Fandom: The Vampire Diaries, AU future!fic
Pairings: Klaus/Bonnie/Stefan, Stefan/Bonnie, Damon/Bonnie, Damon/Elena, Stefan/Elena, Matt/Caroline/Tyler, Alaric/Meredith, some vague Katherine/Elijah, Katherine/Damon and hints of Jeremy/Bonnie.
Disclaimers: Don’t own The Vampire Diaries, nor any recognizable characters.
It’s been 3 years since Bonnie Bennett has put the town of Mystic Falls in her rear-view mirror, vowing never to return. A history major at BC by day and a witch-for-hire by night, Bonnie pays the bills by selling the tricks of her trade, though she vows to never again involve herself in the affairs of vampires. But when she receives phone calls from two individuals she never wants to see again, she is thrust unwillingly back into the world she so desperately tried to leave behind. As she races against the clock to uncover the killer bent on raising nothing short of hell, Bonnie must put aside her wants and discover the strength she needs in order to prevent the world from destruction. Along the way, she must make a pact with her sworn enemies to take down the biggest threat to humankind the world has ever seen, or soon the world may ring with the sound of silence.
It’s her destiny. It may also be her doom.
002. A VISION SOFLY CREEPING
Mystic Falls was dying.
She could sense it before she saw it. There was something in the air here, a slow, musty decay that keened and limped like a dying animal, unable to escape its fate. Or maybe that was just how she perceived it; Bonnie could no longer remember a time when she didn’t have some extrasensory perception due to her abilities.
Whatever it was, it filled her with a sense of foreboding as soon as she drove into town. For one small, irrational moment, she was filled with terror, and was so preoccupied with the temptation to turn around right then and there that she almost blew right through a stop sign and caused an accident.
She sat there in her rental, chest heaving, hands clutching the steering wheel like a lifeline while she focused on breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
When she was convinced that she was able to drive again, Bonnie started up the car once more and pulled on to the road, searching for the bed and breakfast that would serve as her temporary home until her business was complete. It may have disturbed her, once, the fact that she was staying at some strange inn in a strange bed with strangers who knew her by name and face but not by heart. But her father’s house was long gone, sold. Besides. She had no right to think that way anymore; she was no longer a resident here, and she hadn’t been for a long time.
Mystic Falls was no longer her home.
Matt raised his hand, about to knock on the door, when it flew open. Caroline stood in the doorway, blond curls tied back in a demure ponytail, looking decidedly uncomfortable in her kitten heels and asymmetrical black dress. Her normally bright eyes were muted, her mouth set in a hard line even before she gazed upon his face.
Matt must have looked surprised, because Caroline gave him a soft smile and lifted one shoulder noncommittally. She pointed to her ears in explanation to his unasked question. “Vampire hearing,” she reminded him. “I heard you pull up in the drive. Come on in.” It never ceased to surprise him, her uncanny supernatural abilities.
Matt stepped over the threshold and into the Gilbert home. Caroline turned around and made her way back through the house in silence, leaving him standing there, probably expecting him to follow her in due time. He appreciated that. He wasn’t really in the mood for small talk. Matt walked slowly down the hallway, purposefully avoiding looking at the various framed photographs hung on the walls, the reminders of a life none of them remembered anymore. He trod carefully on the carpeting lining the corridor to the kitchen, past the high school diplomas and the graduation photos, past the dead Gilberts that seemed to line the walls wherever he tried not to look.
He felt like he was walking through a mausoleum.
He found Caroline sitting at the worn kitchen table, nursing a glass of white wine and a contemplative expression. From the looks of the bottle sitting half-empty on the table before her, this was her third or fourth glass. She looked up, and, seeing his gaze trained on the wine glass in her hand, let out a half-chuckle.
“Yeah,” she said simply, tracing a finger along the rim of the glass. “There’s no way I’ll be able to get through this sober, so if you’re going to lecture me…”
Matt shook his head, pulling out a chair and sitting down at the table as well. “No. I wasn’t—” He gave her a grin. “You can do what you want, Care, you’re a grown-ass woman.” She cocked an eyebrow at his phrasing. “Well, you know, immortality aside. I was just… going to askif you were going to offer to share, or what.”
A sneaky smile crept onto her face, and Matt returned it. There was the Caroline he knew. He couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of pride at having drawn her forth, even if only briefly. She pushed away from the table and busied herself with finding Matt a glass from the cupboard.
The muffled sound of raised voices greeted Matt’s ears as Caroline waved a clean glass triumphantly in the air and then set it down before him. Matt looked up, listening as two voices, one higher-pitched and female, and one low-pitched and distinctly male, made themselves heard even over the sound of Caroline’s inane chatter as she filled his glass for him.
A door opened upstairs and Elena’s voice wafted down. “No, Damon. You don’t get a say in this!” Her footsteps clacked along the hardwood flooring and her voice faded a bit as she made her way from the front to the back of the house.
Damon’s voice was straining its last efforts at remaining calm. “I most certainly do, Elena. You chose me, so I get to choose you!”
“You don’t own me!” Elena shouted.
A door slammed shut and the sound of their argument was blissfully muffled.
Caroline grimaced, placing her fingers at her temple and letting out a stream of air through her pursed lips.
“They’ve been at it all morning,” Caroline muttered to Matt, shaking her head and eyeing the ceiling. Matt could track the movement of the muffled voices overhead. They must be in Elena’s room, if memory served correctly.
“Trouble in paradise?” Matt quipped snidely before he could help it. Caroline’s face fell, and he instantly regretted it. He started to apologize. “Wow. Okay. Yeah, that was…”
Caroline held up a hand to silence him. She grabbed the stem of her wineglass and took a long draught. “Don’t. Let’s just discuss something else,” she suggested, biting her lip. She gave the ceiling another agitated look after a particularly loud outburst, and then stood from the table.
“Maybe we could, just… outside?” Matt offered, and she nodded gratefully. Matt pushed his chair back from the table and stood, tugging his sports jacket and loosening his tie before following Caroline to the screen door in back.
“No. No. We are not having this conversation, Damon,” Elena fumed, struggling to keep her voice at a reasonable decibel. She was bent over the vanity in her bathroom, staring at her reflection in the mirror as she tried to stab a pearl earring through her left earlobe. Her annoyance mounted as she missed, then missed again. “God. Damn it,” she muttered to herself, trapping her tongue between her teeth as she tried to focus less on glaring at Damon’s reflection and more on the task at hand.
Damon paced outside the bathroom door, forging a visible path into her carpeting as he walked with brisk, languid strides from her window to her closet, then back and back again. He was dressed in one of his numerous black suits, thick hair parted and combed away from his face, a face which occasionally betrayed the anger simmering just below the surface of his otherwise calm exterior. A tremor of his lips, the flicker in his eyes, a tick in his jawline—all evidence that Damon Salvatore was losing his cool.
It was happening more and more often lately.
“Well, get used to it, Elena,” Damon replied slowly and smoothly in the tone he typically reserved for people he found to be incredibly stupid. Which, at this particular point in time, happened to be Elena. What a surprise. “Because we’re going to keep having this conversation until you realize how right I am.”
Elena missed the hole in her ear for the ninth time and hissed, slamming the pearl down on the countertop and spinning around, hair streaming behind her like a silk banner. Her hose-covered feet caught in the rug and she tripped, which Damon would have otherwise found comical but for the blazing look of fury upon her face when she finally met his gaze.
When Elena got well and truly angry, every feature in her face contorted into a mask of pure rage, not just beautiful but entirely and utterly terrifying to behold.
It reminded him of Katherine. Damon scowled at the thought.
He tried a different tack. “Elena,” he begged. The pain in his voice was genuine. “I can’t lose…” He faltered, but steamrolled on. “I can’t lose someone else I care about. Not after everything that’s happened.”
Elena rounded on him. “Don’t you dare try that on me! You think you hurt, Damon?” Her thin pink lips were pinched in a straight line, doe-like brown eyes darting back and forth between his own. “You think I don’t hurt too, that I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say you’ve lost everything? We lost together, remember?”
He opened his mouth to reply but she cut him off before he could get the words past his lips.
“I bleed, Damon,” she yelled, not bothering to keep her voice in check anymore. Her eyes crackled with electricity as she stalked out of the bathroom to stand in front of him, cutting him off and blocking his path to the window. She thrust a bony finger up in his face and jabbed sharply with each syllable. “I die. Every time someone leaves me, I die. I’ve got nothing left. Nothing. I’m all that’s left, Damon. A shell. Some hollow, shell of a thing who has nothing and no one left!”
His anger spiked. You have me, he wanted to remind her. But he had the feeling that meant very little to her at this particular moment.
Damon smiled, although it probably came out wrong, judging by Elena’s horrified expression. “Fine, Elena.” He threw up his hands. “Fine! What do I care if you go out and get yourself killed tomorrow, just like Jeremy did?”
Out of nowhere, her hand whipped out and slapped him across the cheek with a deafening CRACK.
Damon growled. “Why is it every time I say something you don’t like, you slap me? You think you can beat the truth away, Elena?” He advanced on her.
She reached up to slap him again and he caught her wrist and bent it, bent it until she cried out. “Elena,” he ground out in a warning tone, “Don’t hit me again.”
Her other hand flashed up in his peripheral vision, and he caught that one too, gripping it tightly and holding both her wrists at arm’s length. She struggled against him, wriggling her hands and wrists even though his grip was bruising. She pushed against him; he pushed back harder.
They stood face to face, chests heaving as if they were running a marathon, each one as determined as the other.
“Kiss me,” she demanded, and he did.
She never failed to take his breath away, no matter how hard he tried to deny it. He never had to think around her, he never had to do anything but feel and it was so beautifully simplistic that all he wanted was to hold her closer, kiss her deeper. So he did. She melted under him, as she always did, and her hands found their way to his shirt and suddenly they were shedding clothes and stumbling over to the edge of her bed.
He knew this dance well, so he took the lead at first, guiding her body back down onto the cool duvet of her mattress while he gently dragged the zipper of her dress down her back. The straps slid from her trembling shoulders and he pulled with one fluid motion, descending upon her exposed breasts as soon as the fabric left her skin. Her pantyhose stretched and tore, shredding to bits under his impatient administrations. Her hand sought, finding him hard, straining against the waistband of his pants; he gave an audible sigh of relief as she undid the button and slid her hand down into his briefs. He shuddered, bucking into her palm as she grasped the heavy length of him and ran her thumb over the weeping tip of his cock. She bit her lip, eyes trained on his as she finally guided him to her slick wet folds, so ready, always ready to feel him deep within her. His lips found hers, capturing her gasp as he thrust inside of her, painfully, sinfully slow, rocking against her until she wept and cried out hoarsely through her tears. Her orgasm came hard and sudden, and her short fingernails bit into the skin of his back as he began pounding furiously into her contracting heat in earnest, until he, too, collapsed on top of her, utterly spent.
They laid in silence for a few moments, until their breathing evened out and Elena had stopped crying long enough to gather her thoughts. She lay beside him, staring blankly up at the ceiling with red and puffy eyes as she started to speak.
“Do you know what the last thing I said to him was?” Elena murmured against Damon’s chest, gaze fixed upon a crack in the spackling of above her bed. He tightened his grip about her shoulders and rested his chin upon her hair, shaking his head slowly in response.
“I said—” Her voice caught, so she cleared her throat and tried again. Her words came out husky and waterlogged, and without thinking Damon reached up and placed a cool hand against her cheeks to trace away the tears before they fell.
“I said to him, ‘Don’t come back until you fix yourself, Jer.’ I said, ‘I don’t have the patience to deal with your bullshit anymore. Don’t come back until you’re fixed, or I don’t ever want to see you again.’” Elena caught his hand with her own and gripped it tightly, a tear trickling down her cheek. Damon pressed his lips to the moisture and smoothed back Elena’s hair, unsure of what to say.
Elena’s hands threaded through the blanket covering the bed, wringing it so tightly about her fingers that her fingertips started to turn blue.
“What kind of sister tells her brother to ‘fix himself’?” She choked out. “What kind of sister tells her kid brother that he’s no longer welcome in his own home, with the people he loves?” Her brow furrowed and she shook her head slowly. “I should have fixed him. I should have taken care of him. I knew he had problems. He was my responsibility and I just… I just…” she started sobbing again, deep powerful cries which wracked her whole body head to foot. “I just let him go!”
Damon thought for a moment, listening to Elena’s shuddery sobs and rubbing her arm. “We have to let a lot of people go eventually, Elena,” he replied after a lengthy pause, stroking her hair. “You can’t protect everyone.”
That only seemed to make her sob harder. Damon tsked and rolled his eyes.
He settled for patting her back and running his fingers through her hair, rubbing the velvety locks between his fingers and shushing her gently. Her skinny little shoulders, always so delicate, looked fragile enough to break lately. She hadn’t been eating. She hadn’t been sleeping.
He shouldn’t blame himself, but he did.
He was used to it, the blame. He could handle it.
Elena, however, couldn’t.
It would break her.
“Come on,” Damon whispered into her hair, shaking her shoulder gently. “We have to get going.”
“I don’t want to,” Elena gasped through her tears. “I don’t.”
“I know,” Damon hugged her tight. “But we have to. He’s your brother.”
He’s your brother.
It seemed that Death just couldn’t get enough of Mystic Falls those days. The pale horse and rider had done carnage to this town, Bonnie knew, the kind that even Time would be ill-suited to repair.
Jeremy Gilbert’s funeral was at sundown, not that you could tell from the skies. The weather, as if sensing the solemnity and sorrow in the air, dutifully cast a dark, mournful shadow over the proceedings and by the time the eulogy began, the sky opened up and torrential downpours threatened to drown out the brittle voice of Father Riley. The crowd was large, surprisingly so; Bonnie wondered how many in the sea of black suits and grave faces actually knew Jeremy at all, or if they were just here because they felt some sort of sick sense of duty to attend the funeral of one of their own, not that they had ever treated him as such when he was still alive. Bitterness filled her, and she abided.
They felt guilty, all of them. Complicit in this somehow, even though it was not by their hand that he had died, so brutally and so alone. That was the only reason why they were there, Bonnie knew. All the gawkers, all the townsfolk who had treated him like a pariah in his last years, who had given him the bottle to drown his sorrows in with one hand and covered their ears with the other, as blind and deaf to his depression as they were to their own despicability. They were only here to see buried the wayward son, the loner whose fate could have been prevented if only they had paid more attention to him, if only they had seen the path he was going down and stopped him… only then could they have saved him. If only. Such a shame, they could be whispering behind their hands. Such a handsome boy. He used to have such promise.
What happened? They most likely debated in hushed tones behind closed doors, with solemn expressions and shaking heads, clucking like hens as they did so. What happened to Jeremy Gilbert?
You did. You were what happened, Bonnie Bennett.
The whisper came to her unbidden, and Bonnie’s head whipped around, half expecting to see some contemptuous, shrewish old townie lurking behind her, wrinkled lips pursed as she cackled into Bonnie’s ear, spewing poison from her tongue.
But that wouldn’t make it any less true. Not that they would know any of the truth of it.
Thunder boomed somewhere in the distance, close enough to shake the ground with its throaty rumble, and the people in attendance flinched at the sound. A few people grimaced up at the sky, clearly rethinking their pious intentions to attend the young Gilbert’s service in the first place.
“… All gathered here today to remember the life of a son, a brother, and a friend.” Father Riley paused in his speech to turn the page of his Bible with a sopping finger.
Bonnie leaned against the oak tree and watched. Every so often the wind would shift direction and bring uphill with it sharp, heavy droplets of water with impatient, clammy fingers. The rain stopped mere inches from her skin, repelled by the barrier of her magic, beading like water upon oilskin and then sliding silently in rivulets to the grass beneath her feet.
Below, Caroline clutched her slippery umbrella tightly in her grip. From her vantage behind, it was near impossible to tell for sure, but when the blonde’s shoulders began to shake in earnest Bonnie knew that the tears had begun. Matt—good, sweet Matt—snaked an arm around her shoulders and squeezed gently. Elena and Damon stood to their right, huddled under a single black umbrella, arms touching. Bonnie tried not to let her annoyance build at the sight of them, but it was a slippery slope she trod. Instead, she allowed her gaze to float away from the two, back to the Father’s longwinded speech on the goodness and kindness of a man whose only fault was that he cared too much.
That part, at least, was true. Jeremy did care too much. He loved too hard and too fast, fell too quickly and too deep. And he lost. He lost so much, and then more. And he could prevent none of it. The helplessness that he must have felt…
She didn’t realize she was crying until the taste of saline coated her lips, dripping down her face in a steady stream.
The sky heaved and the Father was forced to cut his speech short. Bonnie watched, blinking through stinging tears as the grieving next of kin, the only kin, stepped forward, head bowed, to throw white poppies onto the coffin front. The flowers dropped like anvils onto the cherry wood of the casket before listing to the right over the slick wood and plunging into the black; Bonnie bit the inside of her cheek, somehow disturbed by this. A single, soul-shattering wail dredged its way up Elena’s throat as she looked down into the dark, muddy abyss that would be her brother’s final resting place, as if it finally hit her that this wasn’t like before. Jeremy would not be coming back to life. He had no ring to protect him this time, no loving girlfriend to sacrifice her powers and her life for his.
Bonnie’s eyes narrowed as Elena swayed, her knees buckling. Damon stepped forward from where he stood at a respectable distance and caught her arm, hoisting her back to her feet and allowing her to lean on him as he half-carried her away. Her cries raised the hairs on Bonnie’s neck, and she was thankful when Damon began to lead her away from the crowd of people, out of sight and out of hearing.
Damon stopped suddenly, ears perking as he sniffed the air. His eyes widened and he turned, head whipping around to face the oak tree on the knoll above the grave site. Elena shook in his arms, but thankfully she stayed silent, tears sluicing down her cheeks.
“What is it, Damon?” she managed, wiping her eyes with the back of one hand. “Damon?”
Damon shook his head, clearing the thoughts from his mind. He was imagining things now. He cast a reassuring smile down at Elena, giving her shoulders a squeeze. “Nothing. Come on, let’s get out of here. I hate cemeteries.”
She waited for hours, until the workers were done, until the sod was planted fresh and until every last straggler had disappeared from the premises, before making her way forward. The rain had finally stopped about an hour ago, leaving in its wake a chill the likes of which could only mean winter would be coming early this year. She stumbled down the slick grass of the hill and cursed softly to herself as her arms pinwheeled in an attempt to keep herself upright. She finally skidded to a halt at the foot of the hill and sighed, not quite sure if she wanted to go any further. It seemed like a much more feasible task from atop the knoll, but now that she was mere feet from his grave she wasn’t sure if she could do it.
You owe him, the voice whispered through the chill. You owe him that much.
And so she steeled herself and went.
“Oh, Jeremy,” Bonnie whispered sadly to herself, crouching down to kneel at his headstone. She smoothed her palms over her skirt and sat back on her haunches, glancing up at the dark sky. She ran one hand through her hair, tucking the wayward strands behind her ear, and allowed the other arm to drop down, fingers skimming along the tips of the blades of grass, drop of water flicking up as the stems bent and straightened under her touch.
“So nice of you to stop by,” a snide voice commented.
Bonnie flinched, then whipped her head around to see the silhouette of Damon Salvatore, leaning against an old granite obelisk twenty feet from Jeremy’s grave.
He stepped forward into the moonlight, the silver lighting casting his features into stark relief.
Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of him. Black suited him; the tall, lean cut of the formal attire clung to his body like a lover, and the loosed tie and unbuttoned shirt gave him a look of calculated debonair, a look that he all but invented. His looks, of course, had not faded with time, and in fact he seemed to be more handsome than ever, which provoked her ire. Why was he allowed to remain untouched by all of this, while the rest of them bore forever the marks of their trials?
Bonnie seethed. She wanted to say a lot of things, but what spoke best was silence. So her mouth stayed closed.
Damon took her silence as an invitation to step closer.
“So, what, you thought you’d just stop by, give the ol’ fresh-churned-earth a good pat goodbye, then disappear from time and space like always?” Damon asked, blue eyes glittering accusingly beneath his dark fringe of hair.
Bonnie stood, brushing off her knees. She began walking away, cursing when her heels sank into the soft, newly planted sod. She closed her eyes for a second but the sudden wind at her back told her where he had gone. She knew without opening them that he was standing before her now, so she halted, blinked, then swiftly changed direction, hoping to beeline around him. She was stopped when his hand shot out and gripped her forearm painfully tight.
“Where do you think you’re going? Hm?” Damon breathed, lip curling. His even white teeth gleamed in the twilight. Bonnie refused to look at him, eyes looking down, up, side, side. Anywhere but his face.
He snapped his fingers before her nose and she started. His words stumbled into one another like drunken frat boys, and his breath smelled of scotch. “Hey! Look at me when I’m talking to you, Bonnie!”
He reeked of drink, and she decided to tell him as much. “You stink, Damon,” Bonnie finally sighed, looking up into his electric blue eyes with a resigned finality that gave him pause. “Go home, take a shower, fuck Elena and go to bed. You’ll forget about this in the morning, and by then I’ll be long gone, I promise.”
She took a step past him but he still did not let go of her arm. Instead he twisted it tightly until she could no longer help the hiss of pain that escaped her lips. And still she did not hurt him back, though she could kill him as surely as blinking.
Because deep down, she felt that maybe she deserved this, a little bit. He deserved to make her feel, and maybe to make her hurt, too. Someone had to do it.
Damon tugged and she went, her back slamming hard into his chest as he twisted her arm tightly into the small of her back, the other snaking around to encircle her shoulders in a viselike grip. His hips jostled her backside and she stumbled, heels once again sinking into the soft earth. Damon’s chest brushed against her shoulders in time to his breaths, and his lips found her ear. She shivered.
“Do you think I could just forget, Bonnie?” His tone was dangerously quiet, and what little slurring there was in his voice had vanished without a trace. “Do you think I know how to forget? Don’t you think I want to?” His words stirred the hairs on the nape of her neck and she went still as he slid a hand up her arm, rubbing a thumb along the skittering pulse there.
Bonnie tried to turn to face him, and he let her, removing his arm from around her shoulders but not letting go of her forearm. She wanted to glare up at him, to shout or hit him or fry his brain with her magic until it dripped out of his ears. But the fight left her when she looked up at the expression in his wide eyes, eyes hard and shining beneath a drawn brow. The unadulterated rage there was startling; the raw beauty there was breathtaking. He was so beautiful it hurt. It physically hurt her to see. She had forgotten what that ache felt like in her heart, but as she gazed upon it for the first time in years, the wounds opened anew, and she bled fresh and in earnest. Her mouth fell slack-jawed and, not for the first time in her life, certainly not the last, she was struck dumb by the sight of Damon Salvatore.
Damon’s mouth worked soundlessly for a moment, eyes roving her face hungrily before settling on her lips. His free hand reached out and slowly, gently… he pressed the tips of his thumb and forefinger to her face, just skimming along her jawline with a touch lighter than a feather. Her body flared with warmth at his caress, her pulse jackhammering under her skin. The wonderment in his gaze as he looked upon her was almost childlike, and Bonnie could not tear her eyes away from his face, from the full spectrum that flashed across it in those milliseconds when their skin touched.
Bonnie reached up and trapped his fingers with her hand, gently removing them from her face. And yet somehow she couldn’t bring herself to let go, not yet.
“Fuck, Bonnie,” Damon breathed, eyes falling closed. He bowed his head, pressing his forehead against her own, and she let him. Dark veins snaked across his eyelids and cheekbones and she could feel him begin to shake. “You think I can forget? I would give anything to just forget you,” he told her in a pained murmur. She felt his breath fan out across her lips as he drew closer.
Her mouth parted.
When she opened her eyes again, the cemetery was quiet, and she was alone.