He cackled before a little hand entwined securely in his and gave a curious gaze, “Come along Nessy, time to meet your cousin, Sookie.” The girl smiled up brightly at her cousin with expectant and excited eyes causing Sookie to instantly relinquish the ball of menacing light. “Of course, I forgot,” he grinned before pointing the index finger of his free hand to the temple of his head. “You two girls already met in here.”
“She can come in,” Sookie spoke carefully. “Take me if you want, just as long as she’s safe.” The strangled cry coming from Eric was nothing compared to the shock and determination that travelled through their bond where he desperately tried to communicate his disapproval of her intent.
“Whatever for?” Russell taunted before pulling the little girl up and into his arms, holding her in front of him as a shield. It surprised Sookie that the little faery snuggled so contently into his chest. “Whatever made you think you are the one that dictates the rules, Princess Brigant? I need not your permission.”
“But you need my invitation,” she returned accurately where his feet scuffed against the barrier of the threshold.
“That is where you are wrong, my dear,” he noted with condescension before stepping over the threshold and, with an eerie calm, walked right up to her where all she could do was stand stock still.
“Ludwig, fetch Godric, will you?” Russell instructed to the pint-sized healer who instantly nodded and popped away. “It’s time for the party to start.”
“Hi,” the little girl waved before Russell thrust her into a startled Sookie’s arms.
“Hi,” she returned softly, dampening down her fear so not to unnerve the child. “Are you okay?”
She shrugged, “Why wouldn’t I be?” Before Sookie had contemplated it further she popped out of her arms and jumped onto Claude who groaned at the sudden weight on his injured body. “Uncle CLAUDE!”
“Nessy,” he grinned before hugging her tightly. “Russell and Talbot still treating you right?”
She nodded fiercely before poking a blue bruised injury with a hint of malice causing him to shriek in pain and the little girl to clap with delight.
“Russell, for God’s sake! You’re scaring the girl!” Talbot admonished when he too entered the home without a spoken invitation carrying a multitude of bags. “We mean you no harm, Princess, even if you did steal something from us. Nessa, stop poking your uncle!”
“Sorry,” she giggled with a clear lack of remorse to her tone. “Is fun!”
“STOP!” Sookie screamed for the second time that night while taking in the ravaged and incapacitated bodies, the eerily calm gay couple, and a child who did indeed appear harmless. “Everybody just stop!”
“See what you did!” Talbot scolded, scooping up the little faery girl who trembled her bottom lip with the sudden shouting in the air while addressing Russell accusingly, “You and your mind games! Why I agreed to go along with them I’ll never know. We mean you no harm; we are in your service.”
“They’re fun,” Russell shrugged innocently in his defence while Sookie continued to stare them down.
“Service?” Sookie whispered in confusion.
“The Guild, my dear,” Russell spoke with an expectation of recognition. “Huh, they really do know how to keep their mouths shut,” he finally noted while Sookie’s questioning appearance remained unchanged. “I am the Master of the Guild, the one who sees to your protection in this realm. Godric has been with us for long, asshole Claude does the odd job,” Russell continued to explain before raising a questioning brow to the faery in question. “Not very well.”
He held up a picture of him and her Grandmother holding her as an infant with a bright smile. “You’ve been here before?” she whispered though the question was no longer implied, evidence in front of her. A letter was passed, tears erupting at the sight of the familiar handwriting still neat as it was before the tremble of age had set into her script confirming of what he spoke.
My dearest Sookie,
If this letter reaches then the measures in your safety are no longer in place. You are a very special girl and require the best of care. We have sought to do this from afar for long but there are things even beyond our control. Sadly that is now and it breaks my heart that this day has come.
Russell Edgington is sworn to see to your safety and has seen to it from the moment you were born. If he or a representative of his is here, it is in your best interest to comply. I know you are a stubborn one and seek to find your own way. It is something that has always brought me great pride, but circumstances will no longer allow for that now. Listen to them, let them guide you, and take but a small moment to mourn what is now lost. Responsibility awaits you and I know, my dear child that you will thrive.
She set down the letter checking on Eric and Pam’s conditions who continued to writhe in pain as they fought the incapacitating hold of her light. Her face had yet to settle with worry as she stared down the three-thousand-year old vampire in front of her not truly knowing whether it was a blessing or a curse that Eric and his plans for vengeance lay immobile.
“Did you kill Eric’s family?” she demanded, the menacing force of her light emerged between her hands again only to be strengthened by the rage that festered in Eric but failed to find an outlet. “For a few goats and that crown?”
“He really has done a number on you,” Russell cackled as he grasped her cheeks, undeterred by the threat of her deadly hands. He kissed her on the forehead before declaring, “It was quite the chore finding that crown but we did eventually.”
“What does that mean?” Sookie demanded holding the ball of light even closer to his chest.
“It means that crown was our bartering power to initiate the fiercely independent Viking into the Guild,” Talbot informed with exasperation before setting down the wildly protesting little girl on the sofa. Momentarily she stuck out her tongue at him before crawling onto Sookie’s cashmere blanket. “It was happenstance that you were more enticing than that crown.”
“You didn’t kill them?”
“No,” Russell answered before giving a wink. “Scout’s honour.”
Sookie remained looking at him suspiciously before Talbot offered, “He is bound by oath, he cannot lie to you. Unfortunately that makes him extremely creative with the truth and refuses to let opportunity pass.”
Sookie nearly fell to the floor with Eric’s plummeting spirits, understanding the weight of that statement, and only then remembered the pain he and Pam continued to endure. Meanwhile Ness had walked over to the two blonde vampires and stared at them dumbly with the blanket dragging over her shoulder and the floor, thumb in mouth. While Sookie carefully approached, still cautious of the motives and truths of which Russell spoke, the little girl had already crawled over Pam’s body to give a soft peck to her cheek.
“Ah, sweet baby Judas!” Pam grinned contentedly when the pain that held her disappeared instantly.
“No,” she giggled. “Just Ness, Cousin Pamela.”
“Watch who you call cousin, teacup,” Pam growled. “Just ‘cause you’re related to Sookie doesn’t make you anything of mine.” The little girl’s bottom lip trembled again, this time accompanied by eyes growing wet with the hostile reception by the pretty blonde she only knew from photographs. She had always liked her the best, looking like the dolls she held for company.
“Now you’ve done it!” Talbot fumed at the vampiress before taking Ness into his arms and consoling her before the tears grew truly fat. “Watch what you say around the child!”
Sookie, meanwhile, covered her body over Eric’s in an attempt to fix the one broken thing in the living room that she could; assured he was calm enough not to tackle down Russell in a fight he could only stand to lose. Softly breathing into his body, she healed him once more. The second time less startling than the first making it all the more gentle. Tentatively he sought her lips when the strain from his muscles relinquished and she momentarily allowed it, kissing him as if it were nourishment, despite their audience.
“Do you not smell that?” Eric whispered to Pam when he finally regained his senses and held Sookie to him in an unspoken agreement, part protection, part tenderness.
“What?” she shrugged with disinterest, while reapplying her lipstick.
He inhaled the scent for a second time, urging Pam to do the same. “Godric.”
“Pappa?” Ness squealed with excitement at the mention of the name while at the exact same moment Ludwig popped them both into the room and she bounced onto him instantly. “Pappa! I missed you.”
Godric felt momentarily whole again with the little girl in his arms pouring her love for him inside. He smiled widely while simultaneously hiding his melancholy. It was only in rare moments he could be with her and he vowed to cherish every second received. “Pappa, I finally gots to meet Sookie and Eric,” she spoke excitedly. “Eric’s a bore and Pam is mean! Sookie’s nice!”
“Is that so?” he indulged while caressing her soft cheeks where the smile of her mother appeared.
“Don’t be sad,” she whispered in a plea when the corners of his eyes rimmed red.
“Not sad,” he assured before pressing his cool lips to her forehead. “Always happy to see you smile.” In turn, her little hands pulled at his cheeks till there too a smile appeared.
“Miss you,” she whispered.
The smile stayed in place without her encouraging hands while he held her tightly. “Miss you too, mon cœur en sucre,” he spoke softly into her ears.
“I’m Pappa’s sugar heart,” Ness announced loudly to the room, explaining the only words of French she knew though not addressing anyone in particular.
“Drinks? Does anyone want drinks?” Sookie suddenly erupted with the first rational thought to reach her brain while gawking at the odd sight.
“Unless you’re offering, no,” Pam replied bluntly while detaching a loose strand of hair with a piece of skin still attached from her mane and checking for any other points of injury.
“What is your problem, Pam?” Eric replied testily, still fazed by her sudden attack on him. In shock and with the realisation that it was his Childe, he had hardly put up a fight, which was until she started attacking his groin and instinct took over. He hadn’t bothered to look in the mirror but he knew they probably both looked as bad as the other.
“You are my problem!” she accused. “Stringing me along! Dress the little faery! Teach her to dance, to behave! So what? You can have a bit of fun in between the sheets! Admit Eric, no matter how great my success, you were never going to let me go! You’re a selfish cold bastard! Get away while you can, Sookie! All he does is cause pain and destruction, look at your house!”
“What? What are you going to do? Indulge me, placate me? You can’t even deny it because you know it’s true,” she seethed. “That’s all you ever do, you don’t care! If you cared you would let me go! Let me stand on my own two feet!”
“Fine,” he growled.
“What do you mean FINE?” Pam demanded while Sookie carefully placed her hand on Eric’s wrist in a feeble attempt to hold him back.
“You want out?” he growled, causing Ness to further crawl into her father’s hold at the increasing volume of voices. “You’re out! I release you of all my commands! Don’t feel compelled to listen to another one or anything else I have to say! Disregard anything I ever say for all I care! Get out of my sight!”
“Eric,” Sookie whispered with a pleading gaze in a last attempt to stop him from doing something he might regret.
“I command it!”
It was clear to all those in the room, no matter how tightly held the facades to their expressions were kept, they had broken emotionally and by bond. Irreparable damage incurred. The physical injuries sustained that night paled in comparison.
“Fuck you, Eric!” she screamed before spinning on her heels and speeding out.
“I want to go home,” Ness whimpered into Godric’s chest as the soft sobs finally became audible to Eric over the shouting match between him and Pam.
“This isn’t exactly the homecoming we were anticipating,” Russell sighed with regret. He tried to pry Ness away from Godric, but she only held on to him tighter.
“I want to go to Pappa’s home!” she screamed at Russell while Godric desperately tried to loosen her hold on him yet far too gentle in fear of hurting her, little legs kicking him restlessly. “I hate it there, I hate it with you! I want to stay with my Pappa!”
Tears streamed down Sookie’s face when she stood witness to the aftermath around her. For the state of her home, for Pam, and for Ness, even if she was still surprised and unable to understand how Godric had come to father a child. Eric tried to reach out for her, overwhelmed by her grief and pain, failing to recognise his own inside it. She moved out of his grasp, and instead soothed the small back of the child, hushing her telepathically that all would be well.
Nothing and no one managed to release her grasp on her father, even as the emotional turmoil gave way for tired eyes and eventually sleep, Ness refused to relent.
“I will make sure Adele’s home is put to right,” Godric offered as they all moved to leave to a safer location, the warm breathes of his little girl tickling the hairs in his neck.
Sookie nodded before closing up the house. Once more Eric tried to reach for her hand, but she moved out of his grasp and quickly seated herself in the passenger seat of the car that had remained behind the night before.
“Sookie?” he whispered while the confusion of the night and day settled on them both. Her eyes met his, but her expression was blank as were the emotions that settled over her. She pulled her safety belt in place wordlessly, causing him to realise the emotions of turmoil belonged solely to him with the sudden cast off of Pam and the cooled rejection of Sookie’s silence. The reversal of a supposed enemy and the revelation of another child of Godric’s being the least disturbing emotion of them all.
“Where are we going?” she finally asked to break the quiet between them while fastening her seatbelt.
There were colder nights in the heart of winter in his homeland that felt warmer than the inside of the car in that moment. She exhaled a tired breath while wrapping herself in the comfort of the cashmere blanket, still damp from absorbing Claude’s dunk in the river in Faerum and Nessie’s tears, before eyeing him with scorn. “I can’t believe you discarded Pam like that.”
“I’m not sorry,” he replied testily.
“I know,” she whispered, her gaze turning to the world on the other side of her window and shutting him further out. “That only makes it worse.”
“We’re going to a safe compound,” he finally answered, ignoring the brief conversation in between before starting the car and leading the convoy of vehicles to the undisclosed location.
“I suppose I owe you some answers,” Godric sighed after putting Ness to bed with some effort. He sat himself across Eric and Sookie, each at an opposite end of the sofa staring at opposite corners of the room. She was freshly dressed in a pair of flannel pyjamas he had found in the expansive closet that had clearly been filled especially for her. Eric had uttered the name of his only progeny giving an answer to how that came to be. An answer neither one needed to know but she refrained from commenting, feeling his need to simply speak her name between them.
“How long have you been planning this?” Sookie interrupted before he even managed to start his narrative.
“How?” Godric simply responded with a hint of shock that she had figured out his orchestration so quickly.
“Telepath,” she shrugged. “The word sabotage fleeted through the mind of the mechanic who worked on Eric’s car. It was random then, now it makes sense.”
“Yes,” Godric nodded. “That was planned.”
“By you?” he continued to nod while Eric shifted closer to Sookie’s side. “Gran?” her hand reached out to his when she was barely able to speak her name.
“No,” he assured.
“That is not the whole truth,” Eric ascertained, knowing his Maker’s tells better than anyone else. His hands were squeezed harshly by her smaller fingers, unable to accept any part of deceit from her beloved grandmother.
“She told me to be selfish,” Godric admitted. “To do what is necessary for your child.”
“Did you have her killed?” Sookie breathed out, her body trembling with the thought.
“No!” he denied vehemently.
She regarded him carefully picking up on his tells as acutely as Eric had moment ago. “But you used it to your advantage,” Sookie stated coolly.
“Yes,” he replied with some shame. “It is not so bad, you found love in each other.”
“Just one of us, Godric,” she said pointedly, regretting the words as soon as she spoke them, bringing Eric to his lowest in the process. “And how does he even know what he feels is real now. How can I ever feel anything that’s real in return? You deceived us both to put a situation in your favour.”
“I would like to explain,” he pleaded, regret and despair written all over his face, imploring her to understand.
Sookie got up, pulling Eric along with her. “I don’t want to hear it right now,” she informed coolly.
“I’m sorry,” Godric tried again.
“It’s not good enough,” Eric spoke on her behalf, paining him to have to utter such words to his Maker, but believing them regardless feeling as strongly as she. Her hand squeezed his in a gesture of appreciation. “We will talk of this tomorrow,” he informed sensing the fatigue from the emotional drain on her. Godric nodded with resignation while Sookie asked after the care of Ness during the day.
“Talbot’s gift is to remain awake during the day. The sun, however, remains his enemy,” Godric explained. “He might need some help cooking.”
“Ok,” Sookie whispered, not wishing to take the complicated situation out on the sensitive girl who was already greatly confused by it all. “I’ll help.”
Godric’s eyes warmed at hearing that causing them all to understand there was more to those words than they knew. “Thank you.”
“It’s not fair to her,” Sookie tried to explain her reasoning to clarify she was in no way doing it for him. “You’ve been unfair to us all.”
“I had my reasons,” Godric spoke softly but Sookie had already turned her back on him, Eric trailing behind her cautiously. Her taught manners had been lost somewhere in the evening as she forgot to bid him goodnight.
She sat staring emptily as Eric changed in front of her, remaining in the same position till he returned from the shower. Her face scrunched up with the sudden sight of him. “You’re wet,” she observed as if it were a revelation. He crouched in front of her, taking her cheeks in his palms.
“I love you,” he whispered before kissing her forehead hoping to convince her what he felt was real, that whatever was revealed didn’t make it suddenly a lie. Eric had long since stopped pretending and he refused to allow her to believe it to be false. She looked up at him in surprise, kissing the bottom of his chin softly before pulling him behind her in the bed, the towel lost to the floor. She surrounded herself with his arms, the only sanctuary she could find in this newfound cold and hard landscape.
“No, you don’t,” she whispered to the pillow by her head. “We’re right back where we started, a sham of a couple. A sham we shall remain.”
A/N: Thanks to msbuffy for fixing this up for me all pretty and stuff.
In defence of Sookie I will say this and it really doesn’t spoil anything because it’s a pattern of behaviour already established in this story. When she hurts, she becomes defensive and lashes out so someone else in the room hurts more and therefore she hurts a little less. It’s the source of her crude mouth and brash behaviour as we saw it in the beginning of this story. Is it fair that it’s Eric who is quite emotionally raw himself? No, but Sookie‘s coming down from some startling realisations that life as she knew it was a farce and she no longer knows what to trust anymore and cannot even trust what she feels herself to be true anymore. Cut her some slack it’ll only be going up from here.
So here as the writer of this tale about deception and pretence I confess I have been subjecting you the reader to much of the same. The background issues with Godric never really came to prominence for a reason, now increment by increment you find out why and yes, I purposefully played with the threat of Russell in a predictable fanfic way. For clarification’s sake; he possessed the crown but he was not the one who took it away from Eric nor did he kill his family in this story… and you all can’t kill me otherwise you will never know how it ends 🙂
In case you haven’t seen it my new distraction, aka minor side project, Beehl the Constipated Cat from the Ms/Mr Series has come to life in a spin-off of his own. See it here (takes you to the warning page because I’m not taking any responsibility for butthurt feelings)