It is an ordinary day in the Underworld; souls to judge and sentences to pass. Hades sits on his throne much the same way he has for untold millennium. It isn’t long before his bit of peace is disturbed, in much the way it usually is, by Niall. The throne room door swings open allowing the fairy prince to enter. His arms are full and there is a distinctively wicked gleam in his eyes. “Niall, my friend, what brings you down here today? And what are you carrying?” Hades inquires, having seen that look too many times to count.
“Surely you know what today is.” Niall responds, then seeing the slight confusion on his friend’s face adds, “It’s picture day!” with an exaggerated smirk.
“What are you talking about? That was last week, and we did not participate.” Hades replies.
Niall feeling ever so mischievous adds “Yes, well, those were for the announcement, I’m talking about family pictures! Speaking of, I’m going to need to ‘borrow’ your computer, and a recent picture of you.” With that Niall turns and walks towards Hades’ private chambers, with a still unsure Hades following after him.
“So we are having family pictures today; what exactly is all of this?” Hades asks pointing to the unopened box now sitting on his desk. Without responding, Niall grabs the box cutter he brought with him, and slices through the tape. He turns toward Hades and shrugs “Isn’t it obvious? These are the pictures in question.” He silently laughs knowing how his Sookie will look, and most likely respond when she sees his surprise. He wonders what will be thrown this time; she really enjoys flinging household items at him…wonder why?
“So let me get this straight. You stole the pictures that were delivered to Sookie, the ones you know she has been eagerly awaiting, and brought them here? Why?”
Niall looks at his friend like he is slow, and answers “First of all, I borrowed these; you borrow with the intent to return the item, not so with stealing. Second of all, it’s because we aren’t in these pictures. And before you ask, there is no third of all. That’s all of all.” Grabbing the stack of prints, he looks down and smirks, “Now let’s see what we have to work with; you know you’re curious.”
Together the two long-time friends sit and peruse the photographs of the three beloved mates taken for the long-awaited announcement. They laugh and speculate on the behind the scenes hijinks that had most likely occurred knowing the trio involved. They comment on the candid looks and caresses caught by the photographer, and stare in awe at the overwhelming amount of love radiating off their family. Once they are finished with the professional photographs, Niall finally decides to let Hades in on the reason that he is there in his chambers. “So I need your help if I’m going to make this gift a success. I need you to use your computer mumbo jumbo skills and photoshop a few pics for me.”
Despite his best efforts, Hades laughs at his friend’s antics. “So let me get this straight; you burst in here and need me to photoshop the pictures that my Sookie has been eagerly awaiting, so that you can play a prank on her? Am I missing anything?” Seeing Niall shake his head negatively, Hades adds, “Well OK then, whats the plan?”
Niall pulls up a chair and they start working on the gift, or as he likes to call them, the family pictures. Several hours of riotous laughter and multiple arguments later, Niall seems almost giddy at the prospect of delivering the package back to Sookie. Each of them now had an “Avenging Angel” picture, even Hades. “I still don’t understand why you stubbornly refused to follow my suggestions about the artistic direction I was hoping to achieve with yours. Horns and a tail would have been so great!” Nonetheless, Niall now finds himself carefully repacking the box with the photographs, making sure to include the family pictures at the bottom with a special inscription on the back of his. After resealing the box, he picks it up and wishes his friend a good day. “Unless you want to join me and witness the fun firsthand.”
“With an offer like that, I would not miss it. I wonder what she will throw at you this time. One of these days she may surprise you; her aim is spot on.” Hades laughs out his response, and the two head back towards the throne room.
Sookie wakes up with an energy about her. She leans over and kisses her mates, and telling them both she loves them. Heading upstairs for breakfast, she finds herself anxious; she was told by her mates that the pictures that she’s been eagerly waiting for, the ones from the shoot, will be arriving today. Already sitting around the kitchen table are Tara, Lafayette, and Leigh; Gran is standing at the stove. “Morning y’all! Are they here, have they showed up?” She is fully aware of how quickly she is talking, and how loud her last question was, but she couldn’t find it in her to care; she is really excited. Her mates had the order rushed to be to her today; all they had asked was for her to wait for them so they could share in her excitement and see them together.
“Not yet baby girl. It’s still early; it’s not even yet noon.” Gran responds much to everyone’s giggles.
“I know, I just can’t wait! I need to be doing things to keep my mind off of it.”
“Well its a lovely day, so why don’t you and Tara go lay out in the sun? I’m sure that Leigh and Amelia will join you. Now that we’ve settled that, eat up.”
They finish breakfast and go change. The time spent in the sun seems to drag, as does the rest of the afternoon spent cleaning the already spotless house. With each passing hour, Sookie finds herself getting more frustrated; she knew deep down that it didn’t matter that she couldn’t open them even if they were here, but she still wanted them here. Finally after what seemed like days, the doorbell rings. This in and of itself startles her; why was there someone at the door? None of the security measures stopped this person from getting to her. Lafayette answers the door and steps aside allowing Niall and Hades entrance in the house.
In walks a smiling Hades and a smirking Niall. Sookie knows that she should be suspicious of anything that makes Niall look like that, however, the next words out of that smirking mouth stops Sookie’s entire logic center of her brain shuts down. “Hey Sookie, this seems to be for you.” She runs over to the man who has always been like a father to her and the god standing next to him, whom she loves like a father. She has been so tightly wound up all day long waiting for this box to arrive, she immediately starts sending her resting mates her love and excitement in hopes that she might wake them early and spare her having to wait for them to rise. She clutches the box to her as if it is her own personal Holy Grail. The rest of their nest begin trickling into the living room where Sookie is now staring at the package sitting on the coffee table. She sits down and stares, she stands up and begins pacing,and then repeats the process again and again all while staring at the box. Her antics are enough to entertain her nest and visitors alike. She is so fixated on the box that she actually misses her beloved mates rising; she hasn’t done that in years.
Downstairs in their suite, Godric rises and is slightly unsure what has his wenig liebe (little love) so anxious and incredibly focused. He feels his mate rise next to him. The two share a look because of the feelings flowing through their bond, until they realize their mate is most likely just excited about seeing the pictures she was waiting for. Godric thinks it’s cute how these pictures seem different to her than any of others that they have taken of each other over the years. Probably because of what these particular photos represent; that she is publicly being claimed by her mates. Granted to the rest of the world, she is being claimed as Eric’s mate and Godric’s child, but the three of them know it’s so much more than that.
Eric is stunned by the feelings he has felt from the moment he rose tonight, but he is still more shocked that his Sookie, his lover, wasn’t cuddled up waiting for them to wake, nor has she even seemed to notice that they are awake. Looking to his beloved maker and mate he asks, “Well Master, our little mate seems a tad preoccupied and hasn’t noticed us. Should we go surprise her, and put her out of her misery?” With a nod of his head both vampires began dressing , and vamp up to their beloved.
The room erupts in laughter as Sookie is caught in the arms of both mates mid-step. “Cheese and rice you two! Where did you come from, and what time is it? You know what, never mind. You’re both here now, so will one of y’all hand me that box?” Godric reaches to give her the package, while Eric, ever the pragmatic one, takes the opportunity to sit on the couch with his lover on his lap. He nuzzles her neck and kisses his way behind her ear, nipping her lobe with his blunt teeth. He whispers words of his everlasting love in her ear. Godric leans over to kiss his Sookie while moving to sit next to his mates on the couch.
Sitting with her mates, she pulls the box to her and tears off the tape and is immediately engrossed in the pictures in her hands. The nest is standing around looking and commenting on this picture or that picture, with several of the shots being declared Sookie’s favorite, only to be replaced by the next one she sees. The posed ones are beautiful, and she adores all the ones containing all three of them. She fawns over the ones with Leigh, and she gushes over some of the candid moments between the three that were captured allowing her to always see the outpouring of love both for and from her loves. She hadn’t realized that there would be so many, or that she would love so many of them. She pulls out the last stack of photos and gets a silly grin on her face. Her mates are slightly confused as they see her looking at a picture of Eric, but it’s not a normal picture, he is an angel surrounded by fire. Flipping to the next one she sees a similar picture of Godric, also as an angel only this time surrounded by blue flames. She looks to her mates and has a slightly dopey grin on her face, “When did you two do this, was this why it took so long to arrive?” The next is one of her and she is confused. She doesn’t remember ever posing for that one, nor does she recall Hades or Niall being at the photoshoot. Yet here they were, dressed as angels, in the flames. She looks between her mates, Hades, and Niall, very much questioning her earlier thought that her mates had done this as a sweet surprise, is becoming more suspicious and much less sweet.
Godric looks sincerely at his little one and tells her, “I have never seen these, nor do I know what they are supposed to be.” He looks around the room and notices Niall and his father. “Good evening father, Niall. What are you both doing here?
“I was just sitting around when Niall showed up and invited me along to come see our family,” Hades responds coyly. Glancing toward Niall, Hades wonders how long before his amazing daughter puts the pieces together. Would it be before or after she turns over his friend’s picture and sees his inscription?
Hearing this, Sookie looks at her great-grandfather, the man she considers a father, and thinks back on his arrival. “Um Niall, not that I’m not glad to see you, especially while I’m fully dressed,” she adds with a glare, “but what exactly are you doing here?”
Niall asks, “My darling Sookie, do I need a reason to visit with my family? Is it not possible that I am here simply because I missed you?” Seeing her sheepish expression, he continues, “I wanted to be here when you got to see your new family pictures.”
Sookie sits on Eric’s lap looking at the unusual photos, all unique, but tied together by theme, and there was that word again; family. She voiced her thoughts. “Okay y’all keep saying family, like I don’t know we’re family. What gives?”
For the second time today, Niall stands there looking at someone he respects and usually considers quite bright, like they rode the short bus to school, a phrase he picked up from Jason. “I don’t seem to understand whats so confusing. The photoshoot was supposed to be for your upcoming announcement, but it also doubled as the perfect opportunity for you to finally have some ‘family pictures’. It also allowed me to leave you with a profound message, straight from my heart.” He grabs the picture of himself and hands it to Sookie, motioning her to turn it over.
As soon as Sookie sees the words written clearly in Niall’s scrolling handwriting, she knows. Every part of today’s misery, every time she checked the porch for her parcel, could have been avoided. If only her nosy, not funny, oh so snarktastic great-grandfather hadn’t stole her pictures! She drops the offending picture. Without much thought Sookie reaches over and grabs the solid brass owl from its resting place on the table. With a whispered plea to any god listening that just this once, let this actually hit, and she sends the owl flying.
Niall laughs at her usual antics and begins to make a joke about her creative choice in projectile to be stopped mid-thought as the solid brass owl connects with his head. “Ouch, how the hell did that actually hit me?”
Hades responding answer has the rest of the nest, who are all standing there, mouths agape, laughing out loud at both the look on Niall’s face, and the sentiment behind it. “Hell is right! I could not allow my daughter to think that her pleas and requests went unheard,” he says with a wink to his son’s chosen mate, the daughter of his heart.
She smiles at Hades, then storms out of the room mumbling about frat boys and growing up. Godric reaches over to see what had made his dyrbar en (precious one) so upset. He reads the inscription and hands it to his mate. Eric can’t help the full belly laugh coming from him as he reads the words “I’m practically a saint, if only I wasn’t so damn hot!”
With a pronounced smirk Niall shrugs “What?!?! It’s true, and I wasn’t even the artist.” He rubs his head, still in shock. He fades away still laughing as he says, “Later.”
Godric looks at his father and quirks an eyebrow. Hades shrugs, “I was bored. It was Niall. I love you my son; enjoy your new family pictures.”