As Russell was sharing all of the elements of his trap with Eric, Sookie was in “wait mode.”
She’d already made her plan and was going over all of its details as many times as she could—just like Eric always did. She smiled. Maybe her husband’s talent for making Plan A and then backing it up with Plans B through Zed had rubbed off on her through their bonds. Either way, she didn’t want to take any chances with the most precious commodity in her life—her husband.
After a lot of thought, Sookie had made the decision to get Eric out after daylight. Even though she wasn’t sure that she’d be able to get out of the basement where Eric was being kept after she got into it, she was still going to try. She reasoned that it would be the safest way. And they would have the advantage since Russell would have no idea that Sookie could heal Eric so quickly.
Her plan was straight-forward. She would go get Eric about two hours after sunrise so that she would be certain that Russell was asleep. Then, she’d finish healing her husband and get her blood into him so that he would wake up. She was confident that she could free him from his restraints—just as she’d blasted the silver handcuffs that had held Eric to Russell outside of Fangtasia the morning that they were burning in the sun. After that, they could escape together despite the daylight because she would be able to protect him with her magic.
Any fairy-proof defenses that Russell had come up with to keep her from getting out once she got in could hopefully be taken care of by Eric once he was healed. She was pretty certain that—at the very least—Russell’s iron walls came with an iron door too, and she figured that door would lock behind her when she went into the basement. And from what she knew about iron from Niall, she wouldn’t be able to use her fairy magic to destroy it. However, vampires—particularly her vampire—would be strong enough to break through an iron door. She was banking on the fact that Russell would not be expecting for Eric to be able to help her in any way.
If they were lucky, Russell would have left the basement before sunrise, which—according to Niall—he’d been doing each day he’d had Eric. However, if they were very, very lucky, Russell would be as arrogant as ever and would have gone to rest in the basement―without protecting himself. That way, she would be able to take him out with the sharp scrap of wood that she’d found in the room she was hiding in. On the other hand, she was not sure that she wanted to take the chance of killing Russell—even if he looked vulnerable. Her instincts told her that if Russell seemed to be a sitting duck, then that was the last thing he actually was.
No—her priority would be getting Eric healed, awake, and out of there. If Russell were there, then they could decide together how best to proceed where he was concerned.
Sookie just wished that she had a cell phone so that she could call for help to take out Russell’s Weres. Luckily, as day approached, most of the Weres seemed to be repositioning themselves outside. And she figured that her Jedi mind trick would come in handy again so that she could make sure none of the remaining Weres were in her way when she went to the basement.
About ten minutes before, she’d “heard” from one of the Weres that he was watching a surveillance feed from the basement, and she had immediately tapped into his thoughts so that she could “look” right along with him. She’d seen Russell feeding Eric more blood and speaking to him. That sight had settled her a bit. She would have to “influence” that Were to “break” the equipment at some point, but until then, she intended to use it to monitor Russell’s movements and to make sure that he was truly asleep or gone before she tried to get her husband.
Unfortunately―according to the Were’s mind―the audio feed to the room was being recorded, but he was unaware of how to turn on the sound. In fact, he was pretty clueless when it came to working the equipment at all and was only covering for his buddy, who was apparently passed out from taking too much V. Therefore, Sookie didn’t know what was being said in the basement, but she was grateful to be able to “see” her Viking nonetheless.
Sookie sighed as she examined Eric, still bound and still at Russell’s mercy. Her fingers tingled with angry energy. She wanted so badly to just blast Russell to smithereens, but she needed to be patient.
She inhaled deeply and then went over the rest of her plan. She felt pretty certain that once Eric had some of her blood in him and they were out of the iron-encased room, she would be able to transport them both to the ‘in-between’ place. If not, she’d influence one of the Weres to make a phone call to Miranda, whom she was certain could send the cavalry. And if any Weres tried to stop her along the way, she’d blast the hell out of them. She just needed to wait until Russell had left or was dead for the day, and she had a handy way to monitor that.
Sookie was keeping an eye on Eric and once more going over her plan in her head—and trying to work out all of the potential holes in it—when she felt urgency from her husband; however, nothing seemed to have changed according to the image from the Were’s brain. She felt another jolt from Eric, and the hair on the back of her neck literally stood up. A few moments later, she felt a kind of charge in the fairy bond, and she knew that Eric was calling her. She closed her eyes and envisioned herself going to him in the fairy bond.
When she opened them again, she saw the blues of her vampire’s eyes, which she’d not been able to see in the black and white image from the Were’s head. His expression seemed to go from anxious to thankful in a millisecond. He said simply, “I dream that I could warn her.” Added to the words was a surge of anxiety through the vampire bond. In the next moment, she was looking once more at the dusty room she was hiding in.
Eric’s message seemed clear to her. There was a warning. And there was a request from her husband.
And she had a choice to make.
Sookie sighed. The last thing she wanted to do was to leave Eric there alone, but he wanted her to dream so that she could pull him into it. That much was crystal clear to her, and it would soon be dawn by her estimation; in fact, it was probably little more than a half-hour away. And she also knew from past experience that she could not bring Eric into her dreams once he was dead for the day. And there was no way that he’d be strong enough to stay awake after dawn unless she healed him completely, which would not be smart, given that Russell was watching him carefully.
She considered briefly just sticking to her plan of going in to get him that morning. He could warn her of what he needed to after she’d woken him with her magic and blood, but then she stopped herself. That was just the kind of stubborn, emotional decision that she would have made in the past. No—Eric had made what she knew had to be a considerable effort to warn her. And she needed to honor her husband, and that meant she needed to dream.
She also knew that there was no way she’d be able to just go to sleep—especially not where she was―where Henry might come back any minute. His job was to monitor the two upper floors, and she heard from his head that he needed to go on a patrol soon. She could use her gift to influence him not to, but what if another Were stumbled upon her? Nope—her sleeping there was just not going to happen.
She had probed Henry’s mind a little earlier to find out where the warehouse was located. They were in an old, almost-abandoned district near the river in Shreveport. Earlier, Sookie had thought about leaving the warehouse and trying to get some help. Using her telepathy, she had quickly discerned the pattern of the Weres’ patrols, and she figured that she could slip by them easily enough.
She’d also learned that the Weres had quite a few vehicles, which were for communal usage. The keys to many of them were on a table near the south exit of the building, and she knew that she could get a set using her new mind trick to influence the guard at that entrance to take a bathroom break or something. However, leaving the warehouse that way had so many flaws that she’d dismissed the idea. First, she’d have to go down to the lower floors to exit the building, and though she could avoid the Weres, she figured that Russell might hear her as she got closer to him. Plus, if she took a vehicle, the Weres could raise an alarm; they might even have GPS on the car.
Now, she reconsidered that idea for a moment before dismissing it once again. At this point, leaving that way would take too long. She knew what she had to do. As much as she hated it, she needed to leave the human realm and go back to the fairy pool. Once she was there, Niall could help her go to sleep quickly. Plus, he and Claude could keep the fairy pool connection going so that she could resume sending her healing magic to Eric.
As she watched her mate through the Were’s head, she sent him a burst of love and assurance through the vampire bond as well as a larger surge of her healing magic.
Niall had told her the basics of how to get back to the fairy pool. It simply required her to concentrate on wanting to go there; her fairy blood would apparently do the rest. And right now, she really wanted to get there. She needed to find out what Eric had to tell her so that she could get back to him. He was no longer in much physical pain, but the idea of him trapped with Russell—especially when she was not near—made her cringe.
Sookie focused on her desire to be back at the pool, and in moments, she was there. However, she was surprised to find herself alone. Neither Claude nor Niall were where she’d left them, and using her telepathy, she knew that there was no one else in the “in-between place” either. There were guards just beyond its borders, but no one inside.
“Son of a mother,” Sookie muttered in frustration.
Sookie stepped from the pool and immediately “willed” it on so that she could see Eric. He was as she’d left him—still on the table and still being fed by Russell. However, Russell was currently touching her mate’s cheek, and that tender touch and the miserable look on her husband’s face pissed off Sookie so much that her hands began to glow again. She fought her rising temper and then sent Eric a burst of her healing magic. They might no longer be able to feel each other through the vampire bond, but she wanted him to know that she was still there.
She looked around again, wondering if Mab had attacked Niall’s people and if that was why Claude and Niall were not there.
One thing she knew that she was NOT going to do, however, was to go into Faerie looking for them. She thought about trying to just go to sleep, but she was too wound up. “Fuck!” Sookie said loudly. “Niall, where the “F” are you?”
Sookie looked at the pool and then realized what she should do and where she should go. She should go home. After all, Jesus would certainly be there, and she bet that he could use some kind of spell to put her to sleep quickly. She’d be unable to send Eric more healing magic through the pool, but he was stable now. Plus, she had no idea what her “range” might be. Given the fact that the fairy bond kept her and Eric connected despite their being in different realms, she wouldn’t be surprised if it could span the 50 or so miles between Bon Temps and Shreveport.
Plus, there’d be all kinds of people at home who could help her get to Eric, and Hunter would be scared. She suddenly felt the intense urge to be with the child and to make sure that he was okay.
Sookie sent Eric as much magic as she felt they could get away. He was still tied to the table, and now, Russell was holding up a freakish-looking gag. Once more she had to push down her rage.
“I’ll be asleep soon,” she said looking into the pool. “I promise.”
Sookie took a deep breath. She knew that the pool would work to show her what she wanted to see most and then would act as a conduit to take her there. But she needed to see something other than Eric in that moment. She concentrated on the water and thought about her home—the home she was looking forward to returning to so that she could be with her bonded and Hunter.
She smiled as she remembered when Eric and she had returned home for the first time after they’d been pledged. He’d surprised her by dropping their bags outside the door and scooping her up into his strong arms in order to carry her over the threshold. Sookie watched as the pool went from showing Eric lying incapacitated to showing the door he’d carried her through. Without hesitation, she jumped into the pool and found herself right outside her home.
Quickly, Sookie entered her security code and ran inside. Lafayette was in the kitchen.
“Sookie!” he shrieked in surprise.
Within moments, the kitchen was packed with stunned people, a couple of whom she didn’t know but assumed were Duncan and Amelia. She quickly brushed everyone off when she saw Niall, Claude, and Jesus coming into the room.
“Niall!” she exclaimed. “You have to put me to sleep right now. Eric needs for me to pull him into a dream in order to tell me something. And it’s got to happen now!” She looked at Pam, “How long till dawn?”
Pam looked a bit confused but quickly responded. “Twenty-six minutes.”
“Shit!” Sookie exclaimed. Suddenly a burst of pain hit her, and she would have fallen to her knees if Claude hadn’t been there to keep her on her feet.
Pam had also doubled over.
After a couple of seconds, the pain was gone, and Sookie knew that her mate was keeping it from their bonds. Pam seemed fine now too.
“I swear to God, Pam,” Sookie vowed, “I’m gonna kill that bastard for this!”
“I believe it,” Pam said as she felt the power radiate off of Sookie.
Sookie took a deep breath. “Listen everyone—I’m real happy to see y’all, and I’ll tell you everything I can soon, but right now, I have very little time.” She looked desperately at Niall. “Can you help me? Can you put me to sleep?”
The fairy nodded, and without another word, Sookie led him quickly upstairs while everyone else stayed quiet and let her go. Most of them had seen Sookie like this before, and knew that it was best to let her do what she needed to do. And everyone had sensed her power, just as Pam had.
As if nothing was unusual, Batanya simply nodded as Sookie rushed into her and Eric’s bedroom where she’d not physically been for almost two years by human standards. The smell of her mate encompassed her.
She couldn’t help but to smile when she saw Hunter lying down on her usual side of the bed. He looked peaceful, and her heart jumped. In his sleep, with his blond hair making unruly wisps over his forehead, he looked like he was Eric’s son. It was only when his eyes were open—and the brown stood out against his slightly tanned skin—that Hunter looked more like Hadley; he had the Stackhouse eyes, the eyes that Sookie now recognized had come from Grandpa Earl.
She quietly lay down on Eric’s side of the bed and reached over to sweep Hunter’s bangs to the side. She realized after she’d done it that she’d seen Eric perform that same action many times. She said a quick prayer that she’d be able to bring Eric back for both of them. She couldn’t help but to add the prayers that she would survive alongside Eric and that she would make a good mother-figure for Hunter when he was not with Hadley. She looked up at Niall, who was smiling at her.
“You already are,” her fairy great-grandfather said quietly.
For once, Sookie was not upset that he had listened to her thoughts. She lay back. “I’m ready,” she said to the fairy.
Niall nodded and gently sat next to Sookie, taking her hand. “Close your eyes, child,” he said in a soothing voice.
She obeyed and tried to calm herself. Soon Niall’s voice was speaking in her head and lulling her. Within a couple of minutes, she’d found sleep and called her husband to her dream.