Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from the books or True Blood. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Smart Enough to get Depressed

Chapter 26

Eric was still angry as he completed his tasks. The were's body was hidden in the fresh grave of another person, and he found a motorcycle with a Mississippi license plate across from Sookie's long driveway in the brush. He moved it so it was now parked outside a ratty strip club off the interstate before the turn off for Bon Temps.

Even if Godric was in good health, these particular werewolves were always afraid of their master. There would have been no true information gleaned. They had tried for years. Though if they had been able to question him with Sookie present … if Godric was well … and as Godric said, if they had found the werewolf, instead of it coming to them. Why would that werewolf be in Bon Temps?

Eager for battle, Eric knew that victory was not due to luck. He needed to know his enemy. Eric also did not want it to be quick. He had waited over a thousand years for his revenge, and he wanted to savor it.

His mind occupied, Eric landed in front of Sookie's house, but then realized Godric was not here. He was still in the area, not far enough away to be in Shreveport. He glared at the cemetery. Godric was in that direction.

Eric stopped outside of Bill Compton's house. Godric was inside. He entered and called out.

The answer was within Eric's mind – I am here, my child. Upstairs.

Eric went up the stairs and honed in on Godric. He was in the room with Jessica's remains.

With a glance at the jellied blood viscera and clothing, Eric wondered aloud, "I don't suppose Compton killed himself to leave us with the mystery of why he had that file on Sookie?"

"Was he in the habit of wearing floral prints?"

"Female," Eric responded to agree with Godric's observation.

"You didn't find this earlier?"

"I was not here long when you summoned me. I was downstairs. As I said, the whole house smells."

Godric nodded. Someone had killed small animals, probably for their own amusement, and left their furry corpses scattered about. He used to kill whatever he liked for fun, yet did not nest amongst the rot. Godric was never one of the cemetery dwelling vampires either.

Here and now though, Godric was not revising his low opinion of William Compton. Sookie had argued that her previous vampire lover was misunderstood. What was there to like about this overbuilt heap? This dwelling was a harbor for pestilence, besides proving to be the last resting place for any loose-running household pets. Humans got quite upset if something happened to their dogs. Whoever did this was cruel and also looked to provoke whatever human found this. Although there were no close neighbors, the AVL strongly recommended a good neighbor policy for integrated vampires.

"Who could this be? Are any vampires from your area missing?"

"That is the same reasoning the Magister used regarding the V. For so much, a vampire was involved if none were missing."

"There is medical items here," Godric commented, bending down to look further. He reached under an armoire and pulled out a glass vial containing red liquid. Tilting it, Godric observed its viscosity and said, "This is more confusing."

"Why?"

"Drainers fill these bags," Godric pointed at the half liter plastic sack, "and go. They do not fill these selling vials till they are somewhere secure."

"How can you generalize about drainers? There's some that are organized and know what they are doing, but to others it's a crime of opportunity."

"No, Eric. This had to be planned or else there would be no needles, bags and glass bottles. A glass bottle of this size has to be worth hundreds or maybe a thousand dollars. Why is it carelessly left behind?"

"I cannot answer your questions. There are few drainers in my area that are successful enough not to be overwhelmed by their first victim. I agree that they jump a vampire with silver, get as much blood as they can carry and then flee. The repackaging into street-ready units for sale happens later and somewhere else."

"What vampires did Compton associate with?"

"Around here? His closest associates were burned up by a fire recently. His prodigy, Jessica, he'd dress in simple dresses, although she preferred something more age appropriate. She was turned a short while ago, and might have only been a couple years older than you before her human life was ended."

"She was under eighteen?"

"The Magister will waive that. He's the one that gave Compton the punishment of turning her."

"You've told me that before?"

Eric frowned. He wanted Compton to take the blame for Jessica, incur the Magister's wrath, get placed in a coffin wrapped with silver or worse, and Godric would have been perfect to unwittingly help get that accomplished so they could concentrate on more important matters – the werewolves and their vampire master. The problem was Godric's confusion and his reluctance to heal himself through any means necessary.

"Apologies, Eric. Whatever has occurred here is terrible, yet I do not want to assume that because Compton did not want to turn someone of his own free will that he would drain her till she met the true death. The bond a vampire and maker shares … you should try to find the both of them."

Perhaps Godric having a phone call with the Magister would still be perfect, Eric thought with the slight pang at having tricked his maker. He stepped forward and embraced his bare chested maker, saying, "I will let Pam know, and she will spread the word that they are sought. Now though, I want to get you back to Shreveport. We have things to discuss."

"Yes," Godric agreed, realizing that Eric would not rest until he knew everything about that werewolf.

"I have a license plate number. You had vampire detectives with the Dallas police?"

There was a moment of hesitation before Godric replied, "Yes, there are. Only for this, Eric. We cannot ask them to risk their positions for less."

"Of course," Eric said, handing Godric his cell phone.

"Call one of them now?"

"They do work nights, and we may have an answer before dawn. It's Mississippi MC 33583."

"We will not go to that address immediately, Eric. You are not to leave Louisiana without my permission."

Eric glared at Godric, then said, "I realize there is one vampire older than I in Mississippi. He's also older than you."

"It may not be him."

"Oh, Lorena Krasiki usually calls Mississippi home."

"Who?"

"The vampire that attacked Sookie in your nest."

Since Godric looked at him blankly, Eric added, "She was wearing a red gown, and you had Stan toss her out before the boy came in and blew himself up."

"Compton's maker?"

Relieved that Godric remembered some things, Eric nodded.

"Could this be her?" Godric asked, pointing at the floor.

"Bill would need to use silver. I do not see any here."

"Silver is valuable. No one would leave it lying about."

"So are vials of V," Eric retorted.

"Could he have ordered his child to remain still while he bled her?" Godric asked.

Eric visibly grimaced for Godric's benefit to show how much he disliked the idea. It was a brilliant thing to accuse Compton of.

"Can you make the call?" Eric prodded. "I need to call Pam."

"Oh," Godric said, before inputting the phone number from memory and having a brief discussion, including reciting the license number that Eric had given him.

Eric called Pam to let her know to get the word out that he wished to question both William Compton and his Jessica. He also sent Bill a text to 'Call me', knowing that he usually ignored them.

Godric said, "We should let Sookie know that she should avoid Bill Compton."

"She already knows that. Sookie saw the file, and he may have told that werewolf where she lives. Did you want to take her to Shreveport and hide her somewhere?"

"No, she did not want to come. She … I don't remember what she planned to do tomorrow, yet she has belief that she can protect herself with a gun."

"She did shoot you," Eric quipped. He was annoyed at the number of injuries Godric was suffering when he should be recovering.

"That was my fault. I thought that if she shot the werewolf we would not know anything about why he was there."

"And we still don't," Eric snapped.

"He was stronger than I expected and tried to drink my blood."

"Do you think the whole pack drinks vampire blood?"

"Possibly. If they are addicts, they would be reluctant to leave their master."

On their way back to Shreveport, Eric noted that Godric was still moving slower. He usually outraced Eric, even when he was on foot and Eric flew. Tonight his maker was flying by his side, but Eric had to pace himself to slow down to Godric's speed. His maker preferred to stay on the ground so he was not accidentally seen, yet Eric knew he could travel many miles in mere minutes, when he chose to do so.

Concerned, Eric reached out and took Godric's hand in his. Godric glanced at him, but said nothing. He did not mind holding hands with Eric.

They entered the house through Eric's back door, passed through the kitchen, and Eric asked, "You did feed tonight?"

"I thought I did. Don't you remember?"

"No, I meant with Sookie."

"Isn't that why I was there?"

"Yes, but the two of you talk."

"I think I had blood. I'm not hungry."

"I need you, Godric. Either you drink donor blood, or I call Sookie, wake her and ask her if you fed from her tonight."

"Won't she think that odd?"

"You're not well. She knows that," Eric said, taking out his phone.

"How much blood?"

"I got a few bags because I did not know if there would be nights you did not feel like moving."

"I don't feel like moving."

"I'll turn on the heat for the bed. You've gotten dirty again, beside losing your shirt. Why not take a hot bath, and I'll heat the blood for you?"

Godric hesitated, and Eric saw he was thinking through what he said, so urged, "Godric, the werewolves. Even if it is a vampire, and we can wait a year, you cannot allow them to be showing up for Sookie. She is taking advantage of your confusion. If you were well, you may have listened but you would not have left her to fend for herself."

"I wouldn't," Godric replied, knowing Eric spoke the truth. He would have kept her close for her protection. Why did he leave her?

"I will get someone over to her house for you."

"Who?"

"I won't tell you anything till your tucked into that warm bed, my child."

Godric's eyebrows raised.

"You are still a boy."

"I am not."

"Then why are you prolonging your illness, when you know what you need to do?"

"It's not as simple as that, Eric."

"Yes, it is. There are blood donors now. I have blood freely and willingly donated for you. You could have had a line of humans in Dallas willing to give you their blood."

"I cannot drink large amounts of blood to heal."

"Over time you can, and you have spent enough time moping about."

Godric sighed, then said, "Truly Eric, I am sorry that I did not realize that werewolf was branded. I only saw it fully in wolf form and then he was trying to lick my chest."

"Don't attempt to change the subject," Eric responded, grabbing Godric's bicep to steer him downstairs.

Godric stood still and tilted his head to view Eric's attempt to move him by force.

Eric was surprised that Godric did retain his physical strength and challenged, "And you say you no longer act like a child?"

"I do not mean to anger you further, Eric, yet we cannot continue with this."

"With what? And I'm not angry at you, it's whatever you're doing to stay infirmed. You say you are in actual pain so why not stop it?"

"Maybe I deserve it."

"Deserve what? You have not been yourself since the Revelation or maybe before. I know you do not want to discuss Nora …"

"No."

"She still has feelings for you, Godric, but must ignore them. That may be why Nan fired you, as a test for her."

"Why must my children choose such dangerous paths?"

"What dangerous path am I on, other than trying to get you to take a bath?"

"Russell Edgington."

Eric snarled.

"Yes, I am leaning towards your hunch, Eric. It might take long years of planning, if you insist on pursuing this."

"You promised me."

"I did. You have changed, why not him?"

"A vampire using werewolves, giving them his blood?"

Godric looked away from Eric and said, "There is too much we do not know."

*** Tru Blood *** Tru Blood ***

After contacting Alcide Herveaux, questioning him about Jackson werewolves and then giving him instructions on how he could repay his family's debt, Eric sent a text to Bobby to get Bill's house searched and cleaned, and an email to the Magister, copying Sophie-Anne, on the possible progress he had made in his investigation. He presented he worst case scenario of Bill had ordered his new vampire child to remain motionless while he drained her, and at some point he caused her to suffer the true death rather than keeping her alive as a blood bank. He was looking for Compton for questioning, and if Jessica was found alive, he would still need to explain the remains of a vampire in his home, the medical equipment to drain blood, and the full, street-ready vials of V.

Eric was pulling off his clothes to join Godric for some early rest when his phone twittered. A text from Sophie-Anne – Bil Comptn? Majr lamezorz! U suck.

What the hell was lamezorz? And really, at the speed a vampire could text, they could afford the blink of the eye to spell out whole words.

He chose not to respond. If Sophie-Anne wanted to handle things, she should not have involved him. It was better she did because she'd make a mess of things and leave everyone else in a lurch, namely him, her unwilling partner. There were not many vampires in his area that were new or disposable. Besides Bill Compton rubbed Eric the wrong way in every way.

Sliding under the covers to join Godric, Eric wondered why Pam had not introduced him to electric blankets earlier. This was very nice, like he had a woman on each side of him.

Godric's color had improved with the pint of blood. Eric's lips grazed his shoulder before covering him back up.

A leg shifted, and Eric tangled his longer ones in his maker's. They exchanged hurtful words earlier and Eric wanted to make up. He needed Godric.

"Did you hear?" Eric asked quietly.

"Hm? What?"

"I'm getting your Sookie's house fixed."

"No. How?"

"Her new bodyguard also builds."

"What is she having built?"

"Godric, he builds houses and can fix them."

"Sookie's house is filthy and broken."

"I told him that. He can hire someone else to clean."

"What if another werewolf is sent?"

"That is why this werewolf of mine is there to make himself useful."

"You work with a werewolf?"

"Not like that. He needs work. He needs money. And he knows what vampires are like. Besides, he owes me for his father's gambling debts."

"Why would a werewolf gamble with a vampire?"

"No, I paid his gambling debts. He would have lost their company."

"How much of the debt has he paid? How much will this work end up costing me?"

"You? Let me worry about what's owed or not."

"Sookie is my girlfriend?"

"She is yours, and I am yours."

"I have money."

"You are pretending to be sick for the next year or two."

"What? Hardly that long, Eric."

"We might need to keep you under the weather to fool others. We need to start thinking about what we are going to do."

"I won't stay gray that long."

"You're weak, confused and need my tender loving care," Eric punctuated that last part with a lascivious grab.

"Eric, I think Sookie expects me to be monogamous."

"Nothing comes between a vampire and his maker. I've told her that, and you have too. What more does she need to know? If it would make you feel better, I can be the man."

"Have I not told you that the passive role is not feminine or demeaning?"

"I would never demean you," Eric breathed, before adjusting Godric's legs and rolling atop him, matching his lips to his lover's to cease their discussion.

*** Tru Blood *** Tru Blood ***

Sookie had heard what Godric told her last night, so she put the gun in her car, even though she was not going to carry it around the cemetery for a funeral. Jason had told her that guns in the house were sometimes used by the people breaking in, and with it being Terry's gun whatever bastard shot her could get away scot-free.

The funeral was really small. Just Tara and her had shown up besides the minister. Tara had calmed down and was starting to forgive her, but she wasn't ready to come back home yet. Sookie knew that she needed time.

When she reached the end of her driveway, in front of her house, there was a shiny new pick-up truck parked directly in front of the stairs. The signage on its door said 'Herveaux Contracting', and Sookie did notice the detail beneath it with the phone number 'Jackson, MS'.

Since Sookie was not having a good day, she K-turned her car, ready to head back out to Hummingbird Road if she did not like the looks of things. She confirmed her car doors were locked, and waited.

It was not long before a tall, bearded stranger who made a plaid, flannel shirt look extraordinary walked out from behind the house carrying a clipboard.

Sookie knew he should not be here, and her house was isolated, so opened up everything to receive any clue and found … the guy was as difficult to read as Sam, but he was concentrating hard enough on exterior paint that Sookie could tell he was really looking at her house. But why? If this was something Bill decided to do to make up for his A-hole move at the restaurant, he could just hop back on the horse he rode in on.

"Hey," she called, after rolling down her window a couple inches.

"Hi," he replied, walking over. "I'm Alcide Herveaux."

He clipped the pen to his plastic covered clipboard, and tucked the board under his arm.

Sookie looked at him expectantly and asked, "What are you doing? This is my house."

"Eric Northman sent me. He said while you were out of town doing a job for him when some vandals came by. He'd pay to fix what happened and suggested I could do other repairs that you needed," Alcide purposely did not go into the instructions he received about protecting this woman against harm. Eric said she was willful and even though she was human, thought she was invincible because she knew some vampires and had their blood. That was just stupid in Alcide's book. Knowing vampires was dangerous.

"I can't afford any repairs right now, Mr. Herveaux."

"I did say Eric Northman was going to pay. He also said you have other work that keeps you busy, and said I can hire who I needed to do the work to keep them out of your way."

"What are you talking about?"

"Like a painter, or his company. I'm not much for painting homes. You can approve the color, if you want something new, other than plain white. Paint's improved since you've last gotten it done, so there's ten year warranties now. We could go with that, any color you want."

"Uh … listen, I mean I'm sure you'd do a good job, but Eric didn't mention any of this to me."

Sookie almost burst out laughing because even though she had trouble reading Alcide's mind, his thought about Eric – Since when does a vampire bother asking for permission? – was spot on. Eric did what Eric did. She knew that firsthand from getting Godric's and Eric's blood impulsively shoved in her mouth by Eric.

"I can leave my card, and you give me a call once you've verified with Eric that he's hired me."

Sookie bit her bottom lip. She believed Alcide was contacted by Eric, and she could also sense that he really wanted to do this job. The problem was that Sookie didn't want to become indebted to Eric. She had been paid by Eric already, and she couldn't take money for being Godric's girlfriend. She also needed what was left of that money to take care of other things, besides putting some of it in the bank for a rainy day. With a house this old, something was bound to break and need fixing. Right now, everything worked, so she'd rather not waste money prettying the place up.

She got out of the car, and Alcide extended his hand towards her. He had a firm, warm handshake, and looked good or possibly great, yet Sookie definitely had a boyfriend so was restricted to letting her eyes enjoy the sight.

"I'm gonna need time to think about it, Mr. Herveaux."

"Please, Alcide. Mr. Herveaux's my father."

"Alcide. I only got home yesterday, and I got a lot of cleaning ahead of me before I can see everything's that broke. I'm sorry you wasted your time, comin' all the way out here. Do you want coffee or something else to drink before you go?"

Sookie caught a suspicion in his head, Does she know what I am?, before he answered, "Coffee would be great. Thank you."

"Okay, come on in," she replied, trying to think of what Alcide could be. His thoughts were more pictures than words, like Sam's, but there was a red haze keeping her from seeing most of them clearly. What was that? Was that just another flavor of someone that could turn into an animal? Sookie did not have experience with more than Sam to form an opinion.

Besides the peeling paint and mud on the exterior of the house, Alcide saw a lot of dirt, as in brown earth, inside, along with sticks, rocks, leaves and handprints smeared on the walls, with brighter spots where hanging objects were removed. There was the shiny glitter of broken glass on the floor also. It was mostly against the molding, so either a lot of feet had come through here, or someone had done a half-assed job sweeping up.

While Sookie got the coffee brewing, Alcide noticed the kitchen had not been spared either.

"There's a lot of work here," he started. "There's cleaners that could remove the debris. Perhaps rent a dumpster if there's a limit on how much you can put out for pick-up."

"I'd rather do it myself," Sookie responded. She didn't want strangers going through her things.

Stubborn.

Sookie had heard worse things thought about her. What was Alcide's story though?

"Why you workin' for Eric?" she asked.

"He is a paying customer," Alcide neutrally replied.

Getting the impression that Alcide was not pro-vampire, she wondered why Eric would hire someone from Jackson to drive here to fix her house. Surely, there were others that would take Eric's money.

"And what are you to Eric? I can tell there's something about you, you know."

Alcide shrugged, and said, "I'm a hard worker, and I pay my debts, even when I owe them to a vampire."

"So you don't like vampires?"

"Not particularly. Should I be asking you why Eric Northman is willing to pick up the tab for your house? If he blew through here, he'd do a lot more than throw mud on the walls."

"My boyfriend's a vampire," Sookie answered, then immediately added, "not Eric."

Appearing thoughtful, but not betraying any of his thoughts clearly, Alcide said, "Perhaps it's better you don't accept Eric's help, if it's between vampires."

To Sookie, he seemed sincere, but his stray thought I'll never work this debt off was troubling. What did Alcide owe Eric for? Did Eric save his life or had he been stuck in Eric's dungeon, like Lafayette? She could tell Godric to order Eric to leave Alcide alone. He seemed like a good guy to her. Lafayette certainly didn't deserve what Eric did to him.

"Milk and sugar?" Sookie asked automatically while thinking. She had a lot to talk to Godric about tonight. Hopefully, he wouldn't be tired from coming here. Maybe she could call him later, and see if he'd prefer for her to meet him in Shreveport.

"Milk, please."

After Alcide took the mug from her, and settled comfortably in a chair, he asked, "Is there something about me you don't like?"

"Huh? No, I mean, I don't know you so how can I … I'll talk to Eric, if that's what you're worried about. He knows I'm particular, and if he doesn't like it, my boyfriend'll straighten him out."

"I thought you said your boyfriend's a vampire."

"He is."

"Then how is he going to straighten out Eric Northman? He's sheriff."

"Godric's … got a way with words." When Alcide looked doubtful, Sookie snidely added, "He can use small ones when speaking to Eric."

After turning his head, looking around slowly, Alcide asked, "Does he live here?"

"No, and it's daytime, so you wouldn't be able to speak to him now."

"That's not what I meant. He didn't have something to do with all this, did he?"

"No, he's … no, he wasn't here," Sookie said, stopping herself from talking. She didn't know Alcide, and hadn't checked him out with Eric yet. He could be trying to fool her by dropping Eric's name and acting like he knew him.

Alcide nodded, then opened the compartment inside his clipboard and removed a business card. He put it on the table, saying, "Thanks for the coffee. What I think you need is a cleaning crew to get the obvious trash and dirt out of the way, a dumpster along with the muscle so all you have to do is point, fresh paint inside and out, refinish your hardwood floors and those stairs in the foyer, fresh screens on your back porch, and laying new gravel in your drive."

Sookie's eyes widened. That would be a fortune. Alcide was picking out everything that Sookie knew needed to be done. Everything she meant to get done, and Gran had fretted about, except maybe refinishing the floors and painting the walls inside. They were okay, before Maryann's party landed here. It was possible the floors didn't need refinishing, once she got a chance to break out the Murphy's Oil Soap. Damn Eric for rushing her.

"I'll think about it."

"That's fine."

"I think Eric's knows me well enough to know that I'm the problem, not you, Alcide."

Sookie figured she might need Godric to explain the way she felt to Eric, because Eric did whatever Eric wanted to do. If he could, he'd send her off on a trip, and do whatever he wanted to her house while her back was turned.

If Eric was smart, he could have stoked that little spark for revenge inside her, and suggested she take Godric to Vermont with Bill's tickets. That wouldn't be right though. Godric wasn't well, and going to Vermont, the first state to legalize vampire marriages to humans was not a subtle move, even if Sookie explained that using the tickets helped her feel better about Bill being a giant A-hole. She didn't think Godric would be into the A-hole revenge plan, even if the tickets were already bought and paid for, and going to go to waste.

Bill could have swiped the tickets off the table on his way out and taken Lorena up there for a few more marvelous nights. Could vampires marry each other?

With reluctance, Alcide stood, and Sookie walked him out.

"I'll think about some of it, Alcide. You did hit the major points with just a look outside. I also want to talk to my boyfriend, Godric, and Eric to know why they didn't tell me anything 'bout you comin' over."

"Some ladies like to be surprised."

"Huh," Sookie scoffed. It was out of her mouth before she remembered the thrill she felt when she saw that ring in Bill's hand. If the surprise was from the right person, she would enjoy it immensely.

She could tell Alcide was thinking about someone too. Whoever she was, she was … oh my gosh, he was a werewolf because he was remembering her in her animal form. Hm, did werewolves … do it when they were …? It was really none of Sookie's business if they did or didn't, and she wasn't going to ask.

Actually, that led to Sookie blushing over Eric finding her underwear at his desk. Maybe Godric could have a hidey-hole built here so she wouldn't have to see Eric frequently. Vampire relationships could get complicated, if she was dating Godric and it got truly serious, would she be considered Eric's stepmother? That sounded so Jerry Springer.

Of course, that led to Sookie getting dreamy about Godric living with her, and them spending time together, and him getting well, and she barely paid attention to Alcide as he shook her hand good-bye, and was polite enough not to spin his wheels to kick up the last remaining bits of gravel.

The one question that Sookie could answer for herself was – why couldn't Godric live with her? He wasn't a vampire sheriff any more. Aw drat, her house was a pigsty. Was that why Eric sent Alcide here to fix it up? For Eric, living with Godric might be fun for a while, but Godric definitely had different ideas than Eric. First off, Eric wouldn't be able to torture anyone in that basement dungeon of his with Godric around. She could only begin to guess at what else Eric was up to that Godric wouldn't approve of.

Still, it warmed Sookie to think that Godric would like to spend time with her. She'd certainly like that.

She skipped up the front stairs and set her mind and body towards cleaning up as much as she could before work. Godric did not say what time he'd be over tonight, yet she hoped he'd be here as soon as she got home so she they didn't waste a single minute apart. Trying to plan ahead, she headed upstairs to make sure her bedroom looked halfway decent. Godric could see in the dark after all.