A/N: Welcome to Much Ado About Vampires! First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Meridian, Kittyinaz, and RealJena for their help in developing this story. Without them, I’d be lost. Not to mention my sister, whose beta skills are beyond the pale.
I would like to note that there is darkness in this story; the world it takes place in is a frakked up place. That being said, everything will be resolved in the end, trust me. I’m not going to leave these characters in this unbalanced misogynistic world.
Warning: This fic will contain exactly one non-violent, non-graphic rape, and readers will be warned in plenty of time to avoid that section. There is a second situation that also will not be comfortable for all readers. I will absolutely forewarn in both these circumstances. Please know that they are necessary to tell this story since they are included in the original text. I understand if you choose to avoid these situations and skip a chapter, I will do my best to make sure you understand what happened without providing any detail that might be triggering to some readers.
That being said, this story will have a lot of fun and light. It’s based off of Much Ado, which for the most part, is a comedy.
April 23rd, 2012
Sookie prepared for the evening as quietly as possible. She needed some excitement, but she didn’t want the usual protection detail that normally came with her excursions. Her uncle, Desmond, never stopped her from meeting with her old friends, or anything like that, but certain expectations accompanied learning and accepting her status as royalty. When her great-grandfather Niall approached her, revealing her ancestry, she’d immediately rebelled. She couldn’t believe that her grandmother had hidden something so vital about her life from her.
Unfortunately, Adele had passed earlier in the year so Sookie couldn’t even ask her for the truth. 2007 was a shit year if she’d ever lived one. Her grandmother passed on, the Great Supernatural Divide happened, and then some weird Prince of the Fae showed up in her backyard enlightening her to her status as a Princess of the Fae Court. She never wanted to be anything more than who she was: Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress and all around decent human being.
But the more Niall told her about the court, the more she felt a duty to change things for the better. Oh, she worried at first that Niall had the wrong girl for the job. He’d said he would’ve left her alone, never revealing her existence to the Fae at large, but he’d worried that the policies of both the Fae and Vampire courts would lead to their eventual extinction. Both of their races needed to evolve if they were to survive. Yes, the fae and vampires were adept at leading, their political skills developed over thousands of years, but some of the beliefs they held…let’s just say they were better left in the 17th century.
Even after an impassioned speech beseeching her for help, Sookie still said no. Then Niall used his ace in the hole: her cousin, Diantha. Diantha, whom she had never met, was a couple years younger than Sookie, who had only just turned twenty-one at the time. Sookie owed her no loyalty, she’d thought to herself. But when Niall told her about the gender disparities and the hypocrisy of the Courts, she felt compelled to act.
Why? It’s not like she didn’t still have family: her brother Jason, deputy of the local police department, and Hadley, a cousin who’d had her fair share of troubles in her life. So why did she feel such a pull to Diantha, this demon cousin she’d never met?
Demons, huh. She’d been shocked at that revelation. Niall had explained though that they weren’t demons in the Christian sense of the word, but actually the Dark Fae. The fae had long ago ceased to see any distinction between the two, though originally they’d been much farther apart in regards to their traits. Where the Light Fae enjoyed sunlight and joy, the Dark Fae had originally been pranksters, reveling in anarchy and creating chaos wherever they went. But that was centuries ago Niall had explained. They’d interbred for so long that it was only the physical traits that remained of a once stark distinction: the Light Fae looked very much like Sookie, blond hair, blue eyes; where the Dark Fae inherited dark features with darker hair and eye color.
More worrisome was the vampires and faes’ treatment of women. The more Niall revealed, the more Sookie felt the need to do something. Apparently the longer the women of both courts were denied their freedom, the closer both races crept to oblivion. Every race that walked the Earth, as well as the realms that existed alongside it, craved the freedom that was written into their very DNA. When one gender of any race was denied this freedom, they withered away. The Fae found themselves unable to bear children, and the female vampires who are turned very seldom survived past their first decade.
You’d think that the Prince of all Fae could’ve done something about this, but he explained that he couldn’t spend much time out of the realm of Fairy; apparently, the Earth dimension was hard on the constitutions of the older of the full-blooded Fae. Not to mention, real change needed to be enacted from the inside. He could issue all royal edicts he wanted, but after centuries of the ingrained belief of the inferiority of women, they were just words on paper. He risked an overthrow of his government if he had no way to enforce those edicts.
He had considered doing it anyway, when he remembered his quarter-fae great-granddaughter. He observed her for months from a mirrored portal that allowed him to watch her from the safety of Fairy. The more he learned about her, the more he believed she was the one who could ignite the change that both species needed. He gave her a choice: she could stay as she was, living her life in her grandmother’s old house, never stepping foot inside the Court—he wouldn’t force her—or she could become the essential spark he needed. She almost said no. It would’ve been easy to deny his request, she had no desire to accept her royal lineage, but then she remembered Diantha and the life she was forced to live.
She accepted. It meant she’d have to play along with the rules of the Court as they stood now, but at least her uncle Desmond was known to be among the more lenient of the Fae. Slowly, but surely, Niall assured her, she would be able to evoke change. It wouldn’t really get going until she came into her powers though, he warned her.
“What powers?” She asked with trepidation.
Her ethereal great-grandfather just smiled. “Oh, you’ll know when you get them.”
“And what if I don’t?” She pursued her line of questioning. “I’m not even half fae, let alone full fae, how do you know those powers are even in me?”
“I just do,” Niall stated.
“What? Do you have some kind of fancy Fairy crystal ball that reveals all to you?” She poked, assuming a phony psychic voice.
Niall winked. “Something like that.” He paused and studied her. “So will you say yes? Will you help me to change the minds of two races?”
She agreed, of course she had. But it was nights like this, when she just wanted to do something on her own, that she felt the frustration of the five years she’d been at Court with nary a sign of the change he talked about. Although Desmond allowed her more freedom than most, on account of the fact she grew up among humans, if she were found to be a wanton woman, she could be put to death.
So, she snuck away to remind herself what freedom felt like. Not often enough to attract unwanted attention, but enough that she didn’t feel completely trapped. She might be equipped with lady parts, but why should men get to have all the fun? The night wouldn’t bring anything untoward, she just needed to be with her friends, the people who’d known her and spent their lives by her side.
Sookie wouldn’t even have chanced it except the men were leaving for the war against the Moshup Clan in a few days. The party would be amazing whether she was supposed to be there or not. Gone was her life as crazy Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress at Merlotte’s, but it didn’t mean she wouldn’t reach out and retrieve that woman when she felt the need. The Great Supernatural Divide altered more than the fabric of the country she’d grown up in, the life she lived before everything changed, it also meant that humans knew about and accepted, after the initial backlash, the supernatural races that lived among them.
In the five years since the United States had been divided up amongst the Supernatural communities, there had been skirmishes of varying sizes. In 2009, Georgia attacked Alabama in an effort to gain more territory for Moshup, but the southern forces of the Amun Clan joined with them to force the Georgian forces to retreat. After that, Ohio tried to make the push into Pennsylvania, but Maryland infiltrated from behind and instead gained the cities of Cinncinati and Columbus. Nobody messed with Texas.
This was different; all the states geared up to fight down the dividing line from Pennsylvania to Florida, between Moshup and Amun. If Zeus attacked from the west, Amun Clan was toast, but thus far the alliance held.
Human society changed very little in regards to their everyday lives with the Divide. They still held the same jobs, possessed the same rights, ate the same food, and enjoyed the same pastimes. The only difference involved elections. The vampires wanted to do away with voting altogether, the citizens of America didn’t have a very good track record, but the Fae community made the case that Americans were accustomed to a certain amount of freedoms. They retained the right to vote on the Sheriffs of their states, but never governmental expenditure or the election of the ruling class. The Kings and Queens were chosen from within their respected supernatural communities.
Each state consisted of a Vampire and a Fae Court; the two working in tandem to bring about a peace the country sorely lacked at the turn of the century. In 2005, the four main Vampire Clans, Moshup, Amun, Zeus, and Narayana—only the Alaskan and Hawaiian delegations abstained—along with the Fae representatives, held a summit to brainstorm suggestions to save the US from economic collapse. Having immortality enabled the vampires and the fae to consolidate money and allies that the US seemed unable to acquire on its own; the government too invested in ruling the world to concentrate on its citizens.
But, in general, the supernatural races left the humans to their own devices. Because the infrastructure of the country stabilized with the new form of leadership, the humans didn’t revolt. They still had five hundred channels of reality television and football on Sundays; they were appeased. If they knew about the discrepancies in the Fae and Vampire Courts in regards to the way women were treated, they didn’t care. Maybe some of them did, but it was unlikely they’d get close enough to either of the courts to change anything. No, that privilege rested squarely on her shoulders.
Her uncle, Desmond, was King of the Fae Court of Amun. Since the change Niall spoke of so long ago was slow in coming, Sookie worried that she would eventually be forced to marry. Would she be able to stop it if Desmond began negotiations? Being part of the Fae Court meant that she and Diantha, as Desmond’s dependents, would be obliged to marry a vampire of his choosing. What mattered, if you were royalty of either court, purity—excuse me—a woman’s purity. Fae and vampire men were given free rein before they settled down.
Marriage required faithfulness, on both sides, as long as it remained valid. Royals married for a hundred years at a time and no exception existed for the unfaithful. Once two parties agreed, whether verbally or written, the contract became active. Failure to remain monogamous resulted in the offending party’s death, and the offended party’s immediate disgrace.
She was determined never to marry. What vampire could she possibly imagining spending even twenty years with, let alone one hundred? Her sharp tongue had gotten her into trouble on a number of occasions already. She’d once so offended Felipe de Castro, Vampire King of Nevada, that her uncle had been obliged to pay him a monthly tithe for a year to avert a full on war with the Zeus clan.
She’d learned her lesson when Desmond refused to let her step foot out of her room until she read the entire Royal Constitution of the Fae States. Talk about boring. At least it gave her a better idea of what she was up against. Antiquated psychos. And didn’t she have a conversation with Niall about that?
She remembered the very awkward verbal fight with him. It had been mid-afternoon on the third day of her interminable reading of that stupid text when she came across the Death Clause. The clause in the Fae Constitution that stated if a woman wasn’t a virgin, she must be put to death. DEATH! In the 21st century. Seriously! She’d started calling out for Niall.
“Niall! Niall Brigant you get your fairy ass down here immediately. And don’t you dare ignore me! I know you’re watching me through that mirror, so you know I’m calling you. I swear by all that’s holy, I will walk out of this room if you don’t appear in front of me in 3…2…1. Alright. That’s it. I’m outta—”
Niall popped into her suite. “Great-grandaughter. How nice to hear from you. What can I do for you on this fine summer’s day?”
“Oh don’t you start with that charm of yours, Mister. Great-grandfather or not, you owe me an explanation.” Sookie was fuming.
“An explanation for what?” He asked, a mask of innocence on his unlined face.
“For what? For what he asks!” Sookie stormed over to the window where she’d thrown the book after reading about the Death Clause. She picked it up, opening to the correct page—she’d marked it all up in her anger—and shoved it in his face. “This! This clause right here that says a woman must be put to death if she isn’t a virgin. What kinda horseshit is this? You’d better zap me out of this room immediately.”
“Why is that, darling Sookie?”
“Darling Sookie. Darling Sookie! Because I don’t have a hymen, that’s why! It broke when I fell onto the bar of Jason’s bike that I borrowed one day. I was down on the ground, bleeding and worried that I was dying. And if I didn’t die then, I most certainly won’t die now for some unnecessary piece of skin. Just because that part of me is gone doesn’t mean that I am impure. Not to mention, what a ridiculously hypocritical piece of hogwash. The men get to get their jollies on, but us women? Oh no, we’ve gotta be pure for our husbands. Fuck. That. Shit. Get me out of here right the hell now.”
“Sookie, Sookie,” he placed his smooth hand on her arm. “First of all, calm down.”
She’d about had it with him. “Calm down? Do you know how they put women to death for not being virgins?” She didn’t wait for his response, she knew that he knew the law, but kept going with her rant anyway, she was on a roll. “Stoning, the men first of course, and then the women and children. Everybody has to come out for the stoning, like we’re living in some bassackwards first century Roman city-state. Well, I’m not getting stoned to death. Not in this lifetime, anyway.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and huffed out an exasperated breath.
“Are you finished?” Her great-grandfather asked without a hint of worry. She nodded angrily. “Okay then, first, I’m well aware you are still pure,” he stopped her before she could ask how. “Scent, child. Like vampires, the fae have a heightened sense of smell. You’ve nothing to worry about. No one will be putting you to death. Secondly, do you not think this is part of why I wanted you here? That I’m not aware of how antiquated, and how did you put it— bassackwards this law is? I’m well aware. I would not have put you in this situation if I thought for one millisecond you’d be put to death.”
She sat down roughly on her bed. “Well, don’t think this isn’t the first thing I’m changing when I get the chance.”
“I would not have expected otherwise. Who do you think suggested your punishment be to read that book?” He raised an eyebrow at her. “Now, was there anything else you needed, Darling Sookie?”
She shook her head no and wrapped her arms around him. “This is so fucked up. You know that right?”
“Yes, sweetheart, I do.”
She released him, and he popped back into his own realm leaving Sookie feeling alone and terrified. It had been the first time she truly realized how messed up things were in the supernatural community.
She’d gotten good at pretending to be the dutiful, obedient niece when that personality was called for. At least Desmond didn’t insist on her playing the role with the vampires and fae from Louisiana. She’d have been put to death for her sassy mouth a dozen times over if that were the case. He probably knew that she snuck out alone on occasion to meet up with Jason, Tara, and Sam, but there was only so much leeway he could allow. Her uncle loved her, immensely, but that didn’t mean she should really push her luck too much. The rules of the society were too ingrained in him despite the fact that he was certainly far more lenient than another ruler might have been.
So she gave in to her need to escape only when it got to be too much to take; when she needed to see Jason, Tara, and Sam; when she needed to remember what it was like to live a life devoid of any Fairy politics, one where she went where she wanted, when she wanted.
But she had an agreement with Niall, and a belief that she was doing the right thing. It didn’t change the fact that was she was stuck in The Royal Court of Fae, but at least she was still in Bon Temps; the Court needed proximity to the fae portal located there. The Vampire Court, on the other hand, situated itself in New Orleans, in close proximity to the night life the city provided. It worked out nicely; the Fae covered the top corner of the state, and the vampires the bottom.
Sookie checked her outfit: dark skinny jeans, pink satin camisole, and matching ballet slippers. Her blond hair hung loose over her shoulders and she applied a light coat of pink lip-gloss. Satisfied with her appearance, she slipped out on the balcony of her suite and shimmied down the tree, scrambling across the lawn. How she really wished she’d come into all her fae powers, teleportation would come in super handy right now. Luckily, the guards worried about sneaking in, not sneaking out.
She made her way to her 1981 Honda Civic. She’d never sold it as she promised her uncle she would, he thought it was a death trap. But she didn’t want to drive around some top-of-the-line brand new BMW or Cadillac the fae kept on premises. She liked her old car, so she kept it. Anytime she needed it, it waited for her, hidden down an unused dirt road. Sliding in behind the wheel, she retrieved her keys from beneath the seat and started up the old reliable vehicle. She checked her watch; the regular patrol would be on the other side of town. Her path was clear all the way to Shreveport and Fangtasia.
She pulled into the parking lot forty-five minutes or so later. She saw Sam’s old Chevy truck parked next to Jason’s ridiculous purple monstrosity. Tara would have caught a ride with one of the guys, so she knew all three of them were already inside.
The bar carried off vampire kitsch well. Not as many vamps hung out there since the action was in the lower half of the state, but every state needed outposts throughout. Shreveport, and Fangtasia, was just such an outpost. Owned by Sheriff Eric Northman, she saw a picture of him once and felt inexplicably drawn to him, but he rarely made an appearance in Fangtasia, so it was unlikely they’d meet tonight. He instead chose to run his city from his penthouse in downtown. After the Divide, many human companies switched their interests to manufacturing vampire friendly products like the UV blocking glass, which allowed the vamps a lot more leeway in their choice of houses and offices.
Fangtasia was a throwback to the time before humanity knew about the supernatural communities and Sookie loved it for some odd reason: the red vinyl booths, the black chrome bar, the brass accents and the overly loud music. She even loved the ridiculous red velvet throne that sat in the middle of the stage. Why it was there, she didn’t know, but she felt comfortable here in Fangtasia despite its cheesy décor. She could forget about being Princess and just be Sookie.
The quiet of the vamps minds helped and the pounding bass actually made it easier for her to block out the human thoughts unless she got up close and personal with them, which she didn’t, ever. She might flout the rules of the Court by sneaking out alone to hang out with her old friends, but she’d never risk death for a one night stand. Unless she met her Mate, then all bets were off. The fae were allowed intimacy with their Mate since it followed that the pairing would result in marriage. Since she never intended on marrying, it wouldn’t matter and it was her only loophole, her only hope for intimacy. She wasn’t holding her breath.
There was something in both the vampire and fae mythologies that included something like soul mates; light and dark complementing the other or some such thing. Sookie needn’t have worried; nobody had run across a Mate in over three hundred years.
The bartender sported long glossy black hair and rich caramel colored skin. There’s this belief that all vampires were pale Bela Lugosi Nosferatu with bad breath and terrible skin, barely functioning above the level of an animal. It wasn’t so. Though they did change after their turning, it was simply like a human would change over the years given their experiences. Vampires still looked the same as they did when they were changed over. If they were tan, they stayed tan; if they were pale-skinned, they stay pale-skinned. An African vampire didn’t lose his skin tone just because he changed from human to vampire. Alas, the stereotypes were hard to overcome.
She ordered a gin and tonic and searched the room for her brother and their friends. She spotted them sitting in the far back corner booth. She waved and headed over.
“What’s up, Princess?” Her brother teased her before enveloping her in a fierce bear hug.
He’d laughed his ass off when he found out she was Fae royalty. Suddenly his childhood nickname for her took on a whole other level. He was upset at first to find out he wasn’t called to go live at Court, but Sookie explained that he really should value his freedom. None of them knew the whole truth of why she was there, to tell them would be to invite disaster, but she’d let them in on enough of what was going on that they felt she knew what she was doing. She didn’t really, she thought quite often, not even sure if Niall had the right person for the job.
Tara was next to hug her and then Sam pulled her into his arms and gave her a kiss on the cheek. They’d gone on one date once a long time ago, but there just wasn’t anything between them like that. He was like another big brother to her. Still they’d gotten past it and they were all still good friends.
She filled them in on the happenings at Court, nothing exciting, but they liked to hear about her life anyway. She was just about to tell them about the banquet she’d attended a few weeks back when a ripple ran down her spine. The room fell suddenly silent, and Sookie tried to stay very still, seeking out where the energy emanated from: behind her and to the right towards the entrance. Did she dare turn around? Something was changing and she didn’t know what.
Was she coming into her powers in the middle of a vampire bar in Shreveport, LA? She had no idea what to expect if that was the case. Niall hadn’t told her what night trigger her powers to appear.
She felt him approach without needing to look. When he passed her, she inhaled heavily, drawing his glacier blue eyes to hers. The world stopped, which is such a ridiculous thing to say, the world didn’t actually stop, but it felt like it narrowed to a simple circle that included only Sookie and the blond-haired man standing over six feet tall walking as if the universe bowed down before him—it probably did.
Her brother brought her back to reality, snapping his fingers in front of her face and calling her name.
“Sookie,” his voice had taken on a frantic tone as she brought her focus back to the people in the booth. When he finally got her attention again, he asked, “What’s up with the zone out, Sis? I know he’s hot, but damn, it’s like you took a trip to Jupiter there for a few minutes.
A few minutes? She was freaking out. It hadn’t felt like more than a handful of seconds. She studied her brother, his thoughts freaking out inside his head while he tried to keep a look of calm on his face. Tara’s thoughts were much the same, though gentler since they didn’t share a blood tie. Hers focused on her worry about how Sookie’s telepathy might be under strain. Sam’s were a nest of bees as usual. As a shifter, a person able to change into any animal, not just a werewolf or werecoyote—were there beings that turned into bunnies? How about rats? She would have to remember to ask sometime. Any way it happened, she rarely made heads or tails of Sam’s thoughts.
But right now, she had to concentrate to keep her eyes from staring at the towering Viking lowering himself into the throne that didn’t look near as ridiculous once he occupied the space. A gorgeous, graceful, well-dressed blond woman walked up to stand behind him.
Wearing tight leather pants and a blood red bustiere, she scanned the crowd without moving from behind the Viking. Sookie found it easy to imagine that he belonged in a land long forgotten, swinging a battle axe and rampaging through the ancient world.
When her brain realigned itself in her head, she realized that this was Eric Northman; even hotter in person than he’d been in the magazine spread the Queen of Louisiana arranged after he was elected Sheriff of Area five. He also wore leather pants that screamed indecency, not that she minded. They hugged the sleek line of his thighs down to a pair of black motorcycle boots. His black t-shirt strained at his wide, muscular chest. Sookie tried desperately to stop sneaking glances at him.
The photos she’d seen did not do him justice. How a girl was supposed to fight an attraction to him baffled her. Until she realized they probably didn’t fight it. What sane woman would? Well, the vampire and fae women probably accomplished it considering the death penalty associated with allowing him to have his way with them.
Sookie momentarily considered that it would be worth it, death by Viking sex god. Oh yes, she thought licking her lips unconsciously, it might very well be worth it. A stab of jealousy overtook her as she imagined the other women he had pleasured in his long years on this Earth. She laughed at the ridiculous thought. Why on God’s green Earth should she be concerned with his prowess?
She forced the thoughts from her mind and focused on the people sitting with her. The three of them stared at her as if she’d grown a second head.
“What?” She asked, her eyes firmly affixed not on Eric Northman.
Sam just studied her face, but Jason, being her brother and not having much of a filter, replied, “Sookie, I’ve never seen you look like you’re ready to hop aboard any man you’ve ever met, let alone the SS Sheriff Northman. I’m feeling the need to defend your honor and all you’re doing is sitting there. So what gives?”
Her jaw dropped open and she slammed her lips together into a thin line. “It’s nothing. He’s just kinda pretty, you know?”
“Kinda pretty?” Tara exclaimed. “Darling, that man is sex on a stick. I’m considering offering myself to him. The things that man could do—“
“You absolutely will not,” Sookie responded a bit more vehemently than she’d meant. What the hell was her problem? Out of her peripheral vision, she caught Eric staring at her.
“Whoa Nelly! A bit over-protective for a man you’ve never met,” Tara paused. “You haven’t met him before have you, Sookie?”
“No,” her voice came out a breathy whisper, annoyingly. “No, I haven’t,” she stated with more force.
“Shots!” was Jason’s response to her awkwardness. Trust Jason to find the alcoholic answer to any situation—her brother had a fair bit of bad boy in him. “Maybe Sook will get up the gumption to go talk to Mr. Sex on a Stick.”
Sookie swatted his arm as he caught the eye of the nearest waitress. When the woman approached, bright red mini skirt and tight sequined black tank top, he ordered them a round of Jagermeister. She was driving so she couldn’t drink much, but Eric Northman’s presence required a bit of fortification.
At least that’s what she thought. That is until Eric Northman forced her gaze to his as she swallowed the shot, nearly choking in the process, crooked a single finger, and beckoned her forward.