A lot of people didn't make it to the bar. Some stayed at the surgery with the injured, other's had crashed out, still more had gotten straight into their cars and headed to Shreveport to help ferry back the families and see their loved ones before dawn. Nan and the magister were gone, their respective goon squads were either cleaning or holding the masses of North American media at bay. Sam fussed around behind the bar, Eric and Isabel had assured him that the tab would be covered by the nests. No one could be expected to remember their wallets tonight.

Bill was sitting at one end of the bar. To say that he was being shunned wouldn't be fair, but he hadn't been there, and the others all had, and the camaraderie was a physical thing that bound them all together, and didn't include him. Someone punched him hard in the back of the shoulder, nearly sending his true blood flying. He turned in irritation and found Bo, she'd found time to change out of her ruined tunic and was wearing a dark purple dress that touched the floor and fell away from her arms in massive bell sleeves. Over her shoulder was a heavy black canvas bag and she gave him a smile that might almost have been sympathetic.

"Suck it up, cup cake." She said, "you're going to live a long time, and this will not be the last night someone rips it out and stomps on it. Learn. Be better."

Bill rattled that around in his head for a long time, but couldn't find anything comforting in it. Across the room, Bo gently put the bag down on the table in front of Eric. He glanced up at her and then opened it sadly. Inside, the great iron head of Godric's axe lay, along with the haft, shattered into three smaller pieces. "So you'll remember what all this cost," she said simply, then patted his shoulder and turned away.

Sookie reached out and covered Eric's hand with her own. She was still tingling and a little high, but for some reason it didn't seem to make her as loo-loo as it did everyone else.

"I'm sorry, Eric..."

"It isn't him," The Viking said softly, though the fingers of his free hand traced over the iron gently. "It's just a tool... a crude one at that. But... Godric cared for it very much."

"Do you think there's any chance Godric wouldn't have given this axe, to save your life?"

Eric smiled and closed the bag gently before tucking it away under the table. "How do you do that?" He asked, turning to face her. "He would have said something similar..."

"He was very wise... and he loved you very much." She bit her bottom lip and plucked up the courage to look him in the eye, "People with stuff in common tend to think alike."

His chest rumbled deeply as he leaned in to capture her mouth, his fingers easing into her hair, massaging her scalp, he seemed to really like doing that. She'd never thought of it as being a particularly erotic thing to do... of course somehow when it was Eric Northman doing it, it seemed totally inappropriate to do in a bar! Some low, thrumming music came out through the speakers and Sookie groaned against Eric's mouth. "Christ, who is it this time?" She shook her head and looked up at him apologetically, "This song on Karaoke is always death."

Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell
Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high

Sookie blinked and clambered up to kneel on the seat and look over the back of the booth. At the machine, Bo stood with the mic cord wrapped around her forearm, her long brown hair free but for the thin warriors brains which kept it back from her face. As she sang, her hips moved and her chest heaved as though she gave all her breath to the song and kept none for herself.

Mamma's dancin' with baby on her shoulder

the sun is settin' like molasses in the sky

Everyone cheered, and humans and vampires headed for the dance floor. Sookie looked at Eric in astonishment, but he just shrugged. "She likes the attention... and she knows how to work a crowd. If you give her unrestricted access to that, that thing, she'll keep these hicks here for days." Sookie giggled and leaned back against him.

Black velvet and that little boy's smile

black velvet in that slow southern style

a new religion that'll bring ya all to your knees

Black velvet if you please

Beer glasses where being banged on tables, feet tapped and inevitably, lips kissed until at last the bar opened up with a hundred people all singing the chorus. The affect the beat was having on everyone was painfully noticeable and Sookie felt it, would have even if she couldn't hear it. Everyone who could pair off, did, and Sookie found herself drawing little circles on Eric's arm with her fingertip.

"You're playing with fire, lover..." He rumbled at her.

"I wanna go home..." she mumbled, only half aware of the implication of her words, but half was enough. "I jus' wanna sleep in my own bed, one night, without somethin' goin' wrong."

"I'll fly you," He said, grabbing the bag from under the table and offering her his hand to help her out.

"Everyone! It looks like the masterminds of the battle of Bon Temps are leaving," Bo called into the mic. "An appropriate southern send off, if you would?"

Everyone roared, stomped their feet, cat called and generally make a raucous. Sookie blushed and hid a little behind Eric who, completely un-phased, saluted his sister with a grin. "Don't stay up to early."

"Yes daddy," She laughed. "Now, request's are welcomed, I can do anything this machine can!" Another cheer went up and the lovers slipped out unmolested.

Eric landed softly and let her walk up the steps to her front door by herself. She pushed the door open and then stepped aside for him to enter. "You got the blood out of the rug," Eric noticed.

"And didn' it half take some effort!", she giggled softly, remembering Jason's questions that morning. "Eric, is Santa real?"

"What? No, not that I'm aware of." He looked at her curiously, "though I believe Godric had taken to gifting orphanages at Christmas towards the end... He thought no one noticed."

"Am I still high?" She asked suddenly.

"It is possible," Eric said, following her into the living room. "Does it matter?"

"I kinda jus' wanted to see if you'd say so..." She looked up at him, eyes round and saucers. "I don't know what to do now..."

"Traditionally..."

"Will you stop saying that!" She huffed, stomping her foot, which Eric found painfully endearing. "Please. Just... just stop joking about my life... about my feelings. Tell me somethin' true!"

"I dreamed of you," He said, meeting her eyes. "The night before I saved you in Jackson." He leaned against the wall, his shoulders hunched in slightly and his hands shoved in his pockets. "I'd come to see you. You let me in, without reservation... You said Bill hadn't been who you were looking for, and then you touched me. You weren't afraid at all. You said you could smell my memories, you knew things about me no living person could..." He looked up at her somewhat ruefully, all she could do was stare at him open mouthed. "You could see all my secrets, and I liked it..." He pushed off the wall and moved towards her slowly, "That is what I want. For you to know all my secrets..."

Sookie had tears in her eyes when he put his hands on her shoulders, let them slip down her arms then pulled them back, his cool caress making her shiver. "What do you want, Sookie?" He asked, his face dangerously close to hers, robbing her of thought.

"I..." Her bottom lip quivered pitiably, she was overwrought and strung out and everything always moved so fast! Why couldn't things go slowly, like they used to in a tiny little town in the middle of a back water. "I want you to not treat me like I'm the prize in your stupid competition with Bill. I want you not to keep people locked up in your basement! I want you to be like this, like you are sometimes when there isn't anyone else around, only I want you to be like that all the time! I want you..." She coughed a little and choked on her own emotion. "God help me, I want you..."

His hands were back at her neck, his fingertips cool and tickling and sweet merciful lord what had she just said, what would he say? Fuck, she was so stupid... "Then take me," he breathed against her lips, "and I will try to give you what you want."

She whimpered and darted forward, kissing him desperately, grasping at his jacket and clumsily trying to get it off. He rolled his shoulders back and the offending garment fell away, Sookie moaned at being presented with the smooth, marble skin of his shoulders and pushed at them, hard. Eric let himself be shoved back onto the couch, then held his arms up when she growled at him so she could haul his singlet off over his head. As she sank down, straddling his lap, his fingers dove into her hair again and she wondered if there would ever be a point in doing anything with it ever again?

His hips rolled up and she could feel him through their jeans. "Eric," she moaned against his neck, pressing her cheek against it so she could nip at his skin with her blunt little teeth.

"Tease," He purred, his hands slipping down her back lightly before coming to rest on her hips, encouraging hers to roll in time, grinding them together. "You're magnificent..." Sookie hid her face in his shoulder to hide her blush and shook her head, but Eric would have none of it. He leaned back and gently turned her face to look at him. "You still wont believe it?" She asked softly, "You have just saved everyone you love, you averted a war, you have probably done more for vampire/human relations in two days than Nan Flanagan has in two years. You are one of the most valuable humans in the world."

"I didn't really do anythin'..." she said quietly, "the plan was mostly Jason and the organizin' was mostly Terry,"

"Horse shit. Without you to focus him, your brother would have driven in, guns blazing, and gotten himself killed, achieving nothing. From what I've seen, that soldier wasn't exactly operating on a full clip before you, either. Why can't you accept that you led these people?"

"I... I'm just a waitress." She stammered, only to look shocked when Eric growled and hit his head against the back of the couch.

"You have been feeding everyone that line to protect yourself for so long, you can't think to say anything else!" He growled. "Serving beer to red-necks at a bar is hardly the limit of what you do! You have hidden behind this mask of mediocrity your entire life because you were the most outlandish thing those simpletons had ever seen." Eric's fangs descended and he stared at her intently. "A telepath they have known since childhood is nothing compared to what they have seen now. You're not the scariest monster in the yard any more, not by a long shot. Stop hiding! From them and from me,"

More than anything she wanted to argue with him, slap him, tell him to get the hell out of her house. He didn't know anything about her and he had no right to talk to her that way! Instead, unable to stop herself, she looked tired and ashamed, "I don't know how..."

Eric's fangs went away and he cupped her cheek, smiling when she turned her face into hit hand. "Just stop trying," he said with a small smirk, mirroring her earlier words.

Winston was a wildly, almost aggressively effeminate man with spiked hair that had been bleached from dark brown to caramel, fluorescent orange sunglasses, and a wardrobe direct from Skank's R Us boutique. He walked with the hip-swaying confidence that such a tiny man can only have with a pair of un-dead bodyguards packing glocks.

He flopped down with a sigh in front of his computer and opened Skype to record a message.

"Bo, you need to come home. Now." He said seriously to the camera at the top of his computer screen. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something else and then changed his mind. "I need you back here sister, like, yesterday. We've got a massive micheva, and I don't even know where to start."

.

Bo watched the recording with a concerned frown. She'd bunked down for the day in the back of the bar which Sam had kindly light proofed for her once it became obvious she wasn't going to be able to get away from the Karaoke machine until the sickness took her. Having woken refreshed and bored, with everyone busy with their own business, she'd borrowed Sam's computer to check up on things. Her eyes widened at Winston's use of the code word and instantly reached for her cell phone.

It rang twice and then she heard his voice, uncharacteristically jittery on the end of the line. "Bo? Thank God, you have got to come home!"

"What's going on? Is he alright?"

"He's fine, he's not the problem! It's the fucking Tong. I had Jedda go down to China Town last night, they were trying to start up the damn protection racket again, probably 'cause they knew you were gone. They're using shifters! Jedda was beaten something sadistic and then riddled with silver. Get your ass home, right now!"

"Mother fucker," She hissed, slamming her hand down on the desk and making it shake dangerously. "Alright, alright, I'll be on the first available flight. Move him, just to be safe. Once Jedda's up and moving get her to contact Lern, and don't take no for an answer. Call the prime minister and..."

"That's done already..."

"What did he say?" She asked.

"Umm... it's not a he any more. Politics is a little fucked here right now, no one's really sure what happened."

"Oh Jesus, not that redhead..."

"I thought you'd like her, she's Welsh you know."

"She's an idealistic idiot. Fine, fine, what did she say?"

"That she'd got enough problems of her own and she'd really like us to fix this... she wasn't that polite, got a bit of a potty mouth on her once the camera's stop rolling. Long thing come short, she doesn't want to admit it's a crime thing, she wants it to be a vampire thing and that way when it blows all to hell she can blame us. And by us I mean you."

Bo snarled and looked for something to break, not finding anything she was sure Sam wouldn't mind her hitting, she started swearing instead. "Help cut crime rates, good PR, very very useful – first sign of trouble... God damn it! If it were possible to back-peddle up your own ass that woman would have disappeared by now!"

"Have your hissy on the plane!"

"Yeah yeah yeah, I'm going, I'm going. Don't do anything else until I get back, alright? And for fuck's sake don't go anywhere without the bullyboys. I don't want to have to destroy south east asia because the Tong killed my little brother."

"Aww, baby, the things you say. It's enough to make a faggot straighten out,"

"Shut your mouth," she laughed down the line and took a deep breath. "Alright. Big pity party later, dealing with shit now. I'll see you as soon as I can. Love you."

"Love you to, Boss."

Dial tone.

.

.

.

Note: To avoid a never ending story situation - this is the end of the 'To Belong to You' line. It continues in 'My Father's Secrets', the first chapter of which is here:

.net/s/6162092/1/bMy_b_bFather_bs_bSecrets_b

Hope to see everyone over there - but things go totally AU from here (wildly, WILDLY AU, so feel free to stop here if that's not your up of tea)