I arrived just in time to see the sun setting over the horizon. Her lakehouse was easy to find from the sky after she had shown it to me on a map the night before. She had described it as nothing much but it was quintessentially her, humble and seemingly simple. Beyond the white timber façade, there was assuredly a hidden world that the pretty decorative woodwork tried to distract one with as it nestled contentedly in the surrounding woods. The converted carriage house was reminiscent of the farmhouse of her youth, but, despite its modesty in size, it displayed the grandeur of the former plantation estate to that which it once belonged. In a sense, it acknowledged her financial elevation in life without letting go of her roots.
I set the packages I had brought with me by the front porch before heading over to the water’s edge where Sookie stood with my Maker admiring the sun as it set down over the sheet of water glimmering like a mirror in the last moments of light. Their gazes didn’t relent as each had their own homing device to recognise my approach, just as I could recognise the Weres and Guards of Anûšiya stationed all around us at a respectable distance.
She looked radiant in a simple white dress while my Maker was wearing one of his god-awful hoodies that I suspected he bought just to taunt Pam. I wrapped my arms around her waist pulling her into my body contentedly as I joined them in watching the last remnants of the sun.
She didn’t jolt in my grasp but sank into the embrace with ease. We both knew exactly what this was. We had both said it the night before. Whatever it was between us, we had yet to find a term, but we knew for certain one thing.
This was right.
This was real.
This was us.
The contentment on their faces was perhaps a more beautiful sight than the sun setting before us. There was no need to feel it in the bond but I felt it in abundance nonetheless. I didn’t dare call it happiness in fear of jinxing it all. What they had was precious and unique and, in part, I had brought them together. Sookie had called me Cupid that afternoon and though my tush was by no means as soft and rosy as the little boy with wings, I took pride in the part I played of their coming together. I may not have a bow and arrow, but I did contribute with my fangs and life-giving blood.
For all the destruction and taking of lives that I had done in the name of my family, I now knew that I had also stood at the cradle to the creation of this, something so pure and almost innocent not unlike the baby that often portrayed the cherub. Sookie was a worthy partner for my beloved son and he completed something within her that she seemed unable to find with any other. They were lucky; extremely fortunate that their romance had stood the test of time and so far had survived what had been thrown at them.
I had expected Sookie to break down and cry at the reunion with her now demolished farmhouse. Her brother and she were predictably melancholy but they dealt with the loss surprisingly well, perhaps because they had a few days to digest the reality of it all. The only thing that had survived the night was the granite slab that had once marked Eric’s former grave. Even in the most scalding fire Sookie’s eternal belief in Eric had remained unscathed. With that I dared hope for them, things may come and go, but what rested between them was not easily eradicated.
At Aelia’s request, we had walked the grounds of what technically was still mine. I had handed over the keys to Sookie a long time ago but we had yet to sign over the paperwork. We had agreed that she would pay me what it had cost to repurchase her former home, but I insisted on paying for the witch who had made it possible. That was my gift to her, but Sookie wanted to pay for that too despite my objections. Hence the Stackhouse lands were still officially mine as we had yet to reach an agreement on price. It was something I wanted settled as soon as possible because the Aurelie family could soon repossess them from me without cause and, with possible Fae portals on the land that would not be an improbable occurrence.
From what I could tell, Sookie’s brother, Jason, did not hold the same latent spark Kristian had identified in her, but, according to Sookie, he had not aged much either. In my old age I had become terrible at judging humans and their ages, but they both looked to be in their mid-twenties when, in fact, they were both on either end of thirty-five, give or take a few years.
The area that Aelia had identified as a possible portal did not react to either of them until they held hands. It swirled to life, but the opening it created was small and slim not large enough to fit any of us through, but not limited enough to impede us to push through the piece of vellum. It had been inscribed with a language I had never come across, but Aelia had informed me it belonged to the Fae. I wished I had the time to fully comprehend it, but I would have to trust Aelia for now that it said exactly what she told me, that she sought to realign our houses, and that other Fae had been crossing into our plane and were doing the same. Aelia had not claimed Sookie and her brother as our own, but we considered them family and would harbour their safety accordingly.
Sookie and her brother had agreed to return the following day to reopen the portal and every day thereafter until we received a message in return. They were both curious of their long-lost family as they had none left beside each other. Their cousin Hadley had died a few years back under suspicious circumstances in Mexico. Sookie had taken a tough stance with her, refusing to help her out financially even when she had abundant means. It wasn’t that Sookie didn’t want to help her, but it was in the way Hadley had demanded it through blackmail, threatening to help Freyda open up another lawsuit against her if she did not meet her demands.
I was glad to hear my niece had stepped up then and had a talented glamourer discourage any further thoughts in that direction. Unfortunately he had not been able to help her move beyond her addiction. That was a disease of body and mind and, no matter how effective our glamour could be, we only ever had access to the mind, one simply could not halt what the body craved. Sookie confessed she had felt a great deal of guilt as she only discovered after her death that Hadley had been with child, which died with her on that night. She lost her cousin, but Sookie also lost a chance to be a mother to that unborn child or, in the least, an aunt.
I never felt that yearning in my human form, I never wanted a child of mine to suffer the circumstances that had dictated my imprisonment from birth. I suppose that is parental love in a sense, demanding better than what you ever had. It had surged inside me as soon as Eric was reborn, the natural assertion of the responsibility and the care, the knowledge that you would go through hell and back for this creature that was now solely dependent on you.
Though Sookie was officially in our care though her tie to Eric, whether it be physically sealed by blood or not, it had made me consider her as my own flesh and blood. That same sense of responsibility I felt for Eric now extended to her and her brother, despite his limited intelligence. He had more heart than brains but that made him all the more special. Tulla would observe that such a description was one only a parent would make and I had made a note to tell her that. I decided not to question it any further as we departed to Pam’s palace leaving Sookie and Eric to the relative privacy of the lakehouse.
Sookie and her brother had fought viciously like only siblings seem capable when Sookie had demanded he exchange the safety of the lakehouse for Pam’s home and not his own. Not unlike Pam, Sookie had prayed on his weakness of her pleas that seems intrinsic to females within a family with a strong matriarchal streak. Objections tended to fly out the window with Jason at the possibility of truly upsetting his sister.
“The blood won’t harm her, right?” Jason asked of me with relative concern as we sat side by side in the armoured vehicle. Sookie had integrated herself quite effectively with newfound wealth, but her brother seemed an unintentional parody of the Beverly Hillbillies in his appearance. Through Pam’s discerning tastes I knew everything that decorated his body had not come at low prices but somehow he had made them seem that way. The sinister part of me revelled in the fact that Pam’s discriminating vision would be targeted at the unknowing lamb beside me, rather than the offensive hoodie I was wearing on my body which meant I could salvage my own wardrobe for another day to rouse Pam further. I made another mental note to casually enquire where he acquired his clothes.
“No harm will come to Sookie,” I answered to the question he had posed to me before his flashy wardrobe had distracted my train of thought. “It will keep her safe and perhaps unearth more powers.”
Jason had taken it surprisingly well when his sister had informed him of their unknown heritage this afternoon. He seemed more concerned with the pecan pie Sookie had promised to bake him than what their shared heritage could mean to them.
“Like superpowers?” Jason asked with a childish glee which made me question if he had packed a pair of action hero pyjamas in his overnight bag. Though I liked to diminish the power we held, to the minds of humans the added powers we did possess were not unlike the ones portrayed in comic books. We may not wear capes when we take to the sky but we fly nonetheless.
“Yes,” I answered simply, which had me viewing near every white expanse that rested on the circumference of his eyes.
“Where can I get me some of that ol’ blood?” he demanded greedily. I could only chuckle and would make sure to keep him away from Aelia, she might actually be inclined to give him some. He severely lacked his sister’s careful consideration of facts, but my mind rested safely to the fact that without the present spark there would probably be little interest in Jason.
“Let us wait and see what happens with Sookie first,” I offered in appeasement.
“Yeah,” he said and I finally saw the cogs in his rusty brain finally spring to life. “What if she turns into the Hulk or somethin’ like that…”
His own mind seemed to be the cause of much destruction as the thought took hold, concern clouding his face once more and though it was touching to see the sibling’s concern, I quickly reassured his worries, “Nothing like that, Jason. You are of the Fae, not mutants.”
“A’right then,” he spoke with some relief before letting out a wolf whistle at the sight of Pam’s palatial abode when it came into view at the end of the drive. “Fancy.”
“I suppose,” I returned. Not that I had become dismissive with the sight of such expressions of overwhelming wealth that typified the extravagant tastes of the Sanguine, it had merely stopped impressing me long ago. The smaller things in life held more poignancy to me than the fading faces of fashions.
“Must be an awful lonely place if Pam lives there all alone,” Jason observed with an astuteness that startled me. It was as if he were merely demonstrating those small moments of poignancy that highlighted the moments of my existence with deliberate intention. That no matter how hard one tried to hide the truths someone without preconceived notions recognised a façade exactly for what it was, a pretence that hid malcontent.
Jason slung the tattered Bon Temps football team athletic bag over his shoulder before one of Pam’s staff had managed to get to it. I waved them off before he could notice and led him inside.
“Pammikins!” he bellowed out through the cavernous hall. “Where you at, Sweet Cheeks?”
A snicker and a curious glance attached to Kristian came round the corner as he took in the sight of the two of us. “I see you have found Beavis to your Butthead,” he remarked dryly in the ancient French tongue of our house. I looked into the large gilt mirror that hung at the end of the hall, and I hated to admit that in my intentionally ill-chosen garbs we did somewhat resemble the duo. So much for youthful appearances…
“Aelia asked you to join them as soon as you arrived,” Kristian addressed to me after the necessary introductions had been made. “I can see Jason to his rooms.” With a quick nod I sped off hearing the trail end of their conversation.
“Fuck yeah, I’ll take Superspeed for $500, Alex,” Jason said to my cousin, who in his confusion replied his name was Kristian. “Yeah, yeah, I know. So is Pam seeing anyone right now?”
At the moment, Pamela was seeing to the Impurus, Bill Compton, who was hearing the end of her carefully-crafted speech of his false lineage. He was equally prepared as he held his face in a believable anguish that failed to convince any of us, but would do most.
“This is simply unfair,” he said in that heavy accent that was considered gentlemanly in his human days. The heavy tongue fall made it seem all the more dramatic than it truly was, and it was for this quality of the drawl that I suspected was fuelling Pamela’s motivation for trading in her proper upper crust one that revealed her noble English blood. “If we do not know who we are, how do we know whom to turn to in times of need?”
Had we not known from Sookie of his manipulations of young Staci, I fear we may have all indulged in the former Civil War veteran’s act with a modicum of sympathy. With our preconceived knowledge however, his act was quite transparent and rehearsed, which made the next sentence he dropped into the private study all the more startling.
“Your Majesty, I propose we introduce mandatory testing for all the Impurus to know of their true lineage,” he suggested. Silence ensued. It would be suicide for Pam to do just that, the last near-war that had erupted between the Sanguine and the Impurus was for that specific reason. Back then we didn’t even have the technology of today to detect lineage with accuracy. The Impurus had been well founded in their objections of profiling and administrating their identities as such. It was not a false assumption that certain Houses might seek out and end bastard lines to consolidate the purity of their power. While our House had been accused of wanting to do exactly that in the negotiations, ironically, we would most likely be one of the few who would have no necessity for that.
Taking our silence as encouragement Compton continued his pitch, “Of course, it must be framed as a desire to come from our kind,” he offered with a startle as if the intelligent thought had only occurred to him seconds ago. “If Your Majesty would task me with making inventory of the needs and wishes of the Impurus of your populace, it can be subtly integrated into the results.”
I hated to admit it, but the Impurus was clearly a pawn of a far more intelligent and capable being, one that could only be a Sanguine or, perhaps as Sookie had speculated, a Fae. My instincts suspected a combination of the two, but their motives were yet to become clear to us all. A competing House of Sanguine would have little use for encouraging another war against the Impurus. The Great Revelation was a strategic feat for the Houses of Sanguine, but it was also an admittance that our numbers were no longer great enough to fend off an overt attack. Our new offensive became hiding in plain sight while the traditional mechanisations of our power base held us in our gilded seats.
Pamela turned her heads towards Aelia and myself seeking counsel she did not need from us. We were all playing the game of pretence that typified court life; Pamela was firmly in charge here, but it aided to Compton’s misconceptions to appear as if the young and, therefore inexperienced, queen sought our guidance at every step. I remained purposefully silent. Centuries of existence had taught me that much, it was always better to say too little than too much, the easiest way to earn respect and get accredited knowledge, whether it resided inside you or not.
“You may initiate your investigations Compton,” Pamela commanded. “If there is a true desire among your kind for such things I will consider it.”
If I had not been certain of the Impurus’ missing hand in the strategic game he was playing along in, I would have been certain of it now. He carried the expression of a foot soldier satisfied with his mission completed, readily awaiting the next task. Over a hundred and forty years, and the former man had not risen any further in the ranks, still doing the bidding of others without questioning to his own involvement. It saddened me that he was stuck, where I, in comparison, had moved from the most imprisoned state as a human slave to one of great freedom as a respected Sanguine.
Like Pamela, I could have held a royal seat at the age Mr Compton is now with the backing of my Grand Sire and Aelia. At the time, I would have thought it only in earnings to my lineage which is why I had always continued to refuse. With hindsight, I can attest it would have been my natural aptitude and the intelligence inside me that was fostered in the warm nest that Lucius had created for me. It’s what had shaped my reputation ever since as I had never taken up such a coveted rank that often stank of nepotism.
Bill Compton departed from the office with glee written all over his face, which he was not as good at hiding as he himself thought. In his mind an insecure Pamela had instantly agreed to his plans, but a careful listener would have noted that she merely gave assignment to a glorified questionnaire without any further commitments on her part. She had even emphasised the word ‘true’ pertaining to the results, but Compton clearly had stopped paying attention from the moment Pamela had agreed to parts of his proposal.
“It will be interesting to see what results he phantoms up from his tiny little head,” Aelia noted dryly when the Impurus was safely out of hearing range.
“We all know it won’t be coming from his mind,” I answered. “Pamela, you really must find some Impurus that are worthy to cover positions in your court, or they will all fall prey to the manipulations of others.”
“I have tried, Uncle,” she offered with a small pout that had me forgiving many transgressions in the past. “They simply do not measure up to the other candidates. The Impurus lack the skills and knowhow.”
“The solution is simple then, is it not?” I encouraged hoping she would reach the conclusion before I had to coax it out of her.
“Not tonight, Godric,” she pleaded. “I have had to deal with André and his tiresome Maker, after which I had to play nice with that piece of vile that just left while you spent your day frolicking in the sun with little Miss Sunshine. Just tell me your thoughts.”
I gave her an indulgent smile, in better circumstances her astute mind would have already reached the conclusions that resided in my mind, but she had a fair point. There was much weighing on her mind and resting on her shoulders, it was no longer time for lessons. “Whatever conclusions Compton brings to you, we all know it will include a demand for more self-governance on their part.”
“You wish to grant them this?” Aelia interrupted with disdain. I had become more sympathetic with recent knowledge to her position on our ‘inferior’ counterparts, but I still could not condone her abject discrimination and I knew Pamela was not as staunch in her view.
“We merely give them the tools and integrate them into the existing system. Once in power, it is too addictive to let go,” Pamela answered for me as her mind finally had caught up with mine. “I offer them an education, like the one you gave me.”
“Indeed,” I beamed proudly at my former charge.
“You must change your disposition, not your sky,” Aelia said in slight defeat of a well-formed strategy reciting the Latin motto of our family crest.
However, before any of us could contemplate any furthermore, our blood was rushed with an unknown sensation. It had happened in milliseconds and I knew it ran rampant in me, despite the fact that I had subdued the bond with Eric to a bare minimum to leave them to their relative privacy. Even with the security present on Sookie’s lands I had wanted to keep an eye on them from afar. I looked towards Aelia for guidance, the only one of us present in the room that could understand the feeling that was overtaking us all, but she looked to me with equal confusion. It was foreign even to her. That was the moment worry made room for anguish.
When fear and helplessness started surging through the bond with my precious Childe I took no precautions, flying out through the French windows, shattering the glass without a care of the damage I would sustain or cause. I was quickly followed by Aelia and Kristian who held Pam and Jason securely to his broad chest, taking no chances. Something had gone awry and though I still had no bow and arrow to convince me of my status as Sookie and Eric’s personal Cupid, I would use every weapon at my disposal to protect what I considered mine. There would be no mercy to those that attempted to wipe away at the faces of contentment that I had left behind.
A/N: *Hides under bed and holds up this little bitty white flag*… So I hoped you enjoyed this little insight with Godric and his paternal feelings while navigating the politics at the palace and Jason being… well Jason. Next time you’ll find out all about what happened with Sookie and Eric promise to cause that unexpected sensation and terror… you hardly missed a thing I swear…
Much love to the wonderful MsBuffy again for her stellar editing skills.