A/N:Charlaine Harris owns all of her characters. Evil genius that she is, she has created the Sookieverse for our pleasure.

Different? Maybe. I hope so. Lemons eventually? Do you doubt me?

So, do you prefer your dose of Eric with ice in his veins, skin the color of fresh snow, a cool cucumber (oops!) of a Viking? He's always just out of reach, skimming over the earth, selectively sampling life through the centuries. Until Sookie hits his radar, ennui is his constant companion, his existence enlivened only by the occasional unexpected meal or inevitable court intrigue. Delicious, eh? Want more, though? Like a little chocolate on top of your vanilla ice cream?

Imagine instead that Eric is a hot-blooded, virile beast of a Sookie-protector. Not an ancient Vampire with so many weary centuries under his, ahem, belt; rather a more modern male, but still long-lived, if hairy on occasion. He's as 'pure' as Sookie is, in his own unique way. Some things simply cannot change, or course. You need an example? Okay, would he be Eric if he wasn't skittish about a relationship? You get the picture.

First, though, you must activate your VIP pass to this special universe. It will enable you to delve deep inside Papa Niall's twisty brain. He's a bit of a crusty, lusty beast himself. He's also a prime mover here in this verse. I know you'll like the ending.


Prologue

In the beginning, there was only one Prime Directive:

The existence of the Supernatural world must remain hidden from Humans.

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Later, the International Tribunal was forced to add a clarification for the too-literal types:

Second, if you are forced to reveal your true nature, do not injure or kill your Human to adhere to the Prime Directive.

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Later still, it was apparent some members needed additional guidance:

Third, you are responsible if you fail to meet the Prime Directive. Take appropriate measures; just don't blow the second Directive.

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These seemingly simple rules had led to some interesting incidents over the centuries.


After the 2000 Worldwide Census was completed, everyone agreed the situation looked bleak. It was determined, therefore, that an interim Census would be taken in 2005. It was designed to random sample the various regions that had the largest populations of True Humans.

True Humans were highly prized by the Supernatural community. They were extremely rare; so rare, in fact, only a True Were could now accurately sniff out the pure Human stock from the contaminated. And True Weres were thin on the ground, these days.

And just what was the source of the contamination that had the supernatural groups around the world spending hundreds of millions every ten years to find and count the viable Trues?

Over the last several centuries, it had become apparent that the main culprit for the loss of pure Human breeding stock was the abundance of supercharged, supernatural dicks. Fairies, Vampires, Weres, Shifters, Leprechauns, Elves, Dwarfs, Ghouls, Golems, Zombies, Demons, Genies, Trolls, Pucas, etc. The fucking list was endless. And every one of them with a dick he couldn't, or wouldn't, keep in check.

Niall d'Varg, the de facto leader of the Americas Supernatural Council for the Procreation and Preservation of True Humans (ASCPPTH), was a tall, distinguished Were with a thick mane of snowy white hair, easily able to blend in with the Human stock of modern times. He himself had fathered hundreds of children on the Human race. He was hardly repentant, but the International Supernatural Tribunal was adamant that breeding stock 'must be preserved'.

If not, the Supers were themselves solely responsible for the unintended extermination of the Humans from their own World.

Niall secretly wasn't so sure it was such a bad thing if all the True Humans disappeared from Planet Earth. Sure, he'd heard all the so-called scientific arguments; he had his doubts.

If the pointy heads' current analysis was to be believed, TH were the only source of reliable antibodies. If, Fenrir forbid, an unchecked virus were to sweep through the Supernatural community, only Humans could save them all. It was a sobering argument for locking up every remaining True Human in a cage and forcing them to reproduce like rabbits.

But as with Human life, in the Supernatural world there is always another way. The blood sample collection program his nephew Vane Kattalakis had been running 'under the radar' for the last twenty years was a classic example. Vane's dedicated team had been working around the clock; their efforts should provide everything the Super's scientists would require to produce a satisfactory medical solution if an epidemic threatened the Were population. Anyone else? No loss.

It actually sort of slayed the astute Werewolf how completely oblivious the Human race seemed to the presence of the Supers among them. If the Tribunal's research teams were to be believed, the Supers spent most of their time off fornicating with Human females, destroying whole bloodlines with a single squirt. He snorted.

Frankly, he felt the imbalance among the races had more to do with the ridiculously short life spans of the TH as compared to the hundreds or thousands of years of life enjoyed by the Supers. Shit, he was a young Wolf compared to some and he had fifteen hundred years under his belt. A quick calculation of the potential numbers of offspring he might have sired if he'd only fucked once a day topped five hundred thousand, easily. He'd really shown remarkable restraint when it came to Human females. He also was certain most of his fellow Supers would agree with him.

And finally, the truth was, just how stupid were Human males? The Human males he'd known always seemed to be fixated on females under twenty-five years of age, trading in older females who still had decades of fecundity and fucking to be enjoyed. And Niall had never hesitated to enjoy those seasoned females. What assholes the males of the Humans had proven themselves to be over the centuries. They really deserved to have their DNA erased from the viable gene pool.

However, Niall wasn't the Head of the Council for no good reason. He'd followed rules and dictates and orders and recommendations and, well, you name it. Therefore, when the 2005 random sampling had turned up one Sookie Stackhouse as being that rarest of the rare, a True Human who'd reached puberty and not yet reproduced, they'd been elated to discover she had a brother as well.

After eagerly searching for the older brother, Jason, ready to add him to the highly classified True Human protection program, their hopes had been dashed by the young female Werewolf sent to sniff him out. Excited buzzing in the ASCPPTH underground halls had sunk to a muted groaning after the disappointing report was made available to all. Once again, the TH mother must have been seduced right after her marriage by a Werepanther from a nearby town. It was an all-too-common story.

Recovering from the unexpected blow of another potential True Human contaminated by one of their own, the researchers forgot about worthless Jason and refocused on the miracle that was Ms. Stackhouse. In their fevered brains, she represented a golden, shining Holy Grail-type research opportunity, just inches out of their reach.

In fact, some of them were thinking, why not just scoop her up and start the sorely-needed selective breeding program?

That damn, millennial-old 'Prime Directive' prevented implementation of such a logical plan. How could they reasonably be expected to meet goals if every single Human was to remain blissfully unaware of the existence of the Supernatural world and its teeming denizens? It was the bane of the Supernatural researchers, groused over after work nearly every day or night while downing a pint of blood or chewing through a particularly choice fleshy treat. For now, all they could do was to continue to demand that Ms. Stackhouse be adequately protected and a TH mate found for her as soon as was reasonable.

Several years ago, Niall had thought he'd easily solved the protection problem. He'd assigned Ms. Stackhouse, who resided in his territory, a Shifter Guardian, one Sam Merlotte. Sam had owed Niall a major favor for Niall's intervention with a female Maenad who'd fallen for him when he was just a teenager himself. Niall had arranged with a Fairy acquaintance for a love potion. Sam had deployed it and the Maenad had instead fallen in love with a white Brahmin bull. She'd eventually forgotten all about Sam, moving herself and the bull, who she mistook for her husband, to India back in the nineteen fifties. God knows what she'd gotten up to over there. At least she was off his turf.

Sam had served him well in return; the situation had appeared to be under control for several years. Then, unexpectedly, Sam had fallen in love with the rare creature and stopped filing regular reports. Since Ms. Stackhouse would only be allowed to reproduce with another True Human, Sam had to go. Fearing another screw-up getting back to the Tribunal's head, a real bastard who went by the name of Leostet when he assumed human shape, Niall had brought in his best Guardian, a Vampire by the name of William Compton. Two months ago, they'd hatched a plan to have the TH move to Atlanta so William and the larger resident Supernatural community could keep tabs on her.

Niall chose that moment to roundly curse his bad luck yet again, but only under his breath; there were spies everywhere these days. Will had been taken out less than a week ago by a rival Vampire faction for some insignificant debt he still owed on a wager made back in the late 1890's. If Vampires were only more like the rest of the Supers, but no, they could carry a grudge for centuries, seeking vengeance for slights from thousands of years earlier. He learned early, never piss off a Vamp and leave him standing. He had to give the buggers credit though. They'd convinced all and sundry that they were incapable of fathering children on humans. 'Hell, we are actually dead!' or sothey'd told every Supernatural Council from the beginning of time. 'Only way to make more little vampires is to bite a human.' Totally blameless and every gullible Super on the Planet believed them.

But Niall knew better, courtesy of a piece of Super sleuthing by one of his best investigators, his twenty-seventh son, Eric. Eric had been searching for the elusive Vamp scientist for decades. When he'd finally pulled him from the earth and drug him out into the moonlight, the Vamp knew his life force was being drained out of him by the rare True Were. Under torture, he'd confessed the Vamp community's biggest, darkest secret—they had motile sperm under certain conditions. Then Eric had ripped off his head and burned the body, leaving no trace of his efforts. Following Niall's orders, he had disappeared down in Antarctica for several decades. The final death had caused a stink. The Vamps hadn't given up the search for the executioner of one of their own, but Eric's name had yet to be mentioned in connection with the incident.

Now Eric was back from his ends-of-the-earth exile. He'd gone undercover again, agreeing to run a d'Varg money-laundering business in Atlanta. Niall was semi-reluctant to trust a younger son with a job two of his most trusted had already blown sky high, but he hadn't time to hatch another, better plan. This TH must be a real trouble magnet, he thought grimly. Eric it would be.


A/N:I'm only surprised Niall isn't claiming thousands of children from human mothers. Or maybe he's just lost count over the centuries?

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