Winds of Change
Sookie sat curled up on the couch in her living room snuggled up to her Viking vampire while he flipped channels on her new cable box. She was reveling in the silence of his mind, while contemplating all the changes her life had gone through since they had met four months earlier…..
FOUR MONTHS BEFORE
The most major change had happened the day after they met. Eric had just arrived at the farm house shortly after dark to take Sookie out for more 'contract negotiations'. It had simply gotten too late the night before after dealing with Jason's exodus and Gran's revelation.
She had been ashamed about her affair with Fintan, but explained that they didn't have invitro-insemination back then and that she had been desperate for children. She said that it only happened twice and that grandpa had been out of town for business on each occasion. He had never known he couldn't give her children, and Gran suspected it was a case of mumps he had as a child that prevented it. Shortly after Linda had been born, Fintan had shown up out of nowhere again while Mitchell was gone but this time Gran wouldn't let him in the house. She told him through the door to leave and not come back. She said she had felt cowardly not telling him to his face but every time she saw him she said she felt odd, not quite in control of her actions. That was the last she had ever seen of him but not the last time he had seen her. She was livid when Eric showed her the pictures and said she always suspected something was up but she never followed through with her suspicions. Eric posed that it was likely fairy magic that Fintan had been using to 'sway' Gran's moral code of cheating on her husband. Fairies were rumored to have a type of glamour of their own which could explain how he was able to mimic Mitchell's appearance. Gran said that the odd feelings stopped abruptly before Mitchell's death, which was just after Sookie had been born.
Sookie was ready for her date with true glee in her heart. For the first time ever she'd be able to enjoy the company of another, especially a man, without being bombarded with unwanted thoughts about her bust size or how she was going to get talked into giving a blow-job on the first date. For the first time in her life she was thought she knew what it felt like to be normal.
That is until they stepped out of her house heading toward Eric's car and saw a very angry collie standing between them and the vehicle, growling and snapping its jaws. Sookie knew the stray and was shocked to see it act this way. It had always been so affectionate towards her and Sarah. Just as Sookie turned to get Gran and the child back in the house, she heard Eric say,
"Shifter, if you were wise you would leave before forcing me to embarrass you in front of the ladies."
Shifter? SAM? Oh hell no! "SAM MERLOTTE! If that is you, I'm gonna kick your …tail!" Always mindful of 'little ears', Sookie began yelling at the mongrel, which looked to be losing some of its fire but was still growling. Sookie wasn't putting up with this, "How dare you have the nerve to show up here and not even have the courage to do so as yourself, but to come in disguise! Yes, I know all about your little secret just as you've known about mine for years but you never had the decency to share. Here I was thinking I was the only one different all this time. And NOW you have the audacity (Word of the Day for the past Monday) to show up pissed because Eric's here? You have no right! Get out! Go home! I'll be in tomorrow to get my last pay check. I was going to give you two weeks' notice but after this stunt, forget it." By the time Sookie was done, the coward had his ears down and tail between his legs looking at Sookie like she'd just beat him with a stick. Just as she was walking back towards Eric, he said "Shifter, my day man failed to deliver this to you a few days ago." He tossed a new envelope with a new agreement sealed inside, toward the mutt. "You'll notice a few changes have been made, including the fact that Sookie is now MINE! A copy of my claim has been included. You would do well to remember what happens to those that mess with a vampires'…..affairs." He chose his words carefully not knowing how Sookie would take being viewed as property.
He was just tucking Sookie under his arm when she became hopping mad again, shouting, "DON'T YOU DARE! There is a child present SAM! Don't you dare shift! Get home and calm down! I will talk to you tomorrow!" With that she stomped her foot for emphases and he grabbed the envelope in his jaws and tor out of there like his tail was on fire.
Just about the same time a wailing could be heard from the porch. Gran was trying to calm Sarah down but she seemed just as upset as Sookie. "NO! NO! NO!" They could hear her shouting. When Sookie and Eric approached to see what had upset her so much, she stomped right over to Eric and hit him with her little fist and said as forcefully as she could with eyes full of tears, "NO! Ant Soogie's MINE! No yours! Mine! MY ANT SOOGIE! I keep her, she not Ewik's!" She was wailing at that point and it was all Sookie could do to reign in the little whirlwind. "SARAH JANE STACKHOUSE! You calm yourself down missy!"
Sookie began to reprimand the child for her behavior but Eric stated very calmly, as he bent to her eye level, "You are most correct little one. I did not mean for it to sound as if I was taking your Aunt away from you. What I should have said was that Sookie AND Sarah are mine."
Sarah crinkled her brows at him still shaking her head, but calming down to sniffles, "No, I Ant Soogie's, no Ewiks. I me-maws an Soogie's Sawa, no Ewik."
Both women teared up a bit at this but Eric continued, "I know this young one, but as a vampire, I have to say you and your Aunt are mine or otherwise somebody could take you away. Do you understand?"
Sarah stared at him for a few minutes before asking, "If Soogie n me is yours, den nobodys take us way? No daddy, no Sam, nobodys?"
She got her brains from her Aunt and Great-Grandmother apparently, "Yes, this is correct."
A smile lit her angelic face, "Okay! Yous can say Ant Soogies yours, but she stiw mines, you unewsan?"
Eric chuckled at the little firecracker, "Yes, I will remember to ask when I want to borrow her from her rightful owner." Sookie raised an eyebrow at this as Sarah nodded her head emphatically. "Would you mind terribly if I borrow her now for a while?"
Sarah was full on giggling now, her earlier tears forgotten before they dried on her face, "Okay but she nee be home by ni-ni time."
Eric wiggled his eyebrows at Sookie over the child's head as he said, "Trust me little one, I will make sure she is all tucked into bed on time."
Gran chuckled as Sookie blushed; "Now I know someone else whose bed time is right now, so say Good Night to Eric and Sookie and let's go brush your teeth."
Sarah grinned brightly and pecked Sookie and to his great surprise, Eric also, on the cheek. "OKAY nit-nit Ewik n Soogie, I wuv you! See you tomowwow." And with that she ran back inside the house.
Gran chuckled and said, "You two go on and get, and Eric you make sure Sookie gets tucked in ALONE now ya hear?" Eric laughed heartily at this as Sookie blushed fiercely while burying her face in her hands.
They rode in comfortable silence into Shreveport. The restaurant Eric had picked was a popular one with the local Supernatural community and he thought she might enjoy seeing and 'hearing' the variety. As they were shown to their table Eric said, "You've been very quite since we left your home Sookie, is everything alright? Do you not like the atmosphere?"
"What? Oh no, I'm sorry I was just 'feeling out' the surroundings. What is this place? There's so many different people here," she said wide eyed as the waiter handed them both a menu, took they're drink order and left them to their privacy.
"This is a supernatural 'watering hole' if you will. Many of my kind as well as other species in our community come here to conduct business with each other as well as to escape from most humans and be ourselves. As you can see, there are some from our community that don't fit in with humans without a little magical assistance. Before the reveal, this was the only place within 500 miles of New Orleans that a vampire could get a meal from a glass instead of a donor." Eric was enjoying Sookie's reaction. He detected absolutely no fear from the girl, just amazed curiosity. "So tell me, beautiful, what do you hear?"
Sookie blushed deeply, no one except Gran ever called her beautiful. "It's a bit jumbled…."she paused as she scanned the room, "I count about half a dozen other vampires, almost two dozen like Sam, so I guess they're shifters of some sort, and the rest I've never felt before. Some are like static on a radio and there's one in the next room that is as quite as a vampire but it's not one. I swear if I didn't know better, I'd think this person was using shields or something to protect themselves from me. But it doesn't feel human. I can sense a few humans with this creature and there are two males and two females. I can't read one of the females either but the other three think they're….witches? Whoa! Are there really witches?"
Eric was intrigued with the possibilities of who Sookie wasn't hearing. He couldn't smell or hear anything, which he should have been able to detect. He summoned a waiter to their table, "I'd like to speak with the manager, now." As the waiter scurried off to find the manager, Eric informed Sookie, "The shifter's you detect are mostly Were's or Werewolves to be specific, though I do smell a few panthers. I believe there is a pack of them up near you in an even smaller hole in the wall called Hotshot. I believe the ones coming in like static to you are possibly the daemon's that run this establishment and as for the unknown in the next room we'll find out shortly. And yes, there are witches. Most who claim that title are practitioners with little to no real power, but there are some that are natural born and posses great powers, not to be trifled with. The closest I know of like that are in New Orleans. If there are witches in my Area, I want to know who they are and who they are meeting with."
Just then the manager arrived, "Good evening, Mr. Northman, it's so good to see you back. How may we assist you tonight?"
"I'd like to know who is meeting in the private room next to us," Eric said in a tone that brokered no argument.
"I…um…I'm not at liberty to say…" He began stuttering at Eric's sharp glare," b-b-bu-but I c-c-can bring y-y-y-you to them now ssssssir." Sookie could tell he wanted desperately to escape Eric's glare and had been somehow rendered physically unable to speak the names of the party or even really anything about them. This felt very suspicious to them both, as she kept scanning the three brains she could read for information, while Eric helped her rise and they followed the manager back to the partially hidden door of the private room.
"I'll take things from here," Eric said as he opened the door and was immediately struck with the scent of full fairy. However, for reason's completely unknown to Eric, he had no desire to attack, drain, or fuck the fairy to death, which would have been his usual response. He was somehow able to ignore or at least dismiss the aroma and respond rationally. "Ms. Faunt, what a spellbinding surprise. I was not aware that you were to be in my Area tonight. May I ask who your associates are? What would a witch of your caliber be doing in my Area with three other witches and a fairy? You had also better have an explanation for having surveillance photos and information regarding MY companion, as I see her picture amongst the documents on your table."
Sookie was clinging to Eric's hand as she stood half hidden by him in the doorway. She gasped and whispered, "Your lawyer told them about me. They're planning on trying to 'rescue' me tomorrow during the day. They believe I'm with you under duress." (Thank you word of the day for yesterday.)
"I'll deal with Catalides later. Explain yourselves, NOW!" He barked as he stepped in the room with Sookie still behind him and shut the door, leaving the manager gaping outside.
The fairy stood warily but it had not escaped her notice that despite the fact that she was unable to mask her scent, the vampire was remaining where he was across the room, NOT attacking her. She also saw the way Sookie was clinging to him and the way he was sheltering her from them with his large form. Was it possible they had been misinformed? "I am here for my charge. I am Claudine, her fairy godmother. I was informed that you had filed paper's claiming her as yours and seeing as she is part fairy, I was concerned that she had been taken by force, considering past associations between vampires and fairies. I would be willing to clear up any misunderstandings now if you are amenable."
Eric reopened the door to reveal the manager still standing on the other side, "Bring two chairs so that we may join their party, Mr. Bradley, and please be sure to inform our waiter of our change in seats." Eric never took his eyes off of Claudine, or let go of Sookie. He wasn't sure why, but something, instinct perhaps, was telling him to not let go of her while in the fae's presence. "Sookie, my dear, is this acceptable to you?"
She was still leery of them, but what she was getting from their brains seemed to back up Claudine's story. Especially from the female she could hear. She was a particularly loud broadcaster. Sookie was sure she'd have a headache before long so she threw up her mental shields. Thankfully she was still holding onto Eric and as she had discovered the night before, just touching him helped her focus all the better. Since vampires were like earmuffs for telepaths, she felt more in control while touching Eric. She was also discovering that she was able to block out the loud thinker while maintaining close watch on the others.
"Um….sure I guess. They believe what she says to be true. But…" she looked at the young woman that was the loud thinker, "Could you possibly not think so loud? It feels like your screaming at me."
The brunette blushed fiercely and mumbled an apology as chairs were being brought in for them along with new drinks by their waiter. After orders were taken and they were left in private, the older witch began with, "Sherriff, Ms. Stackhouse, allow me to introduce myself and my associates. I am Octavia Faunt and this is my apprentice Amelia Broadway." She gestured to each of her companions as she introduced them. "These men are members of our coven in N'Orlens, Bob and Louis, and of course Claudine has already introduced herself. Please forgive the intrusion to your area sheriff but I believe you can understand our concern when we were informed…."
Eric waved her off as he addressed Claudine, "Yes, yes, as I said before I'll handle Cataliades and his unprofessionalism at a later time. What I'm interested to learn, is how my young Ms. Stackhouse gained such a boon as a fairy godmother? I was under the impression that that privilege was reserved for those of a nobler lineage."
Claudine eyed Eric closely, but instead of answering him she spoke to Sookie, "Do not worry my dear, if he is indeed holding you or yours we can free you and take you far away from his influence."
"SOOKIE IS MINE!" Eric growled angrily but calmed when Sookie placed her free hand on his arm lightly even as she still clutched his hand.
"It's OK Eric." She spoke soothingly and softly to him but then her voice gained sudden steel as she gave Claudine the hairy eyeball, "I don't know where you gained your information, but if you had bothered to ASK, you would know I came to him. I asked him to hire me to read minds so that my telepathy can HELP me for a change and get my family out of some financial debt. And I want to know what the hell a fairy godmother is supposed to do and if your mine why is that and how long have you been my guardian angel or whatever." She was rambling as well as annoyed that Claudine had rudely ignored Eric's question. What was it with sups so far that they didn't seem to have any manners?
Claudine blinked, "I've been watching you since you were born. I was given this privilege as a member of your family by our Prince. My job is to keep you safe from harm. Naturally you can understand why I…"
"No offence, since I don't really know you, but if you have been supposedly protecting me since birth, you SUCK at your job." She interrupted Claudine, with a hint of anger and pain in her voice. Claudine looked like she'd been splashed with lemon juice. Before she had a chance to say anything, Sookie continued with "If you had been paying actual attention, you would have shown up by now, especially when my own family tossed me out like garbage or when that SOB tried to rape me when I was 5. My GRAN did your job and protected me from those dangers just as she continues too by getting me to Eric. She is the only FAMILY I have ever KNOWN to keep me safe and frankly I do not need nor want your help. Especially if this…" she picked up the stakeout photos of her home from the table, "Is the way you go about it. As far as you and the rest of the supe community is concerned, I'm Eric's. This goes for any more family I might have and not know about. If you couldn't be bothered to be in my life before, I really have no need for you now. So, you can go back to whoever sent you and tell them, 'thanks, but no thanks, I'm covered', OK?"
Eric was immensely enjoying the fairies puzzlement as Sookie lit into her with the same ferocity she had earlier that night with the shifter. He smirked at the fae's befuddlement, "It would be wise to inform Brigant that if further contact with ANY of the Stackhouse women is desired, communication will be made through me. As you can see, Sookie is protected."
"The Prince won't be happy to hear of this," she said standing to leave. "Have you had his blood yet? Has the vampire tried to bond you too him?"
"That is just none of your Damn business!" Sookie said while trying NOT to blush. She wasn't sure what significance taking Eric's blood held, or what a bond entailed, but it sounded very personal and she sure as hell didn't care for the snotty way Claudine continued to directly ignore HER vampire. Whoa, her? She was beginning to feel like Sarah had earlier that night.
"This is good. Don't, if you know what's good for you. We'll be in touch soon." And suddenly there was a POP and Claudine the fairy godmother was gone.
"Well, that's one way to make an exit, geez." She said while rolling her eyes, attempting to disguise her astonishment at the disappearance.
The door opened again as the waiter brought in dinner not even a bit surprised to see Claudine missing. As they ate, Eric enlisted Ms. Faunt's help with erecting protective wards around the Stackhouse property to protect against all supernatural and magical beings that were not directly invited by those living there. Eric wanted to be sure that the wards wouldn't be able to be circumvented because of a little loophole like blood relation. He was going to need to speak to Sookie about making some improvements to her home, along with other things. The witches left shortly after they finished their meal and the verbal contract, with assurances that they would return in a week to perform the necessary wards on the property. As their meal became more intimate again, so did the conversation. They spoke about many things Sookie had not had a chance to ask about yet and Eric got a few answers he was looking for, such as what fate had befallen Sookie's childhood tormentor. He was equal parts excited and enraged to learn he was still living, but not for long once Eric got to him. As their evening wound down they broached the subject of bonds. Eric explained the difference between a bond and a tie, the effects of vampire blood to those who ingest it, and ramifications a bond would have on a mostly human, along with the vampire.
During the drive back to the farmhouse, Eric was strategizing all he'd learn that evening so far. They were just turning onto Hummingbird lane, when Sookie quietly said, "Would you ever want me to take your blood? Y-y-you know for safety, so that you can track me if I get snatched."
Eric didn't answer until he had stopped the car behind the house. Sookie was about to apologize and run from embarrassment, when Eric gently took her hand and kissed it. Looking deeply into her eyes so intently, Sookie was sure she could see herself reflected back despite the darkness, he said, "If you were sure this was something you wanted, I would be honored of you would accept my blood. But Sookie, you must understand something important. Taking blood for a vampire is usually associated with a sexual act. It can hurt the donor otherwise. It is also not necessary for me to take from you, but I cannot deny how much I desire to do so. Similarly, giving blood is highly erotic for the vampire, thus adding to the entire exchange if done simultaneously. Not many vampires choose to do such because of the consequences I explained to you. I have only ever willingly given my blood to one other being in my 1000 years as a vampire, and that was to my Childe. And this would be much different because that was during the process of her turning. I gave her no choice. You will have a choice."
"Will it turn me?"
"No, not without my draining you dry first, and I won't do that unless you ask it of me and only after Sarah has grown. I don't think she would be very happy with me if I were to take her Sookie." He grinned playfully. "You need not decide tonight. Take your time, there is no rush. You need to be sure...for both of us."
Sookie got out of the car quietly with Eric and took his hand, as she led him inside the dark and quiet house and up the stairs. When they got to her room, she sat next to him on her bed and spoke softly to her hands, "Eric, I have very limited experience with this kind of thing and I'm not sure of what to do. I do know I feel safe with you and I like you…I-I-I mean I'm attracted to you and I just don't think I could have sssse-sssseee...um…well you know do THAT yet, but I do wanna start…I mean….try…." She face palmed and muttered to her palms, "God, this is mortifying."
He didn't speak. He didn't need to. For the next hour or so, they tenderly but heatedly kissed on her full size bed that was just way too small for Eric. They exchanged blood for the first time, while still keeping Sookie's innocence intact for the time being. Agreeing there was no rush, they decided to give each other time to adjust to all that had been happening. Eric did indeed tuck Sookie into her bed that night. He even stayed until she drifted off to sleep.
For the next several weeks they danced around their feelings for the other, while also spending as much time as possible together.
During this time, Sookie began her job working at Fangtasia, but not exactly in the manner in which she first expected. Eric had to explain why giving her a manager's position was more beneficial to her than working as a waitress or even behind the bar. This way she would not be questioned by the staff or patrons if she was standing off to the side apparently doing nothing while 'reading' customers. It would also be seen as necessary for her to be in frequent meetings with Eric while also helping free Eric and Pam up with the daily running of things so that they would have more time to focus on vampire business. Eric had been considering the possibility of taking on Long Shadow as a partner to help relieve some of the burden and now that was unnecessary.
Once Sookie accepted this, the extra income from her new position, as well as the benefits that covered not only herself but the entire household also, it began to relieve some of the stress from all those debts that had piled up. Of course, Eric insisted he pay her separately for her telepathy work and this is what she was brought in as an 'outside contractor' for, during many of his business meetings. She would usually sit discreetly in the back of the room with a lap top apparently taking notes when in fact she was IM-ing Eric the inner workings of the liars, sneaks and thieves he did business with.
The money she made from her telepathy work went directly into a separate savings account that she and Gran began using when they realized how much had accumulated after only one month. They were able to repave the drive (much to Eric's relief), fix the roof, and general maintenance that had been put off for years, such as repainting the house. Eric had insisted that he pay for his 'hidey-hole' as Sarah began calling it, that they had talked Adele into as a necessary safety requirement as well as a security system. She also acquiesced to having central heating and air put in once the weather began getting cold. The excuse was it was just easier on her bones during the winter than just relying on the fire in the fireplace. At least that was her story and she was sticking to it!
Back to Present…..
Sookie sighed peacefully into Eric's shoulder. Once Gran and Pam returned from their mysterious errand, Sookie would return to Eric's for the remainder of the night as well as the next day. She had decided after four months and two exchanges, it was time. She'd found herself deeply in love with Eric despite almost everybody else's reservations, including Eric's. Only Gran said that it appeared as if they were made for each other. She said it was as plain to her as the nose on her face.
When she told Eric her decision and desire for the evening, the excitement was clear in his eyes. As was the apprehension, so she repeated what he had told her the night of their first exchange, "Take your time…there is no rush. I want this to be for us both." He had been at war with himself and 1000 years of highly honed survival instinct that rebelled against the feelings she ignited inside him. But when she repeated his words, there was no fight left. He acquiesced to the inevitable. He was in love with this mostly-human fae, and his life had never been so right. It was time.
While Sookie had been ruminating on the past few months, curled up next to Eric, Sarah had been a busy girl. She had gotten into Sookie's dresser and decided to play dress up just like Aunt Sookie dressed up sometimes. Eric had heard the shuffle-click, shuffle-clack, coming down the hall and Sookie had heard Sarah's gleeful thoughts of how pretty she looked. Neither of them expected what they saw and were both frozen in amused terror as she sauntered into the living room wearing Sookie's black patent leather 5 inch heels, that had been a gift from Pam, accompanied by a pair of Sookie's string bikini underwear pulled on over her diapers but instead of resting on the hips, the strings were stretched over her shoulders. This was coordinated with the matching bra, which was hanging loosely from her shoulders and almost touched her knees. She'd also discovered Sookie's lipstick stash and had applied it with the precision that a drunken hooker would be jealous of.
As the two adults stared at the precocious tot, she gushed with the exuberance that only a toddler can give, "Wook, Ant Soogie! I pwedy! I gots high heews an wip-stik an my boobies! You fink I pwedy Ant Sooie? I wook wike you!"
Sookie had been struck dumb. She didn't know what to say, and Eric was equally flummoxed, though he did recall in his long memory his own daughter's desire to wear her mother's best broach. Maybe this was normal? He was glad Sarah didn't have access to his clothes yet. They had both finally managed to stop gaping like guppies when they heard the front door open as Pam and Gran arrived home. Eric had been so stunned he hadn't heard them arrive until Sarah piped up, "Me-maw! Wook at mes! I sooooo pwedy! I gots on high heews an wip-stik an my boobies, jus wike Ant Soogie does!"
Adele chucked, as Pam whipped out her cell to snap several pictures, while cooing, "Oh sweetie, if I'd known you liked heels that high, I'd have gotten you a pair! We'll have to go shopping tomorrow night for some!"
"Yea! I wike choppin, but Ant Soogie doesn't wike to go," she pouted.
"Tiny human, you stick with me and I'll show you how to spend Eric's money like it's going out of fashion."
"PAM!" Eric and Sookie both barked, finally coming to their senses.
Adele laughed as she picked up Sarah and said, "Baby girl, you look just like Sookie did that time she dressed up in her daddy's shoes and hat with his best tie around her waist declaring she looked just like Daddy. Of course, she was also only in diapers at that moment too. Let's go get you ready for bed my little monkey."
They both giggled as they left the room, while Sookie still wasn't sure if she should laugh at Sarah's creativity and be flattered or die of embarrassment at her panties being on such display along with Gran's colorful story telling. She went for the former, "I'm gonna get her back one day. Pam, I want copies of those pictures."
A/N: WOW! Okay, I am both flattered and flabbergasted at the response I've gotten on my first story attempt! Thank you very much to everybody that reviewed and read the story you have given me even more reason to continue this foray. I hope you will like the direction I take this story as I will use a few of the events that happens in cannon but in a new an exciting (I hope) direction. Please continue to let me know what you think but keep in mind I have locked up the supply of rotten tomatoes for safety reasons.
One more note...there will be a new character introduced in the next chapter. At least new to SVM. I've borrowed him from one of my favorite shows growing up. For those that guess who he is will get a small teaser of the upcoming chapter. Have fun!