The Other Side had fallen. That much was obvious. Bonnie was gone. Damon was gone. They were both dead, there was nothing that could be done to stop it. All that was left was to try to pick up the pieces that fell apart amongst the rest of the group with the destruction of the other side. It was downright near impossible. They weren't just faces lost in passing. They weren't unfortunate nobodies. They left behind their significant others and their friends and family. None of them were taking it well, but they all had their ways to grieve and deal with the pain.
Until they found a way to bring them back. Or at least attempt to. A stretch, but if there was the slightest chance, they would take it.
Five months later...
Stefan sat at the bar of a club just outside Mystic Falls with Ric by his side. Each one had a glass of their respective favorite brand of alcohol in front of them. Stefan's was untouched for the most part. Ric's was empty and he was waiting on a refill. Both men wore solemn, tense expressions as they sat in silence. It was Alaric who finally broke it.
"Are you sure he's going to come at all?" he asked. "I mean why put faith in him? Some old friend of Damon's. He didn't even wait to see if Damon came through okay. He just left. Now he suddenly cares?"
Stefan let out a long breath. This was why he told Ric and no one else. Enzo wasn't much of a favorite amongst the gang. Heck, Stefan couldn't stand him. He had been more trouble than help from the first time Stefan met him. After learning Damon killed his girl, Enzo became even more of a pain. Now, he wanted to help?
"I told you, Ric," he said. "He bumped into me two weeks ago. He asked me where Damon was. I told him what happened. I didn't have time to read his expression before he left. Yesterday, I find him in my house, on my couch. He looked at me and told me he had a way to possibly bring Damon back and to meet him here. Besides, this is why I told you and made you swear not to tell anyone else. Just in case this is some twisted game, I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up."
Ric frowned at that. He wasn't sure what to make of it. In all honesty, he didn't know Enzo. He never met the man. Then again, going by what everyone had said about him, Ric was glad he hadn't. He just knew he wouldn't get along with the man.
"Did he say anything about Bonnie?" he asked Stefan after a moment.
"I told him yesterday," he assured Ric, glancing at his watch and couldn't hold back the growl that escaped from his lips.
Ric noticed of course. Not much could aggravate or frustrate the vampire. Well, unless it started with a 'D', ended with an 'n', and had a bad habit of letting his anger rule him. Stefan loved his brother, and Ric knew that. He just couldn't tell if Stefan's emotions were because of Damon or because of the fact he was putting his faith in a guy that gave him little to no reason to. Either way, Ric was content to conclude, the issue was Damon. The reasons behind it didn't matter.
"When did he say he would be here?" Ric asked.
"A half an hour ago," he said. "He told me that he would be her at seven on the dot."
"Impatience is a little petty, don't you think?" a British accent rang out from behind them, smug and amused all at once. "I had to pick up our surprise guests, and I'm still a little rusty behind the wheel."
Ric and Stefan turned to face the voice immediately to find he wasn't alone. Liv and Luke stood beside him, completely expressionless. Something in Stefan snapped. In an instant, he had Luke by the throat. His fangs were bared for all too see, until Ric put a hand on his shoulder, instantly bringing him back to the ground ever so slightly. Still, when Stefan let Luke go he rounded on Enzo. The only thing running through his mind was how this was all the twins' fault.
"Why would you bring them here?" he asked through his teeth. "They killed my brother and fled!"
"He killed himself and my sister was dying!" Luke interrupted before Enzo could respond. "She wouldn't have been able to come back from that because the spell would have stopped. I would have lost her permanently."
Stefan punched him and this time Ric didn't intervene. He saw no point. He wasn't flashing his fangs and the witch needed a good beat down. It was only fair. Damon sacrificed himself to save everyone he cared about. That was saying a lot given how little the man liked showing his selfless side. A high pitched whistle stopped the fight and caused Ric and Stefan to both cover their ears and glare daggers at Enzo.
"Now that all of that is out of our systems," he began. "I believe we should find a quiet spot and have a little chat. We might be able to settle this matter once and for all. Hmm?"
Stefan frowned in confusion and glanced at Ric, who seemed to share it. He had no idea what his brother's former friend was up to. He didn't even know if he wanted to find out. He sighed and followed Enzo has he led them to a secluded corner of the club. He was the first to sit down and looked up at Enzo, waiting imapatiently for an explanation.
"What if Damon isn't dead anymore?" the British vampire asked, stunning the entire group.
. . .
Cold, dark, and sullen. There was no color around them. No real light but not real darkness either. It was a strange place to behold. It had things that the two occupants were accustomed to: trees, grass, caves, life. Except, everything was either pitch black or snow white. It was the only light in the place. Everything around them literally glowed. The intensity of the glow was entirely random. It seemed to depend on the mood and energy that was present in the atmosphere around them at the current moment. At the moment, their suroundings were all black.
"Well, Toto, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore," the man quipped as he looked around their new home.
His companion rolled her eyes. He said that or some other similar variation everytime he felt either of them needed the reminder. As if! She knew this wasn't home. She also knew that he needed to stop picking the Dark Period, as they started calling it, to do most of the reminding.
"I know this, Damon," Bonnie said. "Can we just find a cave or something fast?"
Damon rolled his eyes but kept walking, stopping only a second as an inhuman cry pierced the air. He pulled Bonnie forward automatically so that she was both in front of him and within easy reach. At the beginning, she would protest this in aggravation. She had only stopped when she realized what he was actually doing. Damon let her believe his actions were out of some arrogant opinion or attitude, like he wanted her to be the first to face the danger. She hadn't realized the truth. He was keeping her within easy access. He wanted to protect her, not the other way around.
It was an odd admittance, and it was only spoken aloud once after he had shoved her into a ditch at one point. She had shouted at him, accusing him of being a vicious fiend among other nastier things. He lost it then and shouted back pointing out that he just saved her life. Because of his idea they both carry a weapon, he had fashioned each of them a knife for protection. Bonnie wouldn't use hers. He wouldn't hesitate. So with his knife, he had been able to kill the creature that had been at his feet only because he had manage to get her out of its path of the thing's fixation. After that, she stopped arguing with him about his need to keep her safe. The question of why never came up. The answer was obvious and never needed to be addressed.
They were all the other had left, and neither of them wanted to face this unknown place - realm? - by themselves. Besides, it took some time but they learned they really could get along. They complimented each other nicely. She was the cool and calm to his heat and rashness. Damon had actually started calling her Steffy when she got into one of the serious, logical moods to counter a possibly suicidal scheme from Damon, causing him to miss his brother to the point his heart ached. When he started missing Stefan, missing Elena wasn't far behind. Then, he would be miserable and moody for hours. Too Bonnie's credit, she never got to irritated with him in those moment. She left him alone during them unless she thought he might do something unreasonably stupid.
Another shriek, this time louder - right over head from the sound of it, brought Damon back to the moment at hand. He glanced up at the same instant as Bonnie and let loose a few strands of colorful words. They were so screwed.