Neave and Lochlan waited patiently for their turn to speak with their king. At last they were summoned to his office for a private word. Once in, both the fairies bowed very low in their courtesy, before looking up at their king.
Niall Brigant, king of the sky and water fae and high prince of the sky fae, looked neither old nor young. He had piercing blue eyes, silver hair that did not give away any sign of age and taut skin that sparkled at an angle. His whole being radiated power, wisdom and cunning in equal quantities. To the unprepared, the fairy king was scary in the least. Few could look directly in the eye of the most important royal of the sky fae and most just kneeled at his feet without ever even looking into his eyes.
Niall was sitting in his study and looked at Neave and Lochlan with interest. They were water fairies and his trusted investigators and enforcers. Even among the most ruthless fae, they had a reputation of being especially barbarous and brutal with those who had the misfortune of falling into their hands. Two days back they requested an audience with him, in private. That was rare, as the two liked to brag and whatever their exploits, they always went for a crowd to relate their adventures. Private words meant something they couldn’t understand and wanted help with, which did not happen usually.
“What brings you here Neave? Lochlan?” Niall gave each of them a level look.
Lochlan took half a step forward and cleared his throat before speaking. “My Lord, we have come across something that needs to be attended to. Fifteen human days back, there was an attack on a vampire business establishment, not far from our main portal to human world. The attack is inconsequential. It was a pity no vampire was killed.” Both Neave and Lochlan grimaced at that. “We were in the area and the attack was carried out by human scum, even more worthless than the usual. They managed to kill only one human.”
“Is that worth my time Lochlan?”
Neave jumped in at that, “It gets important later lord, because right after the one puny explosion, there was another one, a light explosion, which was very powerful and attracted our attention. We felt it like a wave of energy in the air. We thought it came from some fae, because we have known only the sky fae capable of powerful white light bursts that are as powerful as the one we felt.”
Niall’s interest spiked a little at that.
“We thought this was some fairy attacking some vampires and went there to join the fun and eliminate witnesses.” Neave hesitated after that and Niall had to prompt.
“So was it some rogue fae who is trying to start a war? Did you take care of them?”
Lochlan replied in a very serious tone at that, “We found no fae there lord, not even a half fae or a hybrid! What we found was not fae magic at all.”
This was strange…
“Did you find the source?”
Neave and Lochlan looked at each other and then turned to address Niall, “We believe it comes from a creature in the guise of a human female. It’s name is Sookie Stackhouse and she lives in a farmhouse with her grandmother Adele Stackhouse, right on the edge of the cemetery that contains our portal.”
“Is human my lord. We did not find any birth records for Sookie Stackhouse. She calls herself human but does not have the aura of a human. She has no worthwhile education to speak of and works as a barmaid. The small town is convinced she is crazy. The family is poor my lord. And there is another thing we suspect.”
Neave and Lochlan shifted a bit in discomfort and cleared their throats, as if not sure how to spell out whatever it was that they were trying to say.
Niall cleared his throat, prompting them to speak up.
Neave continued, “They are occasionally visited by another human male they call Jason Stackhouse, who claims to be Sookie’s brother. He looks human and does not show any spark.”
Niall gaze suddenly increased in its piercing quality at that, “Spark?”
When Neave remained silent, Lochlan jumped in, “We found traces of fae blood in him and prince Fintan’s essence around the place my lord. We suspect Prince Fintan has some blood relationship with the family.”
Niall knew his son Fintan and his obsession with the human race very well. He also knew of his son’s indiscretions with a human female Adele Stackhouse. It was quite possible he sired an offspring with her. Neave and Lochlan only confirmed that story. So Adele had two grandchildren, one of which, the boy, had fairy blood in him and the other had no legal human records and no visible fae essence. His investigators didn’t need to know about the bastard half fae descendants of his son, so he steered the conversation in the other direction.
“What of this Sookie? You say she is not human. And you say she does not have the same trace of fae in her blood, like her brother?”
“Yes my lord, and we could not place her essence. She is not any part fae. We have not come across such an energy signature before.”
Neave supplied further information, “The aura that surrounds her is not fae magic. It is not human witchcraft or demon magic. We did spells to reveal the true nature of the creature but found nothing. Our magic did not reveal anything special around but something is there that does not sit together with our magic and simply bypasses it on another plain.”
Niall nodded thoughtfully. All further details the two fairies provided were mundane and inconsequential. They finished reporting and were dismissed. Niall could tell he would need to meet with his council on the matter of this Sookie Stackhouse. According to his investigators, she wasn’t fae, witch, demon, shifter, elf, goblin or any supernatural creature they knew about. They needed to know what she was and they may have to remove her before she caused any further disturbance. Her proximity to the fae portal and the one vampire Niall needed to keep an eye on was disturbing. He decided to discuss the matter with a few close councilors and act as soon as possible.
Sookie woke up with bright sunlight streaming through the drapes on her windows and the wonderful aroma of frying bacon wafting around her. What a beautiful morning!
She practically skipped out of bed, hurriedly brushed her teeth and hair, washed her face and ran towards the kitchen. Adele saw her coming half way and dropped the metal spatula she was holding to turn the pancakes. Sookie ran and hugged her gran.
Adele just shut her eyes to stop her tears of joy from showing and hugged her granddaughter back. “Oh honey! Jason told me you woke up last night. Thank the good lord for answering my prayers…I wanted to bring your breakfast to your room. Are you ok? How do you feel? Are you hungry?” She went from teary gran to nurse gran in seconds and Sookie smiled.
“I feel perfect gran. If Jason hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t even know I was waking up after two weeks last night. I am fine.”
Adele looked relieved and concerned and fussed about to get Sookie settled in for a good hearty breakfast. She hadn’t realized how much Sookie’s coma had affected her. Last two weeks had been a blur of hospital visits, worry, taking calls from friends and other townspeople, then worry and a growing pain and restlessness for her beloved granddaughter. She hadn’t once slowed down to miss her daily life and small routines with Sookie. Now that Sookie was healed, Adele realized much she had been affected when they missed out on their quaint shared life of home cooked meals, chatter, sitting in the sun or reading a book together.
After a breakfast full of thanks and praises to God by gran and eye rolls by Sookie for being pampered to death, the two women cleaned their dishes and Sookie wiped out the kitchen counters while Adele fixed sweet ice tea for them to sip on while they sat in the sun. Both women settled comfortably on the sunny porch of the old house, Sookie on the swing, Adele on the beaten down lounge chair, with glasses of cool refreshing ice tea.
“Child, are you quite sure you don’t want to head over to your doctor for a check-up?”
Another eye roll, “Gran! I am fine. I feel fine. I don’t even have a sleepy head like most days. I don’t want to see a doctor.”
However Adele was very adamant. After half an hour Sookie acquiesced that she will let gran take her to the doctors in Shreveport if Sookie so much as felt a tingling in her head. Well at least that was something and Adele had to compromise on that.
“So what do you want to do today?”
“I guess I’ll call Sam and ask if I still have a job. Did you meet him when I was, uh, unconscious?”
“Sam is your true friend Sookie. He came to visit you most days and always brought daisies for you. Didn’t have much to say but he watched you with so much concern. If my old eyes are right, he really does care for you.”
Sookie sighed. She knew too well that Sam had had this crush on her since forever, but she did not feel anything but friendly and things just remained on a status quo between the two. She worked for him and he kept his respectful distance. She might not even suspect anything if she hadn’t heard his thoughts now and then. But as long as Sam kept his thoughts to himself and treated her with respect, she was fine with the way things were going. Bon Temps didn’t have a lot of job opportunities, let alone for someone who didn’t have much of an education to show. And she needed to work.
“We are good friends, gran. We respect each other and he looks out for me at work, just like he does for all the other waitresses. It is really easier this way. I am sure he is a very good man and whoever he ends up with will be a lucky person, but I can’t look at him like that, even if I try.”
Gran nodded and smiled at her. “I trust you child. You are young but you have seen and heard much. I am sure whatever you do with your life, you will always do it for the right reasons. Whatever people may say my dear, you always make your old gran proud.”
Hearing that made Sookie tear up a bit and just stood up and hugged the older woman again.
“I love you gran.”
“I love you too honey. I missed you. Now finish up your tea and I’ll go get you another glass. It is really warm and sunny today.” And Sookie settled down, thankful for her gran’s pampering.
Sookie called Sam in the afternoon and the guy was so relieved, she could feel his happiness right through the phone receiver.
“You know you don’t have to ask about your job cher. Of course you can come back any time. But are you sure you want to start so soon? Why don’t you rest it out for a couple of days. Arlene, Lafayette and the new girl Holly are managing the work and I put in shifts as a full time bartender, so Terry can help with the cooking and cleaning. Just make sure you are well.”
“I am quite alright now Sam. Thanks for adjusting but I really want to come back to work as soon as possible. Gran really needs my help to keep us afloat. You know how it is.”
“Hmmmm…Well Arlene has a date tonight and will be leaving early. I still haven’t contacted Holly to make up for the extra time. If maybe you could come for one or two hours…?”
“That’s great Sam. I’ll be there. I can help with the late shift too.”
“Good then. Take care cher. See you in the evening.”
“Take care…Bye Sam…and thanks again.”
Sam huffed at the thanks and disconnected. Sookie was relieved to put a semblance of routine back to her life. She knew she could not afford to take long rests and besides, it was good to work. She liked to work and she liked Merlotte’s. The job thing settled, she checked on her gran who was now snoring softly in her chair, the sun warming her back. She went up and lightly kissed her sleeping gran’s forehead and went inside for a long relaxing shower. The shower involuntarily took her back to last night’s dream. Sookie sighed and let herself flow in the moment of contentment.