Sookie drew a ragged breath in as she watched the minister at the podium in the grass

Sookie drew a ragged breath in as she watched the minister at the podium in the grass. The day was too sunny and bright. The weather was perfect and the day truly one of the best Bon Temp had seen in quite some time. It was a day that her grandmother would have loved. It was a day that her grandmother should have been there, alive and well, not being lowered into a dark hole.

She closed her eyes and took in the silence as the minister asked for a moment to reflect. The whole town was thinking not necessarily about her grandmother but about their own safety and concerns as her tragedy related to themselves. Her mind was a brick wall, pushing the swirling thoughts far from her own. She was so mixed up in her own world, she couldn't begin to open up to anyone else's thoughts. She wished she could have been grateful for the silence but her sadness was a heavier burden than her 'gift' had ever been.

The minister said his last bit and slow music began to play as the mass of people that was Bon Temp stood and began to walk to the back of the graveyard and towards her grandmother's house. She stood after the masses and walked in a daze with Tara by her side, holding her arm and saying nothing like a good best friend does. She went through the motions and didn't realize what was building until it was too late. Jason came at her with no warning; she hadn't been paying attention or listening to anyone's thoughts.

He put his hands around her throat in a way she hadn't though possible for him. Her mind suddenly became very alert and she could see his anger at the will situation, her getting the house to herself, coupled with an external force driving him to primitive and animalistic means to satisfy his anger.

She coughed and sputtered and sounded the name of the only person she knew could help her against the strength that Jason seemed to possess right then. The same name that was to protect her and keep her sane. The same name that was also underground at that very moment.

"Bill…"

"How can you say that vampire's name? Damn it Sookie, don't you see what their kind does!" Jason released her throat as Sam and Lafayette pulled him away from her. Sam was silent but Lafayette pushed Jason down into a chair and gave him a cold bottle of water. He gave him a look to shut up or else while Tara came to Sookie's side.

"I don't even know you anymore Stackhouse!" Tara shrieked at him as she led Sookie out into the dimming day's air.

Sookie just shook her head and sat on a lawn chair in the front yard. Tara sat in the one beside her. Around them guests were beginning to walk home or step into their cars to head on their ways. The weight of what they were leaving was not something easily forgotten and few were able to say many words to the two girls as they took their leave.

Tara was shook up nearly as much as Sookie. Her grandmother had been real family to her as well. Now the woman who had saved them both from so much and had made them strong enough to handle whatever else would come their way, was gone. To top it all off, the one other person who really knew how they felt was acting out to the point he was unrecognizable.

"What is going on with him lately?" Sookie wondered aloud in an absent and distraught voice. "To start something tonight? I don't even know what his point is anymore in what he says to me."

"I don't think it matters. I don't think he even knows right now. Sookie, he's been doin' V."

Sookie turned her head and stared straight into Tara's eyes. Tara allowed her in, not speaking random blahs to keep her out this night. Images washed over Sookie of Tara caring for a pained Jason and of his exclamations of passion and then the betrayal of those same words not moments later.

Sookie reached over to her best friend and the two hugged as they stood. "I can't believe any of this anymore Tara. This isn't right and it's not even about clearing Jason anymore. I have never felt this pain and it stops with us." Tara nodded in complete understanding.

"But tonight Sookie, you grieve, we grieve." Tara lifted a hand against Sookie's tearless face as her own began to be streaked with salty wetness. She tilted her head and closed her eyes in a tired and pained expression. "Sam is going to take me home. Lafayette is going to take Jason with him and start him on 24 hour no V watch. But you're not alone tonight." Tara gestured to behind Sookie and the other girl turned her expressionless face to the night bordering the trees. A pale figure stood only bout ten feet away from her with an expression of distress and a gentle caring at the same time. "It's okay Sookie, I know it's what you need. I'm a phone call away if you need anything tonight and I'll be back by tomorrow. You know how much I need you right now too, so I ain't really goin' no where girl."

She turned her face to the porch and Sam began to descend towards her. She nodded and they began walking away down the dirt driveway. Sookie somehow understood what the two were not able to see quite yet. There was something there between the two even in the midst of this sadness and fear.

Her grandmother's house was quiet now, everyone else was gone except for her and the vampire that still stood those far ten feet away. She took a deep breath and without turning at all towards him, she reached her hand out behind her for him and suddenly she wasn't alone. A cold large hand encircled hers and silent arms reached around her and held her in to a strong chest. She said nothing, did nothing, looked at nothing. He lifted her in his arms, walked to the porch swing and sat her down on his lap.

The two sat there silently for a long time, Bill holding her and stroking her hair away from her face. Sookie just stared off at the lawn and the world that would never be the same again. Whatever was going on in their little town had killed part of her and this was the only man who could keep her sane right now.

Slowly, she lifted her head and sat up just a little straighter. He took his cues from her and lifted his hands from her hair to place them on the small of her back. Her eyes were flooded with unshed tears.

"I'm sorry Bill…I've been so rude to you an all you been is kind to me."

Bill placed a finger to her lips and shook his head as he stared deep into her eyes. His voice was ragged when he finally spoke. "Sookie…you wanted to see me and I thought you should see just what is meant to really see all of me. I showed you what I was capable of even though it's not who I am. I was unfair to you and I hope you'll forgive me. But this is unimportant right now. Come with me Sookie tonight. You can't stay here." She nodded and allowed him to lead her away across the yard until they stood in front of his house.

He led her up the steps and through his doorway. Everything was a dusty blur to her still and she slowly realized that Bill was leading her to a new, cushy looking day bed in his enclosed back porch. He gently seated her and then placed himself beside her. She suddenly found her bones too tired to move and felt her body melt into the soft folds of the clean bedding. Bill lay on his back with an arm spread out for her. She lay her head down on his chest and he wrapped his arms around her.

Bill sucked in a deep breath in a very human action as he did not actually need the oxygen. He recalled the night before when he had felt similar pangs in remembering his own family and learning of their passing years later. He had been in a rage when he had felt the tugging on his soul. Her sudden and desperate pain in a single silent and unbearable breath had brought him out of his own despair and to her side in an instant, just in time to catch her.

He had caught the smell of the corpse in the second he took to reach his Sookie. He had felt the pull to the blood and freshness of death in the room. His body reacted but not to the need for blood. Instead, the pull to Sookie was stronger still, the girl who had drank his own blood drew him more powerfully than the desire to feed.

He had caught her as her legs gave way and her form began to fall to the bloody floor. Whisking her away, he seated her on the couch as he reached for the phone to call the police. Never leaving her side, he had dealt with the police and even a distraught Sam and Jason who had both come barreling into the house without regard. Even still, he and Sookie had barely spoken to one another through the whole last night until he had had to leave as dawn began to arrive. He had left her in Tara's hands and she had stared at him as he had disappeared into the changing scenery.

Now too, they barely spoke but words seemed trivial for what was now between them. There was an understanding unspoken that held them bonded together as the only ones who could help each other.

Sookie squeezed closer to Bill's solid form. "I can't do this alone Bill. I know I've got Tara and Lafayette and in weird ways Sam and Jason despite his problems right now. But none of them are like us. None of them belong to me like you do." Bill's arms tightened around her but he stayed silent. "I know I was supposed to die tonight and this probably isn't the end but my grandmother…she was my family and I'll never get to even talk to her again or listen to her strong voice in the kitchen. Whoever is doing this…for whatever reason…"

As Sookie trailed off, Bill understood her need. "…we will end it Sookie." His voice was low and calculated but with a passion and need that made her heart stop even in her despair. Her grandmother had known; had seen this combined strength they could carry. Now she would stand with this man, knowing that regardless of their differences, they were the same and that he would never leave her side so long as night kept them together.