandmother, Hilde, was the halfling daughter of the Prince of the Water Fae.
The real irony was that—when Hilde had married my grandfather—their whole relationship had been called a “fairy tale” by the Press. Supposedly, my grandmother was an orphan, but “true love” couldn’t be denied when she met my grandfather, who was the heir to the throne at the time. The Press called Hilde the “Swedish Cinderella.”
In actuality, Hilde was the abandoned daughter of Breandan Brigant and a human woman who had died giving birth to her. At the time, Breandan was at war with his half-brother Niall of the Sky Far. Breandan purported to be against fairies mating with humans, and he even advocated that all hybrids be killed. Obviously, he’d not followed his own directives when it came to his daughter, however. Using magic, he had inhibited Hilde’s spark from maturing and kept her ignorant of her lineage, but he’d made sure that she was well taken care of.
Neither my father nor his brother had inherited “obvious” fairy traits. However, they were both uncommonly charming, and—undeniably—they’d used that natural charm for the betterment of Sweden. Seeing that his own grandchildren didn’t possess a spark, Breandan had apparently decided that his little “mistake” with the human woman who had borne Hilde had been adequately covered up. He didn’t count on the fact that the Fae spark could skip a generation—or even two.
Thus, he hadn’t known that I was born with a spark that also made me a telepath.
And so was another child—Hunter.
Initially, at least, the king seemed perfectly willing to do with his own grandson what he’d once done to his nephew. The “defective” child was sent to live in the country as soon as he showed signs of “deformity.” As with me—his death had been faked. And—as with me—his own parents had agreed that he had to go.
However, after learning why the “flaw” had occurred, Appius convinced the king that better options existed, and the king gave Appius carte blanche to deal with the problem—as long as there was no killing involved.
I guess there was one line my uncle’s conscience wouldn’t allow him to cross.
Thanks to the vampire who’d told him all about Hilde’s true lineage, Appius also knew that fairies were enticing to vampires. Moreover, he’d learned that their “gifts” didn’t just disappear—and that they most certainly couldn’t be burned out by a fever. Speculating that I’d managed to cover up my “defect” and becoming angry with himself for being fooled, Appius decided that the best way to deal with me—and Hunter—would be to throw us to the wolves so to speak.
Given his high level of knowledge because of his position in the government, Appius knew about vampire kings and queens. He also knew that the monarch in Sweden was known for being extremely honorable and scrupulous.
On the other hand, he learned that Sophie-Anne Leclerq was the opposite of that. His plan was to get her to deal with the potential problem that I created before handing Hunter over to her as well. It was believed that glamour could erase my knowledge of who I was, for—though full-blooded fairies couldn’t be glamoured—Appius had learned that one-quarter fairies could. He’d tested that out on his own king—with the help of his vampire friend!
After Sophie-Anne had me and had erased my memory of who I really was, he didn’t care what happened to me—though his desire to see me “punished” for fooling him for so many years made him hope that my life would be miserable. He hoped that Sophie-Anne would use me as a blood-slave and that she’d exploit my “defect” until I was driven mad. And—as long as she agreed not to kill me—he would have fulfilled the one requirement put forth by his king.
And—as for Hunter’s fate? Appius really could care less.
“Dad!” yelled a voice from outside the room, even as I heard a knock on the door.
I smiled. “Come on in, buddy!”
Hunter, now a precocious twelve-year-old with an active imagination and a love of horses, burst into the room. He was always a fount of energy following a nap.
He bounced up onto the king-sized bed. Of course, Sookie didn’t stir.
“Will Mom be up soon?” Hunter asked. “I wanna show her how I can do a backflip in the pool.”
I smiled at the boy who’d become my son in every way that mattered. He wasn’t known for his patience.
“She’ll be up in another half an hour,” I told him. “Have you packed to go to Uncle Jason’s yet?” I asked.
“Mostly,” he shrugged.
“And have you done your homework?”
He rolled his eyes. “Miss Hamby gives me too much,” he frowned.
I chuckled. “Then why do you always seem to finish it so quickly?”
“‘Cause it’s mostly easy,” he answered with a shrug.
I couldn’t help but to smile proudly. Hunter, unlike me, had been encouraged to use his telepathy, though he knew to keep it a secret outside of the “family.” I’d taught him about shields from the time when he was very young, and he had great control over what he had always been taught to think of as a “gift.”
Early on, Sookie and I had decided that tutors would be preferable to Hunter’s attending public school, though he did have several friends his own age—quite a few of them from the local Were pack.
Unlike me, his subjects of preference weren’t literature, history, and languages, though he earned top marks in them. Hunter liked science and math. I smiled to myself, knowing that he’d gotten his love of logic and precision from his mother—from Sookie.
My bonded had not balked for a moment when I told her that I wanted to take responsibility for Hunter after she’d glamoured Appius to take us to him. In fact, she’d embraced being his mother.
After the takeover, Sookie should have—by all rights—become the queen of Louisiana. However, that position had never been one that she’d wanted. On the contrary, she craved a quiet life.
A life of intimacy and family.
Just like I had always craved.
I’d wondered for a little while about whether Sookie would really go through with her “threat” to make Lafayette the state’s king, but she told me that he was too young. However, she’d called in a favor that was almost a millennium old. Her vampire brother, Godric, was a sheriff in Texas and owed her for “taking care of” their maker.
Sookie convinced him to take on the role of King of Louisiana. And Godric seemed to thrive in the role. During the last decade, he’d become a well-respected monarch, and his fairness and frugality drew many vampires to Louisiana. And no other vampire had done more for vampire-human relations.
Hunter called him “Uncle G.”
Of course, Lafayette was also thought of as an uncle by Hunter—with his nickname being “Uncle Lala.” Hunter’s tutor, Jessica Hamby, a smart young woman who’d impressed me with both her degree and her courage in overcoming her abusive childhood, was also a favorite of Hunter’s, though he did complain about his homework—no matter how much he got.
Or didn’t get.
“Daddy?” Hunter said, interrupting my musings.
“Yes?” I answered.
“When will I get to become a vampire?”
I chuckled. That wasn’t the first time Hunter had asked that question.
“One day, when you are an adult, you will get to decide what you want to be,” I responded. “But—until then—you should be happy about what and who you are.”
He nodded in acceptance. “Okay.”
“Go finish packing, and start your homework,” I said, ruffling his hair a little. “Uncle Lala will be taking you to Uncle Jason’s not long after sundown.”
“But I get to stay with Gran some, too—while you and Mom are on vacation—right?” he asked.
I nodded. “Yep. Absolutely.”
He smiled and leapt off of the bed before running out of the room. I sighed. A few years before, I would have gotten a hug from him before he left, but he had “outgrown” getting hugs from me, though Sookie was still able to get them out of him on occasion. I smiled down at my bonded and wife. She was quite huggable—though I’d never say that when someone else could hear it.
God knows, Lafayette already teased us enough.
I chuckled as Hunter ran back into the room since he’d forgotten to close my and Sookie’s door.
“Sorry, Dad!” he yelled as he slammed the door behind him this time.
Hunter had been well-trained. Though he was welcome in Sookie and my room, he had three rules: 1.) always knock; 2.) never listen to my thoughts when the door was closed; 3.) accept the fact that his mom and dad needed a lot of “alone time.”
Luckily, we had an obedient and understanding child.
And a happy one.
That was what was most important to me.
I closed my eyes and remembered the first moment I’d seen Hunter.
He was barely two years old at the time. Like me, he’d been put into the care of people who were paid not to speak with him—to basically ignore him.
However, he had not yet been broken—not as I had once been.
Needless to say, Sookie and I took Hunter. She glamoured his caretakers to forget all about him and their task. And then she glamoured Appius to get into his car, drive to his home, and use his own gun to kill himself.
I’d watched her glamour him silently, and a small part of me had wanted to tell her to stop. But Appius had done enough damage as it was. And—in truth—I was relieved that he was going to die. And I also knew that Sookie was showing a lot of restraint. She’d wanted to torture him.
After Appius was gone, I had called my father using his phone. The threat of my coming forward with Hunter in tow convinced the man who had given me half of my DNA to meet with me in secret.
I almost wept at his coldness when he saw me. But I did not cry. I didn’t want to give the bastard such power over me.
One thing that I knew above everything else when I met him, however, was that I was nothing like him. As I held Hunter, a boy I’d only known for a few hours, close to me, I knew that I would never give him up—no matter what occurred.
On the contrary, my parents were both weak and selfish creatures, and I vowed to never regret not having a relationship with them after that day.
Who needed people like that in their lives?
In exchange for my silence, I demanded that my father contact me if another telepath was born into the family. I warned him that he would be watched and that he and the king would be killed if they didn’t comply with my one request. Sookie, of course, showed adequate fang to scare him to the point that he’d pissed his pants.
It was a small consolation—but a consolation, nonetheless.
I also informed my father that I would be taking Hunter with me and that I’d better not have any problems doing. A few forged documents later and Hunter was “Hunter Northman,” my son.
No one in our “blood family” had tried to make contact with Hunter or me since then. But—then again—I hadn’t expected any contact.
Not unless another me or another Hunter was born.
And then I’d better goddamned hear from them! And—if I did not—I would let Sookie do her worst on the whole fucking lot of them!
I took a breath and calmed myself down. Sookie had a spy in my uncle’s inner circle now. So I knew that we would know about any new telepaths immediately, even if my father decided to betray me—again—by trying to keep them a secret.
I wouldn’t put it past him. After all, I’d learned that fairies were—by nature—a duplicitous race. They were also opportunistic.
After Sookie and I returned to Louisiana with Hunter, we worried about whether or not Breandan might become a problem. After all, at least one vampire knew the truth about his human progeny—the one who had told Appius all about Hilde. Unfortunately, that vampire had also glamoured his name from Appius’s head.
In the end, Sookie and I decided that the safest course of action would be to contact Niall Brigant, whom Sookie had fought with during a war that occurred a thousand years before I was born.
Yep—being with a vampire who looked even younger than I did was sometimes a humbling experience!
Once Niall Brigant learned about the existence of hybrids sired by his half-brother—he used blackmail to force Breandan into forging a peace treaty among the Fae. I didn’t know all of the details of the treaty—I didn’t want to know them—but I did know that Sookie was at the signing of that accord, and she told both brothers that if anyone in my bloodline were touched, she would personally wage war on fairies until every one of them was dead.
From all indications, they believed her.
My bonded, unsurprisingly, still wanted to kill my uncle, as well as my parents and Hunter’s parents, but I didn’t have the heart to condone those acts—though I’d almost relented in the case of Hunter’s parents.
How anyone could give up that beautiful, perfect child was fucking beyond me!
“You’re upset,” Sookie commented as she stirred next to me.
“Just thinking about what I’ll let you do to certain people in Sweden if they don’t tell us about other little Hunters,” I said.
She smiled up at me. “Don’t worry. My spy is deeply entrenched, so—if there is even a hint of a child as special as Hunter or you—I will grab him or her up right away. I do like collecting telepathic fairies, after all.”
I chuckled. Sookie had rarely asked me to use my gift for her, though I volunteered it as much as she would let me. In fact, she was so secretive about what Hunter and I could do that even Godric didn’t know. Not that we didn’t trust him. We had just decided not to let that cat out of the bag until Hunter was old enough to decide what he wanted with his life.
The only humans who knew about us were Jessica, Gran, and Jason—all of whom were glamoured not to say a word about our “gift.” Tray Dawson, the head of our day guards, also knew—but only so that he would listen to me immediately if I ever warned him of danger. Of course—all the Weres in our employ thought that Hunter and I smelled good, and that was why Sookie let it be known among them that we had a little fairy blood in us.
As it turned out, knowing that, the Weres were actually deterred from being interested in us—at least in a “claiming” sort of way—since fairies were known to bring trouble with them. And I kept a good eye and “ear” on our guards—to make sure that they were loyal to us.
Among vampires, two others knew beyond Sookie: Lafayette, of course, and Rasul, one of Sookie’s previous spies in New Orleans and Sookie’s eldest child—a fact which she’d managed to keep a secret for centuries. Rasul had taken over Merlotte’s after Sam Merlotte disappeared.
I’d never asked Sookie about the details of Merlotte’s death, but I did know that—as soon as his name had come up during her interrogation of Sophie-Anne—it was a forgone conclusion that he wouldn’t last long.
And he didn’t.
Surprisingly, Rasul had been accepted in Bon Temps rather quickly, probably because he was personable and because Adele decided to make him her fourth grandson. Sookie and I were just comforted by the fact that he kept an eye on the Stackhouses for us.
“Are you still sure?” Sookie asked me, her expression serious.
“More than ever,” I smiled at her.
She smiled. “So—where’s our little monkey.”
Hunter had earned that nickname, given the places we would find him in. In truth, I just thought he enjoyed it when his mother had to fly him down from some of his more intricate and high-up “hiding places.”
“Finishing packing and starting his homework,” I smiled at her.
She nodded and moved so that she was on top of me. With a child in the house, we didn’t sleep naked—as we might have liked to—but Sookie was wearing only one of my T-shirts, and she was as sexy as hell.
I groaned as she kissed me and then rolled off of me.
“I’m gonna take a shower,” she giggled. “Lafayette will be up soon.”
I sighed with desire, but I let her go without a protest, knowing that we had set plans for the night—plans which I didn’t want to break.
An hour later, Sookie and I waved goodbye to Hunter and his Uncle Lala before we engaged our home’s security system and walked hand-in-hand into the living room.
Sookie gave me a look of utter love.
“I know what you are giving up,” she whispered.
I knew that too. And I wasn’t going to insult her intelligence by telling her that I didn’t regret some of those things.
“You aren’t aging that quickly,” she reminded. “Between your Fae blood and my blood, you will look and feel young for a while yet.”
I smiled at her. “That is never what’s mattered,” I replied. “I’m ready.”
“But you used to . . . .”
“I used to be scared,” I said, interrupting her. And that was true. When we’d first discussed the possibility of my being turned one day, I’d been vehemently opposed to it, especially after we’d “adopted” Hunter. But—over the years—I’d come to realize two clear truths. First, one lifetime with Sookie would not be enough. And—more importantly—giving “us” up wouldn’t have been fair to her. It had taken me longer to realize those things than I wished it would have since I’d caused my bonded a lot of unnecessary angst over the years, but I’d eventually seen the light.
“We could wait—until Hunter is grown up,” she said, biting her bottom lip. She did that only on the very rare occasions when she was actually anxious.
I was pretty sure that no one else had ever seen it.
“I know,” I said. Indeed, I had thought about waiting. I knew that I would miss the possibility of daylight with our son, but—like me—he was mostly nocturnal now anyway.
As Water Fae, he and I were truly “fish” in certain ways, gaining strength from our time in the pool or the lake near our home or—when we went on vacation—in one ocean or another. However, it did not matter if we swam when the sun was out or when the moon was rising. In fact, in many ways, the night called to both Hunter and me—for that was when the moon would make her waves in the water, waves which sometimes only he and I could feel.
Yes—nights were preferable for my son and me. Fewer thoughts being projected as humans slept. Vampires that we could “relax” in. The majority of our family being awake.
For those reasons, I had little doubt that—once he was an adult—Hunter would join his mother and me as creatures of the night.
I just regretted that it had taken me so long to make that decision for myself.
“This is the right time,” I told my bonded and wife with certainty.
“Are you worried that you might change your mind if we wait?” she asked, her eyes narrowed and studying me carefully.
“No,” I said immediately, not wanting her to worry about that possibility. “It’s just that—as soon as I knew that you’d have no regrets about losing my warm blood and body—I knew that I was ready.”
Sookie shook her head fondly. “Always thinking about me first. Or Hunter.”
I nodded to confirm the truth of her words.
“Okay then,” she said with a smile, accepting that my final decision was the right one for all of us.
Of course, we’d already discussed my turning many, many times.
So everything that could be said had been.
Hunter was now old enough to understand what was going on, and he certainly accepted that his mother was a vampire. His reaction to Sookie and me telling him that I was going to be turned was simple: “’bout time, Mom and Dad.”
Adele, too, had been supportive, telling me that I needed to seize my time with Sookie since—vampire or not—everyone could die when least expected. Adele knew that very well. After all, she’d lost her husband and her son and daughter-in-law—all within a few months of one another.
Suddenly—thankfully—Sookie’s look became mischievous. She stood up. “Hop up!” she said, holding out her arms.
I chuckled. One of the few things that I’d not quite gotten used to was the fact that Sookie could pick me up as easily as she could pick up Hunter.
I let her hoist me into her arms bridal style.
I could only imagine the humorous sight we made.
But, then again, Sookie and I were anything but conventional.
Once we were in our bedroom, the time for questions was over. We made love without words, our bodies having become so in sync over the years that they had refined their own language together.
I let myself enjoy it—at least at first.
But Sookie had been right. Everyone fought for life.
Even someone ready for “death.”
I kicked against our bed as she kept drinking my blood.
I vaguely registered that she was caressing my hair in comfort.
During the last moments of my life, so many questions and doubts plagued me—just as Sookie said they might.
Was I doing Hunter a disservice by being changed before he was an adult?
Would I even become a vampire? After all, a fairy hybrid had likely never attempted such a thing before.
Would I retain my telepathy?
Would I be able to “hear” vampires?
Would Sookie still love me as much once I was cold-blooded?
Would she still be able to feed from me for sustenance?
And what about me? What would being a vampire “feel” like?
Would I be able to control my urges?
Sookie and I had planned on at least a month of relative seclusion—a “vacation”—so that I could adapt.
But what if I couldn’t gain control?
What if I harmed Gran?
“Drink,” Sookie’s voice came from above me as I found my thoughts teetering between consciousness and unconsciousness.
I trusted her voice, so I drank.
As always, her blood tasted like heaven itself. And I wondered for a moment if I was on my way there.
But I saw no white light.
I saw only darkness as death took me.
But that darkness was like one of Gran’s old afghans. It might not have been the most stylish thing in the world (Gran had to work with the materials she could afford, after all—until she got a wealthy “grandson,” that is), but it was warm and smelled of love and home.
Sookie and I had several of them placed around our own home. And Hunter curled up with one every night.
And that was how I died as a human—and it wasn’t from fucking pneumonia!
It was by choice.
Wrapped up in love.
Thinking of Gran.
And that was how I rose as a vampire as well.
A/N: Hello! I originally wrote this story for the exchange spearheaded by the Queen of Area Five. I would like to thank her for all of her hard work! If you’ve not read the other stories in the exchange, click HERE.
I’m especially fond of the one written for me!!!! Click HERE to find it!
Thanks to everyone who read this story! Please tell me what you think!
P.S. I’ve no plans to continue this story right now. A lot of you wrote in to ask for an epilogue exploring Eric being a baby vamp; however, I’ve got so many projects that I’m thinking about right now that it’s difficult for me to imagine another one! So no plans for a continuation right now, but I’ll keep it on my list of “possibilities.”
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