Disclaimer: I do not own or make money from anything up on FFn.

Lorena laughed, and the pretty sound chilled the air in the room. Not that the vampires mingling around us would have noticed the drop in temperature one little bit. My awareness of the room had zeroed in on the two vampires in front of me, the other party guests forgotten as I struggled with my temper. I was spitting mad and barely restraining myself. Somewhere in the back of my mind the voice of caution was telling me that picking a fight with a vampire was probably not the best plan. That voice got lost in the rage I felt towards this pathetic woman. Little did I know I was the pathetic one.

"You're nothing but a blood bag. You cannot win this," she said, leaning in closely, for effect. In a room full of vampires even a whispered conversation isn't private; their hearing is just that good.

I almost stepped back, but anger kept me rooted in place. I'd be damned if I let this vampire get an inch on me. I may be just a human, but I wasn't someone to intimidate.

"I've already won this. Bill chose me, and yet, you still won't give up. Don't you have any shame?" I said quietly.

"Sookie, stop," Bill said, grabbing my arm. I guess he was trying to ensure I wouldn't be harmed. Lorena was his maker, and he would be powerless against her if she were to decide she wanted me dead. I didn't know much about these relationships, but I did know that if she told him to kill me, he would have to do it. I was too mad to care. How dare she come in here and claim my man! She'd given him up and now he was mine. I was taught to fight for what's mine.

"I'd listen to him," Lorena said, amused. Her red dress, black hair, and porcelain skin made her look all the more like devil's incarnate in my eyes. "I assure you, it would be better for your health. It would be such a shame if an accident happened before Bill completed his mission."

I heard Bill hiss in outrage. I was just plain confused.

"Enough, Lorena. This isn't the place or time," Bill said. It made me nervous that his voice had changed to a more pleading tone.

"What are you talking about?" I asked, knowing I would probably not enjoy the answer.

Lorena laughed again. I will probably always remember that laugh. That was the laugh that broke my heart.

"Oh,William, this is precious," she said, giving him a side-glance. I could see her fangs slip out a little. Vampires, older ones, have better control over their fangs. The times they slip up are times when they are enjoying something; usually that something is blood or sex, or better yet, both. I looked between them, confused.

"Told me what?"

"Don't listen to her, Sookie, she's crazy," Bill said, trying to calm me down. He grabbed my arms, wanting to pull me away from her. I jerked my arm out of his grasp, surprised by the fact that he let me go. Maybe the boost of vampire blood I'd ingested gave me more strength than I realised?

"No. What is she talking about?" My voice was rising higher, and everything inside me trembled.

"Yes, Bill, what is she talking about?" Eric's voice cut through the heavy atmosphere. He must have been paying attention to our conversation.

Eric wasn't the only one, the hum of normal party talk had gone quiet around us, and I hadn't noticed. A dozen or so vampires and their human pets were trying to follow what was happening without looking obvious about it. Some didn't even try to hide the fact, and were openly staring at us, probably wondering what the little human girl could possibly do against a vampire, and if there'd be maybe some killing tonight.

"It's none of your business, Eric," Bill said. I could feel his anger; it came off him in waves.

"William, really, you have been a very naughty boy, trying to sneak a human out of the sheriff's area. Tut-tut." Lorena almost sung the last words.

I looked at Bill, confused. He was trying to sneak someone out? Who? Where?

"Bill?" I said his name, trying to inflict it with all the questions in my head.

He looked at me. A pained expression came over his face. "Sookie, I…" he whispered.

Lorena laughed again. "William, really. I'll tell her, since you seem so hesitant. Our William was sent to Bon Temps to make sure the little telepath is…secured. His mission was to form an attachment to you and then deliver you to his superior. I think he succeeded rather admirably, don't you? You seem rather attached to him."

Shock is a wonderful thing sometimes. It makes you numb. I looked through the deceptively calm haze at Bill and Lorena in front of me. I didn't need to ask him if it was true. Hearing it confirmed would be torture.

A torture Eric inflicted on me.

"Is this true, Compton?" Eric said from somewhere close behind me. At that moment, I couldn't bring myself to care about the fact that he was probably standing inappropriately close to me. It didn't seem very important when my first love was admitting to having tricked me into our relationship, slept with me in pretence, and most likely didn't give a rat's ass about me.

I was the little pathetic fool in this scenario.

I felt sick.

Bill looked at me again, silently pleading with me, and in that moment I realised that I did want to hear him say it. If I didn't, I would always wonder.

"Answer him, Bill." My lips barely moved, but I knew he heard me.

"Sookie, I was sent, but you don't understand. I fell in love with you. I will protect you," he said.

I think he said more, but I didn't hear past the first few words. The world began to spin as my vision blurred. I felt large hands steady me. Eric was holding me up so I wouldn't embarrass myself by falling at the feet of the man who had betrayed me.

"William, I thought we talked about this," Lorena said. Like that viper hadn't done enough, no, she wanted more of my blood. "I would give you some time to play with the human, and then we would get back together. I'm lonely now. I want you back." She pouted like a spoiled little child.

"Enough," Godric's voice cut through the drama. "I do not know who you are, nor do I care, but this is my home, and I will not have you disrespecting my guests. You will leave now. As for you, Mr Compton, you will go back to the hotel immediately."

"I will not leave without Sookie," Bill hissed. "She is mine!"

Those words broke through the haze of pain, and anger bubbled up. Anger is so much better than pain. Anger doesn't break your heart. It doesn't torture your soul. It burns so clear that nothing else matters. And I embraced it, knowing it was only a brief relief from the heartache, but a relief all the same.

I surged forward, breaking Eric's grip on me. I doubt I could have done that intentionally and without him actually letting me go. Stalking up to Bill, I slapped him with every ounce of strength I had. Having had vampire blood in the system, it was enough to make his head snap to the side. The crackling sound was extremely satisfying.

"I am not, and never will be, yours, Bill. You are nothing to me," I hissed out. "You lied to me. You tricked me. I never want to see you again."

I knew I was letting Lorena win, but she was welcome to this bastard. As far as I was concerned, they deserved each other.

I felt my eyes fill up and held myself still. He didn't deserve my tears, and I would not cry them in front of her. It didn't take them long to leave the room. I knew that Bill had other things he wanted to say, but thankfully, he had to listen to Godric. I had never been more grateful for the fact that vampires had such strict protocols in my life.

"Sookie, you are more than welcome to stay here, if you wish it," Godric said. He looked saddened by what had happened.

"I…" That was all I could say before the words died in my throat, and I heard a buzz in my head. I must have been too busy arguing with Bill and being jealous and mad at Lorena to notice it before. Maybe it was a lucky thing that I was emotional enough to have trouble keeping up my shields; otherwise I'd have never been the wiser, and maybe even dead.

Godric started to say something else, but I put my fingers on his lips to silence him. I was too busy trying to read the disturbance to realise that action was very much a breach in protocol. Godric didn't seem to mind, if anything, he was amused by my gesture.

The house was surrounded.

Three...

Two...

One...

"Hit the floor!" I yelled.

Every vampire obeyed, taking down the humans next to them.

I was dragged down so fast it took me a while to register that I had two vampires on top of me. Godric and Eric lay on either side, completely covering me. Normally I would find this situation irritating, but now I was terrified. Bullets flew past, hitting walls. I heard glass shattering all over the place. It felt like an eternity until the fire ceased; in reality it would have been minutes.

When silence reigned, I knew that it was over. I felt the minds moving away from the house. On the heels of that knowledge came more: Vampires were slowly rising up all around me. The air was heavy with blood-lust, and I knew in that instant that our attackers would not survive the night unless a miracle happened.

This should have sickened me, but it didn't. Before I had time to wonder at my own lack of morals, I heard Eric speak. His chest rumbled with the sound of his voice reverberating through to me.

"I knew I would be on top of you eventually," he said as I turned to face him. Sure enough, he had a very self-satisfied smirk on his face.

"Eric, I believe it is safe to get off me now," I ground out, trying to be angry, but not really succeeding. While unwelcome, Eric's advances were like a beacon of light in a very scary night. Some things will stay the same no matter what else might happen. If someone told me before tonight I would be happy to hear Eric trying to get into my pants, I would have laughed and laughed; right now, though, it was the most welcome comment someone could have made.

I started wiggling around trying to get out.

"Oh, do that again," he purred in my ear. Realising my movement was having the opposite effect to what I desired, I became still again.

"Eric, if you want any chance of actually getting into my pants, ever, you may want to make sure I can breathe. You're heavy. Get off!" I said, my voice strained from the lack of air in my lungs. Eric came up and off me just enough to let me breathe.

It was then that I realised that Godric wasn't moving. He wasn't even reacting to us talking. Panic seized me.

"Eric, is Godric all right?" I whispered, fearing he wasn't.

He was off me in an instant, and in the next, Godric was rolled off me. I heard Eric curse in another language.

"Is he okay?" I asked, scrambling up to sit next to Godric.

"He got hit by at least ten bullets." Eric's voice sounded pained and angry. "While the bullets are not lethal, he needs blood to heal."

He looked at me, his face was full of hope and pleading. I had never before seen Eric wearing such an open expression. The intensity of those emotions coming from Eric rocked me a little. I felt another reality bubble shattering around me. I would never be able to see Eric as an emotionless bastard again. That would definitely make it harder to keep him at arm's length.

I didn't hesitate. I pushed my wrist to his face. "Bite," I ordered him.

In the next instance I felt his fangs sink into my flesh; it hurt, and I winced from the pain. He let my wrist go straight away, and I quickly moved it to Godric's mouth. Blood trickled into his mouth, and I felt his fangs extend as he latched onto my wrist.

I had never given blood outside of bedroom activities, thus it was startling to realise that it actually hurt. I guess when you are in pain and need someone's blood to survive, finesse is the last thing on your priority list. I tried not to wince or tense up, knowing Godric would feel me if I did. Hearing the bullets clinking on the floor behind him was a relief. Although at the time I hadn't realised vampires could push out bullets, it really did make sense with their healing ability and all.

"Jason," I whispered in a panicked voice. "Eric, can you see if Jason is al right?"

We had been so preoccupied with Godric that I'd completely forgotten about my brother.

He looked around, getting up just high enough to look around. I frantically scanned the room from my low vantage point. I saw the shattered glass scattered on the floor, some of it covered in blood; there was blood everywhere. The pained groans of others finally reached my ears as my focused shifted outwards and away from the vampire still latched onto my wrist.

Eric blurred his way to the back of the room. He bent down to someone, but the couch was blocking my vision. The moment felt like eternity before he got up and looked my way again. His blank expression made me panic a little before he spoke.

"He will be fine. He seems to be unconscious. I assume that whoever helped him may have been slightly overenthusiastic in their efforts."

I felt relief flood through me on hearing that Jason was okay. A hit to the head was nothing to worry about for him. His skull was thicker than a brick. I should know, I had seen him trying to break it for years.

I looked down at Godric. He was licking my wrist now, making sure the wound closed. He looked much better than he did before, that was a fair assessment, as he seemed to be much more conscious now. His blue eyes focused on my face with such intensity it made me blush all the way down to my toes.

"Thank you," Godric said, finally breaking the charged silence between us. I had to clear my throat a little to find my voice.

"You're welcome, Godric. Are you better now?" I asked, nervous of the sexual energy that seemed to have charged our silent exchange earlier.

"Yes. I do apologise, but it would seem that my earlier offer of hospitality has been made somewhat hard to fulfil." He gave me an apologetic smile.

I couldn't help myself and smiled back. "In view of the circumstances, I can safely say that I understand."

It took the better part of an hour to organise everything. While all the vampires seemed to have survived, there were a number of human pets that had not. Godric gave quick orders to Isabel and Eric. I watched everything from the couch. Ambulances came. By this time, Jason had joined me. He seemed to have recovered form his earlier blackout and, just like I had predicted, only had a bump on his head to show for it. I saw some vampires returning to the house looking very rosy. I tried not to dwell on that fact too much.

While I did not condone their behaviour, I understood enough of it to know that their actions were simple instinct. The simple truth of it was that younger vampires couldn't control their natural instincts as well as the older vampires who had centuries of practise.

I watched as Isabel and Eric organised everyone while Godric spoke to the police. Too drained emotionally and physically after everything that had happened, I was putting all my remaining energy into keeping my shields in place. Jason wisely remained silent next to me. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for Godric and Eric to finish up, and we were on our way to the hotel.

It was when we were getting out of the car that I realised I had not once asked what had happened to Bill. Even thinking his name was painful. I felt my shields slip again and stumbled a little. Almost instantly, a hand snaked around my waist, and before I knew what was happening I was in Eric's arms as he carried me into the hotel.

"Eric, put me down. I am not an invalid," I hissed at him, not willing to make too much of a scene. It was bad enough that we were having our own, extremely public, "Gone with the Wind" moment.

"You are exhausted, Sookie. Let me take care of you this once," he said, his eyes oddly gentle, while the rest of his face remained expressionless.

I huffed in frustration. High-handed vampire. Resigning myself, I let him carry me to the elevator. While this was certainly embarrassing, I just didn't have enough energy left to fight. I felt a little smug when he had to put me down in the elevator; there just wasn't enough room for him to carry me in and have Godric and Jason ride up with us. He didn't let me go though, keeping an arm around my waist to help me keep my balance. In a futile effort, I tried pulling away, but he only tightened his hold on me.

"Eric," I groaned in frustration. He nuzzled my neck in answer, and I slapped his arm lightly.

I felt his silent chuckle vibrate through me. I was very grateful when the elevator doors finally opened.

We walked out, pausing while Godric handed Jason a key card. When Jason looked up at me, I was as confused as he was. I already had a room here, which I shared with Bill. After everything that had happened tonight, I didn't want to go back there. I wasn't sure if he was there, I wasn't even sure if he had survived, but I dreaded finding out.

"Jason, Sookie will be staying with us tonight," Godric said before either one of us managed to open our mouths. "I believe I promised her safe and undisturbed rest. With my home no longer available, it will be easier to ensure her privacy from certain visitors if she were in our suite. You are more than welcome to meet her during the day, but it would be wise if you could bring her back to our suite before the sun sets."

Jason looked at me for confirmation. I don't think he was at all comfortable with the idea of his sister sleeping in a room with not one but two vampires. I nodded that it was fine. It wasn't, but at this point I just wanted to crawl into any bed, and if this got me there faster, I didn't care. Then there was the fact that I knew my brother snored. Loudly.

We went our separate ways, and soon I was ushered into Eric's suite. It was directly across from the one I'd shared with Bill and Jessica.

I knew for a fact that there were only two beds available in our suite.

"Umm. While I really appreciate y'all helping me tonight, I really would like to get some sleep," I said, blushing a little at the thought of either one of them sharing my bed. "Alone," I stammered out.

"You can use the main bedroom," Eric said, indicating to the room on the left. "Godric and I will share the other."

He smirked as my blush deepened. I managed something along the lines of a "thank you" before fleeing.

I heard him laugh quietly as I fled to the sanctuary of my new room.

Even this tired I realised I would need to take a shower. I didn't have any clean clothes, but there was a complimentary wrap in the bathroom. I could just wear that until I woke up tomorrow and could go get my things from the other room. Bill would be dead during the day. A picture of Bill and Lorena naked and in bed sprang into my brain, and I shuddered, feeling instantly filthier. It wasn't true, but I couldn't get out of my clothes and under the water fast enough. I did remember to lock the door, not knowing if Eric would actually respect my privacy or not; this wasn't something that needed to be put to the test.

When the hot water hit my skin, I finally let go. I could let myself be weak here. The tears washed away by the spray of the shower, and it was easy to pretend I wasn't really crying because of him. The hole in my chest hurt and it was hard to breathe. I slumped into the tub, my whole body raked with sobs. I let the water wash it all away, hoping it could clean away the pain and despair I was feeling too. I washed my hair and scrubbed myself raw, wanting to get rid of every last trace of his scent from my skin. Only then did I feel marginally clean.

I climbed into the big bed and was out in seconds.

It took a while to orient myself when I woke up. Sure, I realised that this definitely wasn't my bed at home. Which then led me to the fact that I was in Dallas, in a big bed, alone. The tears were threatening to spill again, but I wouldn't let them, I was done crying. He didn't deserve any more of my tears; it was bad enough that my whole body ached from the pain of his betrayal.

It took me a little while longer to get out of bed, but I did, and in a hurry, once I looked at the bedside clock. It was almost four in the afternoon, and I only had a few hours before the vampires were awake. Once they were up there was no telling what was going to be happening. The aftermath from last night's attack needed to be dealt with, and Godric might need my telepathy; there always seemed to be a reason why vampires needed it.

Making a beeline for the bathroom, I washed my face, cringing slightly at how puffy and red my eyes were. I took care of the rest of my human needs with somewhat less haste now that I remembered where my clothes were and why I hadn't picked them up last night. But when I came out of the bathroom, my suitcase was there, sitting right next to the wardrobe. My sleepy brain must have missed it before.

Someone must have gone to get it last night. A quick check confirmed that everything was there, including all of my make-up and toiletries that I'd left in the bathroom. Eric or Godric must have gone to get it, or probably sent someone over there, even if the rooms were right across the hall from this one.

It didn't matter. What did matter was that I had my things and I wouldn't have to see him. With her.

My chest loosened a little at the realisation, and breathing became easier. I silently thanked them both anyway, and pulling out a lovely yellow sundress, I went to get dressed.

I waited while the hotel clerk connected me to Jason's room, with everything going on last night his room number didn't even register with me, which was why I called down to reception to find him.

"Hello?" I heard Jason voice answer.

"Hey, Jason. It's me, Sookie," I said.

"Hey, sleepyhead. I've been waiting for you to get up. I have no idea which room the vamps took you to last night. Can we go eat? I'm starving." He said all this in such a rush I had no doubt that my brother was ready to eat wood. I could almost hear his stomach growling at the other end of the hotel.

A smile crept up my face. Jason was the one constant in my life now. With all the crazies lately, it was nice to hear something that would never change. Jason Stackhouse was always starving. God bless him for being predictable. "Sure. I'll meet you next to the elevators in five."

We went downstairs to find some food. It was busier than the last time I was here, and after what had happened I let my guard slip a little, enough to check that there wasn't another suicidal idiot in the lobby. From the thoughts of the crowd, I realised these were the pets of the Dallas nest vampires that were staying here for the day. I put up my shields after that, not really interested in anyone's private life, especially since my own was a complete mess right now.

Jason proved to be a very tactful companion, not bringing up the sore subject once, and hardly annoyed me at all. Maybe this experience would help him grow up a little bit, maybe last night's fall had knocked some brains cells around and they'd started working. I was sure feeling optimistic about him, but I needed something encouraging, and Jason was readily available, and a much safer topic than the undead company I'd been keeping.

Tonight was going to be busy no matter what happened, so when we were done I made sure my bags were packed for the unlikely event that I'd get to go home. I wasn't holding out too much hope for it though. Bon Temps was very far away, and I missed the comforting familiarity of the bar, Gran's house, and even the people, yet dreading it at the same time. Going home meant living near to the person who betrayed me, seeing him in places we'd talked and did other things. Maybe the delay wasn't such a bad thing at all.

Maybe.

"Sookie," a gentle voice said close to my ear. Sleep had made my eyes heavy and it took me a few moments to open them. Godric's face filled my vision when I did. He was crouching next to the couch I'd fallen asleep on while watching some sort of soap on TV.

"Hey there," I whispered with a sleepy smile. It was becoming a habit, but I couldn't seem to help myself. Godric's smiles were just contagious.

"How was your day?" he asked me in that soothing voice of his.

"Uneventful." That earned me a chuckle, but his face quickly sobered. The change in expression made me make an effort to wake up a little more, and I sat up as he started talking again.

"We have a busy night. Nan Flannagan is here and requested to have a meeting with some of those who were there last night." He looked at me, and I could see the last bit of news would not thrill me in the slightest. "Bill will be present too."

I cringed at the sound of his name. I'd been doing my best to avoid saying his name all day, and so far had succeeded admirably. Godric saying it was like a bucket of cold water poured over me. The remnants of my previous smile were completely wiped away in its wake.

"Do I have to go?"

His face looked apologetic enough, but he nodded anyway. "You won't need to speak with him if you do not wish to do so, Sookie. Eric and I will be with you at all times. We will not leave your side," he tried to reassure me. It still didn't change my feelings about the situation, but I forced myself to be polite.

"Thank you, Godric. I sure appreciate the support. You have been very nice about all this," I said.

"No thanks are necessary. It is the least I can do," he told me firmly.

It was the most awkward meeting in my entire life. Not just because there seemed to be no real reason for my presence, at least not one I could see, but also because there was only one heart beating in the whole room. Mine. It would have bothered me more, but my attention was focused on trying to ignore the two vampires sitting across from me.

The room wasn't large, just another suite, although it was bigger in size than the ones I had seen so far. There wasn't anywhere to hide, to blend into the background. Eric didn't really give me the chance anyway, making sure I sat next to him on the couch, across the small coffee table from them.

Lorena smiled at me, a very cat-like, satisfied smile. Only, she looked nothing like my Tina, but more like a hungry leopard that was sizing me up as her next meal. I tried to suppress a shudder at the idea.

I couldn't bring myself to look straight at Bill.

I sat in-between Godric and Eric. Their close proximity made me feel safer. It was ironic, that being close to the two oldest vampires in the room actually made me feel safer, of course, there were only two others vampires in the room: Bill and Lorena. That wasn't why I knew though. The knowledge was just there, their presence was heavier, and the glow I could see around vampires seemed to be brighter around them, almost like the glow was an indication of the vampire's status. Maybe it was. Bill had never explained much to me, and this wasn't something I'd asked about. 'The one that shall not be named' hardly ever wanted to answer questions about anything useful. Now I knew why, of course.

Isabel slipped into the seat next to Godric when she came in. She nodded to Eric and me, surprising me with the acknowledgement. Vampires do not really pay much attention to humans unless they are hungry, or the human is useful in some way. The hope that maybe her greeting wasn't only for those reasons warmed my heart, just a little, and I knew I would probably always think well of her.

The silence in the room was oppressive, and being the only human present, I felt loud. Of course I was the only who had a heartbeat and breathed. This wasn't something I would normally get embarrassed over, but when you have five others in a room and the only noise is you, self-conscious doesn't begin to cover it.

Before I could contemplate the awkwardness of the situation any further, the door to the suite opened again and a female vampire walked in, flanked by two male vampires- obviously her guards. They were all in expensive suites, something that didn't surprise me anymore about vampires, they all had money; where that money came from was frankly none of my business. Something told me I wouldn't like the answer anyway. I recognised her at once. The show was about to start: Nan Flannagan was here.

She was exactly as you would have thought her to be if you'd seen her on television. Sometimes people don't look the same in real life, but she did.

"Do you have any fucking idea of the PR mess you've made? And who has to clean that shit up? Me. Not you. Me. I should drain every one of you fucking bastards," she said by way of an opening. I tried not to let the shock show on my face. She walked to the chair in front of the fireplace and sat. He posture was rigid with barely controlled anger. I was shocked and horrified at the way she talked; she sounded so much nicer on TV.

"Stan went to the church on his own. None of us knew anything about it," Eric said from beside me. I could feel the tension in his body. I doubt it was obvious to the others, with the exception of maybe Godric. He sounded bored and condescending.

Nan raised one eyebrow, looking at all of us with condescension.

"Oh really! Because everyone who has met Stan for the last three hundred years knew he had a kink for slaughtering humans, but you, his nest mates, his sheriff, had no clue?"

Isabel's body jerked forward in outrage at the accusation. "And how were we supposed to know that this time he meant it?"

"Not my problem. Yours." Nan looked pointedly at Godric. Who, I noticed, had remained oddly quiet throughout the whole exchange. I truly felt sorry for him in that moment. He was the only decent vampire I'd ever met and here he was being punished for someone else's crimes. Well, not just for that, but really, it wasn't like he'd planned for all of this to happen.

Eric vibrated with fury beside me. "Don't talk to him that way." He almost growled the words at Nan.

"Don't talk to me that way," she said, her voice silky with the threat as she dismissed Eric before turning her attention to his maker. "Let's get to the point. How did they manage to abduct you?"

"They would have taken one of us sooner or later. I offered myself," Godric replied. He was perfectly calm. Too calm. Resigned.

"Why?" Nan looked at him, incredulous.

"Why not?"

"They wanted you to meet the sun and you were willing," she said slowly, trying to wrap her head around this. I didn't think that much rattled her composure, but Godric's words must have; she looked thoroughly shocked. Eric's head whipped around to look at Godric so fast I barely saw it move. While his face remained blank, his eyes betrayed his shock and pain, making me wonder how was it that I could read him so well.

"What do you think?" Godric said in barely a whisper.

Shock swept through me. Godric wanted to die. My hand found Eric's. In that moment I wasn't sure if I was trying to give him comfort or seeking some myself. Probably both.

"I think you're out of your mind," Nan said with nonchalance. Whether she was oblivious to our reaction or just ignoring it was hard to tell. "And then I hear about a traitor—"

"Irrelevant. Only rumour," Godric stated firmly, interrupting her. "I take full responsibility."

"You bet you will," she said.

"You cold bitch," Eric said. I felt him ready to jump at her and squeezed his hand. I didn't want him getting into any trouble. He wasn't thinking clearly; this was his maker under fire, someone he cared about—that he actually cared about someone enough to act this way was eye opening.

"Listen. This is a national vampire disaster, and nobody at the top has any sympathy for you," she said, disgust all over her face. "Sheriff, you fucked up. You're fired."

"Of course. I agree," Godric said, nodding. "Isabel should take over. She had no part in my disgrace."

"Godric, fight back!" Isabel said, shocked to see her sheriff so submissive.

"What are you saying? She…she's a bureaucrat. You don't have to take shit from her," Eric said, his voice shaking with anger.

"Hey! You want to lose your area, Viking?"

"You don't have that kind of power."

Nan looked smug. "I'm on TV. Try me."

"I'm to blame," Isabel spoke up. "I should have contained Stan the second Godric went missing."

"Isabel," Godric said, looking at her. She looked away, submitting to his authority. Godric looked back at Nan. "I remove myself from all positions of authority."

"Works for me," Nan agreed.

I wanted to speak up. I knew this was unfair on Godric. He was taking responsibility for things that weren't his fault. He'd rescued me. He'd made sure none of the idiot fanatics got hurt when Stan had his moment at the church. He was the good guy here and he was getting crucified.

But I didn't speak up.

Forcing the words back down my throat was the hardest thing I had ever done. It went against everything I believed in. I did it though, because I knew in that moment that if I said something and Nan made another aggressive comment towards Godric, Eric would snap. I could feel small tremors coursing through his body next to mine. His large hand was holding onto my small one with enough force that it was painful. But I didn't mind. It was almost as though that was the only thing that was stopping him from launching across the room. So I stayed quiet, letting the conversation turn towards the bombing, slowly running circles with my thumb on Eric's skin.

"What a fucking fiasco. You're lucky I don't send you all to the magister," Nan finally said. "Godric, come to my suite and fill out the forms."

"Soon," Godric said. "First I have something to say."

He paused, taking his time. We all waited. He looked so beaten, it scared me.

"I'm sorry." He paused again. I couldn't believe a vampire as old as him was actually apologising. "I apologise for all the harm I've caused. For all our loved ones, human and vampire. I will make amends. I swear."

Something was wrong. I felt Eric stiffen again at my side at hearing these words come from his maker. But with all the others in the room, it was hardly the time to question him. I didn't think I had the right to ask.

"Take it easy. It's just a few signatures," Nan said as she made her exit with the two silent guards.

Eric was up the next instant and in front of Godric. "No."

"Look in my heart."

"You have to listen to me," Eric pleaded.

"There's nothing to say."

"There is."

Godric paused, searching Eric's face. "On the roof." He walked out, knowing Eric would follow.

Eric was still holding my hand and tugged me along. I started walking with him, reluctant, since I was sure this was going to be a private conversation that I had no business sticking my nose into. My only other choice was to stay behind with the other two vampires in the room. I still wasn't sure what they were doing here; they weren't directly involved in any of the events. At least not in the same way that Godric, Eric and Isabel were.

We were almost at the door when I heard Bill call out my name.

"Sookie. I have to speak to you."

I stiffened. "There is nothing you have to say that I want to listen to. Ever."

"Sookie, I love you!" he continued, disregarding me. "Let me explain."

Beside me, Eric growled at the delay. I looked up at his face, so torn between wanting to be upstairs and lashing out here and now.

My only reply was walking out of the room hand in hand with Eric.

~V~

"Two thousand years is enough," Godric said.

"I can't accept that. It's insanity!" Eric pleaded with him.

I stood by, watching the strong Viking humbled with grief and pain. Gone was the arrogant Sheriff I had come to know. Gone was the sexy Viking. I saw a part of Eric I had never known existed. It scared me and made me feel things for him I had never thought I would. I would never be able to view Eric as the devious, arrogant bastard he showed the world. He had love in him.

"Our existence is insanity. We don't belong here."

"But we are here!" Eric yelled back.

"It's not right. We're not right," Godric said, unfazed by his child's anger.

"You told me there is no right or wrong. It's survival…or death."

Godric flinched at those words. "I told a lie, as it turns out."

Eric would not accept this. "I will keep you alive by force."

"Even if you could, why would you be so cruel?" he asked with an affectionate look, not really needing an answer.

I watched helplessly as Eric crumbled, pleading with Godric to live in a language that has been dead for centuries. I cried salty tears along with Eric's bloody ones, hurting along with him as he said goodbye to the one person he had loved for longer than I could comprehend.

Godric wasn't right. It was wrong what he was doing. If he truly did believe in right or wrong, then this felt wrong. I knew that deep inside me. I knew that Godric needed to live. For Eric. For himself.

In that moment I realised I wanted him to live for me as well.

Having known him for such a brief moment in time, less than a blink in his long existence, I wondered if he would even listen.

I heard him order Eric to leave.

Hunched from the pain, he walked back towards me, not caring about the bloody trails of tears on his face. He stopped, suddenly remembering me, the unwelcome spectator to his pain.

"I'll stay with him, Eric. For as long as he needs me to," I whispered.

Eric searched my face. I wasn't sure what he saw there, but he nodded, kissing my forehead, and left.

"It won't take long. Not at my age," Godric said, not looking at me. He looked over the city, waiting for the sun, a serene expression on his face.

"It wasn't very smart, you know. The whole Fellowship thing," I said quietly.

"I know."

"Your death wouldn't have solved the problem. They would have only been encouraged further and we would have one less good person in this world."

He looked at me then, a sad smile crossing his face. "I am anything but good, Sookie. My nature is evil."

"No," I replied with fervour. "No. You are not evil. There isn't such a thing as evil, Godric. There are good and bad choices. It is the choice you make that shows what kind of person you are."

He looked at me, surprised, noticing, maybe for the first time, the tears streaming down my face. "You are crying."

"I cry because it pains me to see a good person do this. I have seen enough death, enough good people die. I grieve because the world will be that much poorer in ten minutes. I grieve because I have fought to save your life, risking my own, and you are throwing it away."

He walked over to me slowly. Raising one hand, he wiped my cheek with his fingers, bringing it to his lips after to taste my salty tears.

"You are a remarkable human, Sookie." And I heard awe in his voice.

"You are a remarkable vampire, Godric," I told him honestly.

We looked at each other for what felt like eternity. I knew sunrise was getting closer, but I couldn't let him go just yet.

"Godric. Don't go. There are things here worth living for."

His blue eyes bore into mine with such intensity my heart sped up. "What?"

Our faces were inches apart. He wasn't that much taller than me and I closed the distance between us, pressing my lips gently to his. He tasted wonderful, dry and spicy all at once. As I pulled away, I felt a pang in my chest from the loss of contact. "Love," I told him gently.

I felt him stiffen in front of me. The next instant everything was blurred and before I knew what was happening we were downstairs in the hallway. He put me down gently on the floor again. My head was dizzy from the sudden movement.

I felt his arms snake around my waist to steady my weak body.

"What…what happened?" I asked when I got my head straightened and my voice back.

He smiled at me, a smile that for once reached his eyes. The look on his face made me catch my breath. His whole face transformed, and in that instant, he looked beautiful to me.

"I am going to believe you, Sookie. I am going to live, fight…and love." He gave me a kiss of his own. It was the complete opposite of mine. It was one of those passionate, domineering kisses. The ones that make your toes curl and make you think of very naughty things. Boy, was I thinking about naughty things when Godric pulled away to let me breathe some much needed air. Of course, when I said the word on the rooftop I didn't necessarily mean my love. I meant love in general. The love he had for Eric and in turn, the love Eric had for him. That was worth living for. The love you had for life and other beings around you.

The idea of love between Godric and me was so new and foreign I wasn't sure what to think. I barely knew him.

I'd just lost my boyfriend, who was, incidentally, not in love with me. Found out the vampire I thought was ruthless and heartless actually had a softer side to him. Now I found myself in a hotel hallway, being kissed—very well, I might add—by his maker.

Godric chuckled at my reaction, and if I wasn't so glad to hear him happy, I probably could have mustered up some sort of scolding. As it was, I merely smiled. After all, I'd kissed him first.

"Come, ma petite, I think it's time to tell Eric the good news." With that, he basically dragged me all the way to Eric's room. His enthusiasm was contagious and I was grinning from ear to ear when we reached the door. It was open. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Eric still thought that Godric was dead. Realising Godric must be blocking the bond from his child, I shot him a filthy look over my shoulder. He merely shrugged. Males.

I walked into the living room slowly, Godric dogging my every step. He paused in the doorway to the bedroom as I continued inside. Eric was sitting on the bed, staring into nothing as tears of grief ran down his cheeks.

"Eric," I whispered as I got near, not sure if he noticed me when I came in.

"He's gone." His voice was hollow and filled with so much pain it shook me to my very core.

I cupped his face with my hands, forcing him to look into my face. Wiping away the bloody tears with my thumbs, I said, "No, honey. He's not. He's always going to be with you. I promise."

I gave him a light kiss on each cheek. Then a more lingering one on his lips. A million emotions passed on his face as he searched my eyes for the meaning behind my words.

Godric cleared his throat then. I was quite sure he opened the bond between them then, because before I knew it Eric was across the room with Godric in his arms. He was laughing and crying at the same time. It was wonderful. I felt so happy for them. I remembered Gran then, how much I would have wished for someone to have been there when she was killed. Maybe they would have saved her. Then I would have Gran in my life still. It was useless to think such thoughts.

I looked again at the two vampires in front of me. Eric was still holding Godric close. Almost as though he was afraid his maker would disappear if he let him go.

I gave them a tired smile. "While I am really very happy for everyone right now, can we please get some sleep?"

When identical calculating looks landed on me, I realised what I had said, or rather implied with that question.

"I didn't mean in the same bed," I said, exasperated by their apparently one-track minds. "Out…out." I made shooing gestures with my hands.

The both of them left chuckling. It occurred to me that I had just shooed two ancient vampires out of my bedroom. Two very sexy, very interested in me vampires. Shaking my head at the silly idea, I went to take care of my human needs and get ready for bed.

I drifted off to sleep with a prayer on my lips and a smile, thanking God for helping me save Godric, and for all of our future happiness and, hopefully, love.