A/N: Here we are, last chapter… I finished up AAD, which was very sad, and now this one, which is very sad too… So I'm a sad girl all around. Hopefully y'all will continue reading my work and migrate over to "Nothing's," my new baby. I already love it very much, and I hope y'all do too.

The opinions expressed by a certain Viking vampire might or might not be shared by your humble author. I'm pushing the envelope now in keeping with the story. Please keep in mind that he's one pissed off vamp because he almost lost the love of his very long life and his mind is raging.


For since they are at war with the human race, they fight in an orderly manner; for so they think to do greater harm to men, and so they do.
Malleus Maleficarum

Sookie, Pam and I were crouched in the bushes to the north of the camp. Bill, Indira and Godric were hidden to the south. We needed to break up the clandestine meeting of humans that was currently taking place in the woods that bordered Louisiana and Texas, near Caddo Lake. They were part of the Fellowship of the Sun, and lately they had taken to going underground. Just like the vampire government had completely eradicated the Were camps and their abduction of humans, so we were slowly doing away with the Fellowship.

It wasn't enough to glamour these people into forgetting their hate. Their families would remember and remind them. The only way to do it was through fear. Several Fellowship meetings throughout the country had met with tragic ends. This meeting was within my jurisdiction to dispose of as I saw fit. The feeling of revenge was still alive and well within me, even after six months of having Sookie in my life.

"Does anyone here deserve mercy?" I asked Sookie in a soft whisper. Any human would have confused it with the sound of the leaves rustling in the trees.

Sookie had been scanning the brains of every human within the camp. She quickly described the humans that needed to be spared, the ones that were truly innocent and whose memories we could erase. "She just came along because of her boyfriend, but she's feeling sick about what they're saying," Sookie whispered, pointing at a small brunette.

What the leader of this particular group was saying was to wait until day and enter Barksdale by means of a delivery. He'd come up with a way to sneak in a bomb that our dogs wouldn't detect. He didn't know that our dogs were just for show. They were handled by werewolves and shifters, and they were the ones who searched all the delivery trucks by scent and sight. They had averted several attempts already.

Not everybody was happy with our takeover.

This was Sookie's first raid of any kind. She said she could handle it now that she had trained with Pam in the art of wielding swords. She had chosen a beautiful basket-hilted broadsword, as she didn't like to switch hands half-way through a battle. It was only slightly shorter than my long sword and a pound or so lighter. Pam always preferred closer combat, and had brought her reproduction of a Viking sword. I had disapproved, preferring her to keep her distance. Nothing made her happier than to finish off the enemy at close quarters.

"They will have stakes," I had said to her.

"And silver," she added with a smirk. She was looking forward to the battle.

Sookie was nervous but determined. She had suffered at the hands of these fanatics. One of them had taken her mortal life, and though he no longer lived, she saw everyone in the same light. Hypocrites, all of them. They were willing to torture and kill others, never thinking that the same treatment would meet them, never imagining that they deserved the same.

"This is a modern day Crusade," the Fellowship man said in the middle of his circle of brain-washed sheep. "This is our Holy Land and we must take it back."

Sookie frowned and whispered, "And give it back to the native people, right?" Pam found that funny and stifled a laugh.

The Fellowship wanted the land back for themselves, even though it wasn't theirs to take or give. I'd seen the same conflict over and over. There was nothing to be done to resolve the everlasting issue other than be on the side of the winning party. Humans would always fight for the right to be wherever they pleased. Period. All the conflicts, all the wars, everything, everything boiled down to one thing: possession of the land. The Holy Land, the richest land, the most beautiful land, the highest land, the lowest land, the farthest land. Land.

The vampire race was trying to save the land and its inhabitants, but obviously that was a strange and unheard of concept. Only those who knew how much they needed the land understood: the shifters, the weres, the upstanding humans that didn't believe in the Fellowship's drivel, who lived off the land. Those groups saw us as a blessing, with our immediate integration of cleaner energies and solid plans to continue, and the sudden need for improved mass transportation inside the cities, where a lot of humans had migrated after the Were threat. That's not to mention the sudden need for the government's show of goodwill, which was accomplished by expanding basic social services such as healthcare and public works.

We waited and listened to the humans in that camp talk in endless circles about how this land belonged to them. The land's resources were theirs to protect. The land they were standing on had been won fair and square, which was complete nonsense. It was won with a lot of treachery and good old fashioned luck. They simply wanted to keep it, fearful of change, and fearful of whatever or whoever was different. Again, the same theme and topic that had instigated wars: the Moors had invaded the south of Spain; the Jews were trespassing in Europe; the Muslims had taken hold of the Holy Land; the never-ending cycle of taking land by force from those who "did not deserve it." I called bullshit, even though my own people had been guilty of the same behavior, myself especially.

The longer we waited the humans out, the more tired the humans would be, and our mission would have the better chance of being successful. So we continued listening to their words of hate and frustration, trying our best to keep our cools, since it would all end soon enough. I'd been teaching Sookie the art of patience, and just like she had been with swords, she was a quick study.

At close to one in the morning the leader finally tired of talking when he found many faces yawning back at him. It would be difficult to attack once they were inside their tents, so we acted swiftly. The humans did me the favor of extinguishing the fire themselves, and we took that as our cue to spread out and attack. There were about twenty armed humans, plus five that Sookie had said we needed to save, and six of us. This would take speed and skill more than strength.

We moved forward as one. Sookie moved fast collecting innocents and getting them away from the fight. The moment we were spotted, every human that wanted to fight produced either a stake or a chain made of silver. Some began to run away. They died first. Sookie joined the fight beside me. I had to trust that she knew what she was doing so that I could concentrate on my own job.

The scent of blood began to permeate the air and that was enough to unleash our baser instincts. I caught the silver chain that was about to land on my shoulder and pulled, swinging my sword and slicing through the body of its owner. The human's cries and screams filled the night air, echoing through the remote woods. I felt Sookie's determination waver and become solid once again. It could not have been easy to listen to their deaths inside her mind.

I was rushed by two people at once, one wrapping a chain around my shoulders, another coming at me with a stake. I smiled at the man. He was the leader of his group, and he was holding the stake high above his head. It amazed me that they thought it would be easy to drive a large stake through our clothing, through our skin and through our ribcage with enough force to reach our heart. The chain around me slacked and fell to the ground. I'd heard Sookie behind me. She'd taken care of one of my attackers. I would enjoy taking care of the other.

Pam's screams of joyous rage resonated through the small clearing. She had dispatched about three humans and was about to dispatch a fourth when Godric did it for her. She was very mad at him, but dared not voice her disappointment. I was smiling when Sookie's panic overrode all my other emotions. I turned immediately, searching for her, only to find one of the humans we were supposed to keep safe coming at me with a small sharp branch, using it as a stake. The man was large, and used all his strength to drive the stake into me.

"NO!" I heard Sookie bellow. I felt the stake pierce my thick wool jacket, my sweater, my skin, finding an opening between my ribs to lodge itself inside my chest. At the same time I saw the man being sliced clean across his abdomen. His death was immediate. Mine lingered.

Sookie was beside me and caught me as I fell to the ground. "You're okay, you're okay, honey look at me," she said, patting my face and moving it so I would obey her. "It's not in your heart, do you hear me? I'm gonna pull it out."

The pain was excruciating as she pulled out the branch out of my chest. I'd never been staked in any way, anywhere on my body. I didn't know it could produce so much fear and so much pain. Sookie moved me to hug me to her body. My mind was working but my body was not responding to her entreaties. She wanted me to drink from her. Finally she broke the skin on her wrist and put it on my lips.

"Drink now," she commanded. Her fear made me reclaim some of my failing motor skills, and I began to suck on her wrist, letting the sweet blood fill me and heal me. I had enough sense to stop sucking before I harmed her. She was still so very young and would need a lot to replenish what I took.

"I'm so sorry. I don't know why that man reacted that way," she was saying to either me or Pam, I wasn't sure. I closed my eyes to work through my pain alone, concentrating on closing my bonds with Sookie and Pam. "He didn't want anything to do with the Fellowship. I read it clearly."

"Perhaps he became scared and thought we would kill him too, so he decided to attack," Godric said. "I guess you killed him anyway."

"I didn't want to," Sookie said, her voice shaking. Besides being young she was still very human, still wrapped in emotions like guilt and frustration. As a vampire she would learn to let those emotions go after their initial emergence.

Pam and Sookie took me home so I could convalesce in comfort. Now I knew that a stake through any part of my body took longer to heal than any other wound, was extremely painful, and elicited a type of fear that was hard to comprehend. Sookie sat with me in the backseat of my new truck, holding me against her and caressing my hair.

I must have passed out or fallen asleep earlier than usual, because I woke up the next night at my usual time. Sookie was still asleep beside me. I looked down at myself. I was naked and clean. She had taken the time to make sure I would not wake up caked in blood and dirt. I ran my fingers over my chest. It was back to smooth.

I lay staring at the ceiling trying to figure out many things at once. What we were doing was unfair and against the old laws of the United States of America. The Constitution had been abolished and a state of martial law established for a few months until the new Constitution had been drafted and ratified. There was no Bill of Rights. The Federal laws governed the whole land equally, even as each state had its own king or queen. The whole system had been modeled after its former self, but there had been no elections, nor would there ever be any again. There was no need. The vampire race had taken over quickly and effectively in order to maintain the peace among the races. Now that it had been established, we would keep it forever.

Many countries shunned us, but not many could do so without significant repercussions. Be it trade, natural resources, or the exchange of information and ideas, the world still needed the United States. Our new country got the most cooperation from our neighbors to the north and south, fearing an influx of humans moving away and into those countries. There was some emigration of humans and immigration of other races, but not in the numbers that we had foreseen. Most of Europe accepted us, and some countries begrudgingly had to do so as part of the European Union. China completely cut their ties to us, but they were beginning to feel the economic hardship. It was amazing how that large shift opened new trade relations for our fledgling country. We did not feel the pinch as much as China did.

Nevertheless, those of us who held any kind of office were charged with keeping the peace and eradicating the radicals. As much as I disliked it, I could see the logic. We used fear as a means of deterrence. A few more raids and foiled attacks and the Fellowship of the Sun would disband or go truly underground. Either way, their threat to peace would be curbed.

Sookie stirred, the first signs that she was about to awake. I remembered that I had closed off the bonds with Pam and Sookie. I opened both and felt my child go from restless to calm knowing I was alright. Sookie opened her eyes and gave me a groggy smile.

"I'm hungry," she muttered. That was something I could easily remedy. In this new world we'd created for ourselves, blood was abundant and donors were willing.

"Word around the base is that you are very popular," I said to her, gathering her body in my arms and pulling her to rest on top of me. I was jealous about her taking blood from others, knowing what those people wanted from her. But she never gave her body to another.

I caressed her skin, feeling her love and lust, drowning in both. Her feelings were my drug of choice. Her body called to mine when she stretched and purred, kissing my chest where I'd gotten hurt the night before. "How are you feeling?" she asked, running her hands over the rest of my body.

"I'm feeling much better, my love. Thank you for taking care of me."

We made love slowly, taking our time. We were still very much in love. Sookie had moved into my bedroom. She had made my house her home. I fell in love with her every day, with the same smile that had captivated me from the first time I saw it in that picture. I still had the picture in my wallet.

"What are you doing with this?" she had asked me one night at the store. She had been looking through my wallet to pay for our groceries, which nowadays consisted of True Blood and toiletries.

I looked at her with a wide smile. She was trying to hide hers. "That picture made me fall in love with you."

"You didn't even know me then," she argued, tucking the picture back where she'd found it. She was letting me keep it.

"I knew you were brave and I knew you cared," I'd said.

The reason Sookie was so popular with the donors was her ability to make them feel at ease without glamouring them. She cared about her donors. She could read their minds to say the right things. She was gentle and grateful; in essence she was more human than vampire. She was still that sweet Southern Belle, the princess waiting at her window, the fairy dancing in my garden, my lover, my friend. In a world where everyone seemed selfish, Sookie's caring nature was a light in the dark.

I held her tighter and her body welcomed my embrace. "I love you Sookie," I said after making love, and I knew that I would give her whatever she asked of me. I knew we would never part.

~The End~