The moment Niall pulled me into his home and slammed me against his chest, seemed to go hand in hand with my emotional state slamming into a brick wall. My relief at seeing someone familiar was running neck and neck with my skyrocketing fear over the – however unlikely – possibility existed that my dream wasn’t really a dream.
But smothering all of that was a kind of pure unadulterated rage I’d never felt before.
The strength of it was what made me realize the rage wasn’t mine.
And here, in this dream world – where I was a vampire and had a Viking vampire boyfriend of sorts – I knew that could only mean one thing.
Eric-er was pissed.
My instincts took over and since I was still trying to convince myself this was still just a dream, I tried not to think too much on the physics behind my benign shove to Niall’s chest that had him flying across the room and hitting the wall ten feet behind him. I didn’t even take the time to check on him – how hurt could he really be in a dream anyway – as I shot back out of the door I’d just come through.
Knowing it wasn’t me who Eric-er was pissed at, and having a pretty good idea of who was in danger of getting the berserker experience – dream or not – I sent up a silent prayer to the dream gods that Niall would stay put.
No matter how much he strove to educate himself on the Viking Age, I doubted Niall wanted to get firsthand knowledge on what that was like.
All of it happened in the span of seconds and as soon as I’d torn myself free from Niall’s grasp, a single word – to dual recipients – tore through my lips when I flung myself back outside.
I wasn’t sure who my chastisement was meant for more, but when the ancient man of my dreams caught me in his arms, I no longer cared because I could finally breathe again.
Not that I really needed to, it seemed.
But my relief was short-lived when he shoved me behind his body and snarled at Niall’s shocked face through the still open door, “You dare to touch MY CHILD?”
Given the rise of his voice – from pissed to downright deadly – whatever it was he’d said, couldn’t have been good. Of course I could only guess what the crux of it was, but I didn’t have long to ponder when he flew forward, seemingly intent on doing his Ty Pennington impersonation to Niall’s rented house.
Home Makeover – Extremely Pissed Off Vampire Edition.
First to go was the door frame. Next was the awning hanging above the door, but when I saw his eyes dart for the roof, I wrapped my body around his before he could sprout invisible wings again and repeated my last word, knowing very well who it was meant for that time.
I had no idea if our jumbled connection to one another worked like I was beginning to suspect it did, but I still tried to force as much calm into myself, hoping it would somehow affect him too. More and more I was beginning to believe that maybe my dream wasn’t a dream after all.
Or maybe my disease was progressing faster than I’d originally thought.
Dream or disease – either way – if that was the case, I would commence freaking the hell out just as soon as Eric-er stopped freaking out, so I could have my turn.
“Sookie…What on earth is going on?”
On earth? Earth was good.
It wasn’t heaven, but I’d take that over hell.
And I’d really hate to find out I was on another planet or in another realm, even if it was just in a dream.
But the sound of Niall’s wary voice managed to break through my mental fog. And since Eric’s stint in construction – or rather, destruction – had ceased for the moment, I kept a hairy eyeball on him just in case, while I replied to Niall, “I was hoping you could tell me.”
Eric-er was eerily still, so I took a chance and darted my eyes towards Niall, seeing that his confusion was written all over his face.
And mine probably was too because I could still hear broken fragments of sentences in the sound of his voice, even though his lips weren’t moving.
Had he taken up ventriloquism as a hobby?
But that didn’t really make sense because I didn’t see any puppets or even a sock on his hand, so I was even more confused when he asked, “You were hoping I could tell you what?”
“What’s going on?” I asked questioningly, sounding nowhere near as smooth as Marvin Gaye.
“Sookie?” he asked, sounding more forceful.
I guessed it was because his lips had moved that time, but now sounding just as hesitant as me, he added, “Did you just answer my thoughts?”
My Soo-key had an obvious attachment to the man within the dwelling, but it was more my fascination with her attempt to calm me, by flooding our bond with her own, that made me halt my attack.
Our sense of each other’s emotions was intrinsic. The moment she rose as my child we were bound together for all of eternity unless one of us was to meet our true death. But she had no idea. No way of knowing just how closely we were now entwined – until the end of time – because I’d had no way of telling her.
We had a less than rudimentary form of communication. So the fact she’d figured out how to do it at all was nearly as impressive as her restraint when feeding.
And while I might not have understood the words she’d spoken to the man, or his reply to her, I could feel the confusion and fear light up within her.
My fangs – already down – were now bared at him as I growled out, “What did you say to my child to cause her this upset?”
The realization he hadn’t ignored my earlier words because he couldn’t understand me dawned on me when he replied back in my native language, “It really is you.”
He looked both astounded and confounded.
I knew the feeling.
Because he’d replied to me in the pixie’s voice, I only now recognized.
While I marveled over his size – I imagined a pixie to be much smaller – and his magical ability to escape his magic box before I crushed it, I wondered if it was that same magic that gave him the scent and appearance of a mere human.
But while I was lost in my own wonder, my child whisper shrieked, “What do you mean I answered your thoughts?”
Her fear and panic grew tenfold as she stared back at him, so I put myself in front of her, once again seeing him as a threat, and bared my fangs at him, repeating my words in a hiss, “What did you say to my child?”
If he hadn’t remained just out of my reach within the dwelling, I would have ripped him apart already. And if I could have communicated with Soo-key, I would have commanded her to bring him to me since he must have issued her an invitation.
But if her fear and panic grew any more at what he had to say, I would remove the obstacle keeping me from him.
His odd looking dwelling would be reduced to rubble by the time I was through.
He looked as confused as I knew both my child and I were feeling, but instead of answering either one of us, he only stared at her.
Her wide eyes widened even more as she whispered, “Yes. He really is the man from the ice.”
He sagged where he stood, seemingly unwilling to break their gaze and her fear and frustration only rose, as she said, “I don’t know! One minute he was a Viking-sicle and the next he was a Vamp-sicle! The next thing I knew we were climbing out of the ground together and I had pointy teeth too!”
She was nearing full-blown panic by the time she was through and sucking air into her lungs that she no longer needed. I nearly snatched her up to take her away from the pixie since he was undoubtedly the source of her upset.
But before I could do just that he finally spoke up – I assumed speaking to me because it was in my language – when he said, “You are a vampire.”
“You know of my kind?” I asked, dumbfounded.
Had we come out of the shadows, while I’d been stuck in my frozen state?
If I knew about pixies, it would stand to reason they would know about vampires. But no longer knowing if he was a pixie, a witch, or just a human, his words reminded me I would need to erase our existence from his memories before we left to find shelter for the upcoming day.
However, if whatever he was made him impervious to being glamoured – like Weres and shifters – I would have no choice but to kill him.
But feeling Soo-key’s confusion and frustration double because she couldn’t understand us, I used the one word we’d already established together and looked back at her, doing my best to offer some sort of translation by saying, “Whack-a-doodle.”
Oddly, she felt like she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, so I stroked her hair and pushed my affection for her through our bond, while she nodded and said, “Yeah. Whack-a-doodle just about covers it.”
“I do know of your kind,” the pixie interjected. “But only through folklore. I can’t…I didn’t…I’m afraid you have me at a loss.”
His life would be lost and the world would be less one pixie/witch/human if he upset my child again. But rather than warn him, I only asked, “Who are you? What is your connection to my child?”
If I was reading her emotions accurately, I would guess Soo-key was doing her best to compartmentalize. To numb herself to everything going on around her. While I knew she would need to deal with her new state eventually, it was only her first night.
I would give her the time she needed to make sense of it all for now.
But instead of answering my question, he asked his own with, “And…and…you made Sookie a vampire, like you?”
She looked up at us both upon hearing her name, so I nodded and repeated, “Whack-a-doodle.”
But because I was the only one with my fangs down – and having no way of communicating to her that I wanted hers to drop as well – I pushed a small amount of the ever present lust I felt for her through our bond.
Her eyes darkened and she shivered, just as the scent of her arousal wafted around us and the snick of her fangs descending rang out into the night.
Fate had definitely smiled down on me by putting her in my path.
Sweet baby Jesus…
One hand slapped over my mouth to hide my reaction to Sir Lust-A-Lot, while the other smacked at his chest with my rebuke of, “Stop that!”
Although it sounded more like, ‘Thtop that’.
So I guess that made me Lady Lisp-A-Lot.
No wonder we couldn’t find a way to translate anything other than the fact we were both batshit crazy.
A pair of whack-a-doodles. That was us.
“Oh my…” Niall muttered, staring at me like he could read libidos just as well as I seemed to be able to read his thoughts. “It’s true.”
What? That Eric-er made me horny, which in turn made me fangy?
Yep. On all counts.
But since Dream Me not only came with a Viking vampire (literally) and a lisp, but with the gift of telepathy as well, I could hear in Niall’s head the, ‘It’s true’, had nothing to do with lust, libidos, or lisps.
It had to do with my lips and what was poking out of them.
Turning to face Eric-er, he said, “What have you done? What does this mean for her?”
During my short time in Sweden, I’d gotten pretty good about not getting bent out of shape over not understanding the conversations taking place around me. But that trait seemed to die when I woke up from my dirt nap with pointy teeth, so I snapped out, “Rude! Not everyone can speak gobbledygook!”
His thoughts were too jumbled for me to make any sense of anymore. All I could get coming from him now was a sense of his worry, while his thoughts turned into gobbledygook.
So Eric-er went back to trying to soothe me by petting me like a Schnauzer – and I was even more annoyed that it was working – while he said, “I have made her immortal.”
“What?” Niall gasped.
“What, what?” I asked, now more annoyed that that was the only word I’d understood.
And my annoyance rose up to an all-time high when he ignored my question and said, “What do you mean by immortal? She was sick. She was dying! There was nothing we could do to stop it.”
But my about-to-be-one-hell-of-a-tantrum stilled, getting an image of my future tombstone from Niall’s mind.
And Eric-er’s hand stilled on top of my head for only a moment, before he resumed grooming me for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, as he said, “Whatever her ailments were died with her heartbeat. She is strong now and will only grow stronger over time. She will remain forever as she is now.”
Still staring at Niall, I had to question my own sanity – because fangy smiles and Viking vampire lovers weren’t enough – when I would have sworn I could smell the tears I could now see forming in his eyes.
And I grimaced, shaking my head to try and shake away the notion that they smelled…
“Sookie,” the pixie whispered, moving forward and walking through the doorway.
And thereby removing himself from the wards of the magical barrier that had kept him alive so far.
The only thing keeping him alive now was my child’s attachment to him, but when she flinched and jerked away, as he placed his hand on her arm, I growled.
It would be his only warning.
“I…I’m sorry,” she said, feeling contrite. “I just…your thoughts…they’re amplified when you touch me.”
The pixie/witch/human retreated a step and held his hands up, before looking at me as he asked, “Are all vampires telepathic?”
“Telepathic?” I repeated in disbelief.
I’d had a psychic once, but…
My child was a telepath?
Perhaps the gods hadn’t shunned me, as I’d once thought.
“No,” I finally replied. And looking back at her in awe, I asked him, “Did she have the gift as a human?”
He shook his head, saying, “Not that I know of.”
And staring back at her, he questioned, “Could you hear thoughts…before?”
“You mean BEFORE I woke up in Vampland?” she huffed. “No! I wish I would just WAKE UP already!”
“She thinks she’s dreaming,” he softly explained to me and then switching to her language, he said, “Sookie, you’re not dreaming. This is really happening. You’re really a vampire.”
“Well that’s just great,” she snapped. “Now you’re officially a whack-a-doodle too!”
Hearing her say the one word I understood, I assumed he must have been explaining to her she really was a vampire.
“Stop being so obstinate!” he harshly returned. But hearing the low growl rumbling through my chest made him temper his tone as he said, “I’ll admit that I’m just as puzzled as you, but don’t you see what a gift this is?”
He slowly reached forward and gently laid his hand on her arm, so it was only his tender movements that kept me from ripping his hand free from her skin and his appendage from his body.
Keeping my eyes on them both, I saw her eyes widen, while she stared at nothing and her emotions went into turmoil. I was about to separate them when he said, “I’m replaying the events of the last three days in my mind, from the moment I found out she was missing, until now.”
His words made me stay my hand. I had no way of getting through to her – of explaining to her – what she now was.
I had no choice but to rely on him and hope it wouldn’t be a mistake.
But it was only my tie to her through our bond that allowed me to get a glimpse of her disbelief giving way to acceptance.
Just as it was our bond that was my only warning for me to catch her falling body, while she whispered out, “No way.”