(A/N): This one-shot is written for you. I may never know your real name or who you are, but I thank each and every one of my readers for their unwavering support and encouragement. To the few I do know: Kittyinaz, thanks for inspiring me to write my own Damon/Bella story and Meridian, thanks for planting the plot idea :)
Takes place a few weeks after the meadow scene in New Moon, but Bella doesn't know about Jake. Since this is Damon's POV I feel compelled to mention that Bella will be very OOC – this is a take of what she would have been like if she got angry about Edward and his family abandoning her instead of giving up and being all emo, haha...
This Left Feels Right
An exhaustion going far beyond the physical and leading into the existential settled deep into his chest. With a heavy air of resentment and resign, Damon cut across the crowd of disembarking passengers and made his way to the Enterprise car rental station situated at the opposite end of the SeaTac terminal he found himself in.
He hated airports. The hustle and bustle, the desperate clinging of loved ones forced to say goodbye – it was enough to give a vampire an aneurism, or at the very least, a migraine.
Fucking Stefan, he thought. His baby brother was so fond of blaming him for all his problems, and mayhap there was some truth to that, but he all too easily forgot the sacrifices Damon had and continued to make for him.
Stefan's reputation as a ripper had been absolute, so much so that he'd been given a new name, the Ripper of Monterrey. Damon remembered those years better than he'd like to. The time he'd spent chasing after his brother, always one step behind him while cleaning up his messes to the best of his ability, compelling towns to forget so their secret wouldn't be unleashed... it was something Stefan had never known he'd done for him and Damon wanted to keep it that way.
To that end, it probably wasn't fair for him to blame Stefan. He'd never known about the deal Damon had made in order to spare his life, for killing as inconspicuously as Stefan had, it hadn't taken long for him to turn up on the Volturi's radar.
Fucking Cold Ones, he now thought as he compelled the desk attendant to give him the fastest car on the lot.
Thinking him to be some crazed newborn, they'd sent a party to dispose of Stefan, but Damon had intercepted them and had made his point clear: if anyone ever killed his little brother, it'd be him. A few dismembered limbs lit afire had driven that message home, as well.
So instead of killing Stefan, they'd bargained with Damon. If they truly had wanted the ripper gone, it would have happened. While Damon was stronger and faster than them, and his talents innumerable as opposed to limited, the Cold Ones could destroy him with sheer numbers alone.
But Aro was a greedy fucker and saw the potential in Damon as an ally. So instead of an execution, there'd been a treaty of sorts. Damon would continue to clean up after his brother with a little help from Demetri, a tracker who would enable them to catch up with Stefan with little to no lag, making the cover-up go even faster. Their precious little secret would be maintained and Stefan spared, but in exchange, Damon had to ally himself with the three kings.
He'd outright refused to serve on the guard, and perhaps realizing that forcing him to would have been like keeping a wild tiger in a child's playpen, they'd accepted him as something more of a contract employee. Occasionally, they'd have need of someone on the New America to dole out justice, and Damon found the idea of being a contracted hit-man far more favorable than a mere servant.
As if he'd bow to anyone but himself.
So decades after his brother's bloody version of the ice capades, Damon found himself still cleaning up after him, taking care of him in a way he'd never be thanked or acknowledged for... not that he wanted the recognition. He had nothing to prove to Stefan.
Nothing to prove to Elena.
I love Stefan. It's always gonna be Stefan... Well wasn't that just a kick in the teeth.
Yet again his brother had bested him and if he wasn't so bitter about it, he'd have raised the proverbial glass in toast. As it was, he didn't have the energy to pretend to care anymore. He was tired, completely exhausted by things in Mystic Falls. A weariness that shouldn't be possible for an immortal to experience made Damon feel stretched thin. He was like a loose thread caught from a sweater, constantly being played with and tugged at until finally the scissors came out and snip, snip. It was all smiles and goodbye, so long, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
Perhaps it's better this way, Damon thought as he made his way to jet black Chevy Camaro he'd scored from the desk jockey. His feelings for Elena had been completely genuine, but he doubted things would've ever truly worked between them. They were too different. She'd told him that she'd cared for him, of course, but Damon doubted the validity of that statement. He didn't think she was exactly lying, but Elena had never really understood him. She'd looked at him with the aim of changing him, converting him to the greater good. She didn't have feelings – he sneered at the word – for Damon, she had them for who she thought he should be.
Where Elena saw things in black and white, Damon saw ever hue in-between. Things would've become strained between them at some point. He could imagine them having some sort of stupid argument about morals – blah, blah, blah – and both of them would be unwilling to compromise, never agreeing or seeing things from the other's perspective.
Sometimes love just wasn't enough and while opposites may attract, they often failed to stick.
Not that his recent realization on the plane ride made things any easier. It still sucked to be runner-up, second place and first loser. His heart was a tad bruised but it was his ego more than anything that suffered the wound.
Everything was just coming up Saint Stefanie and it was all, poor Stefan and his terrible burden of fighting his thirst for human blood; poor Stefan and his tragic Dear Diary soul; poor Stefan having Damon as a brother.
It made Damon sick. Perhaps Aro's timing had been perfect then, because even though Damon found himself once again protecting his baby brother, he'd have probably staked him himself if he had to see his brooding Easter Island headed face just one. More. Time.
Maybe not in the heart, but definitely the stomach which would still hurt like a bitch.
But Stefan was lucky because instead of cleaning of messes in Mystic Falls, Aro Volturi had sent Damon on a left turn to Forks, Washington to check on a family of Cold Ones.
Family, that was laughable. He'd met the Cullens a couple times before but hadn't been overly fond of veggie vamps. The feeling had been entirely mutual, too. They were just a bunch of bible thumpers with no backbone – all for trying to convert wayward souls to their disgusting eating habits.
Except for the Major. He'd heard of Jasper even in his human days in the Civil War and that guy was alright. He had a wicked sense of humor that matched Damon's and if his kind of vamp was capable of it, they'd have gotten along perfectly shooting whiskey in a Southern bar. He didn't care for his Psychic Pixie, however. Her friendliness was very transparent. Whenever Aro insisted he visit them, he'd catch Alice staring accusingly at him whenever she thought he wasn't looking. Probably blaming him for some future offense he hadn't even committed yet.
The Hulk, Emmett, wasn't terrible, but his pretty pretty princess wife was a wretched bitch who had the poor man's balls in her coin purse. She never let him come out to play when Damon was over.
And if he had to hear Carlisle and Esme preach to him in their soft, dulcet, reprimanding tones that grated on his brain like nails in a blender, he might just slaughter the whole fucking town to make a point.
But none of them were as bad as Emo-ward and his I have no soul routine, a favorite on his record of greatest hits. Aro was particularly interested in acquiring him for the guard – him, the Major, and the Psychic Pixie, he wanted the complete set – which was why he constantly sent Damon on these little ambassador trips. But Damon had grown rather fond of Demetri and Felix and wasn't sure he could subject the poor guys to Edward's whinging. It was bad enough Damon had to suffer his religious rhetoric when he came calling, not to mention the constant headache he always left with after keeping that nosy fucker out of his head, but he doubted the pretentious ass would last even a week in the Volturi Guard. Maybe if the guy could get laid he'd ease up, or maybe if he made a date with his left hand if he was so hard up for women. Emo-ward was wound up so tight it was only a matter of time before he snapped and it would likely doom him and his family.
Damon was not, indeed, looking forward to this visit.
The small thinning of trees announced the Cullens driveway, and Damon steeled himself for a minimum of twenty-four hours with the annoyingly do-good coven.
Much to his surprise, however, he did not see the family lined up and waiting for him on the porch as they always had done before. The Pixie always knew when he'd be making a visit and, proper vampires they were, they'd always meet him out front with their barely restrained hostility and fake smiles.
This time, though, the only thing in front of the house was a clunker of a motorbike that looked well cared for even in its old age. Not exactly a standard in the Cullen fleet of vehicles.
Damon frowned, throwing the car into park and getting out cautiously, his every sense heightening as he prepared for a trap. Perhaps he was jaded for thinking so, but a vamp didn't get to be his age by going into these types of situations only hoping for the best. Damon guaranteed it ended up for the best; the best for him, at any rate.
A feminine grunt sounded, followed by the sharp tinkling of broken glass.
"Take that, you fucking prude!"
Damon's lips twitched upwards before he could catch himself.
"How do you like me now, Rosie?" Another grunt, a whoosh through the air, and the sudden crack of wood splintering.
"I bet you'd find this funny, Em!"
More glass breaking.
"I hope you can see this, stupid fucking pixie!"
The echo of wood and glass shattering covered Damon's amused snort. Slowly, he followed the sound of an obviously enraged woman, but stilled as she abruptly rounded the corner, her small, attractive body heaving as she dragged an aluminum baseball bat behind her.
The girl was positively seething and Damon was almost afraid she'd start to literally breathe fire. She'd yet to notice him so he took his time scanning her lithe form and decided that what he saw agreed with him, very much so. Her heart-shaped face was haloed by wild, unrestrained brown curls and her petite body had very inviting curves.
Oddly enough, Damon's desire was increased exponentially when she raised the baseball bat and brought it down in a hard, angry arc to the potted plants along the doorway.
"You weren't too bad, Jasper." Swing – another plant down. "Trying to kill me aside." Swing. "But you know what else that can tell me what I'm feeling?" Swing, swing, swing. "A fucking mood ring!"
Even though the potted plants were thoroughly destroyed, she brought the bat down over and over again, mumbling under her breath, "Stupid fucking Esme... Goddamn Carlisle... oh yeah, you see me as a daughter alright. Never knew it was so easy to abandon your fucking kids!"
His curiosity well and truly piqued, Damon decided introductions were in order and quietly came up behind her, his hand reaching out and stilling the bat mid-swing.
"Easy there, slugger," he said.
"Jesus fuck!" she shouted, jerking as though electrocuted as her eyes met his for all of two seconds before she lost her balance and tripped on her ass.
"Jesus? That's funny, most women call me God," he smirked as he leaned on the bat and looked down at her.
She lifted a brow and Damon was pleased by the snark he saw in her eyes. "Wow, conceited much? I'll take my bat back now, thank you." She stuck out her hand with an air of demand.
He nearly snorted. "You do know that vandalism is against the law, right?"
A secret smile curled her lips. "I've got a man on the inside; I'll be fine. Now give me my bat or make yourself useful and smash that fucking hummingbird feeder – like birds would be stupid enough to come near this house."
His own brow lifted at that. She clearly knew what the Cullens were – which Aro would be positively giddy to hear about – but he had to wonder if she knew what he himself was.
Probably not, he decided. She was too at ease insulting him.
"This feeder here?" he asked flippantly, lifting the bat and giving it a good swing.
The hummingbird feeder shattered, the red tinted nectar spraying out, giving its death a rather bloody appeal.
"Not bad," she smiled impishly.
Damon returned the compliment. "You're not too bad yourself, Hank Aaron."
He scoffed. "Don't they teach you kids anything these days?"
Her head tilted. "I know how to drive my foot up your ass if you don't give me my bat back."
"Feisty," he tsk'd, but held the bat out.
She grabbed it while rolling her eyes and Damon used the bat to propel her up and closer to him instead of relinquishing it to her.
"Cute," she said dryly.
"I know, I'm adorable."
"Who are you and why are you here?" she snapped.
"I could really ask the same of you, can't I?"
"Well," she tugged the bat out of his embrace only because he let her. "I should think it was obvious why I'm here."
She brought the bat down again, this time on one of the lights lining the front walkway.
His smirk grew. He liked her. "Yes, but that doesn't tell me who you are."
"I'm Bella," she chirped as the bat came down on another light.
"Bella?" he said, thinking the name to be entirely appropriate.
"Short for Isabella."
"Isabella..." he trailed off thoughtfully before he grinned wickedly. "So you have a little Italian in you."
She bit her lip and swung again. "Um, no actually. I don't."
"Pity. Would you like some?"
She froze, the bat raised in the air and poised to come down on an innocent lawn gnome. Her wide, doe-like eyes blinked innocently at him and Damon was positive that the classic come on had gone over her head.
That is until a flirtatious grin bloomed on her face and she said, "No thanks. If I'm gonna have an Italian in me, I'd prefer him to be big."
That time he did snort a laugh, especially as Bella's face reddened as though embarrassed by her own daring. But still, her chin took a stubborn lift to the air as she asked, "Are you going to tell me your name now that you've offered to have sex with me?"
He pursed his lips. "I thought I told you – women call me God."
She gave him a grudging smile. "And what do other people call you?"
"That would be Damon," he gave a mocking bow at the introduction. "Now will you tell me why you're bashing up the Cullen house?"
The question spurred her on again and the lawn gnome that had been given a brief reprieve was slaughtered, Bella giving a self-satisfied nod at the act. "It's for anger management purposes."
Damon shot her a dubious look. "Really? You're destroying their house to help with your anger issues?"
"Yep," she said, the bat finding home on another planted pot that had missed her earlier attack. "It's all very symbolic. Destroy the house, work out my resentment. Still wish it was their stupid, sparkly faces I was hitting, though. Not that it'd do any good."
"Because their vampires?" he asked dismissively, his sharp eyes watching her every move.
"Poor excuses for vampires," she grumbled almost inaudibly.
"Well, I'd have to agree with you there," he smirked as her body froze at his words. There was no way he should've been able to hear her,e knew, not if he was human.
Bella turned and eyed him warily. Damon saw her hands flex and tighten around the bat. "It wouldn't do any good," he offered.
She frowned. "What wouldn't?"
He smiled widely. "Hitting me with the bat."
The look she gave him was observant and calculating. "Then what would do any good?"
His expression was just as thoughtful as simply said, "A stake to the heart."
She blinked owlishly. Her body was frozen again, and Damon was worried that he'd broken her until she muttered, "Fucking figures," and went up towards the front door, swinging the bat harder than he'd seen her do yet at the porch light.
There was a satisfying sound of metal crunching as it broke.
"You're a vampire?" she half-asked, half-stated.
Damon followed her path of destruction up to the front door. "That's right."
Refusing to look at him, she nodded to the door and said, "Then do me a favor and break this door down. I'd crawl through one of the broken windows but with my luck I'd slit my wrists on one of the shards."
"There's so much anger in you," he said lowly, almost subconsciously. "What in the hell did the Cullens do to you?"
The instant his words registered, Damon could see it – the flicker behind the fire of rage in her eyes snuffed out by a deep sorrow. When she looked at him again, he thought she looked wounded and broken, a shadow of the confident, snarky and angry girl who had been beating a house to death.
He found he wanted that other girl back, wanted more of the fire even if she tried to burn him.
"I've got the door, piccina. Stand back."
She shuffled awkwardly to the side and Damon was mildly annoyed by the way she kept her eyes to the ground. It made her look even smaller than she already was, smaller and weak.
Channeling his newfound anger, Damon brought his foot up and kicked the door in, a part of him feeling a bit like a badass for it even though he'd done plenty worse over the years.
"Nothing like a little breaking and entering to add to our rap sheet, eh? What will we destroy first?" he asked lightly.
As he'd hoped, Bella's head lifted and the fire sparked to life in her eyes once more. Damon found himself entranced by the heat there, drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
"Oh I know exactly what needs to go first," she hissed, marching past him and into the stale house.
Sheets covered the chairs and tables, but the dust was minimum so Damon suspected they'd left maybe only a couple months ago, and in a hurry, too, since there was still a certain lived-in feel to the house despite the air being stagnant.
Bella paid him no mind and marched purposefully to what he knew to be Edward's grand piano. Grabbing a corner of the sheet, Bella yanked it off with a flourish, her teeth gritting when the gleaming black instrument was bared to her eyes.
Her eyes bored into it and whatever she saw there was for her own mind, but Damon didn't doubt now that the majority of her rage was reserved for Edward Cullen.
"I'm no good for you, huh?" she whispered, lost in thought. Damon was relatively certain she'd forgotten he was even there.
"Well you were wrong, asshole. It was you who wasn't good enough!"
Then she proceeded to murder the piano in a grand display of fury. By the end of her smashing, the instrument was only barely recognizable and Damon was quite impressed.
"Feel better?" he lightly asked.
"Tons," she said dryly. Damon's eyes watched as her chest heaved while she tried to catch her breath.
"Good. Then I believe we can get down to business."
He flicked off the sheet over the couch and took a seat. It was time for some answers.
"Where are the Cullens?" he asked first.
She rolled her eyes. "Gone."
Her teeth gritted. "They didn't leave me a forwarding address."
"Hm," he said noncommittally. "And how do you know what they are?"
"He confirmed it when I confronted him, but really, he all but begged me to figure it out. Saving someone's life in an impossible situation and then telling that person they merely remembered it wrong is like an open invitation to an investigation."
"Hm," he said again. He knew exactly who she meant by he and Damon decided he was already looking forward to giving Aro his report. The whole lot of them would have to go to Volterra to answer for their crime of letting a human that knew their secret live, but remembering the hollow look to her eyes moments ago, Damon didn't really care if Aro decided to tear them apart and burn the pieces. It wasn't really his problem.
"Will you tell me why you're here?"
Damon thought about it and decided to answer truthfully. "I was asked to pay Carlisle a visit on behalf of a very old friend of his. He'll be... disappointed... by the turn of events."
She eyed him warily. "Are you talking about the Volturi?"
His eyes snapped up and instantly he appeared in front of her in a blur too fast for her human eyes to perceive. Her heart rate sky-rocketed, but Damon had to hand it to her. She didn't flinch from him. "And who told you of them, piccina?"
Despite the fear he knew she was feeling, Bella sighed as if only mildly annoyed. "I'm right, aren't I? You work for them?"
Narrowing his eyes, he gave her a small nod in the affirmative.
"That's just be my luck."
He looked at her disbelievingly. "You are the oddest human I've ever met."
She nodded. "I get that a lot."
Tilting his head to the side, he studied her. "You do realize that once I make my report it'll be your death sentence. The Volturi will kill you."
To his amazement, she sniggered. "They'll have to get in line. I've already got a deranged vampire who wants my head and she's not in Italy so she'll probably get here first."
"Do you now?" he asked curiously.
"Sure do," she smiled. It wasn't a happy look, but one he recognized as coming from someone who had accepted the inevitability of death but still decided to go down fighting.
But if there was indeed a Cold One after her, it wouldn't matter how hard she fought. The girl might as well already be dead.
"Do me a favor?" she asked flippantly, and he could detect a tremor of real emotion behind the levity, a tremble that bespoke she was well aware of her death sentence.
His voice was soft, almost gentle, as he said, "I don't typically do favors for strangers."
"Consider it my last request," she smiled that laugh-less smile again.
He inclined his head to show he'd hear her out.
"When you make your report to them," she paused, almost indecisive, until she steeled herself and muttered darkly, "Make sure you tell them everything. About how the Cullens invited a human girl into the world of vampires and the supernatural only to abandon her, leaving her like a defenseless pet to be culled by a deranged mate whose wrath they had incited." She stopped again as tears thickened her words. "The Volturi might not care about the human girl, but each and everyone of the Cullens broke that stupid law and should be made to pay for that, if not for my death."
Something flickered within him – not the switch – but something remarkably similar. Once felt, it was as unstoppable as the sunrise, unmovable as the mountains. It swept through his body and Damon noticed his limbs tingled pleasantly, his body humming as the epiphany hit him.
Dear God, he thought as his eyes never moved from her tragically beautiful and angry face. It was like looking in a mirror. Her very being resonated deeply within him so suddenly that he knew he wouldn't let her bet killed. Not by the deranged mate she mentioned, and not by Aro.
But he would follow her request. He was unable to take out his own rage on Katherine for her slights against him, but it would be therapeutic indeed to make the Cullens – Emo-ward especially – pay for their eerily similar offenses to her.
Hell, it sounded like just the task to set him right again.
A wicked idea came to him and Bella frowned in mild concern as he finally answered her request, "No."
He shook his head. "No. I have a better idea."
She huffed in annoyance and he found the action – cute? Holy fuck, this girl...
Before she could make some sort of snippy remark that he himself probably would make in her position, Damon continued, "Come with me and tell them yourself."
The look she pinned him with clearly told him she thought he was crazy. "Look," she said placatingly. "I know I'm a few marbles short lately – knowing death is comimg at any second will do that to a girl – but I'm not crazy enough to go before the Volturi and let them kill me."
"Why not?" he asked lightly. "You're dead either way. What have you got to lose? Don't you want the satisfaction of taking them with you yourself? You should fight your own battles, piccina. Not ask strangers to do it for you."
"Hm," she said thoughtfully. "I suppose if I left with you it would draw Victoria away and Charlie would be safe."
He didn't know nor care who this Charlie fellow was, but Damon sensed victory. "Come on, angry bird. I'll look after you."
She snorted. "That's not exactly reassuring, Mr. Some New Kind Of Vampire I Didn't Know Existed Until Ten Minutes Ago. Besides, even though I'm dead doesn't mean I'm in a hurry to die."
A grin stretched across his face and Damon brought himself closer to her, smiling as she involuntarily wet her lips. "Dead is relative. You don't have to die to be dead exactly."
Her eyes were cloudy as she stared at his lips. "Who said what now?" she asked distractedly.
He smiled and felt the anticipation of a new adventure in life settling into him. "It's turn or die, piccina. That'll be your choice. But then again, you already know what you'll choose, don't you, Isabella," he purred.
"I don't want to be like them," she hissed, but still, her eyes lingered on him and he drew closer to her.
"Now whoever said you would be? I can make you like me."
Her breathing quickened when he placed his hands on her hips. "You're kind of like the devil, aren't you, Damon?"
He smirked. "Most definitely, although I don't play the fiddle."
She smiled faintly, her own arms resting lightly on his. Uncertainty lingered in the tentative touch, but Damon already knew what her answer was going to be. Really, it wasn't that hard of a choice.
A soft giggle broke his thoughts and he watched her smirk softly. "He'll be so pissed," she said, sounding a touch delighted. "He never wanted me changed, but here he's gone and done it anyways, as surely as if he'd bitten me himself. Too bad I didn't even get laid for my troubles."
His hands slipped down to her ass, pulling her against him and letting her feel his willingness to help her out with that little request. "You just say the word, piccina," he murmured, his lips tracing the arc of her neck.
"I don't put out on the first date," she teased, but her own lips pressed teasingly just under his jaw.
"Good thing we have an eternity then," he said.
When she didn't gainsay him, Damon knew the battle had been won. He would change Isabella; they'd go to Italy; and he'd help this broken, angry, beautiful woman find vindication against the Cullens with harsh Volturi justice.
He'd come to Forks grudgingly, dreading what he'd assumed he'd find there, thinking the disturbance to his life annoying, at best. Instead of a family of whiny vampires, though, he'd found his match in a human girl whose anger and snark reflected him and his own past so perfectly. Isabella was just the right kind of impulsive change for him and Damon was eager to following this new direction wherever it may lead them.
Though, he didn't look forward to Aro's taking credit for it.
Fucking Cold Ones, he thought again even as his lips finally sealed over hers.
The kiss was starving, each of them hungry to devour the other and Damon surrendered as freely as Bella submitted, each of them demanding but giving in return. The necessity to breathe was suddenly very irritating; he wanted to suffocate in her, but knew they'd have to come back up for air.
(A/N): Piccina – Italian term of endearment meaning 'little one' or 'little girl.'
I don't plan on continuing this any time soon, if at all. I kind of like how it stands alone here, but I may consider doing a companion piece in Bella's POV to show her character development a bit more since she was very OOC.
Thanks again for reading – let me know what you think!