Part 17 Such Pure and Immaculate Strength
Sookie opened her eyes and was sitting in the big chair again, but it felt like afternoon this time because the sun was bright and warm.
She heard her name and stood to look back beyond the shore where she stood and she saw a beautiful blonde woman in a long white dress walking over a hill coming toward her and waving. As She drew near, Sookie noticed that She was wearing a rosary around her neck that was just like the one around Sookie’s neck. The Woman was tall and beautiful, with porcelain skin and flowing hair that ended below her hips. She was smiling brilliantly and walked right up Sookie and kissed her on the lips, wrapping Her arms around her.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Dearest!”
“Thanks – are you Freyja?”
“Of course, Sookie, you know Me!”
“Yeah, I do! I’ve seen you before!” Sookie suddenly flashed back on seeing this blonde woman who smelled like roses when she was a little girl.
“Yes, you were very small, then, but I used to visit you when you’d cry yourself to sleep and sing to you.”
“I thought those were dreams!”
“They were, and they weren’t, just like now.”
“I have so many things I want to ask you…”
“All in good time, Dear Girl. There isn’t time today – you have to do Me a favor!”
“What can I do for you?” Sookie couldn’t think of any way she might help a Goddess.
“You have to take this to Sookie!” She laughed as She pulled the rosary over Her head. “Tell her the other rosary needs to stay in Elfyria.”
“But I’m Sookie!” She blinked with surprise, but suddenly Sookie was near the water, the chair was gone, and she saw a woman dressed just like her holding a baby. Sookie gasped as she realized she was looking at herself!
The Other Sookie turned to look at her, looking as confused as she.
“Who are you?” The Other Sookie asked, not wanting to scare the apparition, or whatever she was seeing, away.
“I’m Sookie Stackhouse, but I think I’m you,” Sookie said, a little scared and a little cautious, but also fascinated.
“I’m Sookie Northman now,” The Other Sookie said with a soft smile, suddenly feeling the urge to protect the girl in front of her.
“What year is it?” Sookie suddenly became excited that she knew what was happening. “I live in 2006.”
“It’s 2009 where I am.”
“Is that my baby? Eric’s baby?” The girl touched her own stomach, which The Other Sookie noticed was just starting to form the familiar bubble.
“One of them. They’re twins, you know, don’t let anybody tell you different.”
“Twins! Eric will be thrilled!”
“Yes, he will,” The Other Sookie beamed at her, the way she held the baby reminding Sookie of “Madonna and Child” images she’d seen.
“Are we still happy and in love?” Sookie asked hopefully.
“More than ever,” The Other Sookie smiled, walking closer so Sookie could see the baby, “This is Eric Auberon. His brother is Eric Alexander.”
Sookie looked at the baby closely, but both Sookies were instinctively afraid to touch. Eric Auberon looked at Sookie with big blue eyes, giving her a big smile and saying, “Mama!” Sookie’s eyes welled up as she said, “he has Eric’s eyes! He’s so beautiful – is he vampire or Fae?”
“This one’s Fae, but there’s one of each, and Sookie, never trust Niall. He’ll try to keep the Fae child if you’re not careful. Ask Freyja to help you keep them together!”
“Freyja! She told me to give this to you,” Sookie held out the Goddess rosary beads she and Bobbie had made.
The Other Sookie reached for them, but there was a shimmer of light and the identical string Freyja had given her was now hanging from The Other Sookie’s hand. “Freyja said to tell you that the others need to stay in…what was that name?”
“Yes, the other rosary beads have to stay there, but She said to give you these.”
“Where did they come from?” Sookie asked as she looked at the beads. Aubie was looking them over, too, and playing with them.
“Bobbie and I made them of materials that Freyja likes – rubies, garnets, copper, rose quartz,” she listed all she could remember.
“You know Bobbie? In 2006? And you’re already pregnant?”
“Yeah, Eric and I just clicked and before we knew what hit us, we were bonded and expecting Baby E in just a week or so!”
The Other Sookie’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Sookie, this is important – did you ever sleep with Bill Compton?”
“No, thank Goddess! Eric got me away from him before we got that close. He was just trying to recruit me for his Queen!”
The Other Sookie closed her eyes and said, “Thank you, Goddess!” and promptly disappeared.
Sookie was standing alone on the shore, stunned, her mind swirling from her conversation with her older self. Two babies? The chair was suddenly next to her so she sat down and put her hand over her tummy. She closed her eyes and concentrated, but as usual she only saw one tiny baby in there. “Where’s the other one?” She wondered aloud.
“Trapped in the Land of Faerie,” Freyja said from behind her.
Sookie jumped up and faced her, frantic, “how is that possible?”
“He’s in an egg. If nothing changes, Eric Auberon will be born there and Niall will raise him…”
“The one I just saw? NO! He’s my baby! Mine and Eric’s! He should be with us!”
“There’s not much time, but if you work quickly, he can join his brother within your womb.”
“What do I have to do? Just tell me, and I’ll do it!”
“If you want him, you’ll have to go get him.”
“You mean go to Elfyria?”
Sookie’s eyes flew open. “NO!” she said as she sat up in bed, startling Bobbie who’d been just about to wake her.
“What happened, Sweetie?”
“My baby! My baby is trapped!” Sookie was frantic, and Bobbie wasn’t sure whether she was still dreaming. She put the breakfast tray on the side table and sat on the bed next to Sookie, trying to calm her.
“Here, Sookie, breathe slowly. Did you have another dream?”
“It wasn’t a dream, I saw Freyja, and another Sookie and one of my babies and She said if I want him, I have to go get him!”
“Go where, Sookie?”
“Elfyria or the Land of Faerie or whatever you call it. Niall has my other baby in an egg and Freyja said there’s not much time if I want him inside me, I have to go get him!”
“You actually saw Freyja?”
“Yes, She kissed me and hugged me and she smells like roses, just like I remember! She had a rosary just like we made and She told me to “give it to Sookie,” but I said, “I’m Sookie,” but then there she was, but she was me three years from now and she had one of my babies, but Freyja said that one is trapped in Elfyria and if I want him I have to go get him!”
“How do you know there are two babies?”
“Sookie 2009 told me they’re twins and not to let anybody tell me different and never to trust Niall because he’d try to keep Eric Auberon if he could…”
“Eric Auberon? That’s the twin’s name?”
“Yes, the one inside me is Eric Alexander. He’s a vampire, but Eric Auberon is Fae. He was so beautiful, Bobbie, you should have seen him. He’s has beautiful blue eyes just like Eric’s and white blonde hair and he looked right at me and called me Mama!”
“OK, let’s look at this logically. You know that Freyja is real now, right?”
“Right, I saw Her and touched Her and smelled Her and spoke to Her.”
“And this other Sookie was definitely you?”
“Yes, but she was older.”
“But she still had the baby?”
“Shouldn’t he have been, like, three years old?”
“Yeah, but he wasn’t and now that I think about it, he was too small to be able to talk but he did!”
“Have you had any kind of ultrasound to know that you aren’t carrying two babies?”
“No, but I can see him in my mind, and there’s only one. Eric will tell you the same thing.”
“And you said Niall has him?”
“So you can’t ask him for help. Who else do you know who would know about going to Elfyria?”
“I don’t think Amelia will. I don’t know if Eric would or not, but I think he might. Maybe Dr. Ludwig?”
“OK, we have three possible courses of action: 1) We call Amelia and see what she knows. 2) You call Dr. Ludwig and ask her how to get there, or 3) you wait for Eric and see what he suggests.”
“OK, I don’t know what Ludwig’s relationship to Niall is, so I think I should talk to Eric before I do that. The only thing I can do right now is to call Amelia, right?”
“Right, so let’s start there.”
“OK, let me call, her.” Bobbie went around the bed and got the phone from Eric’s nightstand and handed it to her, sitting on his side of the bed facing back so she and Sookie could talk.
Sookie’s hands were shaking a little as she dialed her old phone number.
“Amelia? It’s Sookie.”
“Hey, Sweetie, what’s up?”
“Are you and Gran still busy today?”
“No, we finished most of the decorations yesterday.”
“OK, I have something really important to talk to you about. Can you come to my house, or maybe meet me and Bobbie somewhere? It’s Witch stuff – really important.”
“I guess, I could. Who’s Bobbie?”
“She’s my new masseuse and personal trainer. She’s a Goddess-worshiper, too.”
“Awesome! Your Grandma has some kind of chicken dinner at her church this afternoon…”
“Oh, yeah, they sell chicken dinners to raise money. Does she need you to help with that?”
“No, she gave me the day off,” Amelia laughed. “She’s already down there.”
“OK, can you come over then? We can all hang out in the pool and talk. Bring everything you have about the Fae.”
“Well, that’s not a lot. Anything I should specifically look for?”
“Yeah, how to get there. I need to go to Elfyria.”
“Yikes. I’m pretty sure I won’t have much, but I’ll call Octavia before I leave and see if she has any expertise in that area. I’ll make sure I bring my Tarot cards, too, in case we need them.”
“OK, we’ll be waiting for you. Wear your bathing suit.”
“She’s coming over?” Bobbie asked
“Yes, so let’s have breakfast and we’ll swim and talk. I’m pretty sure this is beyond her experience but at least this will break the day up while I wait for Eric to wake up. I know I need to talk to him. You and Amelia can keep me from climbing the walls until sundown.”
“Well, that’s something at least,” Bobbie tried to be positive as she went back around the bed and put the tray over Sookie’s lap.
“Oh, cool – salmon!” Sookie said, feeling little more grounded now that she’d done something, even if it wasn’t much. “At least I know what I’ll look like in three years,” she tried to joke about it. Something in her knew she had to wait for Eric, and she also knew that come hell or high water, she was going to get her baby.
“Did you look the same?”
“No, a lot better. My hair was longer and blonder, I was in great shape and my skin was glowing and perfect. I guess living with Eric and having babies agrees with me.”
“Did you seem happy?”
“I seemed… what’s that word that they always use about the way Mary smiles at Jesus in almost every painting of them?” She asked as she piled up salmon on a bagel spread thickly with cream cheese and topped it with another to make a sandwich.
“Yeah, like that. There was a glow about her and the baby, and he was just the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen!” Sookie took a huge bite of the sandwich.
“So you’ll have two gorgeous babies? Nothing wrong with that!”
“Yeah. I wonder why one made it and the other didn’t?” She said with her mouth full. Suddenly, she was starving.
“What does your intuition tell you?”
“Somebody wanted it that way, but it’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” she said without even thinking, then she took a big swig of grape juice.
“Could that be Niall?”
“Yeah, but it’s not.” She looked up in the air for a second then said, “opportunistic… Niall is being opportunistic. Like, something went wrong, but the way it went wrong benefits him, so he did nothing to fix it.” She took another big bite of bagel.
“Interesting. Could he have fixed it?”
“Yeah, but he won’t – he’s better off this way.”
“Is the baby better off this way?”
“NO WAY! He’s being… cheated. Yeah, he’s being cheated out of something, like, not just being in me and having Eric for a daddy, but something more tangible. Niall is taking something away from him this way.”
“OK, I want you to write that down, and describe everything that happened in your dream.”
“I need a better word than “dream” for these spells,” she said between bites, “they’re way too real to be dreams.”
“No, it’s more than seeing…”
“Visitations…?” Sookie considered. “Yeah, I like that. Visitations!” She finished her bagel and let Bobbie set the tray aside.
“OK, write everything you can remember about your visitation, then we’ll head for the pool.”
“Actually, let’s go on down and I’ll write by the pool. I need some air, or I’m going to flip out.”
“OK, put your suit on and I’ll meet you down there.”
“Good,” Sookie threw her steno pad on the bed and headed for the dresser, finding a brand new pink floral bikini that she really liked, and she grabbed one of Eric’s white shirts from the closet. Her tote bag was already packed except for her steno pad and her iPod, which she found in Eric’s office in a thing that turned out to be a charging station on the inside wall. She put her hair in a ponytail, grabbed the steno pad from the bed and bounced down the stairs, muttering to herself that he was her baby and she was bringing him home, no matter what.
“Hey, Margaret! Hey, Alicia!”
“Good morning, Miss Sookie!” Margaret said with surprise.
“Good Morning!” Alicia laughed, knowing Sookie was headed for the pool.
“My friend Amelia is on her way over in a bit. Will you show her out to the pool when she gets here, please?”
“Sure, we will. Have fun!” Alicia told her.
Sookie felt better the minute she stepped out of the house. She pulled her shirt off and sat in a chair by one of the tables under an umbrella and pulled out her steno pad and pen. She tried to remember everything that happened that morning, writing it all down as clearly as she could, knowing Eric would read it when he got up. She thought she covered it pretty thoroughly, but she must not have written long because Bobbie wasn’t even down there yet, but she closed the pad and headed for the rack full of pool toys. She grabbed her favorite pink mattress and jumped into the pool at the side, letting out a whoop as she hit the cold water. She managed to get up on the mattress and lean back, letting the sun warm her tummy. She was never really sure what happened next.
“Sookie? Can you hear me?” Sookie tried to reply to Freyja’s voice, but she couldn’t lift her head. “It’s almost time, dearest! Be ready!”
“Sookie? Sookie, wake up!” Amelia called as she waded into the pool and Bobbie pushed the mattress Sookie was lying on up to the shallow end, still trying to wake Sookie up. Bobbie checked her pulse, which felt normal, and Sookie was warm and her hair was dry, so she didn’t seem as if she’d been in the water.
“She’s warm, her pulse is normal, she’s breathing. Thank Goddess she didn’t roll into the water,” Bobbie said with relief. “She hasn’t been out here that long. I don’t know what could have happened.”
“Do you think we can lift her and get her over to a lounge chair without dropping her?”
“I could get Leroy to move her…”
“Go get him. I’ll stay here,” Amelia urged her.
Bobbie went up the steps and ran to the servant’s quarters where Leroy was working on a bug sprayer. “Leroy, Sookie is in the pool and we can’t wake her up. Could you come lift her out of the pool for us?”
“Sure, Ma’am.” Leroy jumped up and followed Bobbie back out to the pool. He saw the situation, so he kicked off his workboots and pulled his pant legs up, walking into the water and scooping Sookie up off the mattress. Bobbie and Amelia directed him to the closest lounge chair and he put her down gently. “You want me to call an ambulance, Miss Bobbie?”
“No, that’s OK, Leroy, we’ll take it from here. Thanks for your help.”
He shrugged and picked up his boots, heading back to continue fixing the sprayer. “Holler if you all need me again.”
“OK, there’s nothing physically wrong, and it’s Sookie, so let’s think magickal. What happened this morning?” Amelia asked, stroking her forehead and her cheek to test her temperature. She felt normal and her complexion looked rosy.
“She met Freyja, she met an older version of herself and one of the babies and Freyja told her that one of her babies is trapped in Elfyria and if she wants to have him “in her” she has to go get him.”
“Holy shit,” Amelia said softly.
“Yep. What did you find out about going to Faerie?”
“All I could find was some folklore that said it’s not hard to get there, but you have to know where to get there.”
“Your teacher didn’t know what to do?”
“She thinks Eric will know how to get there.”
“Sookie thought so, too. Do you know anything about Dr. Ludwig?” Bobbie asked
“Only her reputation. She’s supposed to be the best.”
“Should we call her?”
“That’s actually not a bad idea. Do you have her number?”
“It’s in Sookie’s phone. Hang on,” Bobbie rushed over to the table where Sookie’s tote was sitting and found her phone inside. “I’ve got it,” she said as she dialed the number. “Hi, Dr. Ludwig? This is Bobbie James. Yes, well, Sookie is unconscious, and we can’t find anything wrong with her, but we can’t wake her up. Yes, the maids and gardeners are around. OK. She’s coming to the front door – I’ll go get her!” Bobbie ran through the house, glad that Margaret and Alicia were nowhere to be seen. She opened the front door and a very plain, normal looking woman wearing a blues smock and pants, like you see in a hospital, was already there. She had a traditional leather doctor’s bag and there was a very normal blue Chevy Impala in the driveway.
“Nice to see you again, Bobbie.”
“Hi, Doctor. She was floating in the pool on an air mattress, but she’s not conscious,” Bobbie explained as they moved back through the house, “she wasn’t in the water, and her pulse and temperature seem normal.”
“Did you check her blood pressure?”
“No, we don’t have a cuff.”
“I’ll leave one with you when I go. Blood pressure might be a challenge with this pregnancy in particular,” Ludwig explained as they arrived at the pool and she opened her bag. She produced a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope, and she had Bobbie use them on her so she could be sure Bobbie knew how to use one correctly. Sookie’s blood pressure turned out to be a little low, so the doctor left instructions to check it at least twice a day from that point forward.
“Doctor, could this have anything to do with Sookie seeing Freyja this morning?” Amelia asked.
“Has she already seen Freyja?” Ludwig said with surprise, “I thought it would be a while before She made an appearance. Any idea what They talked about?”
Amelia and Bobbie looked at each other, not sure if they should tell or not, and Ludwig saw their concern.
“Listen, Ladies, I’m her doctor. Her care and the care of that child are my responsibility. I need to know what is going on with them.”
“Sookie met with an older version of herself and saw one of the babies…” Bobbie began.
“One of the babies?” The doctor didn’t know about this at all.
“The older Sookie told her there were twins, one vampire and one Fae, and that Niall would try to keep the Fae child. Freyja told her he’s in an egg and that if Sookie wants to have him inside her, she has to hurry and go get him.”
“Freyja actually told her to go to Elfyria?”
“Did She tell her how to do it?”
“Don’t let her try it alone. She doesn’t know enough about the Fae to go in there unarmed. If she goes at all, I’d say Northman should be with her.”
“She has no idea how to do it.”
“Northman does, though. He’s been there before.”
“Sookie doesn’t know that.”
“What don’t I know? Ouch!” Sookie opened her eyes as Ludwig was pumping the cuff up again.
“Nice to see you back.” The little doctor checked her pressure and then looked into her eyes. “What do you remember?”
“I remember floating in the pool, and I heard Freyja calling me, but I couldn’t raise my head. She said to be ready because it’s almost time.”
“Yeah, but I feel tingly.”
“Tingly? Where? All over?”
“My hands, my head, my chest and especially where the baby is.”
“Does it hurt?”
“No, it’s actually kind of pleasant, like my body is waking up and getting stronger.”
“Are you keeping notes on these things?”
“Yeah, in a steno pad… ” Sookie motioned toward the table but suddenly the steno pad was in her hand, and everyone except the doctor jumped.
Ludwig cackled, “well, now, that’s a step in the right direction! You practice that with small things, and before you know it, you’ll be able to teleport!”
“Yes, pop in and out of places the way I do. That’s the easiest way to get to Elfyria, though as I told your Witches here, Northman certainly knows how to get there.”
“Oh, yes, little girl, he’s been there before. I’m sure he’ll tell you about it when the time is right.”
“When the time is right?”
“He’s a thousand years old, my dear. There are things about him that will need some preparation before he’s ready to share and before you’re ready to hear. We’re at the beginning of a long process, so try to be patient and focus on one thing at a time. You’ve got that little one inside you to think about.”
“I’ve got another baby, too, though, and I’m going to bring him home, no matter what it takes.”
“You don’t want to start a war with Niall, Sookie. The ramifications…”
“I don’t care about ramifications. Freyja says he’s keeping one of my children from me. If there’s war over it, HE started it.”
“Alright, well, you’re awake now. You and Northman talk it over and give me a call if you have questions. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon, and practice that new skill.” The doctor was gone.
“Can you guys help me up?” Sookie asked, “I feel kind of wobbly.” Amelia and Bobbie each grabbed an arm and helped her stand. Sookie bent her knees and shook her legs out a little, then she stretched and walked around, shaking out her arms and her hands. “Sorry if I scared you all.”
“We’re just glad you’re OK. Are you still tingling?” Bobbie asked.
“Yeah, but I feel weirdly strong all of a sudden. I mean, my head is swimming but my body feels strong.”
“Maybe you should go in and lie down, Sweetie?” Amelia suggested
“No, I want to float in the pool. You guys will be with me. It’ll be fine – come on!” Before they knew what was happening, Sookie dove into the pool and came up at the other end where her mattress had floated, laying across it. They couldn’t leave her in there alone, so Bobbie grabbed two mattresses while Amelia took off the sundress that she had on over her green tank suit and they followed her into the water.
“So how long was I out?”
“We’re not sure,” Bobbie said, “I came down right after you and looked out, and you were sitting at the table writing in your steno pad. I got a phone call that lasted about 25 or 30 minutes, then Amelia was at the door so we came out together.”
“You were out here on a mattress, but you were completely unresponsive. You scared the crap out of us, Kid. We’re lucky you didn’t slip into the water.”
“Freyja wouldn’t let that happen,” Sookie said with absolute certainty.
“We’d hope not, Sookie, but let’s not test that theory, OK?” Amelia was dead serious, “you don’t get in the pool unless someone is watching you.”
“Bobbie’s with me most of the time. I didn’t get hurt.”
“Just be cautious, Sookie. Even if nothing happened to you, you have to think of the baby.”
“I’m thinking of nothing else, believe me. I’m aware of him all the time.”
“Yeah, especially when he’s awake. He reacts to my thoughts, too.”
“Are you sure?” Amelia thought maybe it was Sookie’s imagination.
“Definitely. He reacts to Eric’s, too, if he touches my tummy.”
“Do you think he’ll be able to hear vampires?” Amelia asked.
“We probably won’t know that until he’s born,” Sookie mused, “but I know Eric had his hand on my tummy thinking “kick” and the baby responded. If he thought “kick, kick,” the baby kicked twice.”
“How do you know what he was thinking?”
“I can hear him, sometimes.”
“You can hear vampires now?”
“I don’t know- I can hear Eric, sometimes, but I think it’s through the bond.”
“Does a blood bond work that way?”
“I don’t know if they do normally or not, but ours works that way. Of course, I won’t know for sure until I’m around other vampires.”
“Excuse me, Miss Sookie?” Margaret came out the back door, “will Miss Amelia be staying for dinner?”
“Oh, no, thanks, Margaret –I’ll be leaving before then,” Amelia answered for her.
“Are you sure, Amelia? You just got here?” Sookie had assumed she’d stay.
“Your Grandma and I were planning to spend Tuesday and Wednesday nights here, so I’ll go home tonight and let you and Eric talk. You can call if you need me, but I have a feeling Eric is the one that’s going to have the answers you need. We’re all going shopping Wednesday, remember?”
“Oh, I forgot! You’ll come with us, right, Bobbie?”
“Sure, if you want me to.”
“Good, you can drive. We’re going to pick up some last minute things for the wedding and have lunch and all. Speaking of which, Friday, I’m spending the night at Gran’s so Eric doesn’t see me before the ceremony. You can come with me, if you want to and we’ll have a slumber party. Amelia is going to teach me to read cards!”
“Ooh – fun. What deck do you use, Amelia?”
“The Connolly Tarot – have you heard of it?”
“No, that’s one of the new ones, right? I’m looking for a new deck. I’ve been using The Mythical Goddess Tarot for myself, but it’s more for communing with the Goddess, not for predicting for other people.”
“My teacher insisted I use the Connolly – it’s the only one she’ll teach with. I was trying to use a Renaissance Tarot, but it was hard to get a positive reading with them. I’ll be ordering a deck for Sookie, you want me to get you one, too?”
“Please! I want to see what she likes about it.”
Amelia was on her way back to Bon Temps and Sookie and Bobbie had finished her massage, changed their clothing and they were enjoying some turkey cutlets in a parmesan crust and some green beans with almonds when Eric came up the stairs.
“Good evening, Ladies!”
“Eric!” Sookie jumped up and hugged him as she did every night. He looked amazing in a pair of faded jeans, a blue dress shirt that was half-way unbuttoned and his favorite motorcycle boots.
“Mmmm” he purred, “I like this blue dress – we match! Did you have a good day, dear one?”
“We have to talk, it’s really important.”
“Can it wait until you’ve finished your meal? You need your nourishment.”
“OK, but it’s the most important thing in the world!”
Eric almost laughed, but he could feel that she was completely serious. He sat with her while she finished and they said goodnight to Margaret and Alicia as they started the dishwasher and went home for the evening.
After they were out the door, Bobbie said, “I’m going to go to my room, Sookie, so you guys can talk. Call me if you need me. Good luck!” Bobbie said as she took a slice of pecan pie and glass of sweet tea and rode the elevator up to her room.
“Alright, Sookie, what is so important?” Eric asked with concern.
“I met Freyja this morning…”
“But Eric, She said there are supposed to be two babies!”
“Sookie, you know there is only one…”
“Listen,” she said with such urgency it shocked him, “whatever Niall did, something went wrong. There’s a second baby, in an egg, and Niall is planning to keep him and raise him. Freyja said if I want to have him in my womb with Eric Alexander, I have to go get him soon!”
“Eric Alexander?” Eric loved that name, but hadn’t told Sookie about it yet. He wouldn’t realize that until later when he had a moment to think.
“Yes, the one inside me is Eric Alexander and the other one is Eric Auberon, but Eric Auberon is in Elfyria or the land of Faerie or whatever.”
“Sookie, how you know all of this?”
“Freyja and Sookie 2009 told me…”
“What? Sookie…” he was concerned that she sounded delusional now.
“Here, read my notes from today while I get a piece of pie.” Sookie opened her steno pad to the right page and handed to him, then got herself a piece of pecan pie and squirted several mounds of whipped cream on top of it, then brought it back to the table and ate quickly while he read.
“Sookie, the child in Faerie is Fae?”
“Yes, and the one I’m carrying, Eric Alexander, is vampire.”
Eric hesitated for a minute. How could he say this without upsetting her?
“Don’t you dare say it, Eric Northman, I mean it!” She had never been more serious in her life and he was shocked she spoke to him that way.
“Say what?” Was she reading his mind again?
“That we should leave him there. If those words come out of your mouth, I’ll never forgive you!”
“They’re both our babies, Eric!” She was adamant and wasn’t going to hear any argument. He wondered if she’d already thought of this, because she had all her arguments ready. “Freyja wants him with us or She wouldn’t have told me about him!”
“That is true…” he had to consider that seriously. He had expected Freyja to contact Sookie, and he knew She’d only tell Sookie the truth, but this idea was too strange to have prepared for. He was completely taken by surprise and that was a very rare feeling for him. It was disorienting.
“Eric, I saw him! He’s the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen! He has white blonde hair and your blue eyes, and even that little cleft in his chin!” She smiled and tapped his chin as she spoke and he could only think of how beautiful she was as she beamed at him.
He leaned forward, pressed his forehead to hers and smiled, closing his eyes and trying to picture his son for a second as she hugged him, then it flashed through his mind again that this child was Fae!
“He called me “Mama,” Eric!”
She could obviously hear his thoughts and there was nothing else to do so he kissed her – long, hard and deep – and wrapped his arms around her. The last thing in the world that Eric wanted to do was to take Sookie, pregnant with his son, to Elfyria, but he knew it would break her heart if he refused. It might also anger Freyja, and that was no small thing. He also knew full well that if she figured out how to do it, she’d go without him and that wouldn’t be good at all.
“Alright, Sookie, we will go together. It’s much too dangerous for you to try it alone. Eat your pie and let me think of how we want to go about this.”
“Any idea where we’d look for him?”
“I’m sure he’s in Niall’s palace, probably in the room where she did her rituals.”
“Titania H’Eloise – Niall’s wife.”
“The one who was murdered?”
“Did you know her?”
“Yes, I knew her briefly before she died. I’m sure Niall would keep anything as important as this under his own roof while he can.”
“While he can?”
“If he was planning to hide the child, he probably plans to have someone raise him elsewhere but he’d wait until the child is born to be sure nothing goes wrong. You say he is in an egg?”
“Right, that’s what I was told.”
“Is Bobbie the only one who knows about this?”
“No, Amelia knows. She came over but she couldn’t come up with a way to get there. She said some source said it’s not a matter of how to get there but knowing where to get there.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“Dr. Ludwig knows, too.”
That shocked Eric. “How would she know?”
Sookie explained how she heard Freyja’s voice and the girls couldn’t wake her.
“She did not discourage you?”
“Well, she said we should talk about it because it might start a war with Niall.”
“That is very true, Sookie. He’s not a person you want to anger.”
“He’s got no business trying to keep our child, Eric. He made this happen, but something went wrong and he could have fixed it but didn’t. I’m the one with the right to be angry.”
“She didn’t make any suggestions how to go about it?”
“She said we could call if we had questions.”
“I was supposed to practice this new thing I did, but I don’t know how I did it.”
“What new thing?”
“See that can of whipped cream?”
Eric looked at the island in front of them and saw a can of Reddi-Whip. “Yes?”
“Whipped cream!” Sookie stretched out her hand and the can instantly appeared in it.
“When did you learn this, Sookie?” Now this was good news!
“I was able to do it when they woke me up. I was tingling all over and felt wobbly but really strong, and she asked me if I wrote down my dream and I meant to point at the steno pad, but it appeared in my hand! She said if I practiced I’d be able to teleport like she does.”
“And you just now thought to mention it?”
“Well, yeah, I was more worried about our baby!”
“Sookie, your new skill might make getting him much easier.”
“Yes, we might not have to travel to cross over. If you can teleport, we’re half-way there.”
“How do you get there without it?”
“You need the blood of a fairy and a willow tree with a root that points exactly westward.”
“How much blood?”
“Just a small amount.”
“What do you do with it?”
“You wear it – you smear it on your chest, over your heart, and some on the tree, then follow the root westward.”
“Where do you get the blood?”
“That’s the hard part, usually, but you have fairy blood, so that’s not a problem.”
“I’m only part fairy, though – will it still work?”
“Your blood is distinctly Fae since you are pregnant, but there’s only one way to find out.”
“You’re half fairy – would your blood work?”
“I have no idea. When I went, I didn’t know I had any Fae in me, and I was given the blood to cross over.”
“Who gave you the blood?”
Eric didn’t know what to say, again. It was too early to tell her this part of his life. She’d never understand.
“Tell me you didn’t kill my grandmother!”
“I didn’t, Sookie! I couldn’t!” How did she figure that out?
“You couldn’t? Like, you tried and couldn’t do it?”
“I have always been a warrior, Sookie. I was a mercenary, and I was sent to Elfyria to do a job…”
“Killing my great grandmother?”
“Yes, but when I saw her, I…” His head was swimming – this was too much! It’s too early!
“When were you going to tell me?”
“Eventually, when we’d been together for a while and you understood more about magick and Supe politics.”
“Look, Eric, I met a version of me from 2009 and she obviously just had that baby, and she was shocked that I already knew Bobbie and was already pregnant, PLUS, she was really relieved when I told her I never slept with Bill. I’ve read enough mystery novels to put this together!”
“Then explain it to me, because I am lost.” He was being too honest, again, but what the hell?
“Don’t you get it, Eric? We got it right! That Sookie slept with Bill Compton and somehow that cost her three years of being with you and having our kids. She knows Niall is trying to keep our baby because he tried to keep hers! She didn’t get to give birth to that baby! That’s why Freyja let her come back to see me! So we could get him now, so he can be born from me instead of an egg!”
Eric nodded as he considered her theory. “Yes, that makes sense. It’s what you would do. If there were any way you could set that right, you’d find it and do it, and she did.”
“Alright, so we know we’re on the right track, and we’re getting there three years faster than she did. So even if it feels too soon to tell me about you and my grandmother, just suck it up and tell me like you did about Freyja.”
“Alright. Come into the den.” He stood and pulled her into the other room.
“It’s just cozier than the kitchen. Sit here with me,” he pulled her onto the couch next to him and wrapped his arms around her. She put her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear, “I love you, Eric. Don’t be afraid. Just tell me the truth.”
“Alright, but stay here in my arms. It makes me feel more grounded.” It flashed through his mind that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d shown such vulnerability.
“OK, who hired you?”
She looked at him shocked, but bit her tongue so she didn’t scream. “Why would he hire you?”
“Fae are incapable of harming the True Heir to the throne. Niall thought he could not kill her himself, so he hired me.”
“But you’re Fae, so when you tried to kill her, you couldn’t?”
“I didn’t know I was Fae. All I knew was that she was the most beautiful, magickal thing I had ever seen in my life.”
“More than me?”
“No, exactly like you.”
“Did you fall in love with me because I reminded you of her?”
“No, Sookie, I am in love with you in a completely new way. I never thought of her until Niall contacted me. I had apparently succeeded in blocking it all out of my mind. It was very … traumatic.”
“So, did you fall in love with her?”
“Yes, I did.”
“I stayed to protect her, but I could not taste her food for her. Niall laced her mead with lemon. They were at a banquet, and he made a toast to her beauty, and she drank it before she realized what he’d done.”
“What did you do after she died?”
“I came back, I tried to forget. I never spoke of it until now.”
“Pam doesn’t even know?”
“How could I tell her? No vampire would understand. They’d think me a fool for falling in love with a Faerie Queen. The wars broke out shortly after and my duty was to my vampire territory. I focused on that.”
“Will they think you’re a fool for being in love with me?”
“No, they will envy me for many reasons. Most will only notice your scent and your beauty, and the fact that you are having my child will distract them from everything else. Most would kill to have what I have with you.”
“OK, so when do we go, and how?”
“I’ll have to take a sword. We’ll need to dress in something light because the hallways are white. I’m pretty sure that your blood and your gift will get us there if you anoint me with it and state where you want to go.”
“You mean, like cut myself and put it over your heart?”
“I think so. I wonder if we should call Ludwig first to make sure?”
“No. I don’t know why, but I’m sure she shouldn’t know until after.”
“Here, Sookie, stand over here.” He led her to the center of the room. “I need a katana from the fourth floor. Call it.”
“Katana!” She was holding a long, curved sword in her hands before she realized it, accidentally cutting her hand. As Eric took it from her, Sookie reached into his shirt and pressed her bleeding palm to his chest and said, “Eric Auberon!”
In an instant, they were in a large, cold bedroom of white stone with a fireplace and a table covered with red silk. There was a large canopy bed with dark velvet curtains, and people could be heard moving around in the hall. Eric put his hand over Sookie’s mouth and pulled her around the bed away from the door. “Shh, they might hear us!” he whispered and she clung to him until the sounds in the hall had ceased.
“Eric, where are we? I’ve been here before!”
“This is Titania’s bed chamber.”
“You’ve been here before, too!”
“Yes, I have, and I never expected to be back.”
“Are you angry with me?”
“No, Sookie, I am overwhelmed by you. I feel as if my past and my present are colliding and it is all I can do just to keep up with you. I would have liked more time to prepare.”
“OK, but we’re here. What do we do now?”
“Titania’s ritual room is the most likely place for Niall to keep the egg.”
“Do you know how to get there from here?”
“Yes, it’s in this wing. On the plus side, we won’t need to leave this section of the castle. On the other hand, Niall and Titania always used that room in the evenings. If he’s in the castle, the chances are very great that he’s there. Be warned, Sookie, I am obviously vampire to any Fae that we meet. They’ll try to kill me, so I must kill them. I’ll have no other choice.”
“What about me?”
“They might recognize you, but they might not, too. Stay behind me, and protect your belly, whatever you do. It would be tragic to lose the baby we have trying to get the other we don’t.”
“Yeah, that’s true. OK, I’ll stay behind you and I’ll do whatever you say.”
“Alright. Don’t speak as we move. Just stay behind me and make as little noise as possible.”
“I think I’m glad I’m barefoot.”
“Shhh.” Eric moved silently toward the door and Sookie followed closely behind, standing back so he could open the door to the hallway. They slipped silently into the hallway, and Sookie could tell Eric knew exactly where they were going. They went to the right down a long passageway that dead-ended in a hall that ran perpendicular to it. Sookie was trying to be as quiet as she could, though her stomach was churning. Eric looked back at her with concern.
“Morning sickness. I never got sick today – until now.”
“If you think you’re going to throw up or faint, tug on my shirt tail.” He led her to the left in the new hallway and they approached a large set of double doors. Eric listened at the door, satisfied that no one was moving within, the scent of tallow burning from candles inside. He moved one door very, very slowly just enough that they could slip inside and he closed it very gently.
Sookie was amazed at the stinging familiarity of the room. It was huge, full of books and scrolls, leather chairs by the fireplace and a long wooden table with a large book on a wooden stand, and things that looked like globes, but with planets and stars, a big crystal ball, and an old fashioned inkwell and a box of quills. In the middle of the floor was a huge gold pentagram and there were huge burning candles stuck on the stone floor all around it. In the center was an oak dais about four foot high set with a huge clear crystal bowl. In the bowl was a blue velvet pillow and there were lights focused on it and a thermometer of all things, clipped to the side of the bowl. Sitting perched on the pillow was a translucent oval, about the size and shape of a lemon, which Sookie suddenly realized had a tiny fetus in it and she lost her dinner on one point of the pentgram.
“Eric, that’s it!” Sookie said a little too loudly, so he motioned for her to be quiet. Eric looked at the way the lights were arranged around the bowl and read the thermometer. “99 degrees, Sookie. It’s set up to keep it at a constant temperature, as if it were in the womb.”
“If we move it and let it cool off, he’ll die!” Sookie didn’t know how she knew that, but she was certain that was the case.
“It came from this direction,” they heard a voice in the hall. “Hide behind the couch, Sookie,” Eric picked her up and deposited her behind a leather sofa to the right side of the hearth, and moved faster than the eye could see to just inside the big doors. Sookie heard him think that he was going to ambush the guards if they came through the door and he was trying desperately to figure out how to maintain a constant temperature on the egg if they moved it. Sookie realized that she really should tell Eric that she could hear his thoughts. It could really come in handy right now. Footsteps were heard in the hallway and Sookie heard Eric think that there were at least four sets of footprints coming this way. Sookie was crouching on the floor, trying to decide how to best protect her belly, when she looked up and noticed five portraits on the great wall facing her. The painting in the center was Sookie! That shocked her and she rose up on her knees just as the guards came through the door.
“Who ar-gh!” The first man started to yell at her but his head was sliced off, then the backstroke cut the man behind him nearly in half. Blood sprayed everywhere as Eric fought the other two, moving almost too quickly to see. Eric tipped a bookshelf to hold off the guards, knowing more were coming to investigate the noise. Eric cut one guard badly and grabbed a curtain to use to parry their blows with his left hand. The long table was tipped as Eric moved behind it and one of the guards cut through the circle of candles to trap him behind. As he moved through the circle, the Fae guard slipped on the vomit and kicked a big candle out of his way, causing on of the lights over the bowl to fall.
“Now, Sookie! Go!” She heard Freyja’s voice and at once Sookie darted out from her hiding place and grabbed the egg just as Eric leapt into the air as both guards moved forward from each side. He somersaulted through the air and landed in front of Sookie, as the guard to the left lost his arm and the other rushed forward screaming
“INTRUDER! INTRUDER!” and the clatter in the hallway grew louder.
“Sookie, the closet behind you – get in!”
Eric wasn’t sure he could hold them all off, but he prayed that at least Sookie might escape injury. Sookie cradled the egg as he closed the door on her, crying, “Freyja, show me what to do!”
“Inside, Sookie! You have to keep it warm!” Sookie saw in her mind what to do and pulled down her panties, slipping the egg up inside her. She pulled her panties back up, feeling a weird cramp as Freyja said “home, Sookie, now!” Sookie burst out of the closet as Eric threw the couch onto the guards, who were slipping and sliding on blood and sick, the bowl and lights crashing to the floor. Sookie dived at Eric’s feet, landing on her knees and wrapping her arms around his legs yelling “HOME!”
There was an explosion of light in the room and Sookie and Eric left a mass of destruction in their wake as Eric’s sword sliced through the neck of the last guard who actually saw them. The explosion in the room destroyed most of the furniture, the large book on the long table the only thing left untouched. No one left alive knew what had happened, or who had been there and there were body parts strewn about the room.
The follow-through from Eric’s sword knocked the lamp off his nightstand, and he stumbled and fell on the bed half in shock, Sookie still ahold of his leg.
“OW!” Sookie doubled over and fell sideways and Eric threw the sword on the floor and knelt next to her.
“Sookie, are you hurt?”
“No, it’s alright. Put me in bed – AAH!”
“He’s going where he belongs,” she said, panting.
“Put me in bed, and go get Bobbie, Eric, now!”
He swept her up and put her on the bed, then zipped up the stairs to Bobbie’s room, pounding on the door, “Bobbie! Bobbie!” he opened the door as she was climbing out of bed. “Sookie needs you in our room, hurry!” and he zipped back down at vampire speed, Bobbie running right behind him as fast as she could.
Sookie was panting the way she’d see women do on TV, and Eric was scared to death. “What can I do?”
“Just hold my hand. Where’s Bobbie?”
“I’m here, Sweetie!” she ran into the room wearing nothing but a big t-shirt that said ‘Goddess’ on it, her big black bag on her shoulder, rushing around the bed to Sookie’s side. “What’s happening?”
“Freyja told me to put the egg inside me to keep it warmmmmmhgggh!” She grunted, “he’s going up where he belongs.”
“You think he’s moving up through your cervix into your womb?”
“Exactly – like birth in reverse!” she said as she squeezed Eric’s hand so hard it amazed him.
“Should I call Dr. Ludwig?” Eric offered
“NO! I’m sure of that. Don’t let anyone know until he’s completely in place. They can’t touch him there, but he’s not in there yet.”
“Eric, get me a wet washcloth,” Bobbie told him just to give him something to do, “Sookie, does this feel right? Is this the way it’s supposed to feel?”
“Yes, I’m sure of it. I feel it moving up. Ah! Ah! AhHHHHHH! Ungh!” there was one last push and a sudden slipping into place. Sookie collapsed backwards, breathing very hard.
“Sweetie, try to slow your breathing, in through your nose, out through your mouth,”
“I think it’s done!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, he’s in there,” Sookie said, exhausted, covered with sweat.
Eric handed her the washcloth and Bobbie put it on Sookie’s forehead.
“Sookie, one of us should make sure you’re not bleeding, or better, have the doctor do it…” Bobbie suggested. On one hand, she trusted Sookie’s intuition, but someone needed to be sure it was the second baby going in rather than the first baby coming out.
“You do it, Bobbie, I’m sure it’s alright now.”
“Alright, Sweetie, keep breathing.” Bobbie pulled a couple of plastic gloves out of a package in her bag and put them on as Eric helped Sookie out of her panties, leaning on the bed beside her. Sookie held her legs up and back and let Bobbie slip her fingers inside, pressing lightly on her uterus, which felt firm and fine. She felt something odd and pulled out an empty jelly-like shell that reminded Bobbie of a vitamin E capsule that had been pierced and squeezed empty. “What’s this?”
“That’s the outside of the egg. I need to keep that!”
“What do you want to do with it?” Bobbie was following Sookie’s lead right now because this was completely unknown territory.
“See if I’ve got a pair of silk panties in my drawer.”
Eric got up and looked in the top left dresser drawer. “These seem to be silk, I think?”
“No, those are nylon. Silk will probably be really bright colors.”
He found a tiny pair in a floral pattern of jewel tones and showed it to the girls.
“That looks right,” Bobbie said and reached for them, looking at the tag that said “100% silk.”
“Here, give me the panties and the shell.” Sookie asked, and Bobbie gave them to her.
Sookie blessed the empty shell, saying, “Thank you, Freyja!” kissing it, and wrapping it in the panties, then carefully tucking it into the bottom drawer of her nightstand.
“Eric, make me a promise!”
“What is that, my Angel?” He’d never called Sookie that before, and it made Sookie blush with love.
“Get me a really special box to keep that in – something I can keep forever?”
Tears welled in Eric’s eyes. “Of course, I will, Sookie, so we never forget that we fought for our child.” He kissed her hard and she rolled in his arms. Bobbie quietly dropped the rubber gloves in the trash, picked up her bag and quietly closed the door behind her, leaving the whole family to revel in their blood bond, feeling whole in an entirely new way.
The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated. ~Washington Irving