Hello, dear readers!

Thank you again for your wonderful reviews!

This chapter is going to be the last one we'll post this year. Due to the Holidays and a lot of birthdays and other things coming up in December and January we decideded that our families will take priority. I'm really sorry ... but honestly, not really ;)

I hope we will be back either January 10th or the following Saturday, we haven't decided yet and I'm NOT going to promise! It will depend on how much writing we will get done in the meantime.

We wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

See ya and enjoy!

Chapter 16:

The next day I woke up shortly before noon and was ready for the day about 45 minutes later. My guard, Diantha, had agreed to take me sightseeing and shopping for a few hours before I was supposed to meet with Mr. C.

I had only been to New Orleans once while I was in school so I wanted to see as much as possible. While we were sightseeing and exploring the shops we bought a proper digital camera and several memory cards so I wouldn't fill up my phone, or Eric's, before the weekend was through.

I did have a twinge of guilt every once in a while over Hadley's punishment; Gran would not have approved, but Cookie pointed out several times that even Gran had reached her limit sometimes and would punish her as well but those times were few and it was usually loss of privileges. Only once had she ever had Hadley gather her own switch and that was when we had been at church and Hadley had insisted on talking to her friends, loudly and during the sermon, rather than paying attention to it that day.

When Diantha and I were finished exploring we met up with Mr. C., who just happened to be her Uncle, at a slightly upscale hotel not far from the palace that had conference rooms available. They also had coffee, water, beignets and donuts available in the room we were using. We didn't sit down at the main table though, instead he led us to a small grouping of chairs with a coffee table in the left corner of the room.

"Thank you for taking the time on such short notice, Mr. C. I really appreciate this," I said as we made ourselves comfortable.

"No need to thank me, my dear, and please call me Desmond. We are family after all. If I had known before now what you were going through because of the telepathy I would have never let you go through it alone. So this meeting is long overdue, don't you think?"

I nodded and smiled at him as he opened his briefcase and got out a stack of papers. It was Fintan's will and everything that had to do with my inheritance. For the next two hours we went through I don't know how many documents and I gave so many signatures my hand was cramping from holding the pen.

I desperately tried not to look too closely at the numbers listed on the papers. I probably would have run for the hills or fainted but despite how hard I tried I still got a glimpse here or there and I almost hyperventilated when I realized how many zeros there were in millions. It's one thing to see those numbers abstractly in school and quite another when looking at them when they relate to yourself. I silently chanted to myself, 'Don't think about it, don't think about it…'.

I decided to leave all but a few thousand - thousand! - dollars where it was for the time being: The money I kept for myself would be transferred to my savings account once Desmond got back to the office. I have to admit that it was really nice to even think about not having to worry about money and how I would get the next utility bill paid; having those thoughts meet reality was a type of euphoria I never thought I would experience. The only regret I have ever really had is that Gran wasn't around to share it with.

Once the will and all that money was dealt with I got my notepad where I'd written some notes and questions I wanted to discuss with him out of my purse. After skimming through it for a few seconds I realized that every question had to do with my heritage and Fairies and Demons in general, except one. So I decided to get that one out of the way first, "I need your advice on a lawsuit," I began and told him everything that had happened with the Bon Temps killer and our incompetent police force, Andy Bellefleur in particular, right up to what had led to Gran's death.

Mr. C. listened patiently to what I had to say and after I finished my speech he contemplated my words for a moment longer before he nodded to himself and said, "You're right, Sookie. You wouldn't be successful in making Mr. Bellefleur responsible for Adele's death. It was a natural cause even if the chain reaction of his actions ultimately led to her passing.

"I want to help you, even though I don't normally take human cases. I won't be charging you for it either because you are family and I want to atone for the lack of guidance in your life, as should have happened."

I opened my mouth to disagree since in my opinion it wasn't his fault and he couldn't have known that I'd had a hard life because of my telepathy but he nipped my protest right in the bud, "I'm your sponsor, your godparent in the supernatural sense, it was supposed to be my responsibility to look after and guide you if Fintan couldn't. He was my best friend and I failed him. I've failed you as well since I believed Adele when she assured me everything was alright with you and you had no problems. Can you ever forgive me, Sookie?"

I shook my head vehemently before I stood up and took the one step over to him. Then I hugged him hard and said, "There's nothing to forgive, you're here now. And that's all that matters to me," in the most sincere voice I could muster. "Yes, I may have had a hard life but I knew I was loved which is more than some people can say." I smiled at him when I let him go and retook my seat. My mind started working though. Why did my gran tell him I had no issues when she saw firsthand how much I was struggling?

Mr. C. inclined his head in agreement in the end and continued, "As I was saying, I want to help you. Since you have witnesses who can confirm the Detective's lack of professionalism we have a very strong case. He will pay for it, I promise you that." He gave me a gratified and slightly evil smile, which I adored on sight. At that moment he reminded me of a little devil who was rubbing his hands in anticipation while smirking like … well like the devil; all he was really missing was the horns and pointy tail.

For the next 20 minutes or so he explained to me in detail how he would build the case up. It was hard for me to follow since he spoke with so much enthusiasm and used so many technical terms that my head was swimming but his anticipation was infectious and I saw myself looking forward to sueing Andy's ass.

Once that was out of the way we got to the questions that were burning to be answered, "Last night you said something about genetic knowledge which should have passed down to me: I've thought about it and I think I do have it; at least from the Fairy side but for some reason I can't access it. It's like the knowledge is there but I can't unlock it because I don't have the right key yet; although the occasional thing has trickled through.

"And there's something else going on with me." I told him exactly what I had told Eric on the plane the night before; that Cookie was separated from me and how she felt to me. "Eric suspects that my Fairy and human sides haven't merged because of your blood. From what I understand it's because the two species are not really compatible?"

Desmond's eyes became rounder as I explained things to him then he stood up and began to pace around the room.

His reaction surprised me; in the short time I had known him he'd been very laid back and calm so what he'd just heard must have been agitating him quite a bit.

He raked his hand through his hair and exhaled loudly, "It seems I have wronged you worse than I thought."

This time I interrupted him, "No Desmond, it's not hurting me, so you didn't wrong me. How could you have known that it would have such an effect on me? Can you look into the future?"

He gave me a half-hearted smile at my attempt at a joke but resumed his pacing, "No, I cannot look into the future my dear but I wish I could sometimes.

"Fairies are the only species Demons are not compatible with genetically even though we belong to the same genus, the Fae.

"Over the centuries evolution granted us many different types of Demons so we developed our own subgenus, the Dae, but we generally still belong to the Fae.

"Scientists for both Fae and Dae have tried to figure out the problem for millennia. The phenomenon has been likened to that of the horse and the donkey to create the mule here on earth.

"The first generation of Fairy/Demon hybrid has one missing chromosome. Just like the mule, the Demon/Fairy hybrid cannot reproduce; the zygote is not viable so a miscarriage or stillbirth of the second generation is inevitable if the female is even able to get pregnant in the first place.

"That's why there are no Fairy/Demon hybrids in existence anymore; the few who were born died out eventually because we quickly came to the conclusion that it's not beneficial for the two species to reproduce.

"Fintan and I argued about it quite heavily when he made his request to give him and Adele my blood. I couldn't understand why he would want to do such a thing since he knew about the incompatibility and I told him that it wasn't worth the risk of miscarriages or stillbirths of his grandchildren and for his line to die out but he pointed out that since his descendents would be more human than Fairy or Demon, the human DNA should be strong enough to balance it out. I tried to reason with him but he vehemently said that 'it needs to happen or everything will be lost'.

"I didn't - and still don't - know what he meant by that but I finally relented and gave your grandparents a thimbleful of my blood mixed with wine to drink.

"Once Corbet was born I tried to persuade Fintan to let the child be monitored by Dr. Ludwig but he forbade me to even contact her; I tried each time a child was born to him and then his grandchildren but he didn't want anyone outside the three of us to know. I didn't like it but again I conceded to his wishes. So we monitored his children and grandchildren before you came along ourselves, and very closely, but since each of you was born healthy and none of you seemed to have any problems with the demon blood - which was a miracle in itself - we assumed that Fintan had been right with his theory.

"When you were born you didn't seem to have any issues either so we really thought everything was okay.

"Despite all that, you are a very unique individual Sookie. Your father, aunt, brother and cousin may have the same blood running through their veins but you, my dear, are the unique one because you were born with the essential Fae spark; you are the first of a new type of hybrid since you were not created by the usual method of intercourse between a Fae and Dae. You were created by my giving blood instead of semen so there is hope that you have the chromosome required which would allow any of your descendants to have both Fairy and Demon DNA who would be able to procreate."

Shock went through me when it finally sank in of what he'd just said, "Did you just say that I'm the first one in existence," I asked faintly while staring at him open mouthed, not able to comprehend even the idea of being the only one.

"Yes," he said in an almost reverent tone.

I shook my head in denial, "But how? How is that even possible? And what about Jason and Hadley?"

Desmond shrugged in apology, "I don't know my dear. It could just be the wonders of nature but I don't believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason," he explained cryptically and gave me a wink. "As for your brother and cousin, they are not relevant. They may have some Fae traits like the allure and they should both smell sweeter than the average human but they are not able to access any of their genetic knowledge nor will they have any powers since they don't have the spark."

For the first time that day Cookie stirred inside me. Huffing, she groused, 'Cryptic as ever!'

I snorted. She of all people should talk, 'You shouldn't be throwing stones, Missy! At least he answers my questions!'

I ignored her grumbling and tried to digest everything he had said so far but it was too much for me to handle at that moment. I would need at least a day to comprehend so instead of going around in circles I concentrated on the questions I still had for him.

Speaking of Cookie, "Eric and I have exchanged blood twice now and something inside me has reacted to it. It is getting stronger and stronger each time we've done it. I have a suspicion that my Fae side feeds off of Eric's blood. And for some reason which neither of us understand, I can feel Eric just like he can feel me even though we haven't had three exchanges yet."

Desmond looked at me intently, not saying anything for several moments. You could see the wheels turning in his head and I was very curious to know what he was thinking.

"Sookie, what you just told me could very well be the solution."

I looked puzzled, not understanding what he meant, "What do you mean?"

"Your human and Fae sides have been separated since your conception. What I understand from what you told me is that you began to feel your Fae side awakening when you first met Eric and took his blood for the first time."

I shook my head slowly, "Yes and no. I've felt like my personality was changing for the last few years. It was subtle things at first: like my point of view on certain things was different from just a few days before but yes, I really felt something awakening when I had his blood."

Desmond nodded eagerly like he was onto something, "Eric could very well be the solution to your problem. The vampire blood awakened your Fae side and makes it stronger each time you take his blood. What if the third blood exchange is the catalyst to make you whole?"

I stared at him open mouthed. Could it really be? I thought that it was the vampire blood in general that made Cookie stronger, like the blood would heal a human or would give the vampire his strength but this made more sense to me. "Is it just vampire blood in general or is it specifically Eric?"

He looked thoughtful for a second, "Did you have another vampire's blood before?" I nodded with a grimace, not wanting to relive the disaster with Bill, "Did you have any side effects other than the norm or did you feel anything similar to what's happening now?"

"No, I didn't feel anything at all, not even the normal side effects Eric had told me about except the healing part."

Quirking an eyebrow he said, "Interesting! Then I presume it's Eric specifically, though I can't tell you why. You would need to ask him that yourself."

I narrowed my eyes at him. Did he really not know or did he just not want to tell me?

And … was that what Eric wasn't allowed to tell me until I made the decision to bond with him permanently? It would make sense, wouldn't it? If it was true that the third blood exchange would make me whole and I was the first Fairy/Demon/Human hybrid who lived to tell the tale so to speak, then it would make sense that it was such a well kept secret. But how could someone else know about it? Only my grandparents and Mr. C. knew about it and I couldn't imagine them telling anyone.

Eric had said on the plane that he'd waited for me for a long time. Had he meant me, the telepathic-hybrid or the plain-old-Sookie me? And what did that have to do with him and his history?

Sigh, I was confusing myself again. But if Desmond was right, wouldn't it be in my best interests to complete the bond as soon as possible? On the other hand, should I make a decision only because it could solve my problems? Eric had said that I needed to decide out of love for him, not because of my little genetic quirk. And I did love him, I knew that with every fiber of my being. All of a sudden there were so many things linked to the two of us even meeting that I had the feeling something really big was going on.

Before my mind twisted around in a knot Desmond continued, "I know you are confused right now and have a lot to think about but there are a few things you should know before we go any further: Since you are of my blood I can detect you no matter where you are. That is about the only thing Fairies and Demons have in common now.

"If your demon blood ever becomes active your body temperature will run a few degrees higher than the average human's does. It has something to do with us being able to create fire," he said and then held out his hand with his palm up. It was subtle at first, like it was all in my mind but in just a second or two his hand was glowing like a second sun. I stared at him in fascination and then saw his eyes glowing as well. My mouth dropped open in shock and I let out a gasp.

Slowly there arose a tiny orange bubble and it became larger and larger until it was the size of a bowling ball. It swirled and flickered red, yellow and blue; much like a real fire did.

I was too stunned to say anything because my eyes were glued to the fire ball hovering over his outstretched hand. Cookie was fascinated as well. She grinned from ear to ear in anticipation and nudged me forward to touch it.

As if Mr. C. was anticipating what I wanted to do, he clapped his hands together and suddenly it was gone.

Cookie pouted like he had stolen her favorite new toy but I ignored her, still too excited by his little show, "Wow, would I be able to do that?"

"I would say anything is possible with you, my dear. When you come into your Fae maturity you should be able to create light balls with your hands, very similar to what I just did. Although it could also be that my blood inside you altered your Fae side as well so I don't know what will happen.

"You might also have some other Demon abilities although with you I think they will have more to do with the mental aspect because of the telepathy."

I looked at him skeptically, "What do you mean 'mental aspect'?"

He grinned, "I mean you might be able to do other things with your mind. You should be able to send messages to others who have the ability. You might also be able to do things like levitate and move objects through the air and start a fire spontaneously. We don't have any way to know for sure what your abilities will be, just like a Demon never knows exactly what he will be able to do until he can do them.

A lot of what a Demon, Fairy or any other Supernatural can do is inherited from its parents, some things are inherent to the species and some are simply random gifts bestowed upon the Demon by the gods."

I remembered what Eric told me the night Renée had attacked. I'd been furious with Andy Bellefleur and the Sheriff and Eric had said that my hands and eyes were glowing. At that moment I had wanted nothing more than to stop their thoughts and get their inept asses out of my house and would have done just about anything to get that done. Unfortunately - fortunately? - Eric had realized something was going on and stopped me before I did anything I might regret later. Would I have blasted them with the light ball Desmond had just told me about? Would something else have happened instead?

I held my hand out in front of me and focused all my thoughts into one and stared at my hand for I don't know how long but nothing happened. I sighed with frustration and put my hand down in my lap: I yelped in surprise and pain when my hand was much warmer than I had anticipated.

I grinned a big toothy grin and looked at Mr. C. who was smiling and looked … proud? "Well done Sookie! Well done! Although I don't think you are ready to create light balls just yet since your Fae side hasn't fully developed. But I would advise you to keep practicing with what you know you can do right now. When you reach your maturity it will still take plenty of practice for you to be able to control any powers you do have." I frowned when he said it would take practice. Mr. C. must have seen it and known why I was frowning, "Sookie, if it's not something that's as automatic as breathing and blinking you will have to practice just like everybody else does.

"Just because I'm a demon doesn't mean that I had automatic control of my fireball when I reached my maturity. It took months of practice before I could consistently hit a target or control how big to make the ball. Whenever a new power emerges we all have to practice until we can use it without thinking about it."

I sighed again but continued on with our conversation anyway since there was nothing I could do about it right then anyway. When we came to my Fae heritage he told me all about the land - or rather dimension - of the Fae and my great grandfather Niall. When I told him what Fintan had written about him in his letter, Mr. C. confirmed about the deviousness and slyness of Fairies which Niall seemed to have in excess. He then gave me a detailed lecture on Fae behaviour and what I should consider if I ever met one including ways to say thank you without saying the words.

When we finally got back to the palace I was mentally exhausted; there had been a lot of information in a short period of time and all of it pertained to me. I felt like I was dragging my feet through the mud so made the decision to shower away the smells of the city and take a nap for the last couple of hours before the vampires rose for the night.

I felt like a new person when I woke up to the sound of a knock on the connecting door between my room and Eric's. Sleepily I said, "Come in," while stretching my stiff muscles.

Eric entered, looking like he was ready for a night on the town in his black pants and blue button down shirt which made his blue eyes stand out even more.

Cookie had woken up from her nap as well and she stretched lazily while admiring him from top to bottom.

I eyed him appreciatively as well as he came over to the bed and I could feel the lust rising in both of us until it pulsed through the bond so strongly that was all I could feel.

Eric sat next to me on the edge of the bed and if I didn't know better I could have sworn that his body was giving off the heat that mine was absorbing all of a sudden.

I felt like I was running a fever so I pushed the sheets away from me. Too late I realized I had gone to bed in only my underwear and tried to grab the sheet again but Eric stopped me. His smoldering eyes raked over my body and his fangs clicked down in admiration causing me to shudder in anticipation.

"You are testing my resolve, my sweet Sookie," he rasped but it sounded more like a purr. Cookie seemed to appreciate the sound as well, she sprang up from her lazy pose and answered with a very loud purr of her own while she tried to push me out of the way in her attempt to get to him.

I think some of her must have trickled through my defences because I made a sound that sounded very similar to his.

Eric's eyes flashed at my response and then his head snapped down to capture my lips in a smouldering and passionate kiss.

Momentarily caught off guard at his speed I opened my lips to gasp and he took advantage of it by plundering my mouth with his tongue. I moaned at his taste and the velvety texture of his tongue that was dueling with mine in a sensual dance. Wrapping my arms around his neck I pulled him even closer to me so both our chests were touching. At that moment I would have done anything to get him naked and do naughty things to his body.

Unfortunately every moment with him ended far too soon. He let go of my lips but didn't move away from me. Instead he leaned his forehead against mine and we looked at each other through hazy eyes. When I made a sound of protest he only smirked at me, showing me his pretty fangs. Huh, I hadn't even felt them when he was kissing me. But I think after a thousand years he must have become an expert in kissing techniques.

Cookie nodded in agreement and continued purring, making it feel like my own chest was vibrating with the intensity.

"Now who's testing whose resolve," I whispered while I tried to catch my breath.

He let out a chuckle and said, "Believe me, the feeling is entirely mutual." Then he pushed himself back into a sitting position, "Now, I would say that you need to get dressed. We have some free time while Sophie-Anne has some things to discuss with Mr. Cataliades and I want to take you out to dinner. There's a restaurant down the street which caters to supernaturals and I've made reservations for us in 30 minutes."

My eyes lit up at that, "Really? Just you and me?"

Eric smiled and caressed my cheek with a finger, "Yes, just you and me."

Excitement ran through me and I nearly fell out of bed in my haste to get up so I could rummage through the closet. I already knew exactly what to wear and had hoped I would get the opportunity from the first moment I laid eyes on it. When I found it I held it in front of me to show him, "Will this do," I asked with a shy smile. I don't know why I felt that way all of a sudden, maybe because it was our first official date.

The dress I held in my hands was grape colored, strapless and ended at the knee. It was perfect for a warm evening in a humid area and I couldn't wait to wear it.

The lusty and very sharp smirk Eric gave me was answer enough for me and I disappeared into the bathroom to get ready.

About 15 minutes later I came back out since I didn't have to touch up much. My skin was flawless - probably because of Eric's blood - so I just accentuated my eyes with mascara and tied my hair into an elegant knot at the back of my neck.

Eric seemed to be dumbstruck for a few seconds when I came out of the bathroom since he just stared at me in astonishment, "Beautiful, simply beautiful!"

My cheeks grew hot at his compliment and I refrained from swatting him when he chuckled. He held out his arm for me and said, "Shall we?"

I took his arm and we walked right outside; it was a beautiful evening as we made our way out of the palace. The restaurant was not far so we just strolled down the street, held hands and admired the windows of the shops here and there - much like every couple would do on an evening on the town.

When I thought about it, it was exactly what we needed to move forward in our relationship. Since he'd walked into my life - or was it the other way around? - it had become very turbulent and overwhelming, one event after another and we hadn't had much time to do normal things like going out on a date. Not that Eric was normal in any sense of the word but just the confirmation that we could do this together gave my heart, and especially my head, the much needed boost in the right direction.

The restaurant was very inconspicuous at the front and there were only human couples sitting at the tables when we entered the room but to my surprise Eric just kept walking through the restaurant and into a hallway which led to another much larger yet more intimate room. The tables were arranged in alcoves for more privacy and to my astonishment almost every table was occupied with Supes.

The hostess took one look at Eric and we were immediately directed to a corner table for maximum privacy.

It was wonderful to just sit down and talk with Eric. Even after the dishes were cleared away, we talked for hours about things he'd witnessed and experienced and I don't think I'd ever laughed so much in my life.

Time flew by and I was a bit disappointed when Eric said that we had to get back to the palace. At that very moment I resented the queen a bit for stealing our time away from us. But then I scolded myself and gave myself a sharp reminder that I would have a lot more such evenings in the future.

Sophie-Anne's plans for a 'family reunion' as she called it was getting a bit messed up when we got a very unexpected visitor that night.

Around midnight the queen got a call from the front entrance about an unruly man who was insisting that he wanted to see me, of all people, and he wouldn't be put off for anything. I didn't know who it could be though since I didn't know anybody in New Orleans and my friends were at home about five hours away.

Finally the queen, Eric and I trooped down to the front gate and I just about fell over from the shock of seeing Lafayette standing there looking frantic.

He was held back by two burly Were guards but when his eyes met mine I could see that he wasn't quite right. A rummage through his head told me that this trip hadn't been his idea but he was totally up for it.

"Lala, what are you doing here," I asked. I truly was confused because I hadn't gotten all the information from his head, just enough to know that something had happened.

"Sookie, you know this man," the queen asked.

I reluctantly took my eyes away from Lafayette and turned my head to the queen. The awkwardness of the situation really sunk in right then and I got really embarrassed. I had arrived just the night before and made a scene with Hadley when Sophie-Anne only wanted us to reunite. Then I unloaded all the family drama on the queen's head. Now only 24 hours later one of my friends had started a ruckus at her front door. Damn, what a first impression I must have made.

"I'm really sorry for the disturbance - again - your Majesty. Lafayette is one of my best friends and something really awful must have happened, otherwise he wouldn't have turned up here. I don't even know how he knew how to find me. Would you be willing to let him in so I can get to the bottom of it? I assure you, this won't happen again."

To my surprise she didn't seem put out at all, "No need to apologise Sookie, I haven't been this entertained in decades; you have brought some much needed fresh air into an otherwise stuffy existence. Your friend is welcome," she said with a smile and gave the guards at the gate a signal.

If I hadn't had Eric at my back I would have toppled over as Lala rushed up and clung to me like I was a life preserver or something.

"Oh! Sooks!" Was Lafayette crying? The toughest SOB I knew of was crying! I let go of Eric's hand and pulled Lala into a proper hug.

"Come on Lala. Let's get inside and then you can tell me what's happened," I said and the queen and Eric led us back inside to the small room where I'd come face to face with Hadley the night before.

Speaking of Hadley, she was sitting on the floor like a proper pet and was waiting with Godric patiently. At least Godric seemed to be patient, Hadley not so much. Her thoughts were still shouting at me just how much she hated me and that she would get back at me for everything one of these days.

I just glared at her, causing her to glare defiantly right back at me but it didn't stop the thoughts at all.

I think Lala got as big of a shock when he saw Hadley for the first time in almost six years as I had gotten the night before.

By that point she had a proper dunce cap on her head which was held under her chin with an elastic string and was wearing only the collar, leash and gag. When she saw Lala she whimpered and tried to scramble behind Godric's seat in order to hide but he didn't allow it, instead he stood up, stepped behind her and pulled her up to her knees by her hair so Lala could get the full effect.

Her whimper had already gotten Godric's attention but when he noticed her dunce cap had fallen forward he was not happy, "What have you been told about your posture, pet?"

She whimpered again but was unable to answer because of the gag. Instead she straightened her spine and when Godric released her she got onto her hands and knees, head high so the now straightened dunce cap wouldn't fall again. She then leaned forward, put her hands out in front of her, put her cheek on the floor and put her butt in the air for the punishment she earned when she hung her head.

Godric then gave her ten spanks. When he looked at me I just shook my head; she hadn't been counting in her head. Instead she had been cursing and thinking how much her ass already hurt.

Lala started giggling which seemed to break some of the tension he was under although he did still seem slightly frantic.

"Is that who I think it is," he asked while still giggling like a school girl.

I couldn't hold back the smirk, "Yes, it is. It is being punished for the whole weekend. But I'll tell you all about it later. Now…"

Suddenly Lafayette was clutching his chest and made some retching noises - much like the day of Gran's burial. And all of a sudden it wasn't Lala looking back at me but Gran.

"Gran," I asked in astonishment.

Gran/Lala smiled back at me, "Yes, it's me again, baby girl."

My smile got bigger when I heard her but then I remembered who all was in the room with me. I gulped and then gave Hadley a surreptitious look but my gran was more shrewd than I thought, "I know what's going on here, Sookie, and I also know exactly what Hadley has done."

Hadley looked … well like she always had when she was caught doing something she knew she shouldn't have: Guilty and defiant.

"I followed you here last night and saw what went on in this very room," she gave Hadley a very angry look as she said the last part, "so I rushed back home to get Lafayette but something happened in Bon Temps and our dear boy needs your help, Sookie. There'll be time later for what I have planned for your cousin." Not once did she stop glaring at Hadley while she spoke. "So I will leave you and Lafayette alone and will come back when the time is right." And then she was gone and Lala was back in time for him to crumble again.

To my surprise Godric looked intrigued by Lafayette and since I hadn't introduced my friend properly yet I decided to kill two birds with one stone. When had calmed down enough I said, "Godric I would like you to meet one of my oldest and dearest friends, Lafayette Reynolds.

"Lala, this is Godric, Eric's maker and the queen's proxy maker and the nice lady who allowed you entrance is the vampire Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne LeClerq.

"Everyone, Lafayette is a medium and it's our Gran, Adele, who's speaking through him just a few moments ago."

Godric took a step forward and gave Hadley's leash a hard tug which got her moving pretty quick even though she wanted to stay as far away from Lala as possible; she never had liked him and fell into the general Bon Temps prejudices where he was concerned: The fact that she herself wasn't practising what she was preaching never even crossed her mind.

He took a couple more steps and stopped right in front of Lafayette, "You intrigue me Lafayette," he said after he took a big lungful of air. "You smell of magic and something else I can't quite put my finger on just yet. If you feel up to it while you're here I would like to speak with you."

I gave Eric a questioning look but he wasn't looking at me, instead he had his head turned to the side and regarded his maker curiously; it looked like he was trying to figure out what Godric was doing. You could see how much he really cared about his maker though.

Lala was fighting every instinct he had to not kneel before Godric's power and bow his head to him; his body was shaking with the effort to not do it. "I…I…I think I would like t…t…that, Mr. Godric Sir."

Godric smiled at him, "When you are ready then. You don't need to call me Mr. Godric although you can call me Sir.

"Now, if you will excuse me it's time for naughty pets to be put in their cages for the night."

I could hear that while Lala was intrigued by Godric as well he still needed to talk so I excused us and took him by the hand. I led him back to my room and persuaded him to take a shower by literally shoving him into the bathroom and turning on the water. Eric was sitting on my bed when I came back in; he must have changed in the time it took for me to get up there and shove Lala in the shower.

I cuddled into his lap and just revelled in our togetherness. Even when we'd had a wonderful time together earlier it was still nice to just cuddle for a little bit; I would take as much time with him as I could get. So we just held each other and didn't say anything. I was engulfed by his wonderful scent and while I breathed in deeply my whole body relaxed and my mind seemed to calm down enough to think clearly again. I think he was breathing me in as well since he had buried his nose in my hair and made purring noises that I loved.

When I heard the water turn off about 15 minutes later I reluctantly got up and followed Eric's example of changing into jeans and a t-shirt since I didn't want to ruin my dress. When Lala emerged from the bathroom in the bathrobe which had been hanging on the door I was waiting for him with another hug.

By the time I released Lala again Eric had given me a quick peck on the cheek and whispered that he would leave the two of us to deal with whatever it was while he checked his emails and attended to some other business.

When I sat Lala down next to me on the bed he looked like he'd just lost his best friend and it turned out he really had.

With tears running down his face he told me the story, "Sooks, Terrance is dead." He broke down then and just sobbed while I held him and kept handing him tissues. He and Terrance had been in an on again off again relationship for the last three years and were seriously talking about moving in together the last I heard.

When he was cried out he told me the rest of the story, "You know we was into some freaky sex sometimes, right?"

I nodded and shuddered, "Yeah, I've seen some truly disturbing thoughts in your mind when I'd sometimes slip."

He didn't seem to take offence to that since he had more pressing matters, "Well I worked with Tara yesterday and got caught up in inventory with her so he went to the orgy by himself, promising he'd tell me all about it when he got home. The problem is he never made it home. I gots a knock on the door from Andy at stupid o'clock telling me he'd been k…k…killed." His voice was shaking with the effort of trying not to cry some more.

I felt bad for him, I really did and I already knew what he wanted from me. Normally I wouldn't do it for anyone but Lala wasn't just anyone. He was my one of my oldest friends and he deserved all the help he could get. Although I was stuck where I was for the time being, "You want me to see if I can find out who did it, don't you?"

He nodded sheepishly, "Please Sook? I know you don't like the lot God gave ya but he had to have given it to ya for a reason."

I sighed in resignation, "Alright, we're here until Sunday night but I'll look into it on Monday, okay?"

Just then there was a knock on the door: It was one of the donors, "Her Majesty thought your friend could maybe use some clothes until he can get to the shops tomorrow," he said as he held out a pile of what turned out to be jeans, tee, underwear and socks.

I nodded and smiled at the guy, "Thank you…?"

He smiled back, "James Ma'am, and you're quite welcome. Just put them in the hamper in the bedroom when he's done with them and the laundry service will handle the rest."

"We will James, thank you." He smiled and nodded and took off down the hall as I closed the door.

"Now Sooks," he said once he had changed into the borrowed clothes, "you have gots to tell me the story of Hadley and why she was dressed as she was!"

So I did, all of it, from the moment I stepped into the room with her to the point where the night ended.

"That," he said as he was wiping tears of laughter from his eyes after my explanation, "must be why Gran came for me; she saw how you and everyone else was being treated and decided that enough was enough. So now she's going to dispense her brand of justice which I'm betting will be a willow switch she has Hadley collect herself and then striping her legs as she holds onto the couch or a chair."

"You're probably right Lala. Do you remember what she did when she found out you had tried marijuana in high school?"

"Do I ever!" he exclaimed as his face flamed red, "I think my legs is still bruised from that switch! I never did drugs again though, nope, steered clear of 'em and anyone having anything to do with 'em.

"I seem to remember you getting the switch a time or two too."

It was my turn to turn red, "Yeah, I did," I said quietly. The few times I had gotten the switch were quite memorable.

I had a sudden thought, "You're working with Tara, have you told her where you are?"

He hung his head, "No," he said so quietly I barely heard him.

"Well, you go look at the menu and figure out what you want to eat since I bet you haven't had anything since breakfast and I'll call Tara."

He nodded and wandered out of the room in search of the room service - room service! - menu. I looked at the clock and grimaced: It was 2:00 am! Tara was so not going to be happy with me.

I sighed as I dialled; I really didn't want to wake her but I knew I'd be asleep when she got moving for the day. She answered on the third ring, "Sook? Are you crazy? It's 2 am!"

I sighed again, "I know the time Tara, I just thought I'd let you know Lala's in NOLA with me."

"That is what text messages are for! So people who are asleep can read them in the fucking morning! And what the hell's he doing there?" Ohhhhhhh, she was not a happy camper! And well … I hadn't figured out how to text yet.

"Terrance was killed, Gran retrieved him … yeah, it's a weird weekend all the way around. I do have some stories to tell you and some pictures you'll get a kick out of though."

"Terrance? Oh man! He must be devastated!

"I had heard that there'd been another murder but they didn't say who it was, just that it was out at Jan Fowler's place out in the woods and that it's an ongoing investigation.

"Thanks for letting me know about Lala. Can I go back to sleep now? Please?"

I laughed a little, "Yeah, you go get your beauty sleep. You'll need all you can get to catch up to me." I was smiling into the phone; this was just some silly something the three of us had always done as long as I could remember. I could just barely hear Lafayette in the other room, "Both you ho's bettah ge'cho booty sleep! You's gots to catch up with me!"

Tara followed up with "Nu uh! I'm the prettiest of the bunch!

"Call me when you get your schedule under control and I'll make dinner for the three of us, okay?"

"You got it Tara. Sleep well and don't let the bedbugs bite!

"We'll be home late Sunday night so don't worry."

"Myah, yeah, alright. I'll talk to you two later," she said through a yawn and hung up.

When I turned my gaze to Lala I found his eyes sparkling again. It seemed he had himself back under control for the time being, much to my surprise. He grinned at me and said, "Now Sooks, I says we gets back down there and give Hadley her much needed punishment. Gran's driving me crazy with her pacing around in my head. And … I want to admire that hunk of a vampire in his full glory!"