I do not own any characters from the series true Blood or the Sookie Stackhouse collection of books – everyone else are mine. Nor do I own the title of the story – it is from a song by The Vagrants. Also, I do not make any profit from this story – it is simply for my, and hopefully your, pleasure.

I started writing this story when Season 1 began in the UK last autumn – it has been a while since something grabbed my attention so quickly and so hard. I have not read the books, so please do not pick me up on any discrepancies. It picks up sometime after the end of season 2 and is complete, so it won't tail off halfway through the story – I'm here for the duration – depending on feedback – Ani :-)

And When It's Over

He paused as he heard raised voices, then went to go on his way into the forest once more when a woman's scream pierced the air, and Bill Compton turned around and looked at the house, frowning as he saw a man dragging a woman out to the yard by her hair.

"P-please!" the woman begged as she was shoved to the ground. "I-I will try and pay you back..."

"It's too darned late fer that!" the man snarled, reaching down and tearing off the woman's nightgown.

'Why doesn't she fight back?' Bill wondered as he continued to watch the scene from within the darkness of the woods.

"Ah have given yer husband plenty o'chances ter pay me back," the man continued as he started to unbuckle his belt. "Well now you can pay back the debt this way."

"Please don't," she whispered hoarsely, scrabbling along the ground in an effort to get away from what was about to happen to her. "I beg of you, don't do this."

"Leave her be," Bill called as he broke his cover and made his way towards the two people.

"Who the hell are you? Yer can fuck off; this ain't none of yourn business!"

"I am not about to stand by and let you attack that woman for no reason, now leave her be and you will not get hurt."

"Ah have plenty o'reasons that still ain't any o'yourn business," the man growled as he got off the prostrate woman and zipped his fly back up before stalking towards where Bill stood. "Now why don't you fuck off and you won't get hurt..."

"You leave me with no choice," Bill shrugged, half smiling to himself at the look of sheer terror on the man's face as his fangs protruded and he took a step towards him.

"N-no..." the man gasped, backing away then turning to run, crying out in panic as Bill appeared before him in an instant.

"There's always someone meaner and badder than you are," Bill taunted as he grabbed his shirt and hauled the man towards him, pausing for a brief moment before sinking his fangs into his neck and sucking hungrily at the free flowing blood, tightening his grip as his victim struggled briefly, then went limp.

"Oh, God..." the woman gasped as she watched the scene unfold just a few feet away from where she lay on the ground, reaching for her torn nightdress and trying to cover her nakedness as the vampire dropped the body of her tormentor to the ground, wiped a trickle of blood from his chin, then turned and looked at her. "N-no..." she gulped.

"I'm not going to hurt you, Ma'am," the vampire assured her as he approached the thin, unkempt woman. "Do you know why he was attacking you?"

"M-my h-husband owed him m-money."

"I see. Where is your husband? Why did he attack you and not go after him? You need to get yourself back inside," Bill urged, puzzled as to why she continued to lie mute on the ground.

"I-I... can't," she whispered.

"Why not? I promise I won't attack you, and I can't enter your home unless you invite me in."

"I-I... have ME; Myalgic Encephalopathy. Y'know? Yuppie flu?"

"I have heard of it, yes," the vampire nodded. "You don't have th'strength to get up, is that it?"

"Or walk," she added.

"May I pick you up and carry you to your house?"

"W-what?" she gasped, turning paler still, if that was possible.

"Well you can't stay out here until help arrives," he pointed out. "M'name's Bill Compton; I'm from Bon Temps."

"M-Mary Schneider..."

"May I help you to your house?"

"I don't know..."

"Ma'am, if I wanted to attack you, I'd do so right now, wouldn't I?"

"I... guess so," Mary frowned. "B-but there are other ways of attacking me..."

"I know my word probably don't mean much to you as a vampire, but I will not attack you, I swear."

"A-all right," she croaked, flinching as Bill reached for her, and lifted her as if she weighed nothing, her breath coming in short gasps as he walked towards the front door.

"I, ah... need your permission to enter," he pointed out as he stopped at the door and Mary looked at him in bewilderment.

"Oh. Yes... You... have my permission to enter," she whispered, closing her eyes as he carried her over the threshold. "No! Not upstairs!" Mary cried as Bill went to climb the stairs. "I can barely get up there, so I live down here."

"Where is your husband?" Bill enquired as he carried her into the small living room and placed her gently on the sofa, handing over a nearby blanket so that she could cover herself and get warm, and taking a brief glance around the room, noting how dirty and untidy the room was.

"He left two months ago; said he couldn't cope with looking after me any more, but I heard he was having an affair from a woman from Cahors, so..." she broke off, shaking her head sadly. "P-please, won't you sit down?"

"Thank you, Mary," Bill smiled as he took his place in a chair opposite the sofa. "You don't sound from around these parts?"

"No, I'm from England originally; I met Mark when we were based together; we married seven years ago and we moved here when he left the army and got a job as a forest ranger."

"How long have you suffered from ME?"

"A couple of y-years now," she replied, huddling the blanket closer to her body as the shock of the evening's events started to kick and she began shaking.

"I will get you a warm drink," Bill offered, getting to his feet and going to the kitchen, frowning to himself as he spotted a small bed against the one wall, the covers crumpled and dirty, and a chamber pot next to it, and he wrinkled his nose at the smell. He opened various cupboards, his shock turning to anger at how little foodstuffs she had in. "How have you been coping since your husband left?" he called.

"Barely," came the weak reply. "He left me some money, but it's running low; I have food delivered, but I'm an outsider and they don't always deliver, or if they do, they run out of stuff and barely bring me enough to live on."

"You drink this," Bill instructed when he returned with a mug of warm milk. "I shall go to the local store and bring you some things back."

"Why?" Mary demanded. "Why are you doing this? You're a vampire, for Chrissakes!"

"Doesn't mean I don't have feelings," he shrugged. "I will not be long."

'Damn!' Bill swore inwardly when he returned an hour or so later to find Mary collapsed on the floor, her face burning with fever. "Mary! Mary..." he called, gently shaking her body, but only getting a low groan in response. He lifted her up and carried her to the bed in the kitchen, laying her down carefully and covering her with several blankets, before fetching the groceries and putting them away in the cupboards while watching the delirious woman carefully. 'Leave her. She is none of your concern,' a voice inside him urged, but Bill knew that he could not leave the stricken woman to her fate, knowing it was unlikely that anyone would check up on her for some time, if at all. He went back out to the yard to where the body of Charlie Pritchard lay and picked it up, running deep into the forest before depositing it on the ground, knowing the various wildlife within the dense woods would dispose of the flesh and tissue, if not the bones, but by the time the bones were discovered, he, and hopefully Mary, would be long gone from the area.

By the time Bill arrived back at the house, it was approaching 4am, and he knew he would have to go back to the cover of the outbuilding on Mary's property, in which he had been sheltering during the daylight hours, for several days. "Mary?" he called, shaking her gently. "Mary, I have to go now. May I stop in your outhouse again? Mary?" He sighed when she did not respond; although he did not need her permission to stop in the shed, Bill feared that if she recovered enough to go exploring, she might open the door to the building and put him in danger of exposure to sunlight. Bill frowned as he looked at the woman on the bed, her face had gone deathly pale and her breathing was becoming shallow. 'She's not going to last until sundown,' he worried and he half wondered whether to take her with him to the outhouse, but instead he shook his head and bit his wrist then tilted her chin; squeezing his fist so that droplets of his blood trickled into her mouth.

"Uh? Ugh!" Mary spluttered after a minute or so, her eyes fluttering open then going wide in panic. "No! No, stop!" she gasped, pushing Bill's hand away. "What are you doing?"

"I was not sure you'd last until the evening," he explained. "I need to go now; may I stay in your outbuilding?"

"My...? Is that where you've been?"

"For a few night, yes, Ma'am. I'm sorry."

"I... don't know," she frowned, wishing that she could have a drink of water to get rid of the metallic taste of the blood in her mouth.

"Please, Mary. I need to find shelter, and I do not have a lot of time left. I promise you, I will find somewhere else to stay, just let me stay there for today."

"I-I guess I owe you that much," Mary frowned. "What about Pritchard?" she gasped, suddenly remembering her attacker.

"I have disposed of his body; it won't be traced back here, I promise."

"All right," she nodded, gasping in shock as the vampire disappeared in a rush of wind. "Oh, God..." she shivered once she was alone, and she drew the bedclothes up around her chin for comfort. But in spite of her shock and horror of the past few hours, something in the back of Mary's mind realised that she felt better than she had done for months.