Author: Nadin4400 PM
AU post 2x21. Newly turned Jenna is trying to adjust to her new life, but nothing is ever smooth in Mystic Falls, especially when the "baddest" of the vampires has plans for you. Vampire!Jenna/Alaric, most of other characters involved. Ch 13 UP! Please check out, read and review!Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Angst - Alaric S. & Jenna S. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 118,010 - Reviews: 67 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 11-24-12 - Published: 05-23-11 - id: 7015284
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's note: Okay, I decided not to be a bitch about this story. I mean I am still writing it anyway. Updates make it harder to break it into chapters though because normally I don't really bother with that but…
The truth is, there is a fanfic in Supernatural fandom that I am a little bit obsessed with. In a – I read it 50 times at least – way. The story is beyond brilliant. And it has never been finished. Yeah, that's my problem. I read those 7 chapters more times than I can count and I still have no idea how it's going it end because obviously it is not going to be finished seeing as how it was last updated over 3 years ago. I tried contacting the author with no result, which is… well, a shame, really.
I seriously doubt anyone can possibly be interested in my writing this much, but just in case… I don't want to leave anyone hanging, and like I said, I am writing in anyway.
This chapter is small – smaller than my usual stuff but I hope it's okay.
And also, I would like to thank everyone, and apologize. I behaved like a petulant child, and it is not right. Thank you for your kind worlds of encouragement. They really help me going.
~It seems the more we talk
The less I have to say
Let's put our differences aside.
I wanted to make you proud
But I just got in your way,
I found a place where I can hide
"Good Enough" by Lifehouse~
Stop. Rewind. Replay.
She did not just say that, did she? Of course she didn't.
Alaric must have heard her wrong. He must have misunderstood her. In his mind, he ran her words on repeat. And then again. And one more time, and they still weren't making any sense. The world shifted around him, closing in to the size of a pinhead and the sound of his frantic, panicked heartbeat, so loud he was sure that everyone in a ten mile radius could hear it, too.
"Do you—" he started, breaking off to clear his throat that was so dry he was barely able to produce any sound at all. His eyes searched her face for comfort and reassurance, finding neither. "Do you want to break up?"
The question nearly knocked the ground from beneath Jenna's feet. She didn't think of it that way, no, and coming from his mouth, the words sounded frightening and somewhat final, as if having some dark shade of premonition to them, and Jenna's stomach coiled. She absolutely did not mean that, and it nearly made her laugh at the ridiculousness of his assumption.
"No, I want us to take a pause," she said instead, her voice surprisingly flat, emotionless. There really was no way of making it sound better, was it? Keeping eye contact proved being next to impossible, and her gaze wandered. "Everything happened so fast… I need it, Ric. I need to figure some things out for myself, find my ground again." She exhaled, feeling drained and empty, as though all those tears washed away any strength she had left.
He saw it coming, didn't he? He did, Alaric thought blankly. At least some part of him did. Sadly, it was a much smaller part than the one that completely refused to process and comprehend any of what Jenna had just said.
He wanted to say no, they didn't need any breaks, or pauses, or whatever. That they would deal with it, just like they had dealt with everything else from vampire ex-boyfriends to vampire ex-wives to John Gilbert that deserved to be classified under a separate pain in the ass category. After everything they'd been through, there was no way they wouldn't get through this crisis as well. He wanted to tell her that he loved her and couldn't lose her like that. That it was wrong, a mistake they had no right for because what they had was worth fighting for. how could she even think about letting it go like that? That they had no right to give up now, not after everything they overcame. That they were stronger than that.
That if she was mad at him – and he assumed that she was – he could relocate to the couch for the time being. Figuratively speaking, because there still were, like, five spare rooms. After all, he succeeded in making all possible and impossible mistakes ever since they started dating. But at the same time, there was nothing else in the world that he wanted to work more than this relationship. God, they could just talk it through, couldn't they?
Instead, he stayed right where he was, taking his time to figure out how not to die right there and then, his mind a wild chaos of thoughts he couldn't grasp. After everything he had been through in the past couple of years, he thought he'd reached the limit of how much pain one person could endure. Well, apparently, not even close. Who could have thought that a few words could basically kill?
What could he say if every single word in his mouth felt so damn wrong?
"I had no right to keep anything from you," he murmured in the end, feeling tired and defeated.
Jenna's gaze shifted upwards and she shook her head.
"No, it's not that. You meant good. I get it." Kind of. Sort of. Maybe sometime in the future. She averted her gaze again before fixing her eyes on his one more time. "I look at you, and I see a raw steak, Ric. Half the time I wake up at night from the nightmare in which I rip your throat out. And I like it. Not the nightmares. The idea of sucking you dry. Because it feels natural." Her breath caught in her throat and she swallowed past it. "Because it's what I do. And every time I fear that it wasn't just a dream, that maybe you're lying there in a pool of blood."
Was that it?
He frowned. Took his time to study her, unbelieving, not quite sure if he was more relieved or surprised or baffled, his mind slowly processing the fact that maybe she didn't hate his guts with passion.
"I don't care about any of this!"
For heaven's sake, it was one stupid dream! The one that seriously freaked Jenna out – it freaked her out more than it did him, even if it was Ric who ended up being attacked and bruised in the end – but only a dream nonetheless. He knew she took it hard. He could feel it with his skin – her guilt, her fear of not being able to trust herself because she literary had no idea what to expect from her body that felt foreigner and odd and out of place.
But Alaric didn't care. And he also knew that he would never let her do anything to herself or someone else. In fact, it hurt him to know that she didn't trust him on that. That she didn't trust him to help her through with this… however long it could possibly take. It didn't matter. He just wanted to be with her, end of story.
"I do!" She pushed her hair out of her face. The shell of her resolve cracked, and her voice was quivering, forced past the burning lump in her throat as her eyes stung with welling tears. "And the fact that I have to question every word you say is not helping."
His shoulders slumped. Because, hey, she was right! And he totally deserved it. "Jenna… Look, okay, I didn't mean it to be like that. I had to tell you, and I am sorry for being stupid enough not to do it—"
"I had right to know!" She sucked in a breath and pinched the bridge of her nose. "You—all of you—you were there for me when all of this happened, and I really appreciate it, Ric." She tried to sound calm and even, failing miserably. "But I can't let someone else live my life for me. I need to understand who I really am, and where we—you and I—stand. Without it, I will be… stuck, and I have already spent enough time not knowing what my life really is."
They fell silent for a few moments.
"Are you sure it's what you want, Jenna?" Alaric asked in a low, hoarse voice, having no idea what was holding him back from screaming. His gaze searched her features for a sign of residue, because if she wasn't as tough as she meant to look, then maybe he could try to find the words to make her change her mind.
"It is what I need, Ric."
To that, all he could say was, "Okay." Because she kind of already said the rest.
And so they stood there, two feet and thousands of miles apart.
There was one thing about being a police officer that most people didn't understand – you could never get used to death. No matter how many times you have to look past it, pretend it is nothing but a case file with a number and a few sheets of paper with dry facts, it is always there, always. The pain and the loss, another life taken away before its time – always beneath the surface, being thin veil you need to keep closed at all times. Eventually, you would learn to keep distance but you would never stop feeling. Not really.
All these thoughts swirled in Sheriff Forbes's head as she pulled to the curb behind another squad car and killed the engine. She took a deep breath, her fingers tapping nervously on the steering wheel for a few moments, and then pushed the door open knowing all too well that staying in the car would hardly change the terrible reality that was about to be thrown right at her with the force strong enough to knock of her off of her feet. Definitely not something to look forward to, she thought absently.
It was pre dusk and the sky just started turning purplish at the horizon. The air rushed inside, cool and fresh. It ruffled her short blonde hair and filled the inside of the car that bore a lingering smell of coffee with unmistakable scent of spring.
Liz reached automatically for her gun, just to make sure it was safely tucked into the holster on her waist – a habit she developed quite a short time ago after nearly being killed a few times – and then headed across the neatly mowed lawn towards a regular suburban two-storey house hiding behind old, massive oaks. The house that was now illuminated by the red and blue flares coming from two police cars – never a pretty picture – and it made her stomach coil familiarly.
It wasn't that Mystic Falls was a quiet town, but up until recently the worst that she had to deal with were occasional car accidents, drunk fights on a Saturday night and bored teens breaking into the school just for the hell of it, or hanging out at the cemetery and drinking beer. All of that required more paperwork than it was worth but it was her life for nearly twenty years, and it was okay. Now, however, every time her phone rang, Liz couldn't help hesitating for a moment or two before picking it up in order to brace herself for whatever was waiting for her on the other end of the line.
And that was before – before her own daughter had been turned into a vampire – oh God! – which was making Liz feel like the entire world had turned upside down and was now slowly falling apart right before her eyes. She still hadn't dealt with it, and it was hovering over her, dark and inevitable. What was she supposed to do about it, anyway? Kill her only child? Hell, no! But... but just going on like nothing happened was beyond her either. And the weight of decisions she knew she would never be able to make was pressing down on her making it hard to breathe and think.
Everything she'd been doing her entire life – it was all to protect her baby from this nightmare, to protect the people of this town from the horror of the vampire reality. But not it was all thrown at her as if some powers that be were laughing at her futile attempts, making her feel completely lost and powerless.
She walked up the four steps that creaked softly beneath her weight, crossed the porch and headed through the open door following the sound of muffled conversation coming from the depth of the house. Automatically, she took note of the beige carpet in the hallway and framed pictures on the walls, smiling faces, moments frozen in time. Mixed with heavy uneasiness in her chest, those happy photos made her shiver a little on the inside.
It was then that she registered a sound in the back of her mind that she couldn't quite place at first, what with being too busy with expecting the worst from this day. Now, though, she realized that it was a quiet, soft whimpering coming from the room across the hall, and it made her heart wrench.
One of her deputies glanced over his shoulder at the sounds of Sheriff's solid footsteps and waved a hand at her, motioning to her to come over.
"What do we have?" She asked, unable t control the weary tone of her voice.
"A neighbor across the street showed up to babysit the kid and found the door open." Deputy Ryan, a tall guy in his mid thirties, skinny as a stick, waved if a little vaguely, although Liz didn't miss the fact that his hand was trembling slightly. "Found the dad and called us immediately. Mother and baby are upstairs. We didn't let the girl there, she's shaken as is." He cleared his throat. "She didn't see or hear out of ordinary."
Liz nodded, feeling the headache starting to form in the back of her skull, and he brows came together in deep furrow. Here's to having two days without major drama. It was too good to be true, wasn't it?
The other officer with the face paler than normal muttered something into the walkie-talkie and stepped aside to let her peek into the room that turned out being a library of some sort.
Liz stepped forward and paused in the entry fighting the nausea that rose in her stomach, grateful for whatever kept her from having lunch today. God bless paper work.
It wasn't the sight of the body practically shredded to pieces after being drained of blood, or at least that was what Liz suspected judging by the grey pallor of the man's skin, that made her swallow part a lump in her throat. Not even the crimson splatter of blood on bright yellow carpet, so absurdly out of place. No. What made her freeze to the spot and all but gasp was a line of symbols drawn on light maroon silk wallpaper just above fireplace, the streaks of blood running down and forming small pools on the mantelpiece among framed photos and snow globes.
"Oh god," Liz breathed out, unable to contain herself, her head spinning. "Oh god," she repeated.
It was in the air. A feeling. A sensation. Something that was making Jenna's skin prickle and tingle, like a touch of something cool. Like a current running through her body, her every nerve being a wire. As if the tips of her fingers were going to start sparking any moment. As if the whole house was enveloped in an electric field.
She wrapped her arms around her shoulders and kept her gaze locked on Bonnie who stood in the middle of the hallway, her eyes closed and her mouth moving soundlessly as she balanced a massive encyclopedia-sized book in her hands. And maybe it was just her, but Jenna could have sworn that the ancient parchment pages were swaying slightly in the breeze. And the fact that the air remained completely still around them made her skin crawl. It was one thing to know that Bonnie was a witch, that most of her ancestors were. But it was something entirely different to actually see – and feel – her work, which was if a little unnerving. Eerie.
Jenna threw a quick look at Jeremy standing motionless beside her, basically holding his breath, more curious than anything by the looks of it as he was probably wondering if their plan was going to work. To the right from her, Elena stood still and tense, her brows drawn together in a small frown and her bottom lip caught between her teeth. In near complete silence Jenna easily picked up on three frantic heartbeats.
Absently, she noted in the back of her mind that the temperature around them dropped by a few degrees and the sunlit hall started feeling rather cool by the moment. Minutes ago, the air around them smelled of coffee and wood and lemon furniture polisher. Now, though, it was filled with the scent of grass and soil and ozone freshness as if they were all caught up in the middle of a thunderstorm and the ceiling above their heads was going to break into a downpour any moment.
Bonnie's eyes snapped open all of a sudden, almost startling her, and Jenna let out the breath she didn't even notice she was holding.
The girl blinked once blankly, and her glance became focused. She exhaled as if letting go of some tension, then looked down at the book in her hands before shifting her gaze up again. It went from Jeremy to Elena to Jenna to Jeremy again, lingering on the latter for a second or two.
"It's done," she said at last, offering them a small unsure smile as though she didn't quite believe it herself.
"So, you did it?" Jeremy stepped forward, sounding excited.
"Yep." Bonnie slapped the book close, obviously relieved, and a small cloud of dust from old pages rose into the air. "I revoked all invitations." Her eyes fixed on Elena. "No vampire can come into this house without being invited… again."
"And we will make sure to be picky this time," Jenna pointed out.
"Aren't we always?" Jeremy snorted.
"Just think twice before doing anything," Bonnie said, giving Elena a meaningful look. "Especially now."
The line of Elena's shoulders slumped a little. "Yeah. Yeah, sure. Thank you, Bonnie. Really."
"No problem." Bonnie's gaze went to Jenna. "You be careful, guys, okay?"
Jenna nodded, and offered her a reassuring smile. "Thanks."
"Well," Bonnie looked at all of them in turns one more time. "My job is done here. I should—I better go now."
"Why don't you stay for dinner?" Jeremy suggested hurriedly. "We're having take-out junk food, you'll love it." Jenna smacked him on the shoulder. "What? She will!"
Jenna rolled her eyes. "So not the point."
"Can't," Bonnie breathed out with genuine regret. "I promised my dad to be home for dinner. We hadn't really seen much of each other lately."
"Oh, okay." Jeremy's shoulders sagged down in disappointment which he kind of tried to hold back, with limited success. "Maybe some other time then," he added as a lopsided boyish grin spread across his face.
"Of course," Bonnie promised. She checked the clock on the wall in the hallway. "I should really go now."
"I'll walk you home," the boy offered, all gentleman and everything.
"I've got my car here, Jer."
"I'll—I'll walk you to the car, then." He beamed before prying the book out of her hands. "Come on, let me take this."
"They are cute," Elena observed, smiling, when the door closed behind Bonnie and her brother and their voices started to fade. She turned to Jenna. "Aren't they cute?"
"Yes, they are. I'm glad for them. He needs someone nice in his life because at some point I started fearing that sad relationship stories run in the family."
"That's not true." They headed to the kitchen, and Elena put her arm around Jenna's shoulders and squeezed a little. "We just have our… complicated periods, is all."
Jenna snorted. "Right." She shook her head. "So, you okay with it? With Bonnie dating Jer?"
They both looked at the front door again. On the other side of it, the engine still wasn't running. Instead, Bonnie's soft laughter carried across the lawn.
"I'm happy as long as they are happy." Elena shrugged and sank down onto one of the chairs placed around the dining table. "Why? Does it bother you?"
"Why would it bother me?" Jenna opened the fridge and reached for a bottle of water. Thought for a moment and then put it back in before retrieving two mugs from the cabinet. "I know he had hard times with Vicki and then Anna," she trailed off, distracting herself by turning on the kettle and then dropping the tea bags into the mugs – Earl Gray for Elena and chamomile for herself. "He needs to catch a break, and she's a good influence. Unless he starts cheating on his tests with magic. That… that would be a problem." She turned and leaned against the counter. "And besides, my relationship history would make any judgment on my part a bit too hypocrite, no?"
Elena let out a short laugh, sagging against the back of the chair. "Don't be so harsh on yourself." She looked around then, taking in the surrounding details apprehensively. "So, this house is officially vampire-free."
"Almost," Jenna snickered and pointed at herself.
"Yep, almost." The girl smiled. "I kind of keep forgetting."
They both fell silent for a while, letting soft humming of the fridge and the ticking of the clock fill the air, neither too comfortable about the vampire topic. It still felt weird.
And how could it now? There was so little that had changed – apart from the diet maybe – that wrapping her head around the fact was as hard for Jenna as if someone would have announced the arrival of aliens. She could still see her same old self in the mirror, with a slightly paler skin maybe but all in all, she did not feel much different. The overly intensive emotional reaction was still disturbing, but then again not entirely foreign, so she chose and was slowly learning to laugh it off and keep it at bay.
But then there was the whole guilt thing so obvious in Elena's eyes whenever they touched that issue that was keeping them both back from mentioning it, ever.
"How does it feel?" She asked lightly, shaking the brooding off. "The vampire-free house."
"Good." Elena responded after a short pause. "Safe."
"Good," Jenna echoed, nodding. "That's the idea."
She scanned the room around her, feeling like she was actually seeing it for the first time in a very long while. She had never thought about this house not being safe – until she knew for sure that it wasn't. And it scared her. It scared her to think that she stayed blind for long enough to nearly get them all killed, failing to provide the very basics of what her sister wanted from her – the home for her children where they would be protected from the rest of the world. So what if she didn't know who Katherine and Elijah were? It didn't make her feel any better, regardless.
"So," she filled the mugs to the brim and returned to the table, setting one in front of Elena and plopping down to the chair across from the girl before closing her palms around her own mug, marveling in the warmth that started spreading up her arms, "what would you like to do? If you don't have any plans, we can watch a movie or something. I can try to burn down something for dinner. Which, of course, will inevitably lead to ordering pizza. You know the drill."
Elena scoffed. "How about we go straight for pizza?"
"Hey, we've got to be adventurous! Where's the challenge in dialing the number? Now, setting off the fire alarm is the way to go."
The girl shook her head. "Cooking it is, then." She reached out then, picked up her mug and started at the rich brown liquid for a while before lowering it back down. "Jenna, are you okay?" Her eyes searched her aunt's face pensively.
Jenna looked up, her expression quizzical. "Sure."
Which probably came out too unconvincing for Elena to buy it. That's why she didn't. Instead, she regarded Jenna for a few long moments.
"You're wrong about sad relationship stories running in the family," she said at last. "You and Alaric… I know it's messed but—but it's going to be fine."
Jenna paused. Her lips formed into a sad smile. "Because you know, right?" She asked ruefully, dropping her gaze. Messed up wasn't covering her relationship with Ric. Not even close.
Elena sighed, then spoke softly. "I can't see the situation through your eyes. But I know how Alaric feels now." She waited for her aunt to look up and meet her eyes. "It's confusing, and weird, and trust me, he doesn't know how to deal with it in the right way, either. But he is really trying, Jenna." She sighed. "Look, it's none of my business and not my call, and not my decision to make, but whatever Alaric is doing now, he is doing it because he thinks it's best for you."
"And lying to me a way to go," Jenna muttered wryly. Not that Elena could object. "Look, it's not just that, even though all these secrets are just frustrating." She paused as if searching for the right words to shape her chaotic thoughts into, the words that had ran through her head more times than she could possibly count, not quite certain if she was talking to the girl or to herself. "We—we talked about what happened to Isobel." That caught Elena's attention fully making the girl look up. "I know how hard he took what happened between them, how much what she did hurt him." Jenna looked Elena straight in the eye. "I'm just not sure that this," she gestured down herself, "is what he needs."
"And also, I am not sure he understands it yet. That he—" she inhaled deeply before letting out a long breath, "that he sees it clearly." Because seeing it through the prism of loss and never wanting to go through it again is another thing completely, she added in her mind. "It's not the life he wanted with his wife, so why would it be something he'd want with… someone else?" The question hung awkwardly in the air, none of them able to answer it honestly. "It's fair to give him a chance to walk away without feeling guilty about it," she finished quietly, her shoulders rising and falling in a small shrug.
Slowly, Elena nodded, her forehead crumpled as she processed Jenna's words. She leaned forward on her forearms, her index finger running up and down the mug with her tea.
"All these months, while keeping the truth from you, we were also making decisions for you." She said all of a sudden. "I believe it didn't feel nice." She squirmed inwardly. Now, all this time seemed like the biggest mistake she couldn't help cringing about.
"You bet," Jenna wrinkled her nose.
"Well, now you're doing the exact same thing to Ric."
On a Thursday night, Mystic Grill was packed when Damon walked inside, swallowed instantly by chatter, laugh and Led Zeppelin booming out of the jukebox. Moving through the usual dinner crowd and maneuvering between the tables, he headed towards the far – and quieter – corner that held the bar area, pointedly ignoring an ocean or conversations around him.
Alaric was sitting on one of the tall stools at the very end of the counter, as far as he could possibly get from the other clientele, seemingly oblivious to the commotion around him with a half full glass placed on the coaster before him.
"The bar is full of your history students, Ric," Damon announced, approaching. He looked around for emphasis. "Do you have any idea what a bad example to them you are right now? Sitting here, drinking alone."
"You lost me at the bar is full of your history students," Alaric called back without turning, his voice dull and hollow.
"Why do dark?" The vampire climbed onto the stool next to him. "Cheer up!"
"Leave me alone, Damon," Ric waved him off wearily, not really interested what the vampire was so chipper about.
Damon gave him a speculative once-over. "Trying to drown your sorrows in whiskey?"
"Sadly, they can swim."
Alaric took a sip of his drink, a sour, humorless half smile crossing his face for a fleeting moment. God, he was so not up for a small talk. Or for any other talk, come to think of it. The idea of staying home and drinking bourbon right from the bottle was tempting, but he knew he would start climbing walls with all that silence around him. The bar wasn't much better but at least the noise kept his own thoughts somewhat quieter.
The vampire chuckled. "Sneaky bastards."
"Tell me about it," Alaric breathed out.
He finished his drink in one big gulp without wincing and waved at the barman to get him another one.
Damon gestured make it two, and then looked at Ric again. "You look miserable and pathetic," he declared as if voicing a verdict.
"Well, probably because I am miserable and pathetic. So, it's okay."
"Wanna tell me what we're drinking to forget?" Damon pried a few minutes later when their glasses were placed before them and the barman walked away to deliver five pints of Guinness – an order from a crowd of college guys yelled out loud enough for everyone in Mystic Falls to hear.
Alaric didn't respond right away. Instead, he kept on staring at the amber liquid filling a low tumbler, ice cubes floating at the surface, for so long that Damon grew to believe he was not going to say anything at all. Not in this lifetime at least.
In the end, he drew in a breath, making Damon's ears perk in anticipation. "I want you to turn me," Alaric said quietly, his voice barely a whoosh of breath but firm enough to break through a wall of concrete. "I want you to turn me into a vampire."
To be continued…
A/N: I apologize for typos. I know they must be there somewhere :P
As always, comments are appreciated if you feel like leaving some :) They make my life brighter!