an: this is my first fanfic on this app, decided to branch off from tumblr because this fic is way too long and the tumblr editing system is a PAIN. comment and review if you enjoy, and tips are ALWays(!!!!) welcome. you can buy me a coffee via my ko-fi account or cashapp me, which is in my bio. (my kofi is the same username on here: lazypeachx) without further ado, let's get into chapter one.

A little birdie

Is having her

Dirty Thirty

Damon observed the fancy little card with ribbon around the border, in its almost garish, ostentatious red cursive font and concluded that Bonnie shouldn't have given Caroline free reign over her thirtieth birthday "gathering." (Because apparently party was too juvenile a word.)

Judging from the card, Damon was certain it was merely an extension of Caroline's birthday celebration and Bonnie was feeling some self-remorse for being unable to show up. Ergo, she allowed her best friend to plan her party as an unsaid apology despite apologizing excessively. But Bonnie being Bonnie, she had the vague sense that apologizing wasn't enough.

And knowing Caroline, she was probably right. That reserved seat for Bonnie being absent during her birthday sparked a feeling of inadequacy in her that the guests, Damon included, had to hear her drone on about for the entirety of the night. Oh you know, Bonnie is so busy with everything that she's doing. It was only polite of me to extend the invitation! Besides, almost everything else is perfect! She would say something of the derivative in an almost deflated, chipper tone over and over with a smile that never reached her eyes.

That had been happening regularly, Bonnie's absence. The first time it occurred, there was a strange feeling of void in the Mystic Falls Gang; Elena still in a coma, and then the one person who was always there- gone. It was an odd ordeal and then it became a repeating offense though it never quite lost its shock value. After the move, birthday celebrations, fancy dinners, get-togethers, an empty space sat in place of Bonnie.

Deep down, Damon hypothetically thought one day Bonnie Bennett wouldn't be there anymore but he never knew how abrupt it would actualize and he wasn't prepared for how much he would feel it.

It stung.

He would leave her messages and texts that she barely returned the next day, let alone week. He even filled her mailbox up with voice messages so often that he could brainlessly recite the outdated mini monologue before the dial tone:

Hi, this is Bonnie Bennett, sorry I can't answer. Maybe I'm just avoiding you. (Elena's laughter in the background.) Kidding, leave a message at the beep. Caroline, Elena and Bonnie together, Beep.

If it was out of hostility it might've been easier to hate her, But Bonnie was really just that busy. And as angry as he wished he could be, he couldn't fault her for living her life.

The last time Damon had physically seen Bonnie was almost eight years ago- he hadn't realized that much time had rolled on by without seeing his best friend in the flesh. Was he even still her best friend? Do besties take eight year hiatuses?

Seven years and four months ago, Bonnie packed up her belongings and moved to New Orleans, having decided a month in advance that she needed a change in scenery. She didn't bother going back to the university and getting her college diploma, most likely tired with having to force normality on to her very abnormal life. Tarot readings became her profession before she garnered enough money to open an apothecary and the rest was history. Her shop was booming and schedule always booked, it was unsurprising that people needed her. The time she did devote to catching up with him, he could hear in her voice that she was genuinely happy.

She deserved to be.

He recalled the evening she left, the sunset a fire in the sky, her moss green eyes a little sad, a little anxious. Him, mirroring her expression except with a sprinkle of puppy dog eyes. He hugged her a little too long, basking in the ambiance of her touch, the smell of her hair, the fragrance of her body chemistry. If he could bottle up her scent in a jar and close the lid, he would. If he could handcuff her hand to his he would, and all of the above. But it would be wrong for him to be selfish, beg for her to stay, grovel, throw snide remarks, yell, throw a tantrum, so he didn't. As bad as he wanted to, he couldn't bring himself to be anything besides supportive.

The first year was rough for Damon because he felt a crippling abandonment that Stefan was very weary of. It almost felt like losing Elena again, it hurt so completely. He attempted to disguise it but his normal sarcasm became downright cynicism and he didn't bother pouring drinks, just chugged from the bottle.

He was acting out like a child because of the mélange of separation anxiety and a century of unresolved abandonment issues and his friend was no longer there to put up with his bullshit- how juvenile it all made him feel. He was embarrassing himself because he was too prideful to call his favorite witch and tell her he missed her and that they needed her, and god, especially him.

Arguments, bar fights, depression, a revolving door of brown-skinned women with elven features became his normal. He was going through his Crystal with a K phase all over again, but with his best friend. It was weird because he felt guilty like there was something about his relationship with Bonnie just lurking in the shadows, waiting to be addressed. But he was drinking, biting, and fucking it away.

No one really stopped him. Stefan became his punching bag, Alaric his doormat, and Caroline only gave him her sympathy. She knew why Damon was reacting so badly, and maybe there was more to it; it made everyone uneasy that the girls gracing his loving bed looked like knockoff Bonnies. What did that mean?

But who were they to call out Damon, they all knew why he was so unstable, they too were experiencing it in their own worlds. And due to her limited availability, it was starkly obvious how crucial Bonnie Bennett was to their actual lifespan. Each and every one of them were enduring a serious adjustment period in which they had no one to turn to but themselves. It made them wonder maybe they were the reason she left after all.

"Damon?" Caroline was flitting around the party decorations, with a clipboard and metallic gel pen. He hadn't seen her so excited, backlit with a sparkling happiness that made her eyes glitter. Her cheeks had to hurt from smiling so fully.

"Can you mix the mimosas? I made sure to get the champagne extra dry. There's no fun in alcohol with too much sugar."

"I thought my prime and only function was to add a little beauty to this place. The beauty being me, of course."

She simply flitted away to accomplish the lot of her tasks leaving a courtesy giggle as she passed him by.

Not one snide remark? Oh, she was happy happy.

He figured he'd do as she wished and put together some mimosas; not quite his forté but a pretty little social drink nonetheless.

Stefan was on the other side of the room not too far from Caroline, Alaric taking a phone call and Matt was the awaited guest's chauffeur. Liv and Tyler were talking about something uninteresting and Elena was somewhere far away, peacefully sleeping. Damon was feeling something foreign pull at his heartstrings.

On top of that, he thought he felt something akin to... honestly he couldn't relate it to anything recognizable. Some human emotion that he hadn't felt in centuries let alone years. Some thing, not of him, that made his palms sweaty and heartbeat skip even more. His breaths were shallow because of this lowly feeling.

"Nervous?" Stefan was looking down on him with this knowing smile on his face.

Damon was beyond offended.

"What did you just ask me, brother? Of course, I'm not nervous. I'm not even sure if I'm capable of being that." He dusted off his shirt for affect.

"Oh. It's just- your hand was shaking just then. Must be a little cold in here." He walked off with nothing else to say and an annoying smirk Damon wanted to punch off.

He grumbled something about self-righteous little brothers as he cleaned up the mess of champagne and orange juice caused by his...cold... hand.

"She's almost here!!!" Caroline all but squealed.

No, his heart did not just pound.

But- he hadn't seen her in forever and now he was about to feel her, touch her, breathe her. The little witch in all her thirty-year-old glory. His heart did a little more pounding. And technically she was older than him so he'd never let her live it down.

Damon braced himself like he was about to run a race and straightened his shirt out.

Calm down. It's just Bonnie.

Caroline was frantically counting down, as if the place was in some sort of disarray, mouthing down five seconds with her fingers in the air.

And then there she was- Bon Bon, Witchy, Judgy, Magical Woo-Wooer- his best friend in the whole wide world- in all her mystical glory, looking thirty in the best way possible. In the best way possible.

Everyone was surrounding her, bombarding her really, with love and joy. Hugs from her right side, hugs from her left side, from the front and back but Damon just watched because he wanted her all to himself. He wanted her so close that he could wrap his arms around her twice to make up for all those days he wish he could've hugged her but couldn't. He wanted her so close that her essence rubbed off on him a little and he'd be able to carry a piece of Bon Bon with him wherever he went. He wanted her so close that their eyes kissed and he'd only be able to see green, and her blue. He wanted her to know how hard it was without her.

Seeing Bonnie now, he never acknowledged how young she looked before- how innocent she seemed. Before, she had a softness to her that made her less alarming, more friendly and cute. Looking at her, he realized a grave difference; instead of the elven look he associated her face with, she had more mature, feline features that were further pronounced with her smoky eyelids and flared lashes. Her features seem to tilt seductively, the slope of her brow, the curve of her smirk the glint in her eyes oozed a sexuality and confidence that he never attributed the little witch with before. He felt something dangerous radiating off of her, something fierce.

The dress she wore was black, knee length and like a second skin. He couldn't help giving her body a once over, because he had zero memory of all of those curves being there before. A beautiful bridge of hip, and tiny waist, full cleavage further pronounced in the dramatic V of her neckline. Yes, he was staring but everyone else was too- she looked so stunning, so sharp.

It seemed like the accent plants in the room were all leaning into her like they finally found their sun.

And he'd considered her to be his equal- someone he could go tit for tat with, his verbal and occasionally physical sparring partner, but as he stared at her, she seemed so beyond. There was a power radiating around her that was probably older than him.

When her eyes met his, she smiled wide and opened her arms to beckon him and he hugged her with an unrelenting strength.

"Hi Damon," she said and Dear God, he missed that raspy voice.

"Hi Bon Bon." he said and swept her off her feet to spin her around a few times.

There was that height difference he never knew he missed, how he seemed to tower over her, looking down at her from the bridge of his nose. Then there was that proximity he craved. The two of them together. His best friend on him like the finish on his mahogany floors. Chest to chest, no treasure in sight.

She giggled and swatted at him to put her down as a few flyaways escaped from her sleek ponytail.

Back on her feet she said, "It's been a while."

"It's been a while's while," he said, but he felt okay like his body was able to help him breathe better with Bonnie around.

"God, you look-" It leaked out of his mouth and somehow everyone knew to pretend to be busy because he needed this time with Bonnie almost more than anyone else. Yet there was that sentence and he didn't know where to go with it, it hung between them, all the things he could've said, "hot" was probably inappropriate. It had been eight years after all. Baby steps.

Bonnie was always attractive, that was without question, but it was unexplored. He didn't think she truly realized the depth of her beauty and how much she was overlooking herself in the past.

Now, however, it was definitely found and it was hard to pinpoint other than labeling it confidence. Confidence was too simple though. It was something more, like self-actualization. Something explicit, something private, something oozing sensuality. Like instead of waiting on someone to fuck her, she did it herself because she deserved it. Like instead of waiting on love from someone else, she opened her heart and tended to Bonnie because she was neglected the most.

The little witch possessed a pulchritude that was very self-aware. It said, "yes I'm beautiful, and I'm sharing it with you."

She smiled wide with a coy smile, yet something still made him feel like even with her tiny stature and unassuming disposition, she would still eat him up entirely. When her eyes met his, it held him up by the spine like a puppeteer.

"And you look exactly the same. I think I'm starting to get jealous, you'll be this pretty and I'll be old and gray."

Pretty? He was beyond flattered, Damon could remember wanting that approval from Bonnie like a petulant child all those years ago.

Just to be noticed by Bonnie for something as trivial as his looks was significant because she used to have a habit of withholding compliments. Old Damon felt unseen by Bonnie and he chalked it up to him being spoiled and self-absorbed. (Why else would he want someone to confirm something he already knew about himself.)

"Don't compliment me too much, I'll start to think you like me." Their little joke. He winked and shot her an infamous smirk.

"What's so bad about that?" She asked, eyes dropping to his mouth before holding his gaze again.

Did he imagine that?

Was that a hallucination?

A beat passed between them where Damon's brain was overthinking and then she laughed like it was just harmless banter, like she wasn't serious at all, and no, she wasn't just looking at him like a Happy Meal a few minutes ago.

They were flirting and although he wasn't new to this territory- he flirted with every woman he came in contact with- Bonnie was biting back. The Bonnie he knew eight years ago would throw him an eye roll and all but gag, or worse, blatantly ignore him. But this Bonnie was matching up.

He sent a smolder her way because he was never one to back down from a challenge and if she was sure she wanted to flirt with him like that then she'd better be prepared to up the ante. The wordless communication persisted when she smirked like she knew something he didn't.

"I'm back in Mystic Falls for an extended stay. Can I sleep with you?" Her hands covered her mouth like it betrayed her. "I mean can I sleepover with you. At the boardinghouse?"

The ball was in his court.

"Fair warning, I sleep naked and I don't cover up for guests," He rubbed her shoulder as if to console her.

"Oh? Then I guess you can excuse my hands, wherever they may end up."

Damon's brows retreated to his hairline.

Stefan choked on whatever he was sipping.

One point for Bonnie.

It was cute how everyone just pretended to be oblivious to the sexual tension in the room but not even Caroline could mask her shock at that last line. It was borderline drab, Damon saying sexy things, (that was undoubtedly his character), but Bonnie leaving him speechless?

Definitely gasp-worthy.

She laughed again, taking the teeth out of her joke, rendering it harmless. Just shameless flirting; nothing more, nothing less.

Caroline swooped in then and linked her arm through Bonnie's. She had an event to walk her through, the gifts, the cake, the socializing and Damon guessed his perfectly slotted out time with Bonnie had expired. He imagined Care Bear said something like, we'll give him an extra five minutes, and that's me being lenient. Shewas my best friend first.

Witchy walked away and his eyes pooled into her like ice in water. Such a tight little dress, not one panty line in sight. He needed a cool glass of bourbon- and quickly.

"There's something different about her," Stefan said lowly, appearing next to him, already brooding.

"It's been nearly a decade. Of course she's different."

She left and came back. Days passed, then years. She got older.

Neither of them could know what it felt like to age because they only did so partially. They were having a different experience, a soul only knows it's old when age is observed and he and his brother had nothing to show for, not even a wrinkle.

He used to feel sick about it, the fact that he couldn't age like wine, get a few laugh lines, crow's feet, hell, even a few gray hairs. Damon would never get to look seasoned. Eventually he got used to it and acceptance followed after, he just kissed that human future goodbye since he never had a chance in hell.

Maybe it caused a mental irregularity, not being able to age fully, because to him, a century felt like twenty years.

"All right, guys!" Caroline's voice did not need to be amplified by that mic, his ears were ringing. "It's time for our first game,"

It was going to be a long day.

an: next chapter will be very, very steamy, hence the rating. like, comment, review and buy me a coffee. next chapter is already completed and will be uploaded soon.