* First try at a Vampire Diaries fanfiction. Currently I'm only on season 5 (yeah, I'm a little late to the fandom), so if there are any errors as a result, please let me know. I always enjoy constructed criticism, as well! Also, if you guys have any ideas or input as to how the story might go, don't be afraid to comment on it.

Warning: Dark at times and swearing.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own The Vampire Diaries.

Chapter 1

One hundred and forty-five years. Just a century. Just a little over a freaking century. Like that's a big deal for a vampire.

He let out a strangled snarl as he downed a harsh swig of his bourbon. Even though the drink was spiked with some blushing cheerleader's blood from one town over, it sure as hell didn't make him want to start a goddamn pep rally, or much less make him want to believe he was drunk enough to attend a bonfire with her. Even though he simply settled for the drink rather than the entire bar, the dark veins writhing beneath his bleak, vicious eyes refused to go away. His usual coping methods were not helping him.

Not this time.

He took another sip. Teeth grinding together, tears threatening to drown, sky falling around him. With a roar, he hurled the bottle at the guard rail he'd been walking beside. He didn't even gain satisfaction when his force left a decent dent. Crimson-tinged bourbon splattered over his dark jeans. He may have even felt tiny shards of glass slicing his legs and waist.

As if he never had it in the first place, he completely dismissed the bottle's remains and continued to traipse solemnly though the night. His healing skin easily pushed out the feeble glass splinters. And yet he still couldn't feel it. He laughed bitterly. He couldn't feel a anything, didn't want to feel anything. That's what bourbon was for. That's what blood was for. Right?

Out of exhaustion and defeat, he slid to the pavement and waited for his meal ticket. Perhaps what he needed was something stronger, something straight from the tap. So he listened carefully, but no vehicles seemed to be passing by anytime soon. Actually, it would've been a perfectly still night had it not been for some teenage party not too far from where he lay.


In his drunken stupor it took him an extra moment to grasp that particular word. Taking a deep breath, he tried to will the veins away, tried to shove at the darkness clouding his vision. Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the cheerleader. Whatever it was, it was working. Now, to any unsuspecting human, he would look normal. As normal as anyone could be sprawled across a road. But he still didn't feel right. And he knew he wouldn't be for a very long time.

It had been too long since he felt stillness, any sense of peace. In his near-two-century life, he couldn't remember if he'd ever even known peace. Even around her. Peacefulness wasn't in his vocabulary. It was just another impossible notion he would have to deal with. Or he could always go about it as if he didn't care.

Oh wait, he rolled his eyes. I tried that. It's going swell so far. I've lost my bourbon, and my head is pounding. He rechecked himself. That can't be right. He didn't have a headache. Curiously, he reached to feel his forehead to conclude that no one had staked his gullible ass either.

He swiveled his gaze to a couple directions before stopping. It wasn't his head that was pounding, but the surface of the road. A teenage girl with a slight form and long hair was strolling towards his end of the road. She was quite a distance away yet. Even with his keen senses he couldn't quite place her face in the pale moonlight. But he could see that her sights appeared to be glued to her phone.

Technology is supposed to make mankind smarter, not more clueless. He let his head fall back to the pavement, sneered like the predator he was, and waited.

Her footsteps stopped. After a few irritating seconds, he lifted his head up to look at her, only to see her dialing a number. After speaking with someone named Bonnie she began seeking another number. This time it sounded like she was talking to her parents, and she casually turned herself away, still unaware of the inebriated creature laying in the road.

He groaned under his breath. He could easily outrun or even compel her to come closer, but even vampires get lazy from time to time. Also, she wasn't the only human in Mystic Falls. Others would come by at any time. Patiently, he waited and listened in on the phone call. She had been mentioning someone called Matt, something about her and Matt's future, and something about having an overall crappy night.

Amen, sister. He wished he had a bourbon bottle to raise.

She chatted some more and he continued to lay there, just tuning in to her voice and not really paying attention to her words. After all, he really didn't have any other way to occupy himself. Her tone was stressed and heavy, with little bits of lost hope. But her oddly familiar cadence kept niggling him. Her tiredness coming to the end of the conversation made her sound all the more silken. He shook his head. Not silken.

Gentle. The voice coming from her delicate throat was anything but smooth or cunning. It was kind and almost wistful. Judging by her tone and her phone calls, whatever she was hoping for, this Matt-guy wasn't able to give it to her. Whatever she desired out of Matt or whoever, she knew she wasn't going to get it tonight. From a distance, he could tell this girls wasn't a completely hopeless individual. Perhaps, one day, she would come to terms with what she wanted.

It was an odd kind of power, having to choose which humans he killed, fed from, both, or spared altogether. It wasn't a heavy or brooding settlement, but for him it was a decision that simply needed to be...made. Nearing two hundred years, very seldom did he question his choices. Some days he felt malicious, others he would be merciful. Either way, he always had a simplistic or vampiric reasoning.

However, he was at a loss this time. For a while, he would blame the scenario on being too boring or not thrilling enough. For a moment, he also blamed it on the alcohol. Except he knew the real reason for sparing her, drunk or not. And so, with a shrug and a berating sigh, he sped himself away from the road.

Drunk would actually be an overstatement. The bourbon and blood were clearing all too quickly from his system. Now, as he walked through wooded trails, he was barely feeling tipsy. But if he didn't get some sort of drink soon, he might lose his mind.

Too late for that. Whoops!

Overall, he needed a distraction

Branching off from the road near Wickery Bridge sat a few campsites, mostly inhabited by the locals who lived within town and needed to get away for a while. A young couple had been using the river near their campsite to wash their dishes from dinner. They stamped out the fire, put some more gear away, and crawled into their cozy little tent. The remaining fire embers were smothered by the night's cool breeze. Moonlight couldn't even break through the trees. All was dark.

It had been a while since his last visit in Mystic Falls, and he just loved to visit his old haunts. Grinning sadistically, he leapt away from the shadows of a nearby ridge, his black attire blending smoothly into the dark. It was a weekday so campers were far and few in between, which was glorious.

No one heard them, no one came to their rescue, no one even knew they were there.

They just so happened to be newlyweds, moving to Virginia to start a new life for themselves. Had he known this, it would've made the kill that much more fun. Regardless, he didn't care if they were newlyweds or stopping by to have tea and cookies with Mayor Lockwood. As he was guzzling from the semi-portly man's throat, nothing mattered except to feed his demons.

He tossed the bodies into the river, along with their blood-covered gear. Mystic Falls was a small town, and he always liked to think of creative ways to cover up murder. One can only blame animal attacks for so long, and if he intended to stay there for a while...

Hold on. Why would I want to stay when I'm finally free? Hell, this town has a history of wanting to kill me, screw that!

With a full belly and a clear mind, he allowed himself a half-smile in relief. It was a smile that tore itself quickly from his face and was replaced with a painful cringe. He slapped a hand over one of his ears.

Not too far away came the deafening screech of car brakes and locking tires. He could just make out petrified screaming. Then came a splash. Nothing small like a corpse hitting the surface.

It was something much, much bigger.

The river swallowed the chaos, screams and terror sinking into the water until it was as if nothing happened at all. So, the night resumed its stillness. It never even heard the vampire flitting through the darkness. It may have heard one final splash, that of a diver. Or was that simply just the normal lapping along the shores.