Sookie ran so hard her lungs were burning, sweat dripped from her forehead and the sound of her feet hitting the pavement exploded in her ears. Still, she felt the sick certainty spreading in her stomach that it wouldn't be enough... there was no way a human could out run a whole pack of were wolves, right? God, she was so dead, and not in a calm, peaceful way either. Crap, crap, crap, she didn't want to get torn apart by a pack of dogs, she didn't want to feel like a stupid bimbo because some stupid vampire dumped her, she didn't want to die knowing Bill Compton was the last man she ever slept with and now he was sleeping with someone else! She could feel them behind her and, screaming with the effort she gave everything she had, convinced she was a heartbeat away from having her spine ripped out when suddenly she was flying.

"Waah! What the," she saw bright yellow eyes and snarling teeth below her for only a second and then it seemed like they just fell away.

"Two fucking days, you can't be alone for two fucking days." Eric was above her, holding her securely around the waist as he veered towards a nearby building and landed them on the roof between two massive air-con units. "Two fucking days, Sookie, my world is falling apart around me and I'm flying to Jackson fast enough to pop my eardrums because you can't leave things the fuck alone!" He was pacing and swearing, his arms gesticulating wildly. "Damn it." He growled and took her by the shoulders, for a moment she was afraid he'd pitch her off the roof, but he patted her down looking for bite marks. "Are you hurt?"

"No... no, I... I'm fine." her bottom lip trembled, it was all too much. It had been stupid to go to the werewolf bar, it was stupid to think a vampire needed her to swoop in and save him. It was stupid to be standing on a roof with Eric Northman yelling at her and making her feel bad about everything and God damn it why was it always him that swooped in and saved her at the last minute. Stupid head.

"Do not cry." Eric grated between clenched teeth.

His order of course meant less than nothing and Sookie sat where she was and buried her face in her hands, her shoulders heaving. Eric huffed in irritation for a moment, then cursed under his breath and sat next to her, his arms snaked around her shoulders and he tugged her tight against his chest.

"Bill... called. He said... he said he didn' wanna be found. He said he was back with that... that woman and... an' at least he didn't have to worry about hurtin' her..." She sobbed helplessly against him.

Eric swore softly and stroked her hair. "Sookie... Please stop crying." He lent forward and donked his forehead against her temple gently. "I don't know what to do when you cry... All I can think of is to kiss you, and that will just get me in more trouble."

Sookie managed a small laughed and shoved at his shoulder so pathetically that he didn't really believe she meant it, so he held on. "You're like a big walking boner," she grumbled, sniffing and wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand.

"More like a big flying boner who just saved your life." He made a face and played with a lock of her hair, "what is this?"

"Oh... I got a make-over... so's I could fit in at the bar..."

"You look awful. You will wash this out, wont you?"

"Hey! What business is it of yours what I do with my hair?" She huffed and tried to struggle out of his arms, for real this time and Eric let her go.

"Well, consider how much time I spend looking at you, where as I imagine you look at yourself fairly little."

She opened her mouth to yell at him, holding up one pointy finger of doom, then closed it again and looked at him carefully. "What's wrong with you?" She asked.

"What do you mean?" He asked, taken aback by the sudden change in conversation.

"You look like shit, and you were nice to me for a full minute before you turned into an asshole and you said before... somethin' about your world fallin' apart. What's goin' on?"

Eric sighed and flopped back, his head making a loud sound on the concrete roof. Sookie hurried to his side, afraid he'd cracked his skull, but he was just looking off into the night. "I've out smarted myself." He said softly, his eyes distant and sad. "Vampire politics are fraught at the best of times, and I thought I could keep the Queen under control." He sighed, "She's a child with a diminishing bank balance and an appetite for the truly expensive. Now, because of my own hubris, I get to chose between three things I'm not sure I can live without... but it looks like someone is going to die."

"Eric... talk to me, what does that mean? I can't see you needin' anyone to survive..."

"Well, in fairness one of the candidates is me." He smiled sarcastically, "Last fuck for a condemned man?"

"ERIC!" She kicked him, hard, in the side and he coughed but laughed at the same time. "Stop bein' an incredible tool and let me help you damn it!"

"As you wish... The Queen has been dealing in Vampire blood to make ends meet in a non-taxable way. I own the local vampire bar and there was no way to disobey her order so guess where this crap is coming from? Someone, probably Bill, has tipped the Magister who, as we speak, is holding Pam as collateral. I can't turn in the Queen, I'll be killed. If I confess myself, I'll be killed. If I run, Pam will die..."

"But you said there was a third option..." Sookie had a sinking feeling she wasn't going to like the implications of this conversation.

"Pam... under torture, indicated to the Magister that Compton was responsible... I have two days to bring him evidence of such." He closed his eyes and hit his head back against the ground. "I could do that... God knows I have more than enough experience for a frame-up and enough influence to make sure it sticks, the Queen would back me if nothing else..." He opened his eyes and looked at Sookie, who stood over him with wide dark eyes, "but in doing so, I would lose you. Even now, after everything he's done to you..."

"You've gone a thousand years without a pet telepath Eric, why are you so convinced you need one now?" She was backing away, step by step, but he was in front of her, holding her shoulders in a heartbeat.

"I don't," he looked down at her, confused and irritated with himself. "I can't stop thinking about you," he confessed quietly, almost ashamedly. "And now, right as Compton finally proves he's not worthy... I'm hoisted by my own petard. No matter what fucking happens you'll never,"

"Be yours?" She coughed, though the idea wasn't as repulsive as maybe she'd once thought it was, and the look of hurt on his face made her flinch.

"I was going to say 'chose me'." He let her go and dropped his arms. "If I wanted to own someone, that would be easy. I don't want you to belong to me Sookie," she tried to close herself off, willing him not to say something that'd make her melt, "I want to belong to you."

Fuck.