[extended dreams are shown in italics]
“Do not be alarmed,” a familiar voice said.
Hunter opened his eyes to the sound of the voice, but he still felt asleep.
Was he dreaming?
“Do you remember me?” the voice asked.
Hunter was nodding before he even registered making a conscious decision to do so.
“Grandma Brit?” he asked focusing his eyes on the form before him for the first time. “But you died,” he stammered.
Yes—he remembered the sound of her cackle, too. However, the Ancient pythoness—whom he’d eventually called Grandma Brit since she was Godric’s maker—looked different than she had when he’d known her. Her eyes were a clear blue, not milky white. Her hair was blond, not gray and white. And her skin had no wrinkles.
“I do not look much like a ‘Grandma’ now, but yes, I am she,” she returned with a smirk.
“But—how are you here?” Hunter asked.
“The how is less important than the why,” Britomart responded.
“Fuck!” Hunter said as he sat up, despite still feeling sluggish. “If you’re here, then that means something bad is gonna happen—right? Are you here to warn me about the future like you warned Mom and Dad about Russell? Fuck!”
Britomart chuckled, but the sound didn’t do much to reassure Hunter.
“Is it Emma? Is she in danger?” the teen asked forcefully.
“You have inherited the Viking’s penchant for reacting,” she paused, “aggressively when you think your mate might be in trouble.”
“Please tell me she’s not,” Hunter begged.
Britomart sighed. “When I first met you, I was known by vampires as the Ancient Pythoness.”
“The A.P.,” Hunter said with a nod.
Britomart smiled. “Yes. My little cat—the Viking—gave me that nickname. You must tell him and his mate hello for me, and given your colorful language from earlier, I think it is safe for me to give you my message for them.”
“You are here with a message for them?”
“Not really,” she laughed. “I just want you to remind them not to fuck things up.”
“That’s it?” Hunter asked with an Eric-like arch of his eyebrow.
“For them? Yes,” the A.P. said. “But—then again—they didn’t dream of me, so it is you who needed to speak to me.”
“Are you real? Or just a dream?”
She laughed again. “I am both—of course.”
“Dammit. You still speak in riddles!” Hunter said with frustration.
“Some things don’t change,” she winked. “But some things do. You have grown into a handsome young man. And a good one.”
“Thanks,” Hunter sighed. “But please—will you tell me why you are here?”
“I came because you were thinking about me earlier—because you needed me to come to you tonight.”
“Why?” Hunter asked, now almost desperate for an answer.
“To remind you of what I said before—what I told you when you were a child.”
Hunter felt his heart jumping in his chest. “You said that I would have to earn Emma.”
“I said that you would one day have a great love in your life but that you would have to earn it first. I do not remember mentioning Emma by name.”
Hunter’s face immediately became even whiter than his father’s as the blood drained from it.
The A.P. shook her head. “I am sorry, little one. I have never been effective at teasing.”
“Teasing?” Hunter asked incredulously. “Huh?”
“Do not fear, Hunter. Who else could your great love be? You and your Emma are soul mates—just as the Viking and his Sookie are soul mates.”
Hunter breathed a sigh of relief but then looked up at the A.P. with concern. “Grandma Brit, what did you mean by earning her? Please tell me what I have to do. I can’t lose her.”
The A.P.’s expression darkened a little. “Then you will have to fight when you must, little one.”
“Whom will I have to fight?”
She shook her head. “When I had the ability to see the future, I’m afraid that I never saw the who. But I do know that you looked as you do now when your love was threatened.”
“But you also saw us with children—didn’t you?” Hunter asked.
“Your father told you that?” she smirked.
“No,” Hunter shook his head, “but Dad told Sam, and he thinks about them. Four of them.”
“Did you tell your Emma?”
“No,” he frowned. “She knows that I want children with her, and she wants children with me. But I never told her that you saw them. I didn’t know if I’d . . . .” He stopped midsentence.
“If you’d earned them yet?” the A.P. finished for him.
The A.P. smiled at him sincerely. “You are wise and confident like your father, but you have more humility and compassion than my little cat. You likely got traits from your true mother.” She smiled proudly. “Yes—you are an excellent combination of both of your true parents.”
“Will I earn the right to be a parent like them?” Hunter asked. “Please. Tell me! What do I need to do?”
“Sadly—like both of your parents—you are also lacking in patience sometimes,” she said wryly. “But—yes—I believe you will earn your Emma and your children. That was the thread that I liked most when I could see the future—and the one most likely to happen too—so that is the one I told your father about.”
“But it’s not for certain,” Hunter’s said, his shoulders slumping.
“The future rarely is a certain thing,” the A.P. admitted. “But there are things that are certain.”
“Like what?” Hunter asked a little crestfallen.
“You and your Emma have a strong love. You are a strong young man. She is a strong young woman.”
Hunter nodded. “She’s stronger than I am,” he said with surety. “She’s better than I am.”
The A.P. smiled. “I am glad that you think of your mate in that way. It is a sign that you likely won’t fuck things up.”
Hunter couldn’t help but to smile. “The message you gave to Mom and Dad.”
She winked. “In truth, they are well beyond the stage where they would fuck things up with each other—at least not too badly! But I do so love to tease my little cat.” She sighed. “I miss him. I miss you all.”
“We miss you too,” Hunter said, his voice thick with emotion.
The A.P. wiped away a tear and studied it on her finger for a moment before speaking again. “When you were a child, I also told you that your life would contain many more times of happiness than sorrow. I told you that you would be loved by many and would love many in return.”
“I remember,” Hunter returned.
“Sometimes the ones we love the most are responsible for hurting us the most—even if they do not mean to,” she said sadly.
“Emma?” Hunter said with uncertainty.
“Her love for you will never leave her, even if it seems as if she forgets for a while. Do you understand?” the A.P. asked, her tone now forceful.
“Forgets?” he returned with trepidation. “Am I gonna fuck something up?”
She chuckled. “Most men eventually do. Even my Artegal gets underfoot at times, and I waited millennia to be with him again.”
“So you’re with him? You’re okay?” Hunter asked.
The A.P. smiled at him. “You are worried about me?”
The teen nodded in confirmation.
“See—you have a good heart. And—even if you do ‘fuck up’—your Emma will remember that heart. Do you understand?” she repeated.
“No,” Hunter said honestly. “But I’ll try.”
“Good,” the A.P. nodded as she turned to go.
“Wait!” Hunter begged. “What is going to happen? How can I protect Emma if you don’t tell me more?”
The A.P. turned again and sat next to him on the bed.
“I once told my brother a story about a sparrow and a crow,” she said.
“Grandpa Niall told it to me,” Hunter relayed. “You saw a sparrow scare a crow away when it threatened the sparrow’s nest—even though the crow was clever and stronger than the sparrow.”
“That’s right,” the A.P. said. “But I fear Niall left out the most important part of the story.”
“What was that?”
“There were two sparrows—a male and a female. A mating pair. The female bravely stayed in their nest and protected the eggs despite the crow’s threat. She did not waver; she did not move. The crow tried to intimidate her, but she was steadfast.”
“What about the other sparrow?”
The A.P. smiled. “He was off looking for food to feed his mate when the threat came. He must have heard the crow’s call near his nest, so he flew back immediately. He shot his small body at that big crow as if he were a torpedo.”
“Did he hit the crow?” Hunter asked, fascinated by the added details to the story.
She shook her head. “No. The crow was startled but was able to move in time to avoid the sparrow’s hit. But the sparrow flew at him again and again—until finally the crow flew away. The sparrow pursued him, but then something happened that I thought would mean the death to the nest.”
“What?” Hunter asked.
“Another crow came, even larger—even stronger—than the first,” the A.P. shared.
“Were the crows working together?” Hunter asked.
“Yes. As the brave little sparrow was pursuing the first crow, the larger one neared the nest.”
“But the female sparrow didn’t move—did she?” Hunter asked.
“No. She was ready to die for her eggs.”
“Did she—die?” Hunter’s voice broke, as he wondered if the A.P. was trying to tell him that Emma was like the female sparrow.
“No,” the A.P. assured. “The male sparrow—sensing that there was a ploy to separate him from his mate—stopped his pursuit and returned to the nest. And when he returned, the noise that came from him was fiercer than even one of the Viking’s battle cries. And the second crow turned and fled to join his confederate.”
Hunter tilted his head with curiosity. “Grandpa Niall didn’t know that part of the story, did he?”
The A.P. chuckled. “With my brother, it was always best to tell him only what he needed to hear.”
“Grandpa Niall told me that story the night that I was waiting to hear if Mom—Sookie—had rescued Dad from Russell,” Hunter said with a faraway look in his eyes as he remembered his fear from that time. “Emma was with me that day and night. So were you. But you didn’t tell me the rest of the story then.”
She winked. “I didn’t tell you the rest—then—because you had heard what you needed to hear.”
“There was only one crow then,” Hunter said.
“Only one that could truly harm the nest. Yes.”
“But there is more than one now,” Hunter said perceptively.
She smiled at him. “I have always had a nickname for you, little one, but I have never said it aloud.”
Hunter was a bit taken aback by her change of subject. “What is it?” he asked.
“Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw Godric?” she asked, changing the subject yet again.
Confused about the gaps in the conversation, Hunter shook his head. “No.”
“He was younger than you by many years when I first saw him. In fact, he was only six years old. That was your age when I first saw you.”
Hunter’s head tilted again. “Why are you telling me this? Is it important that we were the same age?”
“Maybe not,” the A.P. chuckled. “But I have always been amazed by coincidences. Maybe they are the true magic in the world.”
She was silent for a moment, and her eyes seemed to cloud a bit.
“Grandma Brit?” Hunter asked uncertainly.
She focused back on him. “When I first saw him, Godric was not ready to be my vampire child. He had more life to live as a human, but I also didn’t want to lose him as he moved around in the world. Sadly, my maker was still alive at the time, and I did not want Godric to be targeted by Appius, so it was unwise for me to keep too close of a watch on my Godric to ensure that I would find him again. I saw many possible threads of time involving my potential child, and in some of them, I never found Godric again; thus, your father was never made a vampire.”
Hunter shuddered at the thought of not having his father in his life. “What did you do?”
She grinned. “I loaded the deck—so to speak—to ensure that the future I preferred was the one most likely to happen.”
Realization hit Hunter. “You gave Godric your blood so you could eventually track him, didn’t you?”
She grinned proudly. “You are just as clever as your father; you two always did make a good pair.” Her expression suddenly became serious. “Eric Northman is your father, Hunter—in all ways that matter. In all ways that will matter. He is your father and you are his son. Remember that.”
Her tone was so forceful that Hunter responded immediately. “I know he is.”
She seemed satisfied. “Tell your father what I have said. He will have an idea or two,” she winked.
Once more she got up to leave.
“What was my nickname?” he asked.
“You know already,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
“I think I know,” he said in a frustrated tone, “but it would be nice to get a direct answer from you—for once.”
She put her head back and laughed deeply. “From the first day I saw you in one of my visions, you have always been my favorite.”
Hunter rolled his eyes. “I once heard you tell my dad that he was your favorite. And you still didn’t answer the question.”
She waved off his first comment with a wave of her hand and a smirk. “Well—you two tie in your ability to amuse me, so it makes sense that you are both my favorites.”
Hunter shook his head. “You still haven’t answered.”
Her smirk disappeared from her face and she bent down to kiss his forehead. “Fly true, my sparrow. The crows are coming.”
And with that, she was gone.
A/N: Well—I hope that you enjoyed reading about Hunter’s dream. Remember—in this universe—the “Godric ghost” was a part (because I was working with the show’s content through most of Season 4). Anyway, because of this, I figured it wouldn’t be too odd for the AP to make an appearance, especially if it were in a dream.
Can I just say how much I appreciate it if you are! It means that you were with me for Back & Forth AND Come Back to Me too! And we all know the time commitment you must have given to that. LOL!
Again, many, many thanks to you all.
Thanks to Kleannhouse for lending me your time and eyes.
And extra thanks to Sephrenia, who–after volunteering her time for Vets–put together the wonderful banners for this chapter and for the AP. She is so generous with her time in so many ways!