An Awful Hole
It took very little convincing to get Sookie to come with me to Fangtasia…
Her ultimate reason for going was to see her ‘lucky self’ since my Sookie still had her Gran…
As we pulled up behind Fangtasia, I decided that it was ridiculous for me to be so excited… the ordeal hadn’t gone on terribly long. Only looking for her for a couple of hours didn’t really give me the excuse to feel such illumination, but it didn’t matter since I was going to get her back.
I walked through the back door surprised that Pam wasn’t waiting, but more focused on Sookie…
We walked past my office since it was open and empty and the moment I was in the doorway to the floor, my Sookie launched herself from her barstool (not at all shy about using her new speed) and ran to leap into my arms… Nevermind the gawking onlookers or the strange look I’d caught Pam giving me… I enjoyed every second of my Sookie’s excited and grateful kiss that went on until she ran out of air… And when she laced her fingers into my hand, I felt her ring between my fingers…
She panted, “I’ve been going nuts… I thought I was going to have to put your picture on a billboard.”
“I was thinking I’d have to place ‘lost pet’ signs on telephone poles.”
She buried her face against my neck and giggled. “I missed you… and that guy sucks.”
“I missed you too. What guy?”
She only pulled away enough to point over to ‘my’ seat on the stage where I was sitting… and staring at us. I suppose it would make sense for there to be another me if there were two Sookies… but that would imply that anything about the evening made sense.
I gave ‘myself’ a nod towards the office and as we walked back my Sookie was attached to my side like a barnacle.
I watched myself sit behind the desk wordlessly and I closed the door once the other Sookie was in the room with us. They both stared at us in a trance, but neither of us could care at the moment.
My Sookie shook her head. “I don’t know. I woke up and you weren’t in bed, but when I saw how late it was I just figured that yesterday had just worn me out. I went upstairs to find everybody and the house was empty. Since I was just in my robe I ran downstairs to get dressed and grab my phone… my clothes were gone. My phone was gone… it was like I’d never been over… I had to get some cash out of the safe because I couldn’t find my purse and walk to call a cab because none of our cars were there. I had to wear one of your t-shirts as a dress and then borrow from Ginger’s locker. I’ve spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out what the hell is going on and that guy didn’t mind at all when I kissed him, but he was no freaking help. He got here about 20 minutes ago and I’ve decided that I really don’t like it when you’re confused. Now you.”
“I woke up and you were gone. Everything was gone. All I knew was that I needed to get to Bon Temps… I’ve spent a while now trying to convince the wrong Sookie that I’m not insane or trying to con her into bed.”
Sookie giggled and finally looked behind her only to be startled by injuries. “Oh my God! What happened?”
The other Sookie grimaced. “Rene Lanier came after me.”
My Sookie looked up at me, confused. “But we…”
I interrupted, shaking my head. “Not ‘here’… Rene wasn’t caught until after he killed Adele and nearly killed this Sookie.”
“He killed Gran?”
I nodded. “I’m afraid so… She still didn’t know about Bill either. He still hadn’t told her about the effects of vampire blood.”
My Sookie gasped and opened her mouth to say something, but began making a disgusted face… “You’re sleeping with Bill!?” She mocked a gag that made me and the other me laugh.
“You read my mind? My shields…”
My Sookie snorted at her. “Yeah well, I’m bonded to a BAMF vampire. My telepathy is stronger now. My shields too. If you’re with Bill why didn’t he heal your injuries?”
The other Sookie shrugged.
My Sookie shook her head. “That prick… When we get back, I’m calling Andre and telling him to stake Bill. I can’t believe… I guess since he’d already healed her because of the Rattray’s attack, he’d already gotten his blood in her and didn’t see the point in fixing her up the second time?”
I nodded, planning to agree with her that her assumption was most likely right, but the other me finally broke into the conversation. “You know Andre?”
“Yeah, numb nuts. I tried telling you that. Hadley is my cousin so he’s kinda family. He’s had Bill and Lorena strung up in his Little Shop of Horrors for a while now…” She looked up at me and huffed. “He’s a pain.”
“He doesn’t have any more idea about what’s going on than we do. That Sookie thinks that I’m only interested in her ability.”
“Pfffft! Thanks to Bill, no doubt… Oh shit! Eric, we need to call Sophie-Ann! She needs to be warned about Threadgill ASAP… and Waldo… he could get to Hadley.”
“The problem would be convincing her since our timeline, our understanding of things is askew.”
She whined and stomped her feet. “I wanna go home. I’m worried about Gran… What if time is normal for them… they could be freaking out. Pam would think we’re dead.”
“I know. We’ll have to figure things out.”
“Considering why Sophie-Ann sent Bill in the first place, he’s a goner for letting Gran get murdered.”
The other Sookie broke in, “That wasn’t Bill’s fault though… Rene was after me and I wasn’t home.”
My Sookie shook her head. “Because of the way things worked out, Eric protected us. Bill should’ve known to get you out of harm’s way but because he intends to control you and your ability he gave two shits about her safety. We’re the same people as far as I can tell. Everything is the same up until the night we came to Fangtasia for the first time. You’re sleeping with an asshole… He’s capable of a lot of things you don’t realize.”
“He glamoured and kidnapped Jason and fed from him. He got far enough into his plan to turn me so that he could control my ability that he actually dug the hole. He lined things up to have me abducted. He’s a monster.”
“You could be the one that’s snowed though. Bill says that Eric takes what he wants and kills anyone in his way.”
My Sookie laughed at her. “Yeah… He tried that with me too. Let me ask you something though… Two Sookies… one is with Eric. One is with Bill… which one of us is covered in bruises? Which one of us just buried our Gran? Thinking that you needed Bill to protect you from Eric is the biggest mistake you could’ve made. You don’t have to worry about it for long though. I just hope you aren’t too attached to that knob.”
“What do you mean?”
“Bill betrayed his queen by turning a family errand into a capitalist venture. He’s screwed the pooch big.”
“They’ll kill him?”
“If he’s lucky.”
The other Sookie started to get misty eyed while mine seemed to have no sympathy for her.
When there was a knock on the door, my Sookie snickered and opened it to smile at Pam. “Hey Pam.”
“Sookies… Uh… Erics… Someone is here to see you.”
Sookie giggled at her. “There isn’t another you here, is there?”
“You should be so lucky. Bill Compton is here.”
The other me groaned (as I would’ve) for her to bring him back and my Sookie swatted Pam’s ass when she turned to leave. “Hey Pam.”
“There’s a guy in booth 3 planning to roofie a girl at the bar. You should get on that so you don’t miss out on eavesdropping.”
Pam showed her sinister smile as she left and purred, “Thank you, Sookie.”
Sookie smiled at me. “Nice to see some things are constant.”
“That’s not the only thing. That Sookie is obstinate too.”
Sookie faked a surprised look. “And both of you get handsy when I nibble your lip.”
“Oh really? Just how far did you go to convince him that you were his?”
“Not far… You got more on our first date.”
“You had sex with me on our first date.” The other Sookie’s eyes widened at the news that another her would yield to me so quickly even though it hadn’t taken much effort for me to catch her interest earlier.
My Sookie smirked at me. “Like I said, you got more…”
Pam’s ostentatious return broke up our conversation and no sooner than Bill showed his surprise at who was in the room (in duplicate) Sookie took the stapler from the desk and hurled it at his face… Blood exploded from his mouth while the rest of us laughed at him. It was priceless.
When his surprise had waned, he showed his fangs to my Sookie and true to form she took a step closer to him. “What? Do something.”
He glared at her and foolishly took a step in her direction. Without hesitation, she lifted her arm and delivered a backhanded slap that left the imprint of her ring on his cheek. She’d hit him hard enough to move him, but since Pam had grabbed him, he we wasn’t going anywhere. “Eric, can I use your phone?”
He gave her a puzzled look and pushed the desk phone over to the edge of the desk. “By all means… I certainly don’t want to piss you off.”
She giggled on her way to grab the receiver. “You sure don’t… I’m not any good at fighting. I just act like a brat… Ask him.” When she pointed in my direction I wholeheartedly agreed with a nod so she stuck her tongue out at me while she dialed.
I was puzzled for a moment as to who she’d be calling until I heard an all too familiar voice answer. “Hello. Who’s this?” She’d called Hadley.
“Hadley, it’s Sookie.”
“Sook? Really? How’d you get this number?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I’m going to call you again real soon because I’m dying to catch up with you, but right now, I need to talk to Sophie-Ann.”
“How did you…?”
“It’s really important. Please.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… hold on.”
The up-to-something sparkle in Sookie’s eye was enthralling, even as she leaned against the desk and sent a silent ‘fuck you’ in Bill’s direction.
“Majesty, it’s Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Hadley informed me of that. What can I do for you?”
“I think I can do more for you than you can do for me. I’d like for you to call Bill Compton off and leave me in the protection of my sheriff.”
“I understood that you are Compton’s willingly.”
“I was Compton’s by deceit. He had me attacked so that he could stage my recue and force me to take his blood… I have faith that my sheriff is more than capable of seeing to my safety and he’s more than fit to negotiate my terms for working for you. I want Bill Compton removed from Louisiana and banned from contacting me and what little bit of family I have left as part of my contract. His scheming allowed my grandmother to be murdered and I was nearly beaten to death in the process.” When the other Sookie opened her mouth to argue, Sookie snapped her fingers at Pam who quickly found her way over to gently hush her. Impressive considering that Pam hadn’t already become friends with Sookie.
“Why would I want you to work for me?”
“Because I can read minds. Because I can identify different supes by their brain signature. Because I have information that can save your life. I heard the thoughts of a patron at Fangtasia tonight. He’s a spy of Threadgill’s. You need to reconsider the marriage.”
“I’m sure you realize I need to know the specifics of that… Why is it that your sheriff didn’t just end him?”
She giggled. “You know Eric… dirtbag or not, Bill was here on your orders. Eric wouldn’t cross you.” I smiled because she was too easy to be proud of… The other me smiled out of pure shock.
“Do you mind if I ask how you knew to contact your cousin?”
“I mentioned when Gran died that all I had left was Jason… since I didn’t know what ever happened to Hadley… Eric made the connection as soon as Bill blamed his behavior on you.” Bill’s mouth dropped open and since he seemed to be about to say something, I saved Sookie the trouble and punched him myself.
“Northman, I assume you’re listening.” I cued the other me by pointing to him.
“Hold him until I can send flowers. I’ll call tomorrow night about your travel arrangements.” I chuckled at the look on Bill’s face when he became aware of his fate… Diantha and Gladiola weren’t going to be delivering anything he’d enjoy.
“Yes, Majesty. Thank you.”
“Done…” My Sookie gave an evil little giggle as she came over to wrap her arms around my side. “How was that?”
“Spectacular. We should bring everyone up to speed so that they know how to handle their trip to New Orleans and we still need to figure out how to get back to our life.”
“Hmmmmm. How about I take me out to the bar and grab a couple of drinks. She’s going to need one with the explanation.”
“You’re going to try to explain it to her in public?”
She grinned at me and the other Sookie began giggling.
“Damn telepaths. Go on then.”
She kissed my cheek and left the room, holding the other Sookie’s hand.
Pam quickly snatched Bill’s arm to take him ‘elsewhere’ leaving me alone… with myself. It took us about 20 minutes to get through the outline of my recent weeks and it only took that long because he had extra Sookie related questions. We were doing nothing more than waiting for the Sookies to join us when there was a knock on the office door…
When the other me answered, a waitress entered the room to deliver a note… He started laughing and held it out to me.
My Sookie had written, “Save me. She’s impossible. Yes, I know that I’m like this too and I’m sorry.”
I replied on the back of the note, “What’s it worth to you?”
It was a chore to wait for her reply, but when the waitress came back she handed a napkin to me… I could smell her before it was unfolded…
Sitting in the center of the napkin was a heart shaped smudge of blood and all I could do was growl, but the other me was curious enough so I tossed the napkin to him.
His nostrils flared before he spoke. “That Sookie is a keeper.”
I laughed at him. “She’s more than that. If yours comes to her senses you’ll understand quickly that the idea of sunbathing is preferable to her funeral. She’s what I’ve been waiting for.”
He stared at me, disbelieving. I was sure that it was because he hadn’t had the opportunity to spend any amount of time with the Sookie he knew, but he’d learn.
It was me that finally told the waitress to inform Sookie that we were ready whenever they were.
While the other Sookie took the chair next to mine, my Sookie entered the office to flop back onto the couch and growled as she rested her arm over her eyes. “Remind me to kick your ass… Your blood has ruined me.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “How’s that?”
“My shields are on steroids. It took a huge effort to lower them enough for her to hear my thoughts and then of course I realized exactly how miserable I’d be at work every night without them… those people are nuts.”
“I told you. You don’t have to be a mind reader to realize there’s something very wrong with most of them. I can’t wait for the popularity to die down so I can use a ‘bottom line’ as an excuse to shut down.”
She giggled into the crook of her arm. “You’re just waiting for the ‘Were Revolution’, aren’t you?” Vampires would be forgotten for the new ‘fur trend’ within a month and I’d be free to nail the doors shut.
“You bet that delicious ass of yours. I’ve thought of burning Fangtasia down more than ‘the church’ has.” The other me agreed with a nod.
The other Sookie snarked, “But then where will you go to have Fangbangers throw themselves at you?”
Both of me had our mouths open to respond, but my Sookie beat us to it. “BITCH, please!… You’d be a liar to say you’d rather eat a Happy Meal from the floor than one of Gran’s Sunday dinners… Those bitches out there are just nasty. Junk food. Since I’ve had plenty of Eric’s blood and put in so much time here, I can tell you that most of them smell like filth and the sadder ones don’t care if they’re the last one picked as long as they’re picked. They want to be with them because they’re vampires like some guys want to be with a girl just because she has big boobs… For the record, you’re being a bitch to Eric based on the same assumption you’re accusing him of. You think he wants you for what you are and what you can do for him AND throwing it in his face that he’s surrounded by sycophants who actually do just want to be with him for what he is… My Eric, we need to go home… I don’t like this me.”
It took the other Sookie a moment to collect herself… My Sookie had definitely hurt her. “The first thing he did when he found out about my disability was use his power over Bill to have me read minds for him.”
She snorted and got up to come sit on my knee, glaring at herself the whole way… “You forget that I can read your mind… He was flirting with you before your ass hit the chair on the stage and he used Bruce’s call as an excuse to see you again. Damn, you’re dense… Having a telepathic pet sucks ass more than it pays off. Eric spends a couple hours a night dealing with emails and voicemails about me. He’s had to hire a guard for me. He closed Fangtasia down for the week when we were in New Orleans… and we don’t ever have enough time alone together.”
“You can’t read his mind though. You don’t know what he’s thinking.”
“Bond aside you’re still wrong… He’s usually pretty sarcastic… and you’re asking for it… I know you heard him! I freaked out a little the first time I heard mine too, but you didn’t hear a reason to be scared of him. If anything it should tell you A LOT about him if you stop being a pious brat!”
The other me ‘cleared his throat’. “What did you hear?”
My Sookie answered for her, “When you agreed to turn in the thief instead of kill him, she heard you thinking about keeping business ‘aboveboard’…”
The other Sookie finished, “And that you could make me do what you wanted anyway!”
My Sookie fired back, “Anyone could. Anyone without any bit of integrity could’ve threatened Gran to get you to do what they want. He didn’t and it cost him a fortune to save your life…”
“Yeah. With Long Shadow dead, how does he get the money back… and then there’s the restitution he had to pay to Long Shadow’s maker and that’s not to say that Hot Rain will accept it and not come back at him for revenge… You’ve got a lot to learn. Bill screwed you out of a lot of information, but that’s not Eric’s fault.”
“I guess Bill…”
“No. Stop that. It’s not the telepathy. It’s not Bill. It’s not Gran or Sam or Jason or the queen… You didn’t have to be an idiot, you did that on your own. We’re the same damn person and I’m in love with the guy you’re terrified to have a civil conversation with. I’ve never been happier. You’ve never been more miserable. Fix it instead of whining about it, damn Disney Princess.”
“Disney princess!? You… I can’t believe you… That’s not fair!”
I was too interested in how she could be insulted to stay out of it. “What’s this?”
“Pam has a thing for cartoons so you’ve seen a few of the movies, right?”
“It’s a thing Gran pointed out. It got to be a joke… Name a Disney princess and I can tell you how she had to have someone else fix her screwed up life… They never really take care of anything on their own. Don’t ever mention Cinderella to Gran either. Sore spot.”
“Why would that be a sore spot?”
“That’s her ‘favorite’ one… Gran says Cinderella deserved to mop every floor because she was too stupid to walk away from her horrible step mother.”
“Alright, I’ll play. Cinderella didn’t have anywhere to go.”
“She could have gotten a job cleaning for someone else and made her own way instead of doing it for free.”
“Is that anything like waiting tables and mind re…” She moved quickly to turn around and clamp her hand over my mouth with a playful smile on her face.
“If you finish that, I’ll get you.”
I laughed into her hand and nodded and when she released me, she poked my ribs before settling back against me again.
The other Sookie seemed to want to ignore her alter ego. “So… since you seem to know everything, do you know why we’re a telepath? I mean, it’d be nice to know why I’m stuck like this.”
My Sookie started shaking her head, but I wasn’t about to lie even if I still hadn’t thought of a perfect way to explain yet. I tapped Sookie’s shoulder to get her attention. “I know… Well, I know something.”
She tilted her head and seemed to just be waiting.
“Hadley explained partially because she doesn’t know much. I was hoping to learn more, but as it turns out Andre tasted it in her right away. They’ve done research on their end, but can’t place how you’re related or to whom, just that you’re part Faerie and it didn’t come from Adele.”
The other Sookie became outraged. “You knew and didn’t say anything to her! You hid it?”
“You both know every bit of what I know now which is why I was hoping to learn more before trying to explain. Hadley told me the night before we left New Orleans and we’ve been more than a little distracted since then.”
“What could you possibly be so distracted by that you couldn’t solve the question…”
“Sookie… you need to understand that my Sookie has come to terms with her gift. She’s now on a different page as you are since you’ve both had very different things happen over the last couple of weeks. She’s no longer looking for something to ‘blame’. Had a Fae relation come forward there would have been no hesitation. I wasn’t hiding it, just hoping to give her more than an answer that just produced more questions.”
My Sookie turned to the other her. “He’s right. Now I’ll… we both will go batty trying to figure the rest of that crap out. We were better off not knowing. And trust me when I say we have been more than distracted. We’ve had a ‘drama dinner rush’ over the last week.”
That time, she seemed to absorb the information. “Andre tasted it… You didn’t? I mean… I don’t get it… are all fairies telepaths?”
“No… and there’s another reason to not mention it… it’s entirely possible for Hadley to be Fae through her father’s side since the queen couldn’t find anything… As for taste, you taste different, but not like Fae… You taste of human with something indistinct to it. I’ve never tasted Fae that was diluted to less than half, so I couldn’t describe what it’s like when it’s more human.”
“You know what Fae tastes like… you know where to find one? We could ask…”
I shook my head. “Fae don’t donate… vampires tend to get a little carried away. Their smell is intoxicating to us so they wisely keep their distance.”
My Sookie craned her neck to kiss mine. “They don’t by chance smell like sunlight, do they?”
“No. I’d have made the connection if that were the case.”
She grinned at me. “So when you say ‘carried away’, do you mean broken keyboard type of stuff or more like what Mrs. Fortenberry did to that poundcake?”
I cringed at the memory of the beastly woman’s eating habits at the DGD meeting… “The poundcake. It didn’t have a chance.”
She reached back to guide my arms around her and rest hers on top of them. She began tickling her fingers over the backs of my hands while she thought… “So… all we really know is that Hadley is confirmed part Fae, but not necessarily me or Jason.”
“I caught Paulette thinking about me once you finally told her… she was thinking that telepathy was something she only heard about witches having… but it still makes me kick the dust off the old question of how Jason ended up with nothing.”
“I’m not sure he did come up empty though. I think that since you and Adele are so habitual about ignoring what an idiot he can be, you don’t notice how sharp his instincts are…”
“The drainer in the club and the hiring process?”
“Among other things… Adele describes him as lazy and I’m not disputing that, but when he does apply himself he doesn’t disappoint.”
She huffed but started to giggle… “Is it wrong that I think it’ll be hilarious if we find out it came from my mom’s side of the family?” Even the other Sookie laughed at how ironic it would be. “You know… We’re going to see Andre tomorrow night when they bring Hunter… well if we’re home.” I knew what she was getting at…
“It’s not an exciting prospect for me either, but he’s pretty much all we have to go on.”
“I don’t want to feed him… just a finger prick…”
“No. Letting him taste you is not something that’s going to happen. If he knows the flavor enough to be able to identify it when it’s so diluted that I can’t taste it, he could most likely develop a craving for you. No.”
“Are you sure? It could be the only way for us to find out.”
“Well… I guess it doesn’t matter.”
I saw her mouth open and knew ‘it’ was coming… “What do you mean ‘it doesn’t matter’!? You don’t want to know?”
My Sookie snickered, “Knowing how I’m a telepath doesn’t change that I’m a telepath.”
The significant change in my Sookie was becoming more and more apparent as they continued their bickering. All I could do was appreciate what I had… Not that Sookie had ever been a nuisance… what few small complaints I’d had about her were just that, small… The most significant of them had been filed down remarkably quickly by comparison. It was almost as though I was looking at a before and after.
The other Sookie did have an excuse to be cynical to an extent considering that Bill Compton had betrayed her more severely than he had mine and the loss of Adele wouldn’t have helped matters, but I was very grateful for what was in my lap…
I was more than relieved when the other me offered to return ‘his’ Sookie to Bon Temps so that they could discuss their pending trip to New Orleans and we could attempt to solve our predicament…
We stopped just long enough for Sookie to eat something since food had been the last thing on her mind when she awoke alone.
Walking into ‘my’ house provided an unusually eerie feeling… It took a moment, but I finally came to the consciousness that my house had been nothing more than a resting place until Sookie and Adele made it a home… It was probably best that ‘my’ Pam wasn’t around to make fun of my melancholy over the idea.
The bed didn’t even feel ‘right’… The room was void of any proof that anyone but me had been there since it had been installed so there certainly weren’t any traces of Sookie… they made the bed all the more welcoming…
As it was, the room was no more homey than a hotel.
The only thing that helped was that Sookie unwaveringly became part of my side and we laid together at a loss for what seemed like days… Without anything to go on, there wasn’t much to say.
“I don’t like not feeling you.”
She tightened her arm around me. “Tell me about it… We did ok though… even though we didn’t have the bond.”
“I have no idea of how to get back…”
“How could you possibly? We have no idea what got us here.”
“This is probably the strangest thing I’ve ever come across… and I’m sure that if someone told me that this was happening to them I’d laugh in their face.”
“Then you’re doing better than I am.”
Sookie stopped herself when we both heard footsteps descending the stairs…
There was a light rap on the door and for a moment I was sure that it was the other me even though he’d be in Bon Temps by now…
Instead, it was Pam.
“Sorry to interrupt.”
Sookie looked over her shoulder. “It’s ok, we were just talking. What’s up?”
“Well, Gran’s worried since you never came upstairs today.”