*You’re being hard on him, Sookie.*
*What do you know?*
*I know that his every thought is of you. It has been since you brought him to me.*
*And I told you then, and there that you had to come to help him with this.*
*Yes, you did, and that is what I am doing.*
*How is badgering me helping your father?*
*My father needs you.*
I sighed, and rose from the table to clear our dishes. Cantos had been talking with Eric throughout dinner again, even as he badgered me about my decision. He was every bit as stubborn and insistent as Eric when it came to getting what he wanted. At the moment it pissed me off, but I was farsighted enough to see what a gift that would be to Eric when I was gone. Their gentle feuding would distract him from missing me.
*You are dumber than I gave your credit for, if you really believe that.*
I slammed the plate down, and balled my hands into fists.
“You two need to stop this, and talk so that I can hear it!” Eric roared, his chair crashing into the wall as he suddenly came to his feet. “I can’t tell you how sick I am of the sighs, and rolling eyes that have no bearing on the words actually being spoken in this fucking room!”
When neither Cantos nor I spoke, he turned and left the room. I heard the front door slam behind him. I would leave now and go back to Fae if he didn’t need to me to break into The Authority, I thought staring at my reflection in the window above sink.
*Maybe you should go anyway. If you are leaving him, sooner rather than later is better than letting this fester.*
I whirled to face him, his eyebrow was up as he stared at me, daring me with his eyes that were so much like his father. Was he right? I sighed and dropped my shoulders. It didn’t matter even he was. I needed every minute with him I could get, even if they were filled with anger and recriminations.
“You need him, too. I hope you see that before it’s too late.”
Russell returned at midnight, with the blue prints and Pam in tow. I had not expected to see her, but found myself glad of her presence; at least until she opened her mouth. “Sookie is fool to leave you!”
“I don’t want to discuss it.” She opened her mouth, but I silenced her with a sharp look. She shook her head, looking more than a little pissed off not to have her say. I was relieved when she changed the subject. “I would like to meet my brother.”
I took them in, Pam stopping at the door, waiting for in invitation that Sookie was quick to offer. Pam vamped to Cantos immediately, looking him over from head to toe. “I can help you find some earrings for those marvelous ears,” she offered, making him smile.
“Long and dangly, or something smaller and less ostentatious?” he asked, reaching up to stroke them as she admired them and thought it over.
“Both, depending on the occasion. Oh, and we can raid Eric’s closet for something more suitable than this!” She made a face as she looked at his sweatshirt with cutoff sleeves and basketball shorts that had once belonged to Jason. “If I had known the circumstances were so dire, I would have brought something with me tonight.” He smiled at her.
“What are you thinking?”
“The blue Armani suit, I think, with a white shirt and gray silk tie.” He closed his eyes a moment nodding as he read her mind, materializing the image from her mind a moment later.
“Like this?” he asked, turning for her. She clapped with delight.
“Did you just conjure that up, or did you steal Eric’s actual suit?” He shrugged rather than answer, his eyes twinkling merrily at her joy. She liked the mystery as much as the pretty. I knew she would be in my closet as soon as she returned home to see if he had conjured my suit or made his own. “Can you do that for me, too?”
“Think of what you would like.” She closed her eyes this time, and he dressed her in a designer gown and three inch heels. She squealed with delight as she turned around and around before dashing off to find a mirror.
“Upstairs,” Sookie called to her blur. “Second door on the right.” A moment later she squealed again, and reappeared in the living room.
“He’s coming to live with me! I want custody!” I rolled my eyes, amused at her antics, fully aware that she was hamming it up for my benefit. Russell had indeed told her what was happening here, and if I would not let her have a say, then she would do her best to distract me with her outrageous behavior.
It wasn’t the first time she had used that trick on me. I had never told her I knew that she was doing it. It had meant too much to me that she would go to such lengths on my behalf. I loved her just as much for it now as I had in all the years before.
Cantos turned to Russell. “What do you think?”
“I think it’s fabulous.” He was batting his eyes again. Pam took less than a minute to come up to speed on what was happening between them, hiding her cat like smirk behind her long hair as she admired her new five thousand dollar designer pumps.
Still looking at Cantos, he held the blue prints out to me. I took them, moving into the kitchen to spread them out on the table. Sookie leaned around me to get a look. “Can you teleport us in?” I asked her, relieved to have a topic without pitfalls.
“I need to see it before I can do that.”
“How did you find Cantos?”
“I saw him when I was asleep.”
“Can you do that again?” She looked at me, her uncertainty clear.
“Yes, you can.” Cantos joined us, Pam and Russell right behind him as if connected by a string. They were enamored with him. They each had their own reasons, but still he had captivated them. I thought again about this gift of charm that was inherent to the Fae nature, and wondered if that was why I was so drawn to Sookie.
*You loved her before she anything more than human.*
He didn’t look at me, instead focusing on the map.
*Niall’s magic was strong, until your blood broke it. You loved her for who she was, not what she was.*
*How can you know that?*
*How can you not?*
*Perhaps it is her bonds that hold me in her sway.*
*If you think that, then I have overestimated your intelligence even more than I have hers.*
*Ah, so that is why she slammed the dish. You called her foolish.*
*I did, but clearly, you will be challenging her for the title.*
*I can still turn you over my knee.*
*I would rather Russell do that.*
I dropped my head to hide my own smirk.
*You two are pushing away all the things that make you strong. You don’t need any other enemies to tear you apart. They could never be as good at it as you two are yourselves.*
Cantos was telling Sookie how to travel the whole time he was communicating with me mentally.
“I don’t know if I can do that,” she was shaking her head and doubting herself.
“There is an order to things, Sookie. If you can trust yourself, it can happen.” I knew what she needed. It was the same thing I needed.
“Russell, can Cantos return with you tonight?”
“Of course,” he perked right up.
“Excellent. I am entrusting you both with his care.” I paused staring first at Pam and then Russell to make sure they understood my meaning.
*I can take care of myself, you know?*
*Convince me when you sound less like a bratty teenager.*
*By Fae standards, I am a bratty teenager.*
He flashed me a smile that I used when I was being charming. “I will guard him, Master,” Pam assured me with the proper solemnity.
“And I will, as well,” Russell assured me. “I don’t need to tell you that if The Authority catches you, they will kill you.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Good, I hate being a downer.”
After we saw them off, I took her to bed. She curled around me like she was made for me. That brought up Warlow, but I refused to let him into this moment. “Close your eyes, Sookie.” I kissed the top of her head, and gently rubbed her back in a soothing motion to calm her. “Listen to the sound of my voice and let yourself float away. See yourself as you were in Fae, free, flying through the night sky toward New Orleans.” She sighed, and I felt her relax deeper into me.
“So light, and free, the night air kissing your skin softly. I love seeing you that way.” I pushed that feeling to her in our bond, diving into it with her.
“Come with me,” she whispered. I was startled at the idea, but then I wanted to see the world that way with her. I had locked the doors and turned out the lights before we came to bed. Was it safe to leave our bodies unguarded with Warlow expected any minute? No, but then what could I do even if he did show up? That decided it for me.
“How?” I whispered back to her, and felt her marks on me tingle in response.
“Find me where the wild things are.” I saw her then, as she had been in the cell in Fae, her hair crackling with wind and fire, her eyes alight with death and passion. “Yessss,” she sighed as I reached for her, and felt my body slide away.
I was flying, faster than I could in my physical form, lighter than an effervescent bubble as she blazed before me, a perfect ball of lavender light that could only be my Sookie. I dived after her, feeling joy bubble through me, popping me as it crested the surface of my form.
Her giggle drifted back to me on the airwaves. She had no eyes like this, but I knew she could see me, as I could see her. She let me glimpse myself, I was a ball of dark blue, an ocean of soul rolling through a night sky reflected back on the light of a thousand stars.
Beautiful, her thoughts came to me in eddy of her current.
Nothing, compared to you.
Nothing compared to what we are together. She slipped back to me, passing into me, merging in a way that made sex seem trite. Together we made the color of magic, and the feeling of being one with the universe around us.
A trillion light years away I felt the sigh of a dying star, sad to know of its loss in such a profound way that I was rocked with emotion. She consoled me with her energy. Telling me how she loved me for the depth of my passion as she rocked into me.
It all seemed so simple here with her. I could never be without her. I knew that in my flesh, but this knowing was clearer, and beyond what my small mind could contain. Lacking arms I pushed into her, singing of my love for her in ways too big for the world we actually lived in.
There was forever, and it was filled with our love and energy. She made me expand to take her all in, and hold her safe as we sizzled together, hearing the trumpet of the universe expanding as a million new stars gasped, struggling to be born.
We were a part of it all, and it was all a part of us. We hovered there, healing ourselves in this bottomless love where time had no meaning. When she separated her energy from mine it was like being born again, that first gasp of sweet energizing air before I was after her, dancing and singing our song as we traveled the night.
New Orleans was a blink away. She hovered outside the guarded gate, dancing around the vampire guards before flitting away, and passing through. I followed her through and down past the walls that could not stop us.
We looked in room after room. Roman and Salome were arguing, Nora was in room alone praying. Sister, I thought looking at her. Sookie spun around her, looking at the daughter of Godric with her soul vision.
Sad, she projected back to me. I agreed, pained to see her so broken from this pursuit of power over all.
We moved on to the main chamber finding several Chancellors watching a television broadcast. “It has begun,” one of them said, looking at the others smiling triumphantly. On the screen we saw that vampires has attacked a small town in Kosovo, killing every human there in the name of the Sanguanista movement. “Brazil will move tonight as well. Lilith be praised.” The others echoed the chant, while I hung there gutted for the death and destructions these monsters were about to unleash.
“Salome will take the blood of Lilith tonight,” one said to the other. I felt Sookie’s fear as if were my own.
Out of time, she sent to me.
Have to find the blood first, I told her, before moving on. We found Nora out of her room, and followed her to a secret panel three rooms away. We watched her open the door with a blood sample from her finger. When it slid back, we saw the case with the vial of blood.
Found it, I told her, as she moved into me again.
Time to go.
We opened our eyes as one back in Bon Temps, the beat of a heart passing before we teleported back to Nora in the chamber. Her fangs came down immediately, and she rushed us. I put her down, and held her as Sookie opened the cabinet and grabbed the vial.
“Let me go!” Nora squirmed on the floor, as if she could break my grasp on her.
“Father would be so disappointed in you,” I told her, my own fangs down as knelt over her.
“Fuck Godric, and you, too!” My eyebrow went up and I considered what to do with her. I should kill her. If I left her alive she would come after me.
“You really believe this is the blood of Lilith?”
“Yes,” she hissed at me. “I have tasted it, and seen her for myself.”
“And you are going to let Salome drink it? What’s supposed to happen?”
“She will be the vessel for Lilith’s return!”
“To what end?”
“Vampires were meant to rule this world, Eric. If you weren’t so weak you would understand that.” I sighed.
“Everybody wants to rule the world.”
“Someone needs to. Who better than us?”
“She sounds like Warlow,” Sookie said, tucking the vial into her pocket. Nora stopped thrashing and looked at Sookie.
“Guess the vampire never falls far from the tree,” I told her, still trying to get used to the idea of how this thing had been the sister I had so loved.
“What do you know of Warlow?” Nora demanded.
“What do you?” There was the smartass Sookie I adored.
“He was the first vampire our goddess made.”
“Yeah, and he’s still a hoot, even today.”
“You lie! You have not seen him.” Sookie shrugged and looked at me, telling me to hurry with her eyes and our bond. “Where have you seen him?” Nora demanded, forgetting to fight me. Sookie refused to answer her.
“Someone is coming,” Sookie said, and then they were there. Roman, Salome and the rest of the Authority were standing around us. Even though most of them were corrupt, I had not committed to killing them anymore than Nora. When they made a move on me, their fates were decided for them.
If they had gone for her first, she might have hesitated, but they saw me as the greater threat. I felt the air shift in the room as it had in in Fae when Claudine charged her. “Not him!” I pointed at Roman, as she threw fireballs at them faster than I could follow. I had expected them to burn and explode, instead her flames swallowed them whole as they had Claudine’s sword, leaving no trace.
In seconds the entire Authority, with the exception of Roman and Nora, was gone.
“What the fuck is happening here?” Roman demanded as he edged toward the panic button to call in the troops. Sookie threw a fireball at his feet. He stopped, looking at us. I explained that the others had been Sanguinista’s and that Nora had been part of their group.
“What proof do you have?”
“Nora and Salome tried to recruit Russell Edgington. What she won’t tell you, he will.” I threw her at him, moving to stand next to Sookie. “They have started their attacks in Kosovo and in Brazil already.”
“How the fuck did you know that?” Nora gasped.
“And there is your first piece of proof,” I snarled at her, before looking back at him. “Mainstreaming will be a fantasy if you don’t get your house in order.” He held his hand out for the vial, sensing somehow that she had it, when he saw that it was no longer in the cabinet.
“No,” she told him, her hands lighting up again. “This comes with us. It was because of this that all this bullshit got started.”
“That is sacred to us,” he said, hesitant to try and take it back.
“You can’t embrace the future if you hold on too tightly to the past,” I told him. I took Sookie’s hand, and offered him my most winsome smile before she ported us out.
“Do you think he will come after us?”
“He might, but not right away. He will be curious about you, and he might try and assassinate me for knowing about the treason in his own house before he did.”
“Do you think Russell can talk him down?”
We were sitting on her sofa, coming down off the adrenaline high from our adventure. I had lit a fire in the fireplace, and was turning the vial over and over watching the thick blood inside it travel from one end of the container to the other, in the flickering light.
“What should we do with that?”
“Put it someplace safe for now. We might need it later to bargain with if, he does come after us.” I slipped it into my pocket and pulled her into my arms. “I never imagined you were so beautiful.” She knew I meant when were out of our bodies.
“I knew you were. You’ve been my universe for a while now.” I tried to get that feeling back that I had experienced with her when our energies had joined together, but it was like a dream. I remembered that it had happened, but knew that I would never be able to recall it precisely unless we returned to it together.
“I understand now, Sookie.” She turned her face up to look at me.
“That what you feel for me will never fade. That’s it’s not the bonds that tie us together, and it’s not your Fae nature that charmed me into wanting to be yours.” I took a breath determined to press on. “I also understand why you would rather set me free than see me dead.” She swallowed, her eyes wide as she looked into mine.
“That’s funny, because I understand now, too.”
“That I can never let you go. That I need to stay with you whatever comes, and that breaking our bonds would be a betrayal not only of our love, but of everything that love represents. I understand that it is the most selfish thing I can do, but I would rather die bonded to you than turn away from you for one second.” Perhaps we could bring a little of that magic back to this world with us after all.
“I will fight him to the bitter end. I chose you, and I will accept no other.”
I loved her by the fire until the day took me away, and it wasn’t trite at all.