human. And he'd lived for seven hundred years."
Was I supposed to have an opinion about this? I felt so numb, as though Niall had shot Novocain into my emotional center. I probably should ask how my—my
had come to die, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
"So you decided to come tell me about this—why?" I was proud of how calm I sounded.
"I'm old, even for my kind. I would like to know you. I can't atone for the way your life has been shaped by the heritage Fintan gave you. But I will try to make your life a little easier, if you'll permit me."
"Can you take the telepathy away?" I asked. A wild hope, not unmixed with fear, flared in me like a sunspot.
"You are asking if I can remove something from the fiber of your being," Niall said. "No, I can't do that."
I slumped in my chair. "Thought I'd ask," I said, fighting away tears. "Do I get three wishes, or is that with genies?"
Niall regarded me with no humor at all. "You wouldn't want to meet a genie," he said. "And I'm not a figure of fun. I am a prince."
"Sorry," I said. "I'm having a little trouble coping with all this ... Great-grandfather." I didn't remember my human great-grandfathers. My grandfathers—okay, I guess one of them hadn't truly been my grandfather—hadn't looked or acted a thing like this beautiful creature. My grandfather Stackhouse died sixteen years ago, and my mother's parents had died before I was into my teens. So I'd known my grandmother Adele much better than any of the others, actually much better than I'd known my true parents.
"Hey," I said. "How come Eric fetched me for you? You're fairy, after all. Vampires go nuts when they smell fairies."
In fact, most vampires lost their self-control when they were around fairies. Only a very disciplined vampire could behave when a fairy got within smelling distance. My fairy god-mother, Claudine, was terrified of being anywhere around a bloodsucker.
"I can suppress my essence," Niall said. "They can see me but not smell me. It's a convenient magic. I can keep humans from even noticing me, as you have observed."
The way he said this let me know that he was not only very old and very powerful, but he was also very proud. "Did you send Claudine to me?" I said.
"Yes. I hope she's been of use. Only people of part-fae blood can have such a relationship with a fairy. I knew you needed her."
"Oh, yes, she's saved my life," I said. "She's been wonderful." She'd even taken me shopping. "Are all fairies as nice as Claudine, or as beautiful as her brother?"
Claude, male stripper and now entrepreneur, was as handsome as a man could get, and he had the personality of a self-absorbed turnip.
"Dear one," Niall said, "we are all beautiful to humans; but some fairies are very nasty indeed."
Okay, here came the downside. I had a strong feeling that finding out I had a great-grandfather who was a full-blooded fairy was supposed to be good news, from Niall's point of view—but that it wasn't a completely iced cupcake. Now I would get the bad news.
"You went many years without being found," Niall said, "in part because that was what Fintan wanted."
"But he watched me?" I almost felt warmth in my heart at hearing that.
"My son was remorseful that he'd condemned two children to the half-in, half-out existence he'd experienced as a fairy who wasn't truly a fairy. I'm afraid the others of our race weren't kind to him." My great-grandfather's gaze was steady. "I did my best to defend him, but it wasn't enough. Fintan also found he wasn't human enough to pass as human, at least not for more than a short time."
"You don't look like this normally?" I asked, very curious.
"No." And just for a split second, I saw an almost blinding light, with Niall in the middle of it, beautiful and perfect. No wonder Einin had thought he was an angel.
"Claudine said she was working her way up," I said. "What does that mean?" I was floundering through this conversation. I felt like I'd been knocked down to my knees
James Dobson, Kurt Bruner