“You love him, do you not?” Aelia requested with a discerning brow line that I had come to recognise as a trait shared by all the Aurelies. I was quieted by her question, to say I loved him was too strong but it was a path I didn’t see myself avoiding. Whatever it was that lay between us it warranted to be explored and I was sure there would be sides to me that Eric would not appreciate. At my continued absence of an answer she continued, “Love is the acceptance of another despite their flaws. You will discover this soon enough.”
“I never thought it would happen for me,” I replied unsure why Aelia invited me to open up so easily. “For most of my adult life I was convinced no one would be accepting of the flaw I carried. I knew my ability was a gift that had merit but when it came to personal relationships it was more akin to a crippling hurdle.”
“What flaw do you speak of my dear?” Aelia asked with confusion. Her scrutiny of my own returned as she raked her intensely dark eyes over me as if looking for a physical sign of it.
“My telepathy,” I spoke evenly not bothering to skirt around the cause of her interest in me for any longer.
“How is that a flaw my dear?” she said with misunderstanding. “You are all telepathic.”
“Who are all telepathic?” Eric’s familiar voice suddenly asked from behind me before I could. I had been so engrossed in my conversation with Aelia I hadn’t even sensed the arrival of his signature void. Aelia’s face travelled curiously between ours before she answered.
“The Fae of course.”
“What are the Fae?” Sookie asked of Aelia, while her eyes seemed to plead to mine for comfort. I sat down beside her feet as the small sofa barely accommodated the two of them. My grandest sire gave me a curious look indicating that it was an unbecoming position for me to sit on the floor. When Sookie reached out for my hand Aelia’s discerning look alleviated as our hands locked.
I knew for certain then that whatever her demands would be of us she wouldn’t interfere in our personal relationship. However, what she wanted of Sookie was now a mystery to me. Godric had told me some about the Fae but it was no longer fresh in my mind. As far as he was informed they were extinct but then my maker only ever knew one telepath. Sookie was one of many or perhaps the last. Not everything always was as it appeared.
Like the united front Sookie and I were showing in display. She needed me for support now as a part of her mysterious identity was uncovered. I was thankful it was me she sought out, despite the earlier incident. There was, however, no doubt in my mind that when afforded the privacy of just the two of us we would need to discuss my outburst towards the Impurus known as André. His maker had been incensed at his treatment and though there would be no repercussions for me, I knew there were reparations to be made. With Sookie and with André.
“Fairies,” I answered when Aelia seemed too distracted to answer Sookie. It seemed Aelia was unaware till now that the source of Sookie’s telepathy was a mystery revealed to us both at the same time. I recognised Aelia’s calculated look, it was no different to the one she carried when I was first presented to her scrutiny. Her inquisitive gaze had penetrated every single part of my body then as I performed the ‘tricks’ that were the result of my turning. I only knew Aelia as the encouraging kind person she had been to Sookie tonight but Godric had made it clear to me the woman who held her seat for millennia was one with a heart of metal. Very few were held with affection behind that harness.
Where Godric had been cold and aloof to me, Aelia had always been warm and inviting to me. I didn’t know it then on account of the amnesia but she reminded me of my grandmother and her emotional nourishment was something I sought even now. Many men had tried to seek a place in her bed, I never did. She was committed to a human companion that had sat at her side for centuries. Without my memories I lacked the confidence of conquest that I held in my human days. Her beauty was undeniable and it had caught my attention but it had not been that which endeared her to me. Aelia had told me once that those that saw beyond her façade were a rare breed that never failed to disappoint her. I was one of those chosen few.
As a constant source of disappointment to Godric in my fledgling nights her continued confidence in me had given me grounding. I stopped trying to appease my maker’s every whim and simply listened to what he asked of me. I held suspicions she had spoken to my maker of it as well, since his reprimands came with praise soon after.
Godric and Pam had soiled my mind with Aelia’s intent, she didn’t politicise her own family. I knew that and should have trusted in that. I was sure she had plans for Sookie and perhaps myself but it was for the good of the family. Her familial demeanour with Sookie was not an acted front, my panic at the airfield was a phantom Sookie had the insight to recognise. She indeed knew this world far better than me.
“I knew I wasn’t normal… but a fairy?” I couldn’t help but smile at her stammer. The innocence of her that shone so brightly when we first met all those years ago was revealed in her befuddlement. There sat the girl that had stolen my heart then and continued to hold it now.
“I told you, you were unique,” I smiled at her encouragingly. Her face softened with that, it was almost as if she was scared that this final piece of information about her would scare me off. The woman she had grown into in my absence hadn’t done so either. She was simply more now and I loved it all. “You’re supposed to be extinct.”
“I’m the last of my kind?” Sookie asked with a tremble in her voice. I knew loneliness had plagued her for much of her life, it was obvious to me that’s where she and Pam had bonded. The thought of her being the sole survivor of a once impressive species had me hurting with her. Now I felt like a shit for making her feel that way.
“On this plane, perhaps,” Aelia answered. “The Fae retreated to a realm of their own when the Impurus’ numbers rose exponentially. War will do that to our species unfortunately. You have noticed they are especially eager around you.”
“Yes,” we both replied in synch with the incident with André still fresh on our minds. In truth it hadn’t been his demeaning of Sookie to a status as donor that had incensed me. It was his intrusion and his apparent lusting after her and I knew it had unnerved Sookie greatly in the process. His comment was simply the catalyst that set off my rage.
“There is a reason why our house is so discriminating towards their kind,” Aelia sneered. It had always been a part of the new order of my life I had trouble coming to terms with. The class system of our species was one I couldn’t reconcile with the social democratic principles of the country that raised me. My dearest grandmother was a staunch Socialist that would have had her arrested by McCarthy himself had she resided in my adopted homeland. My handlings in business had always been motivated by fairness and equality for my employees, yet I had no choice but to participate in the debasing of the foul blooded.
“Our house name Aurelie refers to gold as it has been used as a symbol for purity, value, royalty, and particularly roles that combine these properties. In our case it’s an homage to colour of the sun since we can withstand its rays,” Aelia continued to explain though I could not understand how this pertained to her discrimination of the Impurus. “When I was made we were still called Caelius-Aurelius to designate we were of the heavens, the golden sky. Our houses were once aligned Sookie, it’s where our resistance to the sun and gift of flight comes from. In turn the Sky Fae enjoyed our immortality and increased strength in their light.
“Unfortunately the foul blooded lack our restraint when it comes to those with Fae blood. They killed our alliance and it was the remaining houses of Sanguine that failed to join with the houses of Fae that encouraged the breeding of the Impurus. War soon followed and it resulted in the retreat of your kind,” Aelia noted with a hint of sadness. “I have been waiting for a very long time for our houses to stand by each other’s sides once more. The recent rebellion of the Impurus only informs me of its necessity.”
“This is why you consider her family,” I observed. Her lack of aging was now explained to me as we apparently both reaped the rewards of our counter bloodlines. “Is she…”
“Immortal?” Aelia finished my question filled with hope. “Like us, you can be killed. Your human component makes you slightly more fragile dear, do not be reckless with yourself,” she warned at Sookie who only barely seemed to be able to take in what was being said about her. “But your body will not kill you. It will not deteriorate and you heal better than most.”
“I can’t speak for a house I know nothing of,” Sookie said evenly. “I cannot make an alliance in their name.”
“It is not about speaking or documents, my dear dove,” Aelia soothed. “It all comes down to the blood. Yours and ours. As our bloodlines continue to combine our collective strengths will increase. We have already noted a change since Eric has fed from you.”
“That was but mere drops,” I said in confusion.
“It was enough for Ærø to insist he accompany me,” Aelia replied with a knowing look that required no explanation. Pam’s maker was notorious for refusing to leave his post. Their intimate reunion had only barely surpassed my surprise at his unexpected appearance on the tarmac.
“And here I thought he had come for Pam,” Sookie spoke lowly with an accompanying roll of her eyes.
“That too,” Aelia chuckled. We were interrupted by the call of the dinner bell halting the continuance of our private conversation further. The implication was clear to me, she sought for us to exchange blood in a bonding ceremony and I assumed Sookie perceptive enough to have caught that too. Her deflection with humour was evidence enough that she was avoiding the weightier end of the dialogue.
I had already initiated talks of her taking my blood but apart from the accidental slip up we had yet to discuss me partaking in hers. As I escorted them both to the dining hall I couldn’t help but notice the change in demeanour in Sookie. Her shields were coming up along with a social veneer that I had first observed at the charity banquet when I was reintroduced to the world at large. She was running on autopilot during much of the dinner then and now.
Pam had an impressive chef that applied principles of molecular gastronomy to rare blood types. As delicious as that was, there was little appetite in me after our conversation with Aelia. Across the table I noted Sookie was of similar mind. She avoided meeting my gaze as she made polite conversation with the people seated beside her. I didn’t know if she wanted her mind free of our discussion with Aelia or if she was punishing me for my poorly held contained rage with André. Perhaps it was a mixture of both.
I was unfortunately seated next to the irritable maker of that particular Impurus. Her attitude towards me had clearly changed from the moment I entered the dining hall with Sookie and Aelia on my arms. She had been desperately trying to engage my Grandest Sire in conversation since and considered me the vehicle of access. Like Sookie, Aelia had her shields firmly in place. I wondered where I could buy some of my own to ward off Sophie-Anne and her nasal whining.
“It was quite tiresome bypassing all the patrols, your majesty,” the red headed vampire tried once more engaging Pam into a conversation. This time, however, there was no polite way for Pam to bow out of a reaction as all other conversations had halted to a stop. There had been other lowly spoken grumbles at the table of Pam’s decision to include the Sanguine in the night curfew. It was only out of decorum that it wasn’t spoken louder. Our hearing left nothing unsaid. The other invited Sanguine at the table were showing their slight appal at the comment even though the whispers had emanated from them earlier.
“My east wing is not under construction for mere changes in décor,” Pam returned evenly. “Preferential treatment is what has inspired the Impurus to attack.”
“So you give into their demands?” Sophie-Anne retorted haughtily. If looks could kill then Sophie-Anne would have burst into flames with the anger that resided in Sookie’s eyes. Though I was pretty sure Pam held the same emotions, her blank façade revealed nothing of an ire.
“I am merely displaying no one is exempt from suspicion,” Pam replied as a flash of sympathy was expressed from Sookie to her. The movement was minute but I caught it as her maker inched his pinkie finger to rest beside hers. The slight agitation visible in Pam subsided with the small surface of contact. “I do not employ the Impurus in my household as you do Sophie-Anne.”
“You suspect one of your own?” another Sanguine asked with an affronted manner. He had been one of many that had waggled their tongue earlier in the evening. Assuredly he and the others would continue that same movement after this dinner was done.
“She would not be such a capable queen if she did not rule it out,” Aelia said coming to her defence. Her words carried the weight necessary for the disgruntled among them to subside their protestations. “Times are changing and we must move with them or face extinction.”
With Aelia’s last sentence my eyes locked with Sookie’s across the table. It was said for our benefit though it held a different meaning for those at the table. It didn’t fail the notice of my maker who sat in close proximity to her. I received a questioning prod through the bond I shared with him but it was hardly an answer that could be spoken aloud. I returned a signal that indicated we would speak of it later. Appeased with that he continued a conversation beside him.
Sookie’s eyes had yet to waver from mine in the process, Aelia’s request had just become a weight on her shoulders. As much as I would have loved to be able to carry that for her I knew it was her burden to carry on her own. This was the other side to unique, and unfortunately it was the side she was most accompanied with.
I leaned across the table and I repeated the sentence that she had spoken to me in comfort, hoping it would have the same effect for her, “Things are never going to be simple between us and that’s ok. Don’t let others complicate it further.”
Her smile was watery but it was there nonetheless and it didn’t speak of sadness. She seemed to heed her own advice and her defences slipped in place again as I stood witness to her transformation. A part of me was sealed along with her, the strength she had borrowed me returned to her.
Thankfully our obligatory presence at dinner was soon over. I was glad I was relinquished from Sophie-Anne’s continued blabber about her children as well as the horrendous sight of their photos on her phone that I was forced to see one by one. She really didn’t select them on looks or any other reasonable quality I could discern. The sing song in her voice did nothing distract from the annoyance that was her running continual commentary.
It brought me to a new perspective, the existence of these children had left Sookie standing solitary for most of her life, abandoned by the kin they hunted. From the multitude of pictures they only seemed capable of entertaining an overindulged Sanguine. I didn’t have much sympathy for Aelia’s prejudice but I was beginning to understand it more now.
As I politely left the table at greater haste than most it was Sookie who found me first. She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me wordlessly through a secret passage I had no knowledge existed. We ended up by ourselves in the conservatory that housed Pam’s English tea roses. The aromas were alluring yet it did nothing to drown out the scent of her, they seemed simply content to live by each other’s side.
“We should talk,” Sookie announced as she patted the seat beside her on the large daybed that sat at the edge of the room overlooking the formal gardens of the exterior. I obliged her and was surprised to find her leaning her body into mine when I settled down.
“Aelia or the incident first?” I asked while snaking my arm round her waist pulling her with me to lay on our backs so we could look up to the clear starry sky through the glass ceiling.
“I want to know if there are any others like me,” Sookie said as she rested her head on my chest. “I trust Aelia’s words but I don’t want to find myself making alliances on behalf of people I don’t know. If it comes down to the survival of your house my blood has already been promised to Pam in an emergency. I won’t retract that agreement.”
“You agreed to that under different circumstances,” I pointed out as my fingers trailed through the loose ends of her hair. “There is no obligation to abide by it.”
Her face turned up towards mine, by the stern set of it I knew her mind was already made up. “Most of my life my net worth has equated the validity of my words Eric,” she returned sternly. “It was all I could ever afford.”
“Don’t let pride be your downfall,” I countered and I saw a modicum of acceptance travel across her eyes. She nodded her head as I admitted, “I let it be mine tonight and there was no prize in my conduct. I’m sorry.”
“Are you sorry for what you did or that I was a witness to it?” she asked my chest. It was the first time I ever sensed true insecurity in her about me. My actions had shattered an image she had built up from the intricacies of my human mind. My fingers nudged her chin towards mine again. I wanted to look her in the eyes when I answered.
“Both,” I said truthfully and conveyed it through every pore of my body. “Officially I owe him no apology but he will have one. I don’t approve of his behaviour around you but my reaction was excessive.”
She nodded with satisfaction before she answered, “That’s all I needed to hear.”
Our heads turned collectively to the ceiling of the night sky once more. After the silence lasted longer than I cared for I asked, “What are you thinking?”
“I think we should have sex.”
A/N: I am well aware that’s the worse place to stop, so your hate is warranted. Most likely it will continue on in the next instalment but there will be something there probably just not what you wanted…
To make up for the lacklustre ending of the TB finale I am utilising the announcement posts for the stories to write little quick fixes around the ‘Thank You’ episode. Since not everyone follows the same stories I’ve decided to house them all here under the name Thanksgiving Fixin’s. Despite my previous claim that I would not be making announcements for announcement posts I have decided to send out a post on Sundays to remind you all of the fixin’s that were posted that week. Anyhow they’re uber short and I’ll see how far my imagination stretches but there’s a couple rummaging around in my head and they take as long to write as my usual announcement posts so it works for me. I am now also entertaining requests/prompts for these fixin’s if they spark my imagination I’ll write it and credit you. So if you have something in mind or simply have an idea for the identity of the mystery man at the head of the table or something else leave it behind in the comment section.