“So, your sister Claudia-”
“Right, that one that’s basically just another variation on the name you all had-”
“Cousin, we picked those names ourselves, and you’re getting side tracked.”
“You did? As a joke? Sorry, okay. So she’s a what?”
“She was the one who was Sookie’s Fairy Godmother?”
“Do I have a Fairy Godmother?”
“Me! Haven’t I always tried to keep you out of trouble? Aren’t I always there for you?”
I guffawed. It wasn’t ladylike. “You’re the worst Fairy Godmother ever!”
“Very nice. Maybe you’re just the worst assignment in the history of Godparents, ever consider that?”
I sighed. “So Clau-dine is an angel. How does that work? You wake up and you’re not a fairy anymore? You’re an elf? Or a brownie? Or demon?”
“Anabelle, this seriously hurts, please don’t make me repeat information after this. I feel like my eyes are going to explode into napalm jelly and I have a lot left to get through.” Sheesh, I was thankful I wasn’t bound by fairy law. I’d hate to have to speak in riddles all the time to keep from exposing the Fae to humans. “Claudine worked for years to become an angel, it was her greatest ambition, and she took on Sookie as her charge. She sacrificed her life to protect Sookie during the Portal War when Breandan attacked her after she’d been tortured by a couple of fairies named Lochlan and Neave.”
“Claudine was tortured, or Sookie?” Sookie had never put that in her book. Or, wait…maybe she had but was always super vague about it? Either way, she obviously never got over it completely.
“Sookie. Claudine was pregnant at the time too. Anyway, the Powers That Be accepted Claudine’s sacrifice as her final step forward and she transcended. But she still watched over Sookie. I think she helped make you.”
My head was beginning to hurt too. We’d been talking fairies and Sookie for hours in the dumpy little diner with its dirty windows and peanut-shell covered floor across the street from my motel, and now we were talking about summoning an angel. My cousin the angel, apparently. Every time I believed my life could not get more strange or complicated…
“So how do we call her?”
“Best Fairy Godmother ever.”
“If she were your guardian, she would appear to you when you needed her, much the way I do, only you wouldn’t be able to see or feel her.”
“So why hasn’t she before?”
“Probably because you have me, and she may not be assigned to you. I’ve never cared much about the doings of angels.”
“So, you don’t want to be one?”
He laughed so hard at this that tears leaked down his cheeks. “And give up kinky sex, and exotic dancing, and all the rugged cowboys I can handle?”
“But then why be my – do I have to keep calling you a Godmother?”
“Niall said to, so I did.” He shrugged indifferently and poked at the lettuce on his burger moodily.
“I love you too, Cousin.” I rolled my eyes. “How do we know if she’s mine?”
“I renounce my guardianship, and you get into something really dangerous.”
“Great plan. No flaws in that at all.”
“It’s the only way I can think you’d be able to get her.”
“What about Sookie?”
“What about her?”
“Siobhan mentioned the dead can sometimes talk to us.”
“What? Like through a medium? That only happens when the soul hasn’t been born into a new body.”
“What’s the likelihood that Sookie has been just hanging around The Summerlands for the last forty years?”
“Almost nil. I’d give that up.”
“Great. Back to the book, then.” Oh! Good God! I’d left the Sookie-Book! Tears welled in my eyes and I bit my lip to fight them. It just felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Don’t cry, Cousin. Try to contact her spirit if it makes you feel better, but I think you’ll find most mediums are frauds anyway.”
“No! I left the book with all Sookie’s journals with Eric! It’s okay, though. I’m-I’m okay. He probably needs it more than I do.” I looked out the window and wondered if he was alright, if he’d killed those other vamps, and if he knew I was gone yet.
“Why do you get that sad-cow look on your face when you talk about that bloodsucker?” He spat the last word as if it tasted offensive.
“Drop it. So what, you say a few words and go back to Fae and you’re just my plain cousin and not my…”
“Guardian, that’s the basic principle, yes.”
“So what are you waiting for?”
“I want to impress upon you how much you’re needed in Fae. None of this stuff really matters. It doesn’t change the way you’re needed and it doesn’t change that you don’t belong with vampires.”
“Why did you say Eric would steal my light?”
“Because that’s what bloodsuckers do! They are the darkness, we’re the light. They suck it all out until there’s nothing left.”
“Headache real bad? That answer sucked.”
“If you came and lived in Fairy, I’d never have this problem again!”
“Nice try. What would I do there?”
“The vessel, that’s you, housing a pure light, that’s an untainted spark – as in no sex, still a virgin, yada yada yada – is presented to the house of the Tuatha Dé Danann in honor of the Goddess Danu where he or she spends a lot of life in prayer. You’ve been doing that anyway since you were a kid. Siobhan is a priestess there too.” He shrugged. Obviously it sounded like the end of the world to his sensibilities.
“I thought she was full fairy.”
“She is, she’s just strange and would rather pray than play,” he gave another noncommittal shrug.
“Why can’t full fairies maintain the plane?”
“We can, but it requires a life-sacrifice. This was the final step for angels for a long time, before we figured out the human thing. Why do you think we’re even allowed to mate with you May Flies?”
“I’m still confused.”
He huffed. “Pay attention! I can’t take much more!” He massaged his temples and closed his eyes. “Human bodies don’t run on the spark so you have all kinds of crazy magic energy building up in your body that you can channel into something else. You can’t use it, only give it away. I’ve seen you do it with plants before, you know what I’m talking about. Fairies need their spark to sustain their lives. It’s not just an energy source, it’s the energy source for us. Bigger the spark, longer the life, more powers, blah blah blah. But we should never consciously give it away because it’ll deplete us and it take us a while to regain full strength, in order to power the plane we have to sacrifice our lives, you don’t. It makes perfect sense. I don’t know why you’re so stupid today.”
“Alright, Claude, alright. I want you to renounce me, or relinquish me, or whatever it is that you have to do.”
He look into my eyes sadly. “You really won’t just come?”
I broke our gaze and stared at my hands.
“Grandfather has been gone for days and we’re beginning to despair his return. He went looking for you, you know, to tell you all this. So you’d make the right choice. Your people need you.”
Guilt like a ton of bricks walloped me in the gut. Niall was dead, and I needed to tell him, but couldn’t bring myself to do it just then, and I couldn’t face the sacrifice my great-grandfather had made for his people concerning me. So I avoided.
“Why was he so upset about Eric meeting me? I know you said I’m housing Sookie’s spark, but if it was hers to give and I still have mine after hers is gone, what’s the big deal?”
“If you have both, you live forever, Fae is never in danger again. Plus he thought you’d jump right into bed with that vamp, then you’re useless. Hell, I would if I could.”
I blushed, “Yeah, we figured out I’m not so in control when we try that, so we don’t… I suppose I would have…”
“Well, well, well, Miss Prude had a naughty minute with a vampire. Wonders never cease.”
My very witty and biting reply was squelched by the pissed off Werewolf walking into the restaurant and striding purposefully to our booth.
“Hi Dante! Sorry! This is my cousin, Claude, and we lost track of time. Oh good Lord! Claude, it’s already dark!”
“Dante, you gorgeous animal! I wish I had time to stay and get to know you better, but I must get back to the search for the prince. Anabelle Sookie Merlotte, I renounce guardianship of you, and pray that the gods send you a champion.” With that he walked out. He didn’t pop. His head must have really hurt.
I had a pair of highly upset brown eyes boring into my skull. He ran a large hand through his sandy brown hair, probably pulling a bit out.
“Look, I ain’t what anyone’s called a protector before, so I don’t know what I should be doin’ to keep you safe,” I opened my mouth to interject but he raised his hand to silence me. “But, Ana, takin’ off without even a word on a piece a paper?”
“Did you just call me Ana? Sorry, that was weird. But you can call me that, might be good while we’re trying to move around the scans. Anyway, I know, you’re right. You were probably worried sick. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”
He let out a big puff of air and hailed a server. I guessed that was good enough for him.
By the time he’d finished eating and we walked back to the motel, I was barely able to keep my eyes open and slumped into the crappy chair by the window. Next thing I knew, I was being lifted into bed by a pair of strong, warm arms. I woke up just enough to see the serious, but unexpectedly sweet Werewolf scanning the street through the curtains.
Seeing him in such an alert and defensive posture made me miss Eric terribly. I felt tears threatening to come up… along with dinner.
I ran to the bathroom and emptied the contents of my stomach before brushing my teeth with the travel sized brush and paste then dragging myself back to bed. I felt horrible. I’d never felt so sick, mostly because I never got sick. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even had a cold.
I just wanted Eric there to hold me while I shivered under the blankets. After a few minutes a body did settle in next to mine, but it was warm instead of the cool, and pliant instead of stony.
I tried to think about everything I’d learned today, and devise a way to get in touch with an angel instead of thinking about how miserable I felt. Thankfully, I fell asleep quickly and didn’t wake until the following evening.