I know True Blood is a vampire show, but I really like Alcide and I think he needs some love. Of course, he doesn't seem very popular on here, so I guess I'll write for myself and let others enjoy if they so desire. This is an AU and is a ROMANCE. So yeah, don't be surprised if it's... a romance. :p

Let's get started, shall we? This is Season 4-ish, but very AU to the show so far. For example, Eric's incident won't happen and Alcide is not with Debbie.

True Blood is the property of Charlaine Harris and Allan Ball/HBO. I am privileged to be allowed to write about their universe.

A Woman's Best Friend

1. Surgery

Sky was tired. It had been a long day in Shreveport and she just wanted to go home, have some hot chocolate, and maybe watch some TV. Or surf the net.

Something calm and relaxing. Something simple, something that required about two brain cells—one if she could manage it. But she had to get there, first. And she'd just moved into the old farm house outside of Bon Temps the week before, so she was still living from boxes. The hot chocolate was in the cabinet—the cups were under five other boxes. The TV was still in its box.

She sighed as she continued down the dark road. It got dark early now, with the onset of what passed for winter in Louisiana. The stereo in her car had taken a dump the day before, to make matters better. And it wasn't that old of a car, either, to her way of thinking.

She drove further, before she saw something lying beside the road. It lay still and white, and at first she thought it was garbage or perhaps roadkill. But then it moved. It wasn't much movement, but it was enough to indicate it was still alive.

She stopped. She was a vet, so the least she could do was stop and see if the poor beast could be saved. If not, she had her kit in the back seat. A quick end would be the most humane thing she could offer in the worst case.

Hopping out, she walked toward it, her headlights pointing her way. It raised its head again, and she realized it was a wolf. If not a wolf, then a hybrid of one, for certain.

"Easy girl," she murmured. "Easy there."

At the sound of her voice, the tail thumped, and she realized it wasn't a 'girl' at all. And it must be a prized breeding dog, because it hadn't been neutered, either.

"Sorry boy, couldn't see your bits before. You gonna let me get close to you? Huh? There's a good boy. Let me see you, okay? I'm not going to hurt you. Easy now." She knew that, with most animals, it mattered less what you said, than your tone of voice.

He lifted his head slightly and whimpered.

"Okay. You're okay. Easy there." She smoothed his soft coat. "Don't be afraid, sweety. I'm here to help. I'm here to help if I can. You relax and let me see what we've got here, okay? Easy now."

She found the problem, and though the wolf yelped and lifted his head, he didn't bite or fight her. She felt it as gently as she could and her brow wrinkled. She picked up a syringe from her bag, and some tranquilizer.

"Alright, pretty fellow. Someone shot you, huh? It's awful close to your lung, and I can't afford you moving around since I don't know where the bullet is." She prepared the syringe, and ran her hand down his fur. "I'm going to put you to sleep, sweety. You relax and it'll be okay."

The dog growled and snarled, struggling.

"No, no, no! Shhh, shhh," she pacified him. "You're just going to suffer in the car if you're awake, beautiful. Let me help you sleep so it doesn't hurt."

He continued to growl and snarl.

She sighed. "You're too smart for your own good, huh? I'm not going to hurt you, beautiful. I can't operate on you here. It's too dirty, and I don't have all of my equipment. Come on, now, calm down." The wolf subsided, dropping his head weakly. "There you go, boy. There you go. Little stab and you'll be all better when yo wake up. Easy now."

She did it quickly and watched his eyes fall shut and his breathing steady. She rubbed his fur gently. "There you go, sweety. You're going to be okay, I promise." But she wasn't sure.

She struggled, heaving and panting, to get him into the car. Finally, she had him in the back seat, her worry and fear for him increasing every time she jostled or shifted him. At last, in the car, she pulled out her cell phone and called Carlos.

"I know, Carlos, it's late. Listen, I need you for surgery. I've found an injured dog." At Carlos's question, she answered, "No, he's been shot. And it's very close to the lung. I'll need your help getting him out of the car, he's incredibly heavy. I only barely got him into the car."

She clicked the phone shut after Carlos agreed to be at the office by the time she got there. It was going to be a long night.

They geared up quickly. The world outside was peaceful and quiet. No cars were out in Shreveport that evening. There was nothing except the quiet hum of some sort of production facility that operated twenty-four hours per day.

Inside, Sky put on the soft classical music that allowed her to focus. Then she began to shave the wolf around the bullet wound. It was definitely a bullet wound. But he had also torn out the knee on his front left leg. It might never heal at all... but she was going to try.

She first took x-rays of his ribs. The bullet was lodged millimeters from a lung. If she wasn't perfectly steady, it would puncture it, and he would probably die. It had moved slightly, as well, tearing an artery. Time had become a precious and spare commodity.

She lifted the mask over her face and took a deep breath. Coming in from under his ribcage, she worked methodically. With great care, she slowly worked her way inside him as Carlos managed his anesthesia and handed her tools. The closer she got to it, the deeper her concern became.

"You aren't going to be able to get it," Carlos 'encouraged' her.

She gave him a baleful look.

He subsided. "I'm just sayin'."

She finally had the bullet in her grip. But the angle it was at meant it would have to come out against a bone. If she didn't do it precisely, it would open a second artery, because the bullet was fragmented and thus sharp.

With a painful twist of her wrist, she slowly eased it out. Dropping it in a basin, she went back in quickly. She carefully reconstructed his artery. The blood loss was staggering—recovery was going to be difficult at best. But with great care over some four hours, she restructured his artery with a tiny tube designed for the purpose—though for humans. They didn't make such things for dogs, they just put them down.

But Sky felt that helping pets was helping people.

So she knuckled down and rebuilt the torn artery. Then she methodically removed bits of the fractured bullet, one by one. One of them was almost as close to the lung as the bullet had been, but was fortunately easier to remove.

She sutured some of the worst tears and the areas she had sliced, and closed him back up carefully.

Then she shaved his leg. The ligaments had been torn away, but she believed it would heal with time. But it would take therapy and careful care.

Hours ticked by as she sowed and carefully reattached the torn ligaments.

At last, she was finished. She straightened up and groaned.

"I'm going to take him home, Carlos. I'll need your help."

"Come on, seriously? Leave him here. He'll be fine."

"It's a long weekend, and he's the only animal we've got. Do you want to come in to care for him each day?"

Carlos sighed. "No. I'll help you and then I'm done until Tuesday, right?" He was a mixture of irritated and excited.

"Yes, Carlos. Not until Tuesday."

They got the wolf into the car, and later into Sky's house. Carlos left, peeling out in the gravel drive on his way. Sky shook her head wryly. Then she went into her room and collapsed on her bed, the wolf in the livingroom on a pallet she'd brought from the clinic.

When she awakened, it was daylight. Light tried to sneak past the pulled drapes, refusing to accept the prohibition against waking the room's sole inhabitant. She stretched, looking around. What had awakened her?

Then she heard it again. Quiet, soft, it was a scratching sound.

The wolf!

Jumping out of bed, she didn't bother to throw a robe over her Pjs. She just ran out to see the wolf trying to climb off of the pallet.

"Oh no. No," she scolded him. "Stay! You're going to tear your stitches!" She rushed to him, patting him, trying to reassure him.

Then a thought struck her. "Oh, you're probably thirsty. Always are after waking from anesthesia. You stay here, sweety. I'll be right back."

She got a bowl from the kitchen, since she had no pet bowls. She put a small amount of water in it. He drank it and then whined at her.

"No, sweety. Any more and you'll be sick. You won't be thanking me then, when you're vomiting and hurting your chest. That was a pretty nasty wound, and you only barely survived." She inspected the wounds, pleased that they looked fine still.

Walking back into the kitchen, she got a pain killer for him and wrapped it in a small piece of calf liver. She offered it to him, but he looked away.

"Come on. Meat's your natural food, beautiful. And you're going to get hungry eventually. All I'm going to give you is raw liver. You've lost a tremendous amount of blood, and without organ meats, you won't be able to replenish it. Come on," she told him. She waved it again. "It's all you're going to get. I'm sorry you've only ever been given dried food or cooked food, but you need this for your recovery."

She sat down beside him and sighed as he dropped his head onto his feet and refused to look at her.

She leaned down and kissed him on the top of the head. "It's got a pain killer in it. If you change your mind, it'll be right here." She dropped it into the bowl and went back to bed.

When she woke she found him sleeping and the meat still in the bowl. This one was going to be a tough nut to crack, she realized. He would have to have the raw meat if he was going to heal properly, though. She patted him, then started moving boxes.

When she was done excavating the TV, she groaned. She was still weary from several hours in surgery, and relatively little sleep. The TV was big and bulky, if not rather heavy. She had already set up the entertainment center, so all she had to do was to get the TV up there and reconnected to it. No small feat, all things considered.

Sweating and struggling, she finally got the TV connected. She looked over to find the wolf watching her with interest.

She wagged a finger at him. "Don't look at me like that. I work out, it's a heavy TV!" He cocked his head at her, and she said, "This is what God invented men for." He laid his head down. She chuckled. "There's nothing you could do, even if you were well. You're a dog!" she ruffled his ears affectionately then raised his face up. "God invented you for companionship and love. And chasing squirrels."

She got him some chunks of liver. He looked at them and turned away. She sighed. Putting a small amount of water beside him, she watched him for an hour after drinking it. When he was okay, she got him a full bowl of it.

She put the liver back in the fridge.

Sitting down on the floor, she gently pulled his head into her lap and petted him. She was in luck, the cable had been hooked up, and she finally found one of her favorite comedies. She hadn't seen Better Off Dead in years, though at one point she'd owned it on VHS.

She petted him through part of the movie, then she gently eased him off of her. She was soon back with a brush and brushed him while she watched the movie. By the time the movie ended, she was done.

"Let's go," she told him. "Let me help you."

She helped him get up, and walked to the door. "You can't do your business inside, you should be about due. I know it's hard, but you need to go."

He made his way to the door and out, and she was pleased with how spry he seemed, considering his injuries. He went out and completed his business quickly. She didn't blame him, he was no doubt in considerable pain.

When he got back into the house, she placed a platter of liver in front of him again. He sniffed and turned away.

"I'll keep offering it until you eat it," she told him.

He gave her a surprisingly human looking dirty look, sniffed the food again, and took a small morsel of it. Then he stood up and buried his nose in it, wolfing it down as if he were starving. She chuckled and got him some more. He ate that, as well, and then another when she offered it, devouring it all in rapid succession.

"Looks like I'll need to go to the store," she told him. He laid down, and she swore he looked contrite. She patted him, rubbing his ears. "I'm glad to see you eating so well. Nothing better for recovering from an injury than raw liver. You keep eating like that and you'll be alright."

To her surprise, his recovery was unbelievably swift. So swift that she had a hard time crediting her eyes. It was Monday when she decided she would take him in and remove his stitches. Normally, she would wait a weak, but there was already a bright pink scar underneath, so well healed that she could almost think it was a month or two month old injury.

She pulled the stitches out quickly, then patted him. "Good boy, you were so patient."

Someone pounded on the front door. She patted him again and said, "I'll be back."

She opened the front door to a dangerous-looking man with long hair. His motorcycle sat behind him, and she cursed herself for removing the stitches in the sound-proofed surgical room. "Good afternoon," she greeted him. "Is this a pet emergency? Otherwise, we are actually closed. I just came in-"

"It's sort of a pet emergency," he cut her off. "I've lost mine, and I fear he was injured last time I saw him. Has anyone brought a wolf in here for treatment?"

She raised her eyebrow at him. Something about him raised every hackle she had. If this man was the wolf's owner, he had probably hurt him, himself. She made a decision she knew she'd regret if she got caught, "No one brought a wolf in, sir," she replied, completely truthfully. After all, she had found him, he hadn't been 'brought in' so to say.

"Really? What are you doing in today? Isn't this a holiday?"

"I have no life, Mr.-?"

"Bozeman. Marcus Bozeman," he supplied.

"Well, I have no life, Mr. Bozeman. So I've come into my clinic today to do paperwork."

"I think you're hiding something," he growled. He shoved the door open and pushed past her.

"Like what, dirty socks?" She glared at him. "You are trespassing. Please leave now."

He glared at her and started smelling the air. "I smell wolf," he told her.

"It's probably you. You smell like wet dog."

He glared at her and she crossed her arms, staring back belligerently. He walked into the other room and she went behind the counter and grabbed the phone. She dialed 9-1-1 and asked that police be sent immediately.

She feared for the wolf.

She heard him opening and closing doors and wondered how he hadn't already found his wolf. But she said nothing, laying the phone down quietly.

He came back into the main foyer. "If you're lying, I'll find out," he snarled at her. "That wolf is prime stock, and he's mine." Then he cocked his head. "Did you call the police?"

She tilted her chin. "I asked you to leave. You have fair notice that you are trespassing."

He shook his head. "This ain't over. I know you know something."

She gave him a surprised look. "You'd be the only person who thinks I know anything anything about much of anything," she answered dryly, hating how much her parents hated her for choosing to be a vet rather than a doctor.

He stared at her for a minute or so. Then he said, "Listen, I'm sorry. I'm just real worried about my wolf. I'm afraid he was badly wounded when he ran off and might die. I'm not trying to excuse my actions, I just... if you've ever lost a pet, maybe you can understand."

She didn't like the oily, insincere man. But she said, "I do understand. I think we've all lost pets. But please leave now. I really do want to get back to work and I'm a little shaken up."

"Right," he told her. He grabbed her card off of the desk and wrote a number on the back of it with his name. "If you see him, please give me a call. I'd appreciate it."

She nodded, not daring to speak.

He walked out, roaring out of the parking a minute or two before police arrived. She left a report with them and then went in search of the wolf. She couldn't find him anywhere, and felt completely boggled. It was unimaginable that he had been able to escape, unless he was smart enough to open the door and go out the back. It was a pull down knob so it wouldn't be impossible by any stretch. But it was unlikely.

Finally, defeated but content that he had at least been healed before he ran off, she went to her car after locking the clinic up.

She headed home, surprised to find herself quite saddened. But she was glad that the man who had showed up and demanded she hand him over, hadn't found him. He was a sweet animal, and she had gotten nothing but bad vibes off of this 'Marcus'.

She was halfway home when something cold and wet prodded the back of her arm, causing her to jump with a shriek. She swerved and got an enraged honk for her trouble. Catching a glimpse of the back seat, she barely looked back at the road in time to return to her own lane and avoid a head-on collision.