“Where do you fit into this, Sookie?” She looked at him then, a thousand terrible things showing in her eyes. Things she had done, things she would do, and for once there was no smile.
“I am the leader of the Albho. I am the leader of The Light.”
The Big Bang- The Gift
Silence thundered in the room after her own reveal. If he had been a breather he would have gasped because he surely didn’t see this coming. He was Vampire though, and in that silence his mind began reformulating all the plans he had been putting together a moment before. Now the things she had half said since his arrival in Tulsa formed into full statements that echoed in the halls of his mind.
I am much sought after for…many reasons.
For many days I will be weak and unable to protect myself…
I am brave, and strong, but I need someone I can put my back against when things get crazy.
I have enemies, and suitors, and usurpers, but no friends. No one I can count on but myself.
I need a strategist, someone to take me beyond the moment and into what will likely pass. I need time to prepare.
There could be spies in my house that have learned to circumnavigate my go to move.
Because no fairy can be trusted.
“You are not sure your staff is loyal to you and The Albho?” he broke the silence and saw a fleeting look of relief in her eyes. In the tie he could feel her anxiety ratchet down a notch or two. Had she thought he would leave now that she had revealed this? “That is why, ‘no fairy can be trusted.'” She nodded. “But you trust Nevada?”Did I just sound jealous?
“Yes, we have history that precedes the Great Reveal. I know where he stands without doubt.” He wanted to pursue that, find out what happened but now was not the time. Pushing that back he focused on the situation at hand.
“There is more, please continue, Sookie.” She rubbed his foot again, caressed the top of it and leaned down to place a gentle kiss on his toes.
“As with any battle direct or indirect, each side seeks to implement its own agenda to maximum effect. It was no accident that The Iron Fist got their hands on a Fae and knew exactly how to use lemons and iron to force the change. We had been too successful in changing the direction of the tide. If The Ciar had not found a way to polarize the fear and hatred in the humans against us it was possible that The Albho could have won more Fae over to their own agenda of peace and change through that peace between all.
“Once the humans began to openly attack us The Ciar used that to justify their methods in claiming this realm and wiping out the human species completely. Of course,” she hesitated here, “that would lead to the elimination of Vampire, Were, Shifter and any other who were not Fae. The others would be caught up in the broad nets of diabolical planning and the Vampire would lose their food source.”
Eric’s fangs snapped down in response to this unseen and here to fore unknown threat to his existence. How could we not have known?
“The Council knows of the factions and their plans but has held back on sharing this knowledge because it would likely lead to further destruction. They still hope that an opportunity will present itself to spin this thing around. Unleashing all supernaturals against the Fae would still lead to the destruction of a race, and in their eyes, one is no more acceptable than the other. They do not see a way to change the course of this battle, only to bring it about sooner.” His mind racing again, pieces falling into place he looked at her again.
“What is their plan?”
“Phase one is Z-Pop, zero population growth through the introduction of chemicals into the worlds water supply that will lead to sterility in a generation or two. Phase two is to accelerate the natural illnesses that inflict humans, cancer, AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and speed up their demise through the very medications they take for these ailments.” She stopped then, her hands clenching as she struggled to go on. “We are not strong enough in numbers to fight them one on one so the Fae resort to buying pharmaceutical companies and bringing about the down fall of an entire species like the sneaking cowards they are! And if the other races found out what the true agenda was, they would turn on the Fae and then on the humans, and finally on each other.
“I truly believe this world cannot survive unless we can find a way to co-exist together. It is so plain to me everywhere I look. The blood in your veins will heal wounds and diseases for many races. The blood in mine is filled with antibodies that could help us all to live longer healthier lives. Human blood will heal your injuries. Were and Shifters are at one with all of nature’s forms, the ability to literally walk in another beings shoes and the wisdom to change things for the better!
“We are meant to be symbiotic, but our greed and hatred make us all nothing but parasites, first to each other, and then to the world that holds us all!” Tears were running down her face now, lost in rage at the senselessness of it all and feeling helpless to change any of it. Her despair washed over him in driving waves and he felt himself respond in kind as he imagined the world the Ciar would create and then saw the one that Sookie was striving to achieve. Clearly The Ciar had no place for him and his kind in their vision, but that wasn’t what made him turn from their ideas in a rage that matched her own.
Instead, when he saw her world, the one that she wanted to bring about he also saw the thin webs that ran between all things, all beings, connecting them to each other, to the world around them. Much damage had been done, the web had great gaping holes in it for ones already fallen, already lost. If The Ciar won there would be no way that the delicate web of creation could stand with so little to support and hold it together. Why could they not see what was so plain to him?
How did I not see it before?
She was sobbing uncontrollably now and he moved down to pull her into his arms. Her despair reminded of his own thoughts on the ride to her home from the airport the night before. How he had dreaded coming to Oklahoma and meeting this woman who was now breaking his heart with her pain. How wrong he had been in those moments of his own despair. He saw now the battle they had before them, and being above all a pragmatic kind of vampire he knew that their chances of success were only slightly higher than their chances of survival. It was not despair that filled him this time though. The Queen in his arms had shown him that there was always hope, and that sometimes no matter how smart you were, and how well you planned, things did not go the way you thought they would. And that wasn’t always a bad thing.
He rocked her gently as he thought about how he might help with the battle to come. There were some he could call upon and trust with this information. Allies that he could add to her arsenal who would be willing to fight once they had determined a course of action. Shadow games were a vampire specialty after all. Of course, the Fae had the advantage of being able to operate in the open and out in the daylight. Daylight. How can I protect her in the daylight? How can I be useful when death takes me away each time the sun rises on her world? I will find a way, he vowed silently then and there. He would do what he could. He was not weak, he would be the warrior she needed. He would protect her. Realization dawned then. Her impending time of mating would leave her vulnerable, the perfect time for The Ciar to take her. It was about more than an offspring, though that would be part of it as well. Something to threaten her with, some way to prevent her from fulfilling her destiny with The Albho.
He had seen her with those children tonight and knew in his heart that never had there been a mother that would compare to Sookie when it came to protecting her child. Something stabbed his undead heart then, cutting into his ancient flesh and burning him. He could see her in his mind, laughing and playing in the sun with a beautiful blond child. Her little pointy ears peeking out between her sunlight colored tresses. She would never have that if she failed and The Ciar won. She will never have that with me. The burning increased and his chest felt like it was going to explode. Round and round his thoughts went, chasing themselves with pain and rage that he could never be part of the scene he found himself imagining.
After a few moments of self-indulgence, he pushed that image back, locking it down in his mind. What matters is that she can have that. What matters is that I will do everything I can to see that she does.
Kissing the top of her head, he whispered, “My Queen, a woman’s tears are something I have never been fond of, please stop now. You are not alone in this any longer. I am here now.” She nodded against his chest, taking a deep breath to calm herself, wiping her tears before sitting up.
“You’re right, this is pointless. I regret letting you see me fall apart like this. I’m sorry.” Eric rushed to reassure her.
“You misunderstand, there is time for weeping, and surely this occasion warrants it more than most. I am not put off by your tears. They are a part of the passion that rules you. The passion that I admired greatly before this night, and even more so now.” He leaned in and kissed her tear stained cheeks gently before pulling back to look into her eyes showing her the sincerity of his words. “That’s what friends do, they cry together, they laugh together, they depend on each other without shame and regret.”
She sniffed and a small smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. “How do you always know the perfect fucking thing to say to me?” He shrugged a shoulder casually.
“It’s a gift.” She laughed then, and hugged him tightly to her, raising up to rest the top of her head on his broad solid shoulder. His large comforting hand came up to cup the back of her head and he turned his head into her neck before whispering, “Don’t give up, Sookie. Not for a minute, not for a second. Just yesterday I felt like I had lost everything and nearly lost myself to despair at the thought of coming here, of meeting you.”
“And now?” she asked, still resting on his shoulder.
“Now I am grateful that I am not as smart as I always thought I was. I was meant to be here now, at your side in this. If I had known how this could go I wouldn’t have chosen to be anywhere else. I am very grateful that all my planning and plotting led to naught but me on your doorstep last night and you here in my arms tonight.” She hugged him tighter for a moment.
“You’re the gift, Eric. Everything else that comes with you is just a bonus.”