Chapter 6: The Interview, Part 2
I looked at the demon. “You have heard the story of Fintan and my maker?” I asked.
He nodded in confirmation. His eyes looked saddened, and I could tell that he missed his friend greatly.
“Do you know it?” I asked Sookie.
“No—but I’d like to,” she said in a whisper.
I nodded and began speaking, letting my memories fill me.
“When I was only fifty years old—as a vampire, that is—Godric and I were employed by the vampire king of Ireland, a gruff fellow by the name of Corbmac.
“Corbmac had a treaty with a group of Fae, who lived in the south of the country—near Cork. Corbmac was wiser than he was greedy, and he knew that warring with the Fae was foolhardy. So, in exchange for Corbmac’s keeping his vampires from hunting them, the fairies gave Corbmac any criminals that they had sentenced to death; thus, the king occasionally got to enjoy a fairy “treat” without risking his kingdom or subjects to do it.
“Clear boundaries were set up between the vampires and the fairies. Trade agreements were made. Exchanges of knowledge were given. The treaty had held for centuries—even before Godric and I arrived in Ireland.
“Sensing my maker’s age and control, Corbmac asked Godric to guard one of the borders of the Fae territory. Godric agreed, for he wanted to use the opportunity to teach me control—the hard way.”
I smiled wryly at Sookie as I continued, “For many years, I was forced to squelch my desire to hunt the creatures that smelled divine—even from afar. But—Godric had been right to teach me. My ability to control my impulses developed quickly. Over the years, I have realized the efficacy of Godric’s training methods, and I have learned how to be grateful for them.”
“Learned?” Sookie asked.
I chuckled ruefully. “Yes—but it took a while. At the time, of course, it had seemed like torture not to hunt.”
She smiled and—answering to an impulse I couldn’t determine the source of—I reached out and took her greeting hand as I continued the story: “When Godric and I had been in place for about ten years, Corbmac’s child, Hilde, betrayed her king and maker; she glamoured her human lover to stake Corbmac and installed herself as ruler. Godric decided that he and I would not serve such a queen.
“However, before we left the area, Godric felt the need to warn the fairies, specifically a young half-fae, whom he had met several times for purposes of trade.”
“Fintan,” Sookie whispered.
“Yes. Unfortunately, we were too late to prevent Hilde’s attack, but Godric and I joined the Fae warriors—though Godric had to issue several commands to me so that I didn’t suddenly change sides and go for the fairy blood rather than Hilde’s forces.
“That night, I learned that makers’ commands truly were stronger than any other impulse,” I added drolly.
I went on. “As Corbmac had foreseen, the fairies were not to be trifled with, and Hilde’s forces were driven back. The vampires who did capture fairies gorged themselves and became drunk on Fae blood, making them easier targets for the other fairies to eliminate.
“Godric and I fought right next to Fintan all night, and—when dawn was near—Fintan showed us a place where we could rest safely. Even as the other fairies used the day to find the hastily buried bodies of their remaining foes, Fintan watched over Godric and myself. However, one of the stronger fairies decided that even the vampires who had been helping them needed to be killed. He tried to end Godric and me during our day-death.”
Sookie squeezed my hand almost possessively. “But Fintan stopped him?”
I nodded and gave her a gentle squeeze in return. “When Godric and I awoke, we found Fintan injured; the fairy who had fought him had been mortally wounded. My maker gave me a reward for my years of control: I got to drain what was left of that fairy’s blood.”
My cock throbbed as Sookie grinned almost devilishly.
I grinned back. “After that, I was—indeed—drunk, so Godric commanded me to stay seated and still until I was in control once more. Meanwhile, he tended to Fintan’s wounds and gave Fintan his own blood so that he would heal.
“Fintan became a little “high” on my maker’s blood, and—the next thing I knew—he and Godric were passionately kissing. That day the foundation of a long-term love affair was forged between my maker and Fintan.”
I looked closely at Sookie. “You have obviously inherited Fintan’s warrior mentality and his tolerance.” I tilted my head a little. “As well as his cheekbones.”
Reluctantly, I extracted my hand from hers as I picked up the document the demon had placed onto the desk. There was a lot of information to take in, but I read it quickly.
After I was done, I set it down and looked back at Sookie. She was biting her bottom lip a little.
I found that her nervous tic turned me on more than words could say.
“You wish for me to override Bill Compton’s claim by creating a tie with you,” I commented.
She nodded. “Yes.”
“How would I explain that breach of protocol?”
“Easy. Sookie came into Fangtasia tonight and her scent entranced you,” the demon stated flatly. “All vampires here can attest to how enticing she was. And all can attest that she requested a private audience with you. By the end of your encounter with her, you had claimed her and she had accepted your claim—choosing you over a younger vampire.”
“I will not have Sookie perceived as a fangbanger looking to trade up!” I stormed, surprising myself with my fervor.
Sookie jumped a little at my raised voice but quickly composed herself.
Mr. Cataliades smiled. “Sookie doesn’t care how she is perceived.”
I looked at her in question.
“I don’t. What matters to me is what is true,” she said.
“Compton?” I asked.
“Your claim would negate his,” the demon said. “In fact, your blood would literally eradicate his—would it not?”
I nodded. “Yes,” I said. “Since there has been only one tie made between Bill and Sookie, even a few drops of my blood would find and easily destroy all of Bill’s blood within a few days of being in Sookie’s bloodstream.”
Sookie sighed with relief.
“You would still have my blood in you, Sookie,” I said to her. “All of the things Bill could do, I could do to an even greater effect. I would be able to track you. I would be able to feel your emotions—and even affect them. I could influence you to dream of me. I could compel you to want me.”
She smiled a little. “You forget. I already saw into your mind.”
I shook my head a little. “And you are not afraid of me?” I asked, finding her lack of fear both surprising and fascinating.
She shrugged. “I have a feeling that anyone who is your enemy should fear you very much. But you’ve not given me a reason to be afraid of you; otherwise, we would have never shown you that,” she said, gesturing toward the contract. “In truth, I’m glad you would be able to track me; I figure that if we do decide to do this, I’d call you if I was in trouble anyway. So your being able to feel my emotions and track me would just expedite things.”
“You do not worry that I will know what you are feeling?”
“I’m a telepath,” she said with a light laugh. “I’ve been in and out of heads my whole life. I’m not afraid of you being in and out of my feelings.”
I sat forward. “I could influence them.”
She tilted her head a little. “What could you do—make me attracted to you?” She chuckled. “I hate to burst your bubble, cowboy, but I’m afraid it would be difficult to make me feel any more attracted to you than I already am, but feel free to try.”
I laughed heartily.
Sookie shrugged. “Don’t get me wrong—your thoughts were scary to me in some ways, Eric. You’re a Supe, and I’ve been living mostly in the human world. Therefore, I know you think a little differently about the world than I do. But, since I was ten, I’ve known that my world would one day tip toward yours. And I think you could help me find my place in the supernatural world—if you’re willing.”
“And Compton?” I asked again.
“Obviously, I don’t think he would be good at helping me find my place,” she deadpanned. She took a deep breath. “I don’t like thinking about anyone dying. But if you think Bill is a problem, then we’ll do what we have to do.”
I sat forward in my chair. “I could kill him for you; that would solve the problem of the tie without your needing to form one with me,” I said.
She nodded. “Thank you. But that wouldn’t help with the fact that the queen knows all about me. I’d still have to run away.”
I smirked. “And you aren’t one to run?”
“Not when there’s a better option,” she returned, looking at me a little hopefully.
I gave Sookie a little smile and then looked back at Cataliades. “You are Sophie-Anne’s lawyer and have been around her more than I have been. What will she do if I claim Sookie?”
“If she is wise, she will forget that she ever knew about Sookie’s gifts and order her minions to do the same. The queen should have told you about Sookie since she is a resident in your area. Sophie-Anne did not, so you had no way of knowing about her ultimate plans for Sookie,” Mr. Cataliades said. “After all,” the demon smirked, “you can’t read her mind.”
I chuckled. “The queen might find it suspicious that I put her minion, Bill Compton, into silver the same night I claimed Sookie as my own,” I observed.
Sookie chimed in with a well-rehearsed speech. “I had intended to meet Bill at my house an hour after sundown tonight, but I went shopping in Shreveport for a new dress for my date, and I was running late. That’s when I decided that I would come to Fangtasia—as a surprise for Bill! I figured that I could call him once I was here. Then we could hang out for a while so that he could meet other vampires. After all, he is new to the area, and this is the closest vampire bar to Bon Temps. Plus, I wanted to show Bill that I accepted the fact that he is a vampire,” she added with a smirk.
“That’s magnanimous of you,” I intoned.
“I think so.” She smiled impishly. “Bill has no idea that I’m aware of his duplicity or his job for the queen. He didn’t tell me about vampire blood ties or anything else. It’s certainly not my fault that I was more attracted to you once I got here. After all,” she added with a smirk that made my cock twitch yet again, “you’re Mr. January himself and—frankly—Bill’s a little creepy with his nineteenth century sideburns and broody disposition.”
“And how was I to know that my innocent mention of Bill would lead to his getting into trouble since he didn’t check in with you?” she went on.
“In fact,” Mr. Cataliades added in a professional-sounding tone, “it stands to reason—from a legal standpoint—that Bill’s lack of proper protocol factored into your decision to claim Sookie, for it would serve as a punishment to Bill and a warning to other newcomers to follow the rules. Your claiming of Miss Stackhouse seems to be above board and reasonable—no matter how I look at it.”
I looked from Mr. Cataliades to Sookie.
“Even in the best case scenario, the queen will still want the use of your telepathy,” I said cautiously, making sure that Sookie understood that my claiming of her might not be the end of her troubles.
“I know,” she sighed. “But Sophie-Anne will have to work through you. And, because of that, she’ll request my services only when she has good reason.”
“And—for your wellbeing—I will have to limit the time you can spend working for her,” I smirked.
She smiled a little. “Yes—as you know—using my telepathy tires me greatly.”
I nodded with mock solemnity. “Yes. That much is clear. You are obviously greatly taxed—so much so that I am worried that you will fall over at any minute.”
She winked. “I appreciate your concern. Reading that one human really tired me out.”
I couldn’t help but to smile at her. She was a clever one—that was for sure. Since she couldn’t keep her gift a secret, she intended to “spin it”—with the help of Mr. Cataliades and myself. That “rebranding” had been spelled out clearly in the contract she was proposing to me.
It turned out that the demon was Sookie’s godfather, and he was going to “recognize” Sookie, Hadley, and Jason as distant cousins—so that people would assume they had demon blood and not fairy blood. Cataliades would claim that he’d had no idea of the kinship until he met Hadley and caught a whiff of her scent.
Demons, of course, were not known for being especially alluring to vampires—given their brimstone “aftertaste”; however, some human-demon hybrids were, in fact, thought to be “sweeter” than normal humans—once the brimstone was adequately diluted from the blood.
I marveled at the way Sookie’s proposal had been so well thought out and couldn’t help but to see the mosaic mind of Sookie behind a lot of it—though I was sure that the demon had advised her.
I shook my head a little as I continued to marvel at the nuances of Sookie’s plan. The presence of demon blood would also account for Sookie’s telepathy; though the ability to read thoughts was an uncommon gift among the Dae, it wasn’t unheard of.
And—conveniently—gifts worked very differently for fairies and demons. For a fairy, the strength of a gift was tied to the strength of the spark, which was totally independent of the ratio of human to fairy blood in an individual. For a demon, the strength of the gift was interdependent on the amount of Dae blood in the system.
Thus, no one would question the notion that Sookie’s telepathy was weak—once the queen was convinced that Dae blood had caused it. And, not knowing otherwise, Compton couldn’t contradict the claim that Sookie’s gift was weak; in fact, anything he said would only substantiate it.
“So,” I said, “if I were to claim you, I would have access to your telepathy—within reason, of course. And I would also have access to your blood?”
“Within reason, of course,” she said coyly.
I chuckled, but then sobered. “The queen knows me, Sookie. She knows that I would not claim you without ‘claiming’ you in other ways too.”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “I know.” She took another deep breath. “That’s one of the reasons for the weeklong ‘courtship’ period.”
“Ah—yes,” I said, leaning back in my chair and threading my fingers together before placing my hands behind my head. “You want to audition me.”
“And you should audition me too,” she returned quickly, “so that you can be sure you even want to make a permanent arrangement with me. As the contract says, there are other factors that you need to consider.”
“Like the potential threat of Niall Brigant’s enemies?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
I leaned forward. “Just so that we understand each other clearly,” I leered, “if we decide to make our arrangement permanent, then your virginity will become a thing of the past. And I don’t take by force.”
“Then you’ll just have to seduce me, Mr. Northman,” she said with a bite to her lip. “I could do worse for my first time,” she added, trying to sound neutral, though the flush of her cheeks and the scent of her arousal told me differently.
I leaned forward a little more. “If the demon was not here, I might be tempted to begin the seduction now, Miss Brigant.”
“Oh—you’ve managed pretty well so far,” she said coyly.
I chuckled and adjusted myself in a very obvious way. “So have you, min lilla ormtjusare.”
“What does that mean?” she asked, even as her cheeks flushed pink. “You said it before too.”
“It means my little snake charmer,” I smirked as I adjusted my cock again.
She gulped loudly and moved the subject to “safer” matters.
“So—uh—I figure that we have about a week before the queen starts asking questions about Bill and you have to let him out of the silver—right?” Sookie asked.
I nodded. “That is a reasonable timeframe.”
“Well—during that week—we can get to know each other. If we decide to—uh—work together after that, then we can do it with our eyes wide open.” She took a deep breath. “If we don’t, then I expect you to let me go—just like the contract stipulates.”
“So that you can change your identity and escape Sophie-Anne’s clutches.”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“And what of Compton then?” I asked.
“We’ll have to go with Plan B. As soon as you release him, Bill would have to be killed,” Sookie sighed.
Mr. Cataliades piped in, speaking directly to me. “We’ll make sure that you are not implicated in Bill’s death. Sophie-Anne need never know that you and Sookie exchanged blood. And—eventually—the tie between you and Sookie would just wear off.”
I found that I didn’t like the sound of that. I gave the demon lawyer a slight snarl, causing him to chuckle and recommence his contemplation of the filing cabinets.
I turned back to Sookie, who was smirking at both Mr. Cataliades and myself.
“So I am Plan A?” I asked Sookie.
“Definitely,” she said.
I glanced at the contract. “So you are asking me to exchange blood with you tonight—in order to immediately override Bill’s blood and his claim. And you are asking me to,” I paused, “court you for the next week while you decide whether or not I’m a worthy partner for you.”
“Yes,” she said, her eyebrow rising playfully. “You can think of it as an extended job interview—for both of us.”
I couldn’t hold in my laughter. The fairy hybrid in front of me was certainly audacious!
“So—if we pass the interview stage—we would then complete a blood bond. You know that would be permanent—correct?”
I nodded at her confirmation. “And after we formed this bond, I would officially register you as ‘mine’ with my queen and with the supernatural council.”
“Yes. And, at the same time, you and I would file a separate contract which spells out that I’m your telepath and also outlines the limits of my gift,” she said with a wink.
“And then Mr. Cataliades would make his announcement that he is related to your family.”
“Yes,” Sookie confirmed, “as soon as his people adequately plant a demon into my family tree—that is.”
“And I will provide you and your grandmother and your brother with my protection,” I said.
“Yes, but Mr. C would help with the expense if you want.”
I shook my head. “That wouldn’t be necessary.
She smiled a little.
I tapped the contract with my fingers. “According to this, after we bonded, I would have to let you live an independent life—mostly apart from me—if you so choose—except, of course, for when your telepathy was in use.”
Her smile had faded. “Yes—if that’s what I wanted,” she said quietly, almost regretfully.
“And there would be limits on how often I could drink from you.”
She nodded in confirmation.
“What if I wanted more from you than this?”
She leaned forward. “The contract is clear,” she answered, looking at me with emotion-filled eyes and biting her lip. “What you just outlined is the bare minimum. If we both wanted more, then we could have it.” She took a breath. “Especially after meeting you, I truly hope you want more, Eric. I truly hope that we will want the same things,” she said sincerely. “But I need to,” she paused, “protect myself.”
“Do you think a mere piece of paper would be enough to protect you from me if I decided to take more than you are offering?” I asked with a hint of threat in my tone.
The demon didn’t react.
“I know it would be enough—if you signed it,” Sookie said confidently. “Hell—at this point—I would probably just take your word for it.”
“You trust me?” I asked, somewhat surprised.
She chuckled. “Yeah—you have good references.”
I couldn’t help but to chuckle as well.
“And then there’s this,” she added, as she took a bundle from her purse and opened it up to reveal a dagger I recognized very well.”
If I had still been human, I would have gasped.
Deliberately, she put the item down on my desk between us. We both regarded it silently for a moment.
“Do you know what the runes mean?” she asked as she lightly traced one of the figures on the handle.
I nodded. “Yes.” I touched the tip of the danger, though I did not press my finger against it enough to draw blood. “Godric showed me this dagger many years ago—before he gave it to your kinsman as a symbol of his love and his pledge.”
“A pledging is the vampire version of marriage,” I informed. “If you had handed me this dagger and I had accepted it and brought it to my lips, we would now be married in my world. Did your advisor not tell you that?” I asked, gesturing toward the demon.
Cataliades grunted and a smirk formed on his lips, but he continued to look at the filing cabinet.
“Not exactly. He just said that I should be careful to not hand the dagger directly to you,” Sookie said with a grin.
I chuckled. “Wise lawyer. I might have tried to take advantage.”
Cataliades grunted again and rolled his eyes.
“Will you tell me—what the runes mean?” Sookie asked after another moment of silence had passed between us.
I pointed to the symbols on the blade. “These are a prayer asking the gods to keep all enemies away from the one who carries this dagger.”
I moved my fingers so that they were touching hers on the handle. For a moment, we traced the runes together. “These speak of love.”
“Tell me what they say?” she half-asked and half-ordered.
I gently entwined her fingers with mine so that I could guide them over the runes as I translated them: “The night came when it was more painful to deny my love than to give you my heart.”
“That’s beautiful,” Sookie whispered.
Again, we were silent for a moment.
When I spoke, it was softly. “Godric had this dagger forged by demons. He carved and etched the runes himself. It took him many nights to complete them. Then he had the dagger blessed by a powerful witch.”
“How long ago did he give it to Fintan?”
“Almost eight hundred years ago,” I answered.
Sookie gasped a little. “So all that time? They were married for all that time?”
“Yes—theirs was a long union, but I know my maker wishes it had been longer.”
Sookie wiped away a tear and smiled a little. “I know that Supes have different ideas about marriage and sex and fidelity, but thinking of my grandfather marrying your maker hundreds of years before he hooked up with my grandmother is a little freaky.”
Recognizing that she was trying to lighten the mood a little, I smiled back at her. “Many different experiences come with length of life, min lilla ormtjusare. But—as for your mention of fidelity—I believe that Godric and Fintan would have stayed faithful to one another if they could have lived together.”
“But that wasn’t possible,” she said sadly.
“No,” I returned. “It would have been too dangerous—for both of them.”
She looked up at me with bright eyes. “I wish I’d been brave enough to come here—to meet you—when I first knew of you, but my grandfather cautioned me that vampires would be extra attracted to my scent. And I don’t have the ability he had.”
“To hide his scent,” I said, remembering how Fintan had been able to do just that—at least, when he wasn’t bleeding.
“Did you ever—um—get intimate with my grandfather?” she asked, turning beet red.
“No,” I responded with a light chuckle. “Godric was quite selfish with Fintan. Most of their time together was spent alone—though something of a friendship developed between your grandfather and me over the years.”
“Good,” Sookie said, letting out a sigh of relief. “Thinking about you having sex with Fintan would have been a little too weird—I think.”
I chuckled a little louder.
“I would like to call Godric—to tell him about all of this,” I requested after a few moments.
“You want to seek his advice before you decide what to do about my proposal?” she asked.
“No. I have already decided what I want to do. I just think it would be nice to introduce you to Godric—because you are Fintan’s granddaughter, and he lives on in you. Godric was quite distraught when he learned of Fintan’s death. In truth, he has not been the same since,” I finished quietly, already counting on Sookie’s discretion, just as I knew I could count on the discretion of Mr. Cataliades. Not only was the demon known for his ability to keep the secrets of his clients, but he had also been a friend to Fintan.
“Oh—well—that’s fine,” Sookie smiled. “I’d like to meet him—Godric. And he should have this,” she added, looking at the dagger.
I smiled at her, content that we were still tracing the runes on the dagger handle together.
“Wait!” she said, stopping the movement of our fingers. “You’ve decided?”
“What did you decide?” she asked tentatively.
“I want to claim you as my own,” I responded.
“But the queen may target you! And what about Niall’s enemies?” Sookie said as if she were trying to talk me out of my decision.
“You worry about me?” I asked her, a little surprised that she seemed so sincerely concerned about my safety.
“Yes,” she responded quickly.
“What will you do if I don’t claim you?” I asked.
“Well—I’ll have to ask you to let Bill loose so that he can track me down tonight. We’d kill him, and then I’d go into hiding—and start a new life—with my grandmother and brother,” she said a little sadly.
“I do not like the idea of your leaving my area now that I know you are a resident,” I said.
Her smile for me was slow-forming and warm; it lit up the whole room.
“Is that why you’re agreeing to claim me?” she asked.
“That is merely one of the reasons,” I responded truthfully.
“So—uh—we’ll exchange blood and then—uh—start our trial week?” she asked biting her alluring lip again.
I nodded, knowing already that I would require much less than a week to be certain that I wanted to keep Sookie by my side—permanently. In fact, I didn’t require another second.
A/N: Hello all. Before I say anything else, I wanted to give Kleannhouse a shout-out. She’s been beta-ing these so quickly that I’ve been able to get them to you faster than planned.
Thanks SO VERY MUCH for the continued support. I’m so happy every time I see a new review, favorite, or follow. Love y’all!
P.S. One more thing. Sephrenia has created a special banner for this chapter. It’s a “couple banner” for Fintan and Godric. It’s so beautiful! And she did a brilliant job capturing everything I’d hope for from it. I thought that Godric and Fintan deserved their own banner. I hope you’ve enjoyed their love story as much as I’ve loved penning it.