A/N: This is just a little idea that came to me. What if someone else had save Lafayette from those Hotshot crazies. What if that act of kindness and bravery caused Eric Northman to be curious enough to investigate. I think Payton is an interesting character and I am looking forward to her interacting with the other characters from True Blood, especially Eric. I don't think that Sookie will be in this story at all. I'll have to see how it goes.

Chapter 1

I

Lafayette hated dealing with these inbred hillbillies. Besides being dumb as rocks, they were as mean as a copperhead. But, Eric Northman had insisted that he enlarge his operation.

"This stuff is unlike anything that you've ever dealt with before," said Lafayette.

"Not interested," replied Calvin Norris.

Calvin Norris was the head of this clan and while he was as mean as any of them, he wasn't quite as dumb, thought Lafayette.

"Nothing this small will give you such a large return on your investment," said Lafayette.

"Are you deaf? We don't deal vampire blood," replied Calvin.

It was then that Lafayette heard shattering glass. He turned his attention away from Calvin and looked outside to see several men destroying his car. His very new car. His new and very, very expensive car that Eric Northman had given him. In a flash, he grabbed the satchel that contained the product and ran out to the commotion.

"Hey, stop that," cried Lafayette.

"Whatcha going to do about it?" taunted Felton.

He punched Lafayette in the stomach and threw him into the other men. As they pushed and shoved Lafayette between them, Felton examined the satchel that contained the vampire blood.

"Why don't we just beat the shit out of you and take the blood?" asked Felton.

"You have no idea of who you are messing with," replied Lafayette.

One of the Hotshot thugs punched Lafayette and he fell to the ground.

"I think that I'm dealing with someone who poked their nose somewhere that it didn't belong," said Felton.

As Felton moved to kick Lafayette, a figure ran out into the fray. She put herself in between Felton and Lafayette. Her appearance caused the other thugs to pause and they glanced at each other nervously.

"Stop," she cried. "Even animals aren't so savage."

"You'd best mind your own business, Payton," said Felton.

"Let him go," said Payton. "If you rough him up and steal his stuff, then you dumbasses will have his boss to deal with."

"Listen to the voice of reason," said Lafayette who got to his feet.

Felton leveled a angry stare at the girl. "Maybe, I should just deal with you myself or sic Crystal on you. I ain't afraid of you."

"Maybe, you should be," replied Payton.

"You think that you're better than us," hissed Felton.

"I think that I'm better than you."

Calvin passed a wordless glance to Felton which caused Felton to begin to back off.

"The satchel," said Payton.

Felton shoved the satchel into her hands and stalked off with the other men. Payton raised her eyes to where Calvin stood still watching. Slowly, a smile formed on Calvin's face and he turned away.

Payton turned back to Lafayette. "Are you crazy or something? No one comes to Hotshot that doesn't belong here, especially someone like you."

"Just what do you mean by that?" asked Lafayette, insulted.

"Don't take this personal because I can see that you are much more highly evolved than the inhabitants who live here, but you have three strikes against you," replied Payton.

"Oh, enlighten me, Girlfriend."

"Okay, you asked for it. One: you're black. Two: you're gay. And three: you're trying to deal V to Hotshot. You are aware that they cook meth here, aren't you?" replied Payton.

"Everybody and their mother knows that."

"So, why did you come here?" asked Payton.

"Because my boss won't take 'no' for an answer."

"Well, tell you boss for me that his arrogance and stupidity almost got you killed," replied Payton. "Now, get out of here and don't come back. Because, I may not be around the next time to save your sorry ass."

Lafayette watched as the girl walked away. She definitely had an attitude, but there wasn't any denying that she had risked herself to save him. By the looks that were being given to her by Felton, she had made an enemy over defying him. Nor, did she seem like she belonged here anymore than he did. Lafayette moved into his car and silently cursed the hillbilly scum that has shattered his passenger side window. With a spray of dirt and gravel, he accelerated out of the isolated clan of Hotshot.

II

The next night, Payton was reading in her cabin when she heard a knock. But, it wasn't on her front door. Payton stood up and the soft knock came again. There was no mistaking it now, she thought. Someone was knocking on her back door. Payton grabbed a sawed off shotgun and crept to the back door. She opened it and stared in confusion at who was on her back doorstep. He was only illuminated by the light from the open doorway. But, even in that dim light, she could tell that he was a vampire. A rather good looking one, she thought. He very tall and well-formed with blonde hair and light blue eyes.

His non-blinking eyes took in her shotgun and he gave her a tiny smile. "That doesn't really work on me, although it will sting."

Payton didn't lower the shotgun. "Who are you and, more importantly, why are you here?"

"Well, you can speak in complete sentences and you have all your teeth," said Eric. "That puts you well ahead of the rest of the citizens of this pathetic little enclave."

"I do appreciate the thought of someone taking all the trouble of coming out here just to insult me, but if that is the only reason that you are here I'll just bid you goodnight."

Payton began to close the door and Eric placed his hand against it to stop her. "Invite me in so that I can talk to you."

"Invite you in? I'm not that crazy," replied Payton.

"I'm not going anywhere and, unless you want your neighbors to see me here with you, you'd better invite me in so that we can speak in privacy."

Payton cast a glance to the shadows, checking to see if they were being observed. She knew that someone watched the front of her cabin, but it appeared that no one bothered with the back. The vampire must have checked for that before he had knocked on her door. With a sigh, Payton lowered the shotgun and opened her door.

"Come in."

Eric walked inside and continued through the small shack. His keen eyes took in every detail. It only took a few glances around the interior to tell him that this place was not her home. There weren't any personal touches visible. Unfortunately, that also meant that there weren't any apparent clues to her personality. This girl who had peaked his interest was still a mystery. He noticed that she appeared to be in the process of throwing out the clutter in the shack since there had been a large garbage bag filled with trash in the middle of the kitchen floor. He paused in the room that was the living room and saw a collection of books on the coffee table. Now, here was something personal, he thought. He walked over and looked over them. His fingers trailed over books about Eastern philosophy, physics and genetics. His fingers paused over the well-worn binder of a classic novel. The girl stepped forward and rudely grabbed the books away from him and shoved them somewhere out of sight.

"So, do you discuss eastern religions with your kinfolk while cooking meth?" he asked.

"Sure, right along with Stephen Hawking's theories about quantum gravity and black holes."

"You have spunk, I'll give you that," replied Eric. "It certainly saved Lafayette."

Payton nervously fidgeted. So, this was the boss. The boss that she had called arrogant and stupid. As the vampire stood and stared at her, she realized that her comment had found it's way back to his ear. Is that why he was here?

"You haven't said why you are here?" asked Payton.

"Payton is an odd name," replied Eric. "Is it your first or last?"

"I don't know your name," said Payton.

"Eric Northman."

Payton remained silent and Eric studied her. She was above average height for a woman with a graceful frame. Her hands were long fingered and delicate. Soft, sandy brown hair was cut into a bob that fell somewhere between her jaw and shoulder. That hair framed a face of beautiful symmetry that was a concrete clue to the good genetics that were responsible. Which meant that she wasn't a result of this dismal gene pool. Slightly almond-shaped blue eyes gazed back at him with wariness and intelligence. He could also detect something else that made her an outsider here as much as he was.

"Very well, I'm here because you made me curious," said Eric.

"I...I don't understand," replied Payton.

"And now that I am here, you've made me even more curious."

"Maybe, you need to get out more because there isn't anything at all interesting about me," said Payton.

"I'll start with the first thing that has caught my attention," said Eric. "You don't belong here, that is plainly obvious. You are not even one of them."

"I...I think you are mistaken. I'm just like everyone else here."

"I can smell your so-called kinfolk a mile away," replied Eric. "But, you are not giving off that offensive odor. Explain that."

"My daddy was from here. I just didn't inherit the ability to shift."

Eric sat down and relaxed back into the cushions of the couch. He worried a slight moment about who from this town had actually been sitting on it. But, he noticed that a clean and freshly laundered blanket was between him and the actual couch. Evidently, Payton had shared that same fear.

"I doubt that," he said. "Mommie might have spread her legs for one of these inbred hicks, but she had someone else on the side who was responsible for the other half of your DNA."

Payton swiftly stepped forward and slapped Eric. "You can insult me all you want, but not even you can talk that way about my mother."

Eric grabbed her and, before she could react, he swiftly folded her underneath him on the couch. She struggled to get free and only succeeded in moving her legs so that Eric could slip between them. He looked down at her and gave her a little smile.

"You have a bit of a temper. I like that, but it's put you in a very compromising position."

Payton renewed her efforts to dislodge him off her to the point of trying to push him off with her legs. Eric's smiled only deepened, "You have no idea how much this is turning me on."

"Get off me!"

Eric surprised her by letting her up and she scrambled away from him. She stood and tried to rearrange her clothes and smooth her hair.

Flustered, she said, "I think that you should leave."

"Not yet," replied Eric.

"I can make you leave."

"That would be unfriendly," said Eric. "And unwise."

"What do you want?"

"I want to know why you are here and why they are afraid of you," said Eric.

"My father passed away and I came here for the funeral, but...but-" Payton's voice stalled.

"Having a hard time getting away from here?"

Payton looked down and spoke in barely a whisper, "They aren't right in the head here. They...they think that they have some sort of right to me."

"Why are they afraid of you?" asked Eric.

"I think that you have been misinformed."

"Lafayette was very specific about you making the rest of them back down," replied Eric.

"He must have imagined things in his panic."

"Lafayette, despite his appearance, has a sharp mind and he's not prone to seeing things that aren't there," replied Eric. "So, I'm asking you again, why are they afraid of you?"

"Because of what my mother was."

Eric once again passed his senses over the girl. And he still only detected that she was human. She was not a were-panther or any other type of shifter. What fear kept the men from this clan away from her? Besides that loaded shotgun, of course.

"And what was that?" asked Eric.

"She had a...a gift," said Payton. "Or a curse. It's really how you decide to look at it."

"Can you explain that?"

"She saw things and dabbled in magic," replied Payton.

Well, that explains it, thought Eric. These uneducated and superstitious hicks would fear something like that. Yet, not enough to let her daughter leave.

"And you? Did you inherit this gift?"

"Don't be silly," replied Payton.

Eric could detect the lie. Getting up from the couch, he said, "If you were mine, they will let you go without any further hassle."

"Yours? I don't understand what you are getting at?"

"It's very simple," said Eric. "It's a mutually beneficial relationship. Don't you want to get away from here and not have to worry about them coming after you?"

"I'm not any use to them. I can't produce another were-panther for them."

Eric gave her a small smile. "No, but you have knowledge and other skills that they can use. And the thought of whether or not you can produce a panther is not what is going through these men's minds when they fantasize about having their way with you."

Eric moved before her and said, "Take the offer."

"And let you take care of me?"

"That's right," said Eric. He leaned into her ear and added, "I can make you forget all about that little ownership issue you have."

Payton quickly stepped back from him, "No, thank you. I don't need your help finding a way out of here."

"Suit yourself," replied Eric. "But, you should know that I have a way of getting what I want."

He walked to her back door and paused before leaving. "You did save Lafayette and I am in your debt."

"But, not enough to help me without any strings attached?"

Eric passed his eyes over Payton. "No man or vampire would be that generous. Goodnight, Payton. I'm sure that I'll be seeing you again."

And then he shot away into the night sky. Payton stared up into the stars in amazement. Now, that was a very cool trick, she thought. She touched the doorknob that he had just touched. Suddenly, she saw herself between cool satin sheets, staring into the eyes of that vampire. He leaned in and kissed her. As his hands pulled her close to him, he moved down to her neck and began to kiss her. Payton saw herself moan in delight and wrap her legs around him.

Shaking off the vision, Payton rapidly closed and locked the door. She leaned against it and told herself that it didn't mean anything. It was just some flash of a possible future. She saw those sometimes. And let's be real, she told herself, having a naughty thought or two over that vampire shouldn't come as a surprise.

She walked back inside to the living room and sat down. She actually had a moment where she had been tempted to take the vampire's offer. More and more, she was coming to believe that her father had not been her father. Mama, what in the world were you thinking? But, Charlie had been good to her and, unlike most of the men in this clan, he had a kind heart. She took stock of her situation. She was young, having finished high school at sixteen. She had been enrolled in college, but the upheavals in her life had caused to her take a break. She was used to taking care of herself, since her mother had been what others would call a free-spirit. In a very short time span, she had lost both her mother and Charlie and now she was truly alone.

But, she didn't belong here. She had made a mistake by going with the one's who had come to tell her of Charlie's passing. She didn't have a car and they thought that she was trapped here. But, tomorrow she would leave even if she had to walk all the way home. She felt her eyes watering with tears. At least, she wasn't a were-panther, she thought. Inheriting her mother's gift had been more than enough. She had always had stray episodes of her mother's gift manifesting itself. But, since her mother's death, her ability seemed to intensify. Forgive me, Mama, for not understanding you all those years. She reached up and her fingers touched the necklace that she always wore. It had been her mother's. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, she found herself back in time. She saw a girl with sandy brown hair and blue eyes like her. Except, it wasn't her. She was in an old farmhouse bedroom. Floral pattern curtains fluttered in the breeze and a gray tabby cat slept soundly on the the neat bed. It paws twitched and Payton suspected that it was dreaming about catching a mouse. Payton walked to the window and saw laundry hanging out in the sun to dry. She could see a field of corn just beyond the border of the yard. Payton turned back and saw an older woman come into the room. She stood before the girl who was seated before the dresser mirror. She began to brush out the girl's hair and her tired and worn face grew lovely before Payton's eyes.

"Millie, your hair shines like spun gold," the woman said.

"Thanks, Mama."

Payton saw the same necklace around the older woman's neck. The woman kissed Millie on the top of the head and unlatched the necklace. She placed it around Millie's neck and Millie's fingers came up to examine the necklace.

"It's your time to wear it, Sweetheart," said Payton's grandmother.

"It's beautiful," gasped Millie.

"Don't lose it," warned her grandmother. "You'll pass it on to your daughter someday."

"But, what if I have a dozen babies?" said Millie. "I want to marry a handsome man and have lots of children."

Payton saw a look of sadness come over her grandmother's face. But, her grandmother carefully hid that from Millie.

"You'll know the right one to give it to," she said.

A/N: Why is Eric so interested you might ask? Well, he didn't know what Payton was. He only knew that Lafayette had said there was some girl in Hotshot that had caused his attackers to back down. As the vampire in charge of his area, he would be interested in any new potential supernatural creature. When he finds out that she is a human and not a were-panther, that still only makes him more curious. He kept prodding her until he found out what she is. We know from season one that Eric admitted to Sookie on their first meeting that he had a psychic sometime before, although there was the implication that the relationship ended badly for the psychic. Payton may or may not be a witch and vampires don't like witches. So, it would be in his best interest to find a way to control her and keep her from becoming a potential threat.