Chapter 1: Those Magic Changes

When I woke the next morning, it was to the strangest feeling of peace and contentment. There was almost always a feeling of wellbeing when I was near Eric, thanks to our blood bond, but this was different. This feeling was like when I was a small child, and I was wrapped in the arms of my parents. I guess it was the sense of safety and security that could only come from being surrounded by my kin.

I could tell that both Claude and Dermot were awake, still snuggled on either side of me. They seemed to just be waiting for me to wake up. By some unspoken agreement, we all disentangled ourselves and got up. The feeling of harmony was so strong that apparently nobody felt the need to say a word. Silently I made my way to my bathroom to complete my morning rituals, and Dermot and Claude left my room, I assumed to do the same.

Later, when I came out of my room, I found my fairy cousin and uncle cooking breakfast in my kitchen. It should have seemed odd to see them both taking over my kitchen so thoroughly, but whatever fairy-bonding thing had happened last night was still working so that it felt perfectly natural to have them both in such close proximity.

I poured myself a freshly brewed cup of coffee and settled at my kitchen table just as Claude and Dermot were finishing up with breakfast. I was surprised at the apparent feast they had laid out. They had cooked stacks of pancakes, eggs, hash browns, bacon, and sausage. I shook my head at the amount of food they made, thinking to myself that I was going to gain 10 pounds in one meal alone, and it was all going to go straight to my waist and hips. After the long night I'd had though, I was inclined to believe that I deserved a little indulgence, so I dug in.

We were all half-way through our meal before I finally broke the comfortable silence. "Does it always feel this way?"

Both Claude and Dermot smiled, neither of them needing me to explain what I meant. "Yes," Claude said simply.

I felt my eyebrows rise, and I indicated that I wanted them to elucidate (a past word-of-the-day).

Dermot smiled indulgently and explained, "When fairies are alone together, especially those bound by familial blood, we are able to share our emotions and our burdens. The magic in our blood binds together and we all feel stronger and content."

"But I'm only like an eighth fairy or something. How can it affect me?" I asked, feeling like I was addressing the elephant in the room.

Claude rolled his eyes in typical Claude fashion saying, "Magic isn't about percentages."

Dermot could see the confusion on my face so he explained, "You have..."

He seemed to be searching for something, and I remembered something Niall had once said. "The essential spark?" I provided helpfully.

"Yes," Dermot said, grinning with happiness. "Niall explained that much then, at least."

"Well," I said thinking back, "all he really said was something about me having it, and it skipping Jason or something."

Dermot nodded again. "Yes it did, but you do have the essential spark. You and I may have less fairy blood than Claude and Niall, but we both have the spark—the magic that is inherent in all fairies. As Claude said, magic isn't about percentages in strength. Either it's there or it isn't. The strength of the magic depends solely on the possessor. You learn to draw on it and wield it. That is how magic becomes stronger."

I sat gapping at my uncle for the longest time. "You're saying I have magic!" I sputtered in shock.

"Of course," Dermot replied smiling.

"So, you're saying that I could pop around like ya'll do," I said in astonishment, my mind reeling with all of the possibilities.

"Eventually, if you are taught to, yes you can 'pop' around like we do," Dermot replied, his eyes twinkling with mirth at my choice of words. I was still too shocked to even be upset that both my cousin and my uncle seemed to find my reaction funny.

"And you're saying that having the essential spark means I have as much magic as any other fairy, even as strong as Niall?" I asked in wonder.

Claude shrugged his shoulders. "The magic is there of course," he explained, "you just have to learn to use it. You understand that Niall is quite old, so he has learned to do many things with his magic that other fairies have not. Your magic is in you, yes, but until you learn to use it, I wouldn't consider you as strong as Niall."

I nodded in understanding. "Just like everyone born has the ability to walk someday, but first they have to learn how," I said, trying to explain it to myself out loud.

"Exactly," Dermot said enthusiastically. "And as the humans say, you must learn to crawl before you can walk. Magic too must be learned this way—in steps."

I smiled at my fairy uncle using such a simple human expression.

"Well," I finally said slowly, "I guess it's a lot to think about."

"Of course it is," Dermot admitted in understanding. Claude simply nodded as well.

"It's getting late, and I need to stop by the club to do some payroll paperwork that I've been putting off," Claude said, standing up. He smirked at me before he added, "Try not to get killed anytime soon cousin," and then he popped away.

I was still always kind of surprised when fairies did that, so I stared at where he'd been standing for several moments before I recovered. Shaking my head, I started to clear the table while mumbling, "Yeah, I'll try to do that cousin. Wouldn't want to upset your pretty little head about something so trivial like that."

Dermot chuckled to himself, but also stood and began helping me clean up my kitchen. I was grateful that at least one of my fairy relatives had some manners. He seemed to sense that I was still churning over everything that I'd learned this morning, and let me think it over in silence. I was very grateful for that because it was a lot to take in.

As we finished cleaning the kitchen though, I began to realize that Dermot was feeling anxious, like he wanted to ask me something. I couldn't really read fairy thoughts, but the more I was around them; the more I was starting to read their emotions. But perhaps it had to do with this whole fairy-bonding thing. I looked Dermot over, trying to figure out what he wanted to ask me, when it hit me. "Do you have anywhere to go, Uncle Dermot?" I asked in concern, remembering that Jason had said that he'd been apparently staying in the woods around our parent's place.

"I've been staying in the woods near your brother's home," Dermot confirmed, but he paused, once again searching for what he wanted to say.

No matter what may have happened between my grandfather and my uncle, I couldn't let Dermot continue to live out in the woods. Not after we had broken his curse last night and bonded or whatever it was that fairies did. "Do you want to stay here for a while? Claude had been staying here because of that other fairy, but I doubt he'll keep living here now that that threat is gone. You can at least stay until you figure out what you want to do next," I offered.

Dermot smiled kindly at me, and kissed me fondly on the forehead. "I would like that very much, my niece. It has been so long since I have been near family. I would like the chance to get to know you better," he said, hugging me tightly. I was definitely going to have to get used to the fact that fairies were kind of touchy-feely.

I looked at my watch and saw that if I was going to make it in to Merlotte's for my lunch-shift I was going to have to get going. Pulling further away from my uncle I said, "I've got to work the lunch shift today, so I better get going if I don't want to be late."

Dermot turned this over in his mind for a while before he asked, "Would you mind if I accompanied you to see your place of work?"

Though he was trying to hide it, I think he was lonely. I thought for a moment, saying, "Sure, I don't see why not, it might be kinda boring for you though." I was starting to try to think of what my uncle could do with his time. He didn't work or have any kind of job that I knew of, as a matter of fact, I wondered what he'd done for money all of these years. I just couldn't see him working and having any kind of normal job while he was under his curse.

"Perhaps, at least in part, to repay you for allowing me to stay here, I can help to tutor you in using your magic," he offered.

"That would be really nice," I said smiling. I really couldn't see myself trying to learn anything from Claude, except maybe how to pole-dance. I almost snickered at the thought, and then wondered what Eric would think about that. Which reminded me, I had once again offered to let a fairy live with me, without telling Eric about it. But vamp-married or not, I was still my own woman, and I figured if I wanted to let my uncle live with me in my house, that was my business.

Thinking about vampires only served to remind me of how much trouble I seemed to attract from them. "It would probably be really helpful to learn how to use my magic so I can protect myself," I admitted quietly.

Dermot nodded, "Yes, I have noticed you seem to attract trouble from all Supes."

I thought about last night. I'd played shaman for the Were pack, come upon my boyfriend/husband or whatever Eric was to me, who had been badly injured by his little brother, then had to track him and their "father" down, almost staked my "father/vamp-in-law", helped to stake my "brother/vamp-in-law", was nearly killed by a fairy bent on vengeance, and then helped to break a fairy curse. I sighed; suddenly feeling tired just thinking about it. "Yeah," I agreed, sounding defeated even to myself, "I sure do seem to attract trouble."

Dermot shook his head sadly, saying, "I will help you in any way I can to make up for the wrong I have done you and your family, this I swear." He said it so solemnly, and I could feel the regret and guilt role off of him as strongly as his sincerity. After everything that had happened in the past several months, I just couldn't bring myself to be mad at my uncle. I think after the curse and everything he'd been put through, he'd been punished enough for his involvement. And judging by the amount of guilt he was feeling, he was still punishing himself.

I held my uncle's hand and just nodded. Being angry about my parents' deaths wasn't going to bring them back, and Dermot was some of the only family I had left.

Eventually I changed my clothes and together, Dermot and I made our way into Merlotte's. I wondered to myself what Sam and the other bar patrons were going to think of my brother's doppelganger. We'd have to come up with some sort of story to explain him if he was going to be sticking around.

I thought about everything that had happened last night, and everything I'd learned this morning, and I had the distinct feeling that as much as my life had changed in the past two years, that there were many more big changes in store for the future.

A/N: Well, here I am, starting another story. I am still working on my story Bill and will continue to work on that one, but I got to missing writing about our favorite couple, so I decided to start this one. Plus, this one will give me a little more creative freedom in writing than Bill does, I'm trying to stick to the book plot as strictly as possible with it, so there's not a lot of freedom there. I've got a pretty good idea where I'm going with this story, but I kind of just want to take it where ever it leads me, so we'll see where I end up!

I know this is a short intro, but let me know what you think so far! There will be more to come soon!

Also 10 points to anyone who knows where the title of the chapter comes from!