A/N: This may end up being another 2-part mini-series, or this could end up being a one-shot, or something more. I can't really say. I've written Rippah! Stefan so I'm curious how I would do with no humanity Damon! Hmm…. What you need to know for this story is that I changed some events around. Read on to find out what. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: These characters belong to LJ Smith/CW Network. No copyright infringement is intended.

Skull Bar-Night

"This is going to be simple," he licked his tongue across his teeth, ran the tip of the knife along his palm, not enough to cut into his skin but enough for him to feel it. "You want to save your bloody niece, then shut it off."

Blue eyes blinked rapidly. He heard the bastard clearly but wanted him to reiterate his preposterous statement again for clarification. "You want me to do what?"

Enzo dragged his gaze, lazily, toward Damon, top lip slightly curled upward in what had been dubbed his Elvis snarl. "You heard me perfectly well. You want the niece you thought you killed back in 1994 to live today then get rid of it. Turn off your humanity or I tell little Liam to start raiding her organs for sale on the black market."

"And what the hell is me turning off my humanity supposed to accomplish, Enzo?"

The vampire in question shrugged. "I don't know and I really don't care. This is a game to keep me awake before I start to petrify."

"Gotdammit, Enzo," Damon growled menacingly.

"Don't act like this is such a hard decision for you to make, mate," Enzo jeered. "You had no qualms flipping your switch back in the 50's leaving me to burn to a bloody crisp before going on your revenge crusade. Here, you're doing it to save a young girl's life that could have tragically ended because of your impetuousness. Aren't you about redemption these days? Or was that Stefan? Hard to keep track since it's mostly bordered on whom you're fucking."

Damon glared—balefully.

Yeah, Damon thought, he may have flipped his switch but that didn't mean he enjoyed it, or perhaps he did but he rather not think about that right now. The baby he thought died right along with her mother had survived, been alive all this time and he was kept blissfully in the dark about that. Now, his supposed 'best friend' found her and was using her as a bargaining chip. No fucking way.

This day, this week, this century had started off with so much promise just to end up in this heaping pile of shit.

He wanted to accuse Enzo of lying, but when the instigator held up his cell and told Liam to make a 'Y' incision and his ears were filled with the blood-curdling screams of a young woman, pleading with him not to kill her, Damon wanted to vomit. Splash his boots with the blood and booze he had consumed earlier.

Damon wanted to kill Enzo where he stood. He could do it. Could fly over to him at Mach 7 speed, rip his head off, find Liam and save his niece.

"And before you think to end my life, you might want to stop and consider who else I may have compelled and what exactly I've compelled them to do," Enzo revealed with a cunning grin.

The blood left Damon's face. His chest heaved up and down out of reflex. His hands shook, but he slowly curled them—first into talons and then into fists, his nails digging into the palms of his hands.

"What have you done to Elena?"

Enzo snorted. "You're far too easy to manipulate, I just want you to know that. The question you should ask yourself is…who else besides your pussy of a brother and the nauseating doppelganger is important to you that I may have decided would provide more…motivation?"

Damon's skin began to tingle unpleasantly. This was a truth he admitted to himself in the dark recesses of his mind, but hadn't spoken a word of it verbally or publicly to anyone else. Why? Damon figured he couldn't afford to and something's were better left unsaid.

Five days ago had been the last time he saw her. Five days ago where she shared something with him, Damon never expected her to share. Ever. And if everything went to hell that may mount to being the last time he heard her voice or saw her face.

No, it couldn't end like this.

Five days ago…

She barged into his room smelling like candied apples and the strongest Russian vodka sold at only one place south of Mystic Falls. She hesitated in the threshold for a second, absorbing the muted light. The flames in the fireplace distracted her and earned a crooked smile for doing absolutely nothing.

Damon sat aside the book he had been thumbing through waiting for her to say something. He didn't think she'd want to see him after that night, the night of the rave, shoving Kai in her face because of his incessant need to get information on his mother. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, Damon figured he should have just tortured the information out Kai. But instead had subjected Bonnie to facing her abuser and he still had yet to sincerely apologize to her about that whole episode. Bonnie getting closure by entrapping Kai in 1903 notwithstanding, Damon suspected she was giving him space after giving him the cure, and of course catching him with Elena's neck in his mouth. The awkwardness needed time to dissolve.

"Are you drunk?" he asked, amusement dancing across his face.

"I wish I were," Bonnie strolled into the room, keeping her eyes on everything but him. "I wish I were drunk because then it would make this a whole hell of a lot easier."

"Make what easier?"

"Jeremy called me today," she blurted and twisted her fingers. Damon gave no outward reaction to the news. Bonnie pressed onward. "He called me…wants me to fly out to see him, but I don't know. It would be so easy to let things fall back into place like I'm the same person, but…I'm not."

"So tell him that."

"He's a Gilbert which kind of makes him a weakness."

Damon's brows lifted. On that end he could certainly sympathize—when it came to Gilberts or a Gilbert being a weakness. But Jeremy was so fucking irrelevant, in his opinion he didn't see what the fuss was all about. Then he had an unsavory thought some may view his current girlfriend in the same light. To that he squirmed a little on the bed.

"Did you come all this way for my advice..?"

"No," Bonnie cut him off and stepped closer. "I'm here because there's something I need to tell you and it'll probably be the most selfish thing I've ever said."

Normally, Damon was all for hearing juicy gossip but with the way Bonnie was staring at him, the way she kept moistening her bottom lip with her tongue, the way her breathing changed to pants, and the sound of her heart thudding against her ribs were signs that what she had to share would throw a huge monkey wrench into his life.

"What…is it?" Damon asked cautiously, and planted his feet on the floor.

"I…I need you to know I didn't intend for any of this to happen. I didn't just go to bed and wake up one day saying…" Bonnie stopped herself, smiled nervously before rubbing her forehead in frustration. She whispered to herself, "This is so hard," before sniffing and taking in a deep breath. "I was angry at you for a long time after the Kai incident. Even after getting closure, something about it just continued to bother me. Normally I'd let stuff go, but I couldn't."

"Bonnie you shouldn't have to let go of what you're feeling. He hurt you, repeatedly, and I didn't make a bad situation any better by doing what I did."

"I understand that. My reason for being angry stemmed from another place than just Kai hurting me though that was a major part, don't get that twisted. I realized…I realized…"

Automatically Damon reached for her hand as his way of letting her know it was all right. She could tell him anything. He wouldn't judge…much. Bonnie looked down. Looked at their joined hands, the dichotomy of softness and strength.

"It bothered me so much because I thought things between us were different. They are different and I had, maybe, foolishly placed expectations on you."

"A common symptom when you spend too much time with me listening to the 90s greatest hits," he tried for levity.

That earned another tremulous smile. Bonnie looked at him unblinkingly. "Damon…I-I realized my feelings for you changed because…I love you…I-I'm in love with you…"

Her lips moved, sound came out, words, a symphony almost that Damon had to strain his little vampire ears to hear. And when he put the pieces of her quietly spoken sentence together in his head, he instantaneously dropped her hand and bolted to his feet.

Damon's hands went to the back of his neck where he squeezed it almost to the point of breaking his cervical bones. He stepped around Bonnie and flashed in front of the fireplace. He didn't know what to say to her or what she wanted to hear from him, but a declaration of love…outside of the bounds of friendship…

His hands came to rest on his hips; his teeth gnawed the inside of his cheek. He was dumbfounded. Utterly dumbfounded. She had to be joking, but since she wasn't laughing at his expense and there wasn't a camera crew popping out of hiding, this was in fact real. Her feelings, those three words that usually made his head spin and feel too light on his shoulders when confessed by someone he loved, it was all real. Damon Salvatore was rendered speechless.

Minutes may have passed before he spoke. "I don't know what to say."


He pivoted to face Bonnie. She appeared the most vulnerable he'd seen her since that ill-fated night, but now he recognized she was steeling herself for his coming rejection.

"I'm not expecting you to say it back. I know you don't…love me in that way," her eyes dropped to the floor.

"It's not that it's just…"

"Just what?" Bonnie insisted he elaborate.

"I just never thought the two of us would ever get to a place where there were any real feelings…friendship or whatever shared between us. I know how it happened I just don't understand how it happened," he snorted bewilderedly.

"Are you wishing I hadn't said anything?"

In a way, yes Damon did wish Bonnie had kept her mouth shut. She was too good a person to not have her feelings reciprocated and especially by an asshole like him. He knew he didn't even deserve her friendship on his most well-behaved days. Yet he understood that once someone found lodgings in Bonnie Bennett's heart it was damn near impossible to get evicted. He didn't want to hurt her, cause her anymore pain but he wasn't free to give her anything but his adoration and that was something he could only do from a distance.

Still, he didn't want her to believe he didn't have any affection for her whatsoever. When he thought about it, his relationship with Bonnie was the healthiest he's ever had, and because of that he wanted to hold on to it. Tightly. But now, he might have to let that go. For her.

"I don't want you to think I don't care about you, Bonnie. I do. More than I can say."

"You just see me as a friend, can only see me as a friend," she filled in sadly.

Damon's mouth went on strike and refused to cooperate. So he had to settle with motioning his head up and down, minutely. He immediately averted his gaze unable to view that disappointed expression overtaking her features.

"I should…" Bonnie didn't finish her sentiment. Merely charged for the bedroom door, but paused, "I could love you so much better than anyone has ever loved you before, Damon. And…if you let yourself you could love me the way I need to be loved…"

Bonnie's words replayed over and over in his mind as he stood and watched as Enzo began eating from a jar of olives, the sounds of Sarah's screaming growing louder yet fainter with time.

A muscle in his jaw flexed, "What have you done with Bonnie?"

Enzo sucked olive juice off his finger before replying, "Aww, so you admit there's something between you and the little witch?"


"Not until I have your word of compliance to my stipulation. You can save them both with just the flip of a switch."

"And how do I know you won't order Liam to kill Sarah and whoever has Bonnie to kill her, too once I do it and not able to give a damn about either one of them?"

"Now, you're catching on, mate. Quite the conundrum ain't it?"

"Enzo," Damon snapped, his patience officially null and void.

"All right, I see you're getting anxious and you tend to do stupid things when anxious," Enzo theatrically cleared his voice. "Liam," he spoke into the speaker phone, "hold off in removing Sarah's spleen. I need to put you on hold for a second." Enzo switched to another line, called another cell. "Hey, how is our esteemed guest?"

Damon increased his hearing to catch every little nuance. He heard wind chimes, and…the tweet of a Le Conte sparrow…a television was blasting. This wasn't helpful in the least because those things were way too common anywhere in Virginia. So he focused on the timbre of Bonnie's captor's voice.

Male, possibly in his mid to late twenties. No discernible accent of any kind. Again, something else that was way too common.

"She's still out like a light."

"Good…I have a bit of bad news, you might be releasing her soon."

"Aww, man shit, really? She's cute."

"Precious, isn't she?"

"If he touches her…" Damon vowed.

Enzo flicked his eyes at him—annoyed, "Last chance, Damon before I take my offer completely off the table and it's a permanent good night for both of those goddesses."

At that time, Stefan and Elena burst into the Skull Bar.

"New arrivals," Enzo retorted drily. "You're just in time for the show."

"Where is my niece, you sonofabitch?" Stefan demanded.

Enzo for the most part ignored the self-righteous prick and refocused on Damon. "Well?"

Elena helplessly looked between the two of them.

Damon knew his time was up. His fate was sealed. From the very beginning of this charade he knew there was only one option, one choice to make.

"Stefan…" he addressed his brother without taking his eyes off Enzo, "bring me back."

The younger Salvatore was positively confused, at first, and when it clicked he moved to stand next to his brother, but had to dodge out of the way of a broken broomstick turned javelin that had been headed straight for his gut.

Stefan glared at Enzo who wiggled his fingers.

"Damon," Elena tried, "what's going on? What's happening? What is Enzo making you do?"

"Just save them," Damon ordered. "Save Bonnie and Sarah…"

"Bonnie?" Elena questioned wondering what she had to do with anything.

She and Stefan had been informed by a disinterested Caroline that Enzo was up to something involving the Salvatore's only living relative. Of course finding out they had a living relative was a shock but one she quickly got over. The two had gone off in a search to find them both. To save Sarah and stop Enzo from hurting her. So Bonnie somehow being caught in this threw Elena for a loop.

But Elena replayed Damon's words to his brother. Bring me back…so that could only mean…

She gasped and was prepared to launch a cross examination, but Damon held up his hand to quiet her.

They stared at one another. Elena's doe eyes filling with disbelief, Damon's filling with resolve.

"Find my emotional trigger and bring me back," was the final set of instructions Damon gave before closing his eyes, taking an axe to the threads that held his core intact, his soul, his very reason for existing.

With each cut string a void of darkness invaded. Emotions made obsolete. When he came to the last one, saw her face, he hesitated.

"Bring me back," he projected that thought, and then sliced that thread irrevocably.

The fiend chained to his rock was loosened.


A/N: Soooo what do we think? Thanks for reading!