~ The Vampire Diaries ~

Damon Salvatore

A low hum and subtle vibration gradually intensified as I was surfacing from unconsciousness. Pain streamed through my shoulders and neck to my skull, throbbing in my temples. At first, I thought that low rumbling was in my head. Then, as I stirred more awake, I realized I was in a car. It was the seat vibrating beneath me while I was being driven somewhere.
“What th—“ Rough coughing fit shook my body, eliciting more pains, some of which I didn’t know of a moment before. My throat felt dry and flayed.
“Didn’t take you as long as I hoped,” a familiar voice noted. My heart picked up its pace as her scent hit my nostrils. “Good thing I took some precautions.” I heard a complacent smile in her voice. I wanted to sit up and look the bitch in the eye, but couldn’t. Weak as a dying man, and feeling no better, I knew what precaution she meant.
“You… bitch,” I uttered in a husky voice of a stranger. Vervain burned my veins from the inside, and I wondered if there was any of my own blood left to dilute it.
She laughed. “Old news, Damon. But I’ll write it off to your haze for now. I know you can do better.”
With anger heating my blood along with vervain, I found it hard to concentrate and remember what was going on. A long moment of utter, blank disorientation scared me before it all returned to its places in my foggy mind.
“Invite only, vampire,” a sturdy fellow said, placing himself in front of me as I headed for the stairs of the Lockwood mansion.
“Here it is,” I said, swiftly ripping his heart out, “hybrid.” He went down, I went in.
I remembered clearly as I held the stake over Tyler right before Bonnie interfered. I recalled our talk, and how we parted ways, each seeing to our tasks.
And when I walked the corridor, hurrying to catch Klaus off-guard while Mikael loaded his ears with a bunch of crap, Stefan stepped before me, cutting me off.
A jolt of shock went through me. He was supposed to be still out cold, on the floor in our parlor. “What are you doing here?! Get out of my w—“ The world whirled as a twinge pierced my neck with a loud crack, turning off the light.
The terrifying realization detonated into a fit of rage I couldn’t contain. It hoisted me up, and I met Katherine’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “What the hell did you do?” I roared, paying no mind to another coughing fit upcoming. “Do you realize what you’ve done? You doomed my brother!”
Katherine was smiling, unfazed. “Oh, don’t hurt yourself in vain, Damon. Your brother’s free. The plan worked, but not the way you planned it. Your version had a major flaw we had to fix. Well, kind of.”
Her statement cooled me a tad, but my glare was still searing. “What does it mean? Stop the fucking car NOW.” She only smiled wider and pressed her foot lightly on the gas pedal. The car purred, accelerating. “I said NOW! Where do you think you’re going?”
She shrugged. “Away. Lie back and enjoy the ride. You could use some sleep, I’m guessing. Knock yourself out, it’s a long drive.”
“Where? Dammit, you freaking wench.” I jerked the door handle, but she had them all locked. “Stop or I’ll knock the door out,” I threatened through gritted teeth.
“You can’t.”
She was right, I couldn’t. Rage beat in my heart, but my body could not respond with equal momentum. She got too much vervain in me. Despair filled me with weariness, weighing me down like liquid lead. I slumped back against the seat, my breath labored. She glanced in the mirror with a hint of sympathy that I could bet I misread disdain for.
“What the hell did you do?” I asked again, weakly.
She threw an uncertain glance in the mirror. “Don’t worry about Stefan. I didn’t lie, he is free from Klaus’s compulsion. Klaus freed him as a favor – for helping kill Mikael and stop you.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After all the planning and reciting, it was like having woken up in another version of the world.
“Klaus knew all about your perfect plan,” she continued, seeing I had nothing to say. “He had his hybrids at ready to grant you the ugliest death whenever you showed up. You snuck in – I give you that – and you might have succeeded, but then you’d be dead.”
I raised my eyes to her, full of bitter fury. “So what? I knew what I was in for. I’d trade my life for it in a heartbeat.”
“We knew that. But your brother wasn’t as ready to lose you as you were to bid him goodbye.”
“Drive back.”
“I can’t. That road is closed to both of us. Forget it. It’s time to move on.”
I pulled a grimace of angered disbelief. “The hell you’re talking about? Turn the damn car around! I need to see my brother!”
“I CAN’T, Damon,” she repeated slowly, her voice raising. All humor gone from her face, now deadly serious. It sobered me up. “When he freed your brother, he told us he knew what you had planned to do, and he wouldn’t forgive it. Nor me who plotted with you. In return for Stefan’s freedom and our lives he demanded that you and I ran, as fast and far as we could before he sicked his bloodhounds on our trail. All because of how close you came. The bastard happens to be afraid to die. If we refused, he’d kill everyone Elena ever called friend in the town, including herself in the end, and make Stefan – and you – watch as retribution.” Suddenly she twisted the wheel and pulled over on the shoulder. She half turned, facing me, her eyes glistening as a small, callous smile dawned on her lips. “He’d take your precious doppelganger’s life to pay for your bold plot, Damon. Would you want that? Say the word, and I’ll gladly give you a lift. Too bad I can’t watch him do it, because there’s no one he wants to kill in my stead. It’s still my life that I pay with for my wish to live.”
I sat staring at one spot on the dashboard, not seeing anything, while the meaning of her words seeped in, adding more chill of horror to every sound she had uttered. This was insane. What it meant was insane for me.
A sardonic smile twitched her glittering lips. “Whether you like it or not, you’re just like me from now on, Damon. On Klaus’s black list and on eternal run from his shadow. Just like me. You got it better than I did, though. You don’t have to be alone against the whole damn world.”
Drunk on terror and wrath, I slowly raised my eyes to her. “Damn you. You’re the curse of my life. I’ll better die than spend another minute on your ever running train.” Her face turned into a mask of steel. I yanked the door handle. “Open it.”
She didn’t move. Only her heart spiked up, then slowed back down as she got a grip of herself. “Damn me for saving your life,” she said, her voice low but cutting like a razor. “Damn me for wishing better for Stefan than having to watch those he loves most being gutted in front of him. Damn me for refusing to die for an original prick’s amusement five hundred years ago when my nightmare started. Damn me for losing everything I ever loved to survive. Damn me for making a huge mistake and believing you’d want Elena and her pesky friends to live instead of being the very reason for Klaus to pull her guts out from her navel to teach you a lesson. Damn me for thinking you’d choose leaving town with me over having all that haunt you and Stefan for your whole eternity.”
Something spasmed painfully inside my chest. Once again, I had nothing to say.
“What did you think it would be like if you succeeded?” she asked in the same low voice that penetrated my armor as easy as a nail would a chunk of butter. “You’d keep watching Stefan and Elena play out their American dream around you? Or you’d find your balls to leave them to it then? Well, now’s your time to decide. Leave them behind now that they can have each other as they wanted so badly. There’s no place for you, whatever you might’ve thought. Now, you either go back and screw it all up into a bloody mess, or you finally admit it’s over, let your brother be happy, and move on. What’s it gonna be?”
I was sick to my stomach and crushed by her ugly truth. It made it worse that she was absolutely right, to the letter of it. It was over, and there was not a damn thing I could do about it without making things worse. A thought that she might be lying never lingered in my mind. The way she delivered it left me with no doubt it was how it went. It did nothing to ease the torment, however.
I swallowed hard, wincing at the flayed stinging in my throat, sucked in a ragged breath, and looked at her as she studied me. Not having it in me to respond, instead I just lowered back down on the backseat with a grunt. She started the engine and pulled out.
A few minutes later, something plopped on my stomach. “Wet your throat. It’ll help you rest.”
I drank from the blood pack in silence. Later the droning of the drive lulled me to uneasy sleep.
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"Giuseppe's Boys" -- part 1
A shrill scream pierced his dream, cutting through its ethereal fabric, yanking him awake. His eyes snapped open, taking in the darkness of the room. The night was ripe and deep, sprayed with silvery dust of moonlight outlining the chair, the covers on the bed with the form of his legs beneath, and the wardrobe standing on guard to the side of the door. Another scream pushed Damon to sit up, hugging himself involuntarily as the liquid cold streamed through his insides, frosting as it went. The crescent moon hung listlessly over the black tree tops, not a single cloud in the sky to cover its stare. He shivered, afraid to move or breathe.
His memory thrust him back eight months, and he saw the servants hurrying around, all pale as one, and his mother’s unnaturally white face on the pillow, blood on her neck seeming black in the poor light of fireplace and candles; his father’s face radiating more anger than fright Damon felt and expected to see. “Go to your room!” he yelled, but Damon’s feet grew into the floor, his eyes glued to his mother’s motionless face. Giuseppe, out of patience, grabbed him painfully by the arm and hauled a few feet away from the door, his eyes blazing with fury. “What did I say? Go to your room or I shall have you flogged in the yard for everyone to see!” He left his son alone in the corridor where Damon registered shreds of the servants’ conversing while they darted in and out of the mother’s room, carrying water and towels. “…bad fortune… must have been a bobcat… rabid animals… lost too much blood…” Damon didn’t remember how he got to his room. His heart thrashed against the inside of his chest like a mallet, his head throbbed. He was never more afraid in all seven years of his life. The thought of his mother dying almost sent his soul out of his body. He didn’t know how to live without her. He never thought he could.
Another scream made him blink, coming back from the dreadful February night to the present here and now. He breathed in short gasps, trembling. His mother screamed in her room down the corridor, and he could hear the low buzz of other voices, commanding something he couldn’t make out. It was time – he remembered suddenly, but it didn’t calm him down a bit. He needed to see her, to make sure she was all right. She couldn’t be all right screaming like that. She screamed again, making him cower inwardly, shivering. He felt unbidden tears of fear stinging the back of his eyes.
Unable to sit and do nothing, he ran out of his room and down the hall where his father stopped him, his arms folded, his eyes gaining angry gleam. “Go back to your room, it is fine.”
“What is happening?”
“The child is coming. It is a joyful moment for our family.”
He looked nowhere near joyful, and it scared Damon more. He trembled with both fear and cold, his bare feet freezing. “Is she going to be all right?”
“She should. The doctor is with her. Now go back and wait there. You cannot see her now.”
The vision from the past surfaced in Damon’s mind’s eye: her face as pallid as the pillow’s case, the dark trickles of blood on her neck and the lace of her travelling coat. “Push, mistress, push,” Hattie, his wet-nurse, encouraged. His mother moaned and said something, too quiet to hear. A low voice answered, Doctor Fells, with white hair and bushy white moustache. Sometimes Damon wondered what kept a man so ancient in his body for that long. Another scream cut through his head with a painful thrill, and he let out a sound between a gasp and sob.
“Get back to bed, Damon,” the father said, looming closer like an omen. “You will see her in the morning.”
“I want to know she is fine.”
“She will be.” Impatient, sharp tone. Nearing the need to ensure his son obeys with a hand to the back of Damon’s head.
Damon looked up at his father, meeting his eyes with a shade of dark steel lacing his own, his arms wrapped around him for some warmth as he was still trembling. “When she is, I shall go.”
Mary’s strangled scream, streaming through the buzz of Doctor Fells and Hattie’s encouraging voices, had them both start and look at the door. Giuseppe shifted, forgetting his son’s insolence for a moment. Damon gnashed his teeth not to cry. He didn’t feel his feet anymore and felt they might fail him soon enough. His fingers dug into his upper arms unwittingly, bruising the flesh. Then came a baby’s cry. Somehow, it unsettled Damon, and he turned to Giuseppe, catching a small smile on his father’s thin lips. Giuseppe looked back at him, sparks of triumph dancing in his eyes. It felt more eerie than not hearing his mother’s screams anymore. The baby cried, as though being strangled. It made Damon want to raise his hands to his ears and muffle out all the noises before they drove him out of his mind.
Doctor Fells came out first, shuffling. It was impossible to see if he was smiling or grimacing under the moustache. “It was a hard night, but they both made it,” he told Giuseppe, briefly acknowledging Damon with a nod. “She is to drink more warm fluids and stay in bed for a few days. I shall be visiting.”
“Thank you, Harold. I appreciate the late visit.”
“It is my duty.”
Finally, Betty and Lizzie came out with basins and sheets. Damon felt a sick jolt in the pit of his stomach at the sight of blood all over them. “Come in, Massa,” Betty said, curtseying, before they went on. Damon followed his father into the room.
It smelled of blood and something else, a sickly smell that made his stomach lurch. A chandelier cast dim, uneven light over the side of the bed and a part of the room. His mother half-sat in bed against a pile of pillows, her eyes closed, her face still strained with a hint of suffering, as though something still hurt. Hattie stood by the side of her bed, holding a bundle of blankets and sheets to her vast bosom. Her smile was blindingly white on the black, glossy, round face, and seemed to be floating all by itself in the dark of the room. “A boy, Massa,” she said as Giuseppe approached her and peered at the baby.
Mary made an effort to open her eyes, saw Damon, and smiled. Damon’s heart fluttered with relief, and his legs went weak. She held out a hand to him, he took it and sat by her side. She looked at her husband. “Stefan. His name is Stefan.” A mere whisper, so faint it scared Damon anew. He squeezed her fingers, and her eyes returned back to him, her smile subtle and warm. “You have a brother now, Damon.”
Damon managed a meek smile, wanted to say something but didn’t find what. Mary didn’t seem to need him to. She pulled him by the hand, and he leaned in to her. Her cheek was still wet with sweat. “He is so helpless and fragile,” she whispered, her breath surprisingly hot against his ear. “Promise me you will take care of him at all times, please, promise me you will look after your little brother for me.”
A cold foreboding clutched at Damon’s heart as he pulled back a little, staring into his mother’s eyes. Orange flickers danced in them, her heart beat frantically against his own while she still embraced him. He felt the urge to hold on tighter to her, as if she was slipping away, but didn’t. She was so fragile herself he was afraid he was hurting her even now in this subtle embrace. “I promise.” She gave him a smile of warm appreciation and loosened her hold.
“Your mother needs rest, Damon,” Giuseppe said. “Go back to bed now. We shall celebrate tomorrow.”
Uneasy and weary, Damon returned to his room. Gradually he learned to recognize the bond between his heart and that little being that was his new brother, learned to see his mother in Stefan’s eyes, gestures, stroll, and to love him even more for it. But on that night of November 5th he could only feel his heart clenching for no reason, as though he sensed something ominous creeping his way. His mother’s plea sounded like a masked goodbye, and it added a whiff of despair to every other moment he had spent with her afterwards, for all the five years that was left for them to be together.

In response to Lexi's question
Lexi: Tell me about you and me, Damon. From the time we met, until our most recent encounter and without your usual glib, sarcastic, gloss-over-the-raw humanity-parts tendencies. Tell me our story in your words, from your point of view, and with honesty.

There had never been a solid me-and-you, my darling Lex. When I met you for the first time, it was a daring moment in my life, right after I had been wrung out and hadn't completely restored myself to any remotely social state. Also, I had been particularly upset with my brother who had been the one driving me away in the beginning with all his vampiric shenanigans. Last time I saw him he was almost a lost cause, something I didn't have in me to repair or even shake any sense into. And here he was, all right, well and thriving with a pretty, powerful blonde by his side who apparently was fond of him and had a gang of her own to command. What do you think I felt for you then? I was angry. With everything. Not directly with you, but for sure with my brother - my world crumbled down around me, and he floated on top of the wave. With a girl. As if that was not enough, he had another one at his feet, hanging upon his lips. The very daughter of my captor. That all tipped me over. I hated you, in a sense - as a part of my brother's supernatural luck I wished I had at least a part of. But nonetheless, you remained in my memory as the one who saved him when I couldn't get a grip of myself. Even while plunging the stake into his chest, I was aware of what a great mistake I was making, of how little of the real me was present to halt my hand. Which you managed to do for the both of us. It wasn’t just Stefan’s life you saved when you stopped me – my life would have had no meaning whatsoever if he died. I wasn’t fond of you, but was grateful you were there for him. I trusted you’d protect him and do a better job with it than I could.
When we met in New York, I still wasn’t fond of you much. But I never forgot what I owed you. I tried to pay you back by saving you from that tomb along with my brother. And I left you together again because I didn’t trust myself to be what he needed me to be. I trusted, though, that you were enough to fill in the slot.
Later, during the decades that passed, I learned that slot was never really filled. Not by anyone. Stefan still ended up on my way, here and there, sooner or later. It felt good, actually. Deep down, it was something that kept me going, along with the hope for personal happiness I never gave up.
When I finally felt myself standing firmer on my both feet and fate sent Stefan on my way, I felt I really could start trying to get him back, to get us back as brothers we used to be. I missed him more than I ever let anyone know and barely allowed myself to admit inside, but there at that bar I looked into his eyes and knew it with all the clarity. I needed my brother back. But you decided to come to the rescue again, but this time I didn’t expect it. At that moment of time I wasn’t holding on to anything negative concerning you, anymore. I came to respect you and fully realize my gratitude for looking after my brother for all these decades. I looked at you as such, as my brother’s guardian angel, and I trusted you. When you said I couldn’t come because I’d make him snap off the rails, that trust I built for you played an ill joke on me. Somehow I ended up trusting you more than I knew deep down for myself. And when I watched Stefan go without me, I felt it was wrong, but I never went after him. Because for a long time your words burned brighter in my mind than my own judgment. After that day I swore to myself I’d never let my own heart down for anyone, especially when my brother was concerned.
If you wonder whether I felt anything during that time of fun in New York, I can tell you I did. Despite the lack of emotions and muffled feelings in general due to my personal reasons I’m sure you might have been aware of back then or now, I did feel something. I had fun, I felt pleased with how differently you regarded me after I made you believe I fell in love. I wasn’t in love with you – I was generally still upset with that last incident. But, aside from that, I never killed the spark of gratitude in me for everything you’d ever done for Stefan when I wasn’t by his side. I could’ve killed you if I really wanted to – you were right where I wanted you – and I didn’t.
Yes, I liked you as a woman. You were one of those standing out, the ones I never forgot. But that bitter residue of you placing yourself between me and Stefan was swelling on the bottom of my soul, spoiling the rest of the water. By the time you showed up in Mystic Falls, I was adamant at not letting anything like that happen again. I did plan your demise. But till the last moment I wasn’t utterly sure I was going to pull it off. I probed you so and so since you came to our house, watching my own inner reactions. You were a colder bitch than when I had first met you – and you had your reasons, no doubt – but it pushed me in the direction I picked. When I faced you with a stake, I was ready, holding every little to grand thing that I hated about you and your influence at the surface, close to me, so it gave me the momentum to end your life. In a sense, I believed, the most important part of my life was taken from me by your judgment. And you know me. I get even. So I did as I could – to kill two birds with one stone, too, and gain a more solid place for both Stefan and I in the town that was our motherland once. In a faintly twisted way, you became our ticket for homecoming.
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"Double Trouble" story line on Twitter so far
Just like in the episode Guest of the House, Katherine comes to the boarding house to offer her help in finding a way to defeat Klaus. Since finding the place of the witches’ massacre seems to be the problem, she reveals she knows a witch who might help with that and maybe even more if convinced. Katherine says she needs one of the brothers to accompany her to that witch since they aren’t really friends. Stefan, under the glower of Elena, is reluctant to go, so Damon goes. They drive for a few hours to come to a small town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and forest. They stroll through and find the town abandoned, as though people have just disappeared leaving their possessions behind. There’s also something amiss with the place – they get out and seem to walk in circles. Later, they see something strange, and black out. They wake up in the woods: it’s dark, and they’re bound to stakes like witches about to be executed. Damon’s ring and Katherine’s bracelet are gone. Witches gather around, keeping their distance from them, except for a cloaked figure – warlock named Brody – who says they made a huge mistake by coming here and now need to pay. He shows them their daylight charms, saying it will be the tribute, then leave them alone to decide which one of them will die for their mistake. Once alone, Damon and Katherine argue for a while, since neither wants to see the other die. Seeing they can’t make up their minds, Brody and other witches arrange an illusion of a gladiator’s arena to have them fight to the death or burn in the sun. Enraged, Katherine flings a sword at Brody and almost kills him – but then the witch they came for appears. Katherine gets locked away, while the witch silently converses with Damon, returns him his ring and lures him into admitting he wished to get rid of the pain he’s been carrying around for his whole life. She does a spell, and then the arena disappears, leaving Katherine and unconscious Damon in the middle of the forest. Without her bracelet, Katherine struggles to stick to the shadows. Damon wakes up a bit hazed, and helps her into the car to drive back. At the boarding house, he admits to being too tired and goes to sleep it off. In the morning, he wakes up without any memories about neither Katherine, nor Elena whatsoever. Stefan and the girls struggle to understand how that could happen till Damon almost remembers Katherine, which sends him into another blackout. Stefan makes Katherine share the address of that witch town to go there and have a talk with that witch who screwed with Damon’s head, while Katherine and Elena are supposed to watch the older Salvatore and keep him home. None of which works once Damon wakes up and sneaks away angry and confused. Katherine tries to stop him, fails, and loses his trail. / Meanwhile, Brody, driven by his own vendetta, and his younger sister Celia track down Damon on some empty highway that lies through a forest, and kidnap him, leaving Katherine’s bracelet behind with a curse charm. Soon, Stefan, Bonnie, Caroline, Elena and Katherine find that place, and the bracelet magically attaches itself on Katherine’s wrist, making her feel everything Damon is put through while Brody tortures him to get back at her. Weakened Katherine is now of little help to the gang, while Stefan gets his own piece of trouble – Brody uses their connection to cast a spell and make Stefan lose control of his bloodlust and hunt his friends in the woods. When he almost gets Bonnie, Aileen – the witch who ‘helped’ Damon forget – finds him and rids him of the curse, while helping him revive the brotherly bond he shares with Damon in order to find him. She also gives him a pendant for Bonnie and says he should ask her if the girl really wants to be a part of it and continue helping him before giving the necklace to her. Feeling all better, Stefan finds his way back to where his friends are waiting for him. Stefan tries out his bond, and gets a horrifying vision of the warlock staking his brother to death. He's shocked, and so is Damon who finds himself among his friends but unable to communicate. At the moment of Damon's death the bracelet falls off Katherine's wrist, and she realizes what it can mean. As the grim knowledge of being dead and invisible settles in Damon, he watches Stefan get angry and almost strangle Katherine for 'having his brother killed'. Elena stops him and talks him into going home. As they get to the boardinghouse, Stefan gets a text from Brody who says he can have his brother back now. Stefan rushes to search for him, tracking his phone, while Katherine is mourning downstairs and Elena who knows nothing is showering. Katherine then realizes she cannot let herself handle the grief before she exacts her revenge. She takes Elena and drives off to seek out an old aquaintance who she thinks can help her find the warlock and avenge Damon's life. Stefan, meanwhile, finds Damon's body and is struck by grief. So much that he careenes into disbelief and denial, treating Damon as still alive but wounded. Picking up a young woman as prisoner to feed her to Damon later and make him feel better, Stefan returns to the boardinghouse, lays his brother's body in Damon's room and calls Bonnie to help him cure Damon from a 'paralizing spell.' Katherine and Elena have found the warlock of their own, and after Katherine promises him her soul in return, he provides her with a tattoo compas on her palm that would bring her to Brody. Another tattoo appears on Elena's neck after they get out from the warlock's den. The reason for that one is unknown. They're still on their way to search for Brody when, after a few fruitless attempts to call Stefan, Katherine turns back to check if he's okay. When they get to the Boarding house, it becomes clear that he is not. They call Alaric who confirms Damon is dead and there is no hope that can be remedied. He has no idea how to change the fact of death, no matter what magic. Stefan attacks Ric and doesn't believe it, but starts to have his own doubts. Elena goes for Martins, the father and son witches, for help, but they demand she undaggered Elijah. She heads to the boardinghouse with them when Cobalt - the warlock Katherine took Elena to earlier - catches up to them and joins the company. When they get to the Salvatores' mansion, Katherine's incapacitated by Cobalt, the Martins get Elijah undaggered and leave, while Cobalt decides to take matters into his own hands. He offers Stefan a deal: he revives Damon if Stefan has anything worthy to offer as payment. Stefan promises the moonstone without knowing where Damon hid it, and Cobalt agrees. He performs a ritual, then demands his reward. Stefan has to admit he doesn't know where his brother keeps it. Cobalt gets angry and kidnaps Elena until Stefan hands over the moonstone. Desperate, Stefan dashes to look for Katherine and finds her comatoze in the basement where the warlock left her. He collected his payment from her - taking her soul and the very essence of what she is from her. She is alive but as good as a life-size doll. Stefan puts her in his room and calls Ric. Damon wakes up with no memory of where he has the moonstone. He's pissed when he finds out Stefan went for the deal Cobalt offered and now Elena is in grave danger and Katherine is out cold. While Stefan and Ric are searching the house for the stone, Damon visits unresponsive Katherine and starts recollecting things that have happened to both of them earlier. He collects the moonstone in secret and strikes a deal with Elijah to save Elena. Without telling anything to Stefan, he escapes with the Original. Elijah invites a witch that, with Martins and Bonnie's help, locates the warlock's lair. On their way, Elijah reveals to Damon that the witch said he is going to die anyway - Cobalt wasn't powerful enough to bring him back for good. Elijah and Damon arrive too late: Cobalt, in a fit of anger and spite, has raped Elena, rendering her almost catatonic with fear. With the help of mind control and a stolen dagger, Cobalt makes Elena dagger Elijah again while the warlock himself fights with Damon to kill him. With the help of Katherine's soul trapped within the warlock, Damon manages to defeat him and rip his heart out. He then compels Elena to forget she was raped. They take Elijah and return to the boardinghouse where Stefan and awoken Katherine wait for them. Upon learning of what happened, Stefan is devastated, as well as Elena, who doesn't understand why she feels so insecure and falling apart. At night, Katherine and Damon talk their things out and Katherine reveals that she's always loved him. They spend the night together in the parlor, and the whole next day they all try to find a solution for Elena's distress. Damon tells no one about his own time running out, except for sharing a private goodbye with Bonnie who knows about his predicament. He convinces her not to tell anyone until it's over. Next morning he wakes up in pain and escapes the boardinghouse to rid Katherine and Stefan of having to watch him die and to fade away in privacy. He picks the quarry where it happens after the sunrise. However, he leaves two notes, for Katherine and Stefan, with his goodbyes. Katherine finds him in the morning, followed by Stefan. Both are devastated. They bring his body back to the house, where Stefan reads the note and decides to take another chance. He proposes to Katherine and Elena to return to the witches' village where Katherine and Damon went in the beginning and have the old witch that has been kind to Stefan to help both Damon and Elena. They head out as the first part of the story ends.

Blood Ties (12)
With a hint of trepidation and restrained anger, I observed Klaus free her from the shackles. What was it if not a new game of cat and mouse? He only played those, feeding on fear and weaknesses.
“Is this your first intimate liaison with, Damon?” he inquired as she made to pick up her torn clothes off the floor, and he stepped on them. Her eyes darted to me and read warning on my face before returning to his. “It’s not rocket science, darling. It’s yes or no. It might even help you in the long run. I can vouch for you and the fact that Damon has a tendency of pulling beautiful women such as yourself into unforeseen danger. I wouldn’t be above believing that you’re a victim of circumstance and falsified promises. He has never been very good at keeping his word.” Klaus spoke with fake reason to his voice, which made me angrier. He barely knew me to boast about it. “His last witch paid for it with unending torture… much like this. But far worse…”
Blood frosted in my veins before I fully perceived the meaning behind his words. Sarah’s blue eyes and beautiful face framed with long black hair flashed in my mind. My heart clenched with unbidden pain, and only now I realized she truly meant more to me than I tricked myself to believe when we went our separate ways. My fists went white and nails dug in the palms as though I tried to distract my mind from reeling around the horrifying revelation with physical pain. I started shaking subtly, and my breath hitched more to extend of alarming, while the soundless movie of the short time we had spent together went on in my head. I should have known, I shouldn’t have let her go without making sure she was safe. Now, with all clarity, I realized I never doubted he had hunted her down – or would have eventually. Guilt splashed in me like a steaming-hot water from a boiling pot. Distantly, I wondered when it was going to be too much to live with. Good thing I was scheduled to die in two days.
“Marcel is a progeny. Big on family, as I’m sure you know. Your chance of survival is looking very slim. So, I ask you again… is this your first intimate liaison with Damon?” Klaus lifted his foot off her clothes, and Amanda eagerly covered herself. Another glance skimmed my face before the expression on hers shifted towards determination, and she shook her head a no. I only saw Klaus’s back, but I knew he grinned. Like a predator knowing the prey was doomed.
“Wrong answer,” he said.
“Any answer is wrong for you, Klaus,” I reacted in a strained voice. The lack of oxygen my position provided started to take its toll on my system. “You never draw a line between truth and lies. Whatever she says will never change her fate, because all you know is hunger for pain of others and destruction. You never saved a soul in your damned life. So, spare her your pathetically fake promises and go to hell where you rose from.”
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Blood Ties (11)
I never came to fully understand whether I reeled off into unconsciousness or actually slept. The thing was, after a while of labored breathing, pain and helpless anger, I earned some ethereal amount of time of oblivion filled with visions, voices and faces that became too blurry and distant as a sharp clang tore me out of it.
I jerked a little when awoke and stilled, listening. It was dark; Amanda’s breath was long and shallow – like a sleeping person. There were soft slaps of bare feet approaching from behind while I tried to will myself to open my eyes. Vervain was still burning my blood like acid losing its toxic touch, I felt weak and ill. The someone, meanwhile, walked around me and stopped, I imagined, before Amanda. Her heart rate spiking up and chains clanging indicated that someone awoke her. I opened my eyes at half-mast. In the bright patch of light pouring through the open door, I saw my black bizarre silhouette on the wall painted thickly over Amanda’s slumped figure, and a man between us with his back to me. Something tightened inside of me even before the recognition kicked in, as if my mind was lagging and the instinct stepped forward first. Pretending to be asleep was out of option as my own pulse took a jerky start.
“Settle, Darling,” he told Amanda. “I only want to have a chat.” I wanted to give a jibe and distract Klaus on me, but I bit that back, slightly curious. The initial pang of shock dissolved, and it came to me I was more than ready to meet him here. It would have been strange not to have that luck. After all, everything horrendous in my life eventually led to him.
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Blood Ties (10)
The bastard wasn’t in any hurry to address my remarks. He took his time, feeding on the witch, while her eyes full of disgust locked with mine and welled up with either shame or repentance. I wished I could un-see it. A cowardly thought of being sorry I didn’t leave when I could – and almost did – pricked me, and I shunned it away. My share of wrongs was clear, and she had hers in it also. It wasn’t going to continue forever. It was going to end sometime. We had to endure, and she read it in my gaze before Marcel finally felt sated enough to let go and get up.
“Mm, delicious,” he commented, facing me with blood around his mouth stretched in a gleeful smile. He spread his arms, “All you can eat witch buffet, it’s on me, boys. Enjoy.” Again, I couldn’t contain my wince, steaming with wrath and boiling hatred. Two of his minions surrounded the shackled witch, attaching their mouths to her body, nibbling and suckling. My guts clenched again, and I thought I was going to be sick.
Marcel approached me, no sign of joy on his mien. “This isn’t the magistrate’s court,” he said. “You don’t have to plead her defense; it’s not going to help. I’m the judge and jury here and Amanda harbored a murderer. Helped him escape and later cost me two additional brothers. In fact, considering all the latent uproar that’s been going on around here recently, I assume she put you up to it.” I wanted to writhe, growl and kick, furious at that ridiculous power he possessed here that I could never understand or accept. And though it took me too much effort, I didn’t. Only a bitter, scathing smile touched the corners of my mouth in response. “You’ll die in two days. But until then, I’ll do whatever the hell I want to either of you until I feel I’ve done enough damage to even the score for Mike, Henry, Jordon and Mischa,” he finished and strode around me towards the exit.
Unable to stop, I laughed. It sounded crazy even to my own ears, but crazy was right there, before my eyes, where the woman I felt for was being humiliated while holding my eyes with hers filled with sympathy instead of hate for my involuntary hand in her demise. “Now I get it,” I said in a hoarse voice, still laughing. There was a slight pause I picked up in their retreat. He heard me. “You’re just stupid.”
Marcel did not return to use me for a punching bag some more. Maybe he wanted to, because it wasn’t right away that he continued to walk, but something – or someone I didn’t get to see – changed his mind. He left.
There were too few moments in my life when I had an urge that strong to switch my emotions off. It was right there, simple as fuck, but there she was, tortured while her eyes asked for some courage to borrow. It pained my heart to its core to watch, but I owed it to her not to look away.
After a while, the two bastards left, the door thundered closed behind my back, and we were alone.
“I’m… sorr… I had… to… tell…” Amanda whispered, exhausted.
“It’s not on you. Not a bit of it.”
A short, frail smile on her pale lips. Her eyelids drooped closed and she drifted off while the sickening marks on her body lingered for a longer time. Then I let my eyes close, too, but all I could see was the misery they put her through played on endless repeat. Two days, he said. Two days. When even ten minutes can feel like eternity, two days are hell gotten real. We were in it.
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Blood Ties (9)
I clenched my jaw as Marcel’s hand tightened around my throat.
“Things have changed, this is my town, friend,” he said. “There are rules and considering who you were visiting with, I’m damned sure you were informed of them.” Yes, after I was already in, I thought. “Murder is unacceptable, especially when it comes to the members of my family.”
He let go, and before I coughed and opened my mouth to utter a sound, his fist flew into my stomach again, eliciting my strangled grunt as I swayed on the chains like a beef carcass in a freezer. Two of his men, meanwhile, dragged Amanda before me and locked her wrists in the manacles hanging on the wall I was forced to observe. My throat clenched, an uncontrolled wince crossed my face before I composed myself. Nothing I displayed was going to help either of us. Never in my experience it did. Amanda’s eyes were an epitome of a doomed animal about to be slaughtered, and it made my intestines clench and shift. The last thing I wanted was to see her die like that. Unbidden, came an idea that she might have been better off had I continued my way instead of returning, but at the same time I had serious doubts it would have been any better. Marcel seemed almost as crazy as Klaus.
He injected Amanda with something I figured was going to weaken her, cast a glance behind me – as though for approval – then ripped her clothes off in one sweep. She gave a small sound of surprise, her body trembled a little. I couldn’t help but wonder who was it behind me that Marcel needed approval from. As Marcel’s hands grazed her naked body, I had to set my jaw not to growl. A day ago, I thought I would never hate anyone as much as Klaus. Now I knew I judged too soon. Marcel lowered on his knees before the witch and abruptly tucked into her thigh. My hands balled into fists, I realized my armor was cracking.
“What kind of a coward are you, Marcel?” I called out. “Abusing an innocent woman because your own ignorance cost your men their lives – does that make you feel like a king? It reminds me of someone I knew – the one who taught me to kill before talking. I killed your men because it’s what I do to minions of morons who imagine themselves royal and send others to do their dirty work. She had no hand in it. Take it up with me.”
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Blood Ties (8)
Still trying to blink away the haze from my sight, I noticed the furious bossy guy gesture ‘up’ with his hand, and a group of minions surrounded me like hungry ants, quickly unwrapping the chains from around me to secure my wrists and ankles bound tight. While they did, the bossy guy didn’t let his acute glower stray off my face. That had to be that Marcel I was warned about. It unpleasantly reminded me of Klaus and his hybrids. There was something in Marcel’s expression that alarmed my instinct. Something peculiar. He wasn’t just pissed because I killed a few of his servants as Klaus would have been – genuine, searing hatred blazed in his dark coals of eyes. Like I had killed his brothers. I imagined he would have even shed a tear when alone later. Probably after I was dead.
Once done, they yanked me up by the wrists, so I was hanging an inch or two above the stony floor. I sensed someone watched me from behind where the door was – the skin on my back crawled. All I saw in front of me was a grey wall of concrete and a few of the minions on guard.
Marcel lashed out and punched me in the stomach. Air whooshed out of my lungs, a bomb of anguish exploded in me that seemed to turn the vervain stinging into a river of lava scorching my blood vessels. He didn’t stop with one, nor two. He was set on expressing all the rage he had stewing inside, and that was a lot more than I had expected. After around two dozen strikes coming neatly one after another with no half of a second between them, I could no longer keep my muscles strained to reduce the force of his blows. A few of my ribs cracked, blood gushed into my mouth and out with every new blast of agony he bestowed.
After a long while, he stepped back, panting. I coughed more blood out and groaned, feeling utterly messed up inside, and it wasn’t healing too quickly with vervain still stalling my vitality.
“You killed my men,” Marcel said, looking a tad calmer now. “You’re going to die. But first… you’d like to enlighten me on the WHY portion of this distraction. Did Amanda put you up to it?” Her name rang through my nerves as I still shook with pain that didn’t want to dissolve sooner. Nothing on my face sold me out – an icy, acrimonious mask. I spat out a clot of blood and locked my eyes with his. And then there was a whimper behind me, the voice I would have recognized anywhere. Her scent came through as though to make sure I knew we both were totally screwed, just like she was afraid we were going to be.
Not a muscle flinched in my countenance – anger and throbbing pain helped me keep emotions at bay – and my voice came out impassive. “I’m not so good at enlightening. Why don’t you try a book or two on New Age meditations? As for your men, I don’t appreciate being stalked in a once hospitable town I used to deem one of my favorites.”
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Blood Ties (7)
The elephant dose of vervain knocked me out quickly, before I hit the floor – if I ever did, since the last thing I remembered was a feeling of hands catching me before I did. There might have been three of them. With vervain still burning in my veins like hellish fire, I found myself slowly shifting from the depth of oblivion to the real world around me, which wasn’t happy to accept me back. My head hurt, nausea twirled in my gut – it was the worst hangover I could not even remember from my human days. It was hard to breathe, and every shallow breath I took hurt my chest and rang a bell inside my head, adding to how terrible I already felt. A low groan slipped from me, and I didn’t recognize it as my own at first. Only when my throat reacted with dry, sharp pain as though it had been rubbed with emery. My eyes refused to open for a long time, and a few voices around me were nothing but white noise until someone shook me, making me think I was about to have a stroke.
An involuntary, strangled groan escaped me again before I flexed my muscles, probing at the restraints, and laughed weakly. “Ain’t you a bunch of brave soldiers afraid of just one me.” As the blurry picture before my eyes started to get into focus, the first figure to stand out was a black guy with fierce glower directed at me. Isn’t that Marcel by any chance, I thought, returning a hazy, but cold look.
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Blood Ties (6)
With heavy heart, I started the car and headed out of the town. Images from the time we had just shared with Amanda flooded my mind, throwing in additional inserts of the times before. Without noticing, I dropped the speed, consumed, and when I reached the outskirts of New Orleans, it was barely making forty. I shook my head as if it could rid me from the reveries, turned on the radio and sped up while the highway seemed empty under the starry sky. Gradually, the shifted focus worked, and I tuned into the song. ‘And the message coming from my eyes says leave it alone.’
Suddenly Amanda’s face flashed in front of my vision, blinding me for a few seconds with how vivid it was. She looked terrified, a trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth. I twirled the wheel and almost drove off the shoulder of the road before the brakes rooted me into the ground. My breath hitched, I panted, asking myself how real it was. I didn’t need to question it, and I knew the truth in my heart of hearts. I also knew I needed no more trouble than I already had been loaded with when I came. And I knew she denied my help in getting her out of this mess. And yet I realized I could not leave it like that. I might be not as responsible, given my lack of awareness concerning their new order around here, but I had already stepped in and had a friend in trouble. I killed the engine, slumped in my seat and rubbed my face to clear my mind. Highway to hell, the radio roared. Damn right it was. Now it truly was, but I got too deep in to get out just yet.
I pushed the Camaro off the shoulder and left it behind the bushes, as concealed as possible. Then I dug my heels into the dirt and dashed back to the town.
It was deadly quiet around and in her house. There was no one there. I carefully scanned the surroundings and crept closer, searching for a quieter way in. The basement window was easy to force open, and I slid in. New scents hung in the air, beside the blood of the ones I killed earlier. There was a drop of blood in the hallway that I thought was Amanda’s. She had it trickle from her mouth, indeed. Not too much to leave more than one drop on the wooden floor. I winced and pushed the overthinking into the background, in need of clearer mindset. There was a mess in the bedroom – they were searching for any additional signs of me. Maybe, something I might have left behind. The bodies I left upstairs disappeared, as well as their hearts. Only pools of caked blood indicated where they lay.
Before I came up with any further plan, I sensed some activity outside. A few more were closing in as I stood here scratching my head. It was stupid to come here – I knew it to begin with – but I had to. It might have been pathetically heroic and something Stefan would have been more apt to do. But it was me standing here with my ass about to get kicked. I wasn’t sorry I came. And I wasn’t going to be sorry about ripping some additional hearts out, either. There were two more. One came through the window in the living room and stole across the first floor in the dark until I got him in the hallway. The other one entered through the back door and died three feet into the house. I had heard the whooshes of air and was twirling to face my new enemies when the concentrated vervain spurted into my bloodstream from three syringes. Stupid, I thought dumbly when the vision blurred and legs wobbled and gave way, and three pairs of arms caught me before I dropped on the floor where the heart I had ripped out of their pal’s chest a moment ago lay in the black blot. The stinging darkness quickly sucked me into the oblivion.
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Blood Ties (5)
The horror reflected on Amanda’s face when whoever surrounded her house came to knock on her door was so sheer that it almost made me laugh out loud. She jerked at my jacket, dragging me across the hallway back to the stairs.
“My bedroom,” she mouthed, her index finger pointing upstairs as her eyes glared at me for a long moment before she scurried to open the door. I didn’t appreciate being pushed around, but recognized it wasn’t exactly my call to endanger her any more than I already did. I obeyed. It didn’t stop me from eavesdropping, though. After the door opened, I heard Amanda’s yawn.
“What is it?” she demanded.
“Sorry for intrusion, Miss Whitlow,” a male voice said. “Are you alone tonight?”
“I wouldn’t open if I weren’t. Is that all? I need my beauty sleep.” Harsh, dry tone. I wondered who was more pissed, them or her, by now.
“You’ll have to excuse us, ma’am,” another voice intruded, and I heard the firm footfalls of a sturdy male sauntering in, followed by his pal. “We can’t leave it unchecked. You…” he paused, searching for words, “…don’t smell yourself.” His companion barked a laugh, as he did.
“I want to see the written order to search my premises,” Amanda said in high tones. If I could hear more of fear than anger in her voice, they had certainly caught the clue.
“You worry too much, Miss,” the first one said in a honeyed intonation. “Let us serve and protect.”
Their footfalls headed directly to the stairs. “Run!” exploded in my brain abruptly – Amanda’s telepathic message thrust a sharp ache into my temples right away, making me stagger a little and press my fingers to my head to soothe the effect. The guards were trotting off the stairs, already in the hallway. I glanced around at the window, but playing a spooked lover was never in my list of must-do's. I caught the first one by surprise as he opened the door and enjoyed the almost comical what-the-fuck expression on his face as I yanked his heart out and shoved it into his pal’s face, while the first one was busy folding down to fall. Over his dead body, before the second one cleared his eyes from his friend’s blood, I dropped the second heart on the floor and dashed downstairs.
Amanda met me in the middle of the stairs. She clapped her hands to her mouth, gaping at my bloody hands. “Oh no…” she muttered into her fingers and slowly directed her wide-eyed gaze to my eyes. “Run,” her silent message rang in my head again, eliciting a slight wince. “Run and don’t stop till you’re out of town.”
“Come with me,” I mouthed. She shook her head frantically and pulled her palms up to cover her face. She shook her head again. I had no place to force her.
I took another moment to snatch a bunch of paper towels on my way out and did as she asked, taking advantage of my speed. Although, I didn’t run to the outer limits of the town. I wasn’t up for leaving my car behind. It was still parked a few blocks from French 75 Bar. I discarded the bloodied towels in the nearest dumpster, got into the Camaro and let out an exasperated sigh. Way to go for a vacation start, Damon. Way to go.
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Blood Ties (4)
Amanda stretched like a sated cat and leaned in, placing her head on my chest, her fingers skimmed across my naked side and hip.
“I’m afraid you can’t sleep in.”
Truthfully, I wasn’t going to, but the statement came as a surprise. “Let me guess, your husband’s coming back from his business trip tonight?”
She laughed and propped her chin on her folded hands on my chest, her eyes locked with mine. “New Orleans changed in the last few years. It’s nothing like it used to be. Now all magical activity is strictly monitored – and don’t ask me how – but they’re never wrong. I wish I knew how Marcel does it…”
“He’s the self-proclaimed king of the town. A vampire. And don’t get me wrong, New Orleans is a safe place. Those witches who live here are protected and cared for, but the limitations and boundaries piss me off. We live under the constant surveillance. So, it was a mistake to lure you in, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw you in the bar.” She smiled, stroking my cheek, a naughty spark in her eye. “I caved to my memories.”
I smirked. “You didn’t lure me here, I came on my own. And I can take you with me to Vegas. You’ll find it easier to breathe there.”
Her face darkened with sadness. “I’m afraid I missed that opportunity for good fifteen years, I shouldn’t have refused then. I was too accustomed to this place, and I didn’t see myself anywhere else. But now…” She sighed and shook her head, pushing off the mattress to get out of bed. “Doesn’t matter. I have to stay here. Now it’s truly the only place I can be.” She dropped my clothes on the edge of the bed and smiled over her shoulder before heading out of the room, tying the belt of her robe. “I’ll make some coffee.”
Her short story weighed heavily on my mind as I got dressed. Butting in anyone’s business was too far from my plans – hell, I didn’t even have any particular plans, just getting as far as I could from Mystic Falls for starters. But I sympathized with her complaints. Seemed somewhat Klaus-like whatever this Marcel guy was doing here. It made me want to get away from this place as well. Too bad I couldn’t help Amanda.
She handed me a cup of hot coffee with cinnamon as she loved it and we drank in silence.
“I’m sorry I have to shove you out, but the last thing I want is you getting into trouble,” she said and rinsed her cup, then took mine from me.
“They care who you sleep with?”
A wickedly amused smile curved her lips. “You know witches, they scheme best in bed.”
She walked me to the door and gave me a sensual kiss in the hallway. “I’ll miss you.”
“Ditto. I’ll drop by sometime. Call me when you want me to steal you away.”
“Will do,” she laughed. Then suddenly her smile slipped off, her eyes widened. She grasped the flap of my jacket and jerked me away from the door as I reached for the door handle. “No. The house’s being watched.” I peered at her with both confusion and interest. It started to remind of a spy movie.
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Blood Ties (3)
After the elderly woman left with her grandchildren, it became quieter in the bar. Nothing I was against. The young girl who was talking to her seemed either somewhat contemplative or sad. I reckoned it could be because of the things that witch told her. A few times my eyes unwittingly returned to the girl’s face to admire it and also as though to check with my mind if it remembered her. It still didn’t, but the feeling that I should lingered like an aftertaste of a rich beverage. Whenever our eyes met, she seemed to get more uncomfortable, but every time I turned away promising myself not to look again, I ended up eyeing her from the corner of my vision while my mind fiddled with the feeling of vague recognition I couldn’t quite get rid of, nor put a finger on.
Eventually, the girl left. I relaxed a tad more, ordered another drink and stayed for another hour. Although the comforting calm and peace the hum of French 75 Bar brought was still here, there was another layer beneath it that stirred with a foreboding. It might be connected with what I involuntarily overheard from the girl and the elderly witch’s conversation, I realized, but nonetheless it wasn’t easy to discard. Like an oily spot on a clear water surface, it didn’t dissolve, spoiling the water all around it. Finally, I paid for my drinks and left the bar, strolling the streets submerged in dim street lights and bathing in that little moonlight that reached the pavement. I had no desire to go to a hotel just yet, feeling the need to find the peace I didn’t come to fully taste yet. Hunger, too, started to tug at my insides, grounding me despite my inclination toward reflective state of mind.
While I felt somehow isolated within my thoughts, there were still many people walking the streets at this hour, and it wasn’t a problem to find myself a dinner before the hunger tightened its claws. My pace became lighter, and my reflection gradually turned to other desires shifting just beneath the surface. Before long, I found myself on a familiar porch. Amanda smiled shrewdly – complacently, even – when she opened the door.
“I knew you’d come.”
“I knew you wouldn’t ask questions.”
“I’ve my answers. There are other things I might want…” She tugged me inside by the flaps of my jacket, indulging in a sensual kiss that quickly grew into a more fervent one. She had time to reminisce on her own, I thought, pushing the door closed behind me.
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Blood Ties (2)
In seventeen hours of driving I only stopped once for a refill of gas and a quick feeding followed by compulsion – the travelling vampire standard. New Orleans met me with glittering lights and the spirit I remembered from many decades throughout my life. Like every other town or city I had enjoyed in the past, it had its own unforgettable flavor.
A bittersweet wave of melancholy accompanied me to the green door and yellow lights of French 75 Bar. The guy behind the counter was new since I had been here last time. I sat at the counter, observing the patrons. A few groups, couples, more than a dozen old customers who were always easy to tell by the comfort percolating from their content faces.
A young woman sat at the counter with an elderly one to the right of me. The elderly one sat with her back to me, her hair – once dark – wore many silver strands. The girl in her early twenties beside her was beautiful, strikingly so. She caught my eyes for a longer moment, stirring something in me that could be recognition if I had known her, which I didn’t.
“What can I get you, sir?” the barman asked. I cast a quick glance at the menu and ordered La Louisiane. While he made it, I made an effort to keep my attention away from the women to my right and looked absently out of window. After I took a sip of my drink, a hand lay on my shoulder. I smiled, failing to turn and look.
“Long time no see, good sir,” a pleasant female voice said quietly. The owner of the voice was smiling.
“Long enough for you to forget I never was any good?” She laughed and settled to the left of me, pushing her empty glass towards the bartender across the counter, nodding for him to repeat. She barely changed in those fifteen years I hadn’t seen her.
“Neither did you,” she responded to my unaired comment, making me chuckle. Her gray eyes – dark in the soft lights of the bar – glistened with her usual teasing. I shrugged and took a sip of my drink.
“I work out.”
“You sleep around. What brings you here this time? Any more search for a heartache you could very well do without?”
“Ha, how perceptive. I wish I listened in my day. No, not that. Just… drifting.”
“Ah,” she gave me a thoughtful look and accepted her refilled drink. “So, your roots didn’t suffice?”
“Nah. I got bored.”
She smiled. “Liar. But I get it. Sometimes it’s best to start a new page than fix the current one.” I nodded. “Staying a while?”
“Not sure yet. Think I should?”
She considered and grinned wilily. “Perhaps there’s something to enjoy. You know, it’s a place where magic lives.” I laughed.
“Hard to forget. How you doing?”
“Pretty well so far, no complaining there.”
We drank, enjoying the hum of people’s voices and laughs. Those sounds gave a certain feeling of peace. I missed it. I needed it. And Amanda had sensed it, as she did many things about me I rarely showed. She drained her cocktail and squeezed my shoulder.
“You look like a guy who needs to be alone.” I made an agreeing sound.
“Of course I will, Mira. You know this,” the voice from the right invaded my ears suddenly as though amplified. I scowled involuntarily, caught by how peculiar the accent sounded, and turned. The voice belonged to the young brunette, and again her face captured me for a moment longer than I would want. There was something imperceptible about her face and demeanor that was killing me for a flash of recognition that didn’t quite follow. It beckoned from around the corner, ever escaping when I hurried there.
“What is it?” Amanda asked, her eyes darting to the two conversing. “She’s pretty,” she mouthed with a wry smile. I composed myself, forcing my focus back to the witch beside me, and smiled back before taking another good swallow of my cocktail.
“You still live where I know?”
She squinted with mischief and slipped off the stool. “Why don’t you find out sometime?” With her smile growing wider, she left the bar. I simpered to myself and got back to my lazy reflection. I still had no plan on where to head, but trusting it will come to me where I would want to stay was still very much fresh and alive. I could stick to no plans from now on.
Thinking it suited me, I drained my drink, and unwittingly caught the end of the elderly woman’s phrase she relayed to the pretty brunette, “Somethin' that will change you - to the worse. Somethin' dark that will consume you whole.” An unexpected inner response, no more than a tingle of foreboding, crossed my soul like a brief chill. Magical readings weren’t new around here, but I rarely heard of such being held in a bar at a lively hour. Probably, the girl had no need for too much privacy. Don’t care, I reminded myself and nodded at the barman for a repeat.
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Blood Ties (1)
(after season 4 -- Elena has chosen Stefan, and Damon is leaving Mystic Falls)

Stefan watched silently as I loaded my bags in the trunk of the Camaro and closed it, ready to set on my way. I felt his urge to say anything that could stall me, to find the right words that could convince me to stay, but he also was aware there was nothing to say to top the deal we stroke a long while ago – the one she doesn’t choose leaves. Now, as I stood beside my loaded car in awkward silence under the twinkling early summer stars, it occurred to me I had known right from the start how this would pan out. It pained me back then when Stefan offered it, but I never felt myself in the position to fight him about this. By the look on his face, it was obvious he never guessed I would be the one leaving. He selfishly wanted to get either a relief from his heartache or both the girl and his brother if the dice rolled in his favor. It did, but the further I assessed the situation and my odds, the more I became convinced I could take no more heartache to favor his brotherly inclination to keep me by his side. It had been a hectic week, and an even harder decision, but it was done.
Elena was sleeping peacefully in her – Stefan’s – room and knew nothing of my sudden departure. I asked Stefan to keep it that way until my trail got cold. I foresaw the goodbyes and the ghost of guilt in Elena’s eyes I would definitely notice if she were here at this hour. I spared us both – or maybe more so myself – this torture. It was miserable enough as it was.
Stefan kept silent, but his eyes were glistening with all the pleading he yearned to let out but didn’t let himself. I shook my head slowly and gave a faint, somewhat sad smile.
“It’s okay, brother. Just so you know, I want you to be happy.” I glimpsed a twinkle in his eye – tears? – and turned away hastily to grope for the driver’s door handle. “I’ll be in touch.”
“Damon…” I looked at him, bracing myself, and bore it stoically, with the same faint smile that froze on my face like a constant spasm of pain I didn’t recall from the days of long-gone past when I was obliged to leave the house and my little brother because my father was directing my life as he pleased. This time, though, I was the villain in the story. And the deeper feeling of something being torn out of me served like a whip that drove me away from the Boarding House.
“It’s okay, Stefan,” I repeated, as though trying to believe it myself. “Really. You’ll be fine, and I… I need some time.”
“Don’t try to stay away against your will, Damon. Promise me as much.” I nodded, wasn’t able to say anything else and slipped into the car, thrusting the key into the ignition lock and twirling it.
As the town quickly disappeared behind, I rolled the side window open and for a long while couldn’t steady my breath – my throat felt too tight with tears I never spilled.
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"Shift of Power" SL (morning after "You owe me")
I stood by the window for quite some time after Caroline was gone. Rooted to the spot, as though, if I moved, something would shift in the air and a certain thing – or idea – I wanted to grasp would elude me. Caroline’s small smile she hid behind her mug kept haunting my mind as I drank my coffee. Why was it important? Or maybe wasn’t. Last night was unusual, and it might have been it. Nothing else, no complications, just knowing that it was unusual and thus clung to my memory for longer was all I had to know.
I rinsed the mugs, took care of all signs of our working out in the parlor, then went upstairs for a shower. I was relishing in the same inner subspace that felt good and thus strange and alien because I was unaccustomed to feeling good. I was used to constantly arising problems, dangers, questions, to lack of answers and lots of pressure. This morning stood out.
I turned off the taps and reached for a towel when Elena’s voice called my name from downstairs. My innards strained with an almost physical moan I felt in my bones. She was the wake-up call from the small island of quiet I managed to find. I didn’t want to wake up just yet.
I dried my hair and body while she looked around the first floor and came up to find me naked in my bathroom.
“Damon, fina—ah!” her mouth gaped open, her cheeks flushing red as she spun around to present her back to me. I sneered, checked out the back of her thighs in short shorts, the firm butt they clung neatly to, the small fragile waist, and hung the towel on the rail. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to… barge in,” she managed. I enjoyed her discomfort, but let out a hem that was supposed to communicate that I understood her trials and forgave the intrusion. “Can you… or I’ll just wait downstairs.”
I walked around her to the closet, unperturbed, and noticed a pause she took before her feet shifted indicating her turning away from the sight. “You can as well just spill it, Elena.”
“Right. Fine. I… I found an article today. It’s small, but caught my eye—“
“Everything catches your eye lately.” I peeked while pulling on my jeans – her back to me, tense, her arms folded.
“Only stuff I know is relevant,” she argued. “And this one looks familiar. It’s them, Damon. I know it. I want you to take a look. Caroline will come here once Sheriff Forbes checks it out.”
I rolled my eyes and put a shirt on before walking past her to the hallway. “Want some coffee?”
“No!” she clutched my arm, stalling, and shoved the folded piece of paper into my hand. “I want you to look. Now, Damon. It’s Stefan.” I glared. She returned the stare. “Please,” she added in a tone people use to say Screw you. I looked.
Two people murdered and maimed in Tennessee. Nothing specific except for a mention of dismemberment. All common lines they give – ‘The forensic team is working’; ‘The best detectives are investigating’; ‘No reasons to believe it’s a serial killer’s work’. But it is, I thought grimly, careful to keep unimpressed expression on. I folded it back. “No details, nothing concrete. It could be anything else.”
A strange, unsettling smile creased her mouth. Somewhat mad, it seemed so out of place on her face that it gave me a chill. “Animal attack? Was it what you were going to say?” I found nothing to add and headed out the room. She followed. “We need to check every lead we get, Damon. I thought you knew it. You promised your help. It’s your brother. He did it to sa—“
I spun around with such fervent glower on my face that she recoiled and would have fallen on her ass had I not caught her arm in time. “No need to remind me, Elena, thank you. I don’t forget it for a second.” She blinked, pale and flustered, wanted to say something, then didn’t. I released her and continued to the parlor.
The covers I slept under were crumpled in the corner of the couch. I had a searing urge to drink, but instead settled on the couch, feeling cornered. The paper she gave me rustled in my pocket as I sat down.
“I’m sorry,” she said, stopping where Caroline stood last night before lunging at me. I spared Elena a gloomy glance and rested my head against the back of the couch. “I know you want to find him no less than I do. We will,” she continued. Her voice meek, gentle now, but all I wanted was to crash a few pieces of furniture against each other. Make some noise to drown the trembling howl of a trapped animal inside of me. “But we need to check every lead we get. We can’t miss any, you know it.” She fell silent, searching me intensely with her hazel eyes while I was afraid to look up at her. Afraid that I would snap and make her cry again. I had been snapping often lately. More so as it occurred to me this torture wasn’t going to end. I was bumping my head against a dead end while Elena was convincing me it was not a wall but a doorway I had to step through. I had to, because it was my brother.
Yes, it was my brother, who had killed Andie and beamed as he did. My brother, who refused a way out for me when I had no air left to breathe in this town and life in general. Again. He did that a lot, didn’t he.
“… Damon?” Elena pulled me out of the reverie. “What is it? What’s going on with you?”
I felt sick, knowing where this was going, and shook my head, casually producing a lie, “Just hungry.”
She studied me with open doubt. Then approached and sat beside me, her hand on my shoulder, her eyes glistening with tender understanding. My jaw clenched as I restrained myself not to flee. She thought she understood, and I could never set her on the right path inside my soul. I wasn’t keen on traveling it myself. There be monsters, they say.
“You know you can talk to me, right?” Squeezing my shoulder. That human gesture of intimacy and sharing the same mind. It couldn’t be further from truth between her and me.
“It’s nothing. Hunger makes me cranky, is all.” I made my voice sound firm, and she put her hand away before I had to jump up. I got up anyway to entertain my excuse when Caroline walked in, her eyes shot between us, assessing the vibes. I shot her a look that, I thought, reminded one of a drowning man, and excused myself for a blood pack moment in the basement to let the Forbes girl tug Elena’s focus off me for the time being.
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You owe me. (solo)
(Caroline and Damon, season 3)

It seemed things were getting more complicated by every hour after Elena’s birthday party. Sometimes I couldn’t decipher my own feelings anymore and spent long night hours in a drunken stupor just to find some resemblance of peace. Endless leads and news articles and Internet researches gradually drove me to the edge, and I couldn’t stop that buzz in my head. A few evenings at the Grill with Alaric helped while I was there and retracted their effect once I was in my car driving home. Ric wasn’t any better, torn between his work, Elena and me. His worry about my sanity irked me to no end, but he couldn’t stop with the assessing glances here and there whenever we discussed our search with him and Elena. He never said it but I knew he was thinking that, without Andie to keep me grounded, I was unstable like a ticking nuke in a heating stove. He wasn’t wrong, I reflected after every other failure trip in our crusade. And, despite how I hated to admit it or even think about it, I did miss her.
The crackling of fire soothed as I sat on the couch trying to ward off the thoughts of the new lead we had discussed with Elena and Ric earlier, my shirt unbuttoned but still on because I was lazy. I was sipping brandy and observing the carpet. The lights were too damn bright, but I couldn’t be bothered to get up and turn them off.
Caroline let herself into the boarding house without a knock, and even if I were to ignore the smell, there was a hint of staggering in the way she walked to testify she had been drinking. She gave me a once over; her gaze slipped down from my face to my torso exposed between the flaps of unbuttoned shirt, flicked to the two-thirds-empty bottle of brandy on my lap. The familiar cold disdain sparkled in her eye.
“Where’s Elena?”
“Left with Ric two hours ago. It’s late, you know.” I took a swig and rested the bottle back against my thigh. She didn’t look disappointed. More so, she looked restless and haunted. Moody, like Stefan after any of my pranks. She dropped her bag into a chair on her way towards the table, skimmed through the decanters, picked one and poured herself a drink. I read defiance in her every move and found myself intrigued. “You don’t need any additional excuse not to drive, little Forbes. You can’t as it is.” I gave a jibing smirk.
She snorted and downed her shot, winced. “As if you could advise me on drinking.”
“I think I’ll leave that to your boyfriend.”
Caroline’s face darkened, she refilled her glass and swirled the liquor in it, observing for a moment before lilting it out. “He’s not my boyfriend,” she spat in a low voice, as though to herself. So, the lovebirds had another fight. The Lockwood pup had little appreciation for collars and leashes.
I rolled my eyes and took a gulp, then screwed the cap on the bottle. “Spare me your facebook status. We both know it changes ten times a day.”
Her heartbeat spiked up, and I looked at her, my eyebrows raising. She glared back furiously, her fingertips white on the glass. Her voice oozed poison as she spoke. “What do you know about it, Damon? What do you know about love and feelings?” She thrust every word out as though it swelled with hatred she could no longer carry inside. It dawned on me, it didn’t fit inside of her anymore. “You don’t even love your own brother. How does it feel to be finally alone in the picture? Pity Ric’s always around, or you’d have jumped her bones already.”
Gritting my teeth, I felt my anger almost swelled enough to spill over hers when the glass burst in her hand like an egg in a microwave. She let out a startled cry and shook her hand, blood dripping. Some drops landed in the fireplace with a brief hiss. She cursed, wiped it on a cloth from the table and returned her glower to my face, even more wrath etched into her features like the glass was one of my endless faults.
My chest felt too tight and burning with how unfair and how close to truth her accusations were. Viperous retorts crowded behind my teeth eager to bust out. I set my jaw and said, “You should leave.”
“Oh, I’ll leave,” she said. But when she picked up her bag and reached the doorway, she spun around, her eyes blazing like two lasers piercing through my head. “After you tell me.”
A tired, irritated grimace crossed my face. “What?”
She folded her arms and stepped back towards me, holding my eyes with hers. “Would you have killed me? If it weren’t for Stefan and Elena – would you?”
I scowled and recollected the scene on the carnival. I was going to stake her, and opened my mouth to tell her I would have, but then I realized it wasn’t what she meant. It all went back to her human life she couldn’t leave behind. With an irritated sigh, I reached out and put the bottle on the table, considered lying to spare myself another minute of watching her pout or – god forbid – weep. But the words she threw in my face earlier made me tell her I would have.
She scrutinized me for a long moment, searching my face for signs of lies. When she found none, rage flared in her glower, dark veins snaked under her eyes, and she lunged at me. I didn’t expect her to dare attack, and found myself on the floor with her on top. She straddled me, her hands squeezing the air from my throat, pure, fiery hatred on her snarling face. “I wish I had a stake!” she growled. “You should’ve died from that bite, you bastard!” I felt an icy grasp of wrath around my heart.
“What now?” I asked, an evil, daring sneer creasing my mouth. “You’ll claw my heart out?”
She stilled, as though building up more hate inside to pour it all out and drown me in it, then suddenly yanked my head to the side by the hair and tucked into my jugular like a rabid beast. I gasped as the acute throe flooded my neck, shoulder and leaked into my chest, and discovered I couldn’t fight her. I was startled and thrown out of the rage that was choking me an instant ago. The shock of physical pain morphed into an emotional storm that shot between us like an uncontrolled lightning. Suddenly I felt my muscles unroll like strained springs and relax in the warmth filling them. The pain dissolved in that warmth, and there was stillness. A small eternity filled with quick ta-dam-ta-dam of her heart.
When she pulled away and hovered over me, she was weak and shaking, propping her palms flat on my chest not to topple off. My heart barely beat, I could doze any second, and yet I was hard beneath her. There was a thin ring of blue around her dilated pupils. She seemed utterly crazy like that with blood around her mouth and dripping from her chin. Stoned-slow, she noticed my arousal and became self-conscious about her own. She tried to talk. “Wha-- … what…”
I blinked slowly, finding it ironic that it had to be me to teach her about blood sharing. “The link,” I said.
No more questions formed in her dazed mind, and she wore a look of desperate confusion of a person completely lost. She looked terribly young, terribly fragile. As we stared at each other, oblivious of the passing time, something happened in her. I didn’t know how, but Caroline started to get the picture. It was more on a level of instinct, something she would never be able to put into words, but it was there, and she grasped it, probed it. Carefully, unsure of what she was doing, she shifted on my waist and glided a hand to grip my throat again. She regarded me as though having noticed things she never saw before or never took a moment to notice. “You…” she searched for a better word, “… owe me.”
I knew. Before my mind wrapped itself around it, there was a deeper knowing of what she meant. I smiled wryly, “Then collect.”
She pulled my shirt up, wrapped it tightly around my wrists and tied the loose end to the leg of the couch we lay beside. She ripped a strap of its material and blindfolded me. Every nerve in my body felt naked, exposed and tingling with electricity, while every muscle was still utterly relaxed.
She was tentative at first, then her touches gained more confidence. Shivers started to ripple through my body in response, and she seemed to have absorbed it to feed her security. She stroked, nipped, scratched, tuning more into me as I was into her. She sensed what buttons to press, and soon I started writhing. She was more forceful, demanding. Her fangs opened up my skin, drawing blood and my hisses as the pain deliciously interlaced with pleasure she was giving in small, tempting shares.
It went on for ages. It wasn’t about sex or her taking all the pain and suffering I inflicted out on me while I chose not to fight whatever was to come. It was about her peeking into the side I never showed, about picking the pieces she needed to restore the ones I damaged in her. It was about her taking her power back. ‘You owe me.’ In the same space without words and thoughts, I realized it wasn’t about her, either. It was as much about both of us finding a release from tension and struggle we went through every day, each in our own. It was the one moment in months when I could finally let the heavy guarding walls crumble around me.
She slept with her head on my shoulder under the covers we pulled off the couch. Her face calm, a small smile on her lips. For the first time, I wondered if she had ever gotten a decent sleep since she remembered me. Or if all her problems with Tyler grew from what I did to her. I still had no remorse – if I wanted it, I would not know where to start. But for the first time, I understood the world of Caroline Forbes the newborn vampire. For a while, I idly watched the flickers of the flames in the fireplace dance across the ceiling and enjoyed the silence of my mind, the relaxed warmth in my body, the quiet heartbeat of the one clinging to me. Then I slept.
She came downstairs from the shower, refreshed and looking serious. I put a mug of coffee in front of her, she took it with a nod. Then she peered at me, stern but somehow sheepish. “Don’t you tell anyone.”
I barked a laugh. “Tell what? That you bit me into submission? That’s a never-happened fairy tale.” I took a sip of my coffee and, from the corner of my eye, saw a small smile blink on her lips before they touched the rim of her mug. I bit my tongue before expressing how uncalled for any smugness was, and stood by the window till she finished her coffee and went out the door without goodbye or thank you I didn’t want to hear.
Some debts belong to the secret boxes we keep locked away at all times where they collect dust and become myths and history.

She wasn't there. ("Extended Family" storyline intro)
The fire crackled, spitting tiny sparks up, as it ate the logs Stefan fed it at some point – half an hour or an eternity ago. I watched, mesmerized, and somehow unable to find it in me to move, or avert my eyes. I was standing alone in the dark, observing the wrack of every major thing I believed in since I turned. It was a dynamic night, full of hopes that shattered against the cliffs of reality, smashing my heart in the same clash. She wasn’t there. I came for her after a century and a half – the moment I had been living for as long – and she wasn’t there.
When the grip of desperate anger subsided, numbness started to seep in, spreading like spilt water over a surface, slowly, creeping sideways and claiming one inch after another, skirting every obstacle on its way to claim more inches beyond and around it – as slowly. There was no hurry, as though it knew it should have what it wanted. So was the cool, but smooth numbness of shock creeping and spreading, claiming every inch of my essence it could get to. It provided with anesthesia, but the hollow feeling of being utterly lost in ruins after the hurricane destroyed everything I ever known was still there clinging to me like cold, wet clothes under the gushes of wind.
I had no idea how much time had passed, but I had a fair idea some did. And the more time seeped away, the clearer the images were that came into focus in my mind while it couldn’t block them away. Faded pictures of the past long gone were overlapped by fresher ones of how I tried to make things right and failed. Thoughts were too lazy to form into something more or less palpable, but deep down I started to wonder if she was to blame or not. “She knew where you were, Damon,” Anna’s voice came through. “She just didn’t care.” Oh, yes… I almost forgot. Silly of me…
My face didn’t move to form a frown, but inside I felt a prick in my heart. She just didn’t care. She knew where you were. She just didn—Now I wanted to move, to rub my temples and try to shake it off – as much of it as I could – but no muscle cooperated. I kept sitting in front of the fireplace, looking in with a listless mien. My mind started to split, one part growled and thrashed, putting Anna’s revelation on repeat like a broken record that was going to kill me, the other reflected how I probably would crumble into a pile of dust if I ever managed to flinch.
In another universe, Stefan sat and watched me. Certainly, with more concern than I deserved from his point of view. Distantly, as if it happened with someone else or in some movie I saw too long ago to remember what it was about, it occurred to me he even tried to speak to me, asked if I wanted anything. How silly was that? For a strange, brief moment, I thought I would laugh, but nothing came through, not a sound, not a movement, not a twitch. My life is over, I thought suddenly with clarity that cut like glass shard through butter. It was what I lived for, and now it's over. I sat still, listening. No feelings flowed easily. They were thick like honey, but bitter like bile. They crept, like numbness that was still at works inside me. It’s over, I thought again and waited. By some kind of unknown reason, feeling nothing particular at the time, I foresaw it was going to hurt like motherfucker. I almost heard the sound of shattering, splashing glass that was heart. When I let myself feel it, it will hurt like hell. Also, I knew it would feel liberating. For now I was sure it was over with. Nothing more to expect, no hopes left, just the ruins. And ruins mean you can either leave it behind and move, or collect the stones and pile them up into a new thing. I had an inclination for the former. If I could, if I could have just one thing in my whole life, I meditated, I wanted to forget.
The fire crackled. I sat motionless, staring into the flames, feeling the numb silence settling inside of me, while Stefan watched me from the sideline in another world.
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 7
My heart skipped a beat as Klaus proceeded right to the door and I thought he was going to walk out. I wasn’t sure Stefan and Elena were in sight, but I doubted they got in the car to settle their soul matters. If they didn’t – it was a lost cause.
Klaus didn’t leave the speakeasy, despite my fear. He turned to regard me, his eyes dropping to my bleeding wrist and back to my face, with a shade of wicked interest. He looked as if debating to either rip my heart out or torture some to see what made me tick. My gut feeling told me he inclined towards the second. Considering himself a reader of people, as I was sure he did, he couldn’t be impartial about how exactly I ticked. His attachment to Stefan whose bond with me never broke, not even in his darkest hours and in spite of everything I did throughout our lives to make him snap, ensured that.
“Look, Damon. I’ve surpassed a night of infallible sin to adhere to your appeal. We’ll confer the rules on the road,” he said. “The least you can do for me is keep moving or I can put you out of your misery. Your brother will be back soon enough, and I’ve no desire to deal with a scene. Unless you’d like to see him?” My heart skipped another beat, breaking me into sweat, and I briefly wondered if that was the perspective of having to look into Stefan’s eyes and defend my choice, or the venom that started to spread with my bloodstream.
“I’d rather not. Can we use the back door?”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 6
Klaus’s face remained untouched by what I said, and yet there was something going on behind his darkened eyes. “Charming, but if this is going to work, you and I are going to have to establish a couple of ground rules.” He stood up and tipped the shot glass with his blood over with the side of his palm. I looked as it spilled slowly over the counter, dark and thick. It sickened me before, and now, tainted with the need to bring myself even lower than I did, it repulsed me. I turned to glance after Klaus as he sauntered towards the exit. Dread crept into my heart. Stefan and Elena were still there, outside, just a few yards from the entrance.
My eyes flicked over to Gloria who watched me sharply like a hawk from across the bar, wiping glasses with a cloth with automatic movements. Her eyes were both bemused and terrified. I wondered if she had the slightest idea of what had happened here and decided she might have caught the air of it. Wasn’t too hard for someone who knew of Klaus and Stefan.
I got up, threw a gander at the pool of dark blood on the counter and went after Klaus. I was no slave, nor a lower being, as this motherfucker must be thinking. I wasn’t going to kiss his ass for this deal – he either took it or I died. Stooping lower than my family name allowed was nowhere in my plans. The wound on my wrist throbbed and jerked, and it felt as if my blood became considerably hotter in my veins.
“Where are you running to?” I inquired to stall him for at least another moment in hopes of giving Stefan and Elena more time. In the back of my mind, it occurred to me there was hardly any use. I ignored it. “Spill your rules first, at least. Or I might take it you have none.”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 5
Klaus turned and studied me for a long moment while my pulse bounced like a telltale heart in Edgar Poe’s story. Both our lives with Stefan were hanging by a thread – that Klaus’s hand held. He could either pull me by it, or cut it loose and let it all go to hell – our plans with Elena, our lives, and my brother’s freedom. Most likely, his life, too. No matter how much Klaus was attached to him, he was anything but forgiving. If only he found out about Elena—
Klaus downed his shot and set the glass on the polished wood of the counter with a loud sound that made a man sitting next to him start. The hybrid’s eyes bored into mine with malicious taunt. “And here I thought you understood the complexity of our friendship, Damon. You ask the impossible. Stefan doesn't know it yet but he once was like a brother to me. Still is.” A scowl of tenacious disbelief had only started to dawn across my face when he suddenly dashed at me, grabbed me by the throat and tucked into my wrist.
My thoughts seemed to just stop and freeze for a moment of eternity, and everything and everyone else in the speakeasy drifted away like a jumbled, foggy dream of long ago. There were just me and Klaus, and my heartbeat that somehow steadied into heavy pounding, as though loaded with grim knowledge of what doom came with what Klaus did in this mere instant. I was shocked by the agility he had showcased, but it was the least of my concerns.
He wiped his mouth clean with the back of his hand with a nonchalance of a man at lunch who has just had a greasy sandwich. Then his lips started to move, producing words I took heed of, “You came to me, Damon. There is no room for negotiation or demands. I decide when, how and what happens from here on out. Your life is of no consequence to me. You either accept that or re-enact the very ordeal that put your brother in this horrific position to begin with.” His other hand let go of my arm, and he sat back on his stool with a tiny smile. His eyes, however, were truculent. “You can either be of use to me and save your brother, or you can die. It's your choice.”
My eyes flickered to his shot glass he was refilling, then down to the dark surface of the counter, polished with too many forearms end elbows. My wrist throbbed violently, but I didn’t even spared it a look. I felt blood oozing from the wound that refused to heal quicker, and dripping to the floor between my boots. For a transient but intense moment it became crystal clear to me: it can end right here. I can get up, get away from this place and just… let it all end. My heart wrenched at how badly I wanted it at this fleck of time, but how far this option was from what I came here to accomplish.
Klaus bit into his wrist and filled another tiny glass with his blood. The scent of it made me sick, and I didn’t even hide it.
“Bear in mind, this is a onetime only offer,” he said. This is it, I thought with a quickening in my gut. Seal the deal with the devil. Sign in blood. Boisterous determination consumed my mien as I fixed my blazing eyes on Klaus.
“I came here to save my brother from my debt, and I made my choice beforehand. Like I said: I’m not going anywhere from here without his freedom or my ticket to the other side. You can have my life. Let him go – for good – and Thy will be done.”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 4
There was a moment of silence while Klaus refused to look at me, but his frown was obvious as he sipped his drink. I hoped he was considering my proposal carefully. The pause also assured me I was right, and he knew I was. Stefan was not what he expected, and the ripper buddy he once had was gone. Perhaps, Klaus was making him turn off his emotions, but Stefan didn’t. Otherwise, I would have died in the Smokey Mountains’ woods over a week ago.
Sitting here, having said what I said, I started to doubt this outcome was better for me. If only that helped Stefan… no matter how hard it was going to be.
“You underestimate your brother,” Klaus said. “He is fun and nowhere near as aggravating as you are. However, you're right.” I regarded him with a small smile of interest. “Things have gone awry and I'm in need of a little something to jump-start your brother's vicious muse.” He turned to me with a subtle, vain smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “That's not a problem, is it?” My smile slipped off completely, leaving a listless expression with an icy glare, blazing from it.
“That’s exactly the problem. I will go with you and do whatever bloody thing you want till you grow tired of me or kill me, but my brother goes from here a free man, no strings attached to you. You let him go, and we have a deal, or you can go ahead and kill me right this instant, ‘cause I swear to any God or devil out there, I’ll never get off your back or trail, following you to hell and back until Stefan is free or I’m dead for good.”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 3
Klaus’s face oozed boredom, but beneath that mask there was starting irritation that was soon to become rage. I knew it all too well. Perhaps, under different circumstances, Klaus and I could find some common ground, but tonight, in this world and time, he was the creature I hated most on this earth.
“And what prey tell did I take from you? Elena?” he asked, deceivingly calm and taunting. He barely looked at me, and I caught myself wondering if he was trying way too hard not to rip my heart out. I could tell it had to be a part of the deal he had with Stefan. I’d recognize my brother in it. “What makes you so sure I even care to hear your deal?” I let out a small hem and gave him a lazy glance over.
“By the look of things, you seem too bored. Not the nineteen-twenties fella who had his best pal by his side. Admit it, Klaus, Stefan’s changed. And you didn’t take Elena from me – you ripped HIS heart out and handed it to him when you killed her as he watched. No amount of compulsion, or blood will ever make him forgive and forget it.” I paused for a brief moment and invited myself to a swallow from the bottle that sat before him. His face assumed a frown as my words sank in. “But I’m not here to discuss his soul matters. I can’t help but wonder why you even bother with a broken toy he is. You won’t fix him. If he truly used to mean anything to you back then – let him off the hook. You could do much better if you ever bothered to pull your thick head out of your hybrid ass and take a closer look at the situation. If you need a partner in crime, I’m much more fun than my brother can ever become again.”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter, part 2
“Stick around,” Stefan said, his eyes fixed on Elena. “This won’t take long.” Sure won’t, I thought sardonically, but didn’t voice it. Stefan darted me a brief look and went to the girl. I backed a few more steps, then turned and entered the speakeasy.
Klaus still sat at the bar counter, his back to the entrance, as I saw him earlier. Gloria was talking to a customer at the other end of the bar. The bottle sitting on the counter before the hybrid was one third empty. My heart contracted jerkily a few times, then I sucked in a deep breath, and it settled into a steady, a bit hasty beat. I started forward, keeping my eyes on the original’s back. All the tangled thoughts clustered together in my head, and then scurried sideways like spooked rodents. I shut them off and fixed my mind on the sole goal: to keep Klaus occupied for as long as I could. In the back of my being, all the way in the shadows where only the grimmest ideas dwelled, I knew I was going to find my end right here, September the third, year two-thousand-eleven.
After this idea flashed its grin at me, something clicked and I closed a heavy door between it and myself. A nonchalant smirk came to claim my mouth as I settled on the stool next to Klaus where Stefan sat before me – not so long ago, but seemed like ages. That scene we had with him outside seemed to have happened a decade prior to this moment.
Klaus turned, and I watched the barely started content smile on his face fade into a tight thin line when he took in my mien and knew it wasn’t Stefan. My throughout fake but flawless, slanted smile grew a bit wider, I propped an elbow on the counter, facing him. “If you think this is the moment when I burst in my sincerest gratitude for saving my life as my brother requested, I suggest you don’t hold your breath. That’s not what I’m here for. I believe you took something of mine that wasn’t yours to claim. I’m here to offer you a fair deal.”
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"The Debt" storyline on Twitter
Elena sat straight like a stick in her seat, her hands clutched together on the folds of her new dress on her lap so that they were almost white. Her face also looked bloodless. Only her dark eyes glistened in the dark, reflecting the street lights. I covered her hands with mine and squeezed lightly. Her hands were cold. She pressed her lips together, composing herself, then turned to me with both dread and hope in her gaze. “It’s gonna be fine. This should work,” I told her and offered a small smile of reassurance. Her lips twitched, but didn’t return it. “We’ll make it work. Okay? If you’re not ready, we—“
“No! I am. It’s okay. I’m just nervous.” She pulled a hand from under mine and patted it. “I’ll do it. I’m ready. You… just, be careful there.” I nodded and took my hand back prior to slipping out of the car into the darkening night.
The speakeasy was quite full. People were talking, laughing, drinking. For a moment, it felt as though I stepped back into the twenties. I spied Gloria behind the bar counter. If you cast out some grey in her hair, she looked herself. She noticed me at once and spared me the briefest look with a hint of worry in it. She knew I’d come back after the talk we had earlier in the day, but she still thought it was a bad idea – as bad as it can get. I didn’t doubt it much.
Klaus and Stefan sat at the counter with drinks in their hands. Klaus had his back to me, Stefan – his profile. They were talking, and perhaps, with due efforts, I could have hear it, but I had no particular wish to do so. I only stood all the way in the back, staring at Stefan, willing him to notice me. Finally, he did. My heart skipped a beat when our eyes met.
It had been three months since Elena and I had been making ourselves crazy looking for him, following his bloody trail all the way across eastern coast and Tennessee. Sometimes, when they slipped away once again, I was afraid I wasn’t going to see him again in a very long time. Which was more than Elena had in her human body to last. And now, I saw the response in his eyes I also wasn’t expecting to see – both fright and knowing. He didn’t truly believe I would leave him alone as he requested a week ago in Tennessee woods. I wouldn’t, either.
I nodded subtly and gestured for him to follow me outside. Then I went out with my heart pounding heavily in my chest. It started. We either lose or win right here and now. For real. For good.
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Intro for "Being Human" storyline on Twitter
There had been hardly any moment of stillness in my mind for the last week. My thoughts span around, stuck in the same loop that drove me insane. There was no way of getting out of it. Her name wasn’t the most common of those dancing on our tongues lately, and yet it was the only one repeating in my head. With every wound she bestowed upon my heart, with each word she carved into my being by confessing all the things I wished I had never heard from her, Katherine haunted my thoughts at days and dreams at nights. Without mercy, I had to listen to it every night and wake up from physical pain that indicated where my heart still beat, dead and yet alive and kicking. Now I recalled the day I hadn’t found her in that tomb as a dull and weak strike. Despite the obvious fact of having followed the wrong star for more than a century, despite things Anna told me, I still had hope. In my heart of hearts, it never left me. Until the day Katherine snatched it from my chest and shattered right there with no regret, no hesitation. Nothing of what I remembered through decades about her left there in her eyes for me to connect to. I had to come in terms with the simple truth Stefan repeated for me every time he had a chance: she wasn’t the woman I fell in love with in Veritas in eighteen-sixty-four. She never was the woman I loved. I had been in love with a mirage I saw one night reflected in her mirror while she’d been readying for bed. Everything that happened was a legend I wrote on the bleeding pages of my heart’s fibers. It was never true. I understood it, I realized it, I suffered from it, and yet my mind still seemed to be in some kind of shock and hesitated to fully wrap itself around that loss. Basically, I’ve never lost anything, for to lose you have to have. I never had it. I was holding a veil of mist in my hand that evaporated in my fingers, leaving nothing behind. Perhaps, the loss itself causes no pain. There are no nervous endings in our brain, it can’t hurt when damaged. It’s the emptiness that hurts you. The void, tugging, sucking at the empty space around it like a black hole in the outer space where not even light has meaning. Yes. That would be the place I found myself in after Katherine disappeared, snatching the moonstone with her. Aside from feeling like a dead man walking – a shell of the one I pretended to be – I barely had a full day without Stefan pointing out how silly it was to hide the moonstone in such an obvious place. And the never stopping discussions of Klaus, Elijah and their deviant plans got to me the more I tried to push it away and distance myself. Fear for Elena floated somewhere far behind in my mind like a lonely ghost over the abandoned ruins. It wasn’t enough to shake me up. I pretended well. Occasionally, I flipped the emotions’ switch to get a break. But it always came down to a simple truth in the end: you may run, but you can’t hide. I couldn’t run from myself forever. I tried so many times, and every single time that wave rolled after me, thundering and growing as it did; it caught up with me eventually and crushed every inch of my soul, mocking any hope for rebound. It occurred to me, I might have never found even a fracture of peace I had been looking for. I pretended so well for others – I might as well do for myself. /
“You’ve always been so good to me, Damon. I know you’d understand.” Her voice purls like a crystal spring while I’m dying of thirst. It soothes and offers comfort, before I realize I taste sand instead of cool water, and it’s a mere illusion of my tired brain. It deceives and leads astray like will-o’-the-wisp. Her hand strokes across my chest, her eyes peering into mine, luring to believe, believe once again. “I had to make a choice, a hard choice, a painful one.” She pauses, her eyes well up, and my heart wrenches. Far and away, in another galaxy, something screams at me to go away, but I can’t. Her eyes mesmerize me, and I can’t move. Gathered tears glisten in her eyes like diamonds in dim light. She leans closer, nuzzling into my neck, sending a shiver of yearning through my body. “I chose…” Who, I want to ask, Who did yo—The pain is like a poisoned arrow that cracks through my sternum and skewers my pulsing heart. Air disappears, as if sucked out from me all at once. I wheeze feebly, and feel my knees readying to give way. Katherine’s eyes pry into mine with the same touching sincerity; there’s a drop of my blood above her ruby lip that seems black in the poor light of the basement. Finally, my knees wobble, and she lowers slowly to the floor with me, her hand still wrapped around the stake jutting from my chest. I taste blood in my mouth, even feel a hot trickle on my chin, but can’t breathe in or out. I can solely stare at her, still unable to believe. “Forgive me, Damon. I know you would.” I have no energy for thoughts or responses. I merely fade into the throbbing dark while pain gradually ebbs, leaving me empty. /
I awoke with a jerk, still tasting blood in my mouth and feeling as if my heart was busting. A wheezing inhale sounded alien even to my own ears, and then I sensed it and turned abruptly to face the figure standing at my bed. A quiver of relief traveled through me briefly at the sight of Elena’s face, but then my spine frosted as the realization seeped in. It’s—it can’t be. Can’t… Quicker than I became aware of, I jumped off the bed and pinned the girl to the wall, my hand tightening around her throat, my eyes flaring with rage while a wicked humorless smile crept onto my mouth.] “Wanted to kiss me or stake me in my sleep?”
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The Vampire Diaries AU - Damon (6)
hello brother
by @DeSangue on Twitter

Darkness soaked the air around the Bennett’s house, and sounds died out inside. Quietly, I observed Elena’s beautiful face on the cushion. The young witch wasn’t in the living room. Her heartbeat thudded from upstairs. Waiting for her daddy. Graham was lacking his sense of time and some equilibrium right about now. Walking home with all he drank wasn’t such an easy task. With a subtle smile of both interest and admiration, I stroked Elena’s hair and watched her stir in her sleep. A soft smile adorned her lips and made mine dim – she dreamed about my brother. That poor excuse for a man who was now sulking in the boarding house, burdened with Caroline’s persistence, brooding over what had happened with the homeless person, unable to accept the killer he was by nature. There was nothing more pathetic in my book than to regret your own nature. It was as useless as regretting being born at all. For all I cared, Stefan should have ended his sorry existence long ago. Which had never crossed his mind for long enough to grow its roots and make him seriously consider that option. Oh, that would make it way too easy for me, I thought, running my fingers through Elena’s hair. My smile widened again as I sent a mental impulse to the pesky dog the witch girl hugged in her father’s bed. With my inner eye, I saw it perk its ears and bolt out of her mistress’ hands to run to where she felt me be. “Millie!” Bonnie hissed, jumping out of bed to follow her pet, hurrying down the stairs cautiously not to wake Elena. “Millie! Mil—“ I looked up from Elena’s face at hers – the moonlight streaming through the window gleamed in her widened beautiful eyes. Her mouth was open as though she gasped for air. I felt her urge to scream, but nothing came out but a strangled wheeze. I smiled, knowing my face was concealed by darkness. The restrained light came through the window and poured over my back. In an instant, I stood behind her, my cool fingers stroked down the side of her neck, along the beating jugular. She shuddered and wheezed again. It was like trying to scream in your dream – no sound comes out. Her awareness was questioning reality, and she felt close to fainting, but couldn’t make a sound. Couldn’t move. Her dog whined from behind the couch, gradually waking Elena.
“Little birds like you should be fast asleep at this dark hour,” I whispered into her ear, my breath tickling the shell of it. Next second I was gone. The curtains waved as if a gust of wind disturbed them, and then they hung still as Bonnie screamed, still standing in the doorway of the living room, staring at the window where she thought the shadow disappeared through. If it was real. If any of it was real. And her dog whined behind the couch Elena came fully awake on.
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Bad Moon (part 4)
Something Wicked This Way Creeps

The sun was already in the sky, making its way upwards hastily, when Damon woke up from the deep slumber. He squinted at the window, gauging in his mind it must be around 7 am. Extremely quietly he slid from his bed, got dressed and left the room, soundlessly closing the door behind him.
After the breakfast he left another empty blood pack in the trunk next to the travel-fridge and returned to the hotel. Spending no extra time, he rushed upstairs and sneaked into the room as quietly as he left earlier. Elena was still asleep, and Damon occupied the bathroom for his morning shower. Having finished, he put his toothbrush in the bag and picked up on Elena’s accelerating heartbeat. Her face wore a distressed reflection of her frightening dreams. Damon winced, pondering on waking her up. Perhaps, no sleep is as bad as nightmares. Hesitating for another moment, he approached her bed and took her gently by the shoulder.
“Elena… Wake up, Elena, you hear me?” Elena jerked and moaned silently, her pupils moving under the eyelids. Damon’s voice sounded from far away and she balanced on the fringe between realities. The vampire frowned in sympathy at the suffering depicted on her face and fading slowly as she was returning to her senses. He squatted beside the head of her bed and skimmed her cheek with his hand. “Come on, Elena, snap out of it,” he said in a soft voice and squeezed her shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked at him with a distant gaze gradually gaining more awareness. “Hey… you ok?” he asked with a subtle smile.

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This far on "Bad Moon: Jar Of Demons" storyline on Twitter.
After Stefan saves Klaus from the white oak stake in Damon’s hand (not without Katherine’s hint) and dives into all adventurous life of a freak who guards a few coffins in an abandoned house, Damon and Alaric have a talk. Elena’s not doing very well, dealing with their yet another epic failure, her life is still a wreck and Klaus is as reckless and pesky as ever, running around the town, bitching about his stolen family. Ric suggests Elena needs a break somewhere away from problems, and Damon decides to offer her a getaway road trip. Reluctantly, Elena accepts the offer – leaving Mystic Falls is scary, but staying in it is killing her, and she just needs a little time to collect herself and her thoughts together. Damon and Elena drive off, spend a night in a luxurious hotel in Roanoke, Virginia (same room, separate beds, all decent), then cross the border into Kentucky State next morning where shit hits the fan. After a nice meal and long walk in the woods, they get attacked by a pack of werewolves, led by a young but powerful witch who calls herself Fuamnach. Damon kills quite a few wolves, but still they’re deadly overpowered. Fuamnach and her pack take the couple into their hiding place – a huge barn in the middle of the forest. Damon kills a few more wolves to make his point and protect Elena, but the situation is still a stalemate, so, he makes a fleeting pact with the witch: Fuamnach won’t harm Elena and Damon won’t kill any of her furry friends. Fuamnach, however, has some plans of her own. Being curious about vampires and having never come across any before, she is eager to know how they tick. She indulges in studies in her own sadistic manner, torturing, teasing, provoking Damon with changing success. Elena, being locked away in another room for a while, is terrified and doesn’t know what to hope for. While Fuamnach plays with her new toy, enjoying herself and letting her demonic guides enjoy their share (demons who help her with her magic and watch over her, taking advantages of everything she indulges in, be it torture, sex or whatever twisted pleasure she finds in her daily activities), the wolves aren’t too happy with the situation. They all know of Klaus and what he’s done to a pack like theirs in Tennessee. They’re not up for the experiment. Fuamnach once promised to find a way to protect them and helped with their turning problems so far – each of them possesses an amulet for quick painless turning any time they need. But this doppelganger girl changes their perspective. They don’t put it past the witch to kill Elena off (especially after she badly stabbed the girl) and endanger their pack with Klaus’ revenge. Also, they mourn their friends the vampire killed and see that the witch isn’t too hasty to kill him and let them avenge their family members, so, they venture a risky plan to leave Fuamnach and secretly dump Elena in a hospital in the nearest town. Which they do one morning. By that time, Fuamnach has screwed up with a spell that she wanted to use to bend Damon’s will to her own as in making him serve her needs. Things went wrong, and the pentagram she carved into his chest became a gateway for her demonic guides into his body. Fuamnach’s demons liked Damon as their more powerful puppet, granting him some demonic perks along the way. Seeing that her spell isn’t what she thought of it and Damon still had his own will to resist her, Fuamnach is mad and disappointed. Taking another bout of damage from Damon, she nearly dies, but the only werewolf left in the barn – her lover – wakes up to the noise and decides to avenge her by torching the vampire. With demonic help, Damon manages to finish the wolf and escape his room that was enchanted to keep him in. But when he tries to escape the burning barn, he finds he can’t leave the witch behind to die. They appear connected by the side-effect of her spell and can’t leave each other’s side without collapsing senseless. He’s forced to save her from the fire. The witch isn’t happy with the bond, either, and decides to seek out her former friend who taught her magic a long time ago. Together, they set out to find Jake in the nearest town where he lives with his old mother. With newly acquired resilience and demonic support, Damon is able to get into the house without invitation and squeeze it out of Jake’s mother before killing her. Jake, wrestled to the floor before he could take his old anger out on Fuamnach (former name Sarah), agrees to help reverse the wicked spell. While warlock and Fuamnach are preparing for the spell, Damon suffers woozy side-effects from temporarily giving in to demons for their prior help. Jake understands more of what’s going on and harbors his own agenda concerning the vampire. He wishes to cut Sarah out and gain control over Damon to keep him as his source of energy and vampire blood for his magic. Knowing nothing of it, Damon and Fuamnach go through the bloody ritual that temporarily kills Damon and breaks the bond. Now they can take separate roads and leave each other’s side. Before they do, both take their time for needed rest and make themselves intimately comfortable in one of the bedrooms, while Jake is working on his own plan – in result of which Damon ends up stuck in a demon’s trap in Jake’s basement, and Fuamnach is weakened through him because of the temporal energetic bond due to their sex. While Jake celebrates his assumed victory and generously allows Sarah to say her goodbyes to his new pet, Damon has a plan of his own that almost costs him his life, but frees him from the trap and Sarah – from magical draining. Leaving Damon out cold in the basement, Sarah kills Jake’s accomplices and restrains him. Then she has to resort to her childhood friend to help Damon out of his worn-out coma. Damon wakes up, confronts Jake and learns from him that Sarah wants him as her pet as well. Confused and tired of troubles, Damon leaves the house alone. Sarah, frustrated, sets the house on fire and leaves Jake cuffed in his room as she leaves. Later on, Damon and Sarah accidentally meet at the lake and decide to stick together, for neither thinks it’s possible to get back to lives they had before. They drive off together, heading west. Meanwhile in Mystic Falls, Lexi tricks a witch and returns to the world of living to help Stefan out of his rage and revenge plots. Klaus sees them at the Grill, shares news about Damon taking Elena away and threatens to kill Lexi if Stefan won’t beat some sense into his brother and get the doppelganger back to town. Stefan and Lexi investigate in the Boarding House, find out about Damon’s hotel reservation and set on a journey, following their trail. And Alaric finally gets a call from Damon’s phone, but instead of Damon, a male voice informs the teacher that Elena’s at a hospital in Kentucky. Alaric drives there and finds Elena weak and mumbling incoherent things about witches, werewolves, torture and the need to save Damon. He also finds Damon’s phone on the girl’s bed and receives Stefan’s call on it. Stefan and Lexi got to the hotel where Damon and Elena stayed and found no clues to go on his search with. Ric struggles to trust Stefan after the way he left, but decides to open up a bit and tells him about Damon and Kentucky. Stefan and Lexi continue their search, and Ric sneaks Elena from the hospital and, after countless arguments, agrees to see if they can find anything while in Kentucky. Later, they join Stefan and Lexi, find Damon’s trashed and burnt car, then the barn – which is also a bunch of smoldering ashes. Stefan finds a burnt body in there and they all decide it’s gotta be Damon. He takes it with as they drive back to Mystic Falls to get themselves together. While Stefan grieves all by himself, Elena refuses to believe Damon has died. She asks Bonnie to do the search spell and learns that Damon seems to be quite alive. When notifications from Damon’s bank account start coming to his phone (in Stefan’s possession now), Stefan inclines to believe Elena wasn’t far off. With Alaric, he visits the address last payment was made at, and they meet Elise – the young good witch, Sarah’s friend who helped Damon. She tells them what’s going on, how demons slowly take possession of Damon, leaving their energetic residue in his bloodstream and soul every time he lets them help him – which, eventually, would result in him turning a full-fledged demonic creature with no trace of what Damon has been. Concerned more than ever, the guys return to MF for Elena and Lexi to set on a journey, following the trail Damon leaves with every payment he makes with his credit card, checking in hotels and shopping. Life isn’t too kind to Damon and the witch, though, despite all the luxurious accommodations and the gifts and clothes Damon showers Famny with, gradually falling for her charm, either for real or due to the spell she had to perform at Jake’s to distort his memories of Stefan, Elena and the rest of his friends to display them as hypocrites and herself as his only ally in the world. The rest of the pack Famny was in before Damon came along happens across the couple with more trouble for them to deal with: Damon protects Famny from their wrath, but ends up bitten and dying. Famny goes through hell and water, racing against time to cure Damon with the help of demon she gets a lead on, but not a full day after Damon and her get attacked again and Damon’s trial returns like a bad omen for the witch. Famny has to opt for more powerful magic yet again, which almost undoes her before it all gets better. Then they learn that Jake survived the fire Famny tried to end him with and is quite eager to track them down and collect his payment. After a close encounter with a succubus demon and another witch that makes Famny believe Jake is always a step behind them, stalking and waiting for an opportunity to avenge himself, the couple continues their journey, heading to Vegas. Meanwhile, a mysterious Dark Man follows Damon and Famny, unnoticed. He has his own agenda and uses Jake to reach his goal. Stefan, Ric, Elena and Lexi don’t waste their time, either. Their search brings them to Sedona, Arizona, where they finally meet Damon and Fuamnach face to face for the first time since he disappeared (after about a week it all began). Damon showcases his lack of care and some new demonic attributes, hoping to destroy their faith in him and stop them from following his trail. The gang, beaten up and confused, backs up a bit to lick their wounds, but Stefan's not ready to give up on Damon just yet, so Stef and Ric decide to try to intercept Damon the same day when he'd go hunting - neither thinks he would expect them to come back so soon. With much efforts and injuries, Alaric and Stefan manage to capture Damon and bring him to Forest Houses Resort for the time being to make sure they can restrain him enough to bring safely to Mystic Falls. Lexi and Elena join them, and for the rest of the evening they fight to keep Damon their prisoner as he tries to escape. They only need to wait out another day while a witch Ric found on the market prepares new angelica potion for them. And then they will go back to Mystic Falls. Meanwhile, Famny is far from giving up on her vampire, having some help of her own from the mysterious Dark Man, Randall Flagg. Stefan and his team relocate to a remote house he rented for a few days, but Famny finds them there and attacks. Leaving Ric dead and both vampires and Elena severly hurt, she manages - with Flagg's invisible help - to claim Damon once again and leave. While Stefan's gang licks their wounds and plans their further actions, Famny brings Damon's body to another resort where she tries to bring him back to life, dealng with failures and Flagg. Finally, she manages to pull him back from oblivion, and they continue their journey together, while Stefan and his gang decide they won't give up on catching up on those two just yet. Leaving an obstacle behind - a few workers of a Pizza Hut joint, compelled to stop Stefan and his gang - Famny and Damon arrive to Vegas. Stefan's gang deals with the compelled and follow in tow. Ric and Lexi get them a new car while Stefan and Elena get rid of the ride stolen from the Pizza Hut owners, then they pick a hotel. After rolling into the Mirage, Damon visits his longtime friend Bert - an old vampire who had been like big brother to him for decades - and finds out about Stefan and his gang checking in the same hotel. Bert sends a car for Famny while Damon drives out on his new car to meet her at the Venetian where they have decided to have dinner. Meanwhile, Ric and Stefan rest in their room and contemplate their further plans, while Elena is restless. She sneaks away as if to call her friends back in the Falls, and sets on her own quest to find Damon. After strolling the streets of nightly illuminated Vegas, she stumbles upon a small group of nosy tourists who ask about her story and decide to help her find her boyfriends she "got separated from by accident". They split, and two of them go to Venetian where Famny and Damon have their dinner, deciding which other hotel to pick. Stefan, Ric and Lexi soon find out about Elena's trick and go out on the Strip searching for her while she refuses to pick up her phone, having settled for a text that she's searching for Damon on her own. /which brings us to now/


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