This True Blood story contains gay characters. That means it may contain adult concepts and sensuality between men.
If you're underage or offended by such things, you have been warned not to read the fiction.

This was written for the Yuletide Treasure fic exchange in 2009. Skogkatt wanted Lafayette to have a good day.

Some Crazy, Random, Happenstance Bullshit That All Turned Out Okay

Cousin Shelley


 

"Yeah." Lafayette whispered in his sleep, in the depths of a dream that was familiar to him now. He'd had the damn thing, or a variation of it, several times a week for months--since he'd been healed of the gunshot. It always started innocently enough, usually he was scared shitless, then it turned into this total lust-and-fuck thing that he really wouldn't have minded if only it had been with someone else.  Like someone maybe alive.

"Oh . . . yeah, mm hmm, mm hmm . . . yes!  Yesyesyesmotherfuck--oh . . . oh God!  I hate you!  I hate . . . you  . . . Eric . . . fucking . . . Northman."  He always came when it happened in the dream, and that's when he woke, in the throes of his orgasm, always right in the damn middle.  Not afterwards, when he could say it was just all a dream. But in the middle, so that he was awake and coming, and remembering and sometimes wishing it wasn't just a dream. Which really pissed him off.

He panted and licked his lips, squeezing his ass muscles tight and flexing his thighs, enjoying the last whispers of it.  "I hate you, you old . . . blond . . . bitch."

When it had passed, he sat up and looked around, expecting to hear I heard that or some other smart-ass remark. He always felt like Eric was watching him now, and he wondered if somehow the bloodsucker did have a way to keep tabs on him. When he was satisfied that he really was alone, or as alone as he could be, he got up to wash.

He wasn't terrified of Eric anymore. He didn't flinch at the memory of him or have flashbacks, though just thinking of Pam still gave him the God damn heebie-jeebies. Of course, Pam was the one who kept showing up, not Eric. He hadn't had to face Eric since he'd drank from him to heal the gunshot. He was scared of Eric in his dreams, but only at first. Then Eric would soothe him, whispering to him in another language that was like music, and then he did things to Lafayette that in all his years of having things done to him, he could never have imagined. No one had ever made him come that hard, in a dream or in real life.

But they's just dreams. Maybe he's a terrible lay in real life.  Lafayette told himself that sometimes to try to feel better. But he had a feeling that Eric was every bit as fantastic a lover as he dreamed. So the fuck of his lifetime was from a dreamed, dead mother fucker who had imprisoned him, tormented him and given him a complex so bad that shell-shocked Terry, who twitched every damn time the fryer buzzer went off, had made Lafayette his project and tried to help him.

"That just ain't right," Lafayette said to himself as he looked in the mirror. "You look like a bomb done went off at the Mary Kay factory.  What the fuck is this?" The new eyeshadow was too light. He chucked it into the trash, but then batted his eyes at the mirror. "Still lookin' pretty fine, though." His voice sounded flat to him, because deep down he didn't believe it. He never looked fine until he put a scarf on and got it just right. He picked a turquoise one that shimmered in the light. He'd never looked right with short man-hair he had, so the scarves that hung down always made him feel better. Well, don't I fucking feel pretty?

"Mm hmm," he said softly, before he headed out the door.

***

 

"Sam, you gotta minute?" Lafayette popped his head around Sam's open office door.

"Sure, what's up?" Sam leaned back in his desk chair and Lafayette could have sworn he looked relieved. He glanced down at the paperwork on Sam's desk, and the mess of numbers he couldn't have even hoped to make out, and he figured his impression was right.

"My check's too much--looks to be over by about seventy dollars." He held it out for Sam.

Sam took it and looked at it. "You sure?"

"Well, it's seventy-dollars more than just about every check I've ever gotten from you. Unless you gave me some super-raise you didn’t bother to tell me about, you's overpaid."

"Well, thank you, Lafayette, I really appreciate that you would--"

"Whoa, whoa, now. Don't go on too long, as if it's so amazing that I'd come in here with this!"

Sam shook his head, wide-eyed. "No, that's not what I'm doing. I just appreciate it, that's all."

"Well, okay. 'Cause I'm many things, but I ain't no God damn thief."

"Lafayette," Sam said, getting up from his chair and handing the check back as he did so, "I wasn’t trying to imply that, take it easy."

"I earn my money honestly. Or, you know, occasionally in illegal ways, but I always provide a product or a service--I do not steal."

"Okay, okay, I know that!" Sam was smiling now, and holding his hands up.

"Why don't you just cut me another--"

"Keep it."

He paused. Then even though he was thinking thank you, he said, "I don't think I need your charity, either, I come in here--"

"Hey!" Sam's smile was gone, but he wasn't exactly frowning, either. He looked concerned more than anything. "Would you knock off the defensiveness? This is me, here, Sam. I don't think you're a thief, and it's not charity."

"I--I'm sorry, Sam. I don't know where--just, I'm sorry.  Here." The fight was leaving him, and he was glad because he really didn't understand where it had come from in the first place. Sam had never treated him in any way that should have made him jump to conclusions like that. "I don't know why I reacted like that."

"S'alright. Maybe you're just not used to good luck? So you're waiting for the bad luck that has to follow--it's a feeling I'm familiar with.  You keep it. Consider it a bonus."

"For what?"

"For comin' back," Sam said simply. Then he smiled a little and walked past Lafayette to leave his office.

"That was months ago."

"Still a good thing," Sam said, without turning.

Suddenly, it was all right again, it was easy, and Lafayette was grateful.  "If you givin' out bonuses for little shit like that, how about a bonus for lookin' fabulous? Because you know I got it goin' on today."

Sam laughed and turned, looked him up and down slowly and said, "Why yes, Lafayette, I believe you do. But don't push it."

***

Lafayette was having an unbelievably good day. Sam had been right. He'd felt defensive about the extra money because deep down he figured he'd have to pay for it somehow. There'd be a catch. And there wasn't. That was a pleasant fucking surprise, if ever--

"Hey!"

Arlene's shout was followed by laughter, but Arlene wasn't laughing. Lafayette and Terry both hurried to the order window. Some drunk sumbitch had pulled Arlene down onto his lap, and Lafayette could feel Terry vibrating with anger next to him. And he felt for the guy. He knew Terry wanted to go and take that fucker's head off, but he was terrified of going out there, getting carried away, and literally taking that fucker's head off.

"I got it," Lafayette said, thinking that it had actually been too long since he got to whoop on some dumb fuck who didn't know any better. The last time  . . . he'd knocked the fuck out of Eggs, getting Tara away from him. Poor dead bastard. Lafayette felt bad about it now, since it really hadn't been Eggs' fault. But at the time, thinking that he'd been whaling on Tara, Lafayette just wanted to stomp him into a greasy puddle on the ground.

He hurried out to where Arlene was trying to be reasonable with the ugly dude who was holding her down on his lap and making hunching moves, which sent him and his two equally trashed friends into fits of giggles. Lafayette held his hand out for Arlene.

The men around the table collectively sent up an, "oooooh."

"Well, lookee what we have here, boys. You're being rescued my lady," the drunk said with a laugh, "but not by a prince . . . it's a princess!" They all belly-laughed, and Lafayette rolled his eyes. Arlene looked at him apologetically, and he quickly pulled while they were laughing. This freed her, and she raced behind the bar where Sam and Sookie were watching. Sookie put her arm around Arlene.

Arlene looked at Sam. "I think he's got it, it'll be all right."

Sam nodded. They all knew that Lafayette, despite his eyeliner and his "feminine wileys" as Terry sometimes referred to it, was one tough bastard when he wanted to be--as tough or more than any of them. Terry had given his opinion on that once at a Merlotte's staff Christmas party, when Lafayette had gone to the restroom. He'd suggested what they all thought but hadn't said, that probably being black and gay in a town like Bon Temps made being tough some kind of requirement.

"Now, I wasn't hurtin' her none. But, wait! I think Tinkerbell here must have just been jealous. Pulled her off my lap so she could sit here instead."  He slapped his thigh and puckered his lips, making dog-calling noises.

"That's some fantasy you got there, Buford, but I has standards." He slapped his own ass cheek lightly. "This is the sweetest ass you will never have. Now why don't you little boys tuck your dicks 'tween your legs and go circle jerk somewheres else?"

There were three, but they were drunk. And even sober, Lafayette knew he could probably take them. They weren't used to real fighting; they were cowards. And cowards couldn't fist-fight worth a shit, because they were always too worried that another in their group would cut and run to save his own ass. Which usually happened, making it even easier.

"Look, bitch," the biggest one said, and started to stand.

"Sam," Terry warned, and Sam wrapped his hand around the Louisville Slugger behind the bar.

But Lafayette shoved the big, drunk bastard back down and said, "That's Mrs. Bitch to you, Billy-Bob. And I suggest you get up slowly and mosey your fat asses outta here just as nicely as you capable of. Because if you fuck with me, I'll hit you so fucking hard that if the world is unfortunate enough that some silly slut one day lets you into her panties at the wrong time of the month and you actually breed, all you's grandchildren's grandchildren will pop out between they momma's legs with my handprint on their little redneck, soon-to-be-beer-guzzling, tractor-pull watching, masturbating-to-NASCAR ugly fucking ass cheeks."

He looked at the three mouths, hanging open a little, and cherished this moment. Because this was the moment when their Budweiser-soaked brains were trying to decipher just exactly what he'd said.

"Hey!" He slammed his hand down on the table. "Was that too fast for you?"

The three men rose, but it looked pretty obvious to Lafayette that weren’t going to follow his good God damn advice. He sighed, and though he wouldn't take his eyes off the men, he could see Terry signaling so subtly to Sam from the order window by flailing his arms out it and alternately pointing with one finger then all four. Just as Sam and Terry approached him from behind, the three rowdies started to deflate a little bit.

"Three on one's fine, but three on three makes you pee yourself?" Lafayette couldn't resist.

Some words were exchanged, and Sam actually grabbed Lafayette's arm once to keep him from punching one of them, because it really seemed like they might leave without violence if the sober among them kept their cool.

When they were gone, Terry wiped his forehead with a shaky hand. "I didn't think they were ever gonna leave."

"Only 'cause you so ugly, you scared 'em." Lafayette clapped Terry on the shoulder, and Terry laughed at the familiar tease. So everything was all right, and the day was still pretty damn good. Though he'd have liked to have busted that big one's head, at least one time.  Still, the look of supreme, bone-deep stupidity on their faces had been satisfying, too.

***

"So, you're doing a lot better. Yeah?" Terry was looking up at Lafayette while he chopped carrots.

"You gonna chop off a finger you don't watch what you doin'."

Terry nodded and looked down at the cutting board. "So, she's helping? You like her?"

Her was Terry's psychiatrist. He'd given Lafayette her card after Lafayette had collapsed and Terry had recognized the signs of serious post-traumatic stress disorder. He'd gotten Lafayette through that little moment, and had tried to pull out of him just what was wrong, but of course Lafayette couldn't tell him.

Terry, understanding how hard PTSD really is, Lafayette guessed, hadn't pushed too hard, but had let him know he would be there for him. And he'd given Lafayette Dr. Mueller's card. Said she'd helped him, and it was worth a try, because he should do something rather than just suffer . . . and a bunch of other stuff that Lafayette hadn't really been listening to.

He didn't go for a few weeks, thinking it was silly. What the hell did he need a psychiatrist for? He knew he had issues--Christ, he'd had issues since he was about 5, he reckoned. But in those few weeks, Pam had been back to visit him with more V that Eric insisted he sell, and he'd been a mess for a few days afterward. So he went.

"Yeah, but if she'd been a big, handsome black buck, I'd like her more." He winked at Terry, and Terry grinned a little before chopping again.

"But she's helping?"

"I guess so. I haven't cried in front of you lately, has I? So I guess she's helpin.'"

Truth was, she really did help. But not so much with any post-traumatic stress anything. She helped by giving him someone to tell about ordinary stuff, like being alone, how every son of a bitch he'd kind of fallen for lately had turned out to be no good, how hard it was to be yourself when yourself was Lafayette . . . that kind of thing.

And somehow that kind of helping over time had managed to make the rest a little better, too. It wasn't like he could really explore the things that made him post-traumatized and fucked up.

"Um, yes, well, you see, I was selling V and I really pissed off this old Swedish vampire and his posse, who threw me in a dungeon with some other poor fucks, even tore one apart right in front of me, and then bit the fuck out of me after some stupid bitch fang banger shot me, and basically had me pissing my drawers all the time because I was their prisoner and they could do anything to me at any time. And if all that wasn't enough to make a bitch run down the road screaming, then the whole town went whack-o because of some old bitch who was part buffalo or something, wanted to raise up a god to marry her or eat her or fuck her--I don't know. But the egg-licking bitch made me her bridesmaid, and we was all Maypole dancing around a big statue of meat, and then my boss turned into a white bull and gored her, and so now I get a little nervous in the evenings. Got a God damn pill for that?"

It was too fucking hard to earn a living from a padded cell. So he revealed to her, after several visits, that he'd pissed somebody off, and they'd grabbed him and held him in their basement, and he'd been a bit mistreated. Of course, she jumped to rape, and he'd cleared her up on that. He hadn't been raped or gang-banged or anything like what she was imagining.

Though when he thought back to how they'd all gotten their jollies by biting him at the same time, he realized with a shiver that he had technically been gang-fanged. He wondered if he'd be so fucked up if they'd just fucked him, instead.

Dr. Mueller had tried to get everything out of him, telling him that he needed to go to the police and turn these people in, and of course he'd let on like yeah, that would be best, wouldn't it? All the while thinking that would be the quickest way to end up dead, or worse, back in the basement at Fangtasia, waiting to be some dried-up mother-fucker's breakfast buffet.

She'd stopped harping on the whole "crime" that had been done to him for a while, and that let them talk about other things, like just being Lafayette in a town like Bon Temps, or anywhere, for that matter. And sometimes even crying about his life, and about why he couldn't win one once in a while, and maybe things to do to make that more likely, she said. And though he probably wouldn't admit it to anyone but Terry, it made life a little bit easier.

***

"Lafayette, when will those fries be up?"

"You have asked me that no less than five times, Arlene, and I will tell you again they's coming once they's fried. If you can't wait for that, then just put a God damn potato on a plate and take it away."

"Is the fryer on? It seems like it's--"

"I know how to work the fryer, so I know you's not implying otherwise. Because I may look like a delicate diva, my darlin', but that don't mean I won't come out there and smack a bitch."

"Just hurry," Arlene said through clenched teeth before she rushed away.

Lafayette heard a clank, and turned to see that Terry had put his cleaver down hard enough to make the noise. He stood there now, his arms crossed and his nostrils flared. He was transferring his weight from one foot to another and staring at Lafayette.

"Lafayette . . . I know you talk like that to everybody, and nobody, not even Arlene, thinks anything of it, because everybody knows you don't mean it. It's just . . . just how you are. But . . . ."

"But it bothers you when I talk to Arlene that way because she you lady."

"Yes, yes and I know it probably shouldn't bother me, but . . . but it does."

"How about I don't call her "bitch" anymore? I can't promise not to be short-tempered, because you know how easy that is back here. But I'll watch it on the rest. "

Terry beamed and lowered his arms. "Thank you, Lafayette. That's good of you."

He could tell Terry was relieved, and it felt good to have let Terry do what he felt he needed to, while making it easier on him than he thought it'd be. So by way of rewarding himself with a little celebration, he circled around and stood next to Terry. "I might still call you "bitch" now and then, though. 'Cause I ain't perfect."

He bumped his groin into Terry's hip fast three times. Terry's arms went straight up, he cocked his head and squeezed his eyes shut. "Hump. Hump! He's humping me again, Sam!"

Lafayette laughed and patted Terry's back, thinking just like old times, before turning to see what the fuck was wrong with the fryer, because the bi--well, Arlene was right about it taking too long. Sam had appeared at the window. "Who's humping what?" and Terry had waved him off a little too enthusiastically with the cleaver. Lafayette had teased Terry about it all for the rest of the night, and it had only taken an hour or two for Terry to get into the spirit of it.

When everything was cleaned up for the night, Lafayette ended up walking out with Sookie who was going to give him a ride home, with Sam not too far behind them, turning off the lights and finding the right key to lock up with. Everyone else had already headed home.

Sookie and Lafayette were talking about Tara. It had been her day off, but even when she was there it was like part of her really wasn't. She was still mourning Eggs, and they both guessed she just needed time.

He was telling her about how guilty he felt, when her eyes went wide and she screamed a warning, too late. He felt the knife go into his lower back, and it dropped him to his knees. When he felt himself going out, he was glad, because fuck did it hurt.

"Sam!" Sookie screamed.

Sam saw Lafayette go down, but the man who'd stabbed him ran, leaving Sookie alone. It was one of the men they'd had to make leave earlier. Sam phoned for an ambulance on his cell as he ran for them. His instinct was to go after the man--he knew he could catch him, even if he didn't change--but Sookie grabbed him, clearly not wanting him to go.

Sam took off his shirt and pressed it against the wound in Lafayette's back. He pressed hard, trying to stop the bleeding, but he shook his head at Sookie. "It's too much, it's not stopping."

"He's going to die."

Sookie's head snapped in the direction of that voice. Eric.

"Let me get him inside, and I'll help him," Eric said calmly, with a slight smile on his face, as if he were talking about them all taking their picnic in out of the rain, or giving someone a pill for a headache, instead of moving a man who was bleeding to death.

"Where did you come from?" Sookie asked him, her eyes narrowed.

"I was nearby."

"Spying on me?"

"Taking in the local . . . flavor. I sensed that Lafayette needed help."

Sam's voice was tense. "What are you two--this is no time for--"

"I can save his life."

Eric lifted Lafayette gently in his arms and waited for Sam to unlock the door.

Sookie said, "Wait, how did you know he needed help? And why would you even care?"

"I care . . . because I know it would cause you pain to lose him. You've already lost enough. Friends, family . . . Bill."

Sookie didn't necessarily believe his sincerity, and him mentioning Bill's absence made her want to lash out. The only thing that stopped her was that Lafayette was hurt and Eric probably was his only hope. "But how did you--"

"He drank from me, so I can feel his strong emotions. Just like I can with you. Feeling you both panic at the same time was  . . . interesting. "

She didn't say anything.

"Jealous?" Eric breathed, his smile growing bigger. Before Sookie could protest, he said, "Leave me alone with him," as he laid him on a table in the back of the bar.

"Just wait a--"

"No, Sam, let's do what he says. Eric won't hurt him." Sookie said the last with a loud, authoritative tone, as if she were making sure it wouldn't happen because she demanded it.

"No, I won't. I promise," he said softly.

Once he was alone with Lafayette, he opened his wrist and pressed it against Lafayette's mouth. When some managed its way down his throat on its own, only then did Lafayette actually suck. Soon, his hands came up to hold Eric's wrist in place, and eventually he was moaning softly as he drank, the wound in his back closed, his dangerous lack of blood remedied, and his body lit up thanks to the powers of Eric's blood.

Eric jerked his wrist away as if annoyed, though he wasn't. But why not give the appearance? It made things more interesting.

Lafayette let his head fall back onto the table. "Why?"

"I told you before. I like you."

"That's still bullshit."

Eric shrugged. This one was actually far more interesting than most. He did like him, a little. But he wasn't going to beg him to believe it. And he hadn't been lying when he'd told Sookie that he didn't want to see her upset.

Eric held his hand out for Lafayette to take to sit up, but Lafayette sat up on his own. "Leaving me hanging?" Eric asked, amused. "Do you really want to treat me that way? I have been very good to you, you know. Forgiving in a way that's usually reserved for . . . well, no one."

"Forgiving? What, are you--? I mean, what the--?"

"Just say thank you. And keep doing what I ask. You'll have a long, happy life that way, Lafayette." He patted the man's shoulder and gave it a squeeze, enough to show just how easily he could crush the bone if he wanted.

"Thank you," Lafayette said, but not without a little sass. Eric liked that, too. He reminded Eric of Sookie in many ways. If ever the day came when Lafayette had to be turned, his offer to be Eric's bad-ass vampire was one that Eric would remember.

"What you were doing was wrong, Lafayette. You were breaking our laws, and I had two missing vampires on my hands, possibly because of it." He ignored the burst of pain he felt thinking of Godric. "And one of them has still never been found. If you'd been dealing heroin, and I'd been a human Sherriff who arrested you, would you have held it against me the way you do now?"

Lafayette stood, and rolled his shoulders, "No, but you wouldn't throw me in a damp basement, half-starve my ass, make me shit in a bucket, and chain me by my neck like an animal."

Eric looked at him for a moment, blankly.  "Oh," he said, his smile returning, "well, perhaps not in this century."

The siren drew their attention, and Sam and Sookie reappeared, Sam obviously far more amazed at Lafayette's recovery than Sookie. He put a hand on Lafayette's shoulder and then looked at Eric and said, "I'd called them before you came. I'm sure they've dispatched the police, too."

"This is awkward," Eric said. "Getting stabbed with no stab wound . . . they'll probably want to drug test all of you." His little half-smile never faded. "I'll see you soon," Eric said to Sookie, leaning forward almost if he might kiss her before backing away. Then he turned to Lafayette. "Wipe your mouth. Wait, I have a better idea. You're welcome."

Eric was gone faster than any of them could see, and Lafayette wasn't paying close attention anyway, because before Eric disappeared he'd clocked Lafayette right in the mouth. It split his lip and would leave a nice bruise, he could tell just by the feel.

"That fucking--bast--cock--fuck--" His hand over his mouth muffled part of his tirade, and the pain managed to keep him from saying everything he wanted to say. But he knew it had just been a tap. If Eric had wanted to hurt him, he would have hurt him. This was to give the emergency folks reason to think he'd really been attacked, instead of deciding they were all high on meth or needing a rest in the local funny farm.

By the time the paramedics had gotten inside, the split in his lip was starting to seal up a little and throb less, thanks to the vampire blood in Lafayette's system. But it wasn't healing so quickly that it would arouse suspicion in the next hour or so, thankfully.

He refused to go to the hospital. They'd all explained that the man had tried to stab Lafayette, but apparently had just cut his shirt and then punched him there, and that was the crushing pain that had caused him to pass out. The blood? Oh, that, well, that had probably come from the dude who'd tried to stab him and managed to only punch him. He'd cut his hand, probably because he was drunk or on dope. And the blood on Sam's wadded up shirt, that had been from Lafayette's lip and his mouth, 'cause he'd got a tooth loosened up, and it had bled a bit. Yep.

Once the ambulance personnel got the story straight, that the guy who did the stabbing must have cut himself pretty badly, and that Sam had valiantly stripped off his shirt to hold against Lafayette's mouth . . . they seemed satisfied. Only in Bon Temps, Lafayette thought. Only in this fucked up little ant hill.  

The highlight had been the very concerned and compassionate paramedic named Alan who had the body of a God, and a behind . . . if only Eric hadn't healed him up quite so good, Lafayette would have actually had reason to ride in the ambulance to the hospital, and gotten to spend some more time with soft-voiced Alan and his beautiful behind. Lafayette knew his name, because the first thing the man had done was take his hand to take his pulse, and told him, in a soft and kind voice, "My name's Alan, and I'm here to help you."  He'd checked Lafayette over thoroughly, though not quite as thoroughly as Lafayette would have liked. Then he'd explained what needed to be done. They did still have to file police reports, because he had been the victim of a crime and Sookie and Sam were witnesses.

Andy had arrived on the scene while the paramedics were still assessing the situation and had taken statements, asked them to all come in and tell him what happened so he could get everything straight. Andy had actually apologized at one point for seeming so cheerful about it.

"I'm not happy you were attacked, Lafayette, I'm just glad that this is just a drunk assault we have to deal with, and not some bitch queen of the damned who's come to turn us all into a stew, or something."

They had all understood.

***

Sam had told him to stay at home, but he didn't want to be alone. He scooted a plate through the window toward Sookie.

"He didn't have to hit me, you know that, don't you? He could have just stayed and convinced the paramedics that there was nothing to see with that fucked up hypno-mind-control shit he got goin' on."

Sookie nodded. "I know. But Eric is . . . Eric."

He watched her walk away, her ponytail bouncing, and he wondered just how long it would be before Eric took Bill's place. No one knew where the fuck that vampire was, and Sookie was only just now starting to act like herself again. At first, she'd been convinced she'd upset him when she hadn't immediately accepted his proposal. Then she'd been convinced that other vampires--mostly Eric--had done something to him. Now, half the time she looked like she was waiting for him, and the other half of the time she looked like she didn't care.

But seeing her with Eric last night, there was definitely something there. It was hard to tell with Sook, but Lafayette knew her well enough to recognize that. And Eric softened around her. They were gonna hook up, he realized, and he wondered if it would still be okay to hate him after that.

Thinking on all this, it dawned on him that he'd seen Eric, drank from him, been hit by him, was thinking about him now and he . . . was okay. He hadn't freaked out when he'd woke up to see Eric standing there, letting him chew on his arm. He hadn't had a nightmare, or flashbacks, or puked or anything since. And he had even sassed Eric. Maybe it was the blood? Or maybe he was getting better. He thought of Pam's face, and it made him nervous, but he felt like if she came in now with another vial of V, he could cope. He might not sass her, but he wouldn't piss down his leg, either.

He smiled and dropped another basket of fries, anticipating the need because the late evening crowd was starting to head in.

"Lafayette."

"Yeah, Sam," he said without looking up.

"You have a visitor."

He turned to see the look on Sam's face that was an oddball mixture of concern and amusement. All he needed to do was wiggle his eyebrows while chomping on a cigar, and he'd fit right into an old black-and-white slapstick movie. He looked uncomfortable and anxious, like he might be completely constipated and trying not to laugh at the same time.

"You eyebrows gonna tie in a knot right in the middle of your face."

And then he looked past Sam, through the window, and saw his visitor. It was Alan, from the ambulance.  Alan from the Ambulance, with an Ass that's Amazing, he thought. Amen.

"Oh my God," he mumbled.

"Oh my God is right," Sam said. "He's asking for you. Do you think he's suspicious about something?"

"Don't know."

"Well, take a break and go talk to him."

"Don't has to ask me twice," he said, dropping his apron on the counter.

Alan with the Ass invited Lafayette to sit across from him in a booth, and Sookie brought Alan a beer, because it turned out he was off-duty. She smiled and bounced and brought Lafayette one, too. He was a on a break, after all, so they knew Sam wouldn't care too much.

Lafayette was a bit freaked by how cheerful she seemed, given what had happened last night, and why the guy was probably back.

He and Alan did talk about last night, how strange it was, and how lucky Lafayette had been that the knife hadn't even scratched him. He was well-spoken and so damn smart, running through the scenarios like he did. And then they'd talked about other things. And then Alan and his glorious ass had asked Lafayette out on a bonafide mother-fucking date. He said he understood that "now" was a bit short-notice, because first of all Lafayette was clearly at work, and because it was just rude to--

"I don't mind short notice. Don't mind at all. If I wasn't at work, I'd be happy to go see that movie with you . . . but definitely Tuesday, that's a date." He wrote his address and phone number on the little slip of paper Alan handed him, and smiled up at him when he was finished. He made sure to give that sultry look, with his head facing down but his eyes facing up. He knew his best angles, after all.

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye, and saw it was more of Sookie's bouncing. Bouncing in front of Sam, who was smiling and nodding his head, and finally put his hands on Sookie's shoulders to calm her down.

Then Sookie appeared, practically laughing out the words because she was smiling so big. "Lafayette, could we . . . talk to you for a minute. Excuse us," she directed at Alan. "Don't go anywhere!"

Alan smiled and said he wouldn't, and Lafayette sashayed just as much as he could while walking away with Sookie. "What the fuck are you doing, baby girl? Things was going good, why--"

"He really likes you," Sookie said.

"Ain't that all the more reason to leave us--"

"I mean really, really likes you. He thinks you're gorgeous, and interesting. And he's kind of a gentleman," she said, he voice getting all high at the end, all excited-like. "A little inexperienced, but manners and everything."

"So you sayin' . . . he's like a normal mother fucker who really likes me? A decent dude who looked as good as he looked in that paramedic uniform?"

"Uh huh," Sookie said, and Lafayette thought the balls of her feet must be worn out by now.

"So he's not a fucking vampire, he don't have antlers and ain't gonna pop up in the middle of the night with black eyes or a drug habit or a police record or no shit like that? An honest-to-god, gorgeous man with an actual job whose head won't spin around . . . ?" And who maybe won't want to fuck me within the hour and never call again? he couldn't help thinking, too late, realizing that he was standing in front of an overly-cheerful and excited God damn telepath.

"NOPE!" she yelped, all teeth and shining eyes. "I'm not picking up anything that would make me think that, nothing at all. He likes you."

Lafayette looked between Sook and Sam, and noticed that Arlene and Terry were huddled around now, probably wondering what was about to make the top of Sookie's head come off. One corner of his mouth went up. "He is kind of like a chocolate Jesus, ain't he? Black and beautiful, and creamy smooth. "

"I don't know about all that creamy chocolate stuff." Sam chuckled and drew a beer for Arlene, who was nodding in agreement with Lafayette. "But why don't you take off early tonight, Lafayette. I think we can handle it from here," Sam said, snapping a bar towel in his direction. Sookie bounced, smiling.

"You sure?" Lafayette looked back over at Alan and really, really liked the way Alan was looking back at him.

"Sure, I told you last night that you didn't have to come in today anyway, after what happened. Take a few hours off, paid, so you won't worry about the money. Think of it as a bonus."

"What for, this time?"

Sam wiped at the bar, and winked at him. "For being fabulous." Sookie laughed, even though she couldn't understand where that came from. Or she was in their heads, and she could.

"Thanks, Sam." He winked at Sook, licked his fingertip and smoothed it over his temple. "Off I go, to the God damn ball. And when my smooth, sexy prince comes around looking for me from now on, as he might if luck gets on my side of things for a change," to which Sookie nodded enthusiastically, "all ya'll bitches need to keep your fine little asses away from him. Hmph."

"Hey," Terry said, but Lafayette was already back at the booth, talking to Alan with a hand on his hip. "He was supposed to cut that out."

Arlene said, "What do you mean?"

"I told him not to talk to you like that anymore."

Arlene and Sookie looked at each other and laughed. Sookie patted Terry's arm. "That time, I'm pretty sure he was talking to you and Sam."

Lafayette looked back at them and blew a kiss before he left, his hand on Alan's arm.