Fandom: The Vampire Diaries, AU future!fic
Pairings: Klaus/Bonnie/Stefan, Stefan/Bonnie, Damon/Bonnie, Damon/Elena, Stefan/Elena, Matt/Caroline/Tyler, 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.
.005 NARROW STREETS OF COBBLESTONE
Damon slammed his car door with such force that the car rocked on its wheels. With a hissing squeal that set his teeth on edge, the glass cracked, spiderwebbing into thousands of tiny planes before, with a sound like a sigh, shattering into a rain of finely powdered dust. He cursed as glass showered the driver's seat and covered his feet with glittering shards. The shining pieces winked up at him in the sunlight, refracting the beams of light so earnestly that for a moment Damon forgot to be angry and just stared at the prism of colors. Then he shook himself off, glass tinkling as it fell out of the folds of his jeans and the crevices of his boots. He barely resisted the urge to kick the side of the car for good measure. Knowing his luck, a slight tap from his foot would be enough to blow up the vehicle, sensitive as it seemed to be today.
Sometimes, having vampire strength was just really fucking inconvenient.
Attempting to rein in his simmering rage, Damon straightened, closing his eyes and waiting for composure to settle on him like some faithful, sobering shroud. He combed a hand through his thick, black hair, sweeping his fingers down his face to scratch at the days-old stubble on his cheeks.
He was chasing shadows. Mystic Falls… she was supposed to be here. She was supposed to be here. Why wasn't she here?
He had done everything short of turning the entire town upside down looking for her, for a trace of her, anything that could give him a clue that would lead him to where she would be, all without alerting the rest of the town to her presence. What he got instead was nothing but a headache, a dull throb in his chest, and a shattered driver's-side window. He should have known that she would have left as quickly as she had come; Bonnie was like a rock skipping across the pristine surface of a lake, barely touching but leaving ripples behind that spread, spread until it was as if the lake was never still at all.
He had meant it when he told her he wished he could forget.
Squinting up through his lashes, he gazed at the sloping gables and rustic wraparound porch of the Victorian bed and breakfast he was parked in front of. It was the last place on the endless list of places he had to check. His hope, what little of it he'd had when he first set eyes on her after so many years, had been running on fumes for the past several hours, and he was pretty sure it was about to be snuffed out.
From the street, the eccentric, historical house looked like something from the front of a postcard; from its beige-and-black color scheme, its slightly uneven, yet charming brick walkway, the manicured landscaping, and the cheery petunias swinging from pots affixed to the porch, the Mystic B&B had certainly cleaned up nicely compared to the dilapidated excuse of a shack it had been in previous hands. Damon would know, having seen the house in all its incarnations over the years.
A sudden, brisk wind from the east snaked its chilly fingers around his throat in a vice and he shivered, eyes flicking to the tops of the trees surrounding the house, which were beginning to turn the blushing reds and throaty golds of a reticent autumn. Damon grimaced, turning up the collar of his jacket with a deft flick of his wrist and starting his trek up the street towards the bed and breakfast.
As he made his up the sloping drive, his gaze lingered on a car parked out front in one of the guest spaces. Damon blinked, taking in the out-of-town plates in a cursory glance. Then he turned, trotting up the brick walkway and taking the porch stairs two at a time.
"We're being followed."
It was the first time she had spoken in over twenty-eight hours, and Bonnie flinched at the sharp flint-edged sound her own voice made, piercing the gossamer silence that had lain over the two of them for the past ten hours of the car ride. Her voice was a harsh, flat, impersonal version of what it used to be—from disuse, perhaps, over the past two days; or, more likely, from the nightmares that woke her up each night, screaming her throat bloody while Stefan's cool laughter settled about her ears like down. The nightmares were only made worse when she realized they weren't dreams at all, but in fact a very real and present reality, personified in the living, breathing nightmare sitting next to her at present in the driver's seat.
Stefan drummed his fingers along the steering wheel of their car, eyes flicking back and forth between the stretch of highway before them and the rearview mirror. His mouth was fixed into a grim line, but his only response to Bonnie's statement was the slight flare of his nostrils as he trained his eyes on the road ahead of them.
Bonnie's fingers dug into the underside of her elbows as she fought to keep her impatience from seeping into her body language. Every interaction with Stefan was a struggle to contain her anger, which, unlike her still-defunct powers, flared up at the slightest provocation. Or lack thereof, since Stefan refused to acknowledge the presence of his increasingly agitated captive.
"Did you hear me, asshole?" Woops. Bonnie winced internally. That one sort of slipped out before she could help it. "We've got a tail." She jabbed her thumb behind them.
Stefan finally decided to join the conversation, clearly deducing that it was his best chance of shutting her up. "I know," he replied simply in his best monotone. "They caught up with us in Xenia and have been tailing us ever since."
"What?" Bonnie's voice went up an octave. All the way back in Xenia? That meant they'd been following the two of them since early yesterday evening. "Couldn't you shake them, or something, y'know…" She waved her hand vaguely at the road. She resisted the urge to picture Stefan gunning the engine of their Impala, Dwayne Johnson-style, and Fast and Furious-ing their way down the interstate until their pursuers were two twin specks of headlight in their rearview.
Stefan fixed her with a look that, while mild, nonetheless pinned her to her seat with its intensity. His eyes, twin slate depths, seemed to churn like liquid crystal as she watched them apprehensively.
"I've tried to lose them. These guys are smarter than I originally thought," he explained, enunciating as if speaking to a senile old man. "I think… They must have switched cars last night while we stayed in Peoria. I wasn't sure it was them in the Sebring this morning, but now I'm certain."
"Who are 'they'?" Bonnie pressed him. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and pressed her forehead against the cool glass of her window, squinting at the car's reflection in the sideview. "What aren't you telling me, Stefan?"
Stefan looked Bonnie dead in the eyes. "You're a commodity that's in high demand right now," Stefan said plainly. His mouth turned up slightly in a facsimile of a smirk, as if he enjoyed referring to her as an object and not a person. "Now, be a good witch, will you? Shut up and let me do my job."
Stefan calmly turned on his right turn signal and merged into the slow lane. Bonnie's gaze slid to the side mirror, and she watched as the black Chrysler waited no longer than two minutes before smoothly merging into their lane two cars behind.
"What are you doing?" Bonnie asked after a moment, unable to help herself.
Stefan gripped the steering wheel tightly, knuckles turning white. Bonnie leaned back, expecting him to explode any second. Instead, he let out a long stream of air and pasted a quick smile to his face. The effect was predatory, and Bonnie was ill at ease at the sight of it.
"You hungry?" Stefan finally asked, throwing up the blinker and pulling off the nearby exit.
"No," Bonnie started to say, before her stomach gave one embarrassingly loud and defiant gurgle.
Stefan snorted. "Right. Let's eat." And that was that.
Bonnie slumped in her seat and watched the black Chrysler trail behind them. She prayed that Stefan knew what he was doing.
To the west, the sun began its slow descent in the sky, and the clouds began to darken.
The foyer smelled divinely of apples and cinnamon.
Damon's footsteps creaked on the old floorboards as he moved further into the inn, taking in the quaint furnishings, the threadbare Oriental rug, and the porcelain rooster of questionable taste resting on the authentic mantelpiece.
Damon strode towards the front desk and slapped his hand down on the bell. Silent as a ghost, Mrs. Jackson appeared out of one of the side rooms almost instantly, as if she had been waiting for his arrival.
"Hi there, Mrs. Jackson. How are you this fine afternoon?" Damon's toothy smile felt out of place and awkward, but he kept it plastered to his face regardless. He was out of practice with his basic pleasantries, but luckily Mrs. Jackson didn't seem to notice.
In fact, she hardly seemed to notice him, despite the fact that he was standing right in front of her. Her frail, twig-like body seemed like to snap with the force of Damon's gaze, which he managed to pin directly to her face, ready to read every emotion that would cross it. However, at this moment, her face was passive, and her smile seemed as fake as his own as she blinked curiously up at the wallpaper behind him through her thick spectacles.
"Why… Damien Salvatore? Is that you?" She smacked her lips and squinted, running her hands along the front of her rooster-print apron. Damon sensed a theme.
"Why, you haven't aged a day," she muttered, more to herself than to anyone else.
Damon's eye twitched slightly at 'Damien,' but his grin did not falter. "And may I say the same about you, Miss Dharma? You look absolutely lovely today," Damon returned winningly, eyes glittering down at her.
Mrs. Jackson's bland smile grew slightly wider, and with a shaky hand she reached up and smoothed the white flyaway strands of hair back into her bun. Her eyes darted to the grandfather clock before returning to affix onto an area somewhere around his right earlobe. "What can I do for you today, Damien, dear?"
Damon clasped his hands demurely in front of him and fixed the innkeeper with a solemn look. "I'm looking for a friend of mine," he began, eyes searching her face for anything that would betray her. "She's young, about yea high—," he held his hand out to his shoulder, "—green eyes, dark, pretty. Has a bit of a temper on her. You would have noticed her if she walked in." She has that effect on people.
Mrs. Jackson frowned and retreated to the front desk, where she began flipping through the guest log. "What was her name, dear?"
Damon sighed. "Bennett. Bonnie Bennett."
"I'm sorry dear, doesn't ring a bell. She's not listed, you see." The innkeeper showed him the guestbook, eyes turned downward.
Damon glanced down his nose at the list of names, which was absent any Bonnies or Bennetts. He ran his fingers along the binding of the past few pages, checking to see if any of them had been ripped out recently. The seams were smooth and unaltered.
Damon's shoulders slumped. Pausing as a thought struck him, he allowed his eyes to flick back up to Mrs. Jackson, who was wringing her hands in her rooster apron and staring at the guest book in his hands. His gut told him that she was hiding something from him. His gut also told him that the only way to get it out of her was to compel her. And yet his conscience, still fragile in its infancy, tugged at his better judgment, which balked at the idea of using his powers on so old and frail a mind as Mrs. Jackson's.
Damon let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. No. This was a dead end. Time to go home and forget about everything that had happened in the past two days. And still… that niggling feeling in his gut grew to an itch. Something bothered him. Not once during their entire exchange did Mrs. Jackson look at his face, or further, meet his eyes. Why?
Turning so that he could face her more fully, Damon set his mouth into a hard line. "Why won't you look at me, Mrs. Jackson?" Damon inquired in a hard voice.
Mrs. Jackson smoothed her hands over her apron and glanced instead at the grandfather clock behind the both of them. Her lips pursed. "Oh, dear. I believe left an apple turnover in the oven. If you'll excuse me."
"Right," Damon glowered, and Mrs. Jackson's smile returned, clearly waiting for him to leave. Still, her eyes refused to meet his, instead fixed upon the lapel of his jacket as he stepped backwards towards the door.
Damon paused by the welcome mat.
His eyes darkened and the veins crept across his browbones like tributaries. "Just… one more thing, Mrs. Jackson."
Damon suddenly turned on his heel, speeding towards the frail innkeeper with a velocity that should have startled any human being not familiar with vampires.
Instead, Mrs. Jackson held her ground and blinked sweetly up at him, as if she had not just witnessed a display of superhuman ability. Her eyes were flat and soulless, shallow depths only present for show. He would recognize that gaze in anyone, having induced it in others more times than he could count. Mrs. Jackson was a mere puppet, awaiting the tugs and pulls of her master.
Damon's lip drew back in a soundless snarl, and he could barely speak around the deadness that settled low in his throat, slowing his pulse to a crawl with the realization he had just made. "Thank you, Mrs. Jackson. That's all I needed to know."
Without waiting for a reply, he stalked out of the bed and breakfast. The bell chimed cheerily behind him as the door swung closed.
Once outside, Damon broke into a run. He fished out his phone with one hand as he skidded to a halt in front of his Audi, reaching in through the broken window to unlock the door. Damon slid into the driver's seat, not even bothering to sweep the broken glass out of the way. He jabbed at the start button with his forefinger, fumbling for a moment in his haste, until finally the R8 roared to life. With a squeal of tires on asphalt, Damon peeled out of the parking space and sped towards Main Street like a bat out of hell. With his other hand, he dialed Elena.
The phone rang a few times before he got her voicemail. "Dammit!" Damon cursed, slamming the steering column with a fist in frustration.
"Elena, if you get this, stay at home. There's another vampire in town. I don't know who yet. They're dangerous, and they might be with Bonnie. Yes, Bonnie, Elena. She came for the funeral. They might have taken her, I—I don't know," Damon was speaking incoherently, even to his own ears, but he couldn't stop the stream of words coming out of him.
"Her car was parked outside of the B&B on the outskirts, but she's not—I mean, she's gone. They have Mrs. Jackson compelled. She knew about vampires. At least—well." Damon let out a shaky laugh, trying and failing to think straight. The speedometer pushed eighty-five, ninety.
He cleared his throat and lowered his voice, urgent now. "There are vampires back in Mystic Falls, Elena. Vamps that aren't us. I don't know who they are, so I am begging you—begging you, Elena; listen to me!—stay at home. I'll see you there soon.
"Love you," he added hastily, then he tossed his phone into the passenger's seat and floored the accelerator.
She didn't even get a chance to scream.
The motel room was so dark that it rendered having her eyes open useless, but Bonnie didn't need to see to feel the weight of the person bearing down on her chest, slowly forcing the air from her lungs. The man's hand, foul and clammy, like a submerged and rotting dead thing, wrapped so tightly over her mouth and nostrils that she could no longer breathe, let alone suck in enough air to let out a scream. She flailed in the dark, elbow connecting with the solid weight of her attacker. She felt bone crunch beneath the force of her blow, strategically aimed by what she hoped was the collarbone, but she only succeeded in making him angry. Their knee violently cracked into her ribs, winding her completely.
Her powers were scattered, and in her panic what little of it had recuperated from the events of the last two days was now like running water through her fingers, loosely confederated and so difficult to grasp that the effort made her see stars. Or, perhaps, that was the blow to the back of her skull, which sent her sprawling over the side of her bed before she crashed in a heap of limbs, cheek grafted to the scratchy motel carpet.
"Ste—!" Gasping, shuddering, Bonnie tried to cry out Stefan's name, but she couldn't get enough oxygen into her lungs. She knew from the stinging numbness and her swimming vision that she had sustained a concussion. She let out a soundless wheeze and began dragging herself towards the door, fumbling in the dark for something, anything that would give her purchase.
Her forearm struck the edge of the nightstand by the bed and she kicked out, hard. The crack of wood as one of the legs split was the sweetest music to her ears, and as the nightstand wobbled and fell with a crash, she prayed someone would hear it. Fumbling forward in the dark, Bonnie grabbed one of the splintered pieces of wood and somersaulted away from her bed, coming to rest in a crouched position that gave her a clearer line of sight.
Sometime in the night, it had begun to rain. Like a flash bomb, lightning streaked across the sky and lit up the motel room for a split second, giving Bonnie one clear, terrifying image of the scene before her. Standing upright and looming over her was something foul, right out of the darkest of nightmares.
There wasn't any one thing that she could put her finger on, exactly, because everything about it was too awful for her to take in at once. Maybe it was the creature's skin—milky, old, of a deathly pallor and giving off the stomach-churning odor of rotten meat. It could have been the creature's limbs, slender and long and entirely too thin to be human. It used darkness like a cloak, and the shadows seemed to lean towards it with such gravity that its surroundings seemed… distorted, somehow. It had no mouth to speak of, only smooth, white skin that expanded and deflated with its every breath. And its eyes—oh, God. Bonnie couldn't look away. Where a normal human would have eye sockets, the creature's skin stretched tightly over the holes like a drum skin, leaving two faint divots that nonetheless seemed to stare back at her with an ageless hunger.
Bonnie's mouth went dry and whatever scream she had dredged up by sheer willpower faltered and expired on her lips. What stood before her instilled her with such fear that it was all she could do to keep her heart from curling up and dying in her chest right then and there. Frantically, she began dragging herself towards the wall one painstaking inch at a time, stake long forgotten on the ground, right ankle throbbing and ribs heaving like bellows as she struggled to breathe. Whatever this thing was, she knew that she didn't have the means to kill it. This was an ancient magic. She could sense it in the way her hackles raised at the sight of it, the way its powers washed over her like a thick, putrid skin of oil over water.
The creature advanced towards her now. The rotting flesh of one cheek sagged downwards like sopping newspaper, and it flapped back and forth like a flag as the creature let out one rattling, dry sigh. Bending its long, spidery legs, it reached down towards her with one pale, long-fingered hand. The stench of the rotting flesh nearing her face made Bonnie gag, and she pressed herself up against the wall and closed her eyes.
Suddenly, the door of the motel room was ripped off its hinges and thrown outside into the raging storm. Lightning flashed and thunder pealed, and Bonnie's eyes were met with the sight of someone she never thought she'd be grateful to see: in the doorway, the silhouette of Stefan Salvatore stood, feet set wide apart, shoulders heaving slightly with the force of his anger. His face was contorted into a mask of pure, primal rage, his lips drawn back past his sharp fangs in a snarl, his eyes dark and veined. He was soaked; rain sluiced down his leather jacket in rivulets, puddling at his feet, and his hair was sodden. In his hands, he held a lighter and an aerosol can.
Lightning flashed, illuminating his eyes, narrowed and focused. "Hey, fuckface!" Stefan snarled, and the thunder echoed him.
The creature, hands mere inches from Bonnie's face, hesitated.
That hesitation was all that Stefan needed. Moving with lightning speed, he rushed the monster, sending it flying against the far end of the room. It landed in a heap, head bent at an awkward angle. Bonnie couldn't tear her eyes away and she watched in horror as the creature soundlessly, bonelessly, drew itself up. It seemed taller than before, and the shadows over which it had command seemed like tentacles, spreading silently and thickly like a blanket of dark fog rolling towards them.
It raised one slim, knarled finger and pointed at Stefan.
Then it rushed towards him.
Stefan smirked. Raising the aerosol can, he flicked the lighter open and Bonnie's vision exploded in a ball of light and heat.
The creature shrieked, raising its arms up to its bald face to protect itself while it shrank inwards, folding like a box until finally, the flames engulfed the monster's body completely. The fire shrank and then vanished.
Bonnie let out a shaky breath and gazed at the steaming, ash-filled crater in the center of the motel room.
Stefan's voice finally broke the silence. "You hurt?"
Bonnie ignored the question. Drawing herself to her knees, she peered over at the spot where the creature had gone up in flames. "Did you kill it?" She whispered, staring unblinking at the crater of ash in the middle of the room.
Stefan shook his head. "No. Its weakness is light. The power was out, so I made do with fire." He scrubbed a hand over his face, still wet with rain, and looked down at her with a heavy expression. "It'll be back."
"God," Bonnie let out a hysterical peal of laughter. "Never a dull fucking day in my life. A couple days with you and already I've almost been killed twice. God!" She laughed loudly.
"Are you hurt?" Stefan repeated, dropping the lighter and spray can to the ground with a clatter and crouching down to inspect her more closely. He gingerly brushed his knuckles against the bruise on her cheek, face impassive. He paused, sniffing for a moment, and then his nostrils flared at the smell of the blood oozing out of the wound at the back of her head. He pursed his lips and turned his face away with a shudder that rippled through him.
Bonnie watched him numbly as he shrugged out of his jacket and laid it across her shoulders. Methodically rolling up a sleeve, his fangs dropped and he bit deeply into his wrist, twin crimson lines running down his chin. He held the lifeblood to her lips. "Drink," he ordered. "Now."
Something in his tone sparked a fire in her. Anger, one of her instinctive responses to the intense fear she had felt, churned acidic inside her now, bubbling forth as she smacked his wrist away and gave him a hard shove away from her.
"Where were you?" Bonnie yelled. Her voice was so shrill that Stefan leaned away from her despite himself. "Where were you?! You go on and on about protecting me because I'm some asset for you and your twisted friends, but then you just leave me here to die?" Her vision blurred as angry tears filled her eyes.
Stefan watched her outburst with such a stony expression on his face that he could have been watching a weather report, which succeeded in catapulting Bonnie from angry to livid. She opened her mouth to yell some more, but Stefan cut her off.
"I was taking care of the demon," Stefan explained. The thunder outside nearly drowned out his words. "That's where I was. The guy that was tailing us… it was a demon. He was skulking around after you went to sleep, so I went after him. I thought, maybe I could get some answers..." Stefan sighed, and his face looked so drawn and weary that Bonnie got the feeling that perhaps the answers he sought had nothing to do with her at all.
Stefan shook his head angrily. "I should have known that it was a decoy. I had a bad feeling the moment I walked out the door."
He hesitated for a moment, then met her eyes. "I'm sorry," he admitted grudgingly, looking more frustrated than apologetic. "I never should have left you alone."
Their gazes locked and Bonnie sucked in a breath, startled to find that she somehow believed his apology. Regardless, she did not—could not—forgive him. Not after everything he had done to her. Her eyes shuttered and her fury simmered on low, ever-present and unbridled in her jade eyes as she glared at him.
Abruptly, Stefan rose to his feet and disappeared into the bathroom for a moment, re-emerging with one of the motel's threadbare white towels.
"Here," he said, tossing the towel at her unceremoniously. "Clean yourself up. We're leaving in ten minutes, before the creature come to its sense and returns to the plane it was banished from. I suggest you change out of those clothes," his gaze flicked up and down her tee shirt, lined with specks of matted blood, "and give them to me. I'm going to patrol the perimeter. When you get back, I expect you to be packed."
Having said all he needed to say, Stefan gazed down at her for a second longer, gaze lingering on her bloody, bruised cheek before speeding out of the room in a blur, leaving Bonnie to sit on the floor with a concussion, a twisted ankle, bruised ribs, and covered in her own blood.
It was only until he was gone that she allowed the tears to fall.
Damon slowed his car to a relative crawl as he neared the town square. As always, life seemed to move a good degree slower in the heart of Mystic Falls. It didn't help that today was a Saturday, which naturally meant that Main Street was bloated with people milling about, doing their weekly shopping errands. Damon groaned and slammed on the brakes, barely avoiding running over a pedestrian juggling four clothing bags and an affronted expression as she scowled at the tinted windshield where she assumed Damon might be. Damon flipped her off and laid on the horn, causing the other pedestrians on the walkway to scatter in confusion.
Damon tried ringing Elena again, to no avail. He was stopped at a red light, fuming, when he caught sight of the back of a familiar brunette head. It was Elena, walking in tandem with Matt as they window-shopped. Elena must have said something funny, because Damon could see Matt's eyes crinkle with mirth as he let out a bark of laughter. The two of them paused in front of a consignment shop, Elena sifting through an outdoor rack of sundresses and vintage jackets while Matt leaned against the doorframe and watched, chatting with her companionably.
Slamming on the brakes for the second time that day, Damon threw on a hasty turn signal and moved to park in the rear parking lot of the Mystic Grill. He needed to warn Elena as soon as possible, and since she wasn't answering her phone, he was going to make her listen one way or the other.
He was about to lock his car door (needlessly, given that the window was already smashed wide open) when he heard a buzzing noise coming from the passenger seat of his car. Damon thought about simply ignoring the call, but instead his common sense got the better of him and he reached through the window, patting around until his fingers brushed up against the vibrating phone.
Snatching it up, Damon squinted down at the caller I.D.
"Elena," he breathed, accepting the call immediately. "Hey," he said, jogging out of the parking lot towards the consignment shop where he had seen her earlier. "I'm headed your way now. Don't move, and tell Matt that he needs to get lost for a few minutes while we talk."
Elena's voice was bemused. "Matt? What are you talking about?"
"Ditch the blonde, Elena," Damon repeated through his teeth, pinching the bridge of his nose in agitation as he rounded the corner.
He came upon the consignment shop, and slowly his footsteps faltered to a halt. Elena stood before Matt, holding up a particularly atrocious-looking sundress to the football player's frame. Matt playfully shoved it away and Elena's laughter floated towards him, light and tinkling like a wind chime. Matt then turned and walked inside of the clothing store, beckoning Elena with a shrug of his shoulder and a slow smile. She lingered by the outdoor display rack, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.
Damon's breathing became shallow.
"Damon?" Elena's voice prompted in his ear. "Are you alright?"
The Elena by the consignment shop turned slowly towards him, graceful and precise as a ballerina. Her hair, straight and long, caught the sunlight, almost as bright as the flash of her teeth as she fixed Damon with a direct stare that pierced through to his core made his blood run absolutely cold.
The phone slipped from his grip and shattered across the sidewalk.
The second Elena's cheeks dimpled gently and she slowly, deliberately winked.
Suddenly, the blaring horn from a car on the street made Damon start. Looking around him, he dazedly realized that he had stopped stock-still in the middle of a crosswalk. He moved out of the way hastily.
When he looked back up, she was gone.
Postscript: I had this extra scene in the chapter with a small moment between Bonnie and Stefan, but I didn't end up including it in the chapter since it didn't move the plot along. Would you all be interested in reading "deleted scenes" and things like that as inter-chapter tidbits to bide the time while I write the next chapter? Let me know in the comments.