Chapter 8: Hold On (Change Is Comin’)
The next night I spent with Bill and Judith. I was surprised that she was still around, but Bill said she wanted to get to know me before she had to go back home. It was kind of awkward, and Bill was really quiet, but I did enjoy talking more with Judith. For a vampire, she seemed really nice.
I tried to carefully ask Bill and Judith if she would be around more, but Bill would only say that they would see. I got the feeling that while Bill did like Judith, he wasn’t quite ready to start anything. It had been interesting to sit and watch Bill and Judith interact. The whole time Bill maintained his inscrutable vampire act. It had been such a normal demeanor of his when I first met Bill and we first started dating, but he had changed and opened up so much with me that it was somewhat surprising to see it again. I wondered if it was because he was uncomfortable to be in the same room as Judith and me or if it had more to do with Judith.
We spent most of the evening making mostly idle chitchat, but eventually Judith asked for a recounting of Lorena’s death. I could tell that it was really hard for Bill to sit through, but I was surprised how freeing it felt for me to retell it to Judith. I’d never realized how much I still carried around the weight of killing Lorena. The first person I’d ever killed. But not the last.
It made me realize that Pam and Eric were right. I had changed. Killing Lorena didn’t bother me as much anymore as it used to. I knew she would have killed Bill, and for sure, she would have hurt him more. In a choice between my friend and some psycho bitch … well, it wasn’t much of a choice. I’d choose Bill again in a heartbeat—if you’ll excuse the pun.
Bill was surprised when I hugged him as he and Judith left. I knew there was still a lot of things unsaid between us, but I think that for the first time since we’d split up, I actually felt comfortable and at peace with Bill. I would always love him in my own way, but I could accept him as just my friend. I even found myself telling him that I wished him happiness, no matter whom he found it with, and really meaning it.
The next several weeks went by in a frenzied blur. I continued working at Merlotte’s and practicing my magic with Dermot. I didn’t see much of Eric though. He stopped by a few times real late at night or real early in the morning, but those few times I was so tired from work and training that we did nothing but lie together and cuddle. It seemed like a new twist in our relationship, but it reminded me of when he’d stayed with me when he was cursed. We just lay there together and talked about little things. We didn’t once talk about Victor and what was going on, but it was somehow comforting to pretend that our little world wouldn’t possibly crash down around us at any moment.
Mostly though, I didn’t see Eric, I actually saw Pam more than I saw Eric. She even spent one evening having a “girl’s” night where we drank and watched movies. She had wanted to check out some of the new movies that were featuring vampire actors. Vampires were especially popular for action movies now since they were so strong and fast. It surprised me how much fun it was to spend the evening with Pam. It was also surprising how much I had missed having another female around. With Claudine dead and gone, Amelia back in New Orleans, and Tara starting her own family, I didn’t really have any other “girls” to turn to. Pam still reminded me of a terrifying Alice in Wonderland, but she could be fun too.
My training with Dermot had progressed in leaps and bounds. Calling animals had become really easy, and so had teleporting. Most recently, Dermot had been working on teaching me how to heal. This was really energy consuming, and took a lot of concentration, but so far, it was my favorite ability. It wasn’t something Dermot could do himself, so it was a little harder for him to teach it to me, but he was familiar with it since it was a skill Niall possessed. I liked the idea of being able to help others. So far, I had been practicing my healing skills on animals that I called. I had even been able to call in a bobcat and heal it. It looked like it had been cut up by another predator of some kind, but I was able to heal the cuts completely.
I’d been nervous the first time Dermot had me call in a bobcat, I was so sure it would attack me or something, but Dermot assured me I would be safe. He said animals could feel a connection to us and would not attack me. It had been nervous as it approached me, probably because I was nervous, but soon it was curled up beside me and purring away just like a contented housecat. Granted it could eat a housecat, but it was strangely satisfying to feel that connection to it and to heal it.
“Concentrate,” Dermot admonished again.
“I am,” I said irritably.
“You have made excellent progress, my niece, but this is important. This skill could very well save your life,” Dermot explained again.
For the past three weeks, Dermot had been trying to teach me to call objects. It was much harder than calling animals or people (which I was still uncomfortable with even trying) because you had to use your own power to make the object come to you, whereas with calling an animal, you just had to influence it into wanting to come and then it used its own power to come to you. Dermot told me it would be very helpful to be able to call objects to myself (like weapons) so that I could protect myself. I couldn’t argue there, but it was proving to be a hard skill to even attempt. I hadn’t once been able to call anything to myself and I was only able to see Dermot do it once since it wasn’t a skill he was particularly adept at either.
Claude could actually do it, and Dermot had asked him to come help me once, but Claude wasn’t a particularly capable teacher. We were short-tempered with each other and had just ended up shouting at one another, so Dermot was trying to teach it to me. I was worried I might never master the skill, but hoped desperately that I might since it seemed like it might come in so handy.
After another hour of trying, Dermot finally decided that it was time to call it a day. Or night rather, since the sun was now setting. “Come, Sookie, I will fix a meal for us while you bathe,” Dermot told me as we walked into the house.
When I walked into the kitchen, the smell of the stew my uncle was making hit my nose, and unsettled my stomach so badly that I ran right back to the bathroom to promptly throw-up.
I felt my uncle’s cool hand on my sweaty forehead. “You still feel unwell, my dear? I thought you were feeling a bit better today,” Dermot said sympathetically.
My body started shivering as the cool air touched my clammy skin. “I felt a little sick when I woke up this morning, but then I was better throughout the day, but the smell of food sometimes still bothers me. I can’t figure out why I can’t get over this bug,” I said. Dermot wrapped his arm around my back and helped me back into my bedroom and under the covers to fight off the chill. For over a week, I had been fighting some sort of flu bug and just couldn’t seem to get over it.
“Perhaps we should suspend practicing for a few days. We work during the lunch-shift for the next several days and you seem to feel worse in the evening. It is conceivable that we are pushing you too hard with work at the bar and training afterwards. It might be best for you to even take a few days off from the bar and recuperate. When you are well again, we can resume your practice schedule,” Dermot advised.
I shook my head, knowing it was too late to very easily find a replacement waitress for tomorrow. “No, I’ll be okay. Let’s at least see how tomorrow goes. If I still can’t get over this bug, I’ll go to bed early,” I told him, trying in vain to control my shivering. I knew I didn’t look well either. I hadn’t been able to stomach much of anything in the past week and had become quite pale looking.
Dermot sighed, “Very well. I shall not accompany you to the bar tomorrow though. There are things I need to check into,” he explained in his vague way, and then popped away. I shook my head, and curled into a ball and a very uneasy sleep.
The next day at Merlotte’s was pretty much the same as it had been all week, me trying to stay out of people’s heads and trying to keep from throwing up as I served them their food.
One customer had requested raw onions on his hamburger and I had barely been able to drop the plate off at his table before I had to run to the employee’s bathroom.
“Shit, cher, are you still sick?” Sam asked as he came into the bathroom to find me hanging over the toilet. I could only nod weakly. “You know, if you weren’t dating a vampire, I’d say you were pregnant,” Sam said in a teasing manner as he squatted beside me.
I cringed at the statement, remembering how much I had wished that very thing could happen.
Suddenly Dermot’s words from my first “magic lesson” came back to me. Using your magic is about focusing your desires onto one specific thing and then gathering your magic and directing it at that one specific thing. The night I watched Hunter came back to me, and I remembered wishing with all of my being that I could have Eric’s children, and then after I’d bitten Eric and taken his blood, something strange had overcome me and I’d passed out. The next morning, Dermot had said he felt and smelled strong magic, but I didn’t think I’d done anything. Was it possible to focus my mind and therefore my magic so strongly and make the impossible happen?
Am I actually considering this?
The very thought made me wretch again. As many people as there were always trying to kill me and Eric, did I really want to compound our problems by bringing more lives into our mess?
Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, I fell back on my butt and leaned against the wall. I could feel tears streaming from my closed eyes.
“Shit, cher, I was just making a joke,” I heard Sam say. “You’re not actually pregnant are you?” Sam asked in disbelief.
I gathered myself up from the floor and started out of the bar as quickly as I could. “I need to get out of here, Sam,” I threw over my shoulder.
“Are you injured? What’s wrong, Sookie!” Eric shouted as he shook me. I don’t know when he got here, or how long he’d even been here, but it had finally registered in my mind that someone was shaking me and shouting at me.
I tried to force words from my mouth, but nothing would come. Finally, I just thrust the stick in my hand out to Eric, and continued to sob from my place on the floor of my bathroom. Nothing seemed real or right anymore. My trip to the drugstore had seemed more like a dream than actuality.
Taking the stick from hand, Eric asked, “What is this Sookie? I can tell you have urinated on it, but I do not know why.” Part of me was mortified to know that he could smell that, but I was still so overwhelmed by the knowledge that on that stick was a plus sign. This is impossible. It just can’t be happening. What kind of mother could I be and just how do I expect to bring a child into the mess of a world I’m in?
“Sookie, what is this?” Eric said, reaching out and shaking me more carefully this time. He was squatting in front of me peering down with a helpless look on his face. I had wrapped my arms around my knees at my chest, but I unwrapped one arm long enough to grab the instructions from the floor by the sink and thrust them at Eric.
I felt the second Eric had fully read the instructions and understood them. His rage was nearly overwhelming and it caused me to shudder and sob even more. I felt him stand up away from me.
“How long?” he asked in an icy voice as he glared down at me.
I looked up at him in confusion, but I could barely make him out through the tears in my eyes.
“How long have you been with child?” he asked with more force.
I counted backwards. “Sev-seven weeks,” I stammered through my sobs. I couldn’t believe I didn’t suspect something sooner, but it wasn’t the first time I’d missed my period before and I just figured it was because of all of the working and training I’d been doing.
Eric took a step back away from me. “The shifter,” he snarled.
“N-no, it ha-has t-to be you,” I sobbed, knowing what he was accusing me of.
Eric’s hand slammed down on the corner of my sink, breaking the corner of the ceramic into pieces that tumbled to the floor. The action made me jump and I huddled against the wall on the floor, trying to make myself even smaller. “I am vampire!” Eric shouted, “I cannot father a child! If not the shifter then who? Who did you give yourself to? Some other two-natured filth!” he hissed, his voice heavy with contempt. He didn’t normally lisp when his fangs ran out, but I could hear the slightest lisp as well as his accent when he spoke this time.
I swallowed the bile in my throat and tried to force myself to speak through my sobs. “It has t-to be you though. I hav-haven’t been with anyone b-but you since I b-broke up with Q-Quinn,” I explained, unable to keep from stammering.
“Lies!” Eric shouted. He had braced his hands on the doorway to the bathroom, and I could see the wood splinter underneath his clenching hands. “I knew you desired children, but you said I was enough for you! You said I was enough! But it was all lies! After everything I have done for you, every sacrifice I have made to keep you safe, you turn around and whore yourself at the first chance you get! Do you have any idea what you have done? You have served your enemies and mine the perfect piece of leverage on a platter!” he continued shouting, the doorway crumbling beneath his fingers.
Almost before I knew I had moved, I was in front of Eric. It took me a moment to realize that the cracking noise was from me slapping Eric. He snarled in my face, but didn’t remove his hands from the doorway. “Don’t you dare talk a-about me that way! I h-haven’t lied!” I shouted back.
“Go to whatever mongrel knocked you up and see if he will protect you!” he snarled, his hands dropping away from the doorway as he stepped towards me. There was a wild look in his eyes and for the first time, I was genuinely afraid of him.
Shrinking away from the towering Viking, I stammered as quickly as I could, “I res-scind your inv-vitation to my h-home!”
Immediately, Eric was pulled backward out of my sight. I heard my front door crash open and at the sound of the terrible cry the Eric released, I slumped back to the floor. All I could think of was that Eric was right; anyone who wanted to use me would try to leverage my child against me.
I tried to think of who could help me, but knew that no one really could. Then it hit me, once people found out that my child was half-vampire, everyone would either want to take the child from me to use it, or they might even want to kill it. Humans would fear it and any vampire would want to use it.
A fierce protectiveness arose in me. I wasn’t sure how I was going to raise this child, but I wasn’t going to let anyone use it. I knew no one here could help me, not even Eric—even if he would acknowledge the child. The vampires above him would seek to use both the child and me. Huddling on the floor, I knew it was for the best that Eric didn’t believe me. I would keep this child safe no matter what, and if that meant keeping it from Eric and other vampires, then so be it. I would protect this child with everything that I had.
“What’s wrong, my dear niece?” Dermot’s voice pleaded. I wasn’t sure how long I had lain on the floor, but I gathered my strength and stood to look at my uncle’s concerned face.
“I’m pregnant with Eric’s child,” I whispered.
Dermot’s eyes widened in shock, but he never questioned or doubted me. And then, in one of those rare moments, I heard my uncle’s thoughts. A child born of fairy and vampire blood? Perhaps the child would be enough for Niall to allow me back into Faery.
My eyes closed as more tears squeezed out and my body continued to tremble. I had already decided that I needed to leave this place to protect my child, but now it appeared as though I would be hiding from my uncle as well. Something inside me told me that a mother could do anything to protect her child, so I pleaded silently with all of my strength in my head. I wish to leave this place and block my bond with any vampire or fairy. I pictured the most calming place I could think of in my mind, and whispered aloud, “Good-bye.”
When I opened my eyes, I was standing in front of the rolling ocean tide in the dark. As I sank to my knees in the surf, I knew that neither Bill nor Eric could feel me any longer, nor could Dermot or Claude. My arms wrapped around my waist and I probed within myself, trying to feel my child. As I felt two presences within me, I realized that I’d never felt so alone.
A/N: Sorry, it took me a bit longer to get this one out than I planned. Work and family sure have a knack for getting in the way!
I will warn you, things will get pretty rough for a while in this story. But this is the way I see it having to happen. I have wanted to try a “Sookie getting pregnant” story for a while, and honestly, I just don’t see that being news that the Viking is going to take well. But I think we can understand that. Hang with me!
As always, let me know what you think!
Also, if anyone is artistically inclined, I would love to see if someone could make a banner for this story. Alas, I have very limited graphic design skills!