Sookie looked on with apprehension as the Fallen arranged the tools necessary to strip her of her undead existence and prepare her to become reborn. It was not something she wanted to do; however, there were no other choices she could find. She was living on borrowed time. Within the next twenty-five years, humans would discover the existence of vampires and once that day finally arrived she could not be there in her present form to witness it. Humans could not learn of her identity until after they had come to terms with the fact that vampires were, indeed, a factual and authentic species, not the pretend monsters of their Hollywood movies or their Halloween costumes. It would take years for them to accept vampires. For all their advances, humans were, at heart, a suspicious species. They feared what they did not know, hated what they could not understand, and persecuted what they found different. It would be difficult and troublesome enough to accept that vampires walked among them, but if they were to learn of what she was? It would cause global chaos.
Heaven touched and Hell born… A child born of an angel and a vampire.
If humans ever learned of her and her capabilities, they would label her a demon, hunting her incessantly. Fear would drive their actions the same way it had throughout their long history. Wars would arise, the kinds of which humans had never before witnessed. Chaos would rule and Death would visit day and night. No, for the sake of her future and that of her bloodline’s safety, she would have to cease to exist. She had to place herself beyond the reach of all, even her beloved family. Sookie only wished she hadn’t had to rely on a Fallen to make it so. Ancient intolerances died arduously, and even though she knew he meant her no harm, she remained suspicious of him still. She did not trust him, could not trust him. Angels were just as duplicitous as the Fae, which was not remarkable considering the original Fae were the children of Angels.
“It is not too late to change your mind…”
Smiling softly, Sookie angled her head to the left and gazed upon the worried face of her eldest child. Roman had been the only one she told, she had entrusted him with ruling her line while she was gone. As her eldest, he stood by her side during the darkest of times and had seen many of the same horrors as she. She trusted all of her children, but it was in Roman she was placing her faith. She knew he had the abilities necessary to rule in her absence.
Her darling Ana was a fine leader who had ruled over much of Eastern Europe for verging on seven hundred years. She was respected and feared in equal measure, yet she still lacked the maturity to rule over all vampires. She was quick to anger and favored force over diplomacy.
Molly was far too young and lacked the experience to rule. Sookie had no doubt that one day her youngest would be a great leader, but that day was in the far distance. No one would take her young genius seriously and it would not take long for the sharks to attack.
Finn… Sookie chuckled while she thought about her beloved second son. Despite what she had told Roman, Finn was really her favorite. He was wild, free. He loved life and made the most of it, when he was a human and after he had been turned. Finn hadn’t had an easy life as a mortal, but he had never shied away at living it. He had played the hand dealt him and made it a winning one. As much as she loved him, Sookie knew Finn was the last person who should rule in her absence. If she were to leave him in charge, she would only return to chaos of his making. Finn wouldn’t think twice before engaging in a battle with anyone who dared look at him amiss.
No, Roman must be the one to rule while she was gone. He had the age and experience. There were few vampires older than him, and fortunately for him those vampires also belonged to her line. Her brother, Warlow, and two of his children, was the only vampire whose age was greater than that of Roman. Sookie had considered contacting her brother and leaving him in charge, but then she dismissed the idea even before it fully formed. Warlow did not like, nor want, to lead. He was a soldier, a warrior; he had no desire to be a general.
“True, it is not,” Sookie agreed. Part of her wanted to change her mind. She wanted to dismiss the Fallen and forget all about her plans. She wanted to stay and call Her Blood to her, but even as much as she wanted that, she knew she couldn’t. It was too dangerous. “I will not though. My time is waning; I must go so that one day I will be able to stand out in the open without the fear of war. It is your time to lead, Roman. It is time for me to…” The rest of her words died on her lips when a sense of utter despair slammed into her. Sookie clutched her chest as if she was in pain and cried out in agony. “No!” she gasped, blood tears rimming her eyes.
“My Lady!” Roman cried in alarm while he reached for her. He could feel tendrils of her pain wrap around him, and he sought to find and eliminate the cause. Yet, he could find nothing! He had never felt such pain before; he knew he felt what his beloved Maker was feeling though he knew it was merely a small sliver of what she was experiencing. “What is it? Who is doing this to you?”
Grabbing a hold of his arms, Sookie clutched at him fiercely, her fingers digging into his strong arms while she searched for the origin of her pain. She ignored his words, her focus solely on the pain overwhelming her. Sookie knew the pain she felt wasn’t hers; she was not injured in any way. The pain was coming from her blood. One of her line was hurting badly. Looking within, Sookie tracked her blood searching for the one who suffered. She ignored her bond with Roman, knowing it was not him. He was standing before her, healthy, but concerned.
Sookie grasped onto the pain, tracing it back to the one who was hurting. As she traced it, Sookie could tell she wasn’t the only one feeling it, all her children were, and that told her that the pain originated in one of them. One of her own was hurting so badly the pain was traveling through their bonds. She could feel her children’s worry and fear as the pain increased in intensity.
“Finn…” Sookie whispered, realizing it was him hurting. Now that she knew who it was, she focused solely on him and ignored the other bonds. She had never felt such pain coming from him before. Her beloved son was in agony and she was powerless to help him. Focusing on their bond, Sookie tried to discern where the source of the pain was and what was causing it. The pain didn’t seem to be centralized to one part of Finn, but radiating throughout his very core. Sookie attempted to remove some of his pain, to dull it for him, but she was unable, it was as if… It is not a physical pain.
Roman growled at the mention of his brother, and his inner rage grew at the thought of Finn hurting their Maker. “Fucking Finn!” He cursed, believing him to be the cause of trouble, yet again. Roman never understood why Sookie had turned the undisciplined man. His jealousy blinded him to the good in Finn, only seeing the bad. He hated that Sookie had given a part of herself to Finn that she had never given to him, even Ana. Each of her children held a piece of her heart, but Finn had been gifted with more. Sookie had gifted Finn with her blood as well after she had turned him. Finn had a larger piece of their Maker. “What suffering has he brought upon himself now?! The selfish bastard should have blocked his pain from the rest of us! He should have…”
Sookie shoved Roman away, in no mood to listen to his petty and vindictive words. No one knew what had happened to Finn, but in typical Roman behavior, he was lashing out, blaming his brother for everything. Sookie had grown tired of Roman’s jealousy when it came to Finn. She knew his jealousy prevented him from seeing things objectively and she had no desire to waste her words explaining that again. It had been almost three hundred years since Roman and Finn had last met, still Roman bitterly held onto his resentment after all that time. Sookie loved her eldest, but for someone over five-thousand-years old, he sometimes acted like a toddler!
“Now is not the time for your jealousy, Roman!” Sookie scolded, shooting him a look of disappointment. “The pain is tearing your brother apart. Perhaps you should worry for his safety rather than blame him!”
Roman hung his head in shame while the truth of her words grasped him although he still refused to admit jealousy. He was just concerned for his Maker. Finn was a wild card, always getting into trouble and, by extension, exposing them all to danger. Still, he should have waited to be sure his brother was all right before ripping into him for perhaps being the cause of some trouble he was in. He might not have liked Finn, but he was blood, he was family.
Sookie paid little attention to Roman while she delved back into the bond she shared with Finn. His pain was not decreasing in the slightest and she feared for him. She could only think of one time before in her long life that she had ever felt such pain like that. It wasn’t exactly the same, but it was similar, and she prayed she was wrong. She prayed that hadn’t happened. Sookie stroked the bond trying to comfort her child even though he was halfway across the world. A small sliver of hope arose inside her when she felt Finn react to her presence. It was only a small reaction, yet it was there. Sookie could feel his need; Finn needed his Maker.
Come to me my child, Sookie whispered in her mind while she gave a gentle tug on their bond and called him to her. There was no command of him, the choice to come would be his, but if he didn’t, she would go to him. Finn needed her, and no one or nothing would stop her in answering that need.
Sookie could barely contain herself as she waited for what he would do. Finn was the one child whose actions she could never predict. He was independent in ways her other children weren’t. That wasn’t to say her other children weren’t, but they would never hesitate to seek her out if they needed her, or thought they did. Finn would usually only seek his Maker out as a last resort. He loved Sookie and would do anything for her without question, but he wouldn’t rely on her to fix his problems.
After what felt like hours but, in truth, was only minutes, Sookie felt the gentle hum of their bond thrum in reply, and she knew Finn was coming. He was coming home to his Maker. Sookie let out a sigh of relief, her fear diminishing with the knowledge.
With the understanding that Finn was coming to her, Sookie realized she couldn’t go through with the spell that would make her reborn. She couldn’t abandon her child in his time of need. She would never forgive herself if she did.
Turning her gaze to the Fallen, Sookie blanked her face of emotion, refusing to allow him to see any more than he already had. “I am afraid your services will not be required this night after all,” she said, her tone firm yet polite. “Unforeseen circumstances have arisen, and I am currently unable to proceed with the original plan.”
The Fallen eyed Sookie carefully. He may have lost all his memories after he had fallen and taken human form, but that didn’t mean he had lost everything. Some magic remained and he could tell when something of great import had occurred. He could almost feel the worry and pain radiating off Sookie. Whatever had happened that had stopped her from following through on her plan would prevent her on ever following through. His services would never be required. She would never be reborn now.
Inclining his head, he gave Sookie a small nod of respect before packing up his supplies. “Should my services ever be required, please do not hesitate to ask,” he said sincerely before bidding them farewell.
“My Lady?” Roman said questioningly after they were alone again. He couldn’t believe she was changing her mind! She had been so adamant that she had to do this, and refused to listen to his pleas for her to reconsider.
“Finn is coming,” Sookie said simply as if that explained all and, in her mind, it did.
Roman clenched his fists at the news. Of course Sookie would change her mind because Finn was coming. His own pleas had fallen on deaf ears, but dear ol’ Finn could get her to change her mind just by showing up! Roman couldn’t help the jealousy that arose inside him. He both thanked and cursed his brother. Thanked him because he had managed to change Sookie’s mind, and cursed him for the exact same reason.
Sookie rolled her eyes when she felt Roman’s jealousy once more. She really wished he would get over it. She wasn’t putting one child over the other. She would have changed her mind if any of her children would have felt that kind of pain. “Your brother is suffering greatly,” she said, her tone firm. “The pain is all but consuming him, and I will not abandon him to that pain. I am positive you would drop everything if you felt that kind of pain coming from Dieter, Godric, or one of your other children…”
Roman instantly felt suitably chastised, knowing he would do just that. Nothing would stop him from helping one of his children if they were hurt. He was ashamed of his reaction, yet he still couldn’t help but feel resentment. He had always felt as if Finn had taken Sookie away from him. Their relationship had changed after she had turned Finn and, in his opinion, not for the better, although Roman failed to realize it also changed after she had turned Ana and Molly.
Sookie didn’t spare Roman a single glance when she moved past him and out of the room. She could tell Finn was far away and would not arrive for a few nights, but she wanted everything ready for him when he did. She kept their bond open, giving him her strength, and sharing his pain while she prepared for what was to come. If her suspicions about the cause of Finn’s pain were correct, then there would be Hell to pay! No one hurt her family, not while she was around!