“Mom?” Hunter asked tentatively, looking at the source of the growl and the “fiery” hands.
Sookie blushed. “Sorry, Hunt. It’s just that,” her voice took on an edge, “he’s mine,” she growled, looking at her vampire.
In turn, Eric turned and looked at his wife. His eyes had lit up to a fiery blue, and he was next to her in less than a second. Their lips crashed together.
“Ahem,” Hunter cleared his throat about a minute later—right before it looked like clothing might be lost between his parents. They had raised him not to be ashamed of sexuality, but that didn’t mean he wanted to see either of them naked. “Should I—uh—give you guys a few minutes?” he asked.
Becoming even redder than before, Sookie pulled away from her mate. “No, Hunt. I’m okay now.”
Eric was holding her cheeks in his large hands and looking at her intently. “It will take only a few drops of blood, and it will not be the same as it is with you, min kván.”
“I know,” she said as his forehead touched hers. “I’ll—uh—just go get a washrag so that we can clean his feet after you are done,” she added with resolve.
“That would be best,” Eric agreed as he let go of his wife and turned once more to his son.
“Mom’s not gonna hurt me, is she?” Hunter asked with a little laugh.
“Only if you get blood on my bedspread, mister man!” she yelled from the bathroom.
Eric grinned and sat down next to his son. “Mister man,” he chuckled. “Your mother does come up with the most charming labels.”
“Don’t think I don’t hear you, buster!” she yelled.
Father and son smiled at each other.
“What was all that about?” Hunter asked, whispering so softly that only his father would be able to hear him.
“Your mom just needed a little reassurance about the fact that I will always belong only to her, no matter who has my blood,” he answered quietly.
“In truth, it is difficult for me to give you my blood, too,” the vampire admitted.
“Dad, you don’t have to,” Hunter said.
“I think I need to, son. I think you have a good reason for wanting me to.”
Eric made a small bite into his wrist. “It will take only a few drops,” the vampire said.
Hunter nodded and bent over his father’s wrist. With no indecision, he took two pulls from the wound before swiping the back of his hand over his mouth as if he’d just taken a drink of orange juice.
Hunter smiled a little as he looked down to see his feet healing. “That’s too cool,” he observed, “but it was pretty bland-tasting—to tell you the truth.”
Eric laughed. “I told you that I could control my blood—including the taste. What you took was purely functional. I healed you and I can track you now, but beyond that, you will feel no effects, nor will I.”
Hunter nodded, his eyes showing both his trust and his relief.
Sookie came back from the bathroom looking much more in control. In fact, she looked a little excited.
“What?” Hunter asked as his mom approached him with a warm rag and started tending to the blood smears on his feet.
“I think she is excited because she can feel you too,” Eric observed.
“Really?” Hunter asked.
“Yep!” Sookie confirmed. “I don’t know if I could track you, but I feel a buzz from you.” She stood up and kissed both of her boys: Hunter on the forehead and Eric on the lips. “I like bein’ able to feel that you are both okay.”
“So you’re not gonna hurt me for takin’ dad’s blood?” Hunter asked with a laugh.
Sookie grinned sheepishly. “Nope.”
“Okay,” Eric said as he brought Sookie onto his lap, where she nuzzled against him. “Now that that’s been established, let’s talk about Remy and what’s to be done with him.”
Both of the telepaths tried to “read” Remy.
“He’s pissed off that he’s not being let in,” Hunter said.
“Language, mister,” Sookie chastised. “But Hunter’s right. He is getting anxious down there, and he’s worried. He’s growing more and more impatient.”
“I don’t care about his level of patience,” the vampire said. “He will wait until we are ready.”
“Remy’s got a lot of holes in his head,” Hunter said pensively. “I’ve never ‘heard’ anything like it.”
“He’s been glamoured—a lot,” Sookie clarified.
Eric nodded. “Pam and Jessica glamoured him soon after Hunter came here.”
Hunter narrowed his eyes in question. “Why?”
Eric answered simply. “You know already.”
“I didn’t want to live with him; you told me—before you even brought me here—that I could stay with you as long as I wanted,” Hunter said softly.
“Yes,” Eric said as he put his hand on his son’s arm. “But I still checked out Remy Savoy back then. If he had changed for the better, I wanted you to have,” he paused, “the option if you ever changed your mind and wanted to know him.”
“But he hadn’t changed,” Hunter said more than asked.
“No. Remy had taken to drinking again. In his drunkenness, he began to speak about you in bars—to speak of your ability.” Eric shook his head. “After I learned that, I had Pam and Jessica glamour him so that he would drop the kidnapping charges against Hadley and no longer seek you in any way. I had thought that the situation was contained, but Compton learned you were telepathic through people Remy had told before he was glamoured to no longer speak of you.” Eric sighed and continued, “After that, I wanted to kill Savoy myself.”
“But you didn’t,” Hunter observed. “You didn’t because you love me.”
The vampire nodded.
Hunter smiled at him. “I love you, too, Dad.”
“Then—a few years later—I sent Pam and Jessica back when we needed for Remy to officially sign away his rights to you in order for Sookie and me to be able to adopt you without any delays.” Eric shook his head. “Glamouring was not needed that time, according to Pam.”
Sookie took Hunter’s hand in comfort and then looked at Eric seriously. “Someone has glamoured him recently and extensively. I think I can repair some of what has been done in order to try to figure out who did it and why.”
Eric considered for a moment.
Hunter whispered, “The crow.”
Sookie and Eric both looked at him, wondering what he was talking about.
“Crow?” Eric asked.
“Emma,” Hunter stated, looking at Sookie. “She should be here while we decide what to do with Remy.”
Sookie nodded and made a call to Clovache. “You are in the cubby?”
There was a pause as Sookie closed her eyes in order to make sure that Remy was still outside. “Bring Emma up here.”
Eric looked at his wife with curiosity as she hung up. “Shouldn’t she remain there? Protected?”
Sookie narrowed her eyes at her husband.
“Earlier today, I told Hunter about the first time you kissed me,” she said.
For a moment, Eric’s face took on a dreamy aspect. “Your hair was in a ponytail. You were wearing that gray Bon Temps high school t-shirt and those shorts.” He growled a little. “Gods, you were irresistible!”
She popped his arm—both with a light punch and a little ball of her light. “I also told him about your high-handedness and the lesson you had to learn the hard way.”
Realization hit the vampire, and he nodded even as he winked over at Hunter. “Yes—do not leave your mate in the dark, especially if she will have an eternity to nag you about it.”
Sookie popped him again, though she grinned right after and then wrapped her arms around her vampire mate’s neck. “You’re gonna like bein’ nagged for eternity though. Admit it.”
“I admit to nothing,” Eric said dramatically as Emma walked into the room. Clovache made sure that all was well before leaving.
Hunter got up and led Emma over to the little couch in the room, while Eric moved a chair to face the couch and then pulled Sookie onto his lap. Hunter took Emma’s hand.
“What’s goin’ on Hen?” Emma looked up at Hunter, calling him the nickname she generally used only when she was nervous or worried about something.
Sookie and Eric had both heard it before and knew it stood for Hunter’s initials.
“We have a visitor,” Hunter said. “Actually, I have a visitor.”
“Who is it?” Emma asked.
“Remy Savoy, my birth father,” Hunter replied quietly.
Emma’s eyes immediately glowed yellow and she went to stand up. “Then I’ll be right back—right after I go kick his ass and go all cheetah on him!”
Hunter pulled her arm and then pulled her onto his lap. “Em,” he said in the tone that could always calm her, “he was glamoured to come here.”
“Hen, he hurt you.” Hunter had told her all about the way Remy Savoy had treated him, and a tear slipped from her eye. “And he wanted to hurt you even more.” Her voice turned into a growl, “I’ll fuckin’ kill him.”
“Em,” Hunter said cautiously, “there’s more to talk about here than Remy, and I need you to,” he paused, “stay in the nest.”
She looked at him with confusion as her eyes went from gold to bronze to caramel to their usual shade of chocolate. “Hen?”
“I had a dream last night,” Hunter said, looking at all those gathered around him.
“What about?” Emma asked.
“It was more of a who than a what,” Hunter reported. He looked at Eric. “It was the A.P.”
Eric closed his eyes. For more than a decade, he’d been able to keep his family safe as he’d maintained peace in Area 5. And, where he’d not been able to act, Thalia—who was still the Queen of Louisiana and who still maintained her main residence across the graveyard from them—had.
Indeed, the Viking had crushed all potential threats. But he knew from Hunter’s eyes that some news was coming that he would not like.
The vampire scoffed. It figured that the A.P. would break the laws of existence in order to warn them of that news. She’d done it before, after all.
“What did the old bat want?” Eric asked, his voice dueling between mirth and worry.
“She wasn’t old in the dream; she was young and beautiful,” Hunter said.
Eric smiled a little. “You will have to tell your grandfather Niall about that.”
Hunter nodded, and then he launched into a full description of his dream. He reminded his dad and told his mom and Emma about the A.P.’s words to him the first night she’d met him more than a decade before. He told them about her story about the sparrows and the crows. He told them about what she’d said about Godric, even though he could see the pain in his father’s eyes at the mention of his maker. Most difficultly, he told them about what the A.P. had said about trusting in Emma’s love—even if she seemed to forget it.
Indeed, he left nothing out.
When he was done, everyone in the room was silent for several moments.
A loud slap onto Hunter’s arm broke that silence.
“Ouch!” Hunter said.
“You don’t need to earn my love, you dumbass!” Emma proclaimed. “You already have it—a million times over!”
Hunter’s smile lit up his face as he pulled her to him and kissed her fully on the lips.
Sookie and Eric sat quietly as the teens did what they needed to do in order to feel connected, which was apparently kiss each other’s lips off.
Sookie turned her head from them and looked into her husband’s crystalline blue eyes. She spoke directly into their bond. “What are you thinking?” she asked him.
“I am thinking that Hunter has the right idea,” he said before capturing his own wife’s lips with his. He didn’t let them go until he heard giggling from Emma.
“At least you come by your reactions to things honestly,” Emma said, jabbing Hunter in his ribs teasingly.
Hunter looked proud as he and his dad shared a knowing look.
“Stop preening,” Sookie admonished with a slap to Eric’s arm.
“Such abuse we must endure from our women,” Eric said to Hunter in a longsuffering tone.
Sookie looked as if she might pop Eric again when Hunter spoke. “So?” he asked the room in general.
“So,” Eric said his tone turning serious once more, “I believe that you are right about Remy being sent by whoever this ‘crow’ is. He looked at Sookie and then at Hunter. Can either of you tell what Remy is thinking now? Or what his current agenda may be?”
Sookie tensed. “He is here with a court order, which requires a social worker to do a visitation to make sure Hunter’s environment is safe. He is trying to reclaim his rights as Hunter’s father.”
Eric contemplated for a few moments. “But he officially signed those rights away years ago—before Hunter was adopted.” He grabbed Sookie’s phone—since he’d not taken his off of the charger when he’d dressed—and quickly dialed Desmond Cataliades. He briefly explained Remy’s appearance and then put the phone on speaker. He looked at his wife. “Tell Mr. Cataliades all that he needs to hear.”
Sookie took a deep breath. “Desmond, Remy’s been glamoured. That much is perfectly clear. He truly thinks that he’s tryin’ to protect Hunter by coming here. I can’t get an image of who sent him, but I’m getting the distinct impression that it was a vampire. And he has some documents that he thinks give him the right to visit Hunter and to check on his condition here. He believes they are from a judge.”
Cataliades seemed to be shuffling papers. “Whatever he thinks he has is likely not legal. You two adopted Hunter years ago. Remy has no right to him.”
“Then he’s been glamoured to think he has the right,” Hunter said tensely.
“It’s as if he thinks God was telling him to come here,” Sookie added with a shake of her head. “He has it in his mind that he needs to rescue Hunter from the ‘heathen vampire.'”
“Ah—that would be me,” Eric said toothily.
“Is Tara there now?” the demon lawyer asked. Though Desmond Cataliades had remained the Northmans’ primary attorney, Tara had started working with him on several clients—including the Northmans—after she’d passed the bar exam. Of course, Desmond was well aware that Tara and Henry still lived on the ætt land, though the couple did travel a lot.
“Yes,” Eric responded.
“Good. I will call her and tell her what to look for in the paperwork. But try not to be concerned; I can’t see how this could amount to much,” Mr. Cataliades finished before hanging up.
“Remy is a distraction then,” Eric said.
“Likely,” Sookie agreed. “Whoever this crow is wants us to be worried about other things—so that we miss the real threat.”
Hunter shook his head. “I think the crow wants to hurt me personally too.” He sighed. “And—remember—in the story, there is more than one crow.”
Sookie spoke up. “I think I can figure out more from Remy’s head, but I need to be touching him.”
Eric nodded in agreement, though he hated the thought of Sookie touching anyone.
The vampire still had Sookie’s phone, so when it rang, he answered it, though he quickly put it on speaker mode.
“Miranda, have you discovered anything?” he asked.
“I have heard a bug on Savoy. From the sound of it, I believe it to be passive and its signal is quite faint. But it is there,” she said. “It activates whenever he speaks or is spoken to.”
“And his vehicle?” Eric asked.
“A similar device. It is passive in nature—to be sure—but I am certain that it is transmitting the vehicle’s position. And it is likely able to pick up sounds in its vicinity as well.”
“Do we even know how Remy got through the gate? How he got as far as the house without the guards calling us?” Emma asked astutely.
Certainly, the wards were the first line of defense on the property; however, Emma was right: generally the guards would have phoned the main house before letting anyone unknown to them pass.
“I smell magic,” Miranda said. “It is faint, but it has clung to Savoy. However, I cannot know for certain if it helped him to pass through the wards or by the guards—or both.”
“Perhaps Jesus will be able to tell us more about the magic, and we can call Amelia if needed,” Eric said with a proud paternalistic smile in Emma’s direction.
Hunter looked at his mate proudly as well; she’d asked an obvious question that none of the rest of them had asked up until then.
After hanging up on Miranda, the vampire quickly dialed Claude, who had planned to be at his cottage for a part of the day.
“Tanah,” Claude said.
“No. It’s me.”
“Why are you awake at this hour?” Claude asked, concern immediately flooding his tone.
“Come up to the main house,” the vampire said. “Remy Savoy—Hunter’s sperm donor—has shown up here. Miranda has smelled magic on him.”
“Where is he?” Claude growled.
“On the front porch,” Sookie said into the speaker phone.
“Being detained while we plan,” Hunter added.
“Claude, Remy has been bugged, according to Miranda. I need for you to join the others and then take Remy toward the cemetery. There, I want you all to remove his clothing piece by piece until Miranda is certain that there are no further surveillance devices on him and you and Jesus are certain that he has no magic on him that could harm Sookie if she gets close to him,” Eric reported.
“And he’s just gonna let them do that without makin’ a fuss?” Sookie asked.
“I’m sure Henry, Claude, Jesus, and Jarod will come up with a way to make him compliant. And if they do not, Miranda will be there for back-up,” Eric said with a little grin. “You or I can erase the episode from his memories later.”
“My ninja family,” Sookie smirked, shaking her head.
“My Jedi wife,” Eric teased as he kissed her nose.
“So, what’s the plan for after they find the bug?” Emma asked.
“Well,” Eric answered, “we’ll bring him into the house—inside the confines of the privacy spell. And Sookie will find out all that we can from Remy—by trying to repair some of the damage caused by the glamouring. Then, she’s gonna convince him that he did exactly what he came here to do with her Jedi mind-trick thing.”
Many thanks, as always, to Kleannhouse and Sephrenia!
Sorry of the delay