LATE Chapter 112

Coming Home



Eric sat up, finding himself on a sandy shore at what must have been the onset of dusk or dawn, but he didn’t know which. The twins lay next to him asleep, their kitten and dragon in tow as well. He took a deep breath of the salt air, which actually seemed to refresh him. He could see movement far out on the water, and saw a signal light flashing from the center of it.

He stood up and stretched, seeing plainly now that a boat approached him, the signal apparently coming from a mirror reflecting candle light. The boat moved toward him very quickly, and it wasn’t long before he recognized the figure of Sir Robert standing on the bow of it. Robert waved to him and Eric waved back, then prepared to pick the boys up so they could go.

He bent down to the twins, each in a blue teddy bear onesie, lying snuggled together on their blue blanket over the sand, stroking Aubie’s cheek first.

“Auberon, my little Elf, wake up!” Aubie looked up at him and smiled, rubbing his eyes and reaching up for “Dada.” Eric brought him up to his chest for a kiss on the head and a snuggle, then stroked Alex’s cheek the same way. “Alexander, my little Vampire, wake up and come to Daddy.” Alex giggled and floated up into Eric’s arms. “Look out there, boys! See that ship? It’s coming to take us to Mommy!”

“Ware di Freyja doe, Dadee?” Alex asked as he was looking all around.

“I’m not sure Alex, but I don’t think She’s far away. This place seems very familiar to me so it’s possible She’s somewhere very close by.”

Aubie patted Eric’s cheek. “Um, Mama?”

“We’re going to see Mama now, Auberon. Look out there – see the ship?”

“Sip?” Aubie looked where Dada was pointing. He didn’t know what that thing was, but he saw a familiar face.

“See Sir Robert?”

“Ah! Waba!” Aubie said in his “cute” little voice, making Eric smile. He touched his forehead to Aubie’s and teased him. “He’ll take us to see Mommy right now.”

That seemed to soothe Auberon, who let out a sigh and rested his little head on Eric’s shoulder, entwining his fingers in Dada’s silken hair. Alex was looking at everything around them – the sand, the sea, the dunes back behind them, birds circling above – trying to take it all in, and Eric could tell he liked the salt spray from the water.

The ship came very close to shore, but Eric flew out to meet it since he had no shoes on. The dragon grew large and the kitten jumped on his back, then they followed Eric and the boys to the boat. Once there, the kitten went to one of the five attendant women, whom Eric correctly assumed were Priestesses, and the dragon jumped up onto the deck, shrinking to normal size as he landed.

“Hello, your Majesty! Hello, Prince Auberon, Prince Alexander!” Robert greeted them enthusiastically, petting the kitten and patting the dragon’s head.  “Hello, Erin! Welcome home, Puff! Your Majesty, we don’t have long to go, but if you’d like to sit down or go below …”

“That’s quite alright – the boys will want to see where we are going, won’t you boys?”

“Eeah!” “Ah-h-h!’ (Aubie’s ‘yes’ became a sweet yawn. Dada knew his little Elf needed a nap… or a hug from Mommy.)

The boat moved back out to sea and around the point of land at the visible end of the coast.

Alex didn’t know where to look first – this was all new! He would watch the water splashing against the side of the boat, then he’d look at the inside of the boat, the ropes,  the seats, the people rowing behind them, the people lifting the sail (Eric noted that the ship had both oars and sails so it was a very versatile small craft.)

Alex pointed at the huge sail above them, “Woogie, Dadee – wadiz dat wyd?”

Sir Robert watched the babies very closely, always amazed to see such small babies speaking. He was also amazed by how much they seemed to understand.

“That white thing,” Eric explained, “is called a sail. As Vikings we were very skilled in the use of sails to make the most of the wind and take us swiftly to our destination. Our people sailed the whole world long before any other people had.”

“Wadiz picta?” Alex asked, pointing to the large design on the sail.

“That picture is the World Tree – in Sweden we called it Yggdrasil. It represents the whole world and everything in Her. It’s roots reach into every realm – that of humans, giants, and of the gods.”

“Yggdrasil! Ah wyg dat twee!” Alex said with such absolute certainty that Eric cracked up and Sir Robert felt comfortable enough to laugh, too and the Priestesses joined in softly.

“Can they speak Swedish?” Sir Robert asked, noticing how clearly Alex had pronounced the tree’s name.

“A little. They seem to be able to say certain Swedish names perfectly – much more so than they can English words, though I can usually figure out what they mean.”

“Obee, woogie, dat twee isth Yggdrasil!”


“Ygg-dra-sil” Alex repeated slowly.

Aubie focused really hard and repeated, “Ygg-dra-sil.”

“Excellent, Auberon!” Eric praised him and kissed his cheek, which tickled him so that he scrunched his little fists up under his chin.

“Dood, Buggy!”

“You’re a very good teacher, Alex!”


As the boat came around the point to the north, they quietly slipped into a heavy fog so that no shore was visible.

“Wadiz dat?” Alex held his arms up and asked as they moved through the fog.

Sir Robert answered, “the Mists of Avalon. We have to go through it to get to your  Mama.”

“How do they navigate in this?” Eric was curious since there were no stars visible.

“We need a specialist for that. Excuse me.” Robert nodded a bit and went down into the area below deck, returning with a beautiful auburn-haired woman in a long blue gown.

“Lady Ravenna of Avalon – King Eric Northman, Prince Auberon, and Prince Alexander.”

She spoke in a soft voice with a heavy Irish brogue,“I’m so pleased to meet you all! This is our wee Prince Auberon? He’s beautiful!” She stroked Aubie’s cheek and he giggled and reached for her, and she shook his little hand and kissed the back of it, which thrilled Aubie to no end and made Alex laugh, too.

“Obee wyg dat kissthesth!”

“Oh, my! They speak!?” Ravenna was shocked in the very best way. “I thought that was a myth!” She kissed each boy on the cheek and told them “Everyone will be in love with you both the minute they see you!”

“Me an Obee bof!” Alex proudly repeated, showing that he knew that word, too. Alex was hoping that wherever Mamee was, that there were lots of pretty ladies like this one to show off for. Maybe they’d have “dompamy!”

“Alright, I think we’re ready now, Sir Robert.”

Robert guided Eric and the boys back a little so that Lady Ravenna stood alone at the front of the boat. A couple of other Priestesses in similar dress came up to stand beside them as Ravenna raised both hands to the fog chanting in Welsh:

“Gwrando fi, O Meistres Avalon, yn dod â ni Hafan! Dewch ni Hafan!

Dewch i ni gartref, Danu!”

[Hear me, O Mistress of Avalon, bring us Home! Bring us Home! Bring us home, Danu!]

All of the Priestesses and Sir Robert repeated “Dewch ni Hafan! Dewch ni Hafan!” [Bring us home]

The Mists began to swirl wildly around them. Alex and Aubie surprised Eric by flying from his arms, each taking a place beside Ravenna, holding her hands as they hovered by her shoulders. Suddenly the sky before them opened, the mists parting and receding at once to reveal a gloriously sunny morning sky. The Priestesses all drew breath or cried out in happy surprise, applauding Ravenna’s and the boys’ magick and laughing.

“Well, that was easy!” Ravenna laughed, kissing each boy’s hand in hers.

“Your boys can already do magick, your Majesty?” Sir Robert laughed in delight and admiration at their work.

“Yes, they do have some abilities. I take it they were helpful?”

“I’ve never seen such an easy parting of the Mists in my life!” Ravenna laughed as each baby hugged her then returned to Daddy’s strong arms. “They knew exactly what to do – I’m not even winded!” she laughed.

“Daddy is very proud of you!” He told each boy with great enthusiasm as he kissed their cheeks. He realized, to his surprise, that it was very good to be Father to a pair of twin Witches. He couldn’t wait to tell Sookie!

Now they approached an island sparkling in the sun. The greens in the grass and trees there were luminous, and there was a structure of some sort that was built of huge blue stones that looked like quartz. It rose up above the lower tree line but in front of distant mountains.

“Dadee, wadiz dat boo?”

“A castle, I guess? Eric said, looking at Robert.

“The Cenobium, actually,” Robert explained, “It’s built like a walled city but it’s all one structure. Most of the active Priestesses of Avalon live there. It’s a very nice community, very peaceful. There’s always a place there for you, Your Majesty, and your boys.”

“Even though we’re men?” Eric was half joking, but he knew that men were few and far between on Avalon.

“You are Sookie’s King, the boys are her babies – As long as you have a home with Sookie, you shall have a home here. As for Alexander, and especially Auberon, this is their birthright. Considering what we’ve just seen, I think we can be very sure they’ll have no trouble finding Avalon as they grow.”

The ship was pulling up to a dock where a carriage waited next to the road above.

“Niall cannot come to Avalon?” Eric thought not, but wanted to be sure.

“No, never. He’s tried every way to get in here, but it will never happen – especially not while Nivian is Lady of the Lake.”

“We’ve been told he’ll try to kill Sookie and take the aquamarine she wears.”

“He will never succeed in harming Sookie, and his quest for the stone is futile – it wouldn’t work for him. The Witte Wieven have seen to that. If he ever tries to touch it, the stone will likely strike him dead whether it’s around Sookie’s neck or not. Now that he’s an outlaw, he needn’t bother to try. Even if he found a way through the Mist, he’d be killed on sight here for what he did to Titania and tried to do to Sookie. There’s no quarter for him anywhere in Avalon.”

“That’s good to know,” Eric said, knowing Niall would still try, as he carried the babies down the wooden ramp that was set from the ship down onto the dock.

As they crossed the dock, Aubie called Eric’s attention. “Dada!”

“What is it, Auberon?”

“Mama seep!” he pointed to the Cenobium.

“Mama is asleep?”

“Ah!” he said as he patted Eric’s cheek and pointed to the huge building again. “Mama!”

“Mama is in there?”


“Dadee, Obee sthay Mamee ith in dare!” Alex pointed to the building, too. “Wadiz id?”

“It’s called a Cenobium – CEN-O-BI-UM” Eric pronounced it slowly so Alex could try it.


“Very good, Alex!”

“Obee, Sthen-no-bee-yum”

Bouncing his head with each syllable, “Sthim-mumb” was the best Aubie could manage, but Eric and Sir Robert both praised him for his effort which tickled him. Aubie reached toward Sir Robert and with Eric’s nod of approval Sir Robert brought him into his arms.

“You know, I don’t think Auberon has ever done that before.” Eric said. “He’ll go to different girls in our family but I’ve never seen him let a man other than myself or Bjorn hold him.”

“I hope Prince Auberon knows that I am his loyal friend and servant.” Sir Robert looked in Aubie’s eyes as he spoke and Aubie laughed and clapped his little hands. He wasn’t sure why, but Sir Robert was sure Auberon understood his meaning, even if he didn’t know the words. These children were so alert! Their big eyes took in everything around them and they never seemed to fuss or interrupt. And they knew how to help the Priestess part the Mists! Only the most well-trained and Goddess-touched even tried that these days. It was getting harder and harder to cross over. He wished to himself that these babies would change all that, and bring magick in the waking world back into balance as it should be – the way it was before the Brigant clan upset the balance in Elfyria and before Christianity swept its bloody way westward through Europe.

“Sir Robert?” Eric could tell the man had a lot on his mind, but he needed a little direction from here.

“Yes, sorry, I was distracted for a minute. This is our carriage.” Robert explained as they arrived at and climbed into the open red carriage pulled by 2 white horses. “The Cenobium gates are just about a quarter of a mile from here, then I’ll take you to Queen Sookie. As Prince Auberon pointed out, she’s asleep, but she’ll awake when she sees the three of you. I think she’ll be very surprised.” The driver turned to Sir Robert and handed him a pair of boots for Eric.

“Thank you!” Eric was happy to have something for his feet, “I hope the surprise is a welcome one,” he said mostly to himself.

“Have no doubt of that, your Majesty – I’ve never seen a wife or a mother more in love with her family. I think it will be a relief to her to know that you can see her here when you want.”

“We’ll have to have an invitation, though…”

“Not really – not if you’re wearing your stones. They don’t need to be on a chain – you could always have them set in a ring, or keep them in your pocket. I notice Auberon already has some small pendent that he wears…?”

“Yes, that’s a charm Sookie manifested for him – it keeps him safe around Vampires.”

“May I ask – where did she find the spell for it?”

“Titania’s Book, I believe.”

“The one in the Altar Room in the Castle in Elfyria?”

“Yes, I think that’s the one.”

“The one Niall can never touch,” Robert said with great satisfaction. “She’ll find a lot of useful information in it – it always amuses me to think of what a thorn in Niall’s side it has been. A blessed and protected anchor for the true power of the throne, which he will never truly own for himself.”

Eric laughed and the boys giggled just a little because he did. A little way past the dock and up onto the main road, the carriage turned a corner and was on a golden paved road leading down a long processional avenue toward the Cenobium that rose up into the sky, blue stones gleaming in the sun, front gates swung wide open by Amazon warriors as their carriage drew near.

“Ah wyg dat boo, Dadee.”

“Yes, it’s very pretty,” Eric agreed.

Auberon seemed to wake up a bit more and began to bounce in Robert’s arms. “Mama! Mama!”

Sookie sat up straight. “Aubie?” She looked around her. “Where am I? Oh… Avalon.”


She heard Aubie call out to her again and she threw back the soft quilts, not noticing she was wrapped in a diaphanous soft blue gown of sheer layers. It wasn’t really see-through, but if she’d been awake, she’d have covered up; All she knew was that she heard her baby calling her, and she was going to him as fast as she can. She ran to the end of the hall she was in and found the main stairs down to the first floor. There were Priestesses, Witches and Goddesses in various spots who all smiled with approval, knowing who Sookie was and figuring this had to be baby-related. Sookie burst out the front hall and onto the golden pavement just as the family’s carriage arrived.

“MAMA!” Aubie shrieked, so happy to see her, and flew into her arms before anyone else could move.

Sookie caught him and hugged him and kissed him, shifting him to her left arm as Alex followed close behind. Eric was trying not to look frantic as he waited for his turn to hug her, moving behind her and wrapping his arms around the three of them, nearly sobbing with relief. Everyone at the gates and on the street stopped and watched them, the aura they generated easily visible here, flowing pinks and yellow like sheets of sheer fabric and satin ribbons blowing and billowing around them.

Sir Robert was frozen watching, amazed at the loving energy that surrounded them. Women on the street were softly commenting – “Ah, how sweet” “What magick!” “It’s really them, isn’t it? Oh, how exciting!”

Sookie had tears flowing from her eyes, “Eric, I’m so happy to see you, and my babies, Mama is so glad you’re here! I didn’t think you could get to me here!”

“We had a little help, but we managed with Sir Robert’s guidance and some of the Priestesses here.”

“Sir Robert? Oh, thank you so much!” Sookie said with great sincerity.

“My pleasure, Your Majesty. Your boys are already learning to make the crossing themselves. They’ll be quite adept at it by the time they are grown, I’ll wager. They take after their Mother.”

Eric just noticed that a lot of people were walking in pairs or small groups, moving around them and on into the Cenobium door. “Are we interrupting something?” He asked Sir Robert.

“No, we’re right on time! Shall we go in?” Robert managed to get them moving into the Cenobium taking them straight back to the Great Hall. People were streaming in now, as they found themselves in a room that was nearly as big as the Bon Temps football stadium. Three sides of the room were lined with long wooden benches and tables. The front of the room had a dais that was set to the side, and a long set of tables filled with a grand smorgasbord of amazing foods Sookie couldn’t wait to try. Sookie’s group were steered to the center of the far table, where Sookie was given the center chair. Eric was seated to her left, Nivian to her right, Alex in a high chair next to Eric. They started to put Aubie into a highchair squeezed in between Nivian and Sookie, but he refused to let go of Sookie, so they brought her a pretty mint green sling and helped her get settled with him at her breast. Sir Robert sat next to Alex, which was his choice because he wanted to see just how verbal Alex was, knowing that would give him an idea of Auberon’s abilities, too.

“I’m sorry about this…” Sookie started to say to Nivian as she fussed with Aubie, but she shushed her.

“Shhh, Precious. Of course he wants to stay with you! He has known what life is like without you, and he’ll never go back to it.”

“Am I spoiling him, though?”

“Sookie,” Nivian squeezed her hand warmly, “you know how Auberon spent his early life – has a child ever deserved to be spoiled more than a baby hidden from his Mother?”

Sookie tried to reply, but tears suddenly dripped down her cheeks and before anyone could do anything else Eric put his arm around her, kissed her and whispered, “It’s all better now, Sweetheart. Everything is all right.”

“Yeah,” Sookie said, not meaning to sound so defeated, but figuring Eric didn’t know the whole story. She was fighting back tears, but she laughed when Alex teleported himself onto the table and toddled past Eric to see her, stopping right in front of her, grabbing her cheeks and saying. “Nah nah, Mamee, ap-pee.”

“See that, Precious?” Nivian teased, “the smartest person in the room thinks you should be happy!”

Eric laughed at that, and Sookie took a deep breath and decided to focus on where they were right now. “OK, but I need to talk to you later.”

“You can talk to me any time, Sookie, you know that,” Eric reassured her.

“Exactly – why be sad when Our Ladies have thrown this marvelous brunch in your honor?” Nivian told her.

“Huh? My honor?”

“Yes, Sookie – you don’t realize it, but you saved over a million lives today.”

“I did?”

“You did, Precious. In matters of War, the fight is over when the King is killed.”

“But that boy…”

“Will grow up to kill a few million himself, but that’s why Alex has been born, to fight that generation of hatred.”

“But would he have grown up that way if he hadn’t seen me…”

“Sookie – you did what you were supposed to do,” Nivian said as a young boy in a deep blue tunic and black leggings placed golden dishes in front of each of them.

“Watermelon!” Sookie, “Eric, lookie! Watermelon!” Everyone in the party laughed at that and Sookie let it go for a minute. Right now, in this place, she was safe, her family was together, and they were all healthy and unharmed. She’d feel bad again later.

Nivian smiled at Eric and Sir Robert, seeing that Sookie’s natural exuberance wasn’t far below the surface. ‘A week here was just what she needed,‘ she thought to herself, ‘some picnics with her beautiful babies will get her centered again.’

Suddenly music began to play – tambourines and flutes, gypsy-sounding stuff and there was a blonde Goddess (Sookie didn’t know how she knew that, but she did) with tribal tattoos on Her arms and tummy and lots of coins and gems on Her bra and on Her scarf at Her waist. She was dripping with gold jewelry, dancing in the center of the tables, but wait – She was belly-dancing!?

‘Do people really do that?’ Sookie thought to herself and Eric laughed.

“Dantheen!” Alex, now standing on the table in front of his Dadee, jumped and applauded while the whole group of what Sookie figured was about 500 people – more or less 500, and more or less actual people – seated at the tables or milling around all started clapping in time with the music as Sookie realized there were more men here than she expected.

“Huzzah! Huzzah!” The crowd called out as the beautiful Goddess did her sacred and sexy dance around the room, leaping and jiggling and shaking. People were enthralled. Sookie was amazed – How did she do that move? Soon, two boys in blue tunics brought in a bushel basket of golden apples! The crowd then started chanting “Idunn! Idunn! Idunn!” at which Sookie looked at Eric, who was clapping as enthusiastically as she’d ever seen him, questioning, and he answered “It’s Her name, Sookie – She’s Scandinavian! Idunn! Idunn!”

“They do belly dancing in Scandinavia? It’s a Swedish thing?”

Nivian laughed loudly, “It’s not a Scandinavian thing, Precious, it’s a Goddess thing!”

The basket was set in the middle of all the tables, and the Goddess Idunn continued Her dance around the room, throwing golden apples to different people at the tables.

The crowd were all cheering and thanking Her as She spread them around the room.

Idunn came shimmying toward Eric who laughed wickedly, the way Sookie’d only ever heard him laugh THAT way when they were alone and “busy.”

“Hey!” She said, mostly kidding, but not completely.

“She’s almost as sexy as you are, Sookie – but not quite,” he laughed as Idunn tossed him an apple, and he took a big suggestive bite of it. Idunn winked at Sookie as She gave her one, then another “for Prince Auberon!” and she tossed one directly to Alex who was still standing on the table, loving everything he saw and heard. This place was pun! Alex watched Dadee eating his apple and tried to figure out how to bite it. While he worked on it, Eric said,”May I?” holding his hand out so Alex let him take it. Eric pulled out a big pocket knife and Alex shouted, ”sthords por FIDEEN!” like a baby Viking should.

Eric laughed, “Knife for EATING!” as he split the apple in half cross ways. Eric handed half of it to Alex, who noticed the five seeds arranged in the middle.

“Woogie, Dadee, pendago!”

“My word!” Nivian exclaimed, as Sir Robert said “wonderful!”

“Sookie did you teach Alex about pentacles?”

“Nope – didn’t have to. He came already knowing what most magical equipment is.”

“Really?” Sir Robert was blown away. Nivian wasn’t a bit surprised.

Alex looked the half apple over and decided to attack it from the cut side – yep, that worked  – and he was surprised at the taste, “Ap-po, Dadee?”

“Yes, Alex, very good!” Eric said affectionately.

“Abuh?” Aubie looked up from Sookie’s breast, making everyone in their group laugh.

“You’ve got one, too, Aubie – you want Daddy to cut it for you?” Sookie asked him as she covered up and helped him crawl up on the table with Alex. “I’m sorry they’re on the table, everybody,”

“Nonsense, Sookie – the royal progeny can do whatever they want,” Nivian reminded her.

Sookie knew she was serious but it struck her as funny anyway, so she laughed and the boys laughed with her. Eric had given Aubie half of his apple, too, and Aubie was sniffing it. He tapped it with his finger, unable to dip and taste the way he liked, so he licked it and found that it was, indeed, apple.

“Aubie, I just remembered,” Sookie said, ”you don’t have any teeth, do you?”

On hearing that, Alex opened his mouth wide, still full of apple, and pointed to his own teeth. Aubie looked where Alex was pointing, then stuck his finger in his mouth. What was that? He opened his mouth the way Alex had so Mama could see.

“Hey! Aubie does have teeth!”

Alex looked to see Aubie had teeth and clicked his teeth at him. Aubie imitated the extreme biting motion Alex had done, surprised at the sensation.

Alex held his apple to show Aubie, “Woogie, Obee, byd id dare!”

Aubie tried to hold his apple just like Alex did and took a bite from the edge, then chewed it with his mouth open like Alex. “Abuh!” He was satisfied this was apple and that was a good thing. The adults – not just their immediate party, but most of the adults in the room – were watching the two boys discovering teeth and golden apples.

When everyone had received at least one apple, Idunn turned her attention to Alex. She danced over to him and he gigged, “Well, little Prince, I hear you like to dance!”

Alex was beside himself. “Dadee, dantheen?”

“Ask Mommy.” Eric teased him.

“Mamee, me an…” he looked at the Goddess as Eric said “Lady Idunn”

“Mamee, me an Waby Eedunn dantheen.”

“Yes, go for it!’ Sookie said in mock exasperation.

“EEAH!” Alex jumped up and Idunn swept him up and around and they danced all around the room so everybody could see a baby Vampire dance.

“Auberon,” Eric asked softly, “do you want to dance with Lady Idunn like Buddy is?”

“Nah nah, Mama,” Aubie said, reaching toward Sookie, which made her heart melt.

‘“You’d rather stay with Mommy?” Eric wanted to make sure he knew what he meant.

“Ah sthay ma Mama,” said in a way that just broke Eric’s heart. He put his apple down long enough to crawl around and get back in Sookie’s lap, where she helped him get back to business and gnaw the hell out of that apple.

“I told you, Sookie – you will never lose that one,” Eric said, wiping a tear away. Sookie kissed Aubie’s head and helped with his apple and thought to herself that that’s exactly what she wanted, too. As silly as it seemed, she was always just a little jealous when Alex danced with other women.

Sir Robert was nearly in tears, too. He was very proud that their Faerie Prince understood what a lucky little boy he was.

Idunn was finished showing Alex off, setting him back in front of Eric. Alex stayed on his feet and the second she let him go, he toddled over past Sookie to Nivian.

“Ah! Wadiz ur dame?”

“I’m Nivian.”

“Nivian is the Lady of the Lake, Alex,” Sookie said, hoping Alex wasn’t going to insult or upset anyone.

“Aru ma Mameeth teaster?”

“Yes, I’m your Mommy’s teacher from a long, long time ago.”

“Ahm Pwinz Awegs.”

“I’m very pleased to meet you, Alex.”

“Dat’s ma buggy, Obee,” he pointed to Aubie sitting on Sookie’s lap.

“Yes, I’ve met Aubie before.”

“Buggy itha Eff. Ahm Bampaya.”

Nivian was beyond amused, these children were enchanting.

“So I’ve heard.”

“Dowoo wyg Bampaya?”

“You and your Daddy are the first Vampires I’ve met in a very, very long time.”

“Dowoo wyg me an ma Dadee?”

“Yes, I think I like you very much.”

Alex looked at Sookie. “She means good, Alex. Very much means very good.”

“Vewy buch meenth vewy dood,” Alex repeated to himself to try to remember.

“Ah wygu” Alex said and reached for her, and she happily hugged him. He stroked Her flame colored hair, “Ah wyg ur ayr. urs ith owage an ma ayr ith wyde.” Alex got comfortable sitting on the edge of the table between Nivian and Sookie and settled in for a good long chat with “Mameeth teaster.”

Eric was relieved to hear Nivian’s answers, and he was very proud at Alex’s bravery in walking up to Her. He could tell that Nivian was enjoying Alex’s attention, and Alex was using quite a few words Eric had never heard him use before.

“Sookie?” Eric spoke to her telepathically.


“Is it my imagination, or is Alex using a lot of new words?”

“I noticed it, too! I wonder what’s causing that?”

“I don’t know, but I think we should find out.”



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