Last Time: “And Fintan?” Sookie asked.
“He contented himself with watching over your family from a distance. And, not able to do anything else, he made it his aim to ensure that the Stackhouse family remained unknown to the Fae world, which had become dangerous for hybrids by then. However—unbeknownst to him—he had already made what turned out to be a grave error.”
“What error?” Sookie asked.
Mr. Cataliades looked down, his whole body slumping forward. In that moment, Sookie wondered if he might circle his round body completely—like a roly-poly or an armadillo.
When the demon looked back up, his eyes were filled with pain and rimmed with tears. “Finn trusted his twin brother, Dermot, with the secret of his love for Adele—at least part of it. He and Dermot were—at one point—extremely close. Dermot happened upon Finn not long after he had completed his second week with Adele; Finn was despondent, and Dermot offered comfort—a sounding board. Still, Finn did not share everything. He told Dermot only that he’d found his Charmaleé and that he’d spent a week with her the year before. He spoke about his son, but he did not tell Dermot about the deal he’d struck to see Adele multiple times. He worried that Dermot might interfere—either preventing Finn from continuing the bargain or interfering with your grandmother’s life—in his way.”
“What was his way?” Eric asked.
“Less honorable than Finn’s,” Desmond responded flatly. “Finn knew full well that Dermot was fully capable of removing any impediment that stood in Finn’s way—anything that interfered with his brother’s happiness.”
“Grandpa Mitchell?” Sookie gasped.
Desmond nodded and then frowned deeply. “Finn regretted telling Dermot anything about Adele almost immediately. To make sure that Dermot didn’t get any misguided and violent notions about how to help him, Finn convinced Dermot that he would get over his sorrow and move on—that it was better if he did so. Indeed, he told Dermot about his decision to marry a full-blooded fairy. He also shared his intention of being faithful to that fairy. And he was—except for eight more visits with Adele.” The demon’s expression darkened. “It was many years later that Dermot shifted alliances and told his new master, Niall’s brother Rogan, about Finn’s affair and son. Because Finn did not tell Dermot everything, your father’s was the only life taken—when Rogan ordered the assassination.”
Sookie’s mouth gaped in shock, and Eric pulled her to him in comfort.
“Assassination?” Sookie whimpered.
“Yes. Rogan sent his favored assassins, Neave and Lochlan, to murder your father. Luckily for you, Finn was able to stop the malefactors from learning anything else about his progeny.”
“How?” Eric asked as he pulled Sookie closer into his body.
“Finn was gifted in creating illusions. He was too late to save Corbett—and your mother. However, he was in time to produce an illusion for Neave and Lochlan. Because of that illusion, they believed that Corbett and his wife had no children. And they never learned of Linda or of her child, Hadley, either.” Desmond frowned deeply. “Expending that much magic weakened Finn. I wish to the gods he’d come to me until he could recover; instead, he went after Dermot to seek vengeance for the deaths of his son and daughter-in-law. Finn did not survive,” Desmond said, swiping many tears from his cheeks. After he died, the magic he’d used to cloak his human family’s existence from Niall lifted, so Niall knows about you. However, until tonight, I believed you would be of little to no interest to him.”
“Why until tonight?” Eric asked.
“A mistake on my part,” the demon sighed. “I had believed that none of Corbett’s lineage carried the spark of the Fae.”
“But Sookie does,” the vampire commented.
“She does,” the demon nodded. “Finn lied. He told me that neither of his children inherited his spark; he also told me that the children of those children were also lacking the spark of the Fae. I believe that keeping that information from even me was his last attempt to ensure Sookie’s safety. Had I known of her, Finn knew that I would have sought her out in order to make sure she was protected—and to make contact when she turned fifteen,” he added.
“Why then? Why wait?” Eric asked.
“Because of the one aspect of the deal between Finn and the Stackhouses that I’ve yet to tell you about,” Desmond sighed, the apology returning to his eyes.
“What aspect?” Sookie asked, even though Eric felt that she feared the response. He held her closer, pride surging at her courage to face whatever came. He also found himself longing for the ability to comfort her through a bond.
In that moment, the blood tie didn’t seem enough—not nearly enough—for the Viking.
“Finn had only one hesitation about fathering Adele’s children,” Desmond conveyed. “He worried that those children might inherit his fairy spark, though such an occurrence is by no means guaranteed in a one-quarter fairy. However, a spark can skip a generation. Indeed, with Finn, it skipped two generations.”
“But it skipped only one with Sookie,” Eric responded with a confused look.
“Yes. As I said, I did not know about Sookie before. However, I did know of the other individual in Finn’s line to inherit the Fae spark, Hadley’s son—Hunter,” Desmond relayed.
“Hadley has a child?” Sookie gasped.
Desmond nodded. “He is quite young, but I knew right away he had inherited Finn’s light, just as I saw it—as I see it—in you.”
Sookie’s mouth gaped at the news that she had a nephew.
The demon continued, “After Finn died, I vowed to examine subsequent members of his line—at least through his great-great-great-grandchildren—just to be sure they did not inherit his light. My investigators found out about Hunter two days after he was born; I immediately checked to see if he had the spark. He did, so I arranged for a guard. One of Sophie-Anne’s children, Andre, visited him once—not long before the child’s first birthday—but that did not concern me too much since the boy was way too young to be displaying signs of his telepathy. However, when the guard scented that fairies had been nearby, I had the guard extract and hide Hunter and his father. Now, Hadley has no idea where they are, though I’ve tried to keep my ears open in case she shows sudden interest in reconnecting with her child.”
“She hasn’t yet?” Sookie gasped.
“No,” Desmond returned sadly. “In fairness, I used magic to imprint memories into both Hadley, who was still human at the time, and Remy Savoy’s neighbors.”
“What memories?” Sookie asked.
“The recollection of Remy Savoy and Hunter leaving their small town because Remy had a good job opportunity up north. Later on, I learned that Hadley took the situation as a sign that motherhood was something she was never meant for.”
“The queen knows about Sookie being a telepath; Hadley told her,” Eric informed. “Indeed, a vampire—Bill Compton—was sent to procure her.”
Desmond’s eyes widened, and he growled. “I did not know that.”
“Well—at least the queen did not openly advertise the fact that she had plans to procure a telepath,” the vampire muttered.
“And Hadley must not have spoken about Sookie or her ability in open court,” Desmond mused. “If she had, I would have known of her before now.”
“What about Hunter?” Sookie asked with concern. “Andre might see him as a little potential telepath to use.”
Desmond frowned. “Even if Andre is thinking about that possibility, he hasn’t acted on it or sought out Hunter—not that he would be able to find him now.”
Sookie sighed with relief. “So he’s safe?”
The demon nodded. “As safe as I can make him. He and his father have new identities, and his father has a new name as well—since Remy Savoy is an uncommon name and could be too easily researched. Richard Jacobs and his son, Hunter, live in North Carolina. Remy—Richard—has a good job, and Hunter’s guard will contact me if there is a threat.”
Sookie nodded. “Okay. Good. That’s good. I don’t want anyone to try to procure him,” she added bitterly.
“Is Sophie-Anne an issue now—for you?” the demon asked Sookie, his hands rolling into fists as if he would kill the queen with his bare hands if she was a threat.
Sookie shook her head, even as Eric answered. “At this time, we do not believe so. Sookie’s going into business, her contract with me, and my official claiming documents for her were meant—in part—to deter any intentions Sophie-Anne may have had to force Sookie to become a member of her court.”
Desmond nodded. “Clever. The queen is neither overly cruel nor unwise; hiring Sookie on occasion will be seen as preferable to her compared to going to war with you.”
Eric nodded in agreement. “It seems clear that Andre put the queen up to trying to poach Sookie from my area; however, I don’t think Sophie-Anne would have approved of taking Sookie’s liberty. Compton was sent to,” the vampire paused and looked down at Sookie, “woo her so that she would be willing and happy to accompany him to court. Sophie-Anne claims that she was trying to play match-maker, as opposed to trying to force Sookie’s fealty.”
“That sounds like the queen,” Desmond conveyed.
Sookie spoke up, “Wait! A while ago, you said that you moved Hunter and his dad because fairies had found them! They weren’t the ones that killed my mom and dad—were they?” she asked worriedly.
“No,” Desmond assured. “The fairies were Niall himself, as well as one of his grandchildren, Claudine Crane.”
“Niall’s not a threat then?” Sookie asked.
“He would not be an intentional one,” Desmond assured.
“Could—uh—others in the—uh—family find us—since Niall can find us?” she asked worriedly.
Desmond smiled with almost paternal pride. “Excellent question. Unless in an official guardian role—which would have to be arranged for by Niall himself—a fairy can only sense his or her kin if it is in a straight line of succession—in this case, from Niall to Finn to Linda to Hadley to Hunter. Finn’s siblings, for example, would not have the ability to sense members of his line, nor would anyone else in Niall’s family. I believe that Niall took an interest in Hunter because he, too, sensed the spark in him.”
“Wouldn’t he just be able to find Hunter again then?” Sookie asked. “Why move him?”
“Another good question,” Desmond smiled. “The truth is that I cannot stop Niall from seeking out the boy, but—after moving Hunter—I contacted the fairy prince to ask him to avoid the boy for the time being, unless he was prepared to take over his protection.”
“And?” Eric asked.
“Niall expressed his desire to wait,” the demon responded. He looked at Sookie pensively. “I am sorry that I did not know you had the spark too, my dear. If I had, I would have asked his intentions regarding you as well.”
“I have no idea if he’s tried to make contact with me,” Sookie frowned. “For all I know, he’s come to Merlotte’s to eat.”
“I can project an image of him—if you’d like,” Desmond offered.
Sookie nodded. “Okay. And—uh—project the person you said went with him to see Hunter too.”
Desmond smiled and nodded. “Clever suggestion.”
Eric couldn’t have agreed more.
“I don’t know him,” Sookie said after a moment. “And someone with long, silver hair like that would definitely stand out in Bon Temps. I don’t know her either,” she said, shaking her head.
“Likely, he checked on you from afar—as he did with Hunter,” Desmond speculated. “It is probable that he is waiting for your spark to mature before actually approaching you—so that you can travel to Faerie.”
“Huh? My spark mature?” Sookie asked.
“That will occur when you are around thirty years old—give or take. At that time, you will become able to use any magic that you have inherited from your Fae kin, and you will be able to cross into the Fae realm if you so choose.”
“Magic,” Sookie gasped. “What?”
Eric tightened his hold upon her in order to provide comfort and support.
Desmond sighed. “The Brigants have several distinctive magical traits. Finn could teleport. And I have already told you about his ability to create illusory and concealment spells, as well as his allure. He also had the ability to transform any weapon held by an enemy into fairy dust. However, there are other family traits you might develop as well.”
“I can’t . . . .” Sookie closed her eyes tightly. “I really can’t think about this right now,” she said almost pleadingly.
“This is a topic that can be put off for a while,” Eric soothed her.
“I never even thought to seek you out, Sookie, because Finn told me you had no spark not long after you were born,” Desmond said after a few silent moments. “Thus, I had no reason to suspect you had inherited my telepathy.”
“Yours?” Sookie muttered with confusion.
“As I said, Finn worried that the spark might be carried on, and he wished to arm any of his descendants who possessed it. To do this, he asked for a favor from me. Working with a witch named Octavia Fant, Finn developed a potion that would cling to Adele’s blood—to her DNA really. It would pass to her decedents, but lie dormant unless activated by a Fae spark.”
“And once activated?” Eric asked.
“The bearer of the spark would eventually develop the gift of telepathy so that he or she could better sense any danger that might come his or her way. According to the deal between Adele, Mitchell, and Finn, any child with the spark was to be told of his or her lineage and trained beginning on his or her fifteenth birthday.”
“Why wait?” Sookie managed to ask, even though she was quite literally stunned by the demon’s words.
“Fifteen was determined to be the age at which a child could keep the secret of his or her lineage—from Adele and Mitchell,” Desmond informed.
Eric’s fangs snapped down in anger. “But it was when Sookie was a young child that she most needed help with controlling and understanding her telepathy!” he seethed.
Desmond frowned. “Control it? But the telepathy was supposed remain latent—inactive—until you reached your fifteenth year. That is why I had no concern about Andre learning that Hunter was telepathic at so young an age.”
“It was never latent,” Sookie said, sounding a bit broken—and a lot tired—despite the new word she’d just added to her vocabulary. Normally, she would have given herself a mental high-five for already using “latent” correctly in a sentence, but she simply didn’t have the energy to do so.
Desmond gasped. “But the spell was very specific about that! You were not to develop the gift until you turned fifteen!”
“The spell went wrong. My—uh—shields did get better around that time though,” Sookie said hauntedly. “Until then, I couldn’t really keep any thoughts out, though I had learned by then to be surer of what was a thought versus what was said aloud.”
The room was silent for a moment as Eric held Sookie tightly. He could feel her sorrow—and her bitterness. He couldn’t begrudge her either emotion.
“Child, you have every right to hate me for what I unintentionally did to you,” Desmond finally said, looking down in shame before looking back at Sookie and then Eric. “I offer reparations—either in blood or goods,” he said solemnly.
Eric shook his head. “She won’t take your blood—though I wish she would allow me to make you suffer, demon!”
“Eric!” Sookie said, placing her free hand onto his arm. The other was still holding his. “He’s your friend!” She sighed. “And he didn’t know. Fintan lied to him.” She looked at Desmond. “Speaking of my grandfather, why didn’t he help me with my telepathy? You said he kept an eye on us. Why didn’t that eye see that I was a telepath from the start—long before I turned fifteen? Why couldn’t that eye see that I was suffering?”
Desmond shook his head. “I don’t know for sure. I do know, however, that Finn kept his distance, so he might not have known. And—even if he did—the agreement he made with your grandparents could not be broken because it was sealed in magic. You could not be approached until you were fifteen. He was likely biding his time until then.”
“Why not tell you? Let you help me?” Sookie asked.
Desmond shook his head. “I am trying to figure out the answer to that question as well. I wish I knew why he did not tell me you had the spark. He would have felt it—even from a distance—as soon as you were born. Maybe he worried about letting anyone know—due to the rising unrest in Faerie. Maybe he knew about the spark but not the telepathy.” The demon sighed. “I am sorry that I cannot give you all the answers you seek about him; however, I can tell you that he was a good man. He was flawed, but good.”
The telepath shook her head. “What about Hunter? Is his telepathy already activated?” she asked.
“I don’t know. But I will find out—now that I know about yours,” Desmond said with regret in his tone. “His guard has no knowledge of anything regarding Hunter’s background and no orders to contact me about anything—unless it concerns his safety.”
“What kind of guard do you have for him?” Eric asked.
“A Britlingen,” Desmond shared.
Eric nodded in understanding. “She would watch and protect only, but would show no initiative in doing anything beyond the specifics of her contract.”
“Correct,” Desmond said.
“How old is Hunter?” Sookie asked, her haunted tone back.
“He would be three now,” the demon relayed.
Sookie shut her eyes tightly as if to shut out memories. “He will already be very confused about what he can do, but—if he can get help now—he won’t remember much. Can his shields get—uh—activated early?”
“I will speak with Octavia,” Desmond promised. “Regardless, he will not suffer as I can see that you had to suffer,” the demon added with sorrow, even as he wiped a tear from his yellow-green eyes.
Sookie looked at Eric with uncertainty in her own eyes. “Do you still want to go into business with me? Do you still want . . . ?”
The vampire cut her off with a soft kiss. “I understand your need to ask, Sookie,” he said after he ended the kiss. “But—please—do not doubt me.”
“Okay,” she said with a little smile before looking at the demon. “Do you have the contracts?”
The demon nodded. “They need only the addition of your name upon them. However, I feel obliged to tell you that if you should become known to the world at large, Niall’s enemies may come for you.”
Sookie sighed and looked up at Eric. “What do you think?”
“I think that Desmond’s retribution to you should be supplying you with a Britlingen guard of your own. Fairies would not get by Thalia—not that many would try. However, your two-natured guards could be outmatched by fairies such as Neave and Lochlan. I wouldn’t want to take the chance. I would simply get you one myself; however, you would probably kill me—finally dead—once you found out the cost of her.”
“How much?” Sookie asked with trepidation.
“Nothing I could not and would not afford,” the vampire assured. “But—if Desmond does it—then you will not feel guilty for having the guard.”
“How much?” the telepath asked again.
“It will cost less for a demon—since Britlingens prefer being paid with a mineral from the Dae realm. To keep a Britlingen guarding you for your lifetime, it would cost me about half a billion dollars,” Eric responded.
“Billion?” Sookie mumbled. “With a B?”
“Yes,” Eric responded.
“You’re that rich?” she followed up.
He chuckled and nodded. “I could afford several Britlingen guards for you before I felt it in my accounts. I told you that Pam could not even spend all of my several fortunes.”
Sookie shook her head. “You’re like Bill Gates rich!”
“Not quite that much,” he chuckled.
“I will arrange for a Britlingen to guard you immediately, my dear,” Desmond said after a moment. “It may take up to a week, however, to get her here.”
The vampire looked at Sookie. “You will let me double your day-guard until then?” he half-asked and half-pleaded.
“Yeah,” she agreed, reaching up and cupping his cheek.
Desmond reached into his bag and pulled out some parchment. His hand hovered over the document for a few moments. “Any changes to the contract or claiming document other than the ones specified earlier?”
“The stuff about turning,” Sookie said to the demon.
“Ah—yes,” Desmond said. “Eric mentioned you would have some limitations regarding who could turn you in case of emergency. Do you have a list of names?”
“Right now, it’s only Eric, Pam, Thalia, or Bubba,” the telepath stated. “And—even then—only if they are okay with it.” She looked up at Eric. “I’ll tell them—ask them—about it—okay? But no ordering or commanding them.”
“Okay,” the Viking assured with a kiss to her forehead.
Again, Desmond hovered a hand over the contract. “Is that all?”
Eric looked at Sookie, who nodded.
“We are ready to sign them,” the vampire informed.
“Wait. Shouldn’t we—uh—read them first?” Sookie asked. “After all, you did say that the queen was Mr. Cataliades’s main client. No offense,” she added, looking at the demon.
“None taken,” Desmond said, looking completely relaxed for the first time all evening. “However, in addition to my oaths, you should know that you will be my priority client from now on. And I—hereby—accept my duties as your guardian since Fintan is no longer able.”
Again, Sookie felt the air in the room stir as magic was unleashed.
“What exactly does that mean?” Sookie asked skeptically.
“Whatever you wish it to mean,” the demon said sincerely. “You have clearly chosen a path for both your professional and private lives, and I will not interfere, my dear; however, I hope to—one day—earn your trust to the point that you come to me if you need anything. And—if you are willing—I will speak with you about your telepathy in order to ensure that you understand all that you may do.”
“I won’t be able to start hearing vampires—right?” she asked apprehensively.
Desmond shook his head. “Our ability to hear the undead is sporadic at best.”
Sookie startled a bit, something the vampire did not miss.
“I heard you once,” the telepath confessed. “I heard Stan from Texas, too.”
“How horrible were my thoughts?” Eric asked with a smirk.
“You wanted to possess me—really bad,” Sookie shared with a little smirk of her own.
“Ah—just the usual then,” he winked at her. “Can you return tomorrow night, Desmond? That will give Sookie the opportunity to read the contract.”
“Wait,” she said, looking up at Eric. “He can’t be misleading us? No chance at all?”
“No chance,” the vampire confirmed. “He would, quite literally, be struck dead if he were.”
“Good enough,” the telepath said.
“Excellent!” Desmond exclaimed. “The sooner Eric’s claim is officially, the less worry. Also, would you mind if I had Diantha join Sookie’s guards until the Britlingen arrives?”
“That would be acceptable,” Eric responded.
“Excellent!” the demon enthused. He held out the rolled parchment. “Just touch these with your true intention,” he instructed Sookie.
“Huh?” she asked.
“No one can be forced to sign a Dae-originated contract,” Eric informed, even as he placed his free hand onto one parchment and then the other.
“So just touch it?” Sookie asked.
“Yes—if you are choosing freely to sign the contracts, the magic will do the rest,” the vampire assured.
Nodding, Sookie used her freehand to touch first one and then the second scroll.
Desmond closed his eyes for a moment even as Sookie—once again—sensed the presence of magic. “They are sealed,” he stated. “And—remember, Sookie—you can change the clause about being turned or null either contract any time you wish. However, if you are being forced or you are not completely sincere, then the change will not go into effect.”
“I understand,” Sookie nodded.
Desmond looked at the vampire and then back at Sookie. “Now—if it is permitted—I would like to speak with Sookie—for a few minutes longer. But in private.”
A/N: So—I hope you are enjoying my attempt to explain what I found to be a lot of holes in the SVM story. For example, I always wondered why Desmond had never approached Sookie before. Also, he knew about Hadley, so why didn’t he make moves to protect Hunter? It always seemed that was because of his allegiance to the queen, but Sophie-Anne is killed by de Castro, and Desmond still waits quite a while to approach Sookie. It just didn’t seem right. Anyway, in this story, I’m righting what I think of as holes in CH’s story. And I’m changing things to how I would have wanted them. I hope that you are liking my choices. Let me know. Also, what do you think about Desmond himself? I always sort of like the ol’ Demon in stories and have used him quite a bit. (My favorite use of him so far is in “Black Christmas”). Anyway, he’s fun to imagine.
Let me know your thoughts if you have the time and the inclination. This story has only one chapter left. Then, I will take one week off. But I plan to begin posting the final story of The Trunk Trilogy on Nov. 4. Thanks to Kleannhouse, I have a couple of chapters of that one already in good shape. She’s got the flu now (so keep her in your thoughts), but she’s got two more she’s working with as well, and I’ve been drafting more today. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to keep up the one chapter a week goal—unless my health does south again. Thanks—by the way—to everyone who has been sending me positive thoughts. Speaking of positive thoughts, send some to those who were affected by Hurricane Michael, as well as the people of Puerto Rico. I have a reader there that still has a tarp for a roof! Also, if you can find a cause you want to support, be sure to give to it. I have a few charities that I trust, and I give to them when I can. There are a lot of organization that help hurricane victims.
Have a great week,