"Anything I can do to improve this one for you?" Sam asked, leaning against the bar. Sookie shifted awkwardly. She didn't know what Sam was thinking—she had a hard time getting a read on Sam, usually—like a static-y television or something—but he couldn't have possibly meant that the way that it sounded, right? She didn't know what to say, and Tara eyed them both with interest as Sookie twisted under Sam's too earnest gaze.

Then the door of the bar opened, and Sookie turned towards it, if only to get an excuse to get away from the sudden awkwardness with Sam.

The man that came in looked so mopey and gloomy that some instinct deep inside of Sookie just wanted to give him a hug. He was tall and thin, dressed in a brown pinstriped suit and converse all-star high tops, with a long brown overcoat hanging down his thin frame.

He took a seat in her section, and Sookie shifted towards him, glance back at Sam apologetically, and fled in the direction of the table.

"Hi there, I'm Sookie—I'll be your server this evening. What can I get you to start?" She asked, trying to be a bit gentle—he was obvious suffering from some sort of heartbreak.

The man perked up, and Sookie realized something. His head was utterly silent. Her eyes went wide, as he tilted his head. "Oooh," he said, ignoring her question and leaning towards her. "Oooh, that's rare." He was looking at her like an ADHD child presented with something shiny. And he was British, which was not something that they got around here.

"Excuse me?" Sookie asked, fighting to keep her tone polite.

"A telepath—a true one. Are you human?" He asked mildly. Then it was like a dam broke, and all of his thoughts flooded into her head at once. She's blonde. No, damnit, you cannot get mopey every time that someone blonde comes along, he was telling himself firmly. "I'm a Time Lord—we're telepathic. Or we were," he added, expression darkening.

"What do you mean, were?" Sookie pushed.

He let out a humourless laugh. "Last of my kind, me. Nobody but myself to blame. We're touch telepaths, though—I need to be touching your temples to get into your mind. You just hear everything, don't you? And you clearly don't even have a rudimentary sense of control. I'll have to teach you. Can't very well just leave you here for some unscrupulous alien to take advantage of."

But underneath his fake cheer, his thoughts were a darkened turmoil of blood, death, fire and pain. His thoughts weren't even fully-formed words. There were images, clearly memories, of an expanse of sky as far as the eye could see, filled with burning ships, planets—destruction. And a blonde girl, being pulled through the air away from him. His agony was palpable, and Sookie's heart went out to him.

Pushing away questions of aliens, Time Lords, telepaths—because he was telling the truth, that was the crazy thing, Sookie instead focused on the immediate reason that his anguish seemed so cutting—that final image of the blonde girl. "What's her name?" she asked gently.

He looked up at her like his world was ending. "Rose. Her name is Rose."

"You love her," Sookie said. It wasn't a question. As she could feel this man's agony, his pain, his age—because he was the oldest thing that she was likely to encounter, ever, even if she met those vampires that she was so curious about—she could also feel the deep and abiding tenderness for this girl.

"Of course," he murmured. "She saved me, that's the kicker." He looked at Sookie in a bewildered manner, eyes two liquid pools of puppy-dog brown. "Nine hundred years of time and space, all the destruction, all of the stories, all of the people that I lost, and all that I needed was a nineteen year old shop girl to come and make it all better."

"You lying to me about your age," Sookie pointed out, unable to keep from taking the seat in the booth across from him.

He snorted. "Thirteen-hundred and twenty-four," he admitted. "I think. It's hard to keep track, even for a Time Lord, and the War messed me right up." The War, she realized, was that memory of burning ships. "Blame Nine—he started it. Decided not to count the years that he didn't like. Nice, round number, so I stuck with it."

The voice in his head suddenly grew a Northern accent, which she recognized from British movies. Oi, don't see you complainin' that I kept her from leavin' us, it pointed out. Sookie couldn't help but snort.

"Anyway," he said—and was that just a hint of the North in his voice?—"What was your name?"

"Sookie," she repeated for him. "Sookie Stackhouse."

"Nice to meet you, Sookie. I'm the Doctor."

She could see that he expected her to question this, so she didn't. "Nice to meet you, Doctor—just Doctor, right? People don't call you the Doctor, they just refer to you that way?"

"Damnit, I like the part where people ask 'Doctor who?'" He cursed. Sookie laughed.

"Isn't it John Smith?"

He sulked. "Yeah, but nobody believes me when I say that," he pouted. "UNIT keeps having to turn up and get me out of situations, because people didn't believe that was my name."

Sookie couldn't help but laugh at his ridiculousness, even though he was clearly still in pain. "So, what can I get for you?"

"This is the twenty-first century?" He asked, and she could see in his mind that he wasn't joking with the question, so she nodded. "No hypervodka," he added. "Damn Jack Harkness for getting me addicted to the stuff. Three shots of the strongest proof that you've got," he decided on.

Sookie reached for his shoulder in concern as she stood up. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"No," he said, his tone breaking on the word. "Not at all. But... I just need to forget her." His agony was again palpable. "Is that too much to ask? For ten seconds of peace?"

She jotted his order down without further argument—if anyone deserved that peace, it was him. She had seen him, on her brief foray into his mind, and she could see how desperate that he was for that telepathic touch, the reason that he was letting her in to begin with. She had seen his rage, his agony, his power. He was everything that was dangerous and twisted and goddamn wonderful in the world, all wrapped up in a single package.

His Rose must be a remarkable woman, and she must be incredibly strong, to stand up face to face with this man and come back without losing pieces of her soul in the abyss that was his mind. She walked away and fetched his drinks, made a few rounds across the room while Sam was getting them ready. Then she carried her tray back to his table and set the three shots in front of him. He knocked them back in quick succession, and smiled softly at her, reaching into his pocket a lot further in than his hand should fit, and produced a hundred-dollar bill.

"Here. Keep the tip."

"But—" She started to protest, but could see that it would do no good. The money literally meant less than nothing to him—and he had stolen it from an ATM about three-hundred years ago, according to his timeline, so it really had been collecting dust in his pocket.

"Sookie Stackhouse," he said fondly. "What you have given me tonight is not something that I can ever repay. Trust me when I say that it is worth much more to me than one hundred dollars would ever mean to you."

Stunned, she took the bill from his hand and watched in bewilderment as he turned to walk towards the door, knowing from his thoughts that it was true. She felt momentarily proud that she had helped this incredible man heal, even just a little bit. That she had helped to repay the massive debt that humanity as a whole owed him.

Suddenly unsure what possessed her, she called out for him. "Doctor?" He turned back and arched a brow questioningly. "When you find your Rose, will you come back and introduce me?"

He smiled at her then, a huge, adorably hopeful grin. "You think that I can find her?"

"You're the Doctor! Of course you can," Sookie said.

He giggled. "Of course. I mean, can't promise that I won't be a little bit late. I have a tendency for that sort of thing."

"That's okay," Sookie said, laughing.

Then he was gone, having walked out of her life as quickly as he had appeared. The most remarkable man that she would ever meet, she knew.

And then the door opened again, and a man who was unmistakably a vampire came through. Sookie put the Doctor out of her mind, suddenly filled with glee at the thought of meeting an honest-to-god vampire.

This came from watching the first episode of True Blood. As such, I have very little understanding of the series. It's a what-if, instead of Bill walking into the bar at that moment, it was the Doctor. Set between The Runaway Bride and Smith and Jones for Doctor Who. Well, when he met Martha, clearly he was much better than he was when he met Donna—this is my take on what happened in between, and what helped to heal him.