Note added in October 2009:

In the four months since this story and this preface were written, one of the things that has come to this writer's attention was that some of her readers have been really unpleasant to Charlaine Harris. I would hope that her readers and her fans would frankly just cut the woman some slack. I've edited this original preface to try to remove any suggestion that somehow, Ms. Harris just doesn't give a damn about reader reactions, because it's clearly not true for any writer. Dead and Gone was not a very good book, but that's not a reason to be mean or intrusive in her life and work.

Older Preface

So you know there are a lot of frustrated Eric and Sookie fans out there when they start emailing fanfic authors about their disappointment after the most recent book. Quite a few people have asked me to continue writing E&S fanfiction, but it's been a real challenge, since I can't say I even like Sookie as a character after Dead and Gone, and to be perfectly frank, I don't even really think she deserves Eric based on how she behaves with him.

But before you all get all sad and even more frustrated, here's a much requested Eric and Sookie story that follows Dead and Gone. The challenges included:

- Making the reader think that Sookie was just slammed with the effects of the harried pace and the many terrible things that happened to her, and to people she knew, in DAG. She was just too numb to react properly with anyone about anything. Like you know, Crystal and Claudine dying horrible deaths while pregnant, or the real reason to go to Tray Dawson's funeral is for TRAY not for Amelia, since Tray died defending Sookie, after all.

- Make the reason that Eric didn't come to rescue Sookie from the fairies plausible in the context of Eric's world.

- Make sense of the hanging threads, like the FBI plot thread.

- Redeem Sookie as a character, by starting to make her not just grow up, but grow a heart where the Viking is concerned.

- Develop more general life experience for Sookie so that she can put her telepathic gift and her ability to use it in a work capacity in better, much less whiny perspective.

- And maybe make some love scenes that don't sound cold hearted.

- Oh, yeah, and my personal holy grail: remember when they actually used to laugh and have fun together? Hmmmmm. That was so far back.... maybe in Club Dead? Oh yeah, they used to like each other a bit. Hmmmm.

So I tried.

Some people out there may get testy about a certain aspect of this story. Hey, it's just a point of view, and really, given that Harris's original message appeared to be about tolerance and trying to make a better, broader world, cut me some slack, okay? It was pretty hard to find an angle to take Sookie that made me like writing her. She's so unpleasant in Book 9 that it's hard to write from her perspective. One aspect of the story has its origin in a very personal connection and was totally apropos for Memorial Day time. Plus, I can honestly say that in recent weeks, it's sadly not looking too far-fetched on the foreign front

This story is for Judy, Holly, Sinead, Margie, Aishe, Ange, and Fran, and the many other people who PM'd me about their intense disappointment about or frustration with Dead and Gone or telling me how much they enjoyed the other stories I've written and won't I please write more. You ladies are all so sweet. Thanks!

And this story is dedicated to the memory of Danny, who died in Kandahar in 2004. Your friends will never forget your message about how to create an enduring better and more peaceful world. Properly educating children is the key to a better world.

So Dear Reader, I hope you find something to enjoy here and that if you hate it, you're not too bruising on the comments. (I'm trembling in my flats considering some of the stuff you guys have said about Dead and Gone and stalled on publishing this because of that fact...)

And when you're done, if you liked the story, go check out the Central Asia Institute or read Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea. The best antidote to unhappiness with your favorite series' latest outing is to read other books. Three Cups of Tea is a good place to start. There's more to this world than vampires, ya know.

Note to Readers: Some brief passages in this story are in Swedish and you're meant to feel much as Sookie does in not understanding what's being said. No translations are provided in the text. If you want some sort of brief translation, you can go to: translate dot google dot com (Just put . for dot for that URL.) And remember internet translators aren't perfect. It should give you a feel for what's being said, though.