So, this is the end of this story. I want to thank everyone that has stuck with me through Only Human and Where We Belong, especially those who have reviewed and messaged me. Your kind words have honestly made this possible; Without them I would have given up long ago.
I think I'll try to write another story. I'm not sure what it will be about or if it will be in the Trueblood realm, but that probably won't be until the early fall, so please watch out for that! If you have any suggestions or requests please let me know. As always, I look forward to hearing what you think! Thanks again, R.
Sookie's skin was on fire. She panted and attempted to shy away from the heat, but it clung to her like a shadow.
"Ahh," she breathed in desperation.
"Ahh," Asher echoed.
She turned to him and grinned. "Are you making fun of your mother?" He giggled when her fingers danced across his ribs. "I'm not used to this southern heat anymore, even at this time of year." She shielded her eyes against the sunshine and took in the yard around them, green and perfectly manicured, except for the spots where she and Asher were digging.
"You know I'm not sure your father is going to appreciate us ruining his grass to plant this garden." The toddler gurgled noncommittally and ran a few feet away, relishing the sensation of the blades on his bare feet. "You don't care, huh? Well neither do I. He'll learn to love irises."
She bent over and stuck her spade in the dirt, enjoying the natural pull and strain on her back from the manual labor, so different from the ache of her wounds from Russell, which had taken weeks to fully heal.
When a howl of pain sounded, she whirled up and over to Asher, exhibiting the effects of all the vampire blood she had ingested in recent days.
"What is it?"
Asher held out his arm, displaying the pink irritation of a bee sting.
"Oh, baby." She poured a bit of water on it from her bottle and smoothed the stinger away.
Asher's lip trembled and two, fat tears spilled down his cheeks. Sookie's heart broke. She dropped a kiss on the injury.
"Are you okay," she whispered.
"Yeah," Asher said, swiping at his cheeks, smearing them with dirt. "I okay."
He ambled off, back into the grass, content and unafraid. Sookie watched him, a mixture of curiosity and pride thrumming in her veins. In the weeks since his capture and the subsequent bloodbath that followed, Sookie had carefully monitored Asher's behavior. She had purchased books about childhood trauma and posttraumatic stress, and she had lain awake at night worrying that a few days in a person's life could alter them irreparably.
Asher, however, had seemingly moved on much faster than she. For about a day he had followed her and Eric around, crying when they left his sight. Soon, however, he had resumed his previous temperament, laughing and playing as if nothing had ever happened, as if he hadn't been kidnapped and almost murdered by a lunatic vampire. As if he hadn't watched his mother and father beaten almost to death. Sookie shuddered at the memories. Asher shouted gleefully at a butterfly and pointed so that she could see. She waved and laughed. This was Eric's gift to Asher, she knew. This bravery and strength of character in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. She saw more and more of his father in him every day and it pleased her to no end because, as she told Eric, much to his chagrin and joy, Eric was a good man.
Sookie yelped and spun to face the fairy. "Don't do that! You almost scared me to death!"
The radiant creature ignored her, its gaze completely absorbed by the toddler in the distance. "He grows quickly."
Sookie followed the fairy's train of vision and her eyes narrowed. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to ensure the safety of you and the child."
"That's funny, because you didn't give a rat's ass about us when we needed you."
"You place yourself and all of our kind in danger with your choices, cousin, but we are willing to give you another chance to save yourself."
"Come with us. Both of you. Come stay with us and we will provide for you. We will protect you. You will live a full, happy life as you should."
"We're happy where we are."
The woman shook her head sternly, even her curls bouncing angrily. "You do not understand the consequences of your actions. You live in this drudgery like mere humans-"
"We are humans."
"No," her lips were pursed. "You are part fae. The blood runs strong in the boy. He has…he has great power. He will fulfill the prophesy."
"Come with us and we will tell you. We will teach you all you need to know."
"Tell me now."
"I cannot. You must join us. Come where you belong."
"We belong here," Sookie's voice was firm. "We belong with Eric. The three of us are a family."
"We are your family-"
"No. Eric is our family. We stay with him."
"The vampire," the fairy sneered. "The one who nearly got you both killed?"
"The one who saved us," Sookie corrected.
"You saved yourself."
Sookie sighed and ran a hand through her tangled hair. "We worked together, like families do. At least he came. He helped me. You left us to die. If Asher is so important, how could you do that?"
"It is forbidden to walk with vampires. And we weren't sure, we couldn't be sure that Asher was the one…"
"But now you know?"
"Yes. He is the One."
"Tell me what the prophesy says. I deserve to know."
"Come with us and all the answers to your questions will be given."
Sookie was silent for a moment, considering. "No."
"No. And fuck you. We'll find out for ourselves."
"Think of the life Asher could have, of the life he deserves!"
"I am. You need to leave, now."
"Cousin…" The fairy grabbed Sookie's arm, the touch sending a tiny shock through the telepath's skin.
Suddenly, the whoops of laughter that had been filling the yard vanished. Both women looked over at the source of the sudden, overwhelming silence. Asher had been rolling in the grass, amusing himself by throwing a ball and chasing after it, but now he stood, silent. He was staring at the fairy, his eyes focused and angry in a way Sookie had never seen. His eyebrows were knitted together, lips pursed. The fairy released her hold on Sookie and backed away, her gaze never wavering from Asher's. Sookie's glanced, dumbstruck, between the two.
"You have made your choice," the fairy spat, and Sookie was uncertain whether she was addressing her or the baby. "You choose humanity and a vampire over where the two of you are meant to be. You will regret this."
With a pop, the fairy vanished, leaving Sookie, mouth agape, and Asher, standing stoically, eyes so icy blue she half expected flames to lick out of the orbs. Looking at her baby, at the owner of the toes she kissed and the neck she snuggled, Sookie dropped to her knees.
"Asher?" She wished that she could read his mind better, that it wasn't just emotions and single words. Asher walked to her slowly. Sookie took in every step, imagining that this perfect being in front of her, this baby, this person, with five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, and eyelashes and eyebrows and the perfect bow of a mouth, was created by her cells joining Eric's.
Asher stood in front of her and placed a tiny hand on either side of her face. They felt warm and safe and familiar.
"Asher," she said again. He leaned forward slowly, placed his lips on her neck and let out a breath of air that produced a rude noise. Giggling, he pulled back and offered her an open smile, an obnoxious laugh. Sookie laughed back and swung him into the air, his body fitting against hers so naturally that she realized she had been incomplete without him.
Eric's couch was wide, so wide in fact that it fit all three of them with room to spare. When she commented on this, he simply smirked and reminded her that it was her couch too, now. There was a TV in the room, but it remained off as their talks adequately amused them. Asher slid off the furniture and played quietly on the rug in front of them. A low fire warmed the three from the surprisingly chilly night, and when Eric's hand joined hers, Sookie sighed in what can only be described as complete peace.
The conversation lulled for a moment and she thought about the new bodyguards that trailed after her and Asher during the day. She was surprised it didn't upset her more, but really they stayed at a reasonable distance and usually she forgot they were there. And she felt safe here, living in Eric's house. She was able to see her old friends and family and not fear for Asher's life. Eric still discussed the need for added security, for political moves on his part, but for now he and Pam brainstormed. Sookie didn't mind. They were all still figuring out this family thing, but for some reason, she wasn't worried.
Sookie sighed again in contentment and sank deeper against the cushions and Eric's chest. Every muscle in her body felt relaxed. She closed her eyes. 'Now,' she thought. 'If only I could reach that bottle of water across the room without getting up.'
At the touch of cool dampness against her skin, her eyes opened. Asher blinked back at her. In his hand, was the water bottle. 'Thank you,' she thought, and he smiled and resumed playing.
She took a sip and let the refreshing liquid soothe her dry throat. Eric kissed the top of her head, absently.
"Everything okay," he asked.
She watched Asher play with his blocks, alternating between colors, lining them in a thick row and then stacking them on top, building a foundation so strong that the tower never wavered. She looked down at their intertwined hands, his large and pale and hers small and tanned.
"Yeah," she said, and smiled. "Everything's good."