LATE Chapter 067

Prince Eric Alexander Mania

 

 

“Eric, I can’t believe you think this is funny – everybody is going to know our baby. Won’t that make him a target?”

“That will make him hard to hurt. If everyone knows and loves him, anyone who tries to harm him will have to worry about all of his fans as well as us. These are Vampires – they would not hesitate to kill anyone who threatens the little Prince.”

“I agree with him, Sookie – it makes him safer if they all know and love him. People are already afraid of Eric, which is a huge deterrent. Add to that the fact that everyone will recognize him and want him to be safe, there will be thousands of Vampires looking out for him. It’s a great advantage.”

“OK, if you all say so. It just seems dangerous to me to have everybody so focused on him. What about stalkers?”

“Vampires are stalkers of a type, anyway, but affection for him will make them less likely to view him as food if he doesn’t taste like Vampire. I’m hoping he has a Vampire taste so they won’t see him that way at all.”

“Remember, he might be Fae. That scared me to death when Giselle invited us to her home – what if he tastes like Faerie?”

“We don’t have to take him to visit her, then. We can get out of it. I don’t think she’d hurt him, though, Sookie, she had many children and probably misses them. She’s always excessively kind to young Vampires – she’s known for it. Her people call her Mama.”

“Yes, Sookie, she’s very kind for a Vampire Queen. She’s one of the last Vampires you’d need to worry about,” Bill assured her.

There was a knock on the Suite door, and Bjorn answered it. He spoke briefly to one of his guards, and motioned for Bobbie to follow him into the bedroom with Sookie, Eric and Bill. He knocked on the door and opened it, letting Bobbie go in first.”

“Your majesty, I thought you would want to know about the rumors from tonight. They will only solidify your position but you should still know what people are saying.”

“And what would that be?”

“The rumor is that there was an attempt on the Queen’s and the baby’s lives and that you killed the perpetrator, but no one knows who it was. They know there was a search for a woman that was called off. They believe it was called off because you killed her.”

“It was and I did.”

“True, and there is no evidence, so you should be in the clear unless she has a maker to come looking for you.”

“No, Sabrina’s maker is long dead. I suspect she killed him herself shortly after he turned her.”

“Is that possible?” Sookie was shocked.

“It’s very rare, but as you know…”

“Sabrina was crazy.” Bjorn finished.

“Do you mourn for her, Bjorn?” Eric asked.

“No, your majesty, I am glad she can’t cause problems for me. I didn’t hold her in any particular regard.”

“Did you date her, Bjorn?” Sookie couldn’t figure out why Bjorn would care about Sabrina.”

“We… uh…”

“They had a lot of sex, Sookie.” Eric explained.

“You did? She was so mean!”

“Sometimes that’s a good thing if you are not emotionally attached,” Bjorn shrugged.

“Like that dancer? Are you going to call her while you’re off tomorrow?”

“Uh, no, I have other plans.”

“Dancer?” Eric asked.

“Someone I met in a casino bar the other night. She dances in one of the shows on the strip.”

“Mmmm.” Eric purred and Sookie punched his arm, which made him laugh. “Not to worry, Dear One, my only interest is in you and your happiness. I was merely appreciating the opportunity for a young single man.”

“OK. I’ll buy that.” She kissed Eric.

Bjorn laughed and Bill shook his head while Bobbie, standing between said “awww.”

“Can I change the subject for a minute?” Sookie asked sheepishly as she leaned on Eric’s shoulder.

“Of course you can, Sookie, what did you want to say?” He looked down and brushed her hair back away from her face.

“I want to go home. I know we have to be in New Orleans next Friday but if it were up to me, I’d rather go home now and drive down the day before. I know you have work to do there, but…”

“Bill, how would that affect your plans for the New Orleans office?”

“It wouldn’t create any real problems, it just wouldn’t be as convenient for some of the things we had planned. And you’d have to drive down Wednesday to look at the properties we’re considering on Thursday.”

“Bobbie or Bjorn, any comments or suggestions?” Eric asked.

“I’m good either way, but Sookie would feel better at home, I think.” Bjorn said.

“Honestly, I think the idea of flying next week is out of the question so it would be better for us to get her home and then drive down in a caravan. You’ll only lose a couple of days in the office there and I think Sookie needs to be home now.” Bobbie added.

“Will Amelia and Octavia be disappointed?” Sookie asked.

“I’ll ask them, but I think they’ll be happy to do whatever is best for you, Sookie,” Bobbie offered.

“What about Alicia?”

“I don’t think she’ll be disappointed, Sweetie,” Bobbie assured her.

“Make sure first, but if everybody is OK with it, I need to go home. I need to be in my own bed, even if it’s only for a couple of nights. I’m just too uncomfortable.”

Eric stroked Sookie’s cheek. “If you want to go home, then we will go. We’ll think about New Orleans on Tuesday and see where we are then.”

“Shall I go try to get you all a flight to Shreveport?” Bill asked. “We might be able to get something tomorrow night or Monday daytime. I’d prefer to go on to New Orleans so I can help with the final preparations for the fundraiser.”

“Bobbie, will you make sure it’s OK with Alicia and Amelia and Octavia first and if they’re all OK we can go? Please, Eric.” Her eyes were tearing a little as she looked up at him and he knew that she wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important to her.

The doctor had told him that she would be clingy and want to stay close to home. He also knew that he needed to listen to Sookie’s instincts right now – mothers knew what they needed most of the time. If she wanted to be home, he considered it his responsibility to get her there. He could feel through the bond that she wanted to be in their own bed where she felt safe. He also had a feeling that she was afraid she was going to go into labor away from home. If worse came to worse, they would skip the fundraiser. Sookie and the baby had to come first for him.

“Bobbie, check with the ladies to be sure, but Bill, go ahead and see what flights are available. I think Sookie needs to be in her own bed.”

“Thank you!” She kissed him and hugged his arm. He shifted and put his arm around her so she could snuggle close. He could clearly see what was going on with her. Something in her knew the baby was coming and wanted her to find a safe place to have it. Even if they had to fly in smaller groups, he decided he would get her home as soon as he could.

Bill and Bobbie went to do their respective parts, and Bjorn decided to tell the guards to stand-by since they might be going home early.

“Come to bed,” Sookie asked Eric, “take your clothes off and get in bed so you can hold me, OK?”

“OK, my Angel, I will.” He got up to take off his tuxedo, throwing it over the arm of a side chair. He decided to leave his silk boxers on because Sookie liked them and the others might be in and out of the room for a bit. She pulled back the covers for him, she was so anxious to be next to him. He smiled as he scooted in next to her and pulled her close, kissing her forehead. “I like this pink gown you’ve been wearing. It’s very feminine. Much nicer than a t-shirt and sweatpants.”

“I usually just sleep in a t-shirt and underwear if I don’t wear a gown – of course, since I’ve been with you, I mostly don’t wear anything at all.”

“That’s best of all.” Eric laughed.

“I’m sorry to be so much trouble. I don’t mean to be a drag…”

“You are not a drag and you are not trouble, Sookie. You are a mother and you want your nest. This is perfectly natural and healthy. I want you to be in a safe place so you can care for the baby as you need to. To be honest, I was thinking of this already myself.”

“You were?”

“Yes – since you had to leave the Ball, I’ve been berating myself for bringing you away from home when you are so close to your due date. I should have known you were not up to all of this. I am not going to let being king make me be a bad father or husband. As important as it is, it will always come second to you and the baby.”

“But I wanted to come to the Ball – and I want to go to the fundraiser. I just… I can’t explain it, but something in me just knows I have to get home right now. It’s not rational at all, but I just need to be home.”

“Well…” Eric was interrupted by a knock at the door. “Come in.”

“You can all fly out tomorrow night at 8 o’clock for a small charge to change the reservation. Is that acceptable?” Bill was still on the phone with the airline.

“Yes, go ahead and confirm it and let’s move in that direction.”

“Hello? Yes, we’ll take that. Alright, it’s 4 3…” Bill left the room. There was another knock and Bobbie came in, followed by Bjorn.

“Everybody is fine with leaving early.” Bobbie said.

“My men are on stand-by.” Bjorn said.

“Good, because Bill is confirming our flights for 8 PM tomorrow night.”

“Eric,” Bill came back in, “they just reminded me of the Parade in the Quarter on Wednesday night – you’d have to leave at 6PM on Wednesday to make it there for that.”

“Alright, well, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe it will get rained out.”

“Alright – everything is set. They’ll pick you all up at 7 o’clock tomorrow night. I’ll be moving to a different room and leave on Monday.”

“Have you checked with Pam? Is she going with us?”

“She decided to stay with her original plans if you don’t mind. She has plans she doesn’t want to change.”

“Alright. Everybody get ready to leave at 7 tomorrow. Bobbie please bring Sookie a blood and then you and Bjorn spread the word and have a good night. I won’t be working anymore the rest of the night, Bill, so you do whatever you want. You might want to spend some time with Bobbie since you’re splitting up for another few days.”

“Yes, I would. I will see you tomorrow night.”

“Good night, Bill.” Sookie said. When everyone was gone Sookie kissed Eric hard and he responded, but he was worried about inducing labor if they had sex. He didn’t know if that could happen or not but he didn’t think they should take a chance. “OK, what’s wrong?”

“What do you mean?” Eric asked, not realizing she had picked up on his hesitance.

“I mean, why are you afraid to have sex with me?”

“Because I’m afraid it will cause you to go into labor. Even the doctor said it was time to be gentle.”

“OK, so be gentle, but don’t even think about not doing it at all because I’ll explode.”

Eric laughed. “I don’t think you’ll explode…”

“I won’t be happy, then, whatever, but I need to have sex, damn it! If I have the baby I don’t know how long it will be before I can have sex again. You won’t cheat on me, will you?”

“No, Sookie, you know I would never do that.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not feeling very attractive right now, and after…”

He pulled her close and held her chin so she looked him in the eye. “Sookie, you have never been more beautiful to me. You were every inch a Queen tonight and I was so proud to know that you were MY Queen that I felt as if I would burst. Every man wanted to be me. Every woman wanted to be you. They would all give anything to have what we have. A little inconvenience for the gifts we have been given is such a small price to pay for such happiness. I can’t tell you how panicked I felt when I realized that Sabrina had tried to poison you and the baby. It’s why I finally killed her. I knew she would never stop trying and I won’t tolerate any threat to either of you. You are my life, Sookie – please don’t think that anything mundane or inconvenient will ever change that. I am not Bill. I will never hurt you. You can trust me with anything. You are my bonded, I am yours.”

“I’m sorry – now I’m making you repeat yourself,” she laughed. “I don’t know why I am so insecure.”

“You are scared, Sookie. Giving birth is a huge thing and yours is immanent. You are away from home. Someone tried to kill you and your child tonight. You nearly went into labor. You found out someone who hurt you may hurt someone else close to you. Honestly, Sookie, I don’t know any woman who could handle it all with the grace that you do. Any other woman would be having a nervous breakdown. You are only a little insecure – and I think I can distract you enough to make you forget about that.”

“That’s going to have to be some distraction….”

He wiggled his eyebrows at her as he said, “it’s a gracious plenty.”

She instantly laughed and relaxed. He had her roll on her side facing away from him and he did away with her panties and his silk boxers. He spooned up behind her, taking her slowly and gently, over and over until dawn. She moaned softly as he filled her, running his hand over her body under her gown, kissing her neck and shoulder. When he felt the time was right he tore his wrist with his teeth and held it to her warm lips. As she drew deeply from his arm he bit her shoulder and fed, the two of them enveloped in a warmth that flowed around and through them, lulling Sookie into a deep sleep that was peaceful and lucid and she saw herself nursing the baby. As she held him, he looked directly into her eyes with eyes as blue as Eric’s and she knew it was alright. She consciously knew he was coming very soon, and that she was ready for him. She would never be afraid again for as long as she was pregnant. It was all in perfect time.

Eric went to rest smiling, feeling the contentment and love Sookie was sending into the bond. He flooded it with love and pride to Sookie and the baby both, and before he left the bed he had put his hand on her tummy and the baby kicked to let him know he was aware. Eric actually dreamed, seeing himself in his bed with Sookie, the baby lying between them in nothing but a diaper, smiling and laughing. Eric was not afraid again during the pregnancy either. There was a part of Eric and Sookie and the baby each that were connected in a new way, and always would be from this point forward.

Sunday was a quiet day in spite of the travel. Sookie woke up ravenous and ate two breakfasts and drank 3 bottles of blood. She felt pretty good until they got on the plane when her back began to cramp and both Eric and Bobbie rubbed it the entire way back to Shreveport. Sookie felt a sort of seismic shift in her belly which Eric and Bobbie were able to watch and monitor. Bobbie was pretty sure the baby had moved to a head down position where he should be. She didn’t say it in front of Sookie but she told Eric and Alicia it was a good thing they were headed home. She didn’t say it out loud but Bobbie’s main fear now was whether they’d make it to the house before Sookie went into labor.

She fell asleep on the short ride home and Eric carried her up to their bedroom, where Bobbie and Alicia helped get her out of her dress and into her gown, and Alicia even got a washcloth and cleaned off her make up so her skin wouldn’t break out from sleeping in it. Eric talked to Sandy briefly, and to Bill, then he went to bed with Sookie and lay there with her in the dark, his hand on the baby bump, listening to Sookie breathe. He was as intent and aware as he had ever been in his long life. He never wanted to forget this feeling, this moment that he would never have again.

“Sookie, dear, can you wake up and drink your drink?” Alicia tried to wake Sookie, but she was pretty out of it. When she did wake, she asked for something for cramps and fell asleep right after taking it.

When Alicia brought Sookie’s breakfast at 2pm she refused to get up and eat it. All she wanted to do was sleep and she asked for Bobbie to rub her back which was cramping very badly now. Her stomach felt queasy and the thought of food made her sick so Alicia took the food away. All Sookie could get down was an RM. She drank several in an hour and around 4:30 she had a hard, long cramp that took her breath away. Bobbie and Alicia were really worried now. About ten minutes later another cramp hit and Sookie yelled, “Oh, my Goddess!” and threw back the covers to show that her gown and the sheets were soaked with blood– her water had broken. The house went mad at that moment. Bobbie called Bjorn to take Sookie down to the birthing room. Margaret kicked into high gear to clean up Eric’s bed, which had blood all over his new purple silk sheets.

Bjorn settled Sookie onto the bed in the birthing room, getting blood on his white t-shirt, then called Dr. Ludwig, warning her there were humans present. Ludwig told him they shouldn’t panic and she’d be there in time to deliver the child, but that wouldn’t be for hours yet. Bobbie and Alicia got Sookie out of her gown and Alicia put it in cold water to soak after she and Bobbie covered Sookie with a soft cotton hospital gown made to tie in the back but they left it open and just slipped her arms into it. Sookie had a hard cramp about every ten minutes for the next hour and a half, Bobbie rubbing her back when she could and Alicia bringing Sookie ice ships when she ran out. Bjorn took her blood pressure every ten minutes, in between contractions. It was higher than it should be, but not dangerously high and it stayed pretty even for the next few hours.

Sookie wasn’t scared but she was in a lot of pain. Everything hurt, and the contractions were stunning in force. Bobbie felt around Sookie’s abdomen and was pretty sure the baby had moved into the right position, so that was one thing they didn’t need to worry about. Just before 6 o’clock, Sookie had a contraction so hard she screamed, and Eric was instantly at the door, having just awakened.

“Eric! Eric!” Sookie was so relieved to see him, “aHHHHHH – he’s coming….”

“I see that, my Angel. Here, squeeze my hand and hold on.”

The room smelled of blood so Eric immediately sent Alicia for some RMs he could drink during the birth, downing one immediately and setting the rest on a table in the room. Alicia had the scissors and pans that would be used to bathe the baby or anything else that would touch him or Sookie in the bathroom soaking in alcohol.

“Where is Dr. Ludwig?” Eric asked.

“She said, mmmmhhaaaaaaaagghhhh, that she’d be here before the baby comes but it could be hours before that.”

“Sookie try to breathe like this, honey.” Bobbie showed her how to take a deep breathe and slowly let it out. She didn’t want her to hyperventilate.

“How long has she been in labor?” Eric asked Bobbie and Alicia who were fussing around Sookie.

“Her water broke just after 4:30,” Alicia told him, “and we’ve been pretty much where we are now ever since.”

Another cramp hit Sookie and Bobbie tried to get her to breathe as she was bearing down. Bobbie was kicking herself from not training Eric and Sookie in Lamaze – she had planned to do it when they got back from New Orleans. She never dreamed the baby would come this soon. She was praying silently that he was big enough to breath on his own. She was pretty sure he would be a good size, but the question was how mature were his lungs?

Bobbie checked the clock. “That was just under 8 minutes between those contractions. They’re speeding up.”

Alicia handed Eric a cup of ice chips, very glad that she had stocked two bags of ice in the freezer before they left, just in case. Eric fed Sookie a bite and smoothed her hair back from her face.

“Would somebody brush my hair and put it in a pony tail, please?” Sookie was desperate for anything to make her feel better.

“Sure, Sweetie, you’ll feel better if we get it up off your neck. Are you hot in here?” Bobbie asked as Alicia came back with Sookie’s hairbrush and an elastic ponytail holder.

“I’m burning up. Why is it so hot today?”

“Let’s take her temperature,” Alicia suggested, going to the bathroom for the thermometer. It was the kind that you put in the ear, so it could be set to use on either Sookie or the baby. Sookie’s temp was slightly elevated, but Bobbie and Alicia agreed it was warm in the room so they sent Bjorn down to Margaret to get a fan. By the time Bjorn got back, Sookie was in the middle of another long contraction. She was squeezing Bobbie’s hand too hard, so Bjorn took Bobbie’s place at her side opposite Eric. Eric nodded that he approved of Bjorn being there – Sookie needed someone to hang onto on both sides when she bore down and Eric was glad to have Bjorn there. Sookie was very strong since she had been drinking from Eric regularly, and they didn’t want her to damage Bobbie’s hands.

Bobbie stationed herself at Sookie’s legs, rubbing them with lotion that seemed to comfort Sookie a bit in between contractions. Alicia had the fan set up on a chair she brought in from the little dining table in the kitchenette and Sookie relaxed a lot when the cool breeze hit her.

“Oh, that feels so much better. Thanks, you guys.” Sookie lay back on the pillows piled behind her, never letting go of Eric’s hand. She held onto him as if her life depended on it and it even flashed through her mind that maybe it did.

“Hey, should somebody call Jason?” Sookie asked.

“Would he be of any help here, Sookie?” Bobbie asked doubtfully.

“Probably not – I’d like it if he knew I was in labor though, and then we’d call him back when the baby was born.”

“That would probably be OK….” Bobbie looked at Eric and he nodded. Eric pulled his cell out of his pocket and handed it to Bobbie, who pulled up Jason’s number and pressed “Call.”

“Hello?”

“Is this Jason Stackhouse?”

“Yeah, who’s this?”

“I’m Bobbie James – Sookie’s masseuse.”

“Oh, yeah, how are you doin’? Sookie OK?”

“She’s in labor and she wanted me to call and let you know.”

“Any idea how long before she has the baby?”

“Probably within the next few hours.”

“Is she OK? Should I come over there? Or should I come over tomorrow?”

“Hang on,” She covered the hole on the phone, “Sookie, do you want Jason to come over tonight or tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow would be good, when the baby and I have had time to resttt aaahhhhhHHHH!” another contraction hit hard.

“Jason?”

“Wow – is that her screaming?”

“Yeah, she’s in active labor. She said it would be best if you came over tomorrow when she and the baby have had some rest.”

“OK, then, will you call me back once he’s out so I know they’re both OK?”

“Yes, of course, we’ll call you first thing. It shouldn’t be all that long.”

“Cool – I can’t wait to be Uncle Jason for real!”

“OK, we’ll talk to you in a bit.”

“‘K, bye!”

“How is he? Is he mad?” Sookie asked as she panted, trying to catch her breath.

“No, honey, he said he can’t wait to be Uncle Jason for real.”

“Oh, OK, good. He’s no good in an emergency so having him here would probably just make it hard on all of us. Did anyone call Amelia and Octavia?”

“I’ll do that now if you want me to, unless you need something?”

“I need my back rubbed, but Eric can do that, can’t you, Sweetie?”

“Of course. Go ahead and call them, Bobbie, and tell them to come to visit tomorrow, too,” Eric said as he and Bjorn helped Sookie turn on her side toward Bjorn so Eric could rub her back.

Sookie held onto Bjorn tightly while Eric rubbed her lower back, and he smiled at her when she looked up at him. “You’re doing great, Sookie. Just hang on and we’ll get you through this, right, Eric?”

“Yes, she’s going to be fine. Many women without half of Sookie’s strength have babies all the time. You’re doing very well, my Angel. I am very proud of you.”

“We’re all proud of you, Sookie,” Alicia added.

“Thanks ah- ahahhhahhHHHHH.” That one was really hard and Alicia pulled back the sheet and raised Sookie’s gown to check her progress. “She’ll be crowning soon – where is that doctor?”

“Somebody call me? I’m Dr. Ludwig.” There was a very average-looking woman at the door of the room. Bjorn was surprised, but Eric knew Ludwig was using a kind of glamour to give a different appearance in front of the humans.

“Yes, Dr., she’s pretty far along now.” Alicia said.

“Well, let’s take a look.” She moved to the center of the bed, “How are we feeling, little girl?”

“It hurts a lot…”

“That’s to make you appreciate the baby and take good care of him so you don’t need to have another too soon.” She said as she pushed Sookie’s robe up, paying no attention to who was in the room.

Bjorn tried not to look, but Sookie had another huge contraction and the focus was on her holding onto Eric and Bjorn so she could bear down. The contraction went on and on, Sookie digging into Eric and Bjorn with her fingernails without realizing it. When it was over, Sookie just collapsed backwards, and the doctor got a good look at the situation.

“Yes, he’s nearly at the crowning point. The good news is that it won’t be a lot longer. The bad news is that the shoulders are harder to pass than the head, so you’re going to have to work hard for a while longer, Sookie.”

“Oh, Goddess!” Sookie was already exhausted and it was going to get worse before it got better. “Freyja, help me get through this! Let us both be safe, please!” Sookie was sending all kinds of energy into that prayer, because magickal energy was all she had left. She was physically exhausted. When the next cramp hit, she was limp as Eric and Bjorn had to hold her up as she screamed, and screamed and suddenly the pain stopped. Sookie looked down, confused as Alicia screamed “oh my god!”

The doctor looked up, saying “he’s gone.”

“WHAT?” Sookie said, nearly hysterical. “My baby! My Baby!”

Like lightening Eric was out of the room as Bjorn held Sookie and tried to get her not to scream. Eric was back quickly with a squirming, bloody, crying baby in his arms, laughing as the doctor took him to tie off his dripping umbilical cord. Eric’s mouth and shirt was smeared with blood, both from carrying and kissing the baby.

“What happened?” Sookie was still in shock.

“He was in our bed, Sookie. You always say that’s the safest place in the world to you. You prayed for him to be safe, so he went to the safest place,” Eric laughed.

The doctor was using the bulbous rubber syringe to clean his little airways and looked him over. “He’s a fine specimen, Northman. Strong and apparently full term. Listen to those lungs! He wants his mama!”

The doctor motioned for Eric to pull down the top of Sookie’s gown and put the baby right to the breast. He latched on like a vise, and Sookie instantly felt better, wrapping her arms around the little thing that seemed so strange and wonderful to her, everything suddenly right in the world. Bobbie and Alicia were getting soapy water ready to bathe the baby, as Eric kissed Sookie and the baby both with bloody tears streaming down his face. Bjorn was helping the doctor, who got a huge needle and syringe out of her carpetbag and when over to Eric with an elastic strap.

“Here you go, Northman, two more things we need to take care of. First, I need blood from you.”

“For what?”

“To heal up your wife. I’m going to put it up in there to heal where the baby came out. Then you’re going to feed her and she’ll be good as new in a couple of days, as long as you feed her every day.”

“Really?” Sookie asked, “How long until we can have sex?”

“I’d wait at least until tomorrow, child. Do what’s comfortable. If it hurts, stop. Use good sense but for the most part, you should be fine for normal sex this week.”

“Yes!” Sookie said, too happy about everything to say much else.

The doctor tied the elastic around Eric’s arm and drew blood from it with a needle, then she took the needle off the full syringe and clipped a long sort of straight, slightly flexible tubing to it. Bjorn helped her get the access she needed to Sookie’s womb, still trying not to look, and it was only a little uncomfortable as she slid the long soft but firm tube into her as far as she could. There was some pain when it pushed through the cervix, in spite of it being stretched a bit, but once it was in and she bathed Sookie’s insides with the blood, Sookie’s pain quickly subsided.

Eric then tore his wrist and fed Sookie from it. She was embarrassed that she couldn’t suppress the orgasm from drinking from him and neither could he, but that made the doctor smile and say, “good, good – that’s the reaction we want from a bonded couple in the exchange. Now, let these good women give the little one a bath, then put him to the other breast. Feed him every 2 hours, keep him against mama’s skin as much as possible and daddy, talk to him and pet him so he gets used to you quickly. I’ll send you the birth certificate and my bill tomorrow. Good luck – you’re going to need it!” and with that, she was gone.

Sookie reluctantly let Alicia take the baby into the bathroom where they had the little baby bath set up in the tub. She and Bobbie got him washed off and wrapped a soft towel, then weighed him and dressed him in a tiny diaper and t-shirt. His eyes were amazingly blue and he had a little shock of wheat blonde hair on his head. They were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over him and after about 20 minutes, Sookie yelled “hey, where’s my baby!” and they brought him back to her. Alicia got another pan of soapy water and cleaned Sookie up, starting with her face and working down as the baby suckled happily. Eric stood back so the women could work on Sookie, but he couldn’t take his eyes off of her and the baby. He had a son. Eric Alexander Northman, born 6/29/09 at 6:29 PM, 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

“I’ll go tell the rest of the staff. Margaret will be busting to know,” Bjorn said, surprised at how happy he was about all this.

“Margaret will need to change our bedspread – the baby was on it when he teleported and it’s got blood all over it.”

“I’ll tell her. Congratulations, your majesty. He’s a fine boy.” Bjorn slapped Eric on the back and shook his hand, then went down to the kitchen where Margaret, her helpers, the guards and even the gardeners all stayed late to hear about the baby. Sookie could hear them cheering all the way upstairs. One of the gardener’s boys came back upstairs with Margaret to attach the little co-sleeper to the side of Sookie’s bed so the baby would be within reach all night.

Once they had Sookie settled with the baby for a little while, Bobbie called Jason, Amelia, and Octavia and Bill while Eric called Pam, Sandy and Bill, then Niall. Niall, who sounded happier than Eric had ever heard him, said he would visit the next night at 8 pm and bring the child a gift from the council. Eric thought to himself that he hoped it was something that they or the baby would actually want.

When he finished with his calls, Eric sat on the bed next to Sookie, putting his arm around her and stroking the baby’s back as he suckled. She was cooing and talking to the baby with the most beautiful smile on her face – it was the most fascinating thing Eric had ever seen. He kissed her head and squeezed her tight, running his fingers over the baby’s back and legs, listening to him purr as he fed. He smiled as the baby rubbed his face with his tiny hand. Eric touched his hand and it was almost as if the baby tried to grip it.

“When can we move upstairs?” Sookie asked him.

“Whenever you feel ready. Margaret has fresh linens on the bed and the gardener’s assistant put the tiny crib on your side of the bed for Eric Alexander.”

“How did you know where he went when he disappeared?”

“I heard him crying and smelled him. It made sense he would go where you felt safest. He doesn’t know this room – he knows Mommy’s bed.”

“So, did I send him there, or did he go there or did Freyja send him…?”

“You will have to ask one of your Witches about that, but my guess would be the baby went there.”

“Uh-oh. You think…”

“Yes, I do. We’ll have to watch him closely. He’ll be fine for a while because his instinct will be to stay close to you. Later on… well, we’ll take it one day at a time.”

“Yeah, I’m not going to think about it right now. He’s here with us now and we’re all together and nothing else matters. I want to go upstairs now so we can all be in our bed for a while like it’s supposed to be.”

“Alright, hold the baby tightly like this,” Eric positioned the baby so she had a good hold on him and would neither drop or crush him, then he picked her up and carried them upstairs. The bed was freshly made but turned down, the little crib right next to Sookie’s place, so Eric put her in from his side of the bed, setting them down as gently as he could. He pulled his bloody shirt off as he went into the bathroom and he washed the blood off his face and arms. He was back quickly in just his jeans, ready to snuggle with his brand new family. “I can’t believe he is here, Sookie. He’s so small – look at his tiny hands and toes.”

“Pretty amazing, huh? I’m so glad we came home, Eric, thank you for bringing us back.”

“I knew you had an instinct telling you to get back to your nest. I would have been a fool not to listen. I’m glad we did not wait to travel today – I don’t know what might have happened.”

“Yeah, he was pretty determined to get here, weren’t you, Eric Alexander? Yes, you were! Yes, you were!” Sookie lapsed into baby talk and Eric was simply bursting with pride and love. “Look, there’s Daddy! There’s your Daddy!” It was almost as if the baby looked at Eric and threw up his hand and made a noise. “Eric, I think he’s trying to say something to you.”

“Eric Alexander – are you speaking to your father?” Eric tickled him under the chin as Sookie held him up a little

The baby’s arm flew up again and he clearly sent FIGHT! as he cried out. Eric and Sookie laughed. The baby was trying to say Fight! but he was too small to manage anything but a sound. It was clear what his intent was, though, if you were tapped into the bond. They both laughed and Eric sat up straight so he could take the baby from Sookie for a few minutes. She showed him how to put one hand under his head and support his body with the other one.

Eric looked at him with a big smile. “Hello, my son! How are you, my little warrior!” The arm flew up and the little cry accompanied it. “That’s my good boy – ready to fight! There is no fight tonight, my son, but there is your mother’s lovely breast to feed you – no warrior could ask for more.” Eric kissed him and after Sookie sat up he passed her the baby who was more than ready to eat again.

He latched on and Sookie cried out “Ow!” in surprise.

“What happened?” Eric asked her.

“Your little warrior apparently just learned to extend his fangs.”

“He has fangs? This is wonderful news!”

“For you, maybe, but it’s a little intense from my perspective. These things feel like little needles. I wonder if baby Vamps lose their teeth as they grow? Will they fall out and come back big like yours when he’s older?”

“I do not know. It will be interesting to see. When he is done eating, I want to see his fangs.”

“You can try, but I wonder if he can control them or not yet? I kind of think he just discovered them. Do you think he’ll take blood every time he feeds? I’ll be a pin cushion if he does.”

“I think we should be writing these questions in your journal. I’m sure there will be many, many more, and they won’t be things we can look up anywhere.”

“Knock, knock!” Bobbie called from the hallway. Bjorn was right behind her.

“Come in,” Sookie called to her.

“How’s our little family doing?” Bobbie was smiling from ear to ear.

“We’re doing great except that baby just figured out how to extend his fangs.”

“Ouch!”

“You have no idea. I can handle it, though. Isn’t he beautiful?”

“Yes, he is. Look at all that blond hair! And his eyes – have you looked at how blue his eyes are? They’re amazing.”

“They’re just like Eric’s, just like I hoped they would be.”

“How are you doing Daddy?” Bjorn asked him.

“I feel as if I might burst.”

“I’ll bet. What did Bill say when you told him?” Bjorn said before he realized Bobbie was Bill’s girl. He had almost stopped thinking of her that way.

“He tried to be gracious.”

“What’s the little crib for? I never saw anything like that.” Bjorn said.

“It’s called a co-sleeper. It’s so I can keep the baby close, but he won’t get crushed or suffocated because I can’t roll over on him there.”

“Oh, OK. So the baby will sleep in here?”

“For a while, yes. Until he’s sleeping through the night or we know how he sleeps.”

“Are you OK with that, Eric?” Bjorn asked him.

“Of course. Families all lived in one room where I grew up. No one had a private room as they do now. He can stay with us as long as Sookie wants him to.

“Excuse me…?” Alicia had a tray of food for Sookie.

“OH, THANK YOU, Alicia, I’m starving and the little one seems to be done for now.”

“I thought you might be – you didn’t eat at all earlier today. You know breastfeeding burns a lot of calories so you’ll still be eating a lot.”

“What did you bring me?” Sookie handed the baby over to Eric who was more than happy to take him.

“Salmon and bagels and cream cheese. Lots of it.”

“Oh, yes, thanks.” Alicia settled the tray across Sookie’s lap and she was digging in before she let it go. “Have you guys had dinner yet?”

“Yeah, Margaret cooked for us after we came downstairs. She’s going to come up and see the baby before she leaves if that’s OK.” Bjorn said.

“Of course we want her to see the baby.” Sookie said as she noticed that Eric was holding the baby and just looking at him as he slept in his hands.

“So I guess we’re not going to New Orleans…?” Bjorn said.

“Sure, we are!” Sookie said. “He’s born now – he’s going to sleep most of the time and he needs to stay with me, but there’s no reason I can’t just strap him to me and do what I need to do. I’m nearly completely healed already.”

“Sookie, are you sure? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Eric said, never taking his eyes off the baby.

“Eric, people are going to lose their minds when they find out he’s been born. He’s not as fragile as a normal baby, either, so I say we go to New Orleans. We’ve got all of the equipment we need to travel with him, so let’s do. We’ll take him to the fundraiser and leave early. People will be wild to see the first Vampire Prince in history and they’ll make a lot of money for the reconstruction. Hey, Alicia –will that little bracelet Niall got him fit? That would be cute for him to wear and we have that little white baby tuxedo he can wear.”

“Good ideas, both.” Alicia agreed. She’d prefer Sookie didn’t travel, but it was her decision and she knew it was important for Eric’s position so she didn’t say anything. She went to Sookie’s jewelry cache and brought the baby’s bracelet. It fit his little wrist but stayed in place as Alicia checked the fit on him while Eric still held him.

“Oh, that’s so sweet!” Sookie said between bites.

“Is that real gold?” Bobbie asked.

“Yeah, like 22 or 24 karat or something like that. Niall gave it to him. Speaking of Niall, I want to make sure Alex is wearing this when he visits tomorrow.”

“Is this your great grandfather you’re talking about, Sookie?” Alicia asked.

“Yes, you remember when he sent the bracelet, right Alicia?”

“Yes, but weren’t you very nervous the last time he visited?”

“Yes, but this is different. I want to make sure the baby and I are looking good and we’ll be feeling good and he’ll be in love with him. My brother Jason is coming to see him tomorrow, too and Amelia and Octavia. Then when we get back from New Orleans I want to take him to Merlotte’s…”

“NO!” Bobbie and Bjorn said in unison.

“Sookie! Why would you take our baby to that dump?” Eric was appalled.

“So Sam can see him.”

“The Shifter can see him somewhere else. I don’t want you taking my child into that shit bar while that psycho red head and her FOTS cronies are in the area.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot.”

“Do not forget again, Sookie. I do not want my child near those people. You must promise me.”

“I promise, I just wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry – don’t worry, we won’t go there.”

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to go home for the evening – but if you need me, I’ll stay.” Alicia said.

“Oh, no, you go home and have a good evening. Thank you so much for your help today, Alicia!”

“My pleasure,” she bent over to the baby as Eric held him. “Good night little Prince. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She tapped his little chest as she spoke and the baby seemed to respond a little.

Alicia left and Bobbie moved closer to watch the baby as he rubbed his little face and sucked his thumb.

“Want to hold him, Bobbie?” Sookie asked.

“Yes, if it’s alright with Eric,” she said hopefully. Eric let her take the baby and she snuggled him close. “He’s so beautiful, Sookie. He looks just like you and Eric.”

“He looks just like Eric is more like it. Look at those eyes and that chin. He doesn’t look a bit like me.”

“Yes, he does, Sookie, but yeah, he favors Eric for sure.”

“Hey, Eric, when is Pam getting home?” Sookie asked.

“Tonight. She said if she gets in early enough she would like to come by and see him if you don’t mind, Sookie. She needs to get straight to Fangtasia tomorrow night. She’ll call when she gets in. I am anxious to see how she perceives him.”

“You mean…”

“Yes, whether he feels like Vamp or Faerie to her.”

“How does he feel to you?”

“Like my son. There’s no word for it, he just feels like he is mine. I cannot read Fae or Vampire or human in him. He’s just my boy,” he said, looking lovingly at him as Bobbie held him.

“Here, Bjorn, you’d better get to know him.” Bobbie offered Bjorn the child and he looked at Eric and Sookie to make sure it was alright. He wasn’t completely comfortable holding him but he did for a few minutes. “He’s so small,” Bjorn said. “How can something so small grow to be a such a big person?” Bjorn was really amazed at the whole thing, and he got to be there when he was born, so he was particularly fond of the little Prince. “Welcome to the family, little Prince. Eric, I think you should take him now,” Bjorn said.

Eric gently took him from Bjorn, and slowly brought him up to lie against his big shoulder. Sookie and Bobbie were nearly puddles on the floor watching Eric hold the baby close that way and Bjorn watched them, laughing. “You’re melting the women, Eric.”

“What do you mean?”

“Sookie and Bobbie are melting watching you cuddle your son. You know how women are with men and babies.”

“No, how are they?”

“We love men who love babies.” Sookie told him.

“You do?”

“Yes,” Bobbie said, “a lot. Seeing a guy be sweet with a baby is a complete romantic turn on.”

“I did not know that. How could any man not be sweet to his own child. It is such a miraculous feeling.” Eric said, his eyes closed, his hands holding the baby to his chest, his cheek against the baby’s head.

“Most men are more detached than you are, Eric. I don’t know if it’s because of your blood bond or your age, but you’re a lot more invested in him than an average man would be.”

“Average men are fools, for the most part. They don’t appreciate their women, they don’t appreciate their children, they stumble through their mediocre lives with mediocre tastes and expectations and their mediocre lives still disappoint them. This – holding my son – this is sublime. Trust me, Bjorn, do not buy into the lie that men should be aloof and uncaring. Do not treat women as a burden or children as an obligation. Men who cut themselves off from the finer aspects of romance and sex are pitiful. They are empty and cruel or simply dull and lifeless. They sleep walk through their lives and they wonder why they are unhappy. They’re unhappy because they are half alive.”

“You’ve never been aloof, Eric?”

“I can play the tough guy as well as any man, but it’s a lonely existence. I was as cold and cruel in my younger days as any creature that ever walked, but in my long life I’ve learned that the better parts of life involve women. They’re the parts that stay with you over hundreds of years. I’ve been in wars, on adventures, to nearly every corner of the world – when I’m alone and I remember, I remember the women I loved, and how I treated them, and what they meant to me. Nothing will ever mean more to me than this child in my arms. The rest will fall away and what I will have left are these moments with Sookie and Eric Alexander.”

 

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