Minutes ticked by uncounted while Sookie held Finn, her fingers stroking his head soothingly while she flooded their bond with comfort, giving him everything he needed. As happy as she was to see her child, the sorrow at the knowledge of what caused him to come to her diminished that happiness. One of their line was gone. Her beloved son’s only child was no longer among them. Sookie wanted to know what had happened, but her questions could wait. Her first priority was taking care of Finn. He needed her more than she needed answers.
As she held her favorite child, Sookie let her mind wander to the dark-haired vampire who had met the True Death. While Sookie didn’t know Elizabeth as well as she would have wanted, she had liked the young vampire. She had been a welcome addition to their Line. Elizabeth had been the complete antithesis of Sookie; dark to light, soft spoken to commanding, gentle to violent, healer to killer. On paper, the two of them should have never gotten along; instead the two of them had gotten along like a house afire! It had been easy for Sookie to see what Finn had seen in Elizabeth…
London, England 1947
Sookie arched a brow while she cast her gaze over her new grandchild, assessing and judging if Miss Elizabeth Jones was worthy of being a part of her Line. The ancient blonde had been waiting for the night that her youngest son had become a Maker himself. It was the greatest honor a vampire could obtain; being a Maker was the ultimate responsibility. It was a lifelong commitment.
She had known the minute Finn had turned someone, she felt the new vampire’s life force join her Line and it hadn’t taken Sookie long to trace the new vampire to their Maker. It was a gift no one in her Line knew she possessed. Roman and Ana knew as the Head of the Line she could feel the life force of everyone who carried her blood, but they had no idea she could track them all through the bonds. They had no clue whatsoever that Sookie could feel when a new vampire joined their Line. Feeling the new vampire’s life force tied to Finn had been a shock, and Sookie had a momentary flicker of jealousy. She never liked to share, but that feeling had given way almost as quickly as it came, and all she was left with was curiosity. Who was the person her child had deemed worthy enough to turn?
It was several months after she had felt the new vampire enter her bloodline when Sookie heard from Finn via a letter. He had told her how he had been drawn to France during the tail end of the war. He explained how he had been pulled toward a young nurse on the Western Front. Finn had told Sookie in the letter how he had watched the young woman for several nights before making his move, turning her, and adding her to their Line. He added little tales of how his child was adjusting to her new life as a vampire, and then in true Finn fashion, he had included some downright pornographic words detailing what he would like to do to Sookie the next time they saw each other. The urge to search him out and have him make good on his words had been hard for Sookie to fight, but she had done it, knowing that Elizabeth needed Finn’s guidance more than Sookie needed him between her legs. It had been a stroke of luck that Nero had been visiting Sookie at the time as he had been more than happy to see to His Lady’s needs. Sookie grinned while she recalled the fun she had with Nero, the former Gladiator had certainly pleased Sookie, and they had spent several glorious nights fucking.
As she eyed Elizabeth, Sookie had to concede that Finn had definitely chosen a beautiful young woman as his child. Her dark hair, blue eyes, and svelte figure were certainly appealing, but what really drew Sookie’s attention was the intelligence behind Elizabeth’s eyes. There was a hunger to learn in the brunette’s eyes and that pleased Sookie. From a visual point of view, it looked as though Finn had chosen well. However, Sookie knew it took more than a pretty face and figure to make a good vampire.
“Finn, darling, why don’t you go and find us a meal for the night?” Sookie asked, turning her gaze toward her child. She gave him a soft smile, but there was steel behind her look, letting him know it truly wasn’t a request but an order. She had thoroughly enjoyed her reunion with Finn hours earlier, but at that time she wanted to talk to his child alone. It was somewhat of a ritual she had developed over the millennia. She would talk privately with all of her grandchildren when she met them for the first time. She found it was the best way to get to know them, to find out if they were as respectful when their Maker wasn’t present to censor them.
“Anything particular you’re in the mood for?” Finn asked with a leer, trying to hide his concern. While he was cautious of leaving Elizabeth alone, he knew his Maker would never hurt her unless she was attacked first. Still, he was leaving his child alone with a vampire much, much older than her. If it would have been anyone but his Maker, Finn would have refused.
“Surprise me,” Sookie replied with a dirty grin. She could feel his apprehension and was pleased by it though she wouldn’t show it. The apprehension told Sookie he was taking his responsibility of a Maker seriously. Only a fool wouldn’t have been concerned about leaving their infant child alone with someone considerably older and more powerful. “You know what I like.”
Finn nodded at his Maker before turning to face his child. He could see she was scared, it was obvious to see in her eyes, but he could also see she was trying to control that fear. It hadn’t been an easy adjustment for her, but she was handling it the best she could, and he had never doubted he made the right choice by turning her. He was positive Sookie would accept his child. Sookie would see Elizabeth was worthy of the gift he had bestowed on her.
Sookie watched as Finn silently reassured his child. She could tell through the brief interaction that Finn would be a good Maker. He was taking time to see to his child’s needs before he went to find his Maker a meal for the night, and while many vampires would object to that, believing a Maker should come before the child, Sookie didn’t. In her eyes, a Maker should put their child first. A Maker was self-reliant; they knew independence and the way of the world. They didn’t need a child to care for them, teach them, or protect them, whereas a child, a newly-made one did. They needed guidance, protection, and strength. They needed their Maker. Observing them carefully, Sookie could see the affection between them, the trust; it brought a smile to her face.
Finn took Elizabeth’s hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze, letting her know it would be okay before dropping it and making his way to the door. As much as he wanted to stay there, he knew he would be doing his child a disservice if he did. She was stronger than she thought, and he was sure his Maker would see that as well.
“Come join me,” Sookie said once she heard the front door click shut. She patted the seat beside her inviting Elizabeth to sit down.
Elizabeth’s eyes flicked to the seat beside Sookie and took a hesitant step forward. She had been on edge ever since she heard Finn’s beloved Maker was coming to visit and now that she was alone with her, she was terrified. Elizabeth had been hearing stories about Sookie for years. Finn had painted his Maker as some larger than life woman who hung the moon. It had been easy for Elizabeth to tell that Finn loved Sookie, not that he had tried to hide it. Her Maker had explained the Maker/Child bond to her; he also explained that the relationship he had with his Maker went deeper than that. There was love between them, and while they weren’t in love with each other and never had been, they had shared way too much to ever be just Maker and Child. It had been hard for Elizabeth not to feel intimidated although she had never felt jealous of the relationship between Finn and Sookie. When she had first heard of the relationship her Maker shared with Sookie, Elizabeth had wondered why they weren’t together. She hadn’t been able to understand how they weren’t together if they felt a fraction of what she felt for her Maker. It had taken several months for Finn to fully explain how the Maker/Child bond worked although she knew she hadn’t learned everything. Elizabeth had come to realize that the complete and total devotion she felt for Finn when she first rose had been a by product of their new bond. The undeniable attraction she felt for him was the pull of their new bond. She had been attracted to him, she desired him sexually, still did, but over the next several years those feelings faded into the background and her real emotions had risen to the surface. She was able to separate between their bond and what was genuine. She realized that while she loved him, she wasn’t in love with him.
Sookie waited for her grandchild to sit down before angling her body to the right and tucking her legs underneath her. She could tell Elizabeth was scared, but she was doing a good job of trying to hide it. “How are you adjusting to life as a vampire?” She asked curiously. It was a question she had asked everyone in the Line she met, and each one had given her a different answer. Some embellished, some lied outright, but few told her the complete truth. They usually told her what they thought she wanted to hear.
“It has been difficult…” Elizabeth replied, choosing her words carefully. Difficult was an understatement, but it was the best word she could use to describe. “Being a vampire is very freeing, I feel like I can do anything, yet it is also…” she trailed off, unsure how to complete her sentence.
“Restrictive?” Sookie suggested with a knowing smile. Seeing Elizabeth give a timid nod of confirmation, Sookie smiled and put a tick in the mental plus column she had for the young vampire. “As you said, you feel as if you can do anything, yet there is a list of rules preventing you from actually doing them.”
“Yes,” Elizabeth replied, her voice rising slightly in tenor while she began to overcome her nervousness. “At the same time the power I now have is frightening; it scares me at times…”
“Good,” Sookie said, taking Elizabeth by surprise. She chuckled at the stunned look on the brunette’s face. “If it didn’t scare you I would be worried. Only a fool would rise one night as a vampire with all these new feelings and a power they can’t truly understand and not be afraid. Many of our kind think being a vampire means being fearless; they think it means freedom to do as they please. They don’t understand that fear can keep the mind sharp; it helps you see dangers and overcome them. I am older than dirt and there are things I still fear.”
“Were you afraid when you first rose?” Elizabeth questioned before she could stop herself. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me,” she added quickly, ducking her head. Finn had told her that his Maker rarely talked of her early years as a vampire. He had heard the story of how she was turned and why, but he had never shared it with Elizabeth, telling her that the story of a turning was private.
“Let me guess, Finn told you I don’t talk about my early years as a vampire,” Sookie said with a chuckle.
“Yes,” Elizabeth replied with a regretful smile. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry or overstep the mark. I was just…”
“Curious,” Sookie finished for her. She let out a sigh as she untucked her legs from beneath her and stood. “It’s true that I rarely talk about my early years as a vampire, but it isn’t because I don’t like to talk about them, or that the memories are painful, it is because no one ever asks me…” She gave Elizabeth a minute for that little bit of info to sink in before she continued, “If you have a question, ask it…”
“Were you scared?” Elizabeth asked, repeating her question. From the way Finn talked about Sookie, Elizabeth believed the older vampire didn’t fear anything, so to hear her say there were things she still feared was quite the shock.
“I was terrified,” Sookie admitted without shame. A soft smile curled her lips while she thought back to the time before and after she had been turned. “I’m not sure what Finn told you, but I have known about vampires my entire life. My mother was the first vampire. I always wanted to be one, I went into it with my eyes wide open, I had seen what being a vampire encompassed, but I soon found out seeing and experiencing are two very different things…” She trailed off as she remembered that first night. Sookie had thought she was prepared for what was to come, but the moment she crawled out of the grave she realized she had been wrong. “Everything was so loud, the colors more vibrant, and the gentlest caress felt like a vicious hit. It was like nothing I had imagined… It terrified me and when you add in the increased speed and strength… Well, my early days as a vampire were not that pleasurable, but I never regretted it. I was born for this life, and if what I see is true, I believe you are as well…”
“How can you be so sure?” Elizabeth asked, genuinely curious. She couldn’t say she didn’t enjoy her new existence although it wasn’t that new any longer. She was almost thirty years dead. Still, she had doubts.
“Because you are not blinded by it,” Sookie answered while she moved around the small coffee table and sat down. “You see the good and bad, you question everything around you, and make your own opinion. Too many of our kind let their Makers influence them in negative ways, their opinions, their beliefs become their own. They lose their identity in their Maker. I loved my Maker, I still do, she was my mother by birth and by blood, and she taught me so much, but I’m not her. I have different opinions and beliefs than she did, just as Finn has different ones from me. Being a vampire isn’t about how strong you are, or how fast. It’s not about how much power you amass, but how you handle that power…”
Elizabeth mused over what Sookie had said, she hadn’t really answered her question, yet at the same time Elizabeth felt as though she had. The dark-haired vampire had struggled with her new existence when she rose, she had been a healer, and all of a sudden everything had changed and she felt like a predator. It had taken her a few years to accept that she could be both, that she hadn’t lost a part of herself, just gained another part. All the while she tried to figure it out Finn has stood by her side guiding her, but never telling her how to think or feel. He had let her be herself, form her own opinion, just as Sookie had said.
Rising to her feet, Sookie left Elizabeth to her musings. She knew she could be confusing at times, it actually amused her. She loved confusing all those around her. As she looked around the small house her child had set up home in, Sookie had to admit he had chosen well with Elizabeth. There was still more she wanted to know, but from what she had seen and heard so far, Sookie believed Elizabeth would be a fine addition to their Line…
Finn’s voice was hoarse and filled with pain, and the sound of it brought a tear to Sookie’s eye. She had never heard her child sound so despondent. She wanted to wrap him up in her arms and shield him from the pain, but she knew that wasn’t possible. As much as she hated it, pain was a part of life, and she would never shield him from life.
Pulling him to his feet, Sookie backed him up and pushed him down so he was sitting on the edge of her bed. She crouched down in front of him and took his hands in hers, squeezing them reassuringly. “What happened, Finn?”
“Elizabeth’s dead,” Finn replied, his voice hitching as he spoke the words. “She’s dead… My child…”
Sookie felt a lump form in her throat at the look of utter desolation on his face. It was a feeling she knew all too well. She had felt the same after she had lost Lilith. Pushing herself to her feet, Sookie climbed on the bed and moved behind him. She rested her knees either side of his hips and wrapped her arms around his shoulders pulling him back into her chest. “I know, Finn,” she said, her tone barely above a whisper. “I’m sorry…”
“They killed her…”
Sookie jerked her head up at his words, her brow furrowing when she realized what he said. They killed her… “Who, Finn? Who killed Elizabeth?”
“I couldn’t stop them… They killed her… I tried…” Finn said, his words coming out broken as he replayed the death of his child over in his head. “There were too many of them… I tried… There was a vampire… She said… No… Elizabeth!”
Moving to kneel at his side on the bed, Sookie reached for Finn’s face and turned his head so he faced her. His words might have come out broken, but Sookie got the gist of them. Elizabeth had been killed in a deliberate act and a vampire had been involved. Sookie knew her child needed blood and to rest, but before then she needed answers. “Finn, darling, who killed Elizabeth?”
Finn met Sookie’s gaze, a moment of clarity shining in his pain-filled eyes. This was what he needed, he needed his Maker, she would know what to do. Who killed Elizabeth? The question repeated in his head and for split second anger replaced the pain in his eyes and he spat out the answer. “The Yakuza!”