Pam may have thought my presence and the trouble that seemed to follow me as of late was a hoot, but I would’ve liked nothing more than to have just one boring night.
It was ironic, considering how humdrum my life had been up until I’d been thrust into the Supernatural world, and I knew I should probably be freaking out.
Any normal person would.
But I think it was safe to say that I was anything but normal.
Telepathy had been my only curse and since it had made my life hell growing up, it seemed to only make sense that I had it thanks to a demon.
And like finding out I was some sort of fairy-demon realm EZ pass wasn’t bad enough, I also seemed to have suddenly acquired some sort of magical fairy great-grandfather ass whoopin’ powers.
What could we expect next?
Would an owl be flying into the room any moment, with my invitation to some Hogwarts-type school?
But to me the weirdest thing of all – which was saying a lot, considering the last couple of hours – was my reaction to it all.
Instead of freaking out – which was warranted in my humble opinion – all I could think about was getting as close to Eric as possible. My blood literally burned for him and I knew the only way to put out the fire was to throw out everything I’d ever been taught about being a ‘good girl’ and have my wicked way with him.
But it was more than just lust, passion or need…
It was instinctual.
Like blinking or breathing, it was an irrepressible reflex that I could barely control. So, as soon as the door was shut behind Pam, I couldn’t hold back any longer and literally threw myself at Eric.
A very small part of my mind questioned if it had to do with our bond – if my reaction was based on Eric’s feelings – but when I tried to scrutinize our tie I could only feel his surprise at my actions.
And then his overwhelming willingness to give me what I was silently asking for.
I’d only just handed over my V-card earlier that night, but I figured I had a good ten years to make up for, considering the age of most girls when they lost their virginity. So instead of questioning any of it, I just let myself go.
My need for him was all-consuming and I didn’t care about fairies or demons or anything else.
I just needed Eric.
And he really needed a lock on his office door.
I barely stifled the whine that threatened to leave my throat, hearing our uninvited guest. But my shock at seeing Eric respectfully fall to his knees before the ancient woman in front of him and saying, “Your Grace,” was enough to make me choke it back.
Eric was a king and yet he was bowed down, so it only made me more nervous wondering who she might be.
I didn’t think it had anything to do with her being Queen of the Damned (or whatever other cockamamie horse pucky could be thrown at us), but remembering how Eric didn’t give a hoot about Niall’s royal status, only made his demeanor towards her all the more troubling.
“Rise, my king,” she said commandingly.
But feeling his pure and utter shock at her words as he stood up, only gave me more of a reason to feel worried.
If Eric was shocked, that didn’t bode well.
“Your Grace?” he repeated uncertainly.
“You heard me vampire,” she gently chided before moving to take a seat on the couch.
Neither Eric nor I moved a muscle, as we watched her slowly lower herself onto the leather cushion, so we were both still rapt with attention, when she looked up at us with milky white eyes and smiled.
Softly nodding her head, she all but whispered, “Yes. Things are progressing nicely.”
Eric’s head seemed stuck on repeat, but she must have thought so too because she chuckled, “Is that all you can say vampire?”
It was enough to snap him out of it in order to hesitantly say, “Forgive me, your Grace. I mean no offense, but why are you here?”
I wasn’t sure how, but somehow I knew she was looking at me.
Then she confirmed it by saying, “I am here because your great-grandfather is…what do you call it? A hothead.”
More evidence we were related.
Not her calling him my great-grandfather, but because he was a hothead too.
It must run in the family.
“The prince means to take her back to Faery,” Eric snarled. “I will not let that happen.”
Like he’d been eavesdropping the whole time, Niall did his poofy thing back into the room and snarled back, as though he’d been present for the entire conversation, “She is my kin.”
My hands tingled, hearing him be nasty with Eric, but – Grace’s? – chuckling snapped me out of it, when she laughed out, “She is so like you, Niall.”
Then turning to Eric, she said, “Introduce me to your Queen.”
I still refused the idea of being a princess and she was calling me ‘queen’?
I nonchalantly checked the top of my head to make sure I wasn’t wearing Pam’s Burger King crown, while Eric came to my side, looking just as confused, when he said, “Your Grace, may I introduce my…my…Sookie.”
His head turned ever so slightly in Niall’s direction when he added, “Sookie Stackhouse.”
I held back the urge to stick my tongue out at him, but I almost choked on it instead, when Eric turned to me and said, “Sookie. This is the Ancient Pythoness. She was the Oracle of Delphi who counseled Alexander the Great.”
Was she going to offer me a freshly made chocolate chip cookie and teach me how to bend spoons with my mind too?
I’d seen one too many Matrix movies with Jason and had one too many shocks for the evening to think straight.
But Gran’s training kicked in on autopilot, with me nodding with a smile and greeting her with, “Ma’am. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
I could feel Eric’s pleasure at my words and they warmed my insides.
My insides that were churning, since it seemed like a big frickin’ deal she was there.
I was on the verge of going into ‘hostess mode’ and offering her a drink, when Niall butted in, by looking at her and accusing, “You knew!”
“No,” she answered with a smile. “While it’s true I see possibilities, the future is an ever growing constantly weaving tapestry. Some portions of the strands of fate and destiny are absolute, while others are not. But they are also flexible, so that any small change can alter their course.”
Then turning her milky white eyes towards him, she added, “At the time I saw only one outcome of their future – one that would have led them to one another, but in a very different way. One that would have made them distrustful of their feelings and of each other. It would have set them on a path where they would have destroyed their future and therefore ours as well. That course would have come to pass, if it were not for a certain hotheaded Prince of the Sky Fae.”
I could feel Eric’s need to interrupt and ask what in the hell they were talking about. It almost surpassed my own need for the very same thing, but his hesitance to do so tamped down my own urge. So we silently stood there, like two children waiting for the grownups to acknowledge us.
“They are nearly bonded,” he growled. “And you are saying this is my fault? You came to me and told me my great-granddaughter was in danger of being taken advantage of by a vampire. A vampire who could not be trusted and who would hurt and betray her. One who would use her – rape her – and break her spirit and yet that is exactly what has happened!”
Looking like he didn’t know who he was angrier at, he gestured towards Eric and scoffed, “Had I known it was due to my own actions by putting my trust in this one, I would’ve kept her in Faery forever!”
Eric would never do anything like that!
Eric must have been thinking along the same lines because I could feel his white hot denial, while his hand reached for mine.
But the comfort of his touch only lasted until my heart stuttered, thinking she was confirming those awful lies, when we heard her say, “Yes, it is because of your actions that has led them here to this point in time. But it is thanks to your actions that the future of our races now have a fighting chance at survival.”
Her tone became more soothing, as she explained, “Young Eric was not the vampire meant to betray your great-granddaughter, but they are fated. They were created for one another and they would have found each other regardless of any interference by you or me, for that matter. Their bond would have occurred no matter what. We have only altered the manner in which their bond was started and how it will be completed.”
“Your Grace?” Eric repeated for the fourth time that night, unable to stay silent any longer. “We are…fated?”
“You are,” she smiled. “And I would’ve left you to complete it on your own had the hotheaded prince not shown up tonight. But I am afraid it would’ve ended badly when he returned and attempted to take his great-granddaughter from you. His death would’ve altered the course of things to come.”
Eric tauntingly smiled down at him, while Niall fumed, “I cannot be bested by a vampire, even one as old as he!”
She only chuckled at his denial and said, “I never said it would be the vampire who would end you.”
All eyes slowly turned to me, but considering my reaction the first time Niall tried to hurt Eric, I couldn’t deny it.
I would kill him to protect Eric.
“But we are not bonded,” Eric explained, while looking back at the cookie-maker-spoon-bender. “We haven’t even discussed the possibility.”
I could feel him rapidly trying to work out the puzzle pieces in his head.
His mind was so busy it was enough to make me dizzy.
“Not yet, but you will be,” she offered, still smiling. “Had I not gone to the prince when I did, you would’ve met your queen sooner. Your bond would’ve already been formed by now, but the circumstances in bringing about that bond would’ve been detrimental to our future. Each exchange would’ve happened in response to violence and betrayal. It would’ve been completed by force and neither of you would’ve had any choice. Both of you would’ve questioned your feelings for one another and ultimately it would’ve destroyed what was always meant to be.
This way your queen has come to you with an unscarred heart. The blood you have shared has been given and taken in trust and in passion. You were always meant to protect her, as she was always meant to be yours. You each have felt things for one another you cannot explain because you are two halves of the same whole. She has always been a part of you and you a part of her. In fact, she would’ve been able to enter your chambers with or without your blood. It is how the shapeshifter was able to gain entry – even misinformed of his true nature, it was her desire to have the cat with her that allowed him in.”
“But if we are fated, then how is a permanent bond our choice?” Eric argued back. “You say it as though its finalization is unchangeable.”
Considering I had already decided I’d wanted to permanently bond myself to Eric, his argument probably would’ve hurt my feelings, if I hadn’t been thinking the same exact thing.
Having a choice seemed to be the theme of what she was telling us.
But if we believed we were fated then was there ever a choice to make?
I couldn’t deny – fate or not – he was the man I’d fallen in love with. It was his actions – his words – that made me feel that way, so he would’ve been my choice regardless.
But maybe now Eric would feel forced?
My heart sunk at the thought, while she chided him with, “You are trying to apply logic to something that cannot be explained. What will be, will be.”
Eric didn’t look any more accepting of her words, so she said, “Tell me vampire, why do you think you ended up at a burned down farmhouse you’d never been to before, when you had no memory of who you were?”
When Eric had no reply, she answered, “It was because your soul was instinctually searching out its other half.”
After everything I’d seen and heard since Niall had first taken me, this almost seemed like more mumbo jumbo than I could handle.
And considering I’d just been told I could end up the Baby Mama of an Antichrist, of sorts, that spoke volumes.
I’d officially reached my limit on Supernatural weirdness and needed a timeout before my head exploded.
I don’t know why this – of all things – struck a chord, but I was brought up to believe that our fate was in our own hands. That we made our own destiny – ironically enough – by the choices we made.
Everything she was telling us all sounded like a bunch of hooey to me.
Eric’s look mirrored my own, which said he was thinking something along the same lines, and she shook her head at us both, mumbling out, “In all of the realms there is no substance as hard as your two heads.”
Then she tried another tactic by asking him a different question.
“Tell me, when did you first come to Louisiana?”
He looked back at her, clearly confused by her question, but respectfully answered, “Roughly fifty-three years ago.”
“And tell me, why is it a man born on the frozen shores of the Northern Sea, chose to settle in the hot and humid uninspiring land of Northern Louisiana?”
I was drawn here.
I heard Eric’s thought as clear as day, but all he would admit to was, “It just felt…right.”
Her all-knowing milky white eyes turned to me as she asked, “Tell me young one, how old would your father be now, if he was still alive?”
Not understanding what she was getting at, I quickly did the math in my head and softly answered, “Fifty-two?”
“So,” she smiled at the both of us. “Do you think it a coincidence Eric chose to settle in an area he would otherwise detest, unknowingly putting himself in the right place to meet you, at the same exact time your grandmother would’ve been given the demon’s blood, therefore ensuring you would be born?”
My shoulders shrugged of their own accord.
A coincidence was called that for a reason.
But really it made no difference to me why Eric ended up in Louisiana. Lord knew weirder things had been known to happen – to me especially – but hearing the reminder of everything Mr. Cataliades had told us, I ignored her question and asked, “Do you know how come I can do that thing that stopped Niall from hurting Eric earlier? Mr. C only said I got the telepathy from him, but now I can shoot a weird light from my hands and…stuff.”
If I’d had those freaky powers all along, then Niall never would’ve been able to kidnap me in the first place.
But it was him who answered, “I believe that might be my doing. The powers you exhibited earlier are of the Brigant line and I suspect that by taking you into the Fae realm, your essential spark was able to strengthen and mature in its natural environment. I could feel your spark growing stronger each day.”
He smiled proudly at me and added, “You did very well.”
I doubted he felt so proud when I’d pulled the air from his lungs, but she nodded her head in agreement and chuckled to him, “You were so quick to act with your heart instead of your head, wanting to spare your great-granddaughter the hurt she would otherwise face. And yet it was her identical passionate response that made her scorn you for your actions.”
I didn’t want to feel bad for him.
I didn’t want to feel guilty, for what I had thought was a justifiable response at the time.
But hearing her say it like that made me feel it anyway.
So, instead of acknowledging it just yet, I wanted to get one thing clear first.
“Would my Gran have died if I hadn’t been taken?”
It was something I would never forgive Niall for if that was the case, no matter how good his intentions had been.
But she nodded her head and answered, “It was always your grandmother’s fate to die at the hands of another.”
“Who did it?” I practically screeched.
But Eric squeezed my hand making me realize yelling at this woman – vampire – oracle – whatever, probably wasn’t in our best interests.
“I have told you enough,” she said, ignoring my outburst. “Some things you are meant to learn on your own in due time. Having too much knowledge can alter what is to come and as things are now, you know enough for a favorable outcome.”
Eric didn’t seem to like her answer any more than I did because he asked, “What is our destiny? If we are fated, then it must be for a reason.”
“To save us all,” she replied ominously.
Gee, no pressure there.
Both of us were gearing up to argue with her, but she held up her hand and said sternly, “As I said before, the tapestry is made up of many different strands. Some strands sway in a breeze, waiting to be woven into the one it is meant for, when its path has been decided. But they will break off and fall away if that path was not chosen. Other strands are absolute – your fated connection to one another has always been one of them – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t different threads, waiting to latch on and weave a different tale of your lives.”
Somehow, her tone became even more ominous, when she warned, “The thread for your bond is waiting to be woven, but that can also be said of the demon Nargal’s. His plans for young Sookie are swaying in the breeze, just waiting for the path that is needed. Her fate was decided before she was ever conceived, so she would have always been an integral part of the coming war. Had Niall not interfered and his thread left untouched, your ill-formed bond would have been broken by Sookie herself because she would not have trusted her feelings were her own. And you Eric, you are as proud as you are obstinate and would’ve never admitted your hurt over her actions. Without your bond she would’ve been left vulnerable and eventually forced to bond with another.”
Fury overtook the confusion Eric had been feeling, which oddly made me feel better.
But she either didn’t notice or didn’t care and went on to explain, “The demons have used the in-fighting amongst the Fae to go undetected thus far, but make no mistake – they will move on her soon. Already her magic has grown thanks to her time in Faery and your blood has only strengthened it. Without it she would’ve posed no threat because her own magic would not be enough to get her into the demon realm, but that is no longer the case. There are demons who would’ve ended her already, but your lawyer didn’t have all of the facts. Nargal needs Sookie to be bonded to a vampire – any vampire – in order to fulfill all that he envisages. Vampire blood alone would not be enough – it is the magic that can only be found in a blood bond that is needed.”
Again, if Eric could’ve ripped apart the room and everyone in it, I suspected that would’ve been the time.
But his rage somehow strengthened tenfold, when we heard her say, “When added in conjunction with the bond innately formed between mother and child – a child sired by Nargal, if he succeeds – that would allow all within those bonds to freely enter and exit the realms at will.”
“Then we won’t bond!” Eric snarled.
My heart nearly broke in two not just hearing it in his voice, but feeling the conviction within him.
He’d made his choice.
“Then she will be forced to bond with another,” she offered, sounding completely nonplussed.
Eric released my hand and started pacing furiously in front of his desk. His mind felt like a tornado, when I ended up having to block his emotions for my own sanity.
Then his feet suddenly stopped moving, as he turned to ask her, “What if Niall takes Sookie back to Faery? She will be safe there?”
Eric wasn’t the only one who had a choice or a say so and I’d be damned before I let Niall take me back to his fairy prison.
And now, thanks to him, I could stop him from doing it.
“Her unique ability works both ways,” she replied. “Once she is bonded to a vampire, if she were to mate with a fairy, that fairy and their children would be able to enter the demon realm. There are those in Faery who know this. Those who feel all Fae would be better off if there were no demons left anywhere and they would find her – force her to bond with a vampire of their choosing and breed with her at will. Niall isn’t the only fairy with a vampire to call on. The war the demon spoke of is absolute. It will come about either way.”
“No!” Eric roared. “If I keep her safe…away from everyone…”
He trailed off, seeing her shake her head at him, but all she said as she slowly stood and moved towards the door was, “Your bond will keep her safe, but you have some time to come to terms with this, vampire. The enemy is not at your gates…yet.”
Then smirking, she ended with, “But like Niall can now attest to, you can’t change destiny.”
She left without another word, while the three of us were left to silently ponder everything we’d just heard.
Maybe they were pondering, but honestly it was all too much for me to process at the moment. Too much had happened in the last twenty-four hours and she said we had time, so I didn’t want to think about it right now.
From the sounds of everything we’d been told, nothing we did would change anything anyway and quite honestly, I’d be happy to curl up around a gallon of ice cream and a bottle of gin right about then, but doubted I would get the chance.
Niall broke the lingering silence by saying, “I must go now. In light of Pythia’s warnings, plans must be made. I will be in touch vampire, but in the meantime you will keep my great-granddaughter safe.”
He poofed from the room before either one of us could say a thing, but when I turned to Eric – about to complain about my great-grandfather’s ungracious exit, even if he seemed to have changed his tune – I held my tongue seeing the look on his face.
“Eric?” I asked, feeling afraid.
I’d seen him locked down before, but this was nothing like that.
I would liken him to a statue, only statues seemed livelier.
And I only became more frightened when I opened myself up to try and read his emotions.
My efforts were met with more ‘nothing’.
He didn’t answer me – would barely look at me – and Pam appeared at the doorway moments later, apparently having been called by her Maker because she was annoyed as she whined, “What? I was feeding. You’re not the only one with busty blonds at your disposal, you know.”
He must have been blocking her too because she jumped in shock when he bared his fangs at her and hissed, “Stay with her.”
He was halfway out of the room before he turned and added, “I command you to never form a blood bond with Sookie.”
“Why would I?” she yelled after him, as he sped from the room. Then turning to me, she asked, “What in the hell happened?”
Where to start?
After a quick detour for some ice cream and gin, we went to Eric’s chambers where I proceeded to eat my weight in mint chocolate chip, while telling Pam everything I could remember.
An hour and several ‘bullshits‘ and ‘quit fucking with me’s’ later and she was all caught up.
“So what do you think will happen now?” I asked her, while scraping the last of the ice cream from the carton.
When Eric had said we’d be too busy doing other things to move my clothes into his room, this so wasn’t what I had in mind.
“You bond with Eric,” she replied, both sounding and looking at me like I was an idiot.
My eyes suddenly burned with the tears I refused to let fall.
So I took a healthy swig of the gin I’d been ignoring in favor of ice cream, so my throat would burn instead, and said, “He doesn’t want to.”
“Bullshit,” she snapped for the umpteenth time and then added in a softer tone, “By the way, that ‘bullshit’ was a statement of fact. Not an incredulous denial, like the other fifty times I’ve used it tonight.”
“He already said as much,” I mumbled, ignoring her numerous ‘bullshits’ and dropping the spoon into the empty container.
The container being empty was bullshit too, in my opinion.
Not that anyone had asked me for my opinion.
Which also happened to be bullshit.
“No,” she denied. “He said he wouldn’t bond, not that he didn’t want to. Trust me. He wants to. He’s just going to be a stubborn ass about it because he thinks by not doing it, it’s the only way to keep you safe.”
“And you don’t agree with him?” I asked, not really all that surprised, since Pam didn’t pander to anyone.
“Sookie,” she scoffed. “The Ancient Pythoness doesn’t go around punking vampire for kicks. She’s the Supernatural equivalent of E.F. Hutton. When she talks, we listen. If it wasn’t for her telling Eric to get us out of Rhodes when she did, we would’ve been at the bottom of the hotel’s rubble the next morning. He’s only the king now because she told him he had to be. And if she’s saying our only hope is for the two of you to bond and fight Nargal – and whoever the fuck else – then that is what needs to happen.”
Her tone was both soothing and argumentative, when she added, “Eric is panicking – I can feel it – because he knows what she’s told you is going to happen and there’s no way he can stop any of it. But he’s pigheaded enough to want to try. Now the question I have for you is, do you want to bond with him?”
I was still blocking myself from feeling Eric on the off-chance he’d let me in again because I wouldn’t be able to handle any more than what I was already dealing with.
So if he was panicking, it was news to me.
And when all I did was nod in response to her question, she admonished me, like a disapproving school teacher, by barking out, “Say it, Sookie.”
I ignored her bossy ways and sniffled, “But what if he feels like he’s being forced, like when he had to become king? I don’t want him… His bond… Not that way.”
Miss Bossy Pants replied, “We’re not discussing Eric right now. We’re discussing you. Do you want to bond with him?”
“Yes,” I croaked out, trying to hold back the tears that wanted to come with it.
It wasn’t something I’d wanted for very long, but the thought of Eric not wanting to – not wanting me – threatened to send me off the deep end.
“Why?” she asked.
When I didn’t respond, she asked without any inflection in her voice, “Is it because you’re afraid of what will happen otherwise? That you’ll be left unprotected and forced against your will to bond with another vampire? Not me of course, Eric’s already seen to that. Or is it because you think you have to bond with him because of what you were told?”
I shook my head no to all of it, so in true Pam fashion she literally poked me in the arm with her perfectly manicured fingernail and said, “Say it!”
I ignored her for as long as my pain threshold would allow, when I finally yelled, “Oww!”
Then letting my frustration over every goddamn thing come through, I added, “And no, alright? No!”
The night had started with so much promise.
How in the hell did I go from giving my virginity away to the man I was falling in love with – from feeling so happy – to this…this…what in the hell was this?
A Supernatural pity party?
“Then why?” Miss Pushy Pants yelled, while pushing her fingernails back into my arm.
“I WANT TO BOND WITH HIM BECAUSE I LOVE HIM, YOU RELENTLESS BITCH! OKAY? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?”
My screeching voice died down, just as quickly as my tears started falling, and in my fading anger, I wiped at my eyes and sighed, “I love him…”
What I really wanted to do was strangle her with her goddamn paper crown for getting me all riled up when there was no ice cream left.
So I was taken aback seeing the grin on her face, but hearing the slight sound of movement behind me – and knowing only one other being could enter the room – took the fight out of me completely.
And that feeling was quickly replaced with the overwhelming urge to vomit instead.
Maybe it was kitty Sam?
My hope only lasted until I heard the all too familiar voice ask, “Sookie, what did you just say?”