Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from True Blood. If I did, would I be writing fanfiction about them? The following italicized excerpt is from season 4, episode 12 of True Blood, but the rest of this story is all my own work unless otherwise noted.

Sookie turned away from Bill and walked over to Eric. He gazed down at her, trying not to look too hopeful.

"If I'm really honest, it wasn't just goofy, innocent Eric I fell for. As vicious and untrustworthy as you can be, there's a goodness in you that breaks my heart. There's a part of me that's always wanted you." Eric looked into her eyes earnestly.

"You won't be sorry," he promised.

"I know," Sookie replied softly. She turned back to Bill, tears in her eyes. "Bill, I said I forgave you, but— but I have to choose Eric."

"I…see," Bill choked out. There was a moment of silence as Bill tried to compose himself and for once, Eric did not goad him. "Yes. Well." He held Sookie gently by the shoulders and kissed her forehead. "Then I must respect your decision. I trust that Eric will love and protect you as I would have." Sookie nodded mutely, trying not to let the tears fall but Bill was glaring over her shoulder at Eric.

"Of course," said Eric gravely, although he could barely contain his excitement. Reluctantly Bill released Sookie and stepped back. She sniffled and gave Eric a little smile. He folded her into his arms. "I meant what I said," he whispered into her hair. He wondered if Bill would leave soon and if Sookie would mind making love in Bill's house. Probably. Sookie was human after all, and still believed in etiquette. Eric was pretty sure that having sex on your ex's furniture— even after receiving his blessing to be together— would not be acceptable to her.

Bill cleared his throat. "Eric."

"Yes?" Eric asked absently, his eyes— and hands— still on Sookie.

"Eric," Bill said, more firmly this time. Sookie turned to Bill hoping Eric would follow suit. "Yes?" Eric repeated, letting Sookie go at last.

"There are…matters to which we must attend," said Bill cryptically. But Eric understood exactly what he meant.

"Of course, "and the two vampires exchanged knowing glances. "Sookie…" Eric began.

"No, no, it's okay," Sookie said quickly. She was tired yet relieved, but flustered by this turn of events and not at all anxious to get involved in any more supernatural politics. "I get it. Super secret vamp stuff. I'll just go on home. Believe me, it's been a crazy enough night; I could use the peace and quiet." She looked to Bill, then Eric. "Well…I'll see you later, then," she ended awkwardly.

"You will," he responded with a shadow of a smile. Sookie gathered her purse and keys, made a beeline for the door then paused as she grabbed the handle. She turned with her hand still on it and looked straight at Bill. "Thank you."

Bill gave her a curt nod, and Sookie closed the door.

Nan Flannigan was furious. Not only had she been fired for letting the Tolerance Fair get "out of hand" but now she had to go crawling to King Bill in Bon Temps— tiny, country, backwater Bon Temps of all places? Why couldn't he at least establish his headquarters someplace with some semblance of civilization, like New Orleans perhaps? Now there was a city for a vampire! She shook her head. No matter where Bill lived, she'd still have to suck up. She would have to admit that he had been right about the witch. That had been a surprise. Apparently they'd have to watch out for a real necromancer every few hundred years. She stood in front of the doors to the Compton mansion, hearing low voices coming from inside. Something vaguely close to nervousness pricked at her for a second then was gone as she pushed open the door and walked into the foyer.

Both Eric and Bill abruptly stopped speaking and at the intrusion and leaped toward her, fangs extended.

"You!" cried Bill, retracting his fangs.

"You," Nan said coolly to Eric, ignoring Bill. "Aren't you supposed to have met your maker by now, Sheriff?" The barb was not lost on Eric and he softly hissed at her, fangs still out.

"Oh, calm down, Northman; I'm not here to pick a fight. I couldn't care less whether you're dead or alive." Eric emitted a low growl but retracted his fangs as Bill closed the front door. "So I take it you were able to get the witch to cooperate, then?" Nan continued. The two men exchanged stares. Nan thought their expressions reminded her of how she remembered children looking like with their hands stuck in the cookie jar.

Bill forced a calm expression onto his face. "Ms. Flannigan," Bill said, holding out his arm towards his office. As she walked past him, he gave Eric a very pointed look, a look that said: let me do the talking. Eric shrugged.

"So you finally caught her. And how did you get the necromancer to reverse the spell?" Nan asked smoothly. Since the other two obviously didn't yet know about her…diminished status, she decided to make them believe they were in trouble with the Authority for as long as she could. Nan enjoyed power and the intimidation she could inflict in others, both vampire and human. Why not wait to tell them the truth a little longer?

"Well, we didn't exactly catch her. We had to— to amend our original plan of action." Bill shrugged nervously. "It's a very long story."

Nan carefully crossed her legs at the ankles only and folded her hands in her lap, smirking. "Then it's a good thing all three of us have nothing but time.

Sookie closed her front door behind her then slumped against it, sighing. It had been much too long of a day. First, getting roped into a surprise shift at Merlotte's (although she was glad to have her job back— don't look a gift horse in the mouth, Gran would say), then watching the two men she loved almost burn to a crisp, and finally deciding Eric was who she wanted to be with. Eric. Sookie smiled, despite her weariness. She wondered how on earth she would explain this to Tara, and decided she'd tackle that when it happened. Given how traumatic the whole Marnie ordeal had been for Lafayette, Tara chose to spend the night with him at his place. Poor Lafayette, Sookie thought. It was horrible for him to lose Jesus so suddenly, and after all they'd been through together. But she knew that could never happen to her and her proud viking. Eric was a survivor, no matter what the cost.

It was much too quiet with Eric no longer in the house, come to think of it. Sookie thought about going to bed, but felt wide awake. Thanks to working at a bar and hanging around with vamps, Sookie usually stayed up until dawn or nearabouts and slept past noon. She found it difficult to will herself to go to sleep in the middle of the night. Like normal people, she thought ruefully. She figured she'd catch some lame movie on TV with some hot cocoa while she waited for Eric to finish his talk with Bill. As she stepped into the kitchen, she glanced at the clock. 1:32, it read. Sookie yawned halfheartedly and bustled around the kitchen, hunting for cocoa and spoons and the other necessary accoutrements for hot chocolate. She liked to make it from real cocoa powder the way Gran had taught her, not from the store-bought packets.

A loud creaking noise startled her and she spun around quickly from the refrigerator, milk in hand.

"Debbie!" Sookie almost shouted. She smiled brightly— too brightly, the way she always did when she was nervous. "What are you doing here?"

"Hi, Sookie," Debbie Pelt said evenly. "I'm here to tell you how upset I am. Did you know Alcide abjured me?" Debbie held a shotgun in her right hand, although it wasn't raised. Sookie eyed Debbie carefully. She looked like she hadn't slept; her clothes were very wrinkled, her blonde hair was practically a bird's nest, and her mascara and lipstick were smeared all over her face like a grotesque clown.

Sookie slowly put the milk down and took a step sideways, further away from Debbie. "Well…I'm, I'm real sorry to hear that. I'm sure he didn't mean it." Debbie said nothing. "Why don't you call him up and y'all can talk about it?" She laughed anxiously as Debbie took a step towards her. Sookie took another step sideways. She knew she was safe for now, otherwise Eric would be here (Or Bill? Would he care anymore? Or did vampires only come for humans who were Theirs?). But safe for how long? She eyed Debbie's shotgun.

"You just don't get it, do ya, Sookie?" Debbie laughed wryly. "You're always messing things up for me," Debbie said, deliberately stalking Sookie's movements so that the women began to move in a tense circle. "Alcide kept saying it was nothing but I know better. He's loved you since the day you turned up." Sookie frantically shook her head and began to protest. "Oh, yes," Debbie went on, beginning to cry now. "And you encouraged him. You never wanted me to have him because of your precious vamps!"

Sookie put her hands in front of her, outstretched. "Now, Debbie, you know that's not tr—"

"Like hell it ain't!" Debbie yelled, waving the shotgun around like a handkerchief. "Even after I got off the vamp blood you still kept popping up everywhere, distracting him from me, the woman who truly loved him!" Debbie finally closed the space between them and now stood about five feet away from Sookie. She then spoke so softly that Sookie had to strain to hear her.

"I've loved him ever since I was a kid, didja know that? Well, I'll tell you one thing," she said determinedly, wiping her tears away so that her makeup and dirt-smeared features now seemed even more macabre. "If I can't have him, you sure as hell won't get him." With that, she raised the shotgun and pointed it at Sookie. Sookie wasn't completely sure if Debbie would actually shoot her or not, but she was sure that Debbie was upset, possibly under the influence of V, and handling a deadly weapon, so she didn't want to wait around to find out. Sookie ducked and tackled Debbie by the waist, knocking both women to the ground but not knocking the shotgun out of Debbie's hands.

"Bitch!" Debbie cried and hit Sookie in the head with the butt of the gun. "I'll kill you! I swear it!"