“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”—William Shakespeare
Last Time: Niall seemed to be looking straight into Sookie. “You inherited Fintan’s spark. And—you may call me Niall.”
Sookie shook her head in confusion. “I’m sorry, but I still don’t know what you are talking about. Gran was married to Earl Stackhouse, not someone named Fintan.”
“After my son became attached to Adele Hale, he took the name, Earl Stackhouse, in order to better fit into this realm. The real Earl Stackhouse—who was the last of his own line—was killed in an accident the week before Fintan met Miss Hale. My son used Fae magic to alter the memories of the townspeople to forget all about that accident and to accept him as being Earl Stackhouse. Miss Hale was the only one who knew the truth of things, though she, too, underwent a memory spell after my son was kidnapped and brought to Faerie by my enemy. I saw to the spell myself.”
Sookie felt her world sputtering as Niall continued in an indifferent tone, “I am certain that it is not pleasant to learn that the things you thought were true are not. However, your true family name is not Stackhouse; it is Brigant.”
“What of your son? What of Fintan?” Eric inquired, sensing that Sookie would want to know, but was currently too stunned to ask for herself.
“That is none of your concern,” Niall said coldly. “You will not be privy to private matters of the Fae. I answered your call only out of obligation to your maker, and after this day, I will hold that debt paid.”
“Godric saved your life,” Eric growled.
“He! Not you!” Niall said derisively. “And now—because of your kind—my great-granddaughter is in peril.”
“I wanna know what happened to my grandfather,” Sookie said quietly.
“The same thing that happened to your parents—though your father did not carry a Fae spark as you do,” Niall answered, his tone stony. “They were killed at the orders of my enemy, Breandan, who is the leader of the Water Fae and the son of my own brother.”
“My parents were killed in a flash flood,” Sookie whispered, even as she began to shake. Eric moved closer to her, and she leaned into him.
Niall took in their closeness with clear disapproval. “Breandan believes that the infertility problems in Faerie are related to our race mixing with humans. In the past, his aim was to kill all those of mixed blood who carried the Fae spark. He believes that anyone who carries the spark in this realm depletes the magic of the Fae. His theory is believed by the Water Fae. Recently, however, his policies against hybrids have changed. He and his mother, Mab, have been collecting those of mixed blood who carry the spark. Instead of being killed, they are being taken to Faerie so that they can help to repopulate the race of the Water Fae.”
“They are being used in a breeding program?” Eric asked.
Niall looked down his nose at the vampire, but answered his question this time. “Yes. Breandan’s notions are ridiculous and illogical. The Fae have always had trouble with infertility. However, his new policies have gained some popularity, even among the Earth Fae and the Fire Fae—especially now that he’s begun placing the hybrids on the frontlines during battle.
“But you said that my dad didn’t have the spark thingy. Why would Breandan kill him?”
“Corbett was not the target of Breandan’s people the day your parents were killed.”
Sookie gasped. “I was?”
Niall nodded. “Yes. Breandan tracked down Fintan and kidnapped him. He then evaluated my son’s bloodline in this realm. When it was found that you had the spark, Breandan sent his assassins, Neave and Lochlan, to cause the accident that took your parents’ lives. It was thought that you and your brother drowned along with your parents, and your death was celebrated among the Water Fae. After that, Neave and Lochlan were allowed to torture Fintan. Around that time, I captured Mab and exchanged her for my son. But he was too far gone by then. He died not long after he came to me. His dying request was that I watch over his bloodline and protect anyone born with a spark. He also asked that I take Adele a letter.”
“He died?” Sookie asked with a whimper.
“Yes. But—to my surprise—I discovered that you had not.”
“Jason and I weren’t in the car. Mom and Daddy had just dropped us off at Gran’s.”
Niall nodded. “I contemplated taking you to Faerie with me then; however, since you were already thought dead, I decided that the best course of action would be to leave you in this realm. I wiped the memory of the fairy Fintan from your grandmother’s mind and left her with only the recollection of the human, Earl Stackhouse.”
“Why?” Sookie asked.
“So that you could never read the truth from her mind. It was clear to me you were a powerful telepath—even then.”
Sookie broke down in sobs as she thought about her grandmother losing many of her memories about her beloved. She turned into Eric’s arms.
“You seek comfort from an odd source, Great-granddaughter,” Niall said with a judgmental sneer.
Sookie let out a harsh laugh and stared at the man who was finally claiming her. “How dare you say that kind of thing to me! If you are my family, you could have offered me comfort when I was growing up feeling all alone and like a freak. You even made it so that Gran couldn’t tell me why I was different.”
“Make no mistake—I am your family. And this one,” he gestured toward Eric, “is your enemy.”
“He’s not,” Sookie whispered.
Niall shook his head. “I did what my son asked me to do in the best way I could,” the fairy said sternly. “It was best that not even you knew you were Fae. Therefore, I used magic to hinder your spark, and I left one of my most trusted people to watch over you. However, she has not been able to be near you as of late because of your association with them.” He motioned toward Eric. “Vampires,” Niall added, spitting out the word.
“It didn’t work,” Sookie said. “Whatever you did didn’t work. My telepathy never went away.”
Niall shrugged. “That is because your telepathy is a gift—a Fae ability. It is different from a spark. Telepathy is often found in those with a spark, but not always. You have a nephew—a child of Hadley. He was born a telepath, but carries no spark.”
“Hadley had a baby?” Sookie asked.
“Yes,” Niall said, somewhat impatiently. “As I vowed to my son, I have continued to monitor those of his line. But Hadley’s child is not in danger from the Fae.”
Sudden, thick tears streamed down Sookie’s cheeks. “But he’s a telepath—like me?”
Niall nodded. “Yes,” he said emotionlessly.
“And you just left him all alone?”
“He is not alone,” Niall said evenly. “The child, Hunter, has a father caring for him. And the vampires do not know of his existence. I have ensured that they will not learn of him from Hadley either. Perhaps your vampire will take him now—now that you’ve insisted he hear our conversation,” he added facetiously.
“How?” Sookie asked.
“He will just take him,” Niall scowled. “It is what vampires do.”
“No!” Sookie said, clearly frustrated. “How do you know that Hadley won’t tell others about Hunter?”
“Oh—a memory charm. Hadley’s association with the vampires was a danger to Hunter, so I simply erased him from her mind. She had already abandoned him to her drug use and then her vampires. It is lucky that I was able to find her outside of the queen’s estate during the daytime so that I could take her memory of the child away before the queen was alerted to his existence. I learned that day that she had already been the source of them learning about you. But—by then—it was too late to disentangle you from them since you had taken their blood. Now, however, blood is not a factor.”
“You made it so Hadley can’t even remember her own child?” Sookie asked in disbelief. “How could you do that?”
“It was an easy process,” Niall said indifferently.
“No—I mean—how could you be so cruel?”
“It is not cruelty to protect one’s kin from monsters of his kind,” Niall said, motioning toward Eric again.
The vampire had heard enough. “My kind saved your life, fairy. But now I wish Godric had not!”
“We had a common enemy—your maker and I,” Niall said stiffly. “And our truce was to kill that monster. But I did not become friends with the lesser evil—the monster—I worked with.” He looked at Sookie. “Make no mistake, my kin, all vampires are monsters.”
Suddenly, Eric’s whole body stiffened, and he inhaled deeply. His fangs clicked down and his body began to shake.
“Eric?” Sookie asked with concern in her voice. “What’s wrong? What’s happening?”
“I am no longer masking my scent,” Niall said, his voice full of harsh sarcasm. “And you see what he has become. He wants to attack me now—to kill me in front of your eyes. Does he not seem a monster to you now?”
“Eric!” Sookie cried out desperately as she took hold of both of his hands in hers and captured his eyes with hers. “Stop it!” she said toward Niall. “Can’t you see that you’re causing him pain?”
“Only because he is fighting his nature,” Niall said flippantly.
“Stop now or get the hell out of here!” Sookie yelled, even as she held onto Eric’s hands tighter. His eyes dilated, his pupils darkening into pools of increasing size. His nostrils flared.
“Sookie,” he said almost desperately. “Let. Me. Go.”
“You could easily escape from her grip, vampire,” Niall said sardonically. “Why don’t you show her what you truly are?”
“I know what he is!” Sookie said, raising her wrist toward Eric’s elongated fangs. “And if you don’t stop what you’re doin’ right now, Gramps, I’m gonna let him feed on me—even drain me!”
Eric’s eyes immediately trained onto Sookie’s proffered wrist.
“No!” Niall stormed.
Immediately, Eric’s face and posture relaxed as Niall re-masked his scent.
“There is no need for this unpleasantness,” the elder fairy said.
“Then why did you do that?” Sookie asked, keeping her eyes on Eric as he tried to compose himself. After a moment, his fangs snapped back into place, and he gave Sookie a little nod.
“You needed to understand what they are like with our kind,” Niall said. “Our blood is like a drug to them. They will always want you for your blood. Even though my blood makes up only one-eighth of yours, child, it is still the only reason they want you.”
Sookie tried to ignore Niall’s words. “Are you okay?” she asked Eric as she softly put her hand onto his arm.
“I am fine,” the vampire said before turning to glare at Niall.
Niall sighed heavily. “There is no need for this conversation to continue. Now that you are rid of the monsters’ blood, Sookie, you will come with me to Faerie where I can keep you safe.”
“Fat chance!” she exclaimed. “I’m not goin’ anywhere with you!”
Niall shook his head and glared at Sookie. “You inherited Fintan’s defiance too.”
“I did not contact you to take her!” Eric seethed. “I didn’t even know that she was your kin.”
“Why did you contact me then?” Niall asked—truly curious.
“To confirm that she was Fae,” Eric said. “And to arrange for her to have help in developing her powers.”
“So that you could use her and those powers—I suppose?” Niall sneered at the vampire.
“Yes,” Eric said unapologetically. “In exchange for my arranging for the severing spell, Sookie has agreed to help me defeat my enemy.”
“That will no longer be happening,” the fairy said summarily. “My great-granddaughter will not be staying in this realm and will certainly not be helping the likes of you. I will compensate you for the broken agreement. You need only name your price.”
“What the fuck?” Sookie explained. “Listen, I’m not for sale. And there’s no way I’m goin’ anywhere with you!”
Niall did not acknowledge Sookie’s words. Instead he continued looking at the vampire. “Your price?”
“I have no need of material wealth,” Eric said. “So if you do not intend to help by providing Sookie with the knowledge of increasing her skills, then you should go. If Sookie chooses, I will have Mr. Cataliades contact you again when her service to me is completed.”
Niall smiled. In that moment, he reminded Sookie of a shark. “I do not need your permission to take my kin from this place. You know as well as I do that I could have taken her at any time. Your only choice, vampire, is whether to profit from this situation. Your actions have freed her from vampire blood, and that will enable me to take her to Faerie. And—for that alone—have I sat through this interminable conversation. But—make no mistake—the girl is leaving with me tonight.”
“You would not allow her to choose?” Eric demanded, angrily.
“There is no choice to make,” the fairy said.
“Wait a minute!” Sookie said insistently. “I’m sitting right here! And you can’t make me go anywhere I don’t want to go!”
“He can, little one,” Eric said grimly, looking at her again. “He can.”
Sookie looked into Eric’s eyes and saw the truth in them. “Then give me your blood again.”
Niall growled. “Should he try to do that, I will blast him to hell where he belongs.”
“No!” Sookie yelled. “No,” she said much more quietly as she looked back at Eric. “This can’t be happening.”
“I’m sorry,” Eric said. “Had I known this might be the outcome, I would not have made contact with him. I swear it.”
“I don’t want to go,” Sookie said, gripping Eric’s hands tighter.
“Enough,” Niall said. “You have no choice, Sookie. Right now, I am the only Fae that knows about you, but that will soon change. Your spark has bloomed—despite my efforts to stifle it.” He scoffed. “And it is this vampire’s fault!”
“How?” Eric demanded.
“Your blood. Your blood being in her caused her spark to mature. It would not have done so otherwise. It would have stayed dormant.”
“She had another vampire’s blood as well,” Eric informed.
“It was your blood, Viking,” Niall snarled. “The other’s blood was not strong enough or old enough to activate her spark, but a few drops of yours did.”
Sookie gasped as she saw the truth in Niall’s words. “I think he’s right, Eric,” she said quietly. “My light thing never happened until after Dallas.”
“So you see? The only way to protect her from Breandan and Mab is for me to take her.”
“Wait,” Sookie said insistently, “I don’t have Eric’s blood in me anymore. So maybe my spark thing won’t work anymore either.”
Niall shook his head impatiently. “No. I can feel it even now.”
“Then cover it up again!” she requested desperately.
“Even my magic cannot conceal a mature spark,” the fairy said almost sadly. “Believe me when I say that I would prefer not to have to deal with your presence in Faerie.”
“Then just leave me alone. I’ll take my chances with this—Breandan,” Sookie said.
“I cannot do that. You have left me without choice either.” Niall sighed. “And—perhaps—with time, you and I can become close. You might even find contentment in the Faerie world. You are only one-eighth Fae, but your spark is strong, so you will likely find a mate quickly.”
“You would have her breed children for your faction! How is that any different from what Mab and Breandan are doing?” Eric demanded.
“Do not presume to understand my motives or my people,” Niall seethed. “She will be able to choose what she wishes to do once we are in Faerie.”
“You just won’t let me choose whether or not to go?” Sookie asked.
“No,” Niall responded instantly. “I cannot have Breandan using you against me.”
“Then—uh—I just won’t use my spark thing,” Sookie tried.
“You won’t be able to help yourself, and you will be noticed by others now. The spell around this house is all that has kept them from noticing since the severing spell was completed.”
Sookie squeezed Eric’s hands and leaned into his embrace, actions which Niall again took in with great displeasure.
The elder fairy sighed loudly. “I will leave this room for five minutes,” he said. “When I come back, I will ask you once more for your price, vampire. If you have no answer, then you will receive nothing for her.” He looked at Sookie pointedly. “You may take this time to gather anything that you want to take from this place and to say goodbye to the vampire, for this will be the last time you see him.”
“No,” Sookie said meekly.
“If you try to take her from here or to give her your blood, I will kill you—and her too,” Niall said coldly, addressing his words to Eric.
With that, he popped away.
Eric held Sookie to his chest tightly. They were silent for a moment.
“I could try to fight him when he returns—if that is what you want me to do.”
“Could you win?” she asked, shaking in his embrace.
“No,” he said. “I do not have the appropriate weapons in this place. Plus, he is very strong.”
“Maybe I could use my light against him. Maybe if we worked together,” she suggested desperately.
“Your light would likely not faze him much,” Eric said resignedly. “And he would un-mask his scent again—or perhaps even amplify it—in order to drive me insane with want. He would use that to defeat me. Or,” he paused, “I might hurt you.” He held her tighter.
Sookie pulled back a little to look at Eric. “He’s gonna take me then—isn’t he?”
Eric nodded sadly. “I am sorry, Sookie. It is my greed that has led to this. Niall is right. I wanted you to learn how to harness your light because I wanted it to aid me in defeating Russell.”
She sniffled and tried to hold back her tears, but they fell anyway. “I’ll be mad at you for that later,” she said trying to laugh.
“No more angry than I will be at myself, little one,” he said, his forehead coming to rest onto hers.
“Eric?” she said.
“Sookie?” he returned, trying to put some levity into their last minutes together by responding to her question in their customary way.
“I want you to know something. I need you to know something.”
“What is it?”
“I’m falling in love with you,” she whispered, her words surprising them both a little.
“Sookie,” he said, his eyes clouding with pain. “If I could love, it would be you.”
She nodded as fresh tears fell from her eyes. “Kiss me goodbye?” she asked.
His lips met hers in a crashing, searing kiss, their tongues immediately tasting one another. Eric was tempted to drop his fangs and cut himself with them so that she would be forced to take his blood, but he knew that Niall would follow through with his threat. And—even if he didn’t—where would that leave Sookie? Niall wouldn’t be able to take Sookie to Faerie then. Niall would have to wait for the blood to leave her body naturally, for a severing spell couldn’t be done if the vampire were dead. That would leave the woman in his arms vulnerable to both Russell and the Fae.
Eric called upon the power of his thousand-year-old mind to memorize everything about Sookie—everything about the way her lips felt moving in such harmony against his. He memorized her scent and her taste. He memorized the way her hands were fisting into his hair. He memorized the way her body felt against his. He was not sure what it felt like to love on a romantic level, but he knew that his feelings for her were the closest he would ever get. Yes. If it wasn’t love, it was damned close. And he knew that a part of him wouldn’t want to continue on once she was gone from his side.
But, he also knew that her going with the fairy was likely the best thing for her. His chances of defeating Russell had never been great. And—since it appeared that he’d inadvertently activated Sookie’s latent spark, she would now be in grave danger of being detected by Niall’s Fae enemies as well.
But holding her as he was, he couldn’t bring himself to regret her taking his blood in Dallas. Despite everything that had happened, it had led them to this moment—a perfect moment, save for one thing: the fact that it would be ending soon.
It was the popping sound in the room that forced their kiss to end. It was followed almost immediately by Niall’s disapproving voice. “Come, Great-granddaughter. I have lingered in this realm for long enough.”
Sookie looked into Eric’s eyes. There was so much that they could have said to each other, but there were no words that seemed appropriate for the moment.
“Now!” Niall shouted, breaking the spell between them.
A sob escaped from Sookie’s lips as she was startled by Niall’s loudness.
“Have you a price for me, vampire?” Niall asked harshly.
“There is no price,” Eric answered, though he didn’t look away from Sookie.
“Come, Great-granddaughter,” Niall said, a bit more gently than before.
Tears continued to stream from Sookie’s eyes as she rose from the couch. Their hands still linked, Eric rose with her.
“Hunter,” Sookie said quietly. “If you get out of the Russell thing alive, will you find him? Will you help him?”
Eric nodded, understanding in an instant what Sookie was asking of him. It wasn’t protection from other vampires that she was hoping for him to provide. It was protection from his own “gift” of telepathy. She didn’t want him to go through the kinds of things that she had to as a child.
“Whether I live or die, I will see to it,” the vampire vowed.
Sookie nodded, and then—with another sob—she let go of his hands.
A/N: Well—we are at the end of Uninvited. Uncharted—the second part of the UN-Series trilogy—is already available. You can access it by clicking the picture below.
I will say this to those of you who might be worrying: Come Back to Me included a long section where Sookie was in Faerie—separated from Eric. This story is very different from that one. That’s all I’ll say.
Thank you so much for the wonderful support for this story! You continuously bless me by reading my work. Evidence of that came to me this morning when I saw that I’d been nominated for 44 You Want Blood Awards (2014)!
This story/series alone garnered 5 nominations: The Alan Ball Award (Best re-write of TB); The Flying Monkey Award (Best Villain—Russell); The Viking Award (Best Eric in a fanfic); The Pins and Needles Award (WIP award); Edge of Your Seat Award (Best Cliffhanger)….. So—in that spirit—I left you with a cliffhanger here. Luckily, you don’t have to wait before finding out what happens!
Again, many thanks for reading!