Chapter 20: Oh Ye, Of Little Faith

In The Dark

Chapter 20

Oh Ye, Of Little Faith

**

Once Anja heard Sookie had bested Gerrit and Miles, she laughingly volunteered her own clothing for Sookie to wear. Miles followed her to the barracks, arguing and whining about his ‘aching grundle’ along the way.

Five hours in the car, 400km, seemed like it should have been more than enough time for Sookie to explain the details of skipping… She’d brought a box of printer paper and a pen, writing what she could remember from something she called a ‘journal’… She apologized for being unprepared and promised to start sleeping with a journal around her neck because she was sure she was forgetting several things.

As we inched down the street The Auershaus was on, she was still writing and talking, but more surprisingly, I still had questions.

She smiled at the façade of the building from a block away and offered, “You know, I used to live in a tiny flat with two other maids just around the corner. Last night was the first time I’d ever been in The Auershaus as a guest… It kind of makes sense, this skip… I was thinking of Allecks when I crashed for the day.”

“You were thinking of a former lover while you were in bed with your fiancé. How heartwarming.”

She swatted my arm and giggled, “Not like that, you big pervert… When we checked in, I asked if he was around just so I could say hi, but he sold the place when his parents died. I was worried for him, not fantasizing. Sweet guy. We parted on good terms… even sent us a wedding present… ”

“It would suit my needs if he’s become an abusive drunk since you knew him.”

She nodded and patted my hand. “I know, sweetie. The thing we need to kind of reinforce is that you aren’t here to break up her marriage and steel her away from her life. Chances are really fucking good she’s going to start getting skips on her own eventually. This is one of those situations where she might as well get to know her teammate before she wakes up in bed with another version of You. It’s possible she already has…Hell, it’s possible she woke up in bed with My Eric and our kids.”

“Wouldn’t you have awakened with Allecks?”

She shrugged as I sidled the curb in front of the hotel. “The other Eric, the one we’ve met twice now, said as soon as they think there’s a pattern, they skip to disprove the rule. There’s no telling…” She held her finger up to the valet reaching for her door handle. “Eric… There’s a version of Me who lost her Grandmother… she was murdered in their house… She skipped and saw her grandmother again…”

“If you’re about to tell me a maudlin anecdote about how the grandmother in the skip wasn’t the same, I don’t want to fucking hear it. A couple of decades is nothing compared to what I lost when Liz was murdered.”

Her eyes welled as she shook her head. “No… I wasn’t going to say that… Sookie didn’t want to leave because Gran was the same awesome-sauce she lost… Gran told her that she can’t live waiting for skips… Eventually, all the Grans would die… it’s not healthy for…”

“Vampires live forever. If I’m bonded to a Sookie, I’ll always have the option of seeing Liz, or Pam, or whatever she changes her name to next. I’ll do what is required for the skip and spend as much time as I can with her.”

She nodded. “You understand some of Us skip more often than others, right? This is Our fourth skip in five months… there are some who skipped that much in two weeks.”

“Once. Just once is more than I would ever have again otherwise. I’ll take every fucking chance I have.”

She nodded and reached for the handle of her door. “Okay.”

“Just ‘okay’?”

She nodded and slid out of her seat. After the valet told her it was a pleasure to see her again and I joined her on the sidewalk, she said, “Just okay… while I’m thinking about it, proximity might have something to do with it.”

“And?”

“You might want to start going to fashion week… There are enough Pams, it’s possible you could find her there. If you think about all the versions I know about, all but one has a Pam…”

“What happened to that one?”

“There was an attack. Pam was ended before Eric could get to her. Eric had to turn that Sookie. It was the only way he wasn’t going to lose them both… Anyway… so many Pams and fashion week is totally her cup of tea, even ours is going this year. It’s possible for others to be there too… nothing wrong with stacking the deck when you can. They start in a few weeks in New York.”

I nodded. “I wouldn’t have thought of that. It’s been so long…” It really would be stacking the deck… Considering the multitude of layers of reality, I could rise in the same hotel since I know all of her favorites…

“No problem.” She turned towards the door and took my hand, then immediately let go of it. “Sorry. Force of habit.”

**

She giggled as she walked through the door that The Auershaus hadn’t changed in the five years since she’d been there, but she stopped in her tracks when she noticed a man in a suit speaking to a bellhop.

She whispered, “Christ… Allecks got old… fast.”

I answered, “Some people actually age, Sookie.”

She snickered. “In five years though. I mean, yeah, he was 26 when we dated, but he put on years instead of pounds like most married guys do.”

“How difficult are you?”

She snorted, “That depends on what Sookie you’re talking about. There’s a couple Mes that are straight-up crazy bitches. I’m just a stubborn, know-it-all.”

“My version of you could need to be caged.”

“Or she could need a good spanking.”

I actually chuckled. “My, aren’t you dirty.”

“Whenever my kids aren’t around…”

She stopped talking when Allecks noticed her presence. His nostrils flared and he began charging towards us to grab Sookie’s arm and yank her to the side of the lobby. The only reason I didn’t follow was because she’d thought to give my arm a slight push as she was pulled away, and held her hand up as a sign for me to wait.

He loomed over her and growled, “What the fuck are you doing here?”

She jerked her arm to take it back from him and snarled, “Ohhhhhhh, you’re going to give me a really good reason for nearly taking my arm off, asshole.”

“I told you to drop it until you have a blood test.”

“Blood test?”

He shook his head and made a disgusted face as he hissed, “Yes. Blood test. We’ve been divorced for months. We’ve both had other lovers since I moved out, Sookie. You can’t blame me for wanting proof it’s mine.”

“So you nearly yanked my arm out of the socket because you thought I was here to cause a scene or push the issue.”

He straightened and furrowed his brow. “After the message your brother left, yes. You aren’t?”

She shrugged, “Jason hadn’t had his coffee when I called him. He was confused.  You know how he gets. I was out and thought I’d come by to ask if you mind if I take Lindy on holiday. I want to do some thinking. Clear my head.”

He folded his arms and let his posture relax. “Truly?”

She nodded and gave a slight shrug… it was very convincing.

“Where?”

“I hadn’t given that any thought because I wanted to hear your opinion before I started making any plans.”

He pulled his lips over his teeth while he considered, but he eventually nodded. “If you let me know where you’ll be, I don’t see why not. As long as there’s phone service. That way I can call her… Don’t keep Lindy from me for too long though… Sookie… Thank you for discussing it with me first.”

She nodded and patted his arm… then grabbed both of his arms to drive her knee up between his legs.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at the way he hit the floor shoulder first, in the fetal position.

She squatted down next to him, ignoring how many people were staring and hissed, “Don’t EVER grab me like that again. Understand?”

He choked and retched and nodded his head. “I thought you were here to pick a fight.”

She smiled at him. “Just because we’ve broken up doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. We were both drunk at that fundraiser.” Information pulled from his head?

He nodded again, his face was actually swelling and he looked like he was trying to hug the floor. “You know I won’t refuse the baby if it’s mine, Sookie… but…”

She finished sympathetically, “You have your doubts… Are we good?”

“Now that I can’t see straight and my dick hurts… yeah. It’s like when we first met.” I let a chuckle slip out.

She giggled and winked at me then kissed his cheek. “It was nice seeing you again. I’ll call you when I have a rough idea for my holiday.”

**

She had habitually taken my hand again as she joined me, then again when we reached the curb.

While we waited for the valet to retrieve my car, she giggled, “Your fault. Stop doing that.”

“What am I being accused of exactly?”

She pointed at me, wagging her finger up and down from my feet to my face. “You’re being all Ericy. It’s throwing me off.”

“I’ll do what I can…”

She nodded. “Good. Be… shorter or… ugly or something.” Cute.

“Can I ask what your husband meant by suggesting you left him blind and blue-balled?”

“He said he couldn’t see straight and his dick hurt… he didn’t say anything about being left hanging… I’m surprised he’s Human all things considered. I wasn’t reading minds when we dated sooooo… And he’s not My husband… Hell, he isn’t even Your Sookie’s husband anymore.”

“Fair enough… What would be our next move? Do you know how to find the other Sookie?”

She nodded. “Yeah… When Allecks mentioned moving out, he pictured packing his things at his parents’ house. He would have inherited it when they passed… He wanted Lindy to grow up there like the rest of his family.”

“And she’s now pregnant with their second child…” Finding her divorced eliminated one variable, but the baby was a new one.

“In his head, it’s really up in the air whether it’s his or not. She’d just broken up with someone when they had their beer-goggle reunion. She explained as much when she told him she’s pregnant.”

“Did you take blood while you were pregnant?” I didn’t want to wait, but… a few months… I’d gone decades without seeing Liz… just a little while longer…

“No… we were scared to because another version of my cousin did and she died during delivery. We didn’t have all of the information though. Hadley died because she slipped in the shower and hemorrhaged. It didn’t have anything to do with Vampire blood… we even held off for a while because we were concerned it would halt my milk. That wasn’t a problem either… You should be good to go.”

**

Other than the directions she gave, and the apology she made for not remembering the exact location of the house she wasn’t welcome in, the ride to Sookie Auers’s house was much quieter than any part of the five hour drive from Eijsden… and more on edge.

Sookie seemed to be thinking something over and my anxiety to meet my version of her was growing by the second.

As we walked along the sidewalk, just a few meters from my goal, Sookie grabbed my hand…

It wasn’t her habitual handholding… She was trying to stop me.

She gave another tug and shushed me. “Hold on, sweetie… Just… I have an idea for a Plan B.”

“We’re here. Why change plans?”

She shook her head. “Not change them… that would be an ‘alternate’. No, I meant a backup plan if this doesn’t go perfectly. I don’t want you to get discouraged.”

“Discouraged?”

She nodded. “I totally own how stubborn I am, Eric. If this Sookie doesn’t care, if She doesn’t have the exposure to Vampires to know anything about Maker/child relationships, if She isn’t interested in helping you because She can’t possibly understand why you’d be so desperate to see Liz again… You can’t glamour Sookie to be compliant. Your only option would be for you to do to her what Appius did to you. Take her from her family and force a life she doesn’t want on her.” I probably could have justified doing exactly that until Sookie compared it to what he did…

I growled, “If She doesn’t agree, then what do you suggest?”

“Hadley. It would open a completely different can of worms, and you’d probably end up dealing with Sophie-Anne’s political shit more often than not, but… honestly, sweetie, she’s what you’re shopping for anyway.”

“Meaning what?” It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fucking fair that another Me still had Liz and someone who cared. It wasn’t fucking fair that there was a Me who was on holiday with a woman who understood his connection to his only child to the extent that she was willing to sacrifice another version of herself or a family member… and My Maker might as well have ended Liz himself. One Me had his child, a woman so devoted she was choosing life as a Vampire to be with him, and family who adored him… and I didn’t have a single thing to my name worth fighting for…

It. Wasn’t. Fucking. Fair.

“You don’t want Me as a total package. You’re just shopping for parts. We know for a fact Hadley skips once she’s bonded to a Vampire. This Me has a family reunion photo on her MySpace with Jenny and Misty in it… almost everything about this Hadley is the same as mine so she’s probably already cheating on her husband… She’ll follow your wallet anywhere and you can glamour her if she’s difficult. Misty and Jenny love My Eric so much it hurts… Hadley would make a good pet and she was raised with almost nothing so it wouldn’t take much of an allowance to keep her. Just set her up with a house and keep her for fucking and feeding. Her goal in life is to be a trophy wife anyway. At least with you, the kids would be taken care of.”

“You’re suggesting I use your cousin.”

“It would be perfect actually… it would be the first time a man ever got anything but child support payments and bad credit out of a relationship with her.”

“We’d be using one another.”

She nodded. “Yeah… I just can’t stand it when you’re disappointed so if things don’t go well in there, try to stay in good spirits, okay?”

If our discussion was for any other reason, I would have laughed at my little pep talk… but as it was, I simply nodded.

**

As Sookie knocked, she warned, “Give her a minute. We’re waking her up…” She gave a little giggle, “It’s funny… it seems like forever since I was in bed before midnight.”

“Do you not need sleep? How do you manage 6 children?”

She leaned against the iron railing. “Technically only five are ours. Junior came to Zermatt with us because his parents went to Paris, and Paris is for girls and wimps apparently. He got to be the first of the kids Eric flew to the summit of the Matterhorn. When he called Jason and Lauren to tell them, Jason threatened to leave Lauren in Paris to get a turn… Anyway… we shifted our hours so we wake up with Eric. The kids go to sleep in time that we have a couple hours before daylight alone.”

“And how does your ex-husband feel about your Vampire lover taking all of you out of the country?”

“He’d be shitting kittens if he hadn’t gotten himself killed. He went nuts, killed a Vampire just for asking after me, got arrested, didn’t take advantage of Eric breaking him out of jail, stole a car to stalk me and got pulled over, and when he tried to escape he was shot in the heart by a Human corrections officer… He even managed to alienate his children in the process. Him wuz a vewy busy boy… The girls were too quiet about his death at first. It drove me and Eric nuts because they weren’t talking about it. Misty came to us about it. She overheard Tina and Shelly thinking they might have made it happen.”

“Another Faerie ability?”

She shook her head. “It made sense to them because of all the weirdness. That adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ is popular enough they heard it a few times. They liked Eric from the moment they met the first one. It freaked Mine out a little because when he met them, Shelly jumped into his arms because the other Him had played with her. Anyway, after Sam flipped out and trashed our apartment, Eric helped us out. He never made them feel like a chore and he didn’t treat me like crap like their father did… They wished Eric could be their dad instead of the one nature gave them. They’d already made their peace with the idea of never seeing Sam again because he was dodging a murder charge, so… when he was killed, they thought they wished it into being. That idea was only reinforced when Eric proposed, and then again when Hadley sent adoption papers for Misty and Jenny. They were suddenly getting whatever they wanted.”

“I’m not sure I can overlook that they preferred a Vampire to their own father to even begin comprehending the rest of what you just said.”

She smiled and nodded, licking her lips. “Says the guy who’s willing to do anything just to get a few minutes with the only person who ever truly understood him. Pam… Liz valued you for everything you are. She didn’t always agree with you, but she always understood you. That’s important to a lot of people, sweetie. You aren’t alone in that.”

“We’re all alone.”

She shook her head, looking more sympathetic than I was comfortable with. “You only say that because you lost Liz.”

“I only say that because my Maker didn’t care about anything but himself. He was told if he was uncooperative, she’d be ended…”

Her eyes widened and she hissed, “Tell me you ended that fucker.”

“Before his chains were off… Tell me, since you mentioned that your bond can’t always be felt during a skip, can the same be said for Vampires and their Makers?”

She whimpered, “Be careful, Eric… skipping to have contact with Liz is one thing, but… don’t start skipping to kill Appius over and over. He’s older and stronger.”

I almost slipped… I almost told her that the risks might matter to someone who had something to live for…

**

When ‘My Sookie’ pulled the curtain away from the window next to the door, her eyes bulged… but by the time she’d thrown the bolt and opened the door, she was smiling from ear to ear.  She squeaked, “Oh… Mein… Gott…”

Her arms went out to throw them around the Sookie I’d met first and then I was the recipient of my own hug.

My companion laughed, “I guess you’ve done this before, huh?”

‘My Sookie’ nodded and welcomed us. “Come in. Come in. Yeah… I… I thought I was nuts at first. It was about a month ago. Lindy had a touch of stomach flu and I was feeling under the weather so I napped when she did. I rolled over and snuggled up to Eric and thought I’d spiked a fever in my sleep… Can I get you anything?” A bond would be nice. “Blut Nahezu? Sweet tea?” She kept artificial blood on hand?

Sookie nodded. “Not to be rude, but I’m starving. You don’t by chance…”

She hadn’t finished before ‘My Sookie’ was already turning away to lead us. “Ohhhh sureSandwich? Leftover gumbo? Well, it’s as close as I can get to gumbo here. I bring back a suitcase full of groceries every time I visit Louisiana. It never lasts though.”

“As good as gumbo sounds, I’ll take a sandwich. I don’t want to hog your Cajun-goodness when it’s so hard to come by… I called Your Jason to know where to find you. Our first stop was the hotel. It’s been forever since I’ve seen Allecks, but he wasn’t as happy to see Me… He thought I was there to harass him about the baby- by the way, mazel tov– and I made up a story about dropping by to ask if he minded Lindy going out of town. He said it was fine and then I drove his nuts into his throat for grabbing me.”

As ‘My Sookie’ searched the refrigerator, she giggled, “Thanks… and that would explain the text I got when I was settling in. He said it was stuff like that that made him wish nothing changed between us and he apologized for grabbing ‘Me’. He’d have died if I fell over. You know he wouldn’t hurt a fly unless they begged for it.” The two of them shared cheeky, knowing grins that reminded me Sookie mentioned spankings, and filled in a lot of blanks for me.

The visiting Sookie snickered, “Amen… So who did you meet?”

‘My Sookie’ removed a bottle of Blut Nahezu from the refrigerator and placed it in the microwave, and went back for a pitcher of tea while she answered, “Ummmm. Sookie DuRone Northman and retired Sheriff Eric Northman. Have you met them yet?”

“No, but I’ve heard of them. Do you have a copy of the journal?”

“Yeah. Poor guy has to die with his wallet in his hand.”

“Sweet! I’m getting a thumb-drive and attaching it to my ankle like a pool-pass, I swear.”

‘My Sookie’ giggled and tugged a long, gold chain out of her robe to reveal that she’d already had a similar idea.

“So why did you get a visit?”

She rolled her eyes and huffed, “We’re pretty sure it was because of my brother. We didn’t know about him because his mom didn’t want to be a home-wrecker. Have you met Brandon?”

Sookie nodded. “So you’re exactly like me until… did you go home and come back, or did you just stay?”

“I stayed, went to school here instead, married Allecks, had Lindy shortly after Aunt Linda died, Allecks and I ran our course and split up about a year ago. We just grew apart after his father died because everything was left to Lindy in a trust so ‘the gold digger’ couldn’t sell the hotel and use the family fortune for pork rinds or some shit like that. I don’t guess it mattered that no one knows who the fuck the Auers family is where we’re from… or that I’ve been making my own way without Allecks since we were still dating… Anyway, Allecks had to take over the hotel and it just kind of came unraveled when he didn’t have time to write anymore.”

“Herr Auers was like that when I dated Allecks too. Leave it to him to use Lindy to force Allecks to run the hotel though… Poor Allecks caught so much shit for ‘fucking the help’. It’s kind of why I went home. Did you get the offer I did? A million in cash to leave and never call back?”

“Yeah… and when I told him to keep his fucking money, he assumed I was looking for a bigger payday and sent a prenup to me. Asshole lawyer nearly choked on his tongue when I didn’t read it before I signed it. Those nasty people were why I started reading minds again… Did you take the offer?”

“No. I told him to shove it up his ass and light the check on fire… I made plans to visit the following summer. Aunt Linda’s health… when it spiraled I went home for the summer instead of coming back. I cut Allecks lose and ended up meeting another guy. His mom hated me for being a gold-digger too even though they didn’t have much more than a pot to piss in. Three beautiful babies though and I’ve got my Eric out of the deal. Since our first skip was back in October, you might have pictures of my kids on your thumb-drive. Tina and Shelly Merlotte.”

‘My Sookie’ nodded with a smile on her face. “Gold-diggers make pretty babies. They’re gorgeous, but Erin’s still the cutest of all our kids… So… do you guys have any clues about the reason for this skip?”

“Well… If you already know about Brandon… Misty and Jenny…”

“Telepaths. They’d be sleeping upstairs with Lindy if they hadn’t already made friends with the neighbors. They’re sleeping over… I’ve had custody of them for a year now. ‘Swiss medicine’ that hasn’t been approved in the US yet has cured their headaches.”

Sookie held her hand up to high-five the other one and laughed, “NICE! I’M SO SMART!” I had no fucking clue what they were talking about. I was beginning to wonder if I’d get a turn speaking.

‘My Sookie’ giggled, “Bet your ass… and Junior spends his summers with me, so he’s covered too… What else do you have?”

“Politically speaking, we’re swimming in different fish bowls. My Eric is a Sheriff in Louisiana and this guy is the King of the Northern Kingdom…” She paused and sighed, “The only thing I can think of is this Eric, Your Eric… he wants to bond with you… It’ll increase his chances of skipping. His Pam was murdered and he wants to see her again.”

That certainly covered the situation, but it might have been nice if she’d bothered to fucking sugarcoat it somehow!

Not that I could think of a way to have done it, but it would have been nice.

As one would expect anyone to react to the news that a fucking Vampire wanted to force a bond, ‘My Sookie’ slapped her hands over her mouth as she gasped.

It took a moment for me to find a bright side… She wasn’t trying to shove a rolling pin into my chest, so at least I had that much luck.

‘My Sookie’s’ eyes misted as she stared at her other self and since I’d been nothing more than a fly on the wall through their exchange, I wasn’t about to throw myself into the conversation.

It felt like an era had come and gone, tears trickling out of her eyes while she hid the rest of her face…

She finally turned and ran from the room.

Wonderful.

As soon as I heard a door slam, I turned to Sookie and hissed, “Your delivery leaves something to be desired, Sookie. There are better ways you could…”

Sookie interrupted me by putting her finger to her lips and stepped closer as though she was going to whisper into my ear, but she put her arms around my neck to hug me. Then she whispered, “Oh ye of little faith… I explained that you don’t want to take over her life… It’s just that Liz is the only thing you’ve ever loved and you’re dying to see her again. I’m a telepath, sweetie… A picture is worth a thousand words and I showed her as much as I could of you with Liz.” And I’d doubted her… someone another Me trusted…

I couldn’t help but return the hug. “How much have you seen in just a few months?”

Ohhhh, plenty… and I do occasionally get a very rare thought out of a Vampire’s mind…” Oh fuck.

“What did you hear?”

She tightened her hold on my neck and cried, “Saw… I saw you on… on your knees… sifting… for her earrings… You thought about it more than once while we were on our way here… I know what hope feels like in your mind and that’s all you’ve had since you found out some versions still have a Pam…”

“Sookie ran away though…” That couldn’t be a good sign.

“She’s read all about Pams in the journals, sweetie. She feels like she knows them all… She’s…”

Another hand touched my back before ‘My Sookie’s’ head rested against my shoulder. “She’s in.”

“In?”

She sniffled and offered, “Eric, I’ve only spent six years with my child and I’d be exactly where you are now if lost her. I’m in.”

**

BACK TO ITD ERIC POV

**

I scoured every fiber of my being for hints that my bond with Sookie was returning…

Every few minutes for the hour I spent trying to tame the chaos of preparing six children to go downstairs to the restaurant…

I did my best to control my temper because I knew it was my anxiety over Sookie’s disappearance that was affecting the children’s moods. Since the children had taken my schedule as theirs, I’d witnessed preparations for leaving a suite and it had never been the absolute pandemonium I was struggling to neutralize. At its worst, there had been a shoelace debacle, and an isolated incident of Mag’s diaper ointment being used as hair gel… the incident by itself was minor, but the ensuing slap-boxing war when multiple children thought it would be funny to call Misty ‘butthead’ repeatedly was more problematic.

Feeding and changing Mag while he wailed, breaking up a fight over a hairbrush confusion between Tina and Misty, searching for my bond with Sookie, promising Jenny there were more disgusting things than ‘boogers of toothpaste’ left in the sink, unclogging the toilet, searching for my bond with Sookie, turning Shelly’s shirt right-side-out, catching the boot Jenny threw at Junior to keep him from returning to his parents with a black eye (even if he deserved it for pushing her over while she put her tights on), searching for my bond with Sookie, going back into the room so Tina could clean a ‘booger of toothpaste’ out of her hair and acknowledging Jenny’s earlier point, going back to the room again when I realized I was still wearing pajama pants, and searching for my bond with Sookie.

I watched five heads file into the elevator, counting obsessively because I’d never live it down if I left one behind.

I had to rethink my plan of having them line up from oldest to youngest and hold hands to keep any of them from wandering away on the way to the restaurant. Junior and Jenny were still snarling at each other and Shelly was the reason a lock of Tina’s hair was tinged blue…  Alphabetical order still put Jenny and Junior, and Tina and Shelly together… I ended up carrying Shelly and putting Misty between Junior and Jenny. Giving Misty permission to hit either of them if they tried to reach around her probably did nothing more than make them realize I was at my wit’s end.

Seating them all at the table was just as much of a nightmare as getting them out of the suite without one killing the other.

They picked and nagged.

They kicked and tossed bread.

If I wasn’t painfully aware that they were brimming with just as much nervous energy as I was, I would have thought they were taking advantage of the fact that I was clearly outnumbered by a tiny army that would use tears as a weapon against me.

It went on and on while other diners gawked and the waitress offered to send their meals up to our room.

I was admonishing Tina (again) for ‘dropping’ her fork (tines down) onto Junior’s leg when everything stopped.

I barely had the chance to notice that all of the children were watching over my shoulder before a pair of arms wrapped around my shoulders…

All I could smell was Sookie’s tears as I handed Mag to Misty and stood up slowly… ‘Slow’ was more difficult than I thought it would be.

So was waiting. I’d never seen Sookie more upset and if I hadn’t been so distracted by the children’s bickering I would have felt her pain as soon as she returned to me…

Her sobbing was as quiet as she could manage, but as she tried to force herself to calm down, there was an agonizing ache building in her chest and her arms only tightened around me.

The father of her children had died and that reaction paled in comparison to how completely devastated she was…

Waiting was all I could do… I was sure I didn’t want to hear the answer if I asked what happened.

She finally managed to choke out, “Call Pam…” She began hyperventilating after just that much.

I reflexively searched for Pam, finding nothing abnormal. She was dead for the day. “Why?”

“Because I don’t think it was a coincidence that Halfdan contacted you for a job right after we ran into Appius.”

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53 thoughts on “Chapter 20: Oh Ye, Of Little Faith

  1. Lord, I hope Pam stays safe! Thank God for skips and the heads-up they give! Can’t wait to see what you have in store next!

  2. Oh wow, that’s a cliffe . . . . I hope that Sookie and Eric become at least friends, but there is an opportunity for that Eric to have what ITD’s Eric has so that’s encouraging! I hope he gets to skip to see a Pam, being able to do that and make it work with Sookie and those kids would be great for him

    Thanks for a great chapter as always!

  3. What!!! What is with all these horrible cliff hangers? Oh! My! God! Please tell me that nothing has happened to Pam! I will cry my eyes out! I love Pam. I love Pam and Eric almost as much as I love Sookie and Eric! Please, please new chapter tomorrow.

  4. oh shit you can’t kill off Pam… i feel so sorry for the other Eric and his Liz but i am happy to hear that Sookie is willing to help him out since she has already skipped before it was too funny how haggered ERic was getting by taking care of all of the kids by himself until the next update my best Kristie

  5. OH, how could you!? That was a terrible cliffhanger to leave us with. Now i’m going to be fretting until the next update.

    I’m so happy that things between King Eric, and Swiss Sookie were so easily resolved. And SS is such a sweetheart, you just know she and Eric will get on like a house on fire. It’s such a shame we only meet them for this skip (unless you plan to incorporate them in another chapter, at a later date.)

    Well, i guess we were all wrong when it came to Allecks. He’s just a plain ‘ole human, afterall.

    Harassed, parental Eric is funny. How odd, leaving him to deal with 6 small children, all on his lonesome. I bet that was an experience he never thought he’d ever have. Could you image Pam’s reaction if she’d been witness! =)

  6. Oooohhhhh. dum de dum dum. this was outr of this world. kudos EIM. another perfect chapter.i wonder if this will tie in to rubberneckin now. I can’t wait for more!!!!!!! Thanks

  7. That is absolutely the mother of all cliff hangers!!!! I hope Pam is safe…. OMG they have been making progress getting rid of all the Bills in the MV and now they have to deal with Halfdan and Appius too!!!

    Loved Eric’s adventure in babysitting land.

    Excellent Chapter.

  8. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Please tell me Pam is okay. I can’t think of a single time you have left us on a cliff like this! How will I pass the time until this is resolved??

  9. Oh lord what an emotional rollercoaster. Tears I got tears flowing over Eric’s sadness and Sook’s always beautiful heart. Oh and now the worry over our Pammy, what to do.

  10. OH MY GOD!!! I thought the waiting before was bad!! I’m going to gnaw my nails down to my wrists!!! Holy crap!! I’ve just realized why I NORMALLY appreciate you so much more, no cliffhangers that make me want to cry!! (Am I over punctuating??) Holy shit!! An amazing chapter, but one that will give me an ulcer for sure!! I already have a stressful day lined up for tomorrow and now I have this to stress about too? Oh geez! Let’s see, can I take on 4 or 5 doctors in NC and Halfdan all by the time I need to be at my doctor at 3:30 central time tomorrow? Come on Eric, gimmie super special wings!!

  11. OMG such a range of emotions.

    “I almost slipped… I almost told her that the risks might matter to someone who had something to live for…” He seemed so hopeless *sniffle* without his “Liz”. Hopefully from what his Sookie said, she’ll bond to him and he’ll have his vist/skip….and his own Sookie.

    The children acting up was amusing, if bittersweet. I assume Sookie’s info suggests that Pam may be in trouble…and if so, that they can stop it from happening.

    Can’t wait for more….

  12. Oh, you wicked, brilliant minx! What a cliffie! I hope our beloved Pammy is OK! My heart just aches for this version’s Eric’s loss of Pam. I hope he and Sook and get to know each other as friends at least and he gets to see Pam in at least one skip. Oh those evil creeps Appius and Halfdan! Just want them finally dead all over again >:/

  13. Noooo ! You can’t threaten us with Pam !
    I never beg for updates, but I am now – this has me ready to put my boots on, pick up my sword and run out to defend our Pammy. I dont actually have a sword mind, but thats not the point.
    Please let us know Pam is safe.

  14. Eeeek! I hope Pam’s all right. I love how Sookie was able to help that lonely and hurt Eric out. And our poor Eric outnumbered by upset kids. I can sympathise! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Also I hope you have a terrific weekend away 🙂

  15. Awesome chapter. Just awesome. I love a smart Sookie, so chuffed to have two this skip, and King Eric wasn’t a a’hole to either of them. Just beautifully written, King Eric’s loss and ITD Eric’s child wrangling both. I bow down to your greatness xx

  16. Great chapter as usual the cliffhanger is totally going to mess with my head till u write again. Enjoy ur trip will be waiting anxiously for next chapter

  17. Sookie’s flip seems to have a mission in her timeline as well. Too bad ALL the Sookie’s & Eric’s can’t get together and kill all the versions of Appius, he really is a troll and needs to meet his ancestors…I was laughing at Eric’s efforts to corral the kids and had a flashback to “The Sound of Music” and the Von Trapp children lined up in height order to be presented to Maria..Maybe you should get Eric a whistle like their father had….hope your family visit is great..it’s going to be 66 degrees and rain on Saturday, 55 and sunny on Sunday in Virginia Beach..

  18. Oh my goodness. I’m glad things worked out for the other Eric and Sookie. Eric might want her so he can see Pam, but it won’t take long for him to see she’s the best thing that ever happened to him. Now we know why ITD Sookie skipped. They have to save Pam, and maybe off Appius along with Halfdan. Great chapter. They always make my day. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  19. Oh shit! I hoped they can warn Pam before someone abducts her.

    Poor alt Eric. He seems suicidal but he has stayed alive for so long there must be some subconscious yearning to stay alive.

  20. I really hope Pam is ok, they would all be so lost without her. I’m glad alternate Sookie and Eric will be able to get together and hope he can see Pam again. How telling is it that Sookie was willing to give him Hadley is the other her wouldn’t comply. It’s good that the other version had skipped and knew how things are. I also felt bad for this Eric…..having to deal with bickering children while missing his wife. He is a brave man for keeping the bloodshed to a minimum.

  21. I knew it. I knew something had to happen with Pam.

    I’m thinking we got a glimpse into life at EricIzMine’s house getting six kids ready to go out. ; )

    Are we going to get King Eric and Swiss Sookie’s story down the road?

  22. I’d be “all in” as well. I’d move heaven and hell if there was an opportunity to see my lost child again –or grandchildren. At first they may be a loveless bonding, but we know how the chemistry between them becomes –it’s inevitable!

    Enjoy your weekend with your family! VA Beach is warm enough to visit or do you not plan on going to the beach itself? Going to be rainy on Saturday here in NOVA.

    Pat

  23. Ack! I hope Pam is okay. She has to be okay, right? She’ll be fine.

    But yay for the alternate Sookie to be so willing to bond, if for no other reason than Eric getting to see Liz/Pam again. So sweet.

  24. That was a great transition from having us all (no doubt) practically crying over Liz’s demise and other Eric’s pain and switching to a keystone cops situation with our Eric. I laughed out loud at the kids craziness. Then you leave us with a killer of a cliffhanger; but, I have faith in the switches and I know they’ll save Pam from a premature ending.

  25. Ugh…like Bill, they need to kill Appius again, and again, and again, and again…..

    Hope our PammyLa is safe and sound!
    PJ

  26. Oh nooooo! We can’t loose another Pammy cakes. I hope they are able to get to her in time and I hope the new Eric skips to this time line so both Eric’s can dispose of appius. Just hate that creep. You are awesome as usual. More please!

  27. Almost forgot to mention how hilarious Eric and the kids were. I was crackin up on the train. Got strange looks but I couldn’t have cared less. I truly laughed out loud.

  28. OK, I have three questions:

    1. How could Eric kill Appius? I thought it was impossible for children to turn on their Maker. Couldn’t Appius just command Eric to free him or to not kill him? How did Eric manage that?

    2. Will we ever actually meet Appius in one of your fics? I so want to read your take on him.

    3. Will there be a separate fic for the ‘bereaved Eric’ skip? I know you have a lot on your plate already, but I am dying to see where you go with him.

    Have a great holiday and thanks for this wonderful update.

  29. It was absolutely brilliant of you to make the ‘Pam’ that died a Liz because that way we can distance ourselves a little bit. Loved this whole chapter, as always I’m chompin’ at the bit for more. Quick question though, why would Halfdan hire Eric if he is working as a Sheriff and not an assassin in this verse? Is it simply because they happen to be there on vacation? Did they check in with the Vampire King of where they are and if so, what do the other vamps think of this Eric surrounded by 6 little kids? I would love to get a scene of the whole group running into the Vampire King of whatever area they are in. Not exactly how other vamps would picture Eric the Norseman.

    The new skippy Eric that lost his Liz already seems to be realizing how nice it would be to have someone like Sookie in his life, being all envious of other Erics with not only their own Pam, but also a Sookie that loves him and a family that cares.

  30. I hope you enjoy your vacation, and come back raring to go with updates. Especially this one since you left us with a possible disaster in the making. I’m glad that it worked out for King Eric and this Sookie not to have alot of drama with their meeting, but I would like to see them have more. Poor ITD Eric, worried about Sookie and dealing with six kids full of nervous energy.

  31. oh, no…not pam!

    i was laughing at eric getting the kids ready, but then i got slightly freaked about pam.

    still a great chapter though!

  32. Oh F#@K! Dont go there. Not with Pam! What a surprise, you are good…and very evil. Can’t help but love everything you write regardless 🙂

  33. I know you gave hints in a previous post about a story you were working on but did not want to give any cues to spoil it. I am thinking it will be about King Eric and Swiss Sookie. I know that a child can kill his/her maker because Hadley killed Sophie-Anne and Andre. If the maker is already somehow weakened then it is possible. If the vampire was very fast and came behind the weakened maker and took his head befor the command could be spoke well thenit could be done. All you need is some super glue and silver over their mouth ala Hadley and there you go easy peasy. No more maker. Having Swiss Sookie already expierence a slip made it so easy for Eric. They can bond and then if he slips and get to see Pam perhaps he will get some closure. It wil be great that Eric can see that Swiss Sookie has a good heart and perhaps he will find something to live for. We all know that inside of Eric is a Dad waiting to come out. He doesn’t know it yet. I have the feeling he will. I hope we get to see Erics life as a King. We have not got there with Euro Pass Eric yet. I like the idea of Swiss Sookie going to Eric’s kingdom because I am sure she will speak more than one language and I think she will be able to help him a lot. With SS ex husband being human then he will be easily glamoured too when she moves there with the kids……Now about ITD Pam. I think that they need to call Alciede to go watch over Pam’s resting place to foil any would be attackers. When ITD Sookie goes public with her telepathy she will need a guard. I hope you tell about ITD meeting Appius and Hafdan. I gotta to believe that you would not let anything happen to Pam. She is too beloved. But a close call would be a great story. I know not to expect an update over the weekend so I won’t. Have fun with your family. Come back refreshed and ready to write.

  34. Oh my -what a chapter! I really hope nothing happens to Pam. This part had me cracking up – Eric ‘outnumbered by a tiny army that would use tears as a weapon against me’. Thanks for the update!

  35. oh, oh no! Not Pam, let’s hope they get to her soon enough. I hope this Eric, not ITD Eric, develops a good relationship with his Sookie and the children. He could have so much more than just seeing Pam /Liz again. Wow, I really love this Sookie. Thanks for the update!

  36. what an adventure for sookie:) it broke my heart to know what eric has been going through, but i don’t think he should bond and hold sookie to that bond just for skips to see pam. that would hold sookie back from a lot because of vampire law.luckily he was seeing the benefits from being with sookie from their stories and maybe he’ll make an executive decision:)

  37. I really missed some amazing stuff while I was out of town. Having said that, OMG!!!!! I didn’t see that cliffie coming AT ALL. Stunning chapter. I can’t wait to see what happens with either E/S/P Fic. I’m so excited about all your stories and I have no clue which one I want to see in my inbox to beta next……..

    I think I’ll have to go with this one because of the evil cliffie… 🙂

  38. I don’t think I would have reacted any differently than Sookie.. Dang, she must have been near catatonic internally, putting it aside to help the other Eric, wanting desperately to get back ASAP. Knowing that the first dominoes to devestation had already started to fall in her reality. I’m shocked and awed that she kept it together

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