A/N: I would like to apologize to Alcide fans everywhere, including myself. I think that the actor who plays Alcide is hot, and I like him. But he’s just no Eric at the end of the day–to me. And I think that he’s kind of screwed up after the whole Debbie thing. He needs to follow Sookie’s example and take some time to heal and figure stuff out. But my story is going to reflect the fact that he’s still not at that point.
Sookie couldn’t count the number of mood swings she’d felt as she had read Eric’s letter. She folded it carefully and tucked it back into its envelope. The letter had broken her heart, made her angry, and made her laugh―sometimes more than one thing at a time. He’d confided in her, and there were secrets shared that she wouldn’t want to go any further, so she placed the letter in her purse, zipping it safely in the side pocket. When she got home, she would pry up the old floor board in the attic, where she used to keep her childhood treasures, and place it inside so she would be assured of its safety.
She sighed loudly, drained from the past week and from the emotional turbulence the letter had caused. “Who knew Eric Northman was so darned long-winded?” she said out loud, though a smile played on her lips. She wished he was there for a moment so that she could chide him for his high-handedness. Then she retrieved her cell phone out of her purse, remembering that she needed to call Alcide.
He answered on the first ring. “Hey cher.”
She couldn’t help but love the way that both he and Sam called her ‘cher’, and she resolved to go speak to Sam about her job soon.
“Alcide, Eric told me that you would be looking after me during the day. After everything that’s happened, I’m just so appreciative. I know how you feel about vampires.”
“It’s okay, Sook. I’m sorry about how I spoke to you the other night after you’d been shot. You know that I’ll always be your friend and support you, right?”
“Thanks. Why don’t you come on up? Actually, give me five minutes first, so I can warn Lafayette that you’re coming.”
“No problem. See you real soon.”
Sookie went out to the porch where Lafayette was looking at a fashion magazine. “You all right?” he asked, taking in her swollen eyes.
“Yep,” Sookie answered. Though tired, she did feel better after reading Eric’s letter. “I need to warn you that Alcide is coming. Eric arranged for him to protect me during the daytime.”
“Is that the tall, dark, yummy drink of water with the chest to die―or kill―for?”
Sookie laughed, “Yep, that sums him up pretty well.” She thought that Alcide was definitely handsome enough to be the fodder of daydreams, so she couldn’t begrudge Lafayette’s lust-filled look.
Just then, Alcide emerged from the woods, in his signature flannel shirt and a pair of sinfully tight blue jeans.
“Oh Lordy!” Lafayette muttered after spying the Were.
Alcide approached and gave Sookie a big hug, which she returned gladly. Alcide had a way of hugging her like a big, old bear. At the contact, she couldn’t help but hear in his mind that he thought she smelled like jasmine and that Debbie liked that scent too. He seemed a bit sad.
“Thanks again, Alcide―so much,” Sookie said, pulling out of the hug. “I know that you must be missin’ work or something to be here, and I appreciate it. Both Bill and Eric think something might come for me and that I might be in danger.”
“When are you not in danger?” Alcide smiled at her, repeating sentiments he’d shared with her before.
“Do you know my friend Lafayette?” Sookie asked.
“I think I’ve seen him before, but I don’t know if we’ve officially met―Alcide Herveaux,” Alcide reached out to shake Lafayette’s hand.
Lafayette rose and tightened his purple robe dramatically before reaching for Alcide’s hand. He looked the taller man over from top to bottom. “The pleasure is all mine,” he said, “for now.” Sookie could tell that whatever Lafayette was doing to Alcide’s hand during their shake was making the Were a bit uncomfortable. She had to try hard to stifle a giggle.
Sookie had decided that Lafayette and Jesus should be told about Weres since she’d be staying with them for at least the next day. After everything with the witches, she knew that they could take it. Of course, Jason already knew about Weres, so telling him about Alcide wouldn’t be such a big deal. She also wanted to tell Alcide about the spell that had been done on her. She wanted all her allies to be on the same page for once.
She looked at Alcide, “Hey, do you mind if I talk to you for a sec in private?” She looked apologetically at Lafayette before leading Alcide to the side of the house.
“What’s up, Sook?”
“Alcide, I want to tell Lafayette, Jesus, and my brother about what you are, if that’s okay. I know that you don’t want a lot of people knowin’, and I get that because of my own ability, but you might have to shift in front of them, and I don’t want them freaking out.”
Alcide looked at Sookie for a moment, “Are they trustworthy?”
“Yes,” she answered without hesitation. “Jason already knows about Werepanthers on account of him gettin’ bitten by one, and he’s been able to keep that to himself. Jesus and Lafayette are much more discreet.”
“Okay, Sook, I trust your judgment here,” Alcide said nodding.
Sookie gave him a little pat. “Thanks, Alcide.”
The two returned to the porch where Lafayette looked to be primping. His eyes followed Alcide as they sat down.
Sookie started, “Laf, I wanna tell you somethin’ about Alcide, but I need you to swear that you won’t tell anyone.”
Lafayette looked momentarily concerned until Sookie added, “except Jesus. We were plannin’ on tellin’ him too.”
Relieved, Lafayette nodded before Sookie continued, ripping off the Band-Aid, “Alcide is a Werewolf.”
Lafayette sat in silence for a minute or two, taking in what had been said. His response was not what either of his listeners expected. “Jesus is some kind of demon AND a witch, and I can channel dead people.” He sighed, sinking into his seat.
“O-kay,” Alcide finally said slowly. “Now that that’s all settled, do you have anything to eat?”
Surprised by the lack of fall-out to the revelations, Sookie looked at Lafayette, suddenly feeling hungry herself.
“There’s stuff for sandwich fixins’ in the fridge. I’ll warm up the gumbo for dinner tonight,” Lafayette said.
Sookie nodded and then rose. “I’ll go make some sandwiches then,” she said, turning to open the door. “Wait!” she exclaimed, remembering a crucial piece of information she’d been given by Eric, “the king is coming here tonight!”
Lafayette looked nonplussed. “Bill was here last night. I wish that bitch would just take a hint and chill.”
“No, Lala,” Sookie said. “The KING is coming tonight, as in Elvis!”
Sookie had never been so glad about finishing making sandwiches in her life. She quickly took the plate of sandwiches and two iced teas and carefully thread her way through the whirlwind that had been Lafayette in the last few minutes. Ever since he’d learned that Elvis was coming, he’d been in a cleaning frenzy and was currently trying to figure out where he’d stored a paint-by-number painting his mom had done of Elvis.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Sookie said opening the door carefully and using all her waitressing skills to avoid dropping anything. “Remember what Eric said. We have to call him Bubba and pretend he’s not who he is.”
“Fine,” Lafayette said even as he continued to dust.
Sookie sighed as she sat down on the porch, offering one of the teas and a sandwich to Alcide.
“Did you know that Elvis was a vampire?” she asked.
Alcide nodded, “Yeah, it’s pretty well known in the Supe community. Since he is the way he is, most of us that know kinda look out for him, but he’s really pretty good at stayin’ out of sight, according to what I’ve heard. I’ve also heard that he’s quite strong, especially given his age.”
Sookie spoke again after finishing a bite of sandwich, “Eric said he had overdosed and was turned too late. I guess there’d already been brain damage that couldn’t be corrected by the vampire blood?”
“Yeah, that’s the same story I’ve heard. I’ve never met him though. I guess we’ll all see what he’s like tonight since I’m supposed to wait until Pam gets here.” Alcide rolled his eyes at his mention of Pam.
After she’d finished half a sandwich, Sookie decided it was time to tell Alcide about the spell. “Alcide, I need to tell you about why Eric wanted you to protect me.”
As he chewed a bite, Alcide gestured for Sookie to continue.
“As you may know, the witch that was trying to make all the vampires walk in the sun was killed a few days ago.”
“Anyway, I came over here the next day, and we all got to talkin’. As Lafayette said, Jesus is a witch, and he told me about a spell that could get rid of vampire blood in humans.”
Alcide sat forward in his chair, clearly interested in what Sookie had to say.
“Anyway, Jason, who had drunk Jessica’s blood―Jessica is Bill’s child, you know?” Alcide nodded. “Well Jason and I decided to do the spell. I wanted to see if the feelings I had for Eric and Bill were real. I learned from Jesus that vampire blood could amplify things that were already there―like attraction could seem like love or dislike could seem like hate, that kind of thing.”
Alcide nodded again, encouragingly.
“So we did it day before yesterday. It took a lot out of me, but I thought it was the only way I’d know if my feelings were from me or from the chemistry of the vampire blood.”
“What did you find out, Sook?”
“I don’t know yet, Alcide. I’m still tryin’ to recover from the spell a bit; then, I’ll work it out.”
Alcide was contemplative for a few moments. Then he spoke as he reached out to pull Sookie’s hand into his. “For what it’s worth, I’m glad you did it. You are finally free of all those bastards.”
Sookie pulled her hand away from Alcide’s and picked up her tea to cover her discomfort at his statement. Even now, Sookie refused to believe that all the members of one group could be bad. She’d seen good in both Bill and Eric, after all.
“Why do you hate them so much?” she finally asked.
“You’ve seen how manipulative they can be?”
She had, so she nodded.
“Well, us Weres and them have never really gotten along. They think they are so superior to us.”
Sookie had seen Alcide’s kind of prejudice from most of the Supes she knew, as well as most of the humans. She gestured for Alcide to continue as she took another bite of her sandwich.
“They also have done some bad things to my father. He got into debt at a casino on the Mississippi that is owned by a vamp. He’s been beaten up more than once.”
Sookie nodded again, trying to see Alcide’s point. After all, his father’s gambling addiction couldn’t be blamed upon vampires.
She spoke, “Why don’t you like them?”
Alcide took a deep breath. “It’s sort of complicated, Sook,” he said, frustration filling his voice. “They act superior, which sets us all up against each other to start with. Just look at how Northman behaves. He had Pam call me night before last, and she basically ordered me to protect you even though I would have done it if she would have just asked. Northman just assumes that if he says jump, everyone will immediately hop to.”
“Yeah, that does sound like him,” Sookie said, a bit of a smile behind her eyes.
Alcide took Sookie’s hand in his again, looking into her eyes sincerely and with intensity. Sookie’s heart had started to jump around a bit until she caught a flash of Debbie roll through Alcide’s mind.
“Sook,” Alcide said, “I think that your breaking your connection with the vamps couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for us.”
“Us?” questioned Sookie.
“Yeah, you once said that if you had a chance to do what was best for you, you would fall in love with someone like me. Sookie,” Alcide said, squeezing her hand more tightly, “I think that we should just do what’s best for once. We can start a new life together.”
Sookie pulled her hand back a bit, “What about Debbie?”
Alcide pulled Sookie’s hand back more fully into his grasp, “Debbie and I are done, Sookie.”
“The other day. I’ve abjured her.”
“What does that mean?” Sookie was a bit uncomfortable from the intensity of Alcide’s grip, so she shook her hand a little. He let go, and she placed both hands in her lap and sat back.
“It’s when a Were decides to cut all ties with another. Basically, it means that I will no longer transform with her or run with her. She is dead to me.”
“What happened, Alcide?”
“She slept with our pack leader, for one thing.”
Sookie couldn’t fight her compassion and reached for Alcide’s hand again. Immediately she wished she hadn’t as she caught a glimpse from Alcide’s mind of him killing a man, who she assumed was the pack leader. She also caught a glimpse of Sam.
“You killed him?” she said, pulling her hand away again.
“Was Sam there?”
Alcide looked strained before launching into his story. “Marcus, the pack leader, came to me for help. He said that some shifter was tryin’ to take away his wife and daughter and asked me for my help scaring him. I agreed.”
Sookie looked down at her hands, a bit disappointed that Alcide would agree to such a thing and also that he seemed just as prejudiced against shifters as he was vampires. To be honest, Sookie didn’t much care for this aspect of Alcide, and she didn’t think it was justified based on his explanation. “So you were going to rough him up?’
Alcide shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “Yeah, a little.” He continued, “Turned out, the shifter was your boss, Sam Merlotte.”
“Sam?” Sookie exclaimed. “You didn’t hurt him, did you?”
Alcide looked even more uncomfortable, “He came to an auto shop owned by one of the Weres in the Shreveport pack, which I joined with Debbie. I thought we were just gonna intimidate him a little to get him to keep his paws off of Marcus’s wife―or maybe just rough him up a little like I said, but things got out of hand.” He looked down, ashamed. “It ended up that it wasn’t actually Sam there. It was his brother, Tommy, who had somehow gotten the ability to shift into humans. Anyway, he got beat up real bad before I could put a stop to it.”
Alcide stopped for a minute and then looked at Sookie. Speechless, she nodded for him to go on, though she wasn’t certain she wanted to hear what he had to say.
“Well, Tommy was alive, but barely. He asked me to take him to Sam, but he died soon after.”
Tears gathered and then fell from Sookie’s eyes as she thought about her friend. She was so thankful that it hadn’t really been Sam to get beaten and killed, but she also felt awful that Sam’s brother, whom she had met only a couple of times, was dead. No matter what had happened between Sookie and Sam in the past, she loved him, almost like a brother.
Alcide was going on, “Sam asked me what had happened. That was when I found out that Marcus was divorced from Luna, his ex-wife. He had also attempted to take their daughter out of the area once, so his visitation had been limited after that.”
“So Sam’s seeing this Luna now?”
“Yeah, she’s a shifter like him. I swear I thought that Marcus just intended to protect his family,” he looked at Sookie pleadingly. “Anyway, Sam wanted to go after Marcus because of Tommy, and I agreed to help.”
Sookie nodded again. She thought about how much the Were and shifter worlds were like the vampire world. No Supe group would think about calling the police. They all believed in administering their own justice.
“We looked for Marcus everywhere I could think he might be. And then, four nights ago, Luna’s daughter went missin’ too. Thankfully, she was able to call Luna, and the caller I.D. said she was at my house of all places!”
Sookie looked at Alcide surprised.
“It gets worse,” he continued. “Debbie, it seems, had started taking V again and had hooked up with Marcus in our own bed while I was with Tommy and Sam. When Sam, Luna, and I got there, we found Debbie and Marcus in our bedroom. Sam and Marcus fought for a while, and Sam stopped just short of killin’ him while I held Debbie back. Sam was gonna let Marcus live―probably for Luna and the girl’s sake―but Marcus moved to attack Sam, so I,” he paused.
“So you killed him,” Sookie completed, catching another glimpse of what had happened from Alcide’s head.
“Yeah,” Alcide said, looking pretty sad about what he’d had to do. “After that, I abjured Debbie. She’s out of my house and out of my life now, Sookie.”
“But is she out of your heart?”
Alcide looked at Sookie with sincerity in his eyes, “She will be soon, Sookie.” He paused and then continued, “Now that you and I have both gotten rid of our ties to the past, we could have a real shot together, don’t you think?”
Sookie sighed, even more confused than she’d been before. Here was yet another offer to add to Bill’s and Eric’s.
“I don’t know, Alcide. To be honest, I feel like I’m being pulled in about 100 directions right now, and I don’t know where I’m going to end up.”
“Just think about it, cher, okay?” His brown eyes were warm and inviting. “If you get back in with them blood suckers, I’m really afraid for you.”
Sookie forced a smile but didn’t say anything responding to Alcide’s concern or his offer or his word choice. She hated terms like “blood suckers” that she felt showed clear prejudice. Instead, she stood up and moved to go inside, placing her hand on Alcide’s shoulder. She knew that she shouldn’t do it, but she listened into his thoughts more fully. They swirled a bit, so they were harder to read at first, but she picked up that he still loved Debbie despite everything. She also picked up his intense dislike for vampires, especially Eric, and his real concern for Sookie. He sincerely wanted to be in love with Sookie and felt that she was the kind of woman he’d be proud to call his mate.
Sookie patted his shoulder in a comforting gesture. “I think I’m going to go rest for a while. I’m still real worn down from the spell. I’d stay out of Lafayette’s way if I were you,” she grinned at him and then went into the house.
Lafayette was nowhere in sight although she heard rustling coming from the back of the house. She quickly grabbed the deed to her home and her purse from the kitchen table so that they wouldn’t be lost in the shuffle and then slipped into her room and pulled the door closed.
She lay down on the bed, pulling a quilt over her. She put the deed on the pillow next to her and whispered, “Thank you, Eric.” Then, she pulled Eric’s letter out of her purse, curled up into a tight ball, read it again, and fell into a nap.