Chapter One

First Free Flight of the Viking

I shot through the night air moving faster than ever before. My entire being was humming and buzzing with the euphoria of fairy blood. It felt as though I was aware of everything and everything was aware of me. Countless times I had taken flight but never like this. Even without the fairy blood, I knew this particular flight had more significance. It was perfectly emblematic of the freedom I gained a few moments ago. Appius Livius Ocella has met his final death in the front yard of my lover at the hands of a fairy. The life of his other child, my brother Alexei Tsarevitch was ended at my own hands. Despite this unmitigated feeling of freedom coursing through me, there was a small hallowing feeling in my chest.

Ocella had come with the intent to make me return to him; to help him care for Alexei. The boy was damaged. No amount of care could mitigate the deterioration of his mind, and the destruction it had caused. Ocella would not accept this. He had refused to do what needed to be done, and in clinging to his denial, he had sanctioned all our final deaths. My maker had caused me pain for many decades, and he had come back to cause me more. Leaving with him would have meant living without Sookie. The pain that thought caused me was unfathomable. The fate she would suffer in my absence at the hands of Victor or DeCastro would be worse than death for her.

Mostly I would have never been able to live with the torment, knowing that I had broken every promise I had made her, and the promise I made to myself that I would never hurt her. No. The pain at the mere thought of hurting my Sookie was far greater and more genuine than what I felt now. What I felt now was no more than a physiological reaction to losing a blood bond that had survived over 1000 years. The emotional connection was not profound, so the pain was easily inconsequential. I smiled as I soared through the night to my child. I was free.

When I arrived at my home in Shreveport, it still reeked of blood, death, and ash. As I opened the door, I heard Pam say, "No. It is alright, panther. It is Eric. Just Eric." I saw Jason shifting out of a defensive position in front of Pam. He was still a bit pale, and he looked as though he was exerting a great deal of effort as he sat on the floor. That courage must be hereditary. The room looked just as I had left it. It was surprising that such a young and physically unimposing vampire did this. Alexei killed a human that was being defended by four vampires. He killed one and incapacitated three, all of whom were older than himself. I did not know how Ocella had managed him alone for so long.

Pam was lying on the sofa with a bottle of blood in her hand. The damages I had sustained were serious, but as Pam's were greater and she was much younger, they were taking longer to heal. I stood over her to assess her injuries, and then I sat in the nearest chair. I thought about her willingness to come and fight with me, even though she would have died, but now she would be well again in less than a half hour. Although I had never been fond of my lover's brother, he had earned my respect this evening. He offered himself to help Pam heal and looked ready to defend her.

"He is gone then," Pam asked me. "They both are," I responded. The pain in my chest wrenched a little at that admission. Pam's face turned to mine trying to read it. I presumed she was gauging my reaction to the losses. I nodded slightly at her. Then Jason spoke. "I know Sookie's alright, but where is my truck?" The first part of his question caught me off guard. "How do you know your sister is alright?" I asked out of sheer curiosity. He shrugged and replied, "She is always alright when she's with you, and I know that if she weren't you wouldn't be here."

I always thought this boy to be rather dim, but his words were precisely on target. Sookie was always safe with me. If she died, it was because I was already finally dead. This knowledge should have alarmed me, but it did not. It made me smile as I responded to her brother. "Your truck is still at your sister's home." He nodded weakly. I went into the fridge and retrieved some orange juice that I kept there for Sookie. "Drink," I ordered. He complied. We were quiet for some time. Pam went into downtime. Jason was empting the contents of the carton I had given him.

Then Pam spoke. "Jason I will bring you home." Jason nodded. "Pam, I may need to stay with you during the day if that is agreeable." I remembered the cleaning crew may need my day chamber. Although I had several places to stay during the day, I would be more comfortable in Pam's home. "Of course," she replied. Jason's phone rang again. It was the same obnoxious ring tone. He answered hesitantly. If this was a private conversation he was unlucky. There was no place for privacy in the house with two vampires.


"Jason. Are you alright?" The voice of the woman on the other end sounded strained.

"I'm ok, hon. I gave Sookie my truck. I'm waiting for a ride. I'll be home real soon."

"If you are hurt, Jason Stackhouse, I'm going to kick your ass."

He laughed at the empty threat. "Sugar, I'll let you do that anytime you want."

I heard her laugh. "You promise you'll be here soon?" she asked him.

"I promise, Shelly."


"I'll see you soon." He hung up.

"So our time together meant nothing, huh?"

I knew just then that Pam was completely healed. Her face was the pinnacle of hurt feelings. I rolled my eyes. I was relieved to see she was well again. Jason laughed. "Yes, ma'am, it did, and I never want it to happen again." Pam smirked. She stood up. Her clothes were slashed in some places and soaked with blood. There was also blood in her hair and on her hands and face. She was a disaster. Not to say any of us looked anything less. "Oh come now, you mean to tell me that wasn't as good for you as it was for me?" She was openly grinning now. Jason stood too. He still looked a little weak, but some of his color had returned, and he seemed steadier on his feet. "Lady, that's exactly what I'm saying." He was smiling.

Pam rolled her eyes as she made her way into the bathroom. "I am in your debt for what you have done here tonight." He shook his head. "Think nothing of it."

That was surprising. Just then, Pam emerged from the bathroom. The blood from her hands, face and hair were gone but nothing could be done for the clothes. I could tell she was perturbed by her appearance. It was amusing. Jason swayed on his feet, and Pam caught him. "How come being around you is so bad for my health?" he asked. She actually laughed. She had her arm around himheav, supporting most of his weight, as they made their way to the door. If Pam were still heavily into men, Jason's woman would do well to be wary of her.

When they had gone, I went upstairs to shower. As usual, my mind wondered to my lover. She had fallen asleep soon after I left. Since then I had been beseeching every god I knew, praying that tonight's events would not awaken Sookie's night terrors. The thought brought me to the weeks following the Fae war. I would have given everything, done anything to save her from the scars Lochlan and Neave had inflicted upon her mind, her body and her spirit. I suffered with her; I hurt with her that night every second she was with them, and every night after.

I wept when I saw what they had done to her. Her little body was so mangled and broken. Every cut, every mark, every bruise would harrow in the deep recesses of my heart forever. I knew my blood would heal her body, though it would do nothing for her mind and spirit. I feared she would never be the same again. Her resilience had astounded me, and I watched as the life returned to her eyes a little bit every day. It gave me hope. Quickly, I shook those thoughts away. She was peacefully asleep. I would remain as calm as possible.

By the time I had showered and gotten dressed, the cleaning crew had arrived. They assessed the damages and immediately told me they would need a safe place to rest for the day. Their estimate was reasonable, and they would also do away with Bobby's car. There were only three of them, and I showed them to my day chamber. They also informed me I would need to come back at first dark to approve their work and lock up. I grabbed some clothes and headed for Pam's.

Pam was expecting me. She opened the door before I knocked. It was a few hours until dawn, but she was already dressed in a nightgown. This was a telltale sign of a hard night. The second I entered, she immediately made me miss the Pam that was too badly wounded for sarcasm.

"He nearly gets me killed, gets fairy blood and doesn't even bring me any," she mused as she plopped onto the sofa. I took the chair adjacent to it and rolled my eyes. Of course, she smelled fairy on me. Then she asked me more seriously, "How did you come across a fairy? I hope it wasn't Sookie's cousin. She would be very cross with you." I shook my head and fell into rehashing the events that took place after I left her. When I finished, she shook her head, "She truly is a handful." I nodded in assent.

"Why did she reek of were and drugs this evening?" My earlier irritation flared. "I do not know, but I would wager the master of mutts had a hand in it." I leaned into the chair. Alcide would have some things to answer for. Pam smiled in anticipation. It was a blessing the bar was closed tonight. Neither of us would have been able to go and tend to it. "We need a new bartender," I told Pam.

"Yes, as well as a new day man," she replied. This time I would have Sookie help with the interviews. Mainly because it was important that she liked whoever it was, and second she would know their worthiness. "I will begin the process for both tomorrow." I nodded then she continued. "I had a very interesting conversation with Jason," Pam said. She was grinning now. I suppressed a sigh. She was baiting me. Whatever it was, she knew I would want to know. I further relaxed into the chair and closed my eyes. She sighed. "You know how to ruin my fun." I smiled.

She continued, "Well… Jason insists that at some point you make an honest woman of his sister." Anger flooded me, and I almost growled. "Sookie is not dishonest." I would drain that fool for suggesting such a thing. "That's what I said, but he explained it was a term for a woman when she marries her lover." I relaxed. That was a reasonable thing for the man of her family to ask. Not to insinuate that he has been an exemplary older brother or provider. I remembered confronting him on the topic when I was cursed.

"I told him that it was Sookie and not you," her grin was back. This news was going to work my disadvantage. Jason, from what little I knew, was not tactful. He would confront Sookie, and she would balk at the entire notion. Most likely she would also direct her anger at me. "I told him, by vampire law, she was your wife, but she refuses to move in with you or leave her job, or accept financial assistance from you." I was listening intently.

"Then he told me that of course she would not. That she was human and their grandmother brought her up right. In her human mind and proper upbringing, she would just be, and I quote 'shacking up with her vampire sugar daddy'. I had never considered that perspective before, and I told Pam so. "But I do not agree, Eric. I think Sookie is just stubborn." That too was true. "Regardless of the reason I think she needs time. She seems so unsure of me still."

Pam shook her head and told me with absolute certainty, "She loves you Eric."

"I know but something in her still fights me." The thought hurt a little. There was a pause. "Perhaps you are correct in thinking she needs time." I nodded. Pam watched television, and I went to use her computer. The internet and the sports car were the only human inventions worth anything. When dawn was close, I went into Pam's day chamber, and she was already lying down. I climbed in too. We were both ready for the night to end.

As I lay on my back next to her, she turned to me with a serious look on her face and said, "I think I love her too." My brow was raised in utter surprise. I turned unto one elbow to study her face. She wasn't teasing, and the realization seemed to please her. "I use to care only because you did. Now it would seem she has a place in my heart." This was a night for the impossible. Pam was not emotional not even when she was human and certainly not after she was turned. "She does seem to have that effect on everything supernatural that gets too close." I smiled.

"She called me 'her bud,' and she genuinely cares about me." Pam was really touched. I understood why. In her human life, she did not have any true friends. No one that knew her real self all her friends were hand chosen by the social climbing parents. That was partly why she had taken to immortality with such great caliber. "We are both lucky to have her," I said softly.

Pam nodded. I leaned over her and placed a kiss on her forehead. "Sleep child." We laid in silence as dawn approached. Both our minds were on Sookie, the woman who held our hearts and our love.


Chapter Two

A Strange Sensation

When I opened my eyes the next morning I was in bed with two men. If the past two years of my life had been less crazy this would have freaked me out. Considering what all of us had been thorough last night I didn't object when they wanted to sleep in my bed. I was in the middle Dermot on one side and Claude on the other. Their fingers interlaced and draped over my stomach. They were both facing me; I was facing Dermot. If I didn't know fairies to be so touchy-feely I would have been uncomfortable. It was still kind of strange though. Mainly because it felt right, it felt like I was missing this all my life but I had never known it.

This reminded me of the weeks after my parents died and me and Jason slept with gran. Despite the occurrences on my front lawn last night I had the most peaceful dream. I dreamt of the most beautiful place it was like something out of a fairy tale. In fact I had a sneaking suspicion that I was the Fae realm. I couldn't be sure because I had never been there nor had anyone ever described it to me. I dreamt of a huge white stoned castle that was high off the ground sitting atop the clouds. There were beautiful flowers on almost every surface.

The sun was shining I felt its warmth deep in my bones. There were so many happy smiling faces some I knew and others I didn't. We all laughed and we danced and we ate the most delicious foods. There was a woman whose hair would have rivaled Rapunzel's in length. Enchanting was the only word that came to mind when I saw her, she had a glow that captivated you. She was almost too beautiful to look at. Yet I didn't feel self-conscious like I normally would have. She was playing a harp and sang a song that I swore touched my very soul. Her voice harmonized beautifully with her instrument. As I listened I felt every hardship I was carrying, every wound I ever suffered wash away; with every note she played and every bar she sung I began feeling lighter and whole again. When Claude said he felt like he was starving without the company of his own kind he wasn't kidding. I suppose it wasn't that bad for me because I had so little fairy blood in me.

I had slept so peacefully it made me reluctant to move, I was afraid to undo the effect of the night's sleep. I closed my eyes for a few minutes just taking inventory of myself. I felt just as whole and happy as I did in my dream. When I opened my eyes again Dermot was looking at me. He gave a slight smile and I returned it. He looked so much like Jason. He eased his fingers from Claude's but made no attempt to leave the bed. A few minutes later Claude woke up. He turned to both me and Dermot and smiled. We both smiled back and no one said anything then we got out of bed and began our morning routines.

We convened in the kitchen; showered and looking something to eat.

"Morning" I greeted them

"Morning cousin" Claude replied.

"Good morning" Dermot said. I already had the coffee made. Claude took it upon himself to cook for us, and I set the table. Dermot hung around awkwardly trying to stay out of both our way. When Claude was finished we sat down to our breakfast and ate. I noticed Dermot really wasn't eating.

"You weren't kidding were you Claude". He smiled because he knew what I meant.

"I mean it wasn't the only reason I came but no I wasn't." I nodded. Dermot kept stealing glances at me. When I would catch his gaze he would look away. You would think for someone who slept in my bed last night he would be less shy.

"When we are together we can call powers that heal the wounds to each other's hearts, minds and spirits". Dermot spoke without really looking at anything or anyone directly. Claude nodded.

"When Claudine died. No one had to tell me she died defending you. I was angry with her for leaving me all alone and I blamed you." He looked away" In my head I knew that it wasn't your fault but in my heart I was so hurt and angry. Holding on to the anger I had would never let me heal no matter how hard I tried" he smiled. "But it's gone now, all of it". I looked at him and I could feel his sincerity. I blamed myself too I was waiting for that guilt to resurface, to come crashing down on me and ruin the peace I felt. It never came. I furrowed my brows in confusion. Claude laughed and took my hand across the table.

"I know you felt guilty too, but now we are free of it" I nodded weakly. This day was beginning to get really weird. When I thought of Claudine there was no longer any guilt or hurt surrounding her place in my heart. Just love.

"I feel so…" words failed me. I knew Claude understood. He nodded.

"Fairies can live forever, but when we experience trauma and harbor it, it taints us. It takes a little part of our spark which is the very essence of our magic. We can go mad with it, sometimes we take our own lives, or sometimes we literally die of grief. What happened last night was the strongest and purest way to undo the damage." As Claude finished speaking, Dermot looked at me then looked away, again. This time Claude took his hand and gave him a nod. Dermot looked at me.

"I have robbed us all of things irreplaceable. There is blood on my hands. I will never truly be at absolved." I know this man was party to my parent's death. I should be angry and hurt but I couldn't find it in myself. I reached for his hand. He shrank back and bowed his head. The first time I had ever spoken to Dermot he was cursed. He was under a spell that made him seriously crazy. Even then, even as confused as he was, even as scared as I had been. I wanted to help him. His pain was so evident. I pitied him then and I pitied him now. I guessed it was worse now. when he was cursed he was still plagued with guilt but he was too confused to know why. He was lucid now but so were his memories of past events. It was easy to see he was trapped in his own hell.

"I do not deserve it" he looked up then and his face was streaked with tears. I got up from my seat and went to wrap my arms around his neck. He began sobbing.

"I am so so very sorry my niece" he choked out between sobs. I held him tighter in attempt to squeeze the grief from him.

"It's okay. It's alright." I was trying to shush him he only sobbed harder. I guess he had been carrying this inside him for a long time. After a few moments he gained control of himself. I released him. He took my hand as I stood in front of him.

"You remind me so much of Fintan." I smiled guessing that was a good thing.

"It is alright Uncle. You will see, you just need to spend more time with us" Claude said as he put his arms around his shoulders. Dermot nodded.

"You can come home with me and visit Sookie often" I nodded in agreement. Dermot looked from Claude to me and smiled. If regular people could heal each other like this, therapists everywhere would be fresh out of business.

Claude packed up and left taking Dermot with him. We discussed spending time with Dermot like two parents deciding visitation of a child. Mostly he would come to my place during the day when I wasn't working, and some nights when I wasn't with Eric or at work. Dermot needed love and support I would do my best to be there for him. As good as I felt it seemed wrong not to try to help him heal too. When they were gone I just sat and thought about all the bad things that had happened to me. My uncle Bartlett, and my parent's deaths hurt the most. My uncle was the first man to break my trust. He was the first person who had ever really hurt me. He stole my innocence. Even after Bill killed him no matter how hard I tried up until last night what he did still made me angry and afraid.

When my parents died they simply took everything I had ever known with them. For a very long time nothing felt safe. Gran fixed that. She took extra good care of me and Jason. Her house became a safe haven her kind words and warm embrace made my being an outcast bearable. Growing up I thought no one would want me. In part because I felt damaged but mostly because most people thought I was crazy. That is why Bill breaking my trust and my heart left a pain in my heart I thought would never heal. Even after I thought I got over the anger. All of those things had taken a part of me; all of those things had pushed me, but it was my time with the psychotic fairies that broke me. They showed me unimaginable pain and cruelty. I had never wanted to die before that time in my life. There was really nothing left of me after that. There was nothing to give or to take. I was empty, hollow, and I was a reduced to a sliver of my former self.

Losing Claudine and Niall leaving made me feel more alone after that hell. I concentrated on how I felt when those things happened I remembered feelings ranging from terror, to guilt, to shame. Mostly I remembered feeling like Humpty Dumpty. I was in too many pieces to ever be put back together again. After last night, whole is exactly what I felt like. Where there was anger and so much angst there was now peacefulness that resonated from my very core and filled my entire being. I really didn't realize how much tumult I was walking around with. I smiled to myself. Today was a beautiful day I would get out and enjoy it.

Before I went anywhere I called Jason. Last I saw him yesterday he was nearly passed out from his blood donation to Pam. Most likely he didn't go into work today. Then again he never missed work for anything. The phone went straight to voice mail. That meant he was home and still asleep. I left him a message telling him to call me. After I cleaned up the mess from breakfast I headed outside. I had my bikini on and radio in hand ready to soak up some sun. I managed to sprinkle in some very light yard work. A few hours later I went in and made myself a very late lunch and began prepping for my shift tonight. Instead of dressing in uniform for my drive to work I wore a bright pink T-shirt dress and I even took time to do something more elaborated than a pony tail. I spent some time on my make up too. I would change when I got to work but I just felt pretty. What can I say? I sang my little heart out to the radio as I drove to work. As I was pulling into the employee parking lot I noticed the protestors. They were becoming a regular sight and everyone was just starting to ignore them. When I entered through the back I saw back I saw Sam.

"Hi Sam" I waved eagerly and gave him a big smile. He turned around and gave a wary glance. What's with him? I thought. He seemed to realize he was being rude and said,

"Hey Sookie" He looked skeptical. I assumed he was worried about why I wasn't dressed in uniform. It was just a guess. Weres and two natured came in a fuzzy on my mental radar.

"Don't worry I'm gonna change for work" I assured him with a smile.

"Okay then" I headed for the lockers. When I emerged there I saw there was a pretty decent crowd in the bar tonight. This was great because I know once he came out as two natured Sam was worried about his business suffering. The protesters didn't help any. It was nice to see the regulars continue their patronage. It gave me a good feeling about the people who lived in my little town, until I read their minds. I pulled my shields up. If I've learned anything from being able to read minds, it's that you can definitely know too much about people. I was aware of Eric in the bond I hoped his night would be as nice as my day had been. He promised to see me soon. Though I wasn't sure what soon was. I missed him already. I got my tables and went to work. As I made my rounds I noticed Sam giving me weird looks every now and again. When I caught him I would smile and wave. At first he only looked more confused. Another time I stuck my tongue out at him. He shook his head like I was losing my mind. It made me laugh. I talked to Maxine Fortenberry, about the upcoming nuptials of her son. I talked to Andy Belfleur about the baby that was on the way. By the end of the night I realized I was getting really big tips. Maybe it was the makeup? The time flew by, and before I knew it, it was quitting time. Sam cornered me as I went into the back to change into my dress.

"What's going on with you Sook?" He was looking me straight in the eye.

"What are you talking about, you're the one who barely said two words to me today" I was confused.

"You seem like… you" he said with confusion. He pulled his hand through his hair. Then I understood what he was talking about. Sam was the best boss and he really was my best friend. Not many people can say their best friend went to war with them. Sam had always been there for me. I was seeing myself in his mind the way I had been after the Fae war. I saw how he was so worried and felt so helpless. Mostly I saw how lifeless my eyes were, I saw how much seeing me like that had hurt him. He was relieved but a little unnerved. I was so touched by this. Then he shook his head.

"It's really good to have you back Sookie. I've missed you". He said with a smile. He walked away then shot back over his shoulder "whatever it is keep it up". I smiled. Explaining the whole Fairy relations healing session might be a little complicated. I really didn't understand it myself. Eric was close. I was excited and quickly changed into by dress. I received a text message from Jason telling me he stopped by my house to get his truck already. Today was a really good day and seeing him would make it perfect. As I drove home I was thinking about the day I had. Nothing spectacular had happened I just felt good. When I was pulling into my driveway the reason for my big tips today dawned on me. My whole state of being was uplifted and it showed. I laughed and smiled with my customers like it was first day. I even gave Maxine a hug and patted the soon to be daddy Andy on the back. I laughed to myself as I exited my car. I was turning into such fairy. I wasn't paying attention as I walked towards my front porch. There he was illuminated by the moon light, Eric. He was as still as only a vampire could be. His long hair billowed lightly in the cool breeze of the night. He had on the usual black jeans and black t-shirt with a leather jacket over it. Even in the dim light I could see his face pulled into his trademark smirk. My day was Perfect.


Chapter Three

Answered Prayers

My presence here seemed to have caught her off guard despite the fact that she could feel me. She must have forgotten my promise to see her today no matter what. I smirked.

"Care to let me in on the joke, Lover?"

"Eric!" she squealed, and she began running into my arms. I held them wide open for her. She hopped up and I caught her. This was a first. Even if I couldn't feel what she was feeling, the energy she was giving off was almost tangible in the air surrounding her. She wrapped both her arms and legs around me. My arms braced around her to hold her up. She kissed me.

From the second I woke I had been intensely aware of her. I always was aware of her but this was different. I did not understand exactly what she was feeling. In truth it was not just one emotion. It was more like an assortment of positive emotions combined. They were synthesized and gave an inclination of complete harmony. Never before had I felt anything like this emanating from her. At first it made me jealous. The only times I've felt anything remotely close to this from Sookie or myself is when she was with me. It was irrational to want to the only one to make her that happy. I know, but it was what I felt. I speculated for some time as to whom, or what could be making her feel this way. Maybe she was glad that the ordeal with my maker was over. Maybe she had received pleasing news of some sort. The more I speculate the more frustrated I became. Frustration turned to anger as nothing I could come up with seemed likely. Then it worried me. Despite the array of emotions I was experiencing hers remained steady. What she was feeling pushed back everything I was feeling and I couldn't help but become as contented as she was. As our kiss grew the feeling in intensified. It flooded our bond as it poured from her and washed through me. Nothing else existed in that moment but us and this shared feeling of bliss. She pulled away to breathe. Her forehead was rested on mine.

"Hi" She said with a smile.

"Hello Lover" I replied. My hand cupped her face and she leaned into my touch, she looked as though she were looking at me for the first time. We gazed at each other for a few moments in silence.

"Well are you going to enlighten me?" I asked her. She giggled.

"I was just laughing at myself for turning into such a fairy". That was confusing. It certainly didn't explain her state of mind. For the moment I decided not to press it.

"I wasn't expecting you" she said.

"I promised you lover, did I not?" She smiled. Seeing her today was difficult. There was much that needed to be done. My makers visit had left me behind on all my other affairs. Some damage control had to be done to minimize Victor's knowledge of Ocella's visit. There were renovations to be over seen at Fangtasia. Alexei had a tantrum in the back of the club early in the night yesterday. It left my office and some of the back hall in shambles, which was the reason we retired to my home. I went into the club to do what I could even without my office. Pam was non too happy about my leaving her there alone. Truly I did not think I would hear the end of it until the next century. I missed my wife and I had a present for her. Nothing would make me break my word.

"You can stay with me tonight?" She asked sounding a bit uncertain. I could tell she very much wanted me to, just as much as I wanted to.

"I'm all yours". I replied without even the slightest of hesitation. There was no struggle in me now like there had been earlier. Not with her body so close to mine. Not when I could see and feel just how happy my acceptance made her. She smiled and kissed me. I carried her up the steps and into the house. I could feel her yearning for me. Her home smelled strongly of fairy. It added some urgency to my craving for her. The dress she wore rode to her hips because of the way she was wrapped around me. My hands were everywhere. I could feel the heat from her sheath; I could feel her moisture through my shirt and her panties; the scent of her lust was so thick in the air I could almost taste it. My fangs extended completely. She ran the tip of her tongue up and down the length of them. It made me shiver. I brought us into her bedroom and the smell of fairy was thicker in the air and it originated from the bed. I froze. She felt my anger but she was mostly confused. Mechanically I detached Sookie from me. My nostrils flared as the scent fully registered. My gaze fell upon her bed and was fixed there. Anger pulsed through me with so much fervor I rocked on the balls of my feet in an attempt to gain control. My fangs were still extended, only now they were extended in pure rage. I wanted to speak but I had to calm down, but I didn't want to be calm. I wanted to kill someone. I turned and glared at Sookie. My gaze was only met with a concerned expression.

"Why does your bed reek of fairies?" I hardly recognized my voice. It was chocked with rage, and hurt. It made me feel weak for letting my hurt show now. She felt my pain because she flinched a little. When her cousin had moved in, it had not trouble me much. Sookie could not help but help anyone who needed it. Also I was confident, and I trusted her. Understanding lit her face. Then she took a step towards me with her hands outstretched. I recoiled and a snarled built up in my chest but it never reached my lips. My body betrayed me. No matter how enraged I felt my entire being would never allow such actions towards this woman.

"Eric, Claude and Dermot slept in my room last night". That was something I already knew. Hearing her say those words still stung.

"They said they needed to" She took another step forward and she took one of my hands in both of hers my anger ebbed a little. She looked into my eyes. As I looked back into hers I saw no indication of lies or hesitation. I wanted to believe her. The air in her bedroom was assaulting my sense of smell, and it kept fueling my anger. I had to leave. I needed clean air. I walked out of the bedroom door and then the front door with Sookie trailing behind me. I was facing the yard. She began speaking to my back.

"Eric I'm sorry I didn't explain it to you before. When everything was over last night I went to go bed and they were already there. We just slept." Now that was I was outside I was able to recall that there had been no scent of her sex on the bed. There had been no fluids of any sort on her bed. I turned to face her. My expression was guarded.

"Why did they need to?" I asked. The feeling of happiness was now in the background of other numerous and forceful emotions but it was still there. She sat on a chair that was on the porch.

"I needed it too but I just didn't know it". I arched an eyebrow because she wasn't explaining exactly what 'it' was.

"Dermot told me that when we are together we can call the powers to heal each other's minds, hearts and spirits. Then Claude explained to me that Fairies can live a very long time, but when they experience trauma and hold onto it, it taints them. It takes a little part of their spark which is the very essence of their magic, the spark I have too I guess. He said that sometimes they can go mad with it and kill themselves or literally die of grief." Her comment about 'turning into such a fairy' made sense now. Since first dark I have been feeling what spending the night with her kind had done for her. Even after the nightmares stopped and she tried to get back to normal, she couldn't. She was tense most of the time; I do not even think she realized it. Being with me helped little. I truly was afraid she would never be the same again not that I could blame her. I had prayed that last night's events would not awaken her nightmares. This was better than anything I could have hoped for. She was Sookie again. It was as if no darkness had ever touched her.

"You will not actually turn into a fairy will you?" I did not know the extent of their magic. Sookie smiled and shook her head.

"I don't need any more reason for you to want to eat me" She replied playfully. She quickly realized her words had a double meaning and she blushed and smirked at me. I went and knelt in front of her. She looked at me

"I'm sorry Eric, I should have given you a heads up I know what that must have looked like" Her face was serious and her tone was soft. I shook my head.

"No lover. I should not have reacted so strongly. I should have shown more faith in you" She nodded. She kissed me softly. The other feelings were washing away now, as our happiness grew. When we pulled apart I asked her,

"How long will the effects last?" I was curious.

"I don't know" She looked thoughtful. Then she said,

"I would guess that the emotional healing is permanent. The happiness is kind of like a side effect and it doesn't keep me from feeling other things. It will fade I think." I nodded taking in what she said. I truly hoped she was correct.

"Can we go inside?" she asked. I stood and took her hand and led us back inside. She went into the kitchen I followed.

"Would you like a blood?" I shook my head. I could use a drink but I did not want to ruin my appetite with synthetic blood. She got herself a drink and sat at the kitchen table. I leaned on the counter.

"Is Pam alright?" I smiled. She has seen vampires heal from the worst injuries. Somehow I do not think she really grasped the concept of how fast we healed.

"Pam is well so is your brother, she drove him home." I answered. I assumed she has already spoken to her brother seeing his car was no longer here. She nodded.

"Did you get your house all cleaned up?" I nodded.

"Although the work did run into dawn I had to rest with Pam today" She raised an eyebrow at that and gave me a questioning look.

"When you say 'rest with Pam' I assume you took the guest bedroom" I began to feel her irritation.

"No. We shared her bed". I felt her anger before I finished my sentence. She was glaring at me.

"You are unbelievable Eric you know that. Unbelievable." I did not understand the qualm.

"What are you angry about?" She got to her feet.

"You. You flip out because my cousin and my uncle slept in my room even though you slept with Pam." Then I understood.

"Pam and I haven't been lovers in over a 100 years". Perhaps that was not the best response. Her anger flared and she threw her hands up in exasperation.

"Great that makes it all better." She took a step back and tried to reign in her temper. I would never tell her so, but when she was worked up like this it made me want her. I loved her tenacity. There are very few creatures that would dare to go toe to toe with me in this manner. I tried not to smile.

"Don't you trust me" I asked her. She looked at me

"I do. This isn't about trust it's about the double standard that's forever present between us." When I was human that was the norm and when I was turned it was a general rule. I did not want it to be that way between us when it wasn't necessary, especially because it made her unhappy. In this situation it wasn't necessary and from her perspective I was being grossly unfair which I could understand. I would appease her. I did not want to fight.

"Duly noted" She raised an eyebrow in disbelief. I suppose she was expecting more of an argument from me.

"What? No smart reply. No highhanded justifications?" I smiled and shook my head.

"There are times when my so called 'highhandedness' is required but this isn't one of them" She looked so shocked I started laughing. Did she really think me to be such an authoritarian? She smiled.

"I do not wish to fight lover" She walked over to me and rested her head on my chest.

"Me either" I picked her up and put her on the counter.

"I have something for you" I said with a smiled. She raised an eyebrow at me in question.

"I told you I didn't need a present" Typical Sookie.

"I told you I felt like buying you one" I reached into my jacket pocket and retrieved the velvet box inside. I passed it to her and she took it with shaky hands. Honestly I have never met a woman so adverse to accepting gifts or favors from a man. As she opened It I watched her face. She gasped and her eyes went wide. She stared at the contents and gingerly ran her fingers over them.

"Eric, they're..." She was looking at me and I could see tears rimming her blue eyes. I was told these would take her breath away, but speechless worked just as well.

I kissed her. My need for this woman could not be denied any longer. I pulled her dress over her head. She pulled my shirt over mine and began tugging at my jeans. When they fell to ground I kicked them off along with my shoes. I freed her breasts and reduced her panties to shreds at my feet. She was beautiful. Her legs were wrapped around me, her hands were stroking me. I slid my fingers into her. She arched her back. She was more than ready and I could wait no longer. She looked into my eyes.

"Eric I love you." Whatever was in her that would not allow her to fully relent to me was gone. I saw it in her eyes and I felt it in her admission.

"And I love you" I entered her. She moaned. It was an exquisite sound that played in the background as we celebrated our love. We went from the counter, to the table, to the bedroom. She was nestled into my body and my arms were wrapped around her body. We were in complete post cordial bliss. I realized now what had kept her from fully letting me in was fear. Fear that I would hurt her as Bill had done. It added to the happiness of the moment that nothing was between us now. She had given her heart to me fully. This was heaven.

"Lover, why did you smell of were and drugs last night" I had almost forgotten to ask. She hesitated. I knew immediately I would be unhappy with whatever she was about to say.

"I kinda had to play shaman for Alcide's pack before I got to your house. I had to drink this drug to do it though"

"Is that what made you sick?"

"Yes, but only for a little bit" Anger pulsed through me I suppressed it. I wasn't angry with her I was angry at the were. He should have asked my permission, he knew that. Sookie did not. He had no right to do what he did. He would pay.

"Please don't get mad I wanted to help him out" I knew that already. She was always being reckless with her own life to help other people.

"He had no right" I said coolly.

"He asked me to help so I did". She understood so very little.

"You are mine he should have asked me" I lost my grasp on calm. She was angry I knew she hated being referred to that way. It was just a fact. She pulled from my grasp to look at me.

"Eric first of all I hate when you vampires say that. Second I have a brain I can make my own decisions". She really did not understand may be that was my fault. I have never really explained. This was not her fault. I reigned in my anger and pulled her back to me she came reluctantly.

"Sookie, we are bonded, you are my wife. Any insult to you is an insult to me. Such Infractions should not go without consequence. It makes me look weak if people perceive me to be weak we will both be in danger. You need to understand that lover for both our sakes. That was an insult because Alcide knew better" She was quiet for a long time.

"I guess I understand that"

"You do?" That was surprising. I was half expecting to have my invitation rescinded and have to fly home naked.

"I don't like it in the least but I trust you. Just don't hurt Alcide okay."

"Not even a little bit" I asked her playfully. Well I was not fully adverse to the idea of inflicting some pain upon that mutt if I couldn't kill him.

"No. I mean I wouldn't mind slapping him myself for the situation he knowingly created. But I did find out some useful bits of information and he owes me big time now so you really shouldn't." I smiled as I nuzzled her hair.

"Okay". Pam would be most disappointed with this.

"What did you find out?"

"Nothing relevant now but, Coleman was trying to have me sent to jail by bribing a were to kill and bury a body in my woods" That must have been why her cousin had insisted on moving in. It eased some of my worries that Sookie had two more people to protect her when I wasn't able. She was exhausted.

"Sleep" I kissed her head.


"What is it Lover?"

"Thank you"

"You are welcome Lover"

Soon after she was fast asleep.


Chapter Four

Family Matters

When I woke up my house smelled like bacon and biscuits. It wasn't just regular biscuits it smelled exactly like gran use to make. I got out of bed. I thought I was dreaming my stomach hoped I was wrong. When I walked into the kitchen I saw Dermot. It has been about a week since Dermot's curse was broken I haven't seen him since the morning after, but here he was in my kitchen cooking breakfast. His movements were fluid, as he made his way around my kitchen. He was humming a whimsical tune. The smell of bacon and biscuits made my stomach grumble. That's saying something. Usually the first thing I wanted in the morning was a cup of coffee.

"Good morning niece" He turned from the stove and gave me bright smile. With the angle that the morning sun was hitting his face his features looked like something out of this world. He seemed to be in better spirits too. It was a testament that the past two years of my life have been crazy because I wasn't bothered in the least. It didn't even occur to me to ask him how he got in, or why he didn't call. Nope I wanted biscuits with eggs, and bacon.

"Good morning uncle" He pointed to a chair and I sat. He didn't have to tell me twice. He served me breakfast complete with orange juice. Then he sat down with his plate and we enjoyed our breakfast in companionable silence. After he finished eating I noticed he began to look uncomfortable. I took a hint and stopped stuffing my face I knew there was something he wanted to say.

"I find myself deeply troubled" he told me.

"Why? What happened?" I immediately became concerned for him. He looked at me.

"Your cousin has told me some unsettling things about you" I raised my eyebrows dubiously. I fought the urge to shout 'whatever he said wasn't true'. This conversation was going to be very unpleasant. I could feel it. I prepared myself as I waited for him to continue.

"He informed me that the Fae war was not the first one you have been involved in" He had placed his hands on the table and was staring at them intently. I assumed he was waiting for me to answer. I would get Claude back for this.

"No it wasn't" He looked up and his expression was anxious. I guess he was hoping that Claude was mistaken. I say 'mistaken' because from what I could tell fairies couldn't flat out lie. Not to say this feature made them super honest, more like it made them the masters of evasion and deflection. It was really a chore to get them to talk something if they didn't really want to. Damn. My cousin was so inconsiderate. Just because all of near brushes with death didn't bother him didn't mean they wouldn't bother Dermot. Why were they talking about me anyway? I really wanted to say something to ease his worrying.

"I'm sure Claude made it sound worse than it was" I knew I was stretching it here. It was impossible to make my past misadventures sound worse than they were. He got up and brought his plate to the sink. When he spoke his back was still turned to me.

"So you did not fight in the were witch war?" He turned to look at me then.

"I wouldn't say I fought exactly. I mean I was there and there was a lot of fighting happening around me. I stayed out of it mostly and I only had to kill one were witch, But he was hurting a friend of mine" I thought back to that night and how mark was draining Pam right before my eyes. In one of those super smooth fairy movements Dermot crossed his hands across his chest.

"And the Shreveport pack war" Did Claude leave anything out? I took a deep breath.

"I wouldn't call it a war exactly. It was more like a skirmish. Again, I was there, and there was fighting going on around me" I made a circular motion with my hands to illustrate the around me part. "I stayed out of it and I wasn't hurt at all". This time I thought it would be wise to leave out the part about me jumping unto a werewolf's back.

"Claudine told him you dove unto the back of a were amidst this skirmish" I wondered if there wasn't some guardian to guarded confidentiality that Claudine violated when she told Claude that.

"Yes I did but she was going to hurt a friend of mine, and it was my fault that he was there in the first place."

"The same friend from the were witch war?" He seemed curious instead of anxious. I took that as a good sign.

"No Pam was with me in the were witch war she's a vampire. Sam was with me in the Pack war he's a shifter." I really hoped this would lead to a topic change.

"Then Claudine had to pull you out of this house while it burned?" I nodded. He didn't know about the fire being set by a vampire assassin and I wasn't going to tell him. I was done volunteering information at this point. If he didn't call me on it I wasn't copping to it.

"Then you were shot" I nodded.

"Why? And Who by?" I felt like I was in court and this was the cross examination.

"A woman who hated two natured and thought I was one". He looked confused but moved on.

"What happened in New Orleans?" At this point I was getting pretty irritated at both Claude and at Dermot for reminding me what a disaster most of the last two years had been. If it had been anyone else that was grilling me like this I would have lost it by now. With Dermot I knew he would feel awful and I would feel worse afterward. So I just sucked it up.

"A fight broke out between the Arkansas vampires and the Louisiana vampires. Again I was there, but I didn't do any fighting" I shrugged to make the whole thing sound less horrible than it actually was. It would also be very unwise to mention that I was kidnapped by the Pelt family.

"You did not kill anyone?" I did have to give jade flower some solid kicks to the face though.

"No, I stayed out of it and ran when I could" he nodded

"Why were you in Rhodes" Yup. Lucky me I get to have cross examination to go with my breakfast.

"I was asked by the Vampire queen of Louisiana" He frowned at that though I couldn't tell you why.

"Where was your vampire while all of this was befalling you?" Okay. Dermot was headed into very dangerous territory.

"Eric has saved my life more times than I can count" There was an edge to my voice. Dermot must have sensed where this was going because he nodded and looked away.

"Listen it's really not as bad as you think". That was a lie. It was worse. Giving how he didn't know about several occurrences or have grizzly detail of the ones he did know of. The truth was from the night I saved bill from the Rattrays to the night Dermot saved me from Coleman, creatures of the supernatural have been wreaking havoc in my life and there seemed to be no end in sight.

"You are wrong" he finally told me. "Perhaps it is because of your gift; perhaps it is the Fae blood in you, but whatever the reason you attract much violence. I do not know how you have managed to stay alive thus far" He was looking at me and I wasn't sure if his question was rhetorical or not. Either way I didn't have an answer.

"I wish to train you"

"To do what?" I was so glad this conversation had finally taken a different turn I didn't care where it went.

"To defend yourself, to fight" this turn really wasn't any better. I was in one of those out of the frying pan and into the fire situations. I wanted to stay away from fights period. Learning to do just that seemed like inviting it in.

"I'm trying to stay out of fights" I told him honestly.

"But you are not succeeding" Well he had me there. His voice held frustration

"And not knowing how to fight has not kept you out of them. It does not serve as a deterrent for those who wish to do you harm. In truth it serves to encourage them". I was trying to come up with something to say but nothing came to mind, he was right and he knew it. I just stared at my hands in my lap. He spoke in softer tone

"So much like Fintan, he too had a gentle spirit and a fearless heart." I looked up then he had a rueful smile on his face.

"You have the spark. I feel it in you. We could work to strengthen. If you can harness enough power I can show you ways to use it to take away the need to fight". I didn't know which scared me more. I really didn't need any more reason for vampires to want me; for Fairies to hate me; or for humans to think I was crazy. Telepathy was enough thank you very much. He walked back over to the table and knelt in front of me.

"I will not force you; If you wish it I shall never speak of it again. Even if you refuse me I will stand as your guardian no matter the costs, but please, please consider what I am offering you". He put his hand on my cheek. "You and your brother is all that is left of my brother, if anything happens to you, to either of you nothing in this world or the next will bare my grief ends" I looked into his eyes and they looked pained. I knew he meant every single word. I brought my hand over the one he placed on my cheek and I nodded. Just like that I had signed up for fairy training.

Today was my day off work Dermot and I could spend time together. He helped me with some light yard work that had to be done. I was telling him how I was barely keeping grans roses alive. He laughed lightly at my defective green thumb. Then I watched as he touched the soil the roses were in and they bloomed. "Sky Fae are in tuned with nature. We can pull energy from the sun and rise with the moon". I guess this was fairy basics.

"Like you are stronger in the sun" That might explain why I loved being out. I remember Niall making a reference to it the day I killed a fairy in the yard.

"Not stronger. Our minds are sharper, out in the sun we feel centered. But we are most formidable under light of a full moon. Our magic can increase tenfold"

"Oh" was my brilliant reply

"What kinds of things do you think I should learn?" I asked him while I was raking.

"Shielding definitely, cloaking, and summoning if you can master it" All of that meant very little to me. He must have caught the look on my face because he took my hand and pulled us to sit on the ground.

"Shielding is a defensive tool. It has many variations but with you I think the straight forward bodily shields would be best" he looked at me I nodded. "It will allow you to create a kind of barrier between you and an enemy. The stronger your power the stronger the shield will be. The longer you are under attack the less effective it becomes." If I didn't learn anything else I had to learn this. I thought about my last new year's resolution to not get hit. This would have helped with that. If I was being honest with myself I was really tired of being a punching bag for the supernatural and humans alike.

"What's cloaking?" I asked him

"Cloaking like shielding is a good defensive tool but it can also be used for offense. It too has many variations. You can make someone or something seemly invisible even to the keenest of senses; it can also be used to make something appear different than what it actually is" I was paying really close attention and I caught on to the implications right away. In a sticky situation I could hide and high tail it outta there without anyone being able to follow me. He smiled "That is how Fintan hid Adel and the children he was particularly skilled at using cloaks." Dermot's face fell slightly.

"You miss him don't you?" I took his hand in mine.

"Every day" He was staring straight ahead but he squeezed my hand.

"I'm sorry" I whispered. He turned and gave a small smile.

"No it does not hurt so much anymore now that I am with you and Claude". Then he continued with the debriefing.

"Last is summoning. It will be challenging for you because it takes more power. It is used to call objects." I wasn't sure I heard correctly.

"Call objects like out of thin air?" I repeated. He nodded.

"For most fairies it is a convenience for you it will be a necessity." I was in shock.

"In addition to magic training I will show you how to use a blade" That snapped me out of it.

"Like a sword?" I was seriously uncomfortable with that notion. I don't know why. When he said he would teach me to defend myself earlier I thought he would teach me fairy karate. The concept of a sword was seriously scary. It must have shown on my face because he began laughing. I was a little piqued and I gave him a sour look.

"When our father began our training Fintan wanted nothing to do with a sword. He excelled at magic but I took to the blade". He smiled "I will teach you all I know and hope that you will never need it."

"Do you really think I can learn any of this, I mean I want to I see that I need to but…"He cupped my face with is hands and said

"I would not have offered if I did not think you capable" He got up and we went inside. I cleaned up and we decided to go to the library.

Unexpectedly I found Dermot loved the library. While I browsed the romance and mystery he was enthralled by science fiction. I agreed to check out a few books for him on my library card. He vowed on his honor to return them unscathed and in a timely manner. It took everything I had not to laugh. We went to the mall; I picked up some workout clothes; he bought some casual clothes. We walked past a store that had a Bow on display and Dermot was practically drooling. It had to be some kind of antique. The bow was black. The middle was designed with gold. The patterns were elaborate. Both ends were in the shape of wings those too were designed in gold. It looked well crafted; I thought it was pretty but I really didn't see the attraction. When we walked into the store Dermot stared at it, he even sniffed at it. The sales man noticed him and came over to us. He was a little old man he was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and khakis. His hair was pure white and it contrasted with his tan skin. He had the thickest eyebrows I had ever seen. He reminded me of Dr. Ludwig both in build and in mental signature.

"You have a fine eye" he said to Dermot.

"May I hold it?" The shop keeper nodded and walked over to the display case and unlocked it. Dermot looked like a kid on Christmas morning. He didn't even pick it up he just caressed it, running his fingers over the designs down the length of the bow. He flicked the string lightly.

"I will purchase this" He told the shop keep without taking his eyes off it.

"It is no trinket young man" The man gave Dermot a serious look

"Yes I know. This is the Bow of Draco Ael. (Pronounced ah-eel)The fallen guardian of Kai" Well he had lost me. The old man nodded and went to get a box for the bow and a quiver, which was empty.

"Where are the arrows?" I didn't know anything about this but I thought he was getting ripped off for not getting any arrows.

"They need none" Dermot answered with a smile. I shrugged it off. He knew a whole lot more about it than I did. We strolled through the mall sometimes arm in arm laughing and talking. He was curious about my favorite subject in school, my friends, we talked about Jason, and we even talked about Eric. We decided to eat out. While we waited for our food I decided to ask Dermot about his new toy.

"So who exactly is Draco Ael?" His eyes lit up at my question.

"Draco was the greatest archer of all the elves." Of course "During the great war of the elves the kingdom of Kai was attacked and he alone held the defenses for two days and two nights until help arrived, and he used this very bow" He stroked the box that held his fancy new toy.

"How come you don't need bows?" He answered eagerly. I couldn't help but notice how much happier Dermot looked.

"This bow was carved from an eternal tree and it is bound to it. When the Bow needs an arrow it comes from that tree" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. You would think that at this point I was use to weird. Our food came then and we ate. Half way through dinner I got a twinge of anxiety from Eric shortly followed by anger. Dermot caught on to my change in mood.

"Is everything alright?" He knew I was fine he knew whatever I was feeling wasn't mine.

"Yes. Eric is a bit angry is all" I smiled and he nodded. After dinner he accompanied me home though he didn't stay long. I got the feeling he was playing body guard. Before Dermot left we discussed a possible training schedule. In the end we agreed to leave it the same as the visitation schedule. We also decided that he should leave some of his clothes in the upstairs bedroom where Claude used to stay. As I got ready for bed that night I realized what a nice time I had. It never really occurred to me that during the daylight hours I was lonely to some degree. I never really had a ton of friends growing up so I guess I didn't really know how much fun it was just to share a normal day out with someone. Our time together was so pleasant I didn't even notice it passing. I fell asleep comforted that I had gained an uncle and a friend.


Chapter Five

Loyalties and Royalties

When I rose this evening there was a smile on my face. Sookie was content. I knew she did not work during the day so most likely she was with her uncle. Being with him made her happy and it eased my worries for her safety during the day light hours. I heated a blood and headed for my home office. I had received two calls from Sandy already, which was odd. Sandy was DeCastro's personal assistant. I met her during the weeks following the takeover. Since then however all affairs in Louisiana were delegated through Victor. Any edicts or tasks from DeCastro passed through him and then to the sheriffs. Needless to say I have had very little contact with her. As I pondered the possible reasons for her call my phone vibrated and flashed with her number again. Whatever the reason it must have been urgent. I answered.

"This is Eric" My voice was calm

"Sheriff Northman, good evening this is Sandy"

"Good evening Sandy what can I do for you" I was attempting to gauge her mood. I was listening for signs of stress in her tone. It was nearly impossible to read a vampire if they did not want you to but she seemed at ease.

"Please hold sheriff the King has requested to speak with you". I immediately became apprehensive. Sandy contacting me directly was unusual. The king speaking with me directly was an anomaly. I listened as the phone changed hands.

"Sheriff Northman" The king's voice was casual as if he were speaking to an old friend and not one of his subjects.

"Your majesty. How may I be of service" Despite his demeanor I would mind my decorum.

"I have a task that I believe you to be very well suited for" Everything about this conversation was wrong. DeCastro should not be assigning me anything directly. It broke the chain of command. It sent the wrong message and it undermined his lieutenant. I waited for him to continue.

"Arkansas, Eric is proving to be bigger liability than I thought upon acquisition. I want you to go and meet with some of the sheriffs of the state and what is the word…"

"Brain storm" Sandy whispered.

"Yes brain storm ways to attract fresh faces, raise revenue and most importantly stop the financial hemorrhaging." When he said that I immediately saw this for what it was. DeCastro had charged Victor to do the same thing with Louisiana and now he was regretting it. He would not risk sending him to Arkansas. Victor had enough supporters to make him a problem. If DeCastro sent him to Arkansas and his support grew then he would become a legitimate threat. He chose me first and foremost because he was certain I wanted nothing to do with Arkansas. Secondly this would shake Victor and make him a little uncertain of his place at DeCasto's side. No doubt this would fuel his crusade against me. Mostly he chose me because of my weakness, he chose me because of Sookie. He knew I would not refuse because I needed to remain in his good graces. We both knew he was the only thing preventing Victor from openly attacking me. So far DeCastro has stayed out of the struggle between Victor and me. This action did not tell me he was choosing to stand with me. It was more like a nod of his favor.

"It would be an honor" My tone was still calm, but I was seething. I knew he was using me but I had no choice. I hated it. Feeling helpless and trapped was something I loathed more than anything else in this world.

"You can expect to be gone no more than a fortnight at the end of which you will report to me"

"As you wish"

"Very good then, so Northman how is the little Mrs." His voice held amusement. I would have thought he would have been angry that I married Sookie to keep her from him.

"She is well your majesty thank you" I knew what was coming next. He would ask Sookie's presence in Arkansas.

"She is managing to stay out of trouble then?" He said with a laugh. I no longer knew where this conversation was leading.

"Yes so far" I replied with false but equal amusement. There was nothing amusing about the fact that she couldn't go a few months without some form of violence or another.

"Good then I think it best to leave her home this time around, however it is just a suggestion" I was not expecting that and I did not know what to make of it.

"A fine one your majesty"

"Well Northman that will be all. Sandy will provide you with the particulars." With that the phone changed hands.

"Sheriff your flight will depart from Shreveport tomorrow night at 8pm. I will be on board and we will travel to Arkansas together. Will you be traveling alone?" So DeCastro was indeed letting me choose.


"Until tomorrow Sheriff" She hung up. I held the phone for several seconds while I was deep in thought. As usual I was attempting to see two moves ahead of my opponent. Calibrating several plausible scenarios and outcomes of this situation. It was unlikely that this was trap of some sort. DeCastro would not benefit from my death. It was also very unlikely that he was expecting trouble. After the fight in New Orleans and Rhodes there were no Arkansas vampires from the old regime to speak of. What worried me was that he did not ask that Sookie accompany me. If it were me I would insisted upon it. Not that he could order such a thing because she was my wife. He did have the power to influence my choice. Then it occurred to me that perhaps he was subtlety trying to tell me something. The only thing that was certain was that DeCastro wanted to leave Victor out of Arkansas. Whatever the ploy Sookie would remain here. Instinct told me she would be safest here. I would ask Pam and Bill to watch over her. I would also call in Alcide. He owed me for letting him live. Her uncle would also be with her during the day. I dialed Pam's number.

"Eric" she answered

"Pam I am being sent to Arkansas tomorrow night" before I could say more she interjected.

"I'm coming over"

When Pam arrived I was still upstairs. She walked into my bedroom, retrieved my suitcase and began packing my things.

"What is it now?" She asked with a hint of sarcasm.

"I spoke with DeCastro he has asked me to go to Arkansas to 'brain storm' with some area sheriffs." Pam stopped and looked at me with a serious expression.

"When are we leaving" Truthfully there was no child as loyal as Pam. I could trust her to lead and to follow. I could trust her to kill and die for me. She would do so without any question and she would do so readily. Getting her to let me go into the unknown without her was a different matter entirely.

"You mean for me to remain here" she answered her question. I nodded. She gave me questioning look.

"I need you to watch over Sookie"

"We will bring her with us" She shrugged as if providing an obvious solution to a difficult query. I shook my head. Then I went over my conversation with the king with her, hoping to get a different perspective. She was thoughtful for several moments.

"I think you are the lesser of two evils" I nodded. That was my main thought as well.

She continued with my packing. I went to call the were.

"It would seem that we have a problem were" I skipped the pleasantries.

"What?" His voice held contempt and I really wished I could slap him to remind him of the order of things.

"You endangered my wife you filthy beast, you insult me and used her to do it." My voice was cold.

"She wanted to help"

"Do not take me for a fool Alcide. She is mine. I have been tolerant so you think I am weak. That will prove to be a vital error on your part." There was malice in voice. He sighed.

"Seeing you haven't done anything about it yet I assume you will call in the debt I owe." I smiled.

"Good boy." He growled. I was enjoying this. "For the next two weeks she will require three of your finest around the clock."

"What! I can't spear that."

"You can and you will. Whomever you send should keep close enough to watch and aid her if the need arises but they should remain unseen otherwise." Knowing Sookie she would invite them in and her whole house would stink of were filth for a month.

"Starting when?" He asked.

"Tomorrow night, and make no mistake that there had better no further incidents" The threat in my voice was implicit. I hung up. Then I called Compton, and instructed him to coordinate with Pam for Sookie's care in my absence. When I returned to my bedroom Pam had finished packing. I was grateful. That was a task I really did not like. I would be happier to buy what I needed when I got where I was going.

"Pam make the time you spend with Sookie feel as natural as possible" she raised an eyebrow at me.

"You mean make it feel more like a social call and less like guard duty" I nodded.

"Exactly I do not want to make her anxious needlessly" She nodded. Pam went back home to prepare for Fangtasia I did the same.

It was close to 2am when I arrived at my lover's home. The inside smelled strongly of fairy. I needed to talk to her but if she smelled anything like the rest of her home I would have a difficult time of it. Everything she did was beautiful. As she slept her hair was a river of golden tresses that framed her lovely face. I just watched as her chest rose and fell with her deep even breaths. I wanted her. I removed my clothes and joined her on the bed. I kissed her cheek softly. I trailed feather light kisses along her jaw to her ear. I whispered

"My lover" into her ear as I teased it with my tongue. She was not awake but her legs parted for me. Her juices were already flowing. Our bond was humming with want, both hers and mine. I couldn't help but smile. Her body knew my touch. I moved my kisses to her neck and gently caressed her breasts. Her nipples hardened almost immediately in response. I continued my trail down her body pulling up her night gown as I went. When I reached her navel she shivered.

"Eric" she moaned. She was awake now but only barely. I continued my descent past her curls and I kissed the inside of her thighs. By the time I reached her core her breathing had accelerated. I tasted her and she whimpered. My fingers and my tongue worked in unison and I felt her pleasure build. As I increased my speed she arched her back and threw her head back. I couldn't have any of that. I loved having her watch me as I drove her to the heights of pleasure. It has never been something I cared for until I made love to her.

"Look at me lover" She was panting and her eyes were wild.

"Am I dreaming?" she asked me.

"No Lover. I am here" I held her gaze for a moment then returned to making her writhe under me. She was close to her release. I drove my fangs into her femoral artery. She gasped and shook. My lips drank and my fingers eased out the aftershocks. After I closed her wound I turned her over on her stomach barely giving her a chance to catch her breath.

"Omigod, Eric" Just hearing her say my name like that did things to me that I cannot explain. She was pinned under me, she was helpless, and she was completely mine. I growled with the sheer delight of it all. I entered slowly, with every thrust I took myself deeper inside her. Her hands were outstretched in front of her clutching the sheets for all she was worth. I moved my hands from her waist, and dragged my fingers up her back to her shoulders and down her arms until our fingers were intertwined. I increased the speed and she moaned louder. I drove harder and I felt her orgasm build. Mine was right behind it.

"Eric" she screamed. We both shook with the force that rolled through our bodies. I dropped to her side to get my bearings. I held her close and waited for her breathing to return to normal. I was enjoying the moment.


"hmph" she was completely relaxed.

"I have to leave for Arkansas tomorrow night" She tensed up immediately.

"I'll come with you" I held her tighter to ease the anxiety I felt growing within her.

"No. You will be safer here. I may also be gone up to two weeks" She pushed my arm away. I let her. Then she sat up.

"What about you?" I smiled. Thankfully it was too dark for her eyes to see. She was worried about me and she was willing to come along to ensure my safety. The notion of her defending me was ridiculous. Maybe not ridiculous entirely I thought back to Rhodes, and her saving both me and DeCastro from Siegbert. She was just as fiercely protective of me as I was of her. Unfortunately the strength of her body did not match that of her heart. I rubbed her arm as I spoke.

"Lover this is a good thing" I was precariously close to lying with that statement. "DeCastro is showing me favor" She was quiet for a while.

"Will this help with the Victor problem?" I did not want to lie to her, but I was not about to tell her that this would fuel Victor's animosity towards me. I was not about to tell her that I was being used and I did not have a choice.

"It could" It was a response that eased her worries without stretching the truth.

"Come here" I pulled her back to me. Her mood had turned melancholy at the thought of our time apart. That must seem like a long time to her. My perception of time and its passing was different. For me two weeks was not even a blink of an eye but I knew I too would feel the separation no matter how short.

"I know lover I will miss you as well" She sighed and snuggled closer to me. She rose up and kissed me. I wanted to have her taste on my tongue. We made love again. We took our time, each giving the other a way to endure the time apart.


Chapter Six

My Fairy Spark and My Vampire Bond

When I woke up the next morning I was already missing Eric. When I looked at the nightstand there was a little note written in his perfect scrawl. His notes always put a smile on my face. It was something no else had ever done.

My lover,

I am finding it most difficult to leave the warmth of your bed. The taste of you is fresh on my tongue and my body can still feel your embrace. I know our time apart will be trying for us both.

I have asked Pam to keep you company while I am away. You should ask your uncle to do the same. I will return to you as soon as I am able.

I love you


Well if I didn't miss him before I do now, and my body was missing him too. I took that as incentive to go shower and cool my libido. Great I get to hang out with Pam. I wasn't being fair. I like Pam and I'm pretty sure she liked me too. She once complimented me by calling me her "favorite breather". If it didn't sound like a compliment then you didn't know Pam. I was just being surly. What was wrong with me? I am an independent woman. I am a Stackhouse for crying out loud. I've gone longer without seeing Eric even after the bond was made. Why was I acting so clingy? After my shower I put on a cup of coffee and decided to take Eric's advice and call Dermot. Hanging out with him was fun and from the way my day was going I needed it. It just occurred to me that I didn't have a phone number for Dermot. I decided to call Claude's home number. Even if Dermot wasn't there I could still rip into Claude. I still owed him for scaring Dermot. After the fourth ring I was getting ready to hang up then Dermot answered.

"Sookie" He sounded happy to hear from me.

"Hi Uncle" I was still feeling glum and it must have leaked into my voice, he picked up on it right away. One minute he was on the phone with me. The next he was standing with me in my kitchen.

"What is the matter?" Apparently he felt no need to address the fact that he just popped into my kitchen mid phone call. Honestly I don't think I would ever get use to fairies doing that. Maybe I was just jealous of all the money they got to save on gas. I finally got over the shock of seeing him there.

"Nothing" I answered. Even to my own ears I knew I didn't sound believable. He sat on the chair beside me and took my hand as if I left my sentence unfinished. I no longer gave it a thought when he held my hand. I had become use to it, not only that I welcomed it.

"I was just calling to see if you were free. I'm going to have more free time during the evenings because Eric is going away for the next two weeks." I was staring at my cup of coffee on the table. I felt like a cry baby. I have spent countless days and evenings alone. Why was I reacting so strongly? Eric wasn't even gone yet I could feel the only distance between us was the usual amount from Bon Temp to Shreveport. Since we officially got together after the takeover this would be the longest we've been apart. I guess I was no longer use to being alone. Dermot squeezed my hand.

"Say no more" He flicked his free hand and a stack of clothes appeared on the kitchen table. They were neatly folded and accompanied by a bag of toiletries. My mouth was catching flies. I felt like I was entitled because I have never seen a fairy do that before. My brain was trying to make sense of what I just saw. He just shrugged

"A convenience" He got up and gathered his clothes and headed for the upstairs bedroom. When he came down I offered him a cup of coffee. He wrinkled his nose and declined. I laughed at the face he made.

"You don't like coffee"

"I cannot believe anyone does" he was looking at me as I sipped happily.

"It's an acquired taste" I remember when I was little I thought it was pretty nasty tasting stuff.

"Even if I live forever I do not see myself acquiring a taste for that" he pointed at it in distaste. I laughed.

"Do you work today?" He asked. I nodded.


"We will begin your training today unless you are otherwise engaged." Well I set myself up for that one. I nodded and offered him some orange juice and we had a light breakfast. Then we headed into the yard and sat in direct light of the morning sun.

"Before we can attempt any magic we must strengthen your spark; to strengthen it you must first locate it within yourself". Color me confused.

"Close your eyes and breathe. Concentrate only on the feel of the sun on your skin". He waited as I complied and waited a few more minutes after that.

"Now search inside yourself sift through all that makes you who you are: your name, your character, everything" I didn't know exactly what I was looking for but I complied and began looking. I found Sookie the telepath, Sookie the lover, Sookie the fighter.

"Good" Dermot said but his voice sounded far away. Then I felt it. Under all that I was there was a dull glowing sensation. It pulsed but its beat was separate from my heart. It was slower, much slower. It was something other.

"Stay with it if you can" I tried to do as he said but to put it mildly it felt impossible. It felt like I was being torn in two. My body couldn't follow both beats. The internal glowing was too slow for me to sync it with my breathing. When I tried my breathing became labored and I lost the feel of it completely. My eyes snapped open, I was sweaty and I was panting. Dermot watched with a mixed expression on his face. He waited for me to get my breathing back to normal.

"That was remarkable" He was just being nice because I was at it less than 15 minutes.

"I don't think I did anything" I told him. He shook his head.

"You are not supposed to be able to locate your spark on your first day. At best I was expecting you to get a general idea of where and how to look, it is different for everyone."

"Really?" he nodded. That was encouraging. All of a sudden it felt less impossible.

"Can we go again?" He raised his eyebrow in question.

"Are you able? I do not want you to over exert yourself." I shook my head and used my shirt to pat my face dry.

"Okay from the beginning then" I repeated the steps. It was easier to find it now that I knew what I was looking for and the gist of how to find it. It was like that little bit of fairy in me housed the spark but it was buried underneath everything human that made me, me. It was a matter of unwrapping it all.

"Stay with it as long as you are able" I tried but I ran into the same problem. I couldn't dance to both tunes. I was only getting brief glimpses and quick flashes of it. I had the same end result.

"I can't keep hold of it" I told him in frustration.

"Patience. It is only your first day and your second try." I had a petulant look on my face. He smiled and patted my arm.

"You must understand you are trying merge and maintain a pulse separate from your beating heart. It is something completely unfamiliar to the rest of you. Right now it is not strong so it is difficult." I nodded. He went inside and got me a drink and a towel. It was ridiculous that I was this sweaty without physical activity. We took a break.

"Since you are eager I think we should try the next step" I was confused I didn't have firm grip on step one, in fact I was struggling. I told him so.

"When you located your spark the glow was dull and the pulse was very weak was it not?" I nodded.

"The next step will allow you to channel some of your body's actual energy into it. This must be done gradually." He gave me a serious look "Pull too much from your body to fuel your spark, and your body may fail you. This can endanger your life". I was immediately apprehensive.

"We do not have to do this today" I shook my head and found my nerve. Dermot thought I could do this. I wanted to prove to the both of us that I could.

"Let's try" My resolve was strong despite the caution that my brain was shouting at me.

"Begin" When I got the first sighting Dermot spoke.

"Breathe deeply; steady the rhythm of your heart." It took a few minutes but I did as he said. He reached for my wrist and left his hand there as if he were taking my pulse.

"Focus on your spark, now use your next breath to fuel it" That sounded absurd. My body only knew one thing to do with air. I tried to link my next intake of oxygen to that small part of me. I was attempting to create a kind of pathway. Nothing happened. So I did it again, and a few more times. Nothing, I went to open my eyes but my eye lids felt like they weighed a ton.

"Sookie!" Dermot was calling me I could tell he was panicking. His voice sounded blurred and so far away. I felt a sting on my cheek and my eyes snapped open. I was lying on my back and Dermot was kneeling at my head. Then I realized what happened. I had over done it.

"Sookie" He looked anxious. He sat me up and began pouring some orange juice down my throat. I drank then I was able to sit on my own volition.

"I'm sorry" I told him

"No the fault is mine. I should not have pushed you so hard" He was looking at me. When I tried to get up he stopped me. Then after a few minutes he took my pulse.

"I feel better" I told him. He let go of my wrist but kept giving me cautious looks every now and then. We just sat there.

"What happened?" I asked him

"You were supposed to use one breath but you used several and you fainted" I got a clear picture of what I did wrong. For every breath I sent to the spark none reached my lungs. I didn't even notice myself getting dizzy or lightheaded. One minute I was focusing on the task at hand the next I couldn't open my eyes.

"Did it work?" he nodded

"I believe so" That was exciting. I would have preferred not to pass out but at least now I knew what I did wrong. There was no damage and I actually got some results my first time around. I wanted to go back to see and feel the difference for myself. When I closed my eyes Dermot said,

"No, that is enough for today" His voice was firm.

"I just want to feel the difference" I gave him a reassuring smile. He looked uncomfortable but nodded. I repeated the steps and found it in no time at all. Not because I had gotten use to the process but its presence was just more noticeable. The pulse was a tad stronger and the light was a smidgen brighter. A grin spread across my face I couldn't help it. This was something I thought was impossible a half hour ago. Dermot pulled me off the ground and we headed inside. He suggested I rest and eat again. After my shower I had a light snack and curled up with a book to relax. Before I knew it I was asleep. When I woke up Dermot was in the living room with me and he was reading a book. He smiled at me.

"Feeling better?"

"Much better thank you" I had a couple of question for him. There was a lot I still didn't understand about this whole thing.

"Will I always have to fuel my spark like that?" The thought of trying not to pass out while under some kind of attack was daunting. He closed his book and folded his legs under him.

"No you have to fuel it now because throughout your whole life it has laid dormant. Eventually when it becomes strong enough it will match the beat of your heart and it will become just as natural as anything else your body does" I nodded.

"Did you have to do this too?" He nodded.

"Yes being half human my own training was different from that of a full blooded Fae" He looked uncomfortable so I didn't want to press him for the details. I guess he was still having a hard time reconciling the two parts of his origin. Oddly enough I could understand that I have always had a very hard time dealing with the fact that I was telepathic. To me it has always been a disability while others referred to it as a gift.

"Will I be as strong as a full blooded Fae" He was quiet for a few seconds trying to word his response.

"A full blooded fairy will always have an advantage over us" He pointed to himself and then me. "but it is different for everyone. Some people are more skilled at certain aspects of magic than others. With my father it is shielding. With Fintan it was cloaking, with me it's summoning no full blooded Fairy could best us there. With you, who knows?" I nodded. That made sense not everybody was good at the same things. It also made sense that a full blooded Fae would trump me. Given that their magic was in their spark and I just discovered mine this morning.

"What will you do while I'm at work?" He shrugged. I felt bad. There wasn't really much to do at my house I didn't want him to be bored.

"I will see you there and then maybe return to Claude. He may need me"

"You don't have to do that" It was silly for him to come with me to Merlottes just to turn around and leave once I was in the door. He shook his head.

"With your Eric gone and you out at night I am afraid I must insist" It made me feel good that he wasn't referring to Eric as my Vampire. He didn't seem to have the same aversion to Vampires most fairies did. You couldn't blame them though. The scent of a fairy alone was intoxicating to a vampire. They were drawn to fairies like alcoholics to a drink.

"Okay if you insist" he beamed at me. Then I got an idea.

"If we leave early enough I could swing you past the video store I'm sure you can find all types of Sci-fi movies" It would give him something to do that he would enjoy. His face lit up and he looked so much like Jason.

I was pulling into Merlottes for my shift. Dermot insisted on walking me in. Before he poofed away he said, he would come to 'collect' me when I got off and I was to wait for him inside. He looked a little tense and I didn't know what to make of it. Maybe he was just a worrier or maybe my stories were still troubling him. I agreed to wait for him even though I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. If I was being honest with myself it felt good to have someone care about me the way he did. It wasn't the highhanded kind of care Eric provided that usual involved a life or death dilemma. He was just fussing over me. My shift started at 5 it wasn't too busy in the bar tonight. Around 8:15 I began feeling off. I ignored it thinking it was just the effects of my day. The feeling grew it was like a flurry of butterflies in my stomach but with the force of a whirlwind. Physically I was fine the origin of the feeling was emotional. I couldn't pinpoint why I was feeling this way. Maybe I really missed Eric. Maybe he was in trouble. I focused on the bond to find any sign of anxiety. Then I saw what was happening to me. It wasn't me missing Eric or Eric missing me it was the actual bond itself reacting to the distance that was growing within itself. After another 15 minutes I had to run to the back. The feeling intensified and it had spread. It was now like a black hole in my chest and I felt it creeping to other parts of my body. The feeling was pulling me away from here. It was compelling me to go to Eric. The force of it actually made me cry out a little. I knew I was scared. I knew I was panicking. I had to be but those feelings didn't register. This compulsion was dominating the bond it was dominating all parts of me. Tears were falling down my cheeks and I crumpled on the floor and brought my knees to my chest willing my body to remain where it was. I was barely in control. What was happening to me? The two desires were impossible to reconcile and I shook with the force of it as they tried. Someone came in and I felt hands on my shoulders giving me a slight shake.

"Sookie are you alright?" Sam's voice was worried. What kind of question was that? If I was alright would I be on the floor? I just shook my head in response. I had no voice.

"What's wrong?" I wanted to tell him I was going crazy, that my body was no longer mine. Before I could answer he turned towards the door, and then a second later I saw Pam.

"Sookie you look terrible" She had a slight smile on her face. That Pam you just gotta love her. With her presence the feeling dulled, it was still there but it was no longer crippling.

"What's wrong with her?" Sam's voice held an accusation.

"Step aside shifter" The sharp edge in her voice contradicted her Alice in wonderland outfit. Sam was smart enough to do as she asked. She came and sat on the floor next to me.

"Do you have nothing else to do?" She wasn't even looking at Sam as she spoke. He ignored her.

"Sook are you okay?" I looked at him and managed a weak version of my panicked smile and nodded. I knew he would stay if he thought I needed it but I also knew he had my tables to tend to. When he left Pam wrapped an arm around me and pulled me close to her and began rubbing my arm. This was seriously wrong. Pam was not one for affection her favorite past time was a good fight and maybe some torture. It further eased the feeling in my stomach so I kept quiet. After some time I eased out of my ball and I felt more in control of my body.

"What's wrong with me Pam?" Now that the feeling had subsided mostly I was now sound minded enough speak.

"Eric" She said. I looked at her and waited for her to explain. She shrugged.

"It would appear that your bond is much deeper than he anticipated" Oh hell I didn't know there were different levels I just figured a bond was a bond and that's all there was to it. How scared should I be that Eric couldn't take a trip to the next state over without me falling apart? I really wished he had explained this to me before he left. At least that way I could have anticipated the onslaught.

"So here I am playing medium" She said dryly. I didn't fully understand what she meant.

"Sheesh Pam I thought we were friends. Don't sound so excited" That got a smile out of her. She was no longer rubbing my arm but her arm was still around me. Then she stood and looked down at me.

"I need to get to Fangtasia, I will come and see you again tomorrow night" Then she reached down and gave me a kiss on my head.

"Do try and control yourself" She gave me a smirk and she was gone.


Chapter Seven

Push and Pull

The feeling never fully left. During the daylight hours it was easiest to handle. Pam had explained that Eric couldn't call out to me while he rested. By first dark I would start aching again. Just like the first night Pam would come and have to sit with me. I felt helpless and to be honest it was embarrassing. For the next couple of days this was the routine. Sometimes she would come and see me before she went to Fangtasia. Other times she would stop by Merlotte's if I had to work. On the particularly bad nights she would come back and lie with me after Fangtasia. She drew a line at having to stay in the hidey hole. Surprisingly she was a good sport about this whole thing. She kept her ribbing to a minimum. It didn't sound like much but for someone who enjoyed teasing the way she did it was a grand gesture. We passed the time like two gal pals. She told me stories from her human life. They made me agree with her assessment that she was made for the vampire life. I told her about my job and some of the crazy characters I dealt with. We watched movies. She enjoyed Dermot's Sci-Fi selections but she also liked my classics. After a full week of this we had found a comfortable rhythm. I felt like I was getting to see a different side of Pam. One of the things I never noticed before was how much she behaved like Eric to a certain degree.

"This wouldn't be as bad if he had just shared you with me from the beginning." She said while leering at me. I rolled my eyes. She was definitely Eric's child. Usually when she came around Dermot would leave. Even though he was only half Fae it was still enough to entice Pam. We continued with my training during the day. It was getting easier. I never passed out again and my spark was growing stronger. He was still holding off on showing me actual magic. Dermot still insisted on seeing me to and from work both during my day and night shifts. Between the bond going crazy and being chaperoned everywhere I was starting to feel trapped.

Late one night while Pam was sitting with me we heard a blaring howl. Immediately I knew it was a werewolf. Pam flashed to the door.

"Stay inside" she ordered. Then she disappeared into the night. I looked out the window trying to get a sense of what was happening but I couldn't see anything. The suspense was making me uneasy. I heard more howling then Dermot popped into the house. The first thing I felt was relief. Then I got a really good look at him. He was dressed in black from top to bottom. There was a belt slung across his chest. It was tan and it had a pretty silver buckle. From behind his back I could see the hilt of a silver sword. Usually his appearance was just as immaculate as any other fairy. Right now there was debris in his hair; there was dirt and blood on his clothes as well as his hands. Fear froze me in place.

"Dermot what happened?" My voice sounded a bit strangled. Before he could answer Pam came through the door. Neither of them looked as alarmed as I felt.

"What's going on?" I had turned to Pam now, but it was Dermot who answered.

"There have been wolves following you" That was a seriously scary revelation. The only wolves I knew not to be afraid of were the Shreveport pack. Only they wouldn't be following me. He folded his arms across his chest and looked at Pam. Her face was an odd mixture of amusement and irritation.

"It would appear you uncle is a shoot first ask questions later kind of fairy" Pam and her sarcasm.

"I did not know their intent. When I approached them they attacked. I may have killed one" He looked upset. I walked over to him and patted his arm. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what he was upset about. He defended himself against some wolves that were following me. This didn't bother me in the slightest especially after they made their intent very clear when they attacked him.

"The wolves were from the Shreveport pack, they were assigned to keep watch over you per Eric's request" Pam said. My mouth was hanging open in shock. My uncle may have killed one of wolves in Alcide's pack. Her face was now its usual mask of calm. It was a good bet that they confused him for Coleman. In his plan to have me sent to prison he had involved some members of the pack. Which got one killed and exposed two others for traitors.

"You should have told her" Dermot said to Pam. I was trying to make sense of this. Why wouldn't Eric tell me if I had something to worry about? How did he ever get Alcide to go along with this? It now made sense that my uncle insisted on seeing me to and from work. The feeling of being trapped erupted when Pam shrugged at Dermot's comment and I lost it.

"You both should have told me. I'm not a kid. If I should be worried I deserve to know. It's my life" I was so mad I could spit.

"It was just a precaution there was no credible threat" Pam said casually

"There was reason enough to have wolves running in my back yard. I should have known why" I was fuming.

"I did not want to frighten you" Dermot told me. I fixed my glare at him.

"Look at what happened instead" Pam had a look that said 'so what?' A nearly dead were was of no consequence to her. It was unreasonable for me to think she should care, but they were here because of Eric. They had all even fought on the same side once before. Was it so hard for her to even fake that she cared? Vampires.

"I have committed a blood offense" Dermot said. That sounded familiar.

"What does that mean again?"

"It means your uncle owes the pack blood" Pam gave him a look of longing as she spoke "and they will come for it" She still looked as nonchalant as ever. That thought didn't bother her either because I was pretty sure she wouldn't mind draining Dermot herself. I was horrified.

"It was an accident, he didn't know" My anger was completely gone and my voice had become hushed with fear for my uncle.

"That is irrelevant" Dermot said. He was looking down at me. Again he didn't look as scared as I felt. That scared me even more.

This whole thing was just a misunderstanding due to a great big lack of communication by my vampires and my uncle. I would just call Alcide and we would straighten this out. If not in the name of our friendship then I would call in the favor he owed. After all I was a friend of the pack that had to count for something. Because blood offense or not there was no way he was going near Dermot.

I headed into my bedroom for my cell phone. When I came back out into the living room Dermot was gone and Pam was sitting in a chair. It worried me until I heard him in the hall bathroom. Then I took a seat and dialed Alcide's number. He picked up on the second ring.

"Alcide its Sookie, I'm so sorry about what happened" Despite the fact that my aim was to get Dermot off the hook I was still saddened that someone from his pack was hurt.

"Sorry, is that what you called to say to me Sookie. Well sorry isn't enough" I knew he would be angry I mean who wouldn't be, but his words were coming out in a growl.

"Alcide it was an accident" I was trying to reach him but he was beyond reason. Maybe it was not smart to call him now.

"No Sookie. I want his head" My temper flared to match his.

"That's not going to happen" My voice was icy. "You can just forget it"

"Your Vamp sends us to watch your back and then your friend attacks us" He was shouting at me. That didn't make sense. How did Eric pull that off? Vampires and Weres didn't get along. Eric and Alcide were no exception. Every now and then they would be forced to work together. Even then the alliance was rancorously (previous word of the day).

"Since when did you start taking orders from Eric?"

"I owed him a debt because you acted as shaman for us" His explanation was more leveled but I could tell he was still pretty gone. There goes the ace in the hole I thought I had. Eric's highhandedness should not surprise me seeing that he tricked me into marrying him. Every time he pulled something like this it was usually for my protection. Then I thought back to our conversation the night before he left. He only said I would be safer here he didn't go into any other details. Eric doesn't lie to me. He just didn't tell me everything. In this case he was being his usual bossy self. I still can't believe he would do this without letting me know. I glared at Pam. She looked bored. Then I took a deep breath to calm myself.

"Who got hurt?" I asked him.

"Sid" I remembered Sid. I met him the night the pack ambushed Hallow and Mark. He seemed nice enough. He didn't treat me with the same hostility that some were's directed at humans who associate with Vampires.

"I'm sorry Alcide I really am. Will he be alright?" I sincerely hoped he would be.

"I don't know. There's silver in his blood. I'm headed to the hospital right now." That was the only thing Vampires and Werewolves had in common. Silver was both their weaknesses. I heard him exhale I was glad that he was trying to reign in his temper. I took advantage of his calm.

"Alcide you know I wouldn't set any of you up to get hurt. This was a misunderstanding." He was quiet for some time.

"I know" At least he believed that much. I took that as a sign that I hadn't completely lost his trust.

"I'll call when we know more and we can go from there" I closed my eyes in relief.

"Okay" He hung up. Dermot had made his way out of the bathroom by end of my conversation.

"Perhaps you should inform your Eric" Possessiveness seemed to be a common thing amongst the super natural. Normally I really resented the fact but the way Dermot said it gave me a voyeuristic thrill. It was probably because for once it was the other way around. I wasn't being referred to as 'his human' or 'his bonded' he was being referred to as mine. I can see the allure in it now. My Eric.

"No. Eric cannot afford any distractions" Pam said to him

I fully agreed with her. Eric was alone in Arkansas doing God knows what for the king. I didn't want him worrying about me. This was something I could handle on my own. Plus I got the feeling it would be better if I handled it. Eric wouldn't show appropriate sympathy for the situation consequently making the whole thing worse.

"She's right" I told Dermot. He nodded. Pam got up and went to the door.

"I need to return to Fangtasia" She turned and gave Dermot a hungry look. He grinned at her. That exchange was really peculiar. After she was gone Dermot came and sat in the chair she vacated. He seemed to be breathing in her scent. Then he turned to me.

"Are you still angry with me?"

"No" I said in huff it was true I wasn't angry. He arched an eyebrow at me in disbelief and it almost made me smile. The expression looked so out of place on his face.

"I just hate not having a say in what happens in my life" There were so many things I had no control over, like my own body as of late, or like Victor wanting to kill me. So many things I didn't have a say in, my marriage to Eric; the intensity of our bond. That's what I was really angry about. He nodded in understanding.

"I can feel the love he has for you. It is unusual for those who are dead to feel this strongly for those who are living" Great he was siding with Eric and his actions. My temper was starting to surface again. I wasn't expecting an apology but I sure as hell wasn't expecting this. "Even that one" he pointed to the door to illustrate Pam "She loves you too" that halted my anger in its tracks. I was dumbfounded. Me and Pam were familiar enough that I was sure she wouldn't kill me or if she did I was sure she wouldn't enjoy it, but love? He smiled.

"The immortal do not show love the way humans do. It may seem condescending to you but it is a means to preserve that which is already ephemeral. Too often the object of their affections becomes their greatest weakness" By the time he finished speaking his smile was gone, his voice was solemn and his blue eyes were boring into mine. He was trying to get me to understand Eric's actions as well as his. But the warning in his statement was impossible to miss. Pam had said something similar to that before. She told me when Eric was worried about me he doesn't act like he should. The very first time Eric saved my life we weren't even together. Every time I have needed it he has been there. In this moment of clarity I also saw that every time he acted to protect me he was incurring the brunt of the attack that was meant for me. I have never thought of it that way. Maybe I was too blind or too inconsiderate to see it or maybe he did a very good job appearing strong in my presence. Right now it's Victor if we survive him it would undoubtedly be someone else. He would die because of me, so would Pam and every other vampire that was loyal to him. Eric needed to see he didn't have to worry about me.



"Tomorrow I want to start working with swords" Then I turned and went to bed.


Chapter Eight

Two Big Problems

The next morning when I got dressed I pulled on workout clothes. Dermot wasn't awake yet. While I waited for my coffee I began making our breakfast. Before I was done Dermot was sitting at the kitchen table. He said good morning by way of a nod and a smile. I returned the gesture.

"You are certain then?" It took me a second to realize what he was talking about. Then he fanned his hand at my ensemble. I gave him a hard nod.

"Why?" His expression was hard to read. I decided to go with the truth. It was ugly but I wasn't going to sugar coat it to him. Mainly because I didn't want him or anyone else sugar coating anything for me. I explained to him where my resolve came from. Starting with the very first time Eric saved me and every time since then. He only interrupted me to ask me exactly when Eric became mine (again I got that thrill from him referring to Eric as mine). When I was done speaking he seemed deep in thought. A sword in a sheath appeared out of thin air to Dermot's right. There was a belt attached to the sheath. It had a little silver buckle it looked exactly like the one Dermot had last night. He absently reached for it and placed it on the table. Obviously he was expecting it. This was the second time I've seen him do this so it took less time for me to recover.

"This belonged to Fintan" He ran his hands over the sheath. There was really nothing I could say so I just stared.

"It is enchanted" Of course. With the supernatural nothing could just be as it appeared.

"My father worried about him because he was slow to use force. Even when it was necessary" His face fell again like it always did when he talked about his twin. I knew what he was thinking even without having access to his mind.

"A part of my father's spark along with Fintan's own blood is housed in this sword. It carries its own power and skill separate from his" He was speaking in a matter of fact tone while I was left reeling. Magic wasn't something I just encountered. But this was on a whole new level.

"It will only obey Fintan's blood." What he was telling me was very interesting but I had no idea why I needed to know it. He was looking at me intently.

"I wish for you to have it if it will have you" Maybe I misunderstood what he was telling me.

"You just said it will only obey Fintan" He nodded

"Yes. It has refused me as well" The more he talked the less sense he was making. If the sword refused its owners twin brother, why would he think it would choose his grandchild? He held the tip of the sheath and began to shake the sword free of it. That was a weird way to go about it. When the sword was finally free I fought the urge to gasp. It was beautiful and really, really shiny. It was almost glowing. It was maybe the length of my arm from shoulder to wrist. There was some kind of writing down the middle from hilt to tip. Since fairies were deathly allergic to iron I assumed the blade was made of silver (to suit vampires that wanted to eat the). The hilt was a kind of metal I couldn't even begin to identify. It had a bluish tint that looked natural. I just stared at it. I wanted to turn it over to see what the other side looked like. But when I reached my hand out Dermot stopped me.

"It rejects forcefully" I immediately pulled my hand back. Right it was an enchanted sword. I shot a wary glance at it. Then I looked at Dermot. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pretty little pocket knife. He raised his left hand over the blade and made a small cut on his little finger. When a drop of his blood hit the blade it fizzled and evaporated. It was the same effect you got when you dropped a small amount of water on a searing hot surface. That was another thing I have never seen before. At some point all this would stop surprising me. As of right now my mouth just hung open. This didn't surprise him I think he did it for my benefit. He extended his hand out to me. I wasn't scared exactly. More like I was really cautious. There was nothing wrong with having a healthy amount of respect for a sword that could hurt you on its own accord.

"This is the least painful way. Trust me" I took the necessary steps to get close enough to him to give him my left hand. Because I was pretty sure he had found out first hand just how forcefully the sword refuses. My hand was shaky. I had an immense urge to yank my hand back and bolt. Instead I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. The sting in my index finger was no more than a tiny pin prick. As he held my wound over the blade I held my breath. We both watched as the first drop of my blood fell. When it landed it was absorbed. I was still holding my breath because I wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad thing. Dermot gave my finger a little squeeze and more droplets of blood fell and they too were absorbed. I turned to look at him and the look on his face was exultant. He released my finger and I took that as a sign that I could breathe.

"It has chosen you" He told me with a huge smile. I wasn't sure about the proper emotion to convey. But Dermot looked excited enough for the both of us so I didn't worry too much.

"Pick it up" I trusted Dermot fully, but I just didn't want to go picking up a selective enchanted sword whether or not it 'chose' me.

"It will not harm you. I swear" He seemed completely sanguine. With one more apprehensive glance at my Uncle I reached down and picked up my grandfather's sword. It didn't feel as cold as metal should feel. And it was really light.

"What is it made of?" I was turning it over carefully in my hand. The writing on the blade was present on both sides. I assumed the writing was done in the native language of fairies.

"Silver and sky metal" he told me. Seeing I have never heard of sky metal I just assumed it was an element that could only be found in Faery. I ran my hands over the writing and examined it closer. When I looked up Dermot was looking at me with profound emotion. "What?"

"You are so much like Fintan. More so that anyone else that carries his blood otherwise it would not have chosen you" He was still smiling brightly I was happy that it didn't make him sad. After examining it I returned it to the sheath. We had breakfast and Dermot was practically giddy.

"It will be good sport for me. I do not have to hold back when we train" When he said that I almost chocked on my coffee. He patted my back.

"That substance is quite foul" He mused as I was still coughing to clear my airways.

"It's not my coffee it's you!" I was staring at him in disbelief. He handed me a sword five minutes ago and thinks I'm his equal. No amount of magic could make that true. I was human and he really should not forget that. He looked confused.

"Of course you still have to go easy on me" I was almost yelling. When he understood my problem he laughed blithely and waved me off.

"We shall see" He just kept right on eating. After breakfast we headed into the back yard. We began with my usual magic training. He told me i would be ready to attempt some actually magic very soon. After a half hour of that he pulled me off the ground. He stood facing me. Then he began speaking.

"The most important aspect of wielding any blade is footing. Your footing determines your balance; it determines the strength of your attack; and it helps brace your blade to absorb a blow" If I had never witnessed the fight in New Orleans I would have looked at this as a waste of time and invested in a new shot gun. The truth was when it came to the supernatural it was always close combat. So I listened intently as he spoke. Seeing this was his favorite part of fairy training I figured he was having a good time.

"Given your slight form you must depend on precision because you lack brute strength. Mainly you will learn how to use your opponents own force against them" That made sense considering I had never been bigger or stronger than any attacker I ever had. I nodded. My calm was surprising. Despite the fact that I made a firm decision I still expected to feel some anxiety. There was none.

"Today we will walk through basic steps" We began with him teaching me how to attain solid footing. He showed me the proper way to distribute my weight on my legs. Dermot was an excellent teacher. He encouraged me a lot and took the time to explain if I did anything wrong. "Think of it as dancing" he told me. That was something I could acclimate this to. "It will make your movements fluid and easier to recall" We just walked through basic footing for some time. Then he used his hands to simulate attacks and I used mine to deflect them while maintaining proper footing. When he moved his feet I moved mine to compensate the distance between us. From far away we really could have looked like we were dancing. The footing changed from offense to defense. There was the length of his arm between us. When I simulated attacking him my aim was to get in his personal space. Our movements were opposing but still in sync. Of course his movements were like water. But towards the end of my lesson my feet and my hands were moving together in tune. Before we went inside I did some stretches I learned from JB during my physical therapy sessions.

As I was pulling into the employee parking lot I was totally unaware that the sun had set. The force of my bond hit me like a ton of bricks. It knocked air out of lungs and I was gasping. Once I got my breathing back to normal I just focused on it. Pam was coming. I locked myself in the car brought my knees to my chest and locked my arms around them tightly. Tears were escaping my eyes. I had no idea how much time had passed. But the pull got worse. It was just like the very first night but where was Pam? The contents of my purse fell to the ground as I fished inside it for my phone. According to the time I had been in the car for an hour. Normally I would be mad at myself for being this late for work especially without a phone call. Right now I couldn't even spare the mental energy for guilt. I dialed Pam's number with shaky hands. Usually I would have hesitated before calling Pam for help. Again I wasn't myself so I didn't think twice. Her cell rang and went to voicemail. Then I got scared. I was scared that Pam wasn't coming and scared that something had happened to her. My body was shaking with tremors that began in my chest and fanned throughout the rest of me. I began sobbing and I was angry and I had no idea why. What I was feeling reminded of the night Ocella came to my house. My senses were completely confused because of the different signals it was receiving.

"Eric" I whispered. I was wishing more than anything that he could hold me. I kept calling his name. Is this what it is like to be a Reinfield? Is that what I was now? If Eric died would I spend the rest of my life like this? I didn't get a chance to ponder my bond further. The strong yearning that I was feeling was turning into pain. That emotional pain was becoming physical. My hands flew to my stomach and I clutched it as pain rippled through me. It felt like I had been punched square in my gut. I clenched my teeth and doubled over in pain. I was too worn by the physical and emotional pain. So the knock on my window didn't startle me in fact I barely heard it. I turned my face towards the window it was Pam. The second I unlocked the door she opened it and carried me out of the driver's seat. She managed all my weight on her own because I was still in my little ball. She sat us in the backseat of the car. Her back was against the door and she rested my back to her chest. My head was nestled under hers and one of her arms was wrapped around my stomach. Her other hand was brushing my hair back (maybe Pam did love me). Everyone who knew me would tell you that you would never catch Sookie Stackhouse cuddled up like this with another woman. But Pam's contact was like a breath after being submerged under water for too long. It provided relief so sweet that I just closed my eyes. I didn't care who saw. This time it took a lot longer for me to even begin to get control. So we just sat there in silence.

"I am sorry" She said. It was less than a whisper. And I was sure that if the lot wasn't so quiet and my ears weren't so close to her lips I wouldn't have heard her. Then my previous question and concern came back to mind. Before I could voice it she spoke again.

"You will come with me to Fangtasia this evening" Something was definitely wrong. One of the things I noticed about both Pam and Eric was that when there was a problem they became bossier.

"What happened?" She didn't answer me right away probably deciding how much to say.

"Two nights after Eric left Victor came into Fangtasia looking for him. He knew good and well where Eric was but he presumed that I would tell him why" There was a sneer in her voice. I knew Pam. She wasn't telling Victor diddly squat.

"I told him Eric was on an errand for his king. And if he wanted to know more he was to contact Nevada directly because I knew nothing further of the matter" Victor should have known better. "He was also having my home watched. So he noticed I left at first dark every night, and I wasn't coming back home to rest on other nights" I felt guilty Pam was with me on those nights. "He came to my home this evening to stall whatever he thought I was up to" In that moment I would have given anything to have him dead. This was the second time he had prolonged my pain by keeping help from coming. What was his problem? Why couldn't he just leave us alone? We were quiet for some time after that.

"Are you well now?" I had eased out of my ball and I was feeling better. Well as good as I was going to feel with an out of control blood bond. I nodded and pulled away. She deftly maneuvered out of the car. I followed. Pam was looking around the parking lot then her back stiffened and her nostrils flared. I looked but my senses were nowhere near as keen as hers. She pulled me slightly behind her. At lighting speed she slipped a dagger from her ankle and put it in the back of my shorts. She gave me a pointed look. It was the same look she gave me when we killed Corrina and Bruno. I was getting ready to panic but I didn't get time. From the darkness I saw a figure emerging. As it got closer I identified it as Victor Madden.

"Twice in one night Victor, I am honored" Pam gave a deep nod of her head. Even facing the man who could kill us all Pam couldn't help but sprinkle her voice with a hint of sarcasm.

Victor came uncomfortably close and gave a smile and nodded. All the while he was surveying the area around him. He wasn't as creepy as Andre. But he was scarier I think it was the way he was always smiling. I remembered the happy way he talked about burning down my house and killing all the sheriffs of the old regime. So being this close to him in a dark parking lot was very unsettling to say the least.

"Yes I forgot to mention something earlier" Bullshit. His whole bad memory routine was getting old. That's the same excuse he used to keep Eric chained up while I was being tortured. He didn't get what he was after so he followed her here hoping to find out something.

"Mrs. Northman it is a pleasure to see you again" I gave him a look that could kill. My glare as well as Pam's sarcasm was probably unwise. But I couldn't help myself.

"Oh right" he looked thoroughly chastised. He was there the night Eric tricked me into our marriage. He even added his own two cents while we argued. He saw my initial reaction and knew damn well I did not want to be referred to as Mrs. Northman. Then he turned to Pam his usual smile was on his face.

"I require the services of Ms. Stackhouse" He said my name with deliberation as if to show me he had learned the error of his ways. If I didn't know he sent Bruno and Corrina to Kill Pam and me I may have been less disgusted with his innocent façade.

"I have no objection" Pam said. Her voice was calm bordering on uninterested. That made me anxious. I was hoping her reply would be along the lines of 'hell no' or 'go to hell'. I risked a glance at Pam and her face was that smooth mask again. Victors smile grew. "But of course you are aware you will need to contact her husband" She added. Hah. I saw where Pam was going. Victor couldn't reach Eric right now and he couldn't take me anywhere without Eric's permission. Normally I resented that fact. But right now it was keeping me from going anywhere with Victor. Which was just fine by me. Being married to Eric had its advantages. My head was going back and forth between the two of them like I was watching a tennis match. So when she said that I immediately saw Victors smile waver. "And as I told you he is away on an errand for his King" Victor was no longer smiling. In fact I thought he was going to attack us. But then his carefree smile returned.

"Yes I recall that" Oh so his memory was fine now. "You will have the sheriff contact me upon his return" Pam gave a stiff nod. And just like that he left as quickly and as quietly as he had come. Pam watched him go and the farther away he got the more she relaxed.

"Do you think we could have been able to take him?" I asked out of morbid curiosity. After all we held our own against Corrina and Bruno. I guess I wanted to see what my odds of surviving another attack with Pam would be. She was staring off into the distance still. But I saw the corners of her lips pull into a smile. "I would have met my final death in your defense" Her answer wasn't what I was expecting. And it certainly didn't match the smile on her face. Should I be scared or touched? I had no idea.

"Come" she began walking towards the door and I followed.