Thanks Suzy for the beta!
Sorry for the long wait on the post. I'm not sure it will be much better next time. Like two weeks before posting? As you probably know and love to hate, I leave cliff hangers. And this is no exception.
If you are fine with E/S/G's, check out my other story. Thanks for the reviews of encouragement to put out a chapter for this. Ya'll guilt tripped me into finishing it ;).
Trigger warning, violence.
Velum - illusion
I lay on the ground, silent, praying to all that was holy that she believed my performance.
It had been easy to pretend I was faltering and terrified at the end. I was. Letting my emotions take over my face, I allowed tears to fall and my eyes to widen in fear. Mab drank it in and pumped a large burst of energy through. As for me, I was at the end of my rope as it stood. That was the moment, right there. I placed all of what was left of my magic in what was intended to look like a last ditch effort to overwhelm her. A stupid rookie move as a fae warrior.
When I disconnected, I pulled up a Velum over myself. I wasn't sure what fried-fae looked like, but I did my best to imitate it. My body tumbled back, rolling painfully across the ground. Most of it was acting the part with a small amount of energy dedicated to looking dead. Curls of smoke rolled off of me and I left my eyes partially open in a death stare.
The Velum was small, intended to go under the radar of most fae's magical detection. I was hoping her Ante would interpret the feel of it as the last of my magic leaving my body.
She chuckled to herself.
"Oh Niall. Such a fool you are. We will be married yet." I heard the characteristic pop of a teleporting fae and she was gone. That was… all too easy. I continued to lay there, not trusting my luck. If she came back, I was a goner. There was zilch magic left inside of me. No calling any other fae, much less my companions.
In a way, I was as good as dead like this. I hadn't accounted for living through this, even though the plan had been to live in the first place. Crap.
My Audite faltered when I tried to reach out to Niamh, Palug and Munin. I was fucked six ways to sunday if I didn't get up, tend to my wounds and eat something.
Well Shit. I had a lot of time to think.
It was time to leave fairy for good. I'd been saying that to myself a lot, but this time I meant it. It would have been nice to say that being in Fairy was fun, but nope. 0/10, would not try again.
Even in my exhaustion, when I thought about going home, the first person on my mind was Eric Northman. Godric would have told him all about our friendship by now. I wondered about Eric. How he was holding up. Whether he was passing the time with other women.
My shiver of possessiveness coupled itself with an anger that blackened the inside of my mind. Rationally I knew I couldn't just go around killing women that Eric had been with carnally. But that did not mean I didn't want to.
When I got back, Eric and I were going to have a talk. He was going to be mine, I was going to run Bill over with that car, stake his ass and jump all over his ashes. Then all would be well. But I guess first, I should place that call to Amelia.
I'd need the spell that had manipulated my face into a blur on camera as well as the memory-charm aspect that didn't allow for others who met me to retain knowledge of having seen me, just to keep Niall from coming back. Amelia had always been extremely talented. I was sure she'd be able to accomplish on her own now that which required Octavia's help years ago, even if she was rusty.
It would be good to see her. She'd grill me about Eric, I'd dissemble and she'd call me out on it. It'd been so long that I honestly couldn't wait for her to tease me. About anything she wanted.
Still no sign of Niamh, Plaug, Munin or Mab. I could feel my magic slowly return to me, but it was like molasses. It'd take a day at this point to be able to get off the ground.
I sighed. Just because we didn't need to sleep in fairy, didn't mean we couldn't. It was the equivalent of vampire downtime, and being bored out of my mind as well as helpless either way, I decided to shut my eyes and block out the rest of the world.
"Oh… Oh god damn. It hurts." My vision was fuzzy, but I could still make out that I was inside someone's home. I sat up and looked around, finding myself looking at the blurry image of my cousin sitting in a chair across from the bed I was laying on.
"You're damn right it should hurt." His tone was brazen, reminding me of Lafayette. My eyes were still clouded along with my brain.
"Claude?" I said numbly. He was sassy and agitated, but I could tell he was relieved underneath all of his huffiness. My vision started to clear and I could see how peeved he was.
"You're looking at him, princess puts-herself-in-a-shit-ton-of-danger." My cousin liked to pretend he didn't care much about anything besides getting fairy tail, but all of us girls knew that wasn't true. Each of the triplets had their own way of coping with loss and fear. Claudette kicked the crap out of something, Claudine cried, Claude rolled his eyes and lampooned the offender saucily. But even fairies had emotional weaknesses.
"That doesn't even… that's not funny." I was so exhausted. I must have been out for several hours and I still did not have patience for Claude chiding me.
"It's not meant to be. You're a moron. I don't understand how I am related to you after that stunt you pulled. If your nixe hadn't come squawking up a storm you'd still be laying in the middle of the forest. And I actually like you, so if you could not do life-endangering things that would be great." Claude was more heated than I'd heard him be before. Consciously I knew that what I had just gone through was terrifying, and probably even scarier for those that cared about me. But I was alive right? And… While the triplets were my cousins, in the back of my mind I had always assumed that when it came down to it, they wouldn't pick me over other fairies. But Claude had just openly admitted that he cared for me, which was surprising. It made me feel warm inside.
"You like me?" Claude leaned forward.
"Never tell a soul or I'll photoshop your head onto one of the dancer's bodies that grace our fliers and send them out to everyone in Bon Temp. Plus, you're still an idiot." He shook his finger at me and then leaned back, satisfied with his cheeky-self.
"Shows how much taste you have then." I snickered. I was just starting to feel normal again, albeit drained and achy. Claude's eyes narrowed in mock anger, before he changed the subject with a smile.
"It's been three days, F.Y.I."
"Crap! Mab? Niall? Aren't they going to come find me?" Claude rolled his eyes and gestured to the room.
"Well if you looked around, you'd see you're at my place and not your own. As far as I know, they don't realize you aren't dead. Currently they're engaged in an emergency council. Presumably instigated by your supposed death."
"Mab said something about marrying Niall while I was laying on the ground. Anything to do with that?" I was arrogant enough to assume a full council meeting would be called over my death, but I'm sure what happened between Mab and I had serious repercussions for Niall.
"Yeah, it definitely does have something to do with it. Mab said you had tried to attack her and she killed you. Which I know you would never be so retarded as to do something like that. Right?" I frowned and hugged myself. I was actually that dumb. Claude heaved out a sigh, no words being needed to fill in the blanks about what he thought of me right then.
"So what did you even do or say to Mab? Not that getting her upset is difficult, but she legit tried to kill you." He continued.
"Ms. Cunty mcCunterson showed up unannounced and told me to kneel and whatnot. I led her on a merry chase and thought I could hold my own. Turns out…"
"You know, even I know enough to realize that you get down on your knees when that crazy fairy asks. So now you're going to tell me how you lived through this mess."
"Ok, to be fair, no one told me I had to kowtow to her. As for staying alive, I used Velum to make her think I was dead." I shrugged. I just got off lucky. Had Mab been as skilled as Claudette, I'd be fairy dust by now.
"Int-er-est-ing. You'll have to tell me more at some point. In any case, let me reiterate, none of us thought you'd be dumb enough to not do what Mab asked."
"Ok, I get it, I did something stupid. It's over now, I survived and I want to leave."
"Claudine will be here tomorrow. So lucky you."
"And if I leave, what of Niall?"
"He can't go anywhere while the council is in session. Those meetings can last up to a year sometimes, and Mab is going to delay and argue until she can secure Niall's hand in marriage."
"Why anyone would want to marry either of them is a mystery to me."
"You're telling me. Though I have to imagine parenting those two abominations she calls children has something to do with the stick up her ass. And grandfather… well, he's grandfather." Neave and Lochlan. They were on my shit list.
"Mab apparently has one good daughter, you know."
"Oh so batting one for three? Yeah, no. The twins have the self awareness of a high-functioning pile of seaweed combined with the bloodlust of a vampire. They eradicate the value of anything good Mab might have ever done or will do."
"Yeah. And they eat people. I mean, who eats people? I don't know why I am trying to defend their mother either. She tried to kill me."
"Sometimes your human side rears its ugly head. You need to make sure it's only doing that when it's convenient from now on. Thank god your fairy side was in play during your ass-kicking."
"Is Claudine ready then?"
"Yes. It took much less time with my help." It was a huge relief to think that Claudine was now pregnant. No more caterwauling from her on the matter.
"That's awesome. Things are really looking up if I can slip out of fairy without Niall being able to chase me."
"Ok, so she'll be ready tomorrow?"
"Yes. And we've got a plan too to help bolster Niall's position with the court. You will leave and in a few hours we will tell Niall about your reappearance and disappearance. That will give you a couple of days on earth, if we've got the timing right."
"Why tell Niall? And you're sure that's the right time? It's been rotating a lot recently."
"Niall needs an ace in the hole and ultimately it will protect Claudine to run straight to Niall and tell him. Also, you're questioning the fairy who goes to earth on the regular sweet cheeks. The portal is ready to go and you're going in it tomorrow, with one catch."
"What's that?" I was suddenly nervous, wondering what Claude was going to ask for. I should have anticipated that Claude would ask for something for his help. He's a damned fairy.
"You have to find out if Eric is as well endowed as they say. Now, you've seen me in my work uniform, so think on whether it's more or less than me." I was astounded at his unabashed words.
"Claude! What the fuck! You had me freaking out! Over the size of Eric's… Gracious plenty? Really?"
"Come on! This urgent mystery will not solve itself! The deets, when you get home, please." He was serious!
"You fairy fuck... "
"You said it. And as any fae worth their fairy dust should know, nothing comes without a price!" He was grinning, pleased as punch.
"Oh goody! I'll go tell Claudine you're good to go." He popped away.
"Been ready since before I came here." Niamh and Palug were at my side, brushing up against my legs. They would be coming with me.
"Now, now there dear! You'll be home soon!" Claudine had been oozing saccharine comments all day while we were getting ready. Further confirming that I would not want to be prego, like, ever.
Coleman had made himself scarce. Claudine told him that she was performing a favor and that it was best he not know about it. Claude and Claudette stood at the ready to intercept any fae that might be nearby enough to hear or see me leaving with Claudine.
"You guys will be ok?" I asked each of them in turn.
"I'm a little light on magic, but it's fine. I don't need magic to shake it in my club." Claude gyrated for a moment while Claudine rolled her eyes. Claudette's eyes were fixed on the horizon, her sword in hand and a modified Arma in the shape of a shield sitting on her arm. This was something Claudette had taught me, to make the Arma more compact and not a bubble. The shield was easily changed to be larger or smaller depending on need and our swords would plunge through it with ease, negating the need to cover her left flank. The concentration of magic helped increase the strength of the shield 10 times over a full Arma.
"Ok, so where do you want to go?" Claudine was rubbing her belly dreamily as she asked me.
"Are you comfortable with us being outside Fangtasia?" That'd be the best way to get in touch with my vampires.
"Not really…" Her voice had the same cadence. Not much would disturb the breeding fairy from her preoccupation.
"Ok, how about Merlotte's bar?"
"I've never seen it before. Send me a picture?" I pushed my Audite out to her and found her mental shields permeable to my influence. The parking lot of the bar was the focal point in my mind, and I pushed it on through with a little pop.
"Ok, let's push the boundaries of time as far back as we can." Time was a strange thing in fae as it related to the other plane. It could stretch far in advance or it could squish together. A fae could reasonably manipulate it to tighten up, but only so much.
"I've got six months, thereabouts."
"It'll have to do." Six months of time having passed. I sighed.
"Great! Take my hand." Palug and Niamh grabbed hold of me and Munin flew down to rest on top of Niamh's shoulder
I reached out and touched claudine, and we were in front of Merlotte's instantly. Claudine backed away, letting go of me.
"Good luck true sister!" I hated the distinction of being "true". It was a term used for close relationships between the fae. While the triplets and I were cousins, our close relationship made us siblings. Which made it all the more insulting when Niall called me his true child. As if I mattered to him that much. As if I wasn't a means to an end.
Claudine popped away and I was left staring at the busy bar. It was dark.
"Girls, go to my farmhouse with my stuff in animal form and inspect the area for fae presence, then come to Fangtasia. Palug, ride on Niamh with some clothes for you both. This is what you should dress like." I pushed images of Fangtasia, where to find it as well as what they should wear. I would have transported all of us to somewhere near my land, but I couldn't be sure that Niall had left the area unattended. My companions wouldn't be easily detected by any fae there, making them the best option to scope out the place.
I was certain that once Niall knew I lived, that he would find other ways to be an inconvenience and if not, entrap me into fairy once again. The bastard was never going to have me again if I could help it.
"What have you done." I looked down on my most loyal of the triplets. The one who had always done as she ought. She kneeled before me, her pregnancy beginning to shine its light through her skin.
"She threatened my baby Niall. I had to." Claudine was a mess of tears and fear.
This had more to it, I was certain.
I lanced into her mind, tearing her shields into pieces and stripping out the information I desired.
It had been a mistake to trust Claudine. And what needed to be done now was unfortunate.
"You are forgiven. Had I compelled you to not allow her out, this would never have happened. If I had found a second mate for you, there would have been no bargaining. I have failed you." I cupped her cheek as she relaxed into my hand.
"Go, child. Let Coleman comfort you. I will manage this." She nodded, smiling and tear-stained face filled with relief and hope.
"Thank you for your forgiveness grandfather."
"Think nothing of it. You are my pride and joy." She looked down at the ground before she stood up and teleported away.
I called Mab's children to me, and they appeared by my side. They had been feeding, their mouths and teeth red. Their cheeks were still rusty with old blood. Disgusting creatures though they may be, they had their place and use.
"End Claudine and her husband Coleman. Claude and Claudette are mine." They hissed with joy, grasping each other's bodies as they faded out.
Her eyes were glazed over, looking into the bright sky of fairy. I noted her sword in hand, Coleman lying atop the lower half of her body.
I walked around them in a circle, noting the damage with a clinical eye. Coleman's face was gone, teeth marks in what was left of his skin by the one side of his head I could see. Eyes plucked from their sockets.
It was an abnormal feeling for me, to be frightened of what lay underneath Coleman's body. Death was a constant threat, even in fairy. I'd seen bodies. I'd been the one to kill them. This was nothing new.
I pushed Coleman off of Claudine with a single foot, avoiding the blood stains as much as I could. And I wished I hadn't. I needed to know, but I hated that I did.
Claudine's stomach was empty. Scooped out down to the spine. Her chest was ravaged and I noted evidence of the hole in her dress that sat at the apex of her legs, which were spread open. It could not be unseen.
Claude was panting, his eyes were wild and unfocused.
"I revoke my fealty to you, Niall. I separate my magic from your hearth. I take my sword from your ranks. I rescind the bindings of kin." His voice was hoarse, silver tears cascading down his face.
"We must end them." I said quietly. Afterall of this… afterall of this brutality, they were still alive.
The mark of Neave and Lochlan to leave the bodies and not offer them the mercy of the summerlands.
"I cannot!" He sobbed.
"Turn." He obeyed and walked over to a tree, gagging. I placed my sword over the back of Coleman's head and plunged it in. Dust. No message from him. His spirit had likely sought out his family before he went to the summerland.
I looked down into Claudine's eyes. Her magic flickered in recognition of mine, but her body did not move. Kneeling, I caressed her face.
"He will die. Not this day, but we will take him." I hid the dagger behind my body, having called it. Keeping it from her view, I plunged it into her temple. She too, turned to dust and I stood up.
Claudine's soul was there waiting.
Claude had already turned back after he heard the puff of Claudine's disintegration, waiting for our sister to show herself.
"Niall will be punished accordingly. There is no need to pursue him. But, Sookie will need you. She does now. Go." And then she was gone.
I screamed in rage.
I didn't bother walking into Merlotte's. Instead I teleported over to an alley near Fangtasia and spread out my Audite immediately to isolate any voids nearby.
I was lucky. The vampires were concentrated inside the bar and I let Velum fall over me in a wave, turning myself into human-Sookie. I picked the white dress with red flowers, knowing that repeating the outfit would be the perfect gift to a man with photographic memory.
From a distance, there was a vampire at the door I did not recognize. She was brunette with large doe eyes and pink lips bordering on red that looked fantastic against her pale skin. I mentally swatted away my jealousy. Her void was tiny, a newborn, and no threat to me.
Her presence made my decision easy. I would walk straight up to the front door and into the arms of Eric Northman. The vampire at the door would likely not know of me, and knowing Eric, he would keep my existence a secret from others with Bill creeping around.
Part of me had expected some kind of change in clientele or appearance of the bar, but it looked exactly the same as it had the first time I came here. Skimpy skirts and tops. Fishnets and high heels. To be fair, I had my own pair of pumps on, but they were classy red Louboutins.
Ever so slowly, the line crept forward. It may be the south, but a vampire club need not move the speed of molasses. I sighed and took little steps forward as a few people were let in at a time.
"Sookie Stackhouse. What kind of name is Sookie?" The brunette woman tried to look sarcastic, but it only came off as insecure.
"The interesting kind. Is that all?"
"You're not dressed for this establishment." She bared her fangs and smiled at me. The other fangbangers jumped back and then cooed over the vampire. I was so tempted to show her my silver, practically hypodermic needles for teeth. But that would be rude!
"I don't see a sign that says I can't dress like this."
"Since I happen to be a vampire, I make the rules." The brunette smirked and bared her tiny fangs at me further. They were petite. Ah, the newly dead.
"Listen baby vamp, when Eric or Godric finds out you restricted me access to this club, one or both of them is going to smack you around six ways to sunday. Now if you don't want to spend your evening silvered in the basement of Fangtasia, I suggest you step aside."
"Who the fuck do you think you are human? I could rip out your fucking throat! You know what?" Her eyes bored into mine as she began her attempt to glamour. "Leave. When you get home, cut off all your hair and decide you want to live your life as a carnie. Take up smoking and drinking as well. Also, sleep with ten guys in the next ten days, slut."
"Wooowww. Is that the best you got princess? I am going to be having words with Eric and Godric about your behavior. Probably Pam too. In any case, you can deal with the mess you made."
Enough of this bullshit.
I quickly ripped a memory out of a fangbanger's head of the bathroom in Fangtasia and teleported into it. Not certain I could modify memories as of yet, I was taking a big risk in exposing the supernatural to some humans, but I was sure Eric would handle it later if I messed up. Straightening my hair in the mirror, I walked out onto the dance floor.
The throne was empty and I recognized none of the vampires here. Which meant none of them would recognize me either. I drew unwanted attention from them anyway. Carefully I avoided the eyes of a few vampires who started to stare. Staring was a precursor to glamouring, and I didn't want them to know I couldn't be. I'd already showed my hand to the vampire up front, but I was certain that Eric could get her maker to command her to not say anything about me.
I knew the vampires in attendance would stop me immediately if I tried to walk into Eric's office and I didn't know where it was exactly either.
Slowly I combed over the minds of the fangbangers, looking for a human who had been in his office. Finally I found a memory from a woman. Thank god she had been with Pam and not Eric.
I couldn't be certain it was his office, but it was no matter. I popped in.
Godric sat staring off into the distance. My maker was waiting, spending most of his nights in downtime. If I wasn't feeling similarly impatient I would have considered his actions both depressing and terrifying. I dealt with my feelings differently.
Pam had gotten me a large recycling bin for my office that I was collecting empty true blood bottles in. Occasionally I would partake of some bagged blood, but there had been no donors in the past six months since Sookie had disappeared.
Godric had been healed for months now, with no lingering weaknesses. We had mopped up the other problems that had come our way, and finished cleaning those we had created.
The phone rang.
"This is Rasul. The king is increasing your tithe by 3% this year given your area's profitability. He will also require you to attend his next ball with an appropriate human guest. If you do not have anyone in mind, he would be happy to provide you with a human." Ah, reliable old Billiam.
"Thank you Rasul." Godric was still staring off into the distance, a seated statue.
There was a shift in the air and then a pop as Sookie appeared.
I was the first to move and I wrapped her up in my arms, unconcerned with any protests from her on the matter.
Godric was there as well, scenting to see if she was injured or hurt. His fangs were drawn as he angrily stalked around us looking for any mistreatment of the fairy. Finding none, he sheathed his fangs and also hugged her. It didn't make me upset in the slightest. Godric had been her teacher and defender, a father figure to her as he had been to me.
I pressed my face into her hair and drank deeply of her scent. She had been cloaking, but she let a little of her natural smell slip through and I hardened immediately. Sookie pulled her head away from my attentions and looked me in the eyes, her arms wrapped around my torso.
"You going to kiss me or rub yourself all over me first?" Our lips collided, my fangs clicking against her teeth. I shamelessly cut both of our tongues and we groaned at the mingled blood. Something that had been uneven inside me leveled out. I had, without asking, formed our first blood bond. Well, second first bond. She did not seem perturbed.
I purred and ran my hands up and down her frame, noting the soft underside of her breasts down to the curve of her hips and full, round ass.
"Master! Something-" Willa blew through the door, taking her cues from Pam on how to interrupt her maker when he's doing something important.
"You!" Willa shrieked at Sookie.
I normally would have made a move to subdue Willa and stop her from further overreacting, but it was not necessary. Beyond vampires being able to move imperceptibly fast to humans, we were able to track the speed of other vampires without issue, down to the microsecond. Fae and Dae were also able to see us move, though they could not necessarily move as quickly as we could.
Sookie shifted in my arms, changing from human to fae almost instantaneously. I watched as she popped out of my arms, in front of Willa, grasped her by the throat and then portaled over to my couch where she slammed my progeny down on it roughly. Sookie took her spare hand with extended silver claws and pressed them into Willa's chest.
"Yes. Me." Willa tried unsuccessfully to pry Sookie's hand from her throat and screeched when her fingers touched the fairy's claws. Pushing her clawed hand further onto Willa's chest, my progeny's skin started to sizzle through the fabric of her dress.
"Eric!" Willa's eyes were wild as she cast her gaze out to me for help. Pam chose that moment to come in followed closely by a cloaked Thalia.
"Willa. You are to stop attacking Sookie immediately and you will come and stand by me. No biting. Bad baby vampire." Pam drawled. Sookie smirked and let go of Willa. Being so young, my progeny had no will to resist a maker or designated maker's command. Her body was pulled into standing position beside Pam.
"Now you put those fangs away and explain yourself young lady. And if you don't do so to my satisfaction you will go to bed with a spanking and no blood sippy cup for you." The weekend previous, Willa had spilled blood on Pam's couch. Pam, being pragmatic and precise, told Willa that if she couldn't keep it in her mouth, she would be fed like a tea-cup human. Hence this plastic contraption the humans called a "sippy cup" that didn't allow for spillage. Willa was to drink from this for a week and this was to be her last night… was.
"This thing demanded entrance to the club and then proceeded to disappear in front of the humans after threatening me. When I saw her here I thought she was attacking my master." Willa's eyes were glowing with hatred for Sookie. This had been exactly what I was afraid of. Godric shifted imperceptibly. None of us had been looking forward to this moment.
"Who is she Eric?"