Chapter 28: I Wouldn’t Change a Thing
She thrust Rune into my hands saying, “That’s it. I’m officially done breastfeeding him. You try to get him to take the bottle or you can breastfeed him yourself.”
Before I could respond, she had picked Astrid up from her bassinet and left the living room with our daughter cradled over her shoulder.
Across the living room, Jarl burst out laughing. In Norse, he exclaimed through his laughter, “Yes, will you be breastfeeding Rune now? I can’t wait to see that!”
I looked down at the infant in the crook of my arm and noted the crooked smile on his face as well. He seemed to be finding almost as much pleasure in the situation as his uncle.
The twins were only five months old now, but already their fangs had begun to come in, much to Sookie’s consternation. Like a vampire, they mostly stayed retracted, but when they were upset or were feeding, their fangs would come down, and it seemed Rune was having difficulty controlling his.
I had just gotten up from my place on the sofa where I had been reading over paperwork when Sookie thrust our son into my hands. I could sense her growing agitation and had been going to see what was the matter. Now, before I could move again, Sookie returned to the room, scowling at Jarl who was still laughing from his place in the corner of the room where he had been working on carving a toy or figure of some sort for the children.
“Here. Here’s a bottle to feed your son,” Sookie growled as she thrust a plastic bottle filled with pink liquid at me.
“My son?” I questioned in confusion.
Sookie settled into a rocking chair near Jarl and took Astrid from her shoulder as she opened her blouse and began to feed our daughter. At least I supposed she was still our daughter and not my daughter at the moment.
Jarl chuckled and resumed his carving as he said, “Yes, don’t you know brother, any time your children do something wrong, they will become unequivocally yours, and everything they do right shall be credited solely to their mother?”
I placed the bottle in Rune’s searching mouth and muttered, “No, I did not recall that being the case.”
Sookie’s head snapped up to glare at Jarl. “Until you grow a set of boobs and have to try breastfeeding a child with fangs—a child who seems to delight in the faces mommy makes when he bites really hard—you don’t get to talk or have any opinion of any sort.” She continued rocking Astrid as our daughter quietly fed before adding, “Stupid magic. If it was really any good, I’d make sure every male knew what it was like to have a fanged child chew on their tender parts.”
If it had been possible, I would have said Jarl actually paled at that as he discreetly cupped himself. Clearing his throat he said, “Have I mentioned lately how very much I love you, dear sister, and what a wonderful, fantastic mother you are?”
Sookie looked up to glare at Jarl one more time before she returned her attention to Astrid, her face finally softening as she began humming a gentle tune.
I looked down at my small son in my arms. “Have you been biting Moder too hard when you feed, Rune?” He stopped nursing the bottle as I spoke to him, which I noted was pierced and leaking from where his fangs had punctured it, and watched me so intently, I could almost swear he understood. Being a telepath, though not as strong as his sister or mother, he could at least understand our sentiments, even if speech was beyond him at the moment.
Astrid seemed to be a very sensitive telepath and was quite attuned to both her brother’s and her mother’s emotions. She was a very happy and quiet child so long as they were both happy, but would become very distraught if all was not well with them both. Sookie said she thought it made her easier to breastfeed since she seemed so focused on what things hurt Sookie.
We had chosen names for the twins together, but I was surprised when Sookie said she wanted to choose names from my people for them. I had thought she might want to name our daughter at the very least for either her lost fairy godmother or her grandmother. She had explained that she wanted them to have names of their own, but did choose their middle names to reflect her deceased family. She had said she wanted their first names to reflect my heritage.
Sookie had been against it at first, but eventually we had settled on Rune Corbin Northman for our son. Rune roughly translated into “secret,” a perfect name I thought for a secret half-vampire child. If you called something a secret, people rarely believed that it was. Sookie had laughed at my logic and said it was lucky no one spoke Norse anymore.
Our daughter we named Astrid Claudine-Adele Northman. Her name was a mouthful, but Astrid was just as she had been named, an unusual beauty. They both bore thick blond curls and deep blue eyes, but Astrid had such delicate features. I knew already I would have to keep my broadsword nearby for when she grew older. I had asked Sookie if they still made chastity belts, but I’m not quite certain she realized my seriousness. There was still time to assign Pam to look into the task however.
“You must be gentle with your fangs, my son,” I continued to admonish my little warrior, “or Moder will not allow any of us to bite her flesh and feed.”
Sookie’s humming stopped as she snorted and said, “You got that right, buddy.”
I ignored Sookie’s comment and pulled the bottle from Rune’s mouth. I knew it would be mixed with formula and bagged blood, but none of the bagged blood available was as rich as Sookie’s blood or even vampire blood. Setting the bottle down, I held my finger out to Rune to feed him my own blood.
An Old Norse curse escaped my lips at the unexpected pain from Rune’s sharp, pin-like fangs digging into my flesh. I ignored Sookie’s pleased laugh as I realized one of the sources of her surliness lately. Little wonder she did not wish to continue feeding Rune.
Pulling my finger from Rune’s mouth, and noticing he did seem rather pleased with himself, I sternly said, “No. Rune, you must bite gently or you will not be allowed to continue feeding.”
I returned my finger to his mouth, but when I saw him move to roughly latch on again, I jerked my finger quickly away. “No, Rune! Gently!”
This time I could feel him looking at me and studying me. I concentrated on an image of myself gently biting Sookie’s neck and hoped that Rune could see and understand what I was trying to communicate. Either my tone of voice or the image got through to him, for when I offered my finger a third time, he gently scored the flesh with his small fangs and began to nurse at the wound.
The pain was still somewhat sharp as he fed, but not nearly as intense. I carried him to a chair near Sookie and sat down beside her as she began to burp our sleepy daughter.
“Does it still hurt so much even when Astrid feeds from you,” I asked curiously.
Sookie shrugged, “Yeah, but I guess you get used to it. It’s not so bad most of the time, but Rune was just biting down with all of the strength in his little jaw.” And though Sookie was on edge with me, she was too tenderhearted to discipline our son. She said he was too young to be disciplined and understand it, but I knew it had more to do with her kind heart than anything else.
As Rune began to finish his meal, I too placed him on my shoulder to burp him in a practiced manner.
“I think I liked it better before their fangs came in and I got create the wounds on your breast that they suckled from,” I said with a grin. Though even now they were still taking milk as well, they had needed a steady diet of both milk and blood to thrive.
Sookie glared at me again, but it had lost some of its potency. “Yeah, it’s a real mystery where your son got his fondness for biting. Heaven forbid we do try and hire any help, he’ll try to bite them all!”
She laid Astrid back in the bassinet and I placed Rune beside his sister as I followed Sookie to our bedroom. Our private quarters in the palace at New Orleans weren’t very private since we shared them with Pam, Jarl, and any number of other visiting vampires that were close friends, but our room usually remained our own private space.
“What can I say? My son has fine taste,” I reminded her as I brushed her hair from her neck and gently nipped at her skin. I could feel she was still agitated with me, so I knew better than to break the skin.
Sookie stopped and stood still as I gently messaged across her shoulders. “Eric,” she moaned. “We don’t have time, and I’m not in the mood.”
But I could feel her resolve breaking as I wrapped my arms around her and began stroking her stomach then both upwards and downwards.
“Am I interrupting sex?” Robert’s voice came, booming from behind us as our door swung open.
“I’m putting a lock on that door,” I growled at the other vampire’s interruption. So much for softening Sookie up. There were several sets of locks to get into the wing we lived in, but Sookie had insisted we not have locks on our bedroom door, saying our children would need to be able to get into our room when they got older. I thought that was a prime example for installing as many locks as we could.
“No, you’re not interrupting sex. At least not until Eric buys some condoms and agrees to start using them,” Sookie grumbled as she pushed away from me and crossed the room to her closet.
Robert casually leaned against the doorway as he watched us.
“Why don’t you go find Pamela and be a nuisance to her until we have to head downtown,” I snarled at him. He only shrugged one shoulder in response.
I turned back towards Sookie and focused once again on her. “I have never used such a device and I am not about to start now,” I growled.
“Then you and mister righty better get real acquainted—fast. Heck you can even throw in mister lefty to keep things interesting, ’cause until you go get some condoms, it ain’t happening, Mr. Northman,” she called from inside her walk-in closet. I could hear Robert’s laughter from behind me, but I had grown used to ignoring his interjections after all the time he either spent in Louisiana with us or we ended up spending with him in California.
She came out moments later, changed into an elegant, pale blue skirt and charcoal colored blouse. She was carrying two of the infant slings, so I assumed she was planning on bringing the twins with her to her meeting with the Pythoness.
I rarely knew what went on in her meetings with the Pythoness, but she almost never went to them without bringing the twins. She once commented that she thought the Pythoness regretted never actually conceiving her own children. I’m sure there were many vampires who felt the same. I knew the enormous rarity that I was allowed to experience fathering my own offspring as a vampire.
“It’s not like it matters for the next several months anyway,” I found myself grumbling.
“No, I suppose it doesn’t. But that’s what got us into this mess. Again,” she replied, poking me in the stomach as she stood before me looking defiantly up into my eyes.
“Again?” Robert questioned in surprise. He closed his eyes and sniffed the air. I knew he could smell the delicate change in Sookie’s scent just as I could. With her second pregnancy, I was quickly noticing the small changes in her body already. “You are with child again, mikrí mitéra?” (little mother)
Sookie gave me a wry look. “Yeah, we had just agreed that we wanted to have more children, someday, and the next thing I know, I’m knocked up again. I figured it couldn’t happen while I was still breastfeeding the twins, but somebody’s super-sperm, made it happen anyway.”
I gave her an arch look. “I would say it was more your magic than my sperm, my wife,” I reminded.
She huffed and left the room, knowing two ancient vampire kings would trail after her. It was a humbling reminder that this little human—well, partly human—woman, had such powerful beings wrapped around her fingers that we followed her like whipped puppies, even when she was angry and making ludicrous demands.
“It’s not ludicrous to think that it would have been nice to have a little more time in-between pregnancies. And you wearing a little old condom would go a long way towards helping with that!” she quipped back. It was also humbling to remember that while I could feel all of her emotions, she could sometimes catch bits of mine and other vampire’s thoughts. That had been a surprising, though not altogether unexpected, bit of news. “I’ve just barely lost the previous baby weight and now I’m going to gain it all over again. Not to mention have to go through morning sickness again,” she continued muttering as she placed our sleeping daughter in one of the slings across her chest. Rune quickly followed into the other sling across her chest. I was certainly not looking forward to when the morning sickness would begin again. Robert had explained her difficulties with it the first time, and I did not relish seeing her so miserable.
I had objected at first to her carrying both of the twins at once in a sling when they were newborns, arguing that we could hire people to help her with them, but as Sookie quickly pointed out, none of them would be able to teleport away with them should the need arise. It was more cumbersome perhaps for Sookie to carry them both in this manner, but ultimately safer.
“Are you meeting with the Pythoness before the negotiations?” Robert asked from the doorway of our spacious living room. He had arrived early to go over a few proposals with me before we too left to go downtown to the convention center.
Sookie looked across to Robert and offered him a smile. “Yup. I promised her I’d come early to discuss a few things and bring the twins for her to hold. You vampires sure act all mean, tough and scary, but get a couple of babies in the room and you guys sure soften right up.”
Robert arched a brow in obvious disbelief, but having witnessed and felt it myself, I could not argue. I doubt Robert truly did either, since he was as guilty as the rest of us when it came to indulging the twins.
Sookie started to leave the room, throwing over her shoulder, “I’ll see you guys at the negotiations later.”
I used my speed to fill the doorway in front of Sookie and keep her from leaving. “No kiss good-bye for your husband, Mrs. Northman?”
She snorted, a sound very reminiscent of a horse, saying, “Good-bye, Mr. Northman,” and giving me a quick peck on the cheek.
Apparently, she was still peeved with me, but then, I always did like the challenges Sookie presented me with. I doubt I would have come to love this little human, let alone respect her, if she had not been as strong and independent as she was. A clingy whiny woman would have driven me to truly draining her long ago, and though her independence frustrated me from time to time, it gave us both the space we needed.
She had proven in all those months apart that she was more than capable at living on her own—she actually thrived and made plans to seize a vampire’s kingdom. She was remarkable. She had certainly flourished more than I had in those months. I had been a vampire of seething self-loathing, feeding on as many humans as I could, and waiting for Victor to bring our fight to me. I would have been fucking as many humans as I could have as well—if only I had been able to get Sookie out of my head. But it had worked out for the best.
Sookie proved that we could both well survive on our own, separate from each other. But I was no longer interested in merely surviving—in living the bleak existence I had known before this little partly human swept into my life and turned it on end. I was greedy. I wanted much more from my existence than mere survival. Especially after tasting what happiness with Sookie was. I wasn’t about to let that go—even if we both got on each other’s nerves from time to time. It was a small price to pay for the moments of true happiness.
Sliding both of my hands up her neck to cradle her face, I showed her a real kiss, deepening it until she had to break for air, all the while carefully maintaining space between us so as not to disturb the sleeping twins. I’d long ago learned the wrath of both mother and our children for waking the sleeping babes.
As she was panting to regain her breath, I placed a gentle kiss on each of the twins’ foreheads, and then dropped to my knees in front of Sookie. Carefully untucking her blouse from her skirt, I placed a gentle kiss over the newest addition to our budding family.
Caressing her still flat stomach, I fell back onto my heels to look up at Sookie. “Are you really upset at having another child?”
“No, I just wish we’d had a little more time,” she quietly responded.
“I missed out on so much with the twins. I shall be grateful to watch this child grow in your belly,” I told her honestly as I placed one last kiss to her stomach and tucked her blouse in again.
Sookie’s eyes were sad as she responded. “I’m so sorry for what you missed out on,” she said as she reached out and placed a gentle hand on my jaw. “I know I’ve been short-tempered with you lately, and I’m sorry. I just keep thinking about how much will need to be done to get ready for this next baby and how much needs to be done for the twins as they grow up—it’s just exhausting to think about, but I shouldn’t take it out on you.”
I stood and loosely wrapped my arms around her. “Does this mean that ridiculous talk of condoms is over with?” I whispered in her ear.
She grunted and pushed away with a laugh, “Hardly. After this baby’s born, you’re wearing one. I’d like to have a little time off from pregnancy. It would be a nice change of pace.”
“Would you change the way our lives have ended up?” I asked.
“I don’t think they’ve ended up anything yet,” she laughed. “Seems like every time I turn around they change some more. I mean, I’m a part-fairy, pregnant and mother to half-vampire children, about to go meet with another vampire to mediate negotiations on trade agreements between vampire states of the South and West. None of those are changes I saw coming in my life.”
Her status as a part-fairy telepath with ties to many vampire kingdoms, Were packs and other supernatural groups had elevated her to intermediary status for many disputes in the supernatural world. And with her fair dealings and the backing and power of the Ancient Pythoness behind her, no one questioned or challenged her rulings. Not even myself. Then again, I did have share a bed with her each day.
With her current surliness towards myself, I had been more worried about her siding with others against me, rather than with me. But she truly was fair and unbiased in her rulings. She allowed no personal feelings to color her dealings when she mediated disputes and negotiations, regardless of her relationship with those involved.
“But do you regret those changes? Would you change what has happened?” I pressed.
She shrugged. “Change comes whether we’re ready for them or not. Might as well accept it and live our lives.” She looked up at me and gave me an almost shy smile. “No, I guess if I had to say, I wouldn’t change a thing.” She pressed a lingering kiss to my lips and passed by me on her way out the door. Turning around she repeated, “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
This was just kind of a silly, fun chapter that I’ve had in mind for a long time now and decided to get out. It’s a small glimpse at life after the twins are born.
I also had it pointed out to me that my Greek translation of “little mother” had been wrong, I haven’t gone back and changed it everywhere yet, but mikrí mitéra, is the correct translation. What can I say, it’s all Greek to me! 😉 Okay, I know, that was horrible!
People have asked me why I wrote a story where Sookie gets pregnant by Eric when we all know that will never happen in the series, but I think it’s because it will never happen in the series that I was so attracted to writing this storyline. I mean, why would I want to write exactly what Charlaine Harris is going to write. I’d rather wait and read her work than try to guess for myself what it’s going to be. Yeah, it can be fun to try and make an educated guess as to what’s going to happen next, but I think a big part of the fun of fanfiction is the what if’s. Writing what could or might have happened if only things were different.
I’ve never been into the all human stories, because to me, that’s just new fiction that people just don’t want to come up with new names for the characters. To me, the fun of fanfiction is seeing something we all know didn’t happen or we know the author would never do.
Anyway, let me know what you guys thought of that little glimpse of life in the Northman household.
I have been working, and hope to continue working on some of my own original fiction. So hopefully I’ll get further along with that one day and get something published.