I was in the kitchen when I heard Bubba rise for the evening. I grabbed a True Blood and warmed it up for him. I knew it wasn’t his blood of choice, but I preferred that he not eat any kittens on my property. He knew this, though he didn’t quite understand my reticence at his choice, but he respected my rules, or at least me. Besides, I couldn’t have him draining the litter of kittens that Bob have fathered when he was still in his cat form.
“Morning Bubba, were you okay down in the hidey hole?” He nodded and reached for the bottle I held out to him.
“Of course Miss Sookie, but I should get outside so I can protect you.” Bubba said as he headed toward the back porch. He took his job seriously. He may not be the smartest vampire, but he made up for it in his tenacity and ability to follow orders. He’d been given a mission to protect me for a few days while Karin was away and he would do it the best he could. He would hate to disappoint any of us.
“Okay Bubba, take of yourself out there. Just let me know if you need anything. Pam should be over a little later so keep a lookout for her,” I said as he reached for the screen door.
He smiled and continued on his way to the woods behind my house. Not long after I heard him call my name and I headed out to see what he needed. He didn’t sound like he was in trouble, just confused.
He was standing in the garden staring at one of the plants when I reached him. “Um, Miss Sookie, why is there a letter growing off that plant?” He looked to me for an answer.
The other time this had happened it was a letter from my great-grandfather Niall apologizing for the damage that Claude caused when he slipped through the portal from Fairy. I hoped this wasn’t another letter telling me some other psycho fairy had escaped. I walked back toward the house where the light was better and opened the letter to see what it could possibly involve. I was so shocked at what I read there that my legs gave out on me, and Bubba helped lower me to the porch stairs.
“What is it?” Bubba asked, searching around for a source of danger, ready to pounce on anything that might attack. As if the letter itself was a warning from the nether realms and a neon sign blinking ‘Danger Wil Robinson DANGER!’
My head started to swim and I leaned over, my head dropping into my hands. It was becoming hard to breathe and I could tell I was about to hyperventilate. Bubba put his arm around me, lending me his emotional strength.
I took a deep calming breath and spit the words out. “It’s the Cluviel Dor,” I said, my voice shaking.
“Huh?” Bubba asked, the confusion lining his face.
“It was a fairy wish that I found in this old desk of my grandmother’s. I used it to save Sam when he was killed by Jannalyn. Niall, my great-grandfather, warned me that there would be repercussions for using it, but…” I stopped taking a moment to gather my wits about me and continued, “I didn’t know until just now what that consequence was. It appears that I have upped my fairy heritage. I am no longer simply one-eighth fairy. I’m closer to three-quarters now. Niall doesn’t believe that I will hold all the traits of fairy, the weakness for iron, or the overwhelming attraction of vampires to my blood because I was mostly human for so long. Rather, he thinks that I will start inheriting fairy powers and incredibly long life span” I stopped for a moment and looked at Bubba. “Do I smell any different to you? Get a good whiff and see if you feel the need to drain me. God I hope not.”
Bubba didn’t look entirely comfortable with the proposition, but did as he was asked. He sniffed all around me like a bloodhound.
“No, you just smell like you.” He glanced at me as if wondering if that were the right answer.
I heaved a sigh of relief. That’d be all I needed, to become even more irresistible to vampires. “Oh thank goodness. I can’t imagine how I’d keep all of you from draining me dry being that I haven’t even seen any of these supposed powers.” This revelation made me really miss my fairy godmother Claudine, who died in the battle when I’d been taken by Neave and Lochlan, the crazy fairies who tortured and almost killed me. She’d have been able to explain to me what was going on and how to deal with it.
I stood up and crossed the lawn, flopping down onto my back and staring up into the sky above. Bubba followed and laid down next to me, grabbing my hand in his much larger one.
“Are you okay Sookie?” He asked, his voice trembling. He didn’t like to see me upset.
“This wasn’t anything I’d been prepared for. I’d only just come to grips with the fact that I wasn’t completely human and now I need to deal with the idea that I am as close to immortal as I can get without being a vampire. I am going to outlive all of my friends and family.” Tears started to fall from my eyes when I considered losing Jason and Sam, Tara and Holly and all the others I knew. They would die and I would keep breathing long after I’d seen them buried.
“But that means that we won’t have to say goodbye, doesn’t it?” He asked hopefully.
I sat up quickly when that thought permeated the fog in my head. I was as near to immortal as I could be and it finally clicked what that meant. It meant that I conceivably spend the next several centuries loving Eric. I wouldn’t have to face our separation for a very long time. I’d never have to worry about growing old next to his ever youthful appearance. It gave me a much larger chance that he would forgive me for all of my stupidity and selfishness. Bright side, I reminded myself, bright side.
I gave him a small smile. “Yes Bubba, that’s exactly what that means.” I laughed a little at the one shining star in the vast darkness that had threatened to devastate me.
Bubba smiled back at me. “Mr. Eric will be glad to hear that.”
I just looked back at him, a little sadly, and replied, “I sure hope so, Bubba. I sure hope so.”
Just then I heard the rumble of a car engine pulling into the driveway and knew that Pam had arrived for our training session. I wondered briefly what her response to the news would be. I heard her close the car door and called out to her letting her know that we were in the backyard. She was dressed as I’d never seen her before, simply, in jeans and a bright red Fangtasia t-shirt and a pair of sneakers. I wiped at my eyes and rose to greet her.
“I can see your slumming it tonight, eh Pam?” She smirked in my direction.
“God do you do nothing but cry?” She asked and I guessed that my eyes must be glassy and a bit swollen. I handed her the letter from Niall and headed back into the house knowing that she would follow. Bubba stayed outside protecting the perimeter.
I opened the fridge grabbing blood for Pam and a mixer for the big glass of gin I intended to pour myself. I heard the screen door shut behind and I handed her the bottle and sat down. She took a seat at the table with me.
“So evidently I’m stuck with you. I’ll probably never get rid of you now.” Pam said in an attempt to lighten the mood that I’m sure lurked around me. Happy though I was with the opportunity to spend my extended lifetime with Eric, Pam, and Bubba, I was still sad that I would watch all my other friends die.
“How do you deal with it?” I asked her. When she gave me a quizzical look I continued, “I mean, watching those people you know die?”
“You don’t,” she responded simply. “It never gets any easier. Even though I lived through the death of my human family, I’ve also seen vampires die as well. It never gets any easier, but you learn to live with it. You learn to enjoy the time you have with them. Why do you think vampires are so protective of those they care about? It’s because we know the pain of grief. We know what it’s like to watch someone wither away. Time becomes more precious to us, not less so. We know that we will one day have to say goodbye.” Her eyes hazed over and I could tell that she was thinking of Miriam.
I reached across the table and placed my hand over hers. She blinked and the snark queen was back.
“Now, I didn’t get dressed in this…this getup simply to come over and play besties with you.” She wrinkled her nose as if the denim she was wearing might affect her fashion sense permanently. “Are you ready to learn how to kick some ass? Your fairy powers might even come in handy in this fight. Do you know what they are yet? Are you able to shoot light from your fingers and blast people across the room or anything like that?”
“I have no idea what kind of powers I might inherit.” I threw my hands out towards her and no light speared her across the room. “Well I guess I don’t have any fairy fingers. I’ll have to figure out someone to talk to about this. I have no idea what to expect. But there is something I’d like to talk to you about before we get started.”
She had started to rise from her seat and she stopped, turning back to me. “Yes fairy princess?”
“You know I hate it when you call me that.” I glared at her momentarily, but it didn’t last, I knew she didn’t mean anything by at, at least not any more. “Is Win still in town?” I hesitated until she nodded. “I’m wondering if you could ask her not to say anything about my feelings to Eric. I mean, I know he needs to know that I’m coming, but there’s so much that I need to say to him myself.”
Her brows knitted together, but she agreed. “I understand,” she said. “Now get off your ass and stop procrastinating. We have a large upward climb to get you ready for this fight.”
I set the glass of gin in the fridge for the time being, she’d kick my butt easily enough with me being drunk too. “Let me change into some sweats and I’ll be right back out.”
“Need any help changing?” She called after me.
I laughed. “What is it with you vamps? Always trying to get into my pants.”
“Just trying to figure out what Eric and Bill see in you.”
I growled my response from the bedroom, but changed quickly and came back out to meet her. I hadn’t gotten even into the living room when she jumped me from behind, pouncing and pinning me to the ground.
“Rule number one. Never let your guard down, the moment you do you’ll find yourself ass over teakettle and drained like a good little human. Whoops! Guess you aren’t human anymore.”
I glared at her as I tried to wriggle free of her grasp. “Never gonna work princess. We’re stronger than you.” She hopped up and held a hand out to me. “But get up and I’ll show you the best ways to defend yourself.”
I spent the next several hours being schooled by Pam, which mostly meant I was completely bruised from landing flat on my back. I could tell I’d made some improvement when it was becoming harder for her to pin me down. It was close to two a.m. when we finally finished for the evening. She left me with a whole workout regime that needed to be started in the morning. I could barely move bruised and battered as I was, but I knew how important my training would be. The assault on Freyda’s compound would be dangerous, to say the least, without a weak link. I was that weak link, but I wouldn’t let it be my fault if our rescue attempt failed.
Her hand on the door knob, she turned to me. “You know, I am glad that you’ll be sticking around for a while.” I assumed she meant my newfound semi-immortal status. “I’ve become kinda fond of you, and I didn’t look forward to dealing with Eric when you died. He might not seem overly sentimental, but he is, trust me. Your death would crush him. In other, don’t slack off and die in this battle. I’ll never hear the end of it if you do.”
She walked out the door and I was left blinking in the light of the living room. I’d never considered what my death might mean to Eric. Hopefully it wasn’t something we’d have to deal with for a long time to come. I grabbed my gin and a bottle of water from the kitchen and settled down on the couch in exhaustion. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew Eric stood in front of me.
He was even more handsome than I remembered. His jeans and black t-shirt hugged the outline of his frame, accentuating every inch of his perfect body.
“I’ve missed you.” I said reaching my hand out and he pulled me standing into his arms. They were strong and clutched me tight.
“Is that so?” He asked smiling down at me. Somewhere a radio started to play and we moved in time to the music, both of us silent for a long time. I closed my eyes, resting my cheek against his chest and reveled in the closeness of our bodies.
The dream changed and I could feel our feet on softer ground. We were in my yard, moonlight shining down around us. He stopped and held me at arm’s length.
He looked at me for so long that I stuttered out an apology. “I didn’t know, I mean, until you were gone.”
He brushed his fingertips across my lips, silencing my words. “I know, I always knew.” It felt so real, here in his arms.
My body instinctively curled itself into him and his hand reached down to cup my chin, tilting my face towards him. He leaned down, touching his lips to mine only slightly, and I pressed myself closer. My hands reached up of their own accord, winding into his long hair, my fingers anxious for every bit of him that I could get. He grabbed the back of my head, pressing my lips harder against his, searching my eyes for the love I had buried there. My lips parted and his tongue tangled with mine. He lifted me, never taking his mouth from mine and my legs wound around his waist, my body clutching at his. We moved and I found my back pressed against the house, his hands roaming every inch of me as my body arched in response.
I blinked again and he was laying me down onto my bed, his hands sliding underneath the t-shirt I wore, inching it up agonizingly slowly. He kissed his way up my torso, his fingertips skimming my ribcage just below my breasts. I could feel him pressed against me, his body moving in rhythm with mine. It wasn’t enough. I needed him naked, every inch of his flesh searing mine, but he was in control. One of his hands trapped both of mine above my head. My shirt and bra disappeared along with his and I could feel his bare chest skimming the tips of my nipples. It was a blessed kind of torture.
His fangs elongated his desire evident as his gracious plenty rubbed against me. He bent down and pressed his fangs against my nipple, breaking the surface only slightly. I screamed his name in pleasure encouraging him.
I woke with a start, knocking my glass to the floor, when Bubba came crashing into the house eyes wide and searching for danger.
“What is it Miss Sookie? I heard you screaming for Eric. Have you been attacked?”
I choked back a muffled laugh. “No Bubba, I’m okay. Just a dream,” I sighed. “It was just a dream.”
His eyes skittered around the room warily, but when he was assured that I was safe he headed back out into the night.
I fell back onto the couch, body still thrumming with unspent energy. I gathered up the glass and wiped up the spill. Thank goodness it was Bubba who was outside and not Karin, she would have definitely picked up on the scent that lingered in wake of my dream. It had been so real and it only made me miss Eric more. I reminded myself that it wouldn’t be much longer before I saw him again. I could only hope that he still wanted me as much as I wanted him. I didn’t know what I’d do if he didn’t.
I headed to the shower to clean up before bed where I would, hopefully, be able to continue the dream where it left off. I might consciously know that it wouldn’t be long before I saw him again, but my body, evidently, wasn’t nearly as patient.