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Chapter 6

 

The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.

I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.

This story is rated M

 

Andy and Kendra were busy doing damage control. They had removed the bullet from Sookie’s house but the front porch was still taped off. Would be for the next couple of days as well as the spot out in the woods where apparently Hadley had fired the shot and tried to kill her cousin. So it was quiet for the time being out at the old Stackhouse farm and they left it that way and went back into town.

Not so quiet at the police station.

The entire town had stopped by to listen to Hadley scream and moan about her wrong doings as Jason sat there and yelled and screamed about how he was never going to get laid again with a ghost sobbing and yelling non-stop all the names of the local men she had sexed up and how she wished she had killed Sookie instead of just wounding her. Then she would scream about how she could never do drugs again and Andy had finally called for a preacher who came in, surveyed the situation, said let her do her penitence with the screaming and then walked out.

After they had finally extracted a complete confession, it was sunrise and Andy said, “I have had all the screamin’ and moanin’ and clankin’ of chains I can stand! And just where the fuck are the chains that are bein’ clanked?

Jason, take your ass out of here and take your family member with you!”

“But Andy,” he was crying, “please, get her off me!”

“No,” Andy replied. “Now get out before I throw you out!”

And that had been his morning. Two pots of coffee, a case of the caffeine buzz, someone had brought in some heart healthy muffins that tasted like sawdust and a comin’ on migraine later, the town was still lookin’ in their police station windows!

“I am going to go sleep in the back,” Kendra said as she got up. “Wake me if you need me,” she said to no one as she walked out.

“Listen up day shift,” Andy said as he stood. “Sleep sounds like a real fine idea. I am going to set up the cot in my office and sleep. I need five hours, or at least until noon, which ever comes first. We have everything we need from the Stackhouse farm. Sookie has been questioned and patched up. She has had a night of things as well.

So do not be taking your happy asses out there and be waking her up. I have heard from Arlene and it is business as usual in the soap making business. They are all doing open carry and will shoot-to-kill anyone they do not know. Just keep that in mind.

And whatever you do, do not let Jason and Hadley back in here. Her voice made my ears bleed when she was alive. Now that she is dead, well…” he shook his head. “Her screeching has deteriorated parts of my brain and sucked the marrow from my bones, probably some calcium as well. If the locals want to know what is going on, send them to Jason’s. I am sure he and Hadley would love the company. And if there is any regard for your Sheriff, whoever brought in those nasty-assed muffins, do not do so again!”

 

 

It was quiet at the farmhouse.

Lafayette had set his alarm and was up and moving. He had slept for a couple of hours and he would sleep a few more later today.

But for now, he was headed out to the barn, calling out good morning and thanks for coming in to all that he saw.

“What gives?” he asked Arlene when he found her putting away the milking machines.

“Well, Jason took himself and the screamin’, murderin’ Hadley Savoy into the police station where she confessed to tryin’ to kill Sookie. Apparently everythin’ out of her mouth comes out in a scream or a sob. Real annoyin’ accordin’ to those that saw her.

She has attached herself to Jason and he is cryin’ and boohin’ right along with her.

I guess the entire town stopped by while those two were there to complain about their neighbor’s barkin’ dog or someone callin’ them and hangin’ up.

Some did not even pretend to have a reason. They just came to watch the show. And from what I am hearin’ it was spook-tac-u-lar!”

“Oh ha ha, Red,” Lafayette grinned. “Good one.”

“Thanks Lafayette,” she smiled then she was back to business. “Andy called for the preacher and he said just to let her suffer through it. This was her atonement and it would take as long as it takes.”

“Well just fine then. I am fixin’ to break the fast. Anyone who is hungry, send them on. I won first place in the Shake Your Booty in the Kitchen contest. So I am cookin’ and showin’ off my trophy.

Let me make coffee. I see the goats are milked. I will cook and we’ll talk and plan the day.”

“Speakin’ of cookin’,” she arched an eyebrow, “You are forewarned. Apparently the new bakery has some heart healthy muffins. If you like sawdust, it is okay and will scrape clean the sides of your colon as it moves on out. Myrtle said it was like passin’ a tree. You know, the evergreen kind.

So if you want a donut, go to the Grab N’ Go. They been fryin’ donuts since 1933.”

“Probably the same oil,” they both said together and high-fived.

 

“Mommy,” Sookie heard in her ear, “my Poppi-La La is cooking breakfast.”

“Okay sweet girl,” she opened her eyes and smiled. “Let’s go potty and see about some food.”

Little feet hit the floor and then she was under the bed. “Good morning Daddy.”

“Good morning my angel’s kiss,” she heard Eric say as she giggled and there were loud smacking sounds from both her and Eric.

“Good morning my Uncle Samuel.”

“Good morning my angel’s kiss,” was Samuel’s reply and there were loud smacking sounds of kissing from him as well.

Out came Emmy and she carefully adjusted the bed skirt. “Come on Mommy!”

Sookie was a little amazed that she could see in the pitch-black room.

And then Sookie had a moment.

“Baby girl, have you always been able to see the in dark?”

“Yes,” Sookie saw her nod her head.

There was snickering from under the bed. “Vampire,” they both laughed.

“Both of you just hush and go back to your day rest,” Sookie replied. “We are going to have breakfast. Don’t you get the bleeds and mess up my floors.”

“Yes ma’am,” they both replied along with more laughter.

“Vampires,” she said with a long shuddering sigh. “Oh, bacon!” she smiled as she headed for the bathroom and breakfast.

 

Sookie and Emmy were made much of at breakfast as Lafayette fussed about how they should be having their victuals in bed!

“We got this,” Arlene said to her more than once. “You and that sweet baby go rest.”

When both girls yawned, Lafayette escorted them both back to bed. “Sleep,” he said as he kissed each on the forehead.

When he went back into the kitchen, it was being cleaned up.

“You go get some rest,” Arlene said to him. “You sure enough look like you are runnin’ on empty as well.

We have got this Lafayette. Goats are good. Fields are good. We are good. Just as soon as that police tape comes down off the front door, Mr. Hyett is fixing the doorjamb and painting. I am bleaching the blood off. So we are waiting on Andy for that.”

Lafayette did not say anything, just nodded his head.

“What weighs on you?” Arlene asked.

“You think I should go into town and speak with Hadley?”

“Don’t you bring her screamin’ ass out here,” Arlene’s voice went up an octave and shook her finger at him. “That no good little dope smokin’ lyin’ whore can just live with Jason. I heard she was screamin’ a list a mile long who she has done under the bleachers and in the woods and in the back of respectable folks pick-up trucks while they were in the Piggly Wiggly. She is just what that lazy ass man whore needs.”

“Well all right,” Lafayette nodded. “I am goin’ back to beddy-bye.”

“I’ll be in to fix lunch. You sleep.”

“Thanks, “ he smiled and nodded his head. “Thanks.”

“No,” she started to tear up. “Thank you. You and Sookie make all this possible. We all know that, Sugar. Terry and I are having a house built. Our own home! Never thought that would happen while I was alive. Never did think that was possible,” she said wiping at her eyes. “Same for all of us. You and Sookie see the good. Not the if only.”

“Been there myself, you know that Red. Miss Sooks as well.”

“You go on now,” she hugged him. “We have this.”

 

Bad news traveled fast.

Very fast.

Apparently Hadley had not got the job done to the big bad’s satisfaction. And apparently they knew she would fuck it up, because there was a Plan B in place and ready to go.

 

Later that morning Sookie heard gunfire and sat up in bed! Tossing Emmy under the bed and telling her and the dogs and the vampires to stay, she went to see what was going on.

Lafayette was running down the stairs yelling “What the fuck?” at the top of his lungs, going for a shotgun!

“Sookie, it’s me!” Arlene yelled coming in as Sookie and Lafayette both made the kitchen at the same time.

“I am goin’ out,” Lafayette said as he rushed past Arlene and once outside, started cursing at the top of his lungs.

“Had a pack of wolves come on the land. Probably Were,” she shrugged. “But they didn’t shift back so who is to say?

But they are all dead. As in really and finally dead. There is blood and guts and wolf brain bits everywhere,” she nodded as she opened the fridge door. “What do you want for lunch?”

“Talk to me Arlene,” Sookie eyed her, “or I am going out there myself.”

Arlene turned and faced Sookie. “Well, we all got the word about you being shot and how Ghost Hadley confessed to doing it. But apparently she had an accomplice who drove her all over Hell’s Half Acre after the fact and before she got so scared she died from fright.

Well, small town, you know how we are, word passes and it was a very good show at the police station early this morning with her and Jason.

So we all came prepared,” she said patting the holster on her hip. “Not only bullets but salt and the Word of God with hallelujahs and thank you Jesus thrown in for good measure. So when the goats all started with their panic call and came running to the humans, well, we looked and sure enough, wolves were descending upon us. And then they were not,” she smiled as she patted her holster, again.

“We called the game warden. He is on his way out. Don’t you worry none. We have this.” Then Arlene was back toward the fridge.  “I have a hankering for fried bologna,” she said opening the refrigerator door. “What do you think about friend bologna sandwiches for lunch?”

“Sounds good,” Sookie replied. “And some kind of soup. Just grab one out of the freezer and add chicken bullion to it. I am going to shower.”

“Where’s Emmy?” Arlene asked looking around. “You think she wants chicken noodle?”

“That’s a favorite, can’t go wrong,” Sookie said as she showed her where Lafayette’s concentrate was in the freezer. “I shoved her under the bed with the dogs and told them all to stay there. We’ll be in for lunch in a bit.”

 

“Yes, under the bed with her Daddy and her Uncle Samuel. I wonder what that conversation is going to be like?” she mused as she walked back into her bedroom and lifted the bed skirt. “Dogs and kiddo come on out. You other two just continue to abide.”

“Mommy are our goaty-goats okay?” And you could hear the worry in her little voice.

“Yes my sweet girl, they are fine. There were some big bad wolves looking to have a goaty-goat snack. They should have stayed home,” she kissed her baby girl on the nose.

“Sookie,” she heard Eric draw out her name as he passed her Emmy, “tell me.”

“Well,” she said sitting down on the floor with Emmy in her lap. “Some wolves tried to make a run on the goats. They are now dead and the crew has called the game warden.

Now, sweet girl,” Sookie kissed her. “Mommy is hungry for lunch. How about you?”

“Yes, please,” she said as she got up and started for the bathroom.

“After you eat,” and you could hear the agitation in Eric’s voice. “You come back to bed and rest. I mean it.”

“Bossy Pants,” Sookie said as she stood and then she was not. Eric had her by the ankle and had pulled her under the bed.

“I mean it,” he said as he looked into her eyes.

“Oaky, but you are still a Bossy Pants,” she said as she tried to scoot back out. “You have to let me go. I have things I have to do.”

“I am never going to let you go,” he responded. “Go see to yourself and our daughter.”

As she scooted away and when the two vampires heard the water running, Eric said, “Samuel, how does news travel that fast?”

“You think she is being watched?” he asked.

“There is something,” Eric responded. “We need to find out who this mystery man is and how he is getting his information. He had this planned. Had the pack of Weres ready to go. The wolves could rush the goats, humans would jump in to save them and then they could kill the humans. What they had not counted on were the humans having guns. Nasty surprise.”

“And the Weres would have come in the house to finish what Hadley had not,” Samuel said softly.

Eric growled deep in his throat.

Samuel continued on. “I don’t think it is one of their employees feeding him the information.”

“I don’t either,” Eric replied.  “Who ever this is wants her dead. And perhaps Emmy as well.” Growls of anger came from both. “So let’s find out just who it is.”

 

Sookie and Emmy had lunch at the picnic table out from the kitchen with the crew and watched the hawks and vultures overhead circling the dead wolves that were well out of sight. After lunch was picked up, the game warden truck came driving in pulling the trailer. My Hyett and Lafayette and the rest of the crew got up and went to give testimony.

“You rest,” Arlene said. “Back inside now, both of you, scoot.”

“Bossy Pants,” Sookie eyed her.

“Yes I am,” Arlene said proudly. “Now get!”

 

Sookie and Emmy read, they napped, they talked about how pleased Eric was to receive the cards.

“Daddy liked them all,” Emmy said with a sure nod of her head. “He likes glitter, too!

We never made a birthday card for Uncle Samuel or Auntie Pam,” Emmy said after they read the story Birthday Surprise!

“You are right,” Sookie replied as they picked out the next book. “We need to do that.”

From below the bed came a sniffle and a “Thank you,” from Samuel.

“Go back to sleep down there,” Sookie growled. “I mean it.”

“Yes Samuel,” Eric chuckled. “You must do as Bossy Pants says.”

“Don’t make me come down there,” she growled even louder.

Eric laughed and then in a much more sedate voice he said, “Miss Stackhouse, you are invited any time.”

 

They took another little nap and even in her sleep Sookie could tell that the shadows were lengthening.   She could feel the heat leaving the earth and the leaves had turned another shade of color today, while she had slept.

When the sun went down, the vampires came out. Multiples. None of them were happy as they had all heard the gunfire. The two royals out front really were not happy at all. They had showered out in the barn and now were in the kitchen, grumping about not being in the loop.

“We heard the gunfire and it was not until after lunch Miss Sookie came by to tell us things were just fine,” Ian harrumphed.

“I know,” Sookie nodded. “But the crime scene tape was everywhere and Arlene was watching me like a hawk! I just could not waltz my way out there and start talking to the air with everyone about!”

“We understand that, but still we worried,” Cedric sniffled a little.

“What is up with you two?” Sookie asked.

“The Da’vid has said he has asked your permission for Miss Emmy’s hand when she is old enough and would consent to be his bride.

Well,” Cedric was weeping, “we would do whatever it takes for to such a fine wife for ourselves, me boyo and me.

Miss Sookie, you must maintain your good health and Eric…well” Cedric rolled his eyes, “if you someday you would welcome his charms once again…”

“What?” Eric countered. “Samuel and my daughter? No and no and no!” his voice got progressive louder.

“Emmy may marry whoever she likes,” Sookie replied, her voice even and her eyes glaring. “You have no say in this.”

“I have plenty of say in this,” Eric responded.

“No,” Sookie shook her head. “Samuel is a good and honorable being. Emmy drinks blood. Samuel understands who she is in her core being.”

“I am her father,” he began, taking a step closer to her.

“You are her biology,” Sookie countered. “Samuel has been here for her and myself all along. You blocked my number.”

Ouch….fucking…Were…shit… back the fuck up, Northman. “Sookie,” he began patiently, “if you would only have had some of my blood when I invited you, all this would be a moot point.”

“Oh-h-h,” she glared at him. “I wondered when this was going to be all my fault! Oh yes, drink my blood so I can know how you are feeling!” she hissed. “You can always ask me how I am feeling. I have no problem telling you! Why don’t you ask me now?

Because I am getting pissed off all over again! The only reason you would have believed me was if you could read my emotions! My word was not good enough for you! Well fuck you!” she hissed.

Eric bowed his head. “May we start this conversation all over, again?” he asked.

Taking a deep breath, she felt Emmy take her hand. “Yes,” she nodded.

Emmy was looking from one to the other and took Eric’s hand.

“I am a fucking rat bastard. I know that. I think we all know that. Even Emmy. I am going to do better.

I am eternally grateful to Samuel for seeing to my family.”

“To your daughter,” Sookie corrected him.

Fucking…Were…shit…swallow that and take your licks! “I am eternally grateful to Samuel for seeing to my daughter,”  he said bowing his head to him.

“And I know it is no excuse. But I have never offered my blood to a female before. And you refused me. My ego took a serious blow. I know that is on me,” he continued on. “But still, I was angry that you would not drink.”

“And you wondered if it was because I was seeing someone else and so you what, timed it so I would find you doing the nasty on top of your desk?”

It would get him nowhere lying to her. “Pam heard you pull in. That was all the time I need.

And then, when you were pregnant, it only proved what I thought.”

“Yes,” she smiled at him. “That you are a fucking rat bastard.”

“I think that sums it up nicely,” Eric replied.

“Well, I certainly have your blood in me now, so you must know how I am feeling.”

“Yes,” Eric replied, his voice low. “Betrayed. And you do not ever want Emmy to feel what I put you through. So you would trust her to Samuel. A good and wise decision,” he said as he turned and walked out of the kitchen and out into the yard..

“Have your dinner,” Samuel said gently. “We will stand watch while you eat.”

 

Lafayette was quiet while they cooked. Sookie, who was generally known for being a chatterbox had nothing to say.

When dinner was ready and the table was set, Emmy said, “I am going to get Daddy and Uncle Samuel.”

Sookie only nodded her head in agreement.

 

During dinner, Eric had his cards out and was proudly showing them off as Emmy sat beside him, eating her chicken and showing her Poppi-La La how she and Mommy had made them.

“I know that’s right with the hands, pure artistic magic!” Lafayette nodded more than once. “Has got them magic hands hangin’ on my mirror.”

“Uncle Samuel,” she directed her gaze at him. “You still have yours?”

“Of course, our angel’s kiss,” he smiled at her as he took an envelope out of his pocket and from the envelope came the Valentine’s card they had made for him.

“See,” he smiled sweetly at Eric. “We who believe have the fruits of our labors.”

Eric merely raised an eyebrow as he cut up Emmy’s chicken. The fruit of his labor was going to get his invitation revoked if he did not go forward carefully.

“So,” Sookie looked out over the vampire crowd, ready to get on with her life and have her questions answered. Maybe fall in love…maybe…

“Just how important is it that Eric offered me his blood?”

Samuel cleared his throat. “That is what scared Pam the most. That he cared that much about you. That type of devotion is sacred and lethal.”

“Mommy, you let me drink your blood,” Emmy said as she concentrated on forking a green pea.

A shock ran through her! “My angel’s kiss,” she whispered, “can you tell what I am feeling?” she asked.

“Mm-m-h-h-h,” she grinned at her. “You feel like a warm lovey when I get cold,” and leaning over kissed Sookie.

Sookie stood up. “Please excuse me. Finish you dinner sweet girl. I’ll be back in a bit.”

Going back to her bedroom, she closed the door, when in the bathroom, she closed the door and sat down on the stool. Laying her head in her lap, she cried for all the hurt and wonder she had experienced since her child had come into her life.

Her tears were wetting her pants’ legs when Eric came in and picked her up and carried her back to bed.

“How can I feel like a warm lovey?” she gasped as she bawled. “I am always worried about being a good Mommy. Us finding our way. Her being accepted. I know what it was like to be the child that no one wanted to be play with,” she was sobbing. “Then to be an adult that no one wanted to know. I don’t want that for her and I don’t want her to read that from me. I don’t want her to know that I am so scared and always wondering if I am doing what is right for her? How can I possibly be a warm lovey?”

“The blood does not lie,” Eric said, raising her face and wiping away her tears. “You are perfect for her. And she is perfect for you.

Sh-h-h-h now,” he wrapped his arms around her. “She loves you and you love her and that is all that matters and that is what she reads from you. Your love, Sookie, just your love.”

Wrapping her arms around Eric she pushed in against him and let the quiet take her.

“Fucking Were shit,” Sookie blew out a lot of air and leaned deeper into Eric. “And now someone wants me dead,” she shuddered. “And maybe my baby.

They cannot know about you being her father. So just what the fuck is going on? Hadley trying to kill me! And someone was driving her around to make all this happen! She does not inherit. She does not even come close. It all goes to Emmy and Samuel stands as her guardian. On what side of the moon does this make sense?”

“Well, it does to someone,” Eric answered as he laid his head on top of hers.

There was a little tiny knock at the door and then it opened. “Mommy,” she smiled and came skipping in. “My Poppi-La La made pumpkin cake! It’s still warm! We are having it with pumpkin ice cream! Mm-m-m, come and have some!”

“You bet I will,” Sookie smiled at her and scooped her up.

“Daddy,” Sookie said looking at him. “Are you going to come and sit with us?”

“Yes,” he nodded solemnly. “I am.”

Eric put his arm around Sookie and together they walked to the kitchen.

“Smells wonderful, Lafayette,” Sookie said as she came in and breathed deeply.

“Gots just the thang! Come on and sit down. We are pre-celebratin’ the little missy’s day of birth! On to four-ish! With pre-cake and ice of the cream!”

 

With full tummies and full on-darkness, Emmy asked the question, “Can we go check on the goaty-goats. It is their bedtime and I have not seen them all day!”

“Of course we can,” Sookie said and felt the unease start to rise up.

“S’okay Mommy,” Emmy giggled. “Daddy is here now and we can be safe.”

“How do we do that our angel’s kiss?” she asked.

“If you are mean, you are green,” she replied and then clapped her hands, once.

“Mommy, now you say it.”

“If you are mean, you are green,” Sookie said and clapped her hands together.

Then Emmy pointed to Eric.

“If you are mean, you are green,” Eric said, his voice set and serious as he clapped his hands.

“Okay,” she smiled as she hopped down. “No one can hurt us now. Daddy is here to help us. Let’s go kiss the babies night-night!”

“What happens to mean?” Eric asked.

“They are going to be a toad,” Emmy replied matter-of-factly. “They can eat bugs in Mommy’s garden and be useful and not be mean anymore.”

Pam smiled. “I guess all those rhyming books we read to her have paid off.”

“Auntie Pam and Uncle Samuel always bring me rhyming books,” Emmy smiled. “Them and the three little pigs, they are my favorites!”

Eric shrugged. “Works for me, we are the Northman Three, Goats need to go to bed and not sleep in a tree!”

“Daddy,” Emmy giggled, “you are so funny.”

“Emmy,” Eric tickled her ribs, “those baby goats wear pajamas. Now that is funny.”

“No Daddy,” she giggled and smiled at him. “That is so cute!”

“I am going to take the first watch,” Pam said as she headed out the door. “I will start out in the barn. There is just something about those baby goats in pj’s. Warms my cold, dead heart,” she stole a kiss from Emmy.

“I’ll be in and out as the evening progresses.”

 

Goats were tucked in, Emmy had her blood and was sleeping on Eric’s shoulder and the adults were sitting in the living room.

“Hadley was working with someone. So, who wants you dead?” Eric asked looking at Sookie. “And why?”

“I just don’t know. I told you, Emmy inherits and Samuel is her legal guardian. He has set all of that in place.”

Eric knew better but could not help himself as he looked over at Samuel and said, “My daughter is taken care of?”

“Of course Eric,” Samuel smiled at him. “And her mother as well.”

“Thank you,” was all he said as he closed his eyes and tried to envision his future without his Emmy and his Sookie. It frightened him!

Pam walked in at that time. “I have been listening at the windows,” she said. “I know…shocker…!” she rolled her eyes at Cedric. “So if Sookie is dead, what happens to Emmy in the interim? Before Samuel gets here.”

“She stays with Lafayette and if he is not available, she stays with Arlene,” Sookie said thoughtfully, “until Samuel gets here. The entire crew knows that and it is in writing and they all have a copy. They also know how to contact Samuel if something does happen to me. All that information is on a clipboard hanging in the office out in the barn.” Sookie looked from one face to another. “This is not a secret.”

“Just fine then,” Lafayette said, “but what happens if the daddy comes forward and wants her?”

“What?” Sookie stared at him, disbelief in her voice.

“Miss Sooks, you have never said who her daddy is. Just some Marine you hooked up with at the mall. Any one could come waltzing in here and claim to be her daddy.

It would not matter what you had in your will. The court would take a long and serious hard look at whoever came forward claiming paternity. And Jesus himself knows if there is enough money involved, you will be able to find someone so that the blood tests can be manipulated.”

“You think someone would fake being her father? Lafayette, we are not talking that much money.”

“Lordy woman,” he rolled his eyes. “That cell tower makes you three thousand a month. That is thirty-six thousand more a year then most folks make. Plus the soap makin’ biz. You could continue on with that but cut everyone’s wages to minimum and get rid of health insurance. Sell off some goats to a meat packin’ house and you could be sittin’ pretty on your own front porch and never have to leave the yard.”

“That’s what Sam wanted to do,” she said thoughtfully. “Use the goats to make jerky.”

Raising an eyebrow Eric chuckled, “And just what do you think Miss Emmy would have to say about that?”

“No thinking about that?” Sookie’s voice held a hint of humor. “She would have turned him into a toad.”

“Really?” Ian’s voice held a hint of humor. “Witches and toads and such. That is such a cliché and it being so close to Halloween.”

Everyone but Ian and Cedric were laughing.

“Oh yes,” Sookie and Lafayette both nodded and told them about the Were in the front garden.

The two royals both looked shocked.

“She is not a cliché,” Eric nodded as he kissed Emmy on the forehead. He watched with delight as she smiled and snuggled back in.

“My daughter inherited my grandmother’s magic,” Eric said as he stroked her back. “Grandmother could not turn anyone into a toad. Or at least, not that the village talked about. Of course, no one ever gossiped about her. Maybe that was because she could turn them into a toad,” he said thoughtfully and shrugged. “And Emmy seems to think now that I am here, the three of us together can do things.”

Samuel nodded. “The first time I talked to Sookie, I told her what I knew of your magic. That your grandmother had been a powerful mage and wise woman and carried your women’s clan magic.

That is has been percolating in you for the past thousand years, growing stronger until it found a Northman daughter to once more reside inside of.

That Emmy can turn someone into a toad, I think she now has her Tribal Triad with her, whatever that means. And with the two of you linked into her, I believe she could turn an entire army into toads.”

Eric and Sookie both nodded. Pam did as well. Ian and Cedric said nothing as Cedric silently crossed himself and muttered some type of prayer.

“Obviously,” Samuel bowed his head to Sookie “there is something in Sookie that Emmy recognizes as her magic. Eric, Sookie does have your hair color. She may very well be a relative and is the reason why this Triad works. Perhaps,” Samuel shrugged, “perhaps that is what your Grandmother was doing in her Never Time. Looking for two more like her so that she could protect what was hers.

Or not,” he added matter-of-fact. “Who is to say? Perhaps maybe someday Emmy will be able to tell us. But until she can, those ten minutes she is down, she is vulnerable, as well.”

“I can speak for myself,” Samuel’s voice was very serious, “I will be here to help stand guard until we find who it is that tried to kill Sookie.”

They all nodded in agreement.

The Royals were all on board! This small, wonderful Miss Sookie was now theirs to have and to hold and maybe someday, if Eric pulled his head out of his ass, a couple more daughters. Ian and Cedric continued to dream!

“This Sam Merlotte, do we know for a fact that he is dead?” Cedric asked.

“No,” Sookie added quietly. “We do not. We do know that he is a shifter. And after the cougar attack, he was never seen again.”

“Any idea at all if he was a skin-walker?” Cedric asked. “They generally do not advertise that fact but I have known one. Creepy bastard and Irish to his red roots. That was what gave him away. As funny as it sounds, the roots of his hair did not shift with him.”

Samuel was perplexed. “Everything I have heard about them is that they can maybe do it once or twice before it kills them.”

“This is truth,” Cedric agreed. “Not with Angus though, the lad was born to it. He kept skin suits hangin’ mightly in his cellar closet. Cool and damp keeps the skins soft and pliable.”

“What?” they were all wide-eyed and looking at Cedric.

“I found them after I had split him down the middle with me sword. This six-foot three fella just falls away and leaves this wee fellow. Angus O’Dell, or at least that was the name of the suit he was a’wearin’ at the time. I would not be knowin’ if it was his real name or not.”

“Sam’s hair was light brown with some gray,” Sookie said. “So what, if he wants to blend in, we need to look at folks who have some variation of light brown with gray?”

“Might be a good place to start,” Eric was thoughtful. “Did Sam have a regular night away from the club?” he asked.

“Thursday night,” she replied. “He bowled in Shreveport or went night fishing with his buddies or whatever…but he always took Thursday night off.”

“So who only came in on Thursday nights?” Ian asked.

“Wow…” Sookie looked at Lafayette.

“Let’s work though the list. His La La Fineness says we need us a pencil and a piece of paper. Or Miss Emmy’s white board out of the dining room. I’ll be right back.”

When it was set up, Lafayette and Sookie went to work on who were not regulars. From that list, who they only saw once in a while. From that they went on to who was a regular on Thursday night.

“Alligator Jackson,” they both nodded when only five names were left.

“And he lives where?” Eric asked.

“Out in the bayou,” Lafayette said. “Don’t know where. Don’t know for sure anyone does.”

“But he does stand about Sam’s height and his hair color is white with a little brown mixed in. Not for real sure about his age. I always thought of him as an older man. But,” she shrugged, “maybe not. Always looked scruffy, like Sam…” her voice trailed off.

“He always ordered the red beans and rice,” Lafayette added. “Cheapest thing on the menu. Fillin’ though and tasty.”

“Yes, he would sit for hours and eat his dinner, watching everything going on around him and everyone. I always just thought of him being lonely and wanting the company. Maybe it was Sam and he was spying on us.”

“Now there is a mo’ fo’n’ creepy thought,” Lafayette made a face and said, “that is just some nasty business.”

“So who was the cougar after the goats?” Ian asked.

“Sam had a brother, met him once,” Sookie replied. “I guess he could be a shifter, also. That would certainly give Sam an alibi. He could be seen while he sends his brother in to do the dirty work.”

“But why would Merlotte continue to hide?” Pam asked.

“Maybe he and his brother took turns being Sam. Let’s say Sam has a persona that he has to wear all the time. Another job, so to speak. One where he has more to gain then being Sam Merlotte,” Samuel mused out loud. “So now he is somewhat locked in. And remember, your Gran was the goddess of her coven. Whoever she was having sex with she would consider her equal. So let’s say Sam is more than shifter. He is a shifter plus. Can work some magic.”

“The warlock Daryl,” Sookie said. “You know, I have never seen him without his robe on and his hood was always up. Now there is a freeloading man whore if I ever saw one. All the sex and loose change and folding money he can stand.”

“Now there is an interesting thought,” Ian laughed, lightly. “He draws his power from others. Every time he has sex, he is a bit more. Uses it to multiple-shift and then has to have sex, again. The older the Wicca, the more power she has that he can syphon off and if he were careful enough, she would not miss. Plus she pays him. He’s getting power and money. Maybe not much but twenty bucks given to you for having a good time is still twenty bucks.

And if Sookie is dead, he can easily shift to a Marine and claim Emmy as his, hoping for a windfall.”

“So, who can watch at Merlotte’s on Thursday night?” Eric asked, death in his eyes.

“It is going to have to be someone he does not know,” Lafayette said. “I have not been back in there since I started here. So if this is Sam, I think he would be highly suspicious of me because that is not where I go to hang out when I get a night off.”

Pamela chuckled. “I am the best in the biz. Do me a sketch of Alligator Jackson and I will be sitting out in the trees watching for him.”

“Old panel truck, with wood rails on the side. Used to be navy blue, I think,” Sookie replied.

“Sounds right,” Lafayette added. “I helped him jump-start it one night.”

Pam smiled, somewhat nastily. “I’ll take a photo and send it along. If it is this Alligator Jackson, I will track him back to his lair.”

“It has been a day,” Sookie said standing up. “Eric, give me Emmy and we are going to bed.”

“I’ll carry her,” he said as he stood. “Perhaps you would enjoy a cup of hot cocoa before you retire.”

“I don’t know. I think now that things are talked out, I could sleep.”

“Of course,” he responded, “but I would still enjoy tucking her in.”

“That’s fine,” Sookie eyed him. “I know she would enjoy that.”

As they walked away, Sookie said, not looking over her shoulder, “you five had better not be smirking.”

Turning her head, there were very serious faces staring back at her. “Good,” she muttered and disappeared into the back of the house.

“The problem here, you see,” Samuel addressed his class, “is that she loves him and he loves her. But Eric seriously fucked this up.”

“I helped with that,” Pam responded.

“That being said, Child, Eric has to take the responsibility that he fucked this up. He is going to have to unfuck it. Now at one point, I would have given you odds that he could not unfuck himself from this. Sookie is just as stubborn as he is. However, Miss Emmy is what is going to make this or break it. I’d give him a fifty-fifty chance at this point.

His reference to Sookie that if only she would have drunk his blood.” Samuel rolled his eyes. “Eric, when he thinks he is right, does not know when to shut up. Sookie was not amused and Emmy was watching him closely. Remember, she took her mother’s hand. Then she took Eric’s, but I think that was so she could have a link into him to see what he was doing.”

“But Emmy adores him,” Ian said, looking toward the hall that led back to the bedroom.

“Yes, Emmy does adore him. He is a part of her magic, a part of her. However, if he were to hurt her mother, or her Poppi-La La, or her dogs or her goats, he would be a toad. I don’t think she would blink an eye. She is like Eric in regards to protecting what is mine.

If you are perceived as threatening their loved ones…Eric will kill you, she will turn you into a toad. He is going to have to prove to her that he is trustworthy when it comes to her mother. He broke Sookie’s heart. He may have walked in the door, but that does not mean he has walked back into Sookie’s life. She is tough and she is driven. And like Lafayette, good with a shotgun.”

“That’s good,” Ian was processing all the information. “She may have to be. Because Eric has pissed off everyone in the Old World.” Ian was slowly shaking his head. “And I do mean those that I thought were unflappable.

Eric just took that as a challenge to poke that bear until they woke from their slumber. There are those left standing after Eric’s rousts and border crossings that will come looking for him. There may not be many, but those that are left have the desire and the ability to raise an army.”

“I think,” Samuel smiled, “that if they come here, they will be toads.”

 

The old farmhouse fell into a new routine. Emmy was up early so she could chat with her daddy and her Uncle Samuel. During the day, she would peek under the bed and blow kisses and report in about what was new and lovely in her world.

Sookie was cordial to Eric. They smiled at each other and laughed about the antics of their daughter and what she found charming and beautiful. There were new photos and videos to share with Eric every day when he rose and Emmy was right there to describe in detail how her day had gone.

 

Thursday rolled around and Pam founded herself perched out side in a tree watching folks come and go out of Merlotte’s. Taking photos of elderly looking gentleman until a text message finally came back saying, “Yes, Alligator Jackson.”

Oh so patiently and with much discretion she spied from afar until he left at ten.

“He needs to change the oil in that truck,” she muttered. “The smell alone, I could track him for miles.”

Then she had a moment. “That is, of course, his plan,” she grinned.

“Anyone with a nose could follow him to his door. Get the drift of where he was going and then be lazy and let him go inside while he shifts and runs out the back. Shifters are dumber than Were shit,” she grinned as she watched the older man park the truck on the dirt drive in front of the old, run down fishing cabin that sat on the edge of the water.

It smelled of dead fish and brackish scum. Pam took another long, lingering sniff and could smell the burning barrel and the garlic that was planted around in the back garden. What she could not smell was Alligator Jackson. Small whiffs, but this man certainly did not live here.

The lights came on, went off and the back door opened and closed as an owl took flight into the night.

Shooting straight up into the air, she would do her recon at ten thousand feet. Her eyesight was exceptional as well. Silently she tracked the bird to Baton Rouge to a house that was a far cry from the shanty by the water.

It was located in the upscale Garden District and then some.

“I own a house in this area and there is a reason it is called the Garden District. The lawns are perfect and the homes are sumptuous!”

The owl landed on the second floor balcony. “Eye bleach needed,” Pamela made a gagging sound. “There stands a nude Sam Merlotte that just shifted to the warlock Daryl.”

The doors opened and he was greeted by an older woman that he swept up into his arms. “Damn, shifter shithead, I can hear her moaning your name before you got the door closed.

I think I will pop on home for a few. The night is still young and would you look at that…” her voice trailed off. “There are Weres that are beginning to arrive and guard the perimeter!

No to the popping….I think I will just settle in and wait because those outlaws look like the same Were shits that guard Sophie-Anne.”

Forty-five minutes later a stretch limo pulled up out front. Pam’s heart froze in glee when Compton stepped out, looked around the area and then helped HRM Sophie-Anne out of the car. Together they went up the grand curving staircase in front of the old mansion. Compton rang the doorbell. When it was opened, he was told to wait outside and HRM stepped in.

Home was two blocks over. “I can stand out here and miss everything or I can zip home and try to listen in and still miss everything. No decision there,” vamp speed she was gone. “I will at least be able to tell Eric I tried.”

Pamela was on the neighbor’s roof a couple of houses down. Things had just settled in. Sophie-Anne had fed from what the hostess had to offer while Daryl chanted over the happy toothsome about blessings, super moons and “Were shit,” Pamela crossed her eyes in disgust. Sounded like HRM was still grunting through the feeding portion before she got off.

The chairs that they were sitting in were leather. Pam could hear it creak when the bloodbag was sent away and the hostess helped SA to dress.

“Daryl,” HRM whined, “you promised me the miracle child. I have untold wealth and part of it was going to you. Now I am going to layer you in Were shit. I want the baby!”

“Sophie-Anne, the child has not yet been conceived. This is still a work in progress.”

“Daryl,” her voice was low and deadly. “I am running out of time. I have Sino-Aids. I have had more than one magicker tell me I need this miracle child if I am going to survive. And I am going to survive,” she hissed. “I have a legion of soothsayers that tell me the child has already been born. What say you to this?”

“Yes, the signs do point to the ground being fertile and the child being a possibility. But I have not yet impregnated the correct female.”

“Does it have to be you?” she hissed.

“Well of course,” he countered with iron in his voice.

“I am slipping closer each new sunrise into the abyss,” her voice was softer. “The nightmares are eating at my brain. I cannot rest. Before I rise with each new dark, I see my brains becoming liquid and draining from my eyes, ears, out my nose while I try shove it all back into my mouth. I am so frantic I scrape the palms of my hands on my fangs. I shit out my intestines and my blood boils beneath my skin. I am horrified that this shall come to pass. So find me a child so that I might live!”

“The baby is not yet,” Daryl said again.

“Fine,” she hissed, “then I shall just have to find my own. If you cannot help me, there will be no future cash-out. I hope you have a retirement plan, something more than fucking old women,” she hissed.

“I’ll cast for a child,” was all he was able to say before she stormed out, shattering the front doors as her entourage fell into step behind her.

“Fucking Were shit!” Pamela hissed as she took off, heading for Bon Temps.

 

 

When Pam arrived at the farmhouse, it was three. It was quiet and peaceful and everything seemed to be in good order.

“Excellent,” she noted as she landed. “Get your green toad on. New Orleans is going to be in for a nasty shock if they come here. It won’t be death by my hands,” she sighed as she approached the door. “Well, I guess it won’t be death at all. Hm-m-m, can toads have Sino-Aids….I just might have to step on HRM Knee-Deep to keep her from infecting others.”

Pam knocked and when Ian answered the door he said, “It must be good news. I have not seen you smile like that since you burned out Walthers & Sons.”

“This,” she became dead pan, “is even better. Where is Eric?”

“Holding Emmy while she sleeps,” he answered.

“Most excellent. I will be able to take him from his newest favorite thing and perhaps start a war at the same time.”

 

Knocking quietly, Pam heard her maker tell Sookie to go back to sleep. When he opened the door, clearly Emmy had played with his hair before she fell asleep. His locks were bedecked in bows and ribbons.

“This is going to take a few minutes,” she said as she nodded toward the bed.

“I’ll be right out,” he replied as he closed the door.

“That’s interesting,” she noted. “Just what the fuck does he think he is going to do that I have not seen before?”

When Eric came out, Sookie was with him and he was carrying Emmy. She was swaddled in a blanket sleeping on her daddy’s shoulder.

“Start,” he said as the small family sat down on the sofa.

So start she did…

 

Sookie just kept repeating with disgust in her voice, “Sam wanted this baby so he could give it to Sophie-Anne…”

Pam thought she saw fire coming out of Eric’s eyes. The cold silver kind that would melt you on the spot!

“So now he is looking for a child,” Samuel added when she had finished. “Any child…” his voice trailed off as he looked over at Emmy and his fangs popped down.

“Kill Sookie,” Eric drawled in a deadly voice, “claim Emmy and hand her over to HRM…they are all going to die. Just as soon as I put Emmy down and get my sword…”

“No,” Sookie shook her head. “Let them come to us. We could use a few more toads for the garden. We’ll just herd them in that direction and let them hibernate for the winter. Come spring, either they had toadie sense and made it or not.”

“That would be for the best,” Samuel nodded. “Miss Emmy has done a fine job of rhyming and setting up a supernatural perimeter. I say let them come.”

“Not nearly as satisfying as ripping their heads off,” Eric muttered.

“That is very true my brother,” Samuel nodded. “But I think it will be most amusing to watch.”