I’ll Take It
I wasn’t sure that Pam was serious… The other one we’d met seemed to be just as ours once her friendship with Sookie was taken out of the equation… her being mischievous was still highly likely.
“What do you mean, all day?”
“Well, Gran was worried that Sookie was trapped again. I just got here and you’re doing strange things to our bond.”
“Now you feel more normal, but before I came down you felt close and far away and you were… well, bummed would be the word. Is everything alright?”
Without considering that she’d completely pealed out of her borrowed outfit to get into bed, Sookie launched herself out of the bed to go tackle Pam… literally. My poor child looked like she’d been smacked with a brick while Sookie hugged her neck where the wall stopped them both from crashing to the floor. “What time is it?”
Pam hadn’t ever looked so shocked. “It’s just before 9. Why?”
I laughed at the look on her face. “Pam, consider that hug from both of us… I’ve never been happier to see you.”
She finally started to return Sookie’s hug and as she did, I could actually start to feel her confusion. “Sookie, why do you smell like Ginger?”
Sookie chuckled, “You won’t believe it. You’ll laugh your ass off, but you won’t believe it.”
“But everything’s fine?”
“It is now.” She still hadn’t let go of Pam.
“Well, then I’ll go let Gran know that you were just tired so that she’ll stop worrying. Alcide said she behaved today.”
Sookie finally let go and stepped away… and promptly realized she wasn’t clothed. She darted to the closet and only opened the door on my side at first before she smiled back at me to slowly reveal that her side of the closet had her things again… it was a beautiful sight. “Me and Eric need to talk, but… we’ll be up in a minute.”
“I’ll let everyone know. Gran mentioned that your dinner is in the oven.”
“Oh, thanks but… I just ate.”
Pam curiously looked to me so I told her it would be part of the explanation before she left.
Sookie crawled back onto the bed wearing her little robe and settled in to straddle my lap, leaning over to kiss me. “This is because I’m part Faerie isn’t it?”
“I think it’s safe to say that… I’ve never heard of anything like this happening to anyone else and I’ve never heard of another vampire/fae pairing…”
“Don’t be. We have a lot to figure out, but I don’t think that it’s because you’re Fae, as much as you being Fae and my being vampire.”
“I didn’t warn her… she’s going to freak out.”
“The other you?”
She nodded. “She’s going to overreact… I was sure when we left that I’d see her again. I was kind of thinking I’d go spend the day with her and, I don’t know, get that stick out of her butt… I didn’t think coming home would just happen.”
“I mentioned to him what it’s like to share blood with you. I was concerned that since dawn has ambushed us, well, the Bon Temps house isn’t light tight… How did she take the review of your last couple of weeks?”
“That’s a long story… The first thing she did when we got out to the bar was call me high handed when I ordered her drink for her even though I knew exactly what I wanted… She flipped out and called me a puppet when I explained the pet thing to her even though I told her that you never take advantage of it. She kicked me under the table when I told her about calling him ‘master’ around other vampires and again when I told her that Jason had taken to the information better than she did. I wanted to hit her/I wanted to hug her… I mean she just lost Gran and after yesterday I can only imagine what she’s going through, but at the same time she’s got it into her head that Bill Compton is practically human and all other vampires are what the ‘church’ preaches about. She’s so oblivious… not like I was when we met. I just didn’t know anything… it’s like she saw and heard stuff that she should’ve paid attention to and filled in the blanks with cotton candy and lemon drops and in turn took the ambiguous stuff she got from Fangtasia and turned you into a monster in her head. Gran would slap her silly for God sakes. I mean… she saved Bill from the Rattrays and then he saved her from bleeding to death, but the fact that he didn’t just kill them then didn’t sink in. I kind of lied to her too… I’d always wondered how the Disco triplets would’ve known that Bill was in Bon Temps. I suspected that he contacted them, knowing how tempting I’d be to them and lined himself up to ‘rescue’ me from them… I told her he did, like it was fact… I told her that even if things have to be different for them and they can’t be together like we are, that she could and should trust him… That she could consider him and Pam friends… By then I got the feeling that telling her that she’d be happy with him wouldn’t do anything but piss her off. She did think to ask if Eric or me called Bill to Fangtasia, so I ended up explaining that he’d followed her because she’d had his blood… That went over like a whore in church. She’s hurt and angry. She does regret meeting Bill. She’s terrified of and attracted to you… She’s a hot mess.”
“She didn’t trust me enough to let me into the house at first. It took a lot of talking to convince her that I knew anything about her.”
“Same with the other you.”
“What did you do to get him to believe you weren’t crazy?”
She playfully avoided eye contact and bit her lip. “After I practically raped him because I was so happy to see you, I had him and Pam taste my blood as proof. He was contending that I was Bill’s. He started listening once he tasted the Eric in me.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her. “That would explain why he was so eager to learn about her… not that I wouldn’t have been, but whatever you said or did made him very interested in how to get her to dial back the absurd grudge she has against him.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I told him that arguing with you doesn’t work. That stating his case and letting you calm down on your own is the only thing that helps… And I warned him that bonding to her wouldn’t help because you know right away when I’m trying to influence your mood.”
“You ‘warned’ him, huh?” Uh oh.
I believe the saying is ‘no guts, no glory’… “Yes. Yes, I did. He doesn’t have the benefit of Adele’s damage control skills.”
“He’ll manage. We don’t seem to need it as often anymore.”
She groaned and laid her head on my chest. “It’s going to be a rougher road for him though… She just got burned. She’s not going to trust him as easily as I trusted you because of Bill.”
“It doesn’t matter… I’ve never been one to let something get in my way when I want something… He’s just as preoccupied with her as I am with you.”
“I hope so. If nothing else, maybe I planted a seed.”
“She was… when we were out in the bar, I guess you could call it ‘reeling’. She started remembering all the things that Bill said or did that she thought she should’ve picked up on… I wasn’t helping her along as much as rubbing her nose in how ignorant she was… her mind touched on a few more private moments… I could’ve been sick to see myself with Bill in her head and I ended up returning fire.”
I started laughing again. “You remembered ‘us’ to her? That’s a bit brazen.” Even for me.
“It was my only defense, but it worked. She got pissed at me for rubbing it in. My Gran is alive. I haven’t been beaten to a pulp. Jason and I are still talking. The ‘bad guy’ is in jail. I don’t have to worry about money because you took care of my contract… And on top of all that, I have amazing sex… Bill’s an asshole.”
“Do I want to know?”
“I don’t know… But I sure as hell don’t want to think about it enough to explain the differences. It did add to the list of things she should’ve picked up on… She didn’t trust him enough to mention she was a virgin so her ‘first time’ was really different.” She shuddered and faked a gagging noise.
“It might be better for you to detach yourself and just have sympathy for her like you would for anyone who’s had to get through fucking him.”
She snorted and found my hand to start sliding her thumb back and forth over my ring… she’d seemingly missed it as much as I missed hers. “Well, I can say that those dreams he was pushing at me were total bull crap.”
“You didn’t tell me that you’d been having dreams about him.”
“I had a few, but once I started staying with you they stopped… Is that because of how far away he was or because he has to do it on purpose and I was barely sleeping at night?”
“The latter. If you had dreams about him once the sun was up, he wasn’t responsible. It would have been just another side effect.”
“How the hell do we explain this?”
“I’m not sure. We need to since we don’t know if this could happen again or to what extent.”
She was quiet for a moment before she let a slight giggle. “How’s your Rod Serling impersonation?”
“This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable… Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of mind itself. Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re entering the wondrous dimension of imagination… Next stop The Twilight Zone.”
She sat up laughing. “Pam?”
“No. That’s one of the few programs I’ve enjoyed. The first one I saw was the one where Burgess Meredith survived some sort of cataclysm and as the only person left he finally had plenty of time to read… then his glasses were broken.”
She grinned. “It would figure. You do love your irony.”
All I could do was smile back for a moment. “I love that you know that more though.”
After separate showers (for the sole purpose of not ignoring the family for even longer than we had already) we found ourselves being greeted by everyone as soon as the door to the kitchen opened.
Sookie barely gave herself the time to register the concerned look on Adele’s face before she started. “It has been the craziest night on record, let me tell ya…”
Jason closed his eyes and dropped his head. “You sure we wanna hear this since you ain’t left y’alls bedroom?”
She giggled at him (along with everyone else). “We’re not sure why it happened or how… but…” She tossed Ginger’s clothes onto the counter for effect. “…We just got back from Fangtasia. We left at closing time and we stopped at Denny’s on the way home. I had a Super Bird and a sweet tea for dinner while we made fun of the drunks. We came home to an empty house. Empty, empty… None of you were here. None of my things were here… That’s why I had to wear Ginger’s clothes.”
Pam and Alcide both became even more puzzled when they confirmed that the ‘vamp-wear’ smelled of Ginger, Fangtasia and Sookie… Pam tilted her head. “No seriously.”
“Seriously… I woke up and couldn’t find Eric. The house was deserted and I had to go looking for him… The same thing happened to him… The ‘fun’ part… he went to Bon Temps and found me… I went to Fangtasia and found you and him… Then all four of us had a pow wow in his office.”
Not surprisingly, the only reaction she got was blinking so I stepped in. “The Sookie I found in Bon Temps had no idea why I was there and the me at Fangtasia was surprised that Sookie would see him without Bill’s company… For them, life has been very different…”
Since we found ourselves answering questions for everyone but Bubba (which wasn’t a surprise), our conversation took more than an hour and it still didn’t seem to be entirely believed… Especially Pam. After centuries of practical jokes between us, I gave her the leeway to say ‘bullshit’ 6 times… She was very much waiting for the ‘gotcha’ that she wouldn’t be getting.
When all was explained and they’d asked their questions (tried to catch us lying) we were given a report of how their day progressed…
As it turned out, Adele had ‘behaved’… She made breakfast for Alcide and Jason and then settled into the library to read after Jason took the initiative to make Adele’s appointment with Dr. Manheim on his own… Later, while Adele directed Alcide and Jason on how to rearrange the furniture for Hunter, curiosity made Jason call Paulette… Since Sookie mentioned that the wards in New Orleans helped to block the thoughts of outsiders, it occurred to him to ask Paulette if she could research how to ward a specific room. And he did it while letting Paulette believe that it was for Sookie, ‘just in case’… His reasoning was amusing at the very least: Even though Adele would be his only ‘neighbor’, she’ll read ‘any book you put in front of her’ so there’s no telling what she dreams about or what kind of nightmares it could cause for Hunter.
Hearing that made Sookie hug her brother… and wink in my direction… She was starting to see the little things I’d been picking up on…
I was starting to notice something more though… the more he was ‘allowed’ to think, the more he was doing so impressively. It was as though his squirrels had finally gotten rid of the cobwebs.
Jason was exceedingly proud of himself as he led us to the room Sookie had stayed in for her first couple of nights at the house… He’d thought to lower the bar in the closet while Adele dressed the bed… She’d sent him out on the errand of purchasing smaller hangers for Hunter’s tiny clothes and when he came back, he’d accumulated much more than just hangers. He’d been on a spree that Alcide was elbowed for calling ‘sweet’. The assortment included a step for Hunter’s bathroom and one for next to his bed, a small table and chairs, a few pool toys, and a stockpile of children’s toiletry items, art supplies and toys… quiet toys.
Bubba spent a moment fixated on some of the toys and eventually explained that Little People were made from wood when his ‘lil one’ had them… some of us had pity for him. Some of us were just shocked that he’d mention her… But it was Alcide to bring Bubba back from his memory by telling him that his nephew was still playing with the ones he’d had… and called them ‘old peoples’.
I had no fucking clue what a ‘Little People’ was, but the distinct lack of battery requirements on the packaging caught my attention immediately… And the reasoning was rewarded by another hug from his sister…
Sookie used to ‘steal’ his action figures because ‘everyone’ bought talking dolls for her… With all of the ‘background noise’ she heard, the last thing she wanted/needed was to hear more voices…
Even if it did seem as though he was somehow trying to make up for years of being intolerant of Sookie’s ability, I was quite proud of him for thinking about it when it came to Hunter. It already seemed like he was going to survive more easily than Sookie had since he’d be surrounded by individuals who were willing to accommodate his ability rather than scorn it.
While Sookie cooed over Hunter’s miniature clothing (specifically the socks for some reason), Pam not-so-casually asked to speak to me privately…
I was only surprised that she’d waited the half hour we’d spent getting our tour of Hunter’s ‘crib’. I had immediately regretted asking why he would still be in a crib.
We stopped at the bottom of the stairs, not needing to go further to avoid Adele or Jason’s hearing and I wasn’t interested in being any further away from Sookie. I’d had enough of that for the night. “Go ahead.”
“You aren’t joking. That really happened. You really woke up in some bizarre alternate reality… Some ‘what if’ state of being?”
“We told you. We aren’t sure.”
“Bullshit. Is she a witch?”
“Why would you ask if she’s a witch?”
“Because I started researching her ability while we were still in New Orleans. She’s either a witch or a comic book character… Not everyone had something to do right up until dawn.”
“Behave… Sookie overheard Paulette thinking that telepathy is a witch’s ability, but are you ready for the twist?”
“Am I going to like it or is this going to be like the time we saw The Sixth Sense.”
“I can’t believe you’re still upset about a movie…”
“You let me get invested before you leaned over to tell me Bruce Willis was dead.”
“Oh, come on, seriously!? The boy said ‘they don’t know they’re dead’… how did you not see that coming?”
“How about that tongue clicking thing you did for weeks after we saw Signs? That was just creepy.” One day she might actually stop dragging me to the movies…
I rolled my eyes at her, but I wasn’t hiding how much fun I was having. “While you’re whining, don’t forget Scream. You thought it was Sidney’s father.”
“But I beat you to it when we saw The Village.”
“Considering how the movie industry doesn’t bother itself with research, the dialog being off for the time period was something I was trying to ignore.”
“Whatever… What’s the twist?”
“Hadley is part Fae. Andre tasted it right away and they’ve been trying to research the family tree ever since.”
She gasped angrily and hit my shoulder hard enough that Sookie called down to us to ask if we needed to be separated. Knowing that our bond was ‘back’ brought a smile to my face that I didn’t bother fighting. “How long have you known? Does Sookie know?”
“Hadley mentioned it the night she told me about Hunter. I haven’t said anything because of all the unknown variables. Sookie only knows because the other her asked point blank. Sadly, that’s all we know.”
“So you’ve bonded to a Fae hybrid with a mysterious witch ability and no knowledge of how she’s connected to either.”
“So it seems.”
“Are we not asking around?”
“No. We just haven’t had the time to search for a Fae. It’s not as though they grow on trees.”
She licked her lips. “That would be nice though… So… holding pattern.”
“I think I might go to Flood to see if he knows of any that are local. He seems to trust Sookie. If he knows the circumstances, he might be willing to make an introduction. It all hinges on if Sookie wants it though.”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
“She seemed uninterested when we spoke about it. Only curious. She seemed more interested in Mr. Cataliades ancestry than her own.”
“Shit. She couldn’t be part Daemon too could she?”
“Highly unlikely. Her blood is too good to be tainted by even the most distant relation.”
She stuck her tongue out at me. “Rubbing it in?”
“No. If I were ‘rubbing it in’ I’d have mentioned that the other you we met got to taste her.”
She shook her head slowly, eyeing me with her ‘shame on you’ face. “That’s. Just. Wrong.”
“Don’t look at me. This Sookie did it… as proof that she wasn’t insane. The other Sookie was dating Bill and hadn’t had my blood.”
“Why didn’t she just let the other you taste her?” Good question.
I called over my shoulder to ask and felt her amusement for a moment before a piece of wadded paper was thrown over the railing… Pam eagerly grabbed it as though it had been a race… and started laughing. “Do I want to know?”
“She wrote, ‘I thought you two were playing a joke on me. My Eric wouldn’t have allowed it, prank or not and that guy was still close to breaking stuff from my greeting’… If the other Sookie was with Bill then why was the other you so agreeable to that kind of greeting?”
I had my mouth open to answer her when another note was thrown over the railing, this time hitting Pam in the side of the head. “She throws things.”
She did her best to not laugh as she snatched the note from the floor and began reading the note… “Other Pam… Seriously, Sookie? ‘Other Pam’? That’s just odd!”
Sookie snorted and replied, “Odd is explaining to yourself that you’d kick your own ass if you didn’t stop acting like either Eric owed you an apology for being a vampire. I win.”
Pam shrugged. “I suppose you do… ‘Other Pam told me that Other Eric is obsessed. She said she was thinking about running away if he didn’t get Other Sookie soon.’ Am I assuming what ‘get’ is implying correctly?”
Sookie giggled. “Yes ma’am, you are.”
Pam rolled her eyes at me. “I suppose that me got the short end of the stick as well. I can only imagine what you’d be like…” She started laughing again, but this time the humor was more evil than usual. “…With the way you hate to lose… losing anything… you… losing Sookie… to Compton!? Oh Lord!” I could hear Sookie snickering along with her crony.
“You can shut the fuck up any time now.”
She was still laughing and making it evident that vampires don’t need oxygen. “…That Sookie must be brain damaged! Can you imagine? Maybe you just weren’t trying hard enough to glamour her… That’s the only explanation!”
“Sookie can’t be glamoured. She was just unfortunate enough to have spent too much time with…”
Sookie interrupted by yelling, “Call a spade ‘a spade’, Eric. That Sookie is retarded.”
“You are the weakest link. Good-bye.” Her British accent was atrocious, but worth a laugh.
“Sookie, the two realities hinge on your decision…”
Finally annoyed with carrying on a multi-room conversation, Sookie joined us wearing a smirk. “I said ‘Roxy’. It all comes down to you settling on fast food the night we met. I saw it play out in Sookie’s head. In her version, you were still kicking the gropers away from your legs when she got there. Bill actually suggested that she’d be interested in you and then when you talked to her, Bill was so tense and skittish that he had Sookie on edge… You had tried to glamour her over to meet you while Bill was at the bar too… If you hadn’t taken Roxy to your office for a quickie then Pam wouldn’t have tattled on me and our meeting wouldn’t have been private. Bill being terrified affected how she felt about you because it had only been a week since I had so much of his blood. He was probably pushing that fear on purpose and with the overstimulation of a full bar, she wouldn’t have felt the push.”
She nodded. “They even had the same fight we did… the fangbangers were throwing themselves at him and he was trying to convince me that he was mainstreaming. Both mes got flirted with by Pam and Long Shadow too… Roxy was the wild card.”
Pam crossed her arms. “I. Did. Not. Flirt. With. You.”
Sookie answered by crossing her arms as well and stared back at Pam with her eyebrows lifted.
“Ok. Fine. Maybe a little, but it was just to annoy Bill.”
Sookie continued to eye Pam until she decided to leave us to go back to Hunter’s room. With Pam gone, Sookie smiled up at me. “I know it’s only 11, but I’m completely exhausted.”
“I’m a little road weary myself. Not to worry though, Adele has had a full day. She’ll be going to bed soon.”
“Jason and Alcide will go home, but what are we going to do about getting rid of Pam and Bubba?”
“Bubba won’t stay after Adele says her goodnights. Pam can roam around the house as far as I’m concerned. We’re going to bed.”
“Providing that we don’t find ourselves in another mind fuck, yes, I promise.”
I felt like I was watching a mass exodus… and all it took was a long yawn from Adele that left her eyes watery…
Jason said that he’d be back tomorrow afternoon and Alcide mentioned being back as soon as he’d showered and eaten after he left work… Adele, of course, insisted that he eat with ‘the family’…
As expected, Bubba made his exit and asked if he could come by to meet Hunter later in the week…
And just as much as we expected Bubba to ‘leave the building’ on cue… Pam chose to stay behind.
She’d checked in with Chow and Ginger several times and couldn’t think of a single reason to go. Normally, I’d have ordered her to leave, but I’d be lying if I said that I was irritated by her company. Even if our short-lived ordeal seemed to be quite finished, Pam was the only one who seemed to grasp that it had happened… And I’d missed having that bond too. It was hauntingly uncomfortable to have been in the same room with her and not feel anything between us after so long…
No sooner than the door to our room was closed behind us, Sookie bounced up to wrap herself around me and bury her face against my neck. “I don’t like feeling crazy… but I really don’t like feeling empty.”
All I could do was hold onto her. “I was just thinking the same thing.”
“Is it silly that we were only ‘gone’ for a few hours but now that we’re back, it felt like forever?”
“Not at all. I wasn’t even annoyed to see Bubba waiting for us upstairs.”
She hummed against my neck. “You are my Eric, aren’t you?”
“Sookie, that’s not funny.”
I could feel her smiling against my neck, even if she wasn’t too amused with herself. “I don’t think it’s out of line to ask, given the circumstances.”
Instead of hating the reminder, I decided to play along as I slowly walked over to the bed. “Would he know that you’re a natural blonde?”
She giggled. “Probably. My eyelashes are fair too and you’re a smart guy.”
“Would he know that you ran over a raccoon during your first driving lesson?”
“It’s possible since I called 9-1-1.”
“Would he know that you pick the toppings off of your pizza, but you still eat them?”
She kissed my neck. “Maybe not.”
I put her down on the bed and hovered over. “What about you? Are you really my Sookie?”
“Would I be here with you if I wasn’t?”
“I don’t know. I have to be sure.”
“It would be too easy… besides, the proof is in the pudding.” She punctuated her suggestion by wiggling her eyebrows.
I laughed at her. “Oh no, as tempting as that is, you made me work for it. It’s your turn.”
She gave me a cheeky grin. “Ok… would she know that you have a Nancy Drew video game loaded on your work computer? You blame Pam, but you have a game saved.”
“You could’ve broken into my office… and that game is harder than you’d think.”
She snickered at me. “Would she know that you write with your right hand, but draw with your left?”
“She could. I’m prone to drawing caricatures of customers out of boredom… which is how you know that. Next.”
She bit her lip and sat up enough to almost put our noses together and practically breathed her last answer against my lips. “Would she know that being this close to you makes every part of me react? That any way or place you touch me puts me on edge? That every little naturally blonde hair on my body might as well reach for my master? Would she know how close she is to being your plaything and your meal? Would she know that your hands are just as capable of making me plead for my life as they are of making me beg for more? Would she know how much she should be looking forward to it?”
It was a struggle to say anything. I’d grossly overplayed my hand… and our clothes were in the way. “Sookie…”
“Mine. My Sookie.”
I watched the chill creep over her shoulder as she moved to put her mouth on my neck… before her lips touched, her breath melted my resolve… and I was done for.