A/n: Sorry for the long wait everyone! I had a bit of writer's block for this story, and then got hit by inspiration for my own novel so I had to take some time to work on that before it completely flitted out of my brain. This chapter has not been Beta'd because I am simultaneously impatient and feeling extremely guilty. When Rachael finishes her alterations and suggestions for this chapter, and I've done the edit, I will probably repost it.
Thanks so much to my amazing, fantastic, reviewers (in case anyone was wondering, I actually spelled that correctly on my own –grins-): erin1705, foxgodess07, IkeaGoddess, The 11th Doctor's Mermaid Sam, sluggysmom, xxxbulletxxx, sydkiwi, Mrscan77, VAlady, kisa-angel, kerriki, alexandra76, writergirl89, aprilshowers021, livesimple, caffeineXaddict, Ericsfae, losingmymind3696, desireecarbenell, Gina, vikingtrubie, Millarca666, Sookie-Eric, Thorsminion, CeruleanKitten, ebm1, kardamon, Swasson, Evie, whitestripes123, Anna-Rogue-Marie-Howlett, OzzykomaKozzy, Jessica, Queen of Night, ArmyGirl2010, ncmiss12, momzombie, Team Jane, Nanani, TheLadyKT, and WinchesterLover2993.
To answer a few questions from readers: (1) Sookie is so fertile because of two reasons: (A) The child was conceived during the Lunar Cycle, a period of high fertility for Faery and (B) She's part human. Faery experience infertility, and one single high point of fertility (though, even then, it's more like a 50/50 chance hence the week long orgy). Humans are already at 50/50 chance, more or less (This is not including specifically figuring out when you are fertile and then intentionally having sex during that time). So, Sookie's already at a 50/50 chance simply by being more human than Faery, and then the lunar cycle kicks in which bumps he chances up to like… 75 or 80%. And they had sex twice.
(2) I agree that the sex scene between Eric and Sookie in the last episode of True Blood was unsatisfying, but I don't know that there will be a ton of sex scenes in this story – as I've said before, I kind of suck at writing them. There will probably be maybe one or two more, at the most. I'm in this for the plot, not the sex (unfortunately, lol).
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 11: Hello, Goodbye
Brion had always been a patient man, because he had always been a smart man. He knew when to be cautious and when to take a risk, he knew when to strike and when to retreat, and right now he knew that he was in very real danger of losing Sookie. He hadn't recognized him at first, sitting next to him in the bar. After all, it was over a thousand years ago that the two had met. He noted the striking resemblance to the blond man drinking his glass of wine, and found himself feeling wistful. After a thousand years, it couldn't be the same man, but Brion was still struck by the resemblance. So, when the man started speaking to him, Brion answered him, albeit reluctantly.
He had a trying day of searching for Sookie only to come up with nothing, as Niall had given him very little to work with. Talking to the man helped him release some of the tension he felt, and the man had, in turn, offered him an idea on how to find her more quickly. Of course, the idea had occurred to Brion after the first hour of his fruitless search, but if Niall had told Damian the same information, Brion didn't want to tip him off. Stopping in the bar had been a stroke of luck – he had heard Sookie's name pass between the bartender and the cook, and it hadn't taken much to get her address.
After the man had left, Brion knew with absolutely certainty that this was the same man he had met on the battlefield so long ago. What's more, after a little magical digging, he could tell the man was Vampire, and had been spelled by a Faery – likely Sookie. Brion remembered hearing about Sookie before he met her, and knew that she had connections in the Vampire community; it hadn't been an unreasonable assumption to make. So, he would have an opportunity to battle the Viking once again, as he had desired. He always regretted not being able to do so back then, but he never had the chance. That day on the battlefield was his last in the mortal world. Technically, at the point in time, he had been eighty eight years old – and looked it, at least to most people.
Brion had found out his Faery heritage when he was twenty nine years old, after wandering a little too far into the forest and into a Faery circle. He was twenty nine years old forever more, after that. His mother had been part Faery, but his father, his real father, had been a natural born Faery. One trip to the Faery realm for a few days was all it took for his immortality to kick in. Of course, he couldn't stay there – he had obligations to his kingdom and his family – so he returned home. Over the course of the years, he used his magic to shield his real appearance from people and let his visage age to the mortal eye. He had no wife and children to speak of – it was his brother's family that would carry on – so leaving had been a little easier. For his last day on Earth, his last true battle, he allowed his visage to disappear. He was going to fight in his true nature, in his true body. No one would know – the battle was too hectic and his helm did a good job of covering his face.
The Viking had been his last real opponent in battle, and what a battle it had been. Brion was still mostly human when he fought Eric; the only part of his Faery nature that had taken hold was his immortality, at that point. After that battle, he let himself 'die' and left a false body in his place, a piece of Faery magick, and entered the Faery realm. He had always hoped to keep tabs on the Viking King, but the man disappeared, supposedly among the dead in the battlefield. Brion didn't believe him to be dead, but now he knew where the man had disappeared to.
Now, the two would fight again. He admitted that he could have planned things out a little better – having a fistfight in Sookie's living room hadn't been a part of it – but he was overall pleased with the result. He had incorrectly gauged Eric's reaction to his taunts, but it benefitted him none the less. He expected Eric to get angry, yes, but not to the degree that he would fly over the coffee table and attack him. But it was alright. They were both alive, in a manner of speaking, and Brion now knew the depth of Eric's feelings for Sookie. Did the Vampire love her? Maybe, but he hadn't admitted it to himself yet let alone her, so Brion still had a chance.
Of course, Sookie's Faery having tricked the Vampire to abide by their laws wasn't something Brion had prepared for, but he wasn't terribly worried. Most of the Faery's beliefs about what bound two people in creation and magick was just bullshit. It was a social standard created by the Divine to keep the Fae in line, and the Faery had kept it as a part of their traditions. The reason the laws still held after thousands of years was because people were gullible – tell them something enough and have it beaten into their heads after thousands of years, generation after generation, and it becomes real for them. Fortunately, Sookie hadn't been raised in Faery – she didn't hold the stigma in her brain. Of course, it had been explained to her by a true believer, so she might be a little more difficult to convince, but he felt with absolute certainty that when she made her choice, whichever way it went, it wouldn't be because of any obligation according to some archaic law. She deserved better than that.
He had gotten lucky in that, even for the near thousand years he had been in Faery, he retained the logical part of his brain that was human. He never lost himself to reckless Faery abandon. He admitted to himself that telling Sookie he had tortured her grandfather so bluntly wasn't the best way to do it, but it needed to be done. Sookie's entire relationship with the Vampire world had consisted of lies and trickery, and some blunt honesty would be good. Brion relaxed into his motel-quality bed, his hazel eyes counting the flecks on the ceiling. He would see her in the morning, away from the Vampire and his influence. They needed to talk seriously, for a different reason other than him wanting to see her.
Sookie opened her eyes and immediately glared up at the ceiling. She hated waking up in a bad mood, but this one couldn't be avoided. The moment she went downstairs, she would have to get out the broom and dust pan and begin to sweep up all of broken glass and bits of plaster. Why did boys have to be so stupid? Oh, right. Testosterone. She sighed and laid still in the bed, thinking about everything. The irony was just…too much. She had come here to run away from the situation in Faery, and now wanted to run somewhere else to get away from the situation here. In hindsight, she had been doing an awful lot of running lately.
With a sad smile, she thought to herself 'Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sookie. This girl was different from others and often set herself apart, even when she didn't mean to. You see, this girl could read people's minds – and often did, mostly by accident. This caused problems for the girl and made her feel very lonely because no one understood that she couldn't help it, that she didn't mean to invade their minds. One day, a Vampire walked into the bar where she worked and she couldn't hear his thoughts – and suddenly, she didn't have to be lonely anymore. Then that Vampire betrayed her, and hurt her as a consequence, so she ran away.'
That was the first time she ran away, and was evidently a portent of things to come.
'So, the girl ran away to Faery, where she had family and could hopefully find peace once again. Everything was fine, for awhile. She couldn't hear their thoughts, and so was put on the same level as them. She learned how to fence and fight, how to make clothes, how to ride a horse… But she couldn't forget her brother, especially not with an uncle who looked just like him. Her grandfather, having seen this, decided that he would remedy her loneliness by setting her up with a potential husband, Prince Damian. Thing was, Sookie didn't like him. While all Faery felt things more vividly, this particular Faery was completely manic. She wondered if sometimes the Fae side didn't dominate the Divine, and in this case she was pretty sure it did.'
Sookie paused in her mental recount of what happened to get up from the bed and absent-mindedly make it and tidy up her room.
'Then, she went to a ball. The girl had never been to a dance before due to her gift, and this was certainly more formal than a high school dance, but she went all the same. It was wonderful, in ways she couldn't even begin to describe. Pixies, the thumb-size servants of the Faery, carried miniscule lanterns on their arms to light the room and give it a honey-washed glow. The decorations were almost beyond description. Sheer fabric had been hung from the pinnacle of the dome ceiling and stretched to the alabaster pillars, where they were clipped to by a solid silver ring and allowed to drape to the bottom. The ballroom had become a bower, as everything was decorated in the leafy green and faint violet of grape leaves, and was shimmering with Pixie light and magic.'
A warm smile came to her face as Sookie thought of what happened next, and changed out of her nightgown.
'As the granddaughter to the High Prince and ruler of Summer, she was obligated to dance a Faery Waltz with the honored guest, who was an Ambassador from the Unseelie Kingdom. Though her grandfather was less than pleased with this as the Seelie and Unseelie Kingdom had just come to a peace agreement and things were still a little tense, he could hardly argue. So, she danced with him. They spoke while they danced, and the girl found herself intrigued by this handsome man with the wild black hair and hazel eyes. He spoke with intelligence and humor, his eyes tinged with mischief, and the girl found herself charmed. It wasn't long after that Niall received a formal request for courtship of Sookie, and though he was concerned that it was from an Unseelie, he was pleased that such a notable man had taken an interest in his granddaughter – this could only improve relations between their kingdoms, in any event.'
Sookie doubted that he thought it would ever get very far.
'The girl half-hoped that her new courtship would discourage Damian. It didn't, but her new suitor made things bearable. She and her new suitor, whose name was Brion, decided to take things slowly – they were both Faery, and as such had plenty of time to get to know each other, hundreds of years, even, if they so desired to drag things out that long. The girl knew that Brion reminded her of someone, but didn't know who and wasn't about to waste time finding out. She had fallen in love too quickly, with the Vampire, and she was not about to make the same mistake twice. She was more cautious now and as a result perhaps a little more tame, though she was still the same inside. And then, all too quickly, the situation began to deteriorate. Damian let loose of his madness and drove her out of the realm, using her grandfather as his puppet,'
Sookie frowned at the thought of her grandfather, grudgingly admitting to herself that they had never really gotten close the way she and Gran were. He was too…Faery, for that.
'So, she returned to the mortal world and everything it held for her, including Eric Northman. She hadn't the time to warn Brion of her departure, and undoubtedly would have contacted him within the week if he hadn't shown up in her living room the night before.' With the conclusion of the re-telling, Sookie was brought to her current problem. Brion had, more or less, given her a way out if she wanted it. Trouble was, she didn't know if she wanted out. Seeing the two men fight over her (which was completely ridiculous because this was her decision, and the outcome of the fistfight would have had nothing to do with it) had made her realize who Brion reminded her of: Eric.
She didn't love either of them and now had to choose who she would spend the rest of her life with, and who would be a better father for her child. The Christian in her was demanding her to be with Eric, because he was the rightful father to her child, but the woman in her was less certain. Damian was a problem, yes, but one that could be remedied by marrying Brion. After that, the way was clear of all foreseeable obstacles. Being with Eric, however, was not. No one would believe that a Vampire had sired a child, and so to most people that meant that the child would be fatherless. And, Eric had Vampire politics to deal with, which meant that at one point or another Sookie would have to deal with them too – maybe even Bill. She could never marry Eric, and would be a social leper if she did.
Marrying Brion would be easier, that much was certain, but there were other things to consider. She would have to move to Faery, and deal with the politics there (though she had less complicated, poor history there). She might have to give up seeing her friends and Jason, who she had yet to speak to. Sookie just didn't know. Brion was willing to be a father to her child, and she knew that he meant it. All Faery cherish children – even if it's not their own – and Brion was no exception. Still, the fact that she had unconsciously become fond of the Faery equivalent to Eric had to be taken into account. And, now that Brion had openly admitted to torturing her grandfather, and she was still considering him to be in the running for the title of husband/father, she could no longer use Eric's torture of Lafayette as a reason to rule him out.
Though Eric had claimed her, if she was to choose Brion and they went to Faery, he wouldn't be able to follow her. Freedom from the Vampire Laws, and wiggle room in the Faery Laws, had now given Sookie the ability to make a choice without the pressures of either. She liked both of them, very much, and her decision would affect a lot of people. She had to choose carefully, and wisely, and hope that this was all she was going to have to deal with.
Her room tidy, Sookie went downstairs to get a late breakfast – it was already twelve thirty in the afternoon – and was pleasantly surprised to see that her living room had already been set to rights, and the wall had been repaired and freshly painted. There was a note on the kitchen table from Eric, judging by the scrawl.
I apologize for the incident last night and have taken the liberty to have a repairman come and fix up the wall and living room. I will see you tonight when we may discuss things further. Please know it was never my intention to endanger you or our child. Even as furious as I was, I would never have harmed either of you.
There was no endearment at the bottom, but the fact that he apologized told her everything she needed to know. Perhaps Eric wasn't as cold as he pretended to be, after all. Logically, Sookie figured, since Eric was capable of great hatred, he should be capable of great love as well – you cannot have one without the other. The only question was would he love her? Sookie guessed she would have to wait and see. She was absentmindedly making coffee and taking out the components of breakfast when she heard a knock on the door. Stepping away from the kitchen counter, she walked towards the front door slowly, not sure who would be at her door since no one apart from Sam and Eric knew she was back yet. She opened the door and gave a mental sigh.
Brion was standing there with a bouquet of lilies, waiting for her permission to enter. Despite Sookie have her whole internal monologue about giving them both a chance and thinking through this carefully, she recalled all too easily the image of Brion throwing Eric and taking out a chunk of her wall.
"Hello, Brion," She smiled at him before stepping back. "Goodbye, Brion."
And she shut the door in his face. To be fair, she probably would have done the same if Eric had shown up instead of left a note.
"Sookie, wait!" He called out to her. Sookie debated on whether or not to open the door. "We have to talk, about Damian. I was going to do it last night but things got a bit out of hand, and I'm sorry. It was never my intention to have a fistfight in your living room, believe me."
Sookie hesitated a moment before opening the door, her arms crossed over her chest in righteous indignation. "You may not have meant to do it, but you still did it. Now what about Damian?"
"Damian has issued a complaint against you, for violation of your courtship agreement."
"How did I violate our courtship agreement? If anything, he violated it when he killed my maid and tried to threaten my grandfather."
"Not tried to threaten your grandfather, darlin'. When he did threaten your grandfather. He's saying that you left Faery without acknowledging, through the proper channels, that you would be gone. Which, unfortunately, is true."
"So what can he do?"
"He can have the Faery council issue a Judgment."
"And the Judgment won't go in my favor?"
"No," Brion said, pausing. "I think it will, but having the council issue a Judgment has nothing to do with convicting you of a crime so much as it has to do with getting you back in Faery, where he can reach you."
"How do you know all of this?"
"I have spies in the court, and the report only to me."
"Does he know where I am?" Sookie felt a little panicked.
"No, no!" Brion rasped, rushing to reassure her. "I've put things in motion to delay the courts, so don't worry about it right now, but you need to be aware of the reality that he is going to come for you at some point, and you need to be ready."
"Ready how, exactly?"
"You need to continue your training, both fighting and magical."
"I can protect myself, Brion." She reminded him defensively.
"I'm not talking about protecting yourself. I know you can do that. I'm talking about being ready to kill Damian the moment he walks through your front door."
A/N: So…yep. A little bit of a boring chapter, I know, but next chapter contains the following (maybe, probably): Jason, Eric and Sookie's first date, and a Brion/Eric/Sookie fight scene. Don't hate on Brion too much. Trust me when I say there's a good chance you'll feel guilty about it later. :P