Sookie slowed her pace once she reached Pam’s office and paused just outside the door. A thousand thoughts were running through her mind and she needed a minute or two to try and make sense of them. There was too much happening far too quickly for Sookie to feel comfortable, and, for the first time since she regained her true persona, the ancient blonde was truly troubled. Something was coming, something big, but Sookie was unable to see enough to identify it. She was missing many pieces of what she feared was a larger puzzle.
Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories, Sookie recited to herself while she mentally moved the pieces into place that she was able to see. “Ana,” she said suddenly, the name spoken in barely a whisper, yet Sookie knew her child could hear her.
“Yes, Mistress,” Ana said, appearing beside her Maker instantly. The Eastern European Queen could feel the turmoil coursing through Sookie and knew now was not the time for her usual, playful behavior. Ana hadn’t survived as long as she had and taken over half of Eastern Europe by behaving foolishly.
“As you no doubt heard, Rasul is now the Sheriff of Area Five and will be staying behind,” Sookie began while she stared at her child with ageless eyes. “I want you to personally escort Ms. Burrell back to New Orleans and make sure she’s safe. No harm is to come to her whatsoever, and if anyone challenges you, tell them you’re operating under my direct orders. Finn and Elizabeth should be arriving tomorrow night, and I believe Betsy will be the perfect companion for Ms. Burrell until we decide what to do with her.”
“Betsy’s as sweet as ever,” Ana replied, nodding and agreeing with her Maker. “If she wouldn’t have been so young, I would have nominated her as spokesperson for all vampires during the Great Revelation. She would have done much better than Flanagan.”
“A dried-up prune would’ve been better than her!” Sookie scoffed. “I’ve someone in mind to replace Flanagan as spokesperson, but it might pay to have Betsy work with them. I’ll have to wait and see.” Sookie shook away the thought and turned her full attention back to Ana. “Until then, I want you to watch over Ms. Burrell. No fangs are to touch her, she’s under my protection.”
“Understood,” Ana said, inclining her head a fraction in a show of deference and respect. Although she wasn’t saying it aloud, it was clear to Ana that Sookie believed Ms. Burrell would be a somewhat permanent fixture among the Bloodline. Sookie was offering her protection to the young human, something she rarely did. It was a warning to those within the Bloodline to keep their fangs to themselves.
“I want you and Ms. Burrell as far away from Shreveport before sunrise,” Sookie ordered. “Get back to New Orleans if you can, but I want you both out of the Area before Burrell comes looking. Have Eliza or Elijah take over transport of Tara, ask them to escort Izzy back to New Orleans for me, and then leave.”
“Yes, My Lady,” Ana said respectfully before zipping away to do as ordered.
With all that taken care of, Sookie turned to face Eric. She smiled at her Viking, love shining brightly in her eyes. “Feel like going flying?”
Grinning at his lover, Eric reached for her hand and escorted her to the rear exit of the bar. Once outside, the two of them looked up into the night sky before launching themselves into the air. Eric followed Sookie as she led him away from the bar and to a deserted area, miles from anyone.
“You have something on your mind,” Eric said after they landed in the middle of a field. While he wasn’t connected to Sookie in the same way that her children were, her blood did course through his body, and just like Ana, he could feel her turmoil.
“I always have something on my mind,” Sookie admitted, smiling ruefully. “Most of the time it’s nothing important, but now… this night… Well, I fear we have a war coming, but I can’t see who is behind it or their reasoning. The pieces I’m seeing are small and just the outline. I’m missing the main pieces.”
If anyone else would have claimed a war was coming, Eric would have probably dismissed their claims as either fearmongering or nonsense. The things they had discovered that night were troubling, but none had specifically spelled out that war was upon them. It wouldn’t be the first time humans had targeted vampires, nor would it be the last. Governor Burrell’s vampire camp wasn’t something to take lightly, but for the time being, it was isolated to Louisiana. It had yet to become widespread. Nevertheless, Sookie believed there was more to it than what had been discovered, and Eric believed in her. She had always had the gift of seeing more than others, even before she had regained her memories and rightful place among the Supernatural. She could see outside the structure of any plan and discern the intent behind it.
“Let’s see if we can add some more pieces,” Eric said, using Sookie’s analogy while he put his thoughts in order. “Start at the beginning, Lover, and tell me what you know or suspect.”
Sookie moved closer to Eric and quickly pressed her lips to his in a soft, but meaningful, kiss. In a few sentences, Eric had proven why he was her rightful mate and understood her better than anyone else. He was willing to work with her to piece everything together, rather than just look to her for all the answers. “I love you,” she whispered against his lips before taking a step back. “The beginning,” she said, her voice raising slightly in volume.
The beginning would have been her birth, but they really didn’t have time to go through thousands upon thousands of years of history. No, Sookie would have to narrow it down to her recent history and the things that were more conspicuous.
“The beginning,” she repeated, her tone now firm. “Well, that’d be 1984. At the start of the year, I was advised to hide. Someone with a unique gift, and I’m afraid I’m unable to reveal who just yet, told me that within twenty years, vampires would reveal themselves to world, and I couldn’t be around at that time. My presence would’ve caused a war, one that would envelop the entire world, causing catastrophic damage. I fully trust the individual who told me this.”
Eric nodded while he listened to Sookie. He couldn’t argue her point. The Great Revelation, despite what many people believed, had not been a great success. Yes, vampires revealed themselves to humans, were awarded certain rights, and gained followers; however, behind the scenes, in the seedy underbelly of human politics, they were actively persecuted. In the eighteen months following the Great Revelation, a small number of vampires disappeared, others were arrested on trumped up charges, and businesses were raided at an alarming rate. Terrorist groups disguised such as the Fellowship of the Sun were given free rein to spread their hate under the banner of Freedom of Religion while attacks against vampires and their businesses were deemed low on the justice scale.
Having Sookie among them at that point in time, and taking an active role in the Great Revelation would have only caused the fear and hatred to intensify. Oh, there may have been some who would have worshipped at her feet, but the likes of Steve Newlin and his delusional followers would have labeled her an agent of Satan, especially after word spread that Sookie was the child of a vampire and an angel. The moment that news leaked, and Eric wasn’t naïve to believe it wouldn’t, they would have hunted her down.
“So you decided to be reborn,” Eric said, thinking over what he knew of his Lover’s past.
“I did eventually,” Sookie replied with a tired sigh while she recalled the confusion she felt after hearing the warning. “For awhile I considered just going into hiding,” she admitted, confiding in Eric something she hadn’t told anyone else. “At that point, I hadn’t been active in our world for so very long, and just slipping back into the shadows wouldn’t have been difficult. I have family all over the world, so it would’ve been easy to seek shelter with them until the time was right.”
“What changed your mind?” Eric asked curiously, sensing it was something she hadn’t discussed with anyone.
“Honestly, a number of things. I could’ve gone and stayed with Ana, she rules half of Eastern Europe, after all, and Claudette… my niece,” Sookie clarified after she noticed Eric raise an eyebrow at the name of the vampire he was familiar with, but didn’t know personally. “She rules the other half. It would’ve taken little effort for me to disappear into their areas. I could’ve gone to Finn, my child… my favorite child,” she added with a fond smile, “but if you repeat that, I will deny it,” she told Eric playfully. “Although Finn and I are rarely sedate when we’re together. We draw attention to ourselves, and that was the opposite of what I needed at that time. You’ll meet him tomorrow, so you’ll see what I mean.”
“You love him,” Eric stated, feeling the truth of his words deep inside him. He wasn’t sure if he should feel jealous or not. Sookie had said little about him, but the softness in her voice spoke volumes. Eric knew Sookie was a Maker, having met three of her children already, yet the inflection of her tone told Eric that Finn was different from the others. Their bond was deeper between the two.
“I do,” Sookie admitted without hesitation. “Finn is my beloved child. For the longest time, he was both my greatest achievement and greatest weakness. He remains my greatest achievement. I am not in love with him and never have been. Eric, Finn is… Finn is…” she paused as she tried to find the right words to describe what Finn was to her. She didn’t want Eric to see Finn as a rival because nothing could have been further from the truth. Her heart belonged to Eric completely, something Finn would see and respect after he arrived. “Finn is my Godric,” Sookie added, explaining it in a way Eric would understand. “He’s not my Maker, but…”
“He’s your blood, your heart, a new life,” Eric said, interrupting her as to let her know he understood what she had been trying to convey. Finn was to Sookie what Godric had been to Eric. When she described it that way, any jealousy Eric might have been feeling simply vanished. Eric wasn’t naïve enough to believe he wouldn’t feel any jealousy after he met Finn. He had no idea how they might react toward one another, but he was secure enough in his relationship with Sookie to know that Finn would not be a threat to their love. “He’s arriving tomorrow?” He asked, though he was already aware of the answer. It was his way of telling Sookie that he had no issues with Finn.
“He is,” Sookie replied, nodding. “Finn and Elizabeth, his child, will arrive sometime tomorrow night. I need to be back in New Orleans by the time he arrives, or I fear Finn and Roman will destroy the city once they see each other again,” she added, only half-joking. Sookie wasn’t fooling herself that the reunion between Finn and Roman would be a pleasant one. They had far too much animosity between the two for them to simply share a blood and hug.
“I take it Roman and Finn don’t get along,” Eric said, wondering what it could take to ruffle the normally stoic Roman’s feathers. The former Guardian of the Authority was usually so calm and controlled. The only time Eric had ever seen Roman lose his cool was when Salome had betrayed him and threatened his Maker.
“That’s putting it mildly,” Sookie replied, laughing while she thought of her children and the trouble they caused her. “Finn and Roman are like… Well, most people would say oil and water, but I’ll say fire and ice, Finn being the fire and Roman the ice. The last time the two of them were together, Roman broke Finn’s arm, Finn shattered Roman’s jaw and temporarily blinded him in one eye, and they both destroyed my house. Their personalities clash too much, but, despite all that, they still would walk through the fires of Hell for each other. It will be an interesting night, especially once Roman discovers Finn has killed the Empress of China and Queen of New York…”
“Does he make a habit out of killing vampire rulers?” Eric asked, wondering just what kind of vampire Sookie’s child might be. Killing a Queen, or in China’s case, an Empress, usually meant you either took the throne as a right of conquest, or were given the True Death for an act of treason. One did not typically walk away from such an event without consequence.
“Only the ones who piss him off,” Sookie snorted. “The Empress of China tried to prevent Finn from returning to me, and, as you know, interfering in a Maker/child relationship is prohibited. Finn beheaded her after she refused to allow him to leave, even after he told her he was answering the call of his Maker. As for New York, well, that dumb bitch put her hands on Finn’s child. She chained Elizabeth in silver because she wouldn’t satisfy her sexually. I’d have killed New York for that.”
“As would I,” Eric agreed, thinking of the lengths he would have gone to had Pam been in the same predicament.
“When you meet Elizabeth, you’ll want to resurrect New York and kill her again,” Sookie said, a fond smile tugging at her lips at the thought of her grandchild. “If I hadn’t had to deal with Sam, Alcide, Jessica, and Tara, I’d have flown to New York and laid waste to her entire Kingdom. Betsy’s the baby of the family. Tara no longer counts,” she added, dismissing the actual youngest of the Bloodline. As far as Sookie was concerned until Tara accepted her new place in the world and ceased causing trouble, she would not be considered a member of the Bloodline. She was excommunicated. “Betsy’s another reason I chose to be reborn rather than going to Finn. She was still relatively young when I did it, just over sixty. She still needed her Maker. Unlike that waste of blood Compton, we know that a child needs the protection and guidance of a Maker for decades before they’re ready to step out on their own, and even then we would never release them. Betsy’s a gentle soul who was born in a time of war. She needed her Maker more than I needed my child.
So, to answer your question, on which I got a little sidetracked,” Sookie laughed at her understatement, “I changed my mind for the safety of the vampire world and the protection of my Bloodline. Once I made my decision on what I wanted to do, it was just a matter of finding the right family to be reborn into…”
“The Stackhouses,” Eric said, interrupting her with what he knew. He wondered how and why she had chosen the Stackhouse family, but he supposed in the grand scheme of things, it was unimportant.
“Yep,” Sookie replied, popping the ‘p.’ “Looking back, I couldn’t say it was my greatest choice in a family. They have some serious skeletons in their closet, but that choice, that family, led me to you, so I’m grateful for that, if nothing else.”
“As am I,” Eric agreed. He was beyond grateful that the choice of the Stackhouse family had led Sookie to him. Eric had no doubt the two of them would have met, regardless of the circumstances that originally brought them together, but he was pleased that he had come to know Sookie on a personal level before he had known her true identity. It made falling in love with her so much easier.
“The first twenty-odd years of my new existence were pretty much uneventful,” Sookie said, continuing her little stroll down memory lane. “Well, uneventful, if you ignore my human parents allegedly being killed by my vampire brother…” a laugh trickled from Sookie’s lips after she caught the look of shock on Eric’s face at that little bit of news. “Yeah, I guess I had forgotten to mention that. Jason believes Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse were killed by a vampire named Warlow. Jason was told by Hadley who was apparently told by the Fae, which then made me doubt the entire story. Warlow’s the only other child of Lilith in existence, and before he was turned he was a fairy, so the Fae think of him as an abomination. See, here’s the thing, the Fae are terrified of Warlow. As a vampire, he’s considered their natural enemy, but he retained the ability to walk in the sun, meaning he’s a constant danger to them. The Fae claim Warlow killed Corbett and Michelle, but for them to know that…”
“They would have had to have been there,” Eric interrupted, realizing where she was going. “If they would have been there…”
“Warlow would not only have recognized who they were, he would have attacked them,” Sookie finished, voicing the conclusion she had come to ever since she had heard Jason’s claims. “I’d ask Warlow about it, but he seems to be missing. His children have no idea where to find him, all they know is he’s still alive. I spoke to his eldest after the whole shitstorm with Edgington, and she told me their bond is very faint. All she was able to tell was that he’s still among the undead and nothing else. He disappeared around twenty years ago… about the same time the Stackhouses died.”
“Quite the coincidence,” Eric said, thinking it was anything but. He was beginning to understand why Sookie believed there was more there than what appeared. “You believe he killed the Stackhouses?” he asked, curious of her beliefs.
“I don’t know,” Sookie admitted without shame. “He’s certainly capable, we all are. Warlow was never one for killing indiscriminately and hadn’t done so in a very long time. If he was in Bon Temps that night, then he was there for a specific reason. The only reason I could ever determine why Warlow would travel halfway across the world and visit that shithole…”
“You,” Eric guessed.
“Me,” Sookie confirmed. “If Warlow came to Bon Temps, he came for me, meaning he knew who I was, where I was…” she trailed off when a terrible thought entered her mind, and, for the first time in her vampire existence, she felt physically sick. “If Warlow recognized me for who I was, it meant he could see through the veil, and if he could… Oh God,” she whispered, horrified by what it could mean. “They’ve known all along!”
“Who?” Eric asked.
“The Fae!” Sookie cried, the pieces finally falling into place and helping her to see the bigger picture. “Eric, they could see through the veil!”