Susie sat wide-eyed in the den upstairs as she monitored when vampire, Were, witch, Dae, and Fae alike joined the vampires in the largest area, the main living room.
“Ya okay, Pumpkin?” Jason asked, stroking her hair.
“There’s lots of minds downstairs,” she said quietly, her head starting to hurt.
“You don’t have to read them all,” Jason told her softly. “Remember, ya Aunt Sookie is down there and she’s doin‘ her bit as well.”
“I know,” Susie replied, shaking her head. “There’re lots of them she can’t enter.”
“There are lots she can,” Jason reminded her, telling her that despite what she often thought not everything was up to her. He knew she wanted to help and he was proud of her, but Susie was sometimes arrogant in her belief that she was the only one able to help. He loved his daughter more than anything, but he wouldn’t hesitate to bring her down to earth with a bump if she started mouthing off again. He knew her telepathy was stronger than Sookie’s, but, unlike Sookie, Susie didn’t have the maturity to know her limits. She was still learning that just because she could read those around her, it didn’t mean she had right to do it all the time. She had gotten better at respecting other people’s privacy. It was only after Sookie had shown her what it was like having someone poke around in her head that Susie became hesitant. Sookie hadn’t done it to be cruel, but after Susie had decided she wanted to read minds whenever she wanted, blurting out what she found because she found it funny, Jason asked Sookie to give her a taste of her own medicine.
“I won’t worry about those she can, Daddy,” she said to placate him.
Jason eyed his daughter carefully, trying to see if she was telling the truth, and remembering their previous discussion. He had allowed her to start working with the vampires again four months ago following her outburst the night of the auction ball. Nevertheless, he, Sookie, Eric, and Roman had made it clear to her that any more behavior like that would mean she wouldn’t be allowed to help at all until she was of age. They even went so far as to tell her that she would be removed from the house and the war planning, and placed somewhere safe and far removed from her vampires.
Her breath caught in her throat as Sookie thought to her, asking her to check on some minds she had read to confirm their thoughts and possibly dig a little deeper.
Jason sat back and watched his daughter go to work. He smiled as he saw her frown, recognizing her little tells as she delved deeper into someone’s mind. He was incredibly proud of her, but also sad that she would never know a normal childhood. He never really understood how difficult it must have been for Sookie growing up until he had Susie. Having Susie made him feel guilty about all the times he teased and picked on his sister. He realized now just how special his sister was, and he only wished he’d have seen it before.
“Daddy, who’s Sam and Alcide?” Susie asked.
“They’re old friends of your aunt’s,” Jason replied, flicking his eyes to the monitors that Roman had set up for them. He wasn’t happy to see Alcide after hearing what his ex-bitch had done to Sookie. The fact that Alcide touted Debbie as a victim like Sookie, knowing full well she had been a V-addict and spiteful bitch had pissed Jason off to no end. He had actually felt sorry for Alcide. Now that he knew the truth, he only felt disgust.
Downstairs they were discussing plans on how to draw out the Danann, how to get to Warlow once they were close enough how to destroy him, and how to stop them from destroying more vampires.
“So we need to coordinate,” Roman said, looking at the newcomers. Nora’s Children, Ailis and Nathaniel, Eric’s Child Pam, and the other new vampires present. Sookie was keeping an eye on Pam while monitoring all of the Weres she could.
Sookie hadn’t been happy to see Pam when she came flouncing through the door an hour after sunset, and she knew the feeling was mutual. Pam still hated her. If there had been any doubt it was washed away when Pam ran her eyes over Sookie, sniffed the air and blurted out loudly, “So you finally fucked her then.”
Sookie had been incensed and was about to launch herself at the bratty vampire when a blur of brown hair had vamped up beside Pam and slapped her upside the head. The newcomer, a petite vampire who looked like she had been turned in her late teens had proceeded to drag Pam through the room by her blonde hair and thrown her in the corner, telling her she was in timeout until she could stop acting like a fecking bitch. Sookie had been surprised when Pam didn’t fight back and remained in her corner.
Eric had chuckled as the vampire moved toward them and introduced Sookie to Nora’s youngest child, Ailis Finnegan.
“Now how d’ya suppose we do that?” a petite vampire in the back asked. “Half the people in here hate each other.”
“You do as you’re fucking told,” Russell snapped.
Holding up her hands in surrender, she backed away. “I don’t have a problem with anyone,” she said in her own defense. “I’ll work with whoever ya tell me. I’m just commenting on the fact that this lot,” she jerked her head in the direction of a small band of obviously angry Weres, “have been glarin’ at ya’ll since they walked in.”
“That’s because you’re not fucking informed,” Eric told her, “nor will you be. As I told Illinois, their presence doesn’t truly concern you.”
Snapping her mouth shut, she nodded at her elder and slunk back behind some larger vampires.
“Anything else?” Eric questioned. Russell had spoken with Quinn; every Were was there either because of loyalty to Sookie or loyalty to their Packmasters.
When no one else spoke up, Nora stepped forward. “While the threat of the Danann is ongoing, everyone will stay at my palace,” she said. “Along with Russell and Quinn, I have worked up a schedule and assigned everyone jobs around the palace. No one is exempt, not even myself.”
Sookie had looked at Sam, Alcide, Tray, and Quinn in turn. She had spoken with them briefly, knowing they were there only to help her. Alcide brought the support of his pack while Quinn had whatever contacts he brought from across the country. Sam had a small shifter community he was in contact with and his family in Texas, but no one had agreed to support them so he was here on his own. Tray was mostly a lone wolf, but he had always been sweet to Sookie, and he was there to support her despite his aging body. There were other Weres, ones Eric knew or whose allegiance Russell held. She read them all while speaking to them privately.
“The security guards will be on a three shift rotation,” Nora continued. “Thalia will be in charge of the night shift, Quinn the morning shift, and Tray Dawson the afternoon shift. Any questions?”
“Who do we all report to?” a Were asked, not interested in reporting to any vampires.
“It depends on what position you have,” Nora told him. “Each department, if you will, has their own head, and they in turn report to Roman and Russell.”
“So I’m still reporting to Alcide?” he repeated, looking at his Packmaster.
“No, you will be reporting to either Quinn or Tray,” Nora cut in before Alcide had a chance to say anything.
The Were grumbled a little, but at a look from Alcide he stopped.
Nora eyed the Were for a second before turning her attention back to the room. “In addition to the guards, we also have witches who have placed heavy wards on the house and around the grounds.”
“Who, specifically, do we report to?” Holly asked, “Or is it whoever is heading security?”
“The witches will report to Jesus,” Nora answered, pointing out the brujo. “In the case of an emergency and if he’s not available, report to Fintan.”
“Who’s Fintan?” another witch asked, as he leaned against the wall.
“That would be him there,” Nora replied, pointing out the fairy. “Don’t let his pretty looks deceive you. He’s more powerful than most of the Supes in this room.”
Breaths and sidelong glances were sent Fintans’ way, but no one could determine what he was with his hair was over his ears.
“Right, I have assigned rooms to everyone, and some of you will be bunking up,” Nora told them, once no one else spoke up she continued. “If there’s a problem with your roommate… get the fuck over it, we’re at war.”
When no one spoke, Roman looked around. “Anything else?” he asked.
Soft whispers spread through the room, but no one else voiced any questions. They were all taking in what they had learned.
“Alright, I need to speak with Fintan, Tray, Quinn, Jesus, Felipe, and Thalia. The rest of you go find your rooms and look at the shift schedule. Thalia’s shift is on now, so start your patrol as soon as you put your shit in your room. She’ll join you shortly,” Roman ordered.
One by one, the various Supes shuffled out the room, leaving behind those who Roman requested.
“Fintan, aside from you, the rest of you will be in charge of your species and shifts. Any problems with them come to Russell or me. Any questions about what the plan is?” he said to them.
“No,” Thalia answered for them all when no one else said anything.
“Good. Thalia, you have seven on duty now. Go give them assignments and work out a rotation,” Russell told her. “The rest of you may leave for your rooms.”
“If it’s possible, may I speak with you later, Fintan?” Jesus asked. “I have an idea that might strengthen the wards around the house, but I would like your advice first.”
“Of course, Jesus,” Fintan said. “We can speak now if you would like.”
“If you have the time, I would like that,” Jesus replied.
“What are you thinking?” Fintan asked, stepping into the next room with the Mexican Dae-witch.
“From what I have learned about the Danann, they’re part Britlingen and part fairy, correct?” Jesus asked, trying to get his thoughts in order.
“Yes,” he confirmed.
“Now I understand that faeries are allergic to iron and lemons and I’m guessing that part of that weakness has been passed onto the Danann,” Jesus said thoughtfully. “I did a bit of research, contacted a few old friends, and I learned that full-blooded Britlingens are allergic or sensitive to mercury. For obvious reasons we can’t use iron in the wards or house, but I have developed a way to use mercury in the spell I use to create the protection wards. It probably won’t kill them if they tried to breach them, but it might weaken them enough for someone else to kill them.”
“How did you discover this?” Fintan questioned him.
“From my grandfather,” Jesus replied. “He’s somewhat of an expert on discovering weaknesses.”
Fintan didn’t respond for a moment, thinking of how his father was the same. “Well, I think that’s a good plan,” he told the witch.
Jesus smiled at Fintan and nodded. “While I’m confident I can put the wards up, I was hoping you might be able to reinforce them at the same time.”
“I would also like to add a silencing ward to Susie and Jason’s room,” Jesus continued, telling him of the other idea he had. “It wouldn’t prevent us from hearing them, but it would prevent Susie from hearing some of the things that happen here. Despite her abilities, she’s still a little girl. She doesn’t need to hear people having sex or vampires feeding. It probably won’t help with her,” he tapped the side of his head. “She just won’t have to be woken up by Eric and Sookie having sex anymore.”
“That’s fine. Just get Jason’s approval,” Fintan replied. “I don’t know how well that might help. Her telepathy is truly . . . Well let’s say she’s gifted.”
“I was thinking it would block out more of the vocal sounds,” Jesus clarified. “We’ve all been awakened by them at some point over the last six months.”
Fintan shook his head, “That is true.”
“I will get the supplies for the new wards first, and then do the ones on Jason and Susie’s room, with his approval, of course,” Jesus said.
“If you have any trouble getting mercury let me know. It’s not for civilian sale,” Fintan warned him.
“Lafayette,” Jesus said fondly, as if that explained it all.
“I don’t think I need to know,” Fintan said with a laugh.
“You’re a wise man, Fintan,” Jesus replied, slapping him on the back.