Chapter: Twelve- Tuning Out The Static
Pairing: Caroline/Damon, with some Caroline/Matt, Damon/others......
Summary: "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough" -Mario Andretti. A study in control; one who considers her life in control and one who does everything he can to control those around him.
That cold tomb, full of lifeless bodies, still alive and just barely: It was empty to him. She wasn't there. Katherine was gone. He was alone.
He'd been searching for her for so fucking long. Agonizing over how to get in, obsessing over spells and witches and blood and fire. He doesn't want to think about it. But he's spent lifetimes waiting for her, and it's all been for nothing. He doesn't want to fucking think about it, but it's hard to change a mindset that has been focused on one thing for lifetimes.
He's not in love with her. Stefan doesn't get it. Elena doesn't get it. He isn't sure he gets it either. But he had needed her. He had needed her out and alive and ready to wreak havoc again. Their time together, so long ago. He remembers that she made him feel alive. It has nothing to do with love, and maybe everything to do with being human, although he refuses to miss that.
The sheer possibility that she had been out and about all this time, it never even occurred to him, and still he struggles to accept it. He refuses to accept it, and yet the cold hard truth is in his face and it's hard to look away.
Decades of agonizing over this...bitch. He's been rendered slightly purposeless, it's making him reckless, it's making him angry, it's making it bitter; it's driving him to drink. He says he could care less. He's been saying that a lot lately.
When you've been obsessing over something for so long, letting go is almost impossible. And once you do, the world sort of falls away too. Things seem muted, mundane; as if the volume has been turned down almost all the way. Everything is but a whisper of itself. Nothing is scary, nothing is exciting, and nothing is worth his time. Stefan's been pestering him, good cop bad cop style, asking him if he is okay, and then wondering when he is going to leave. The thing is though, with the world on silent, he doesn't really bother to listen to his brother, or anyone for that matter. Not even his thoughts are loud enough to register, which is a good thing because he refuses to think of her again. Callous bitch, he'll never be as cold as her. But he wants to be.
He's torn between everything and nothing. Part of him wants to hunt her down and kill her. Part of him wants to hunt her down and kiss her. Another part, a part that grows with each day doesn't care enough anymore. All those years of waiting and wanting and now...nothing. He lives in a muted, faded world where he can't bring himself to care enough to be bored.
It strikes him now that he has done...everything. He has lived a million different lives; careless, reckless, and they have always been in her name. He has done that school, that university, that job, those girls, those parties, those games, those adventures, those mountains, those fights; those lies. He has been there, done that, and fucked that. She was supposed to make things fun again. He doesn't want another thousand lives alone. He was born restless, and now he is listless, spent and unable to care. Fuck that. Fuck her. Fuck it.
He spends his days and nights with a bottle. A fifth of vodka, a splash of rum and a pint of blood, courtesy of some unfortunate wanderer: drink, refill and repeat. He's not wasting his life; he's lived more than everyone in this fucking town put together.
He's just turning down the volume even further; he's just blurring his sight enough so he doesn't have to look at this pathetic place any longer. There's a burning underneath his skin, a yearning in his bones, but he just doesn't feel like fucking moving around anymore. Still this stasis is painful.
There have been many girls lately. An hour or two in his bed, sometimes he lets them live, most times he doesn't. Stefan has been covering his tracks; he's getting careless, reckless; he can't be bothered to care.
He's at a hole-in the wall dive bar in the edge of town, when he spies an unlikely face.
She doesn't see him. She's focused on her own drink, staring out the window, golden hair falling down her back, a little longer than he remembers it being. He had all but forgotten about her. Those few months spent toying with her seem like eons ago. Those memories are but whispers of events that unravel foggy and disjointed in his head, taking her blood, her sex, saving her; using her completely and utterly.
He smiles bitterly. She had been a means to an end, a way to get to the witch; a way to get to Katherine. She had been his willing little toy, a doll. He remembers breaking her; it's only now that he realizes she probably had loved him too. How sad.
Almost four months she had been utterly devoted to him. It strikes a painful chord in him, draws parallels that he does not want to see.
He is her "Katherine", or he used to be a least. He wonders if the world is numb to her as well, he wonders if everything is muted.
The drink in his hand is in his mouth before he can blink and he makes his way over to her, a morbid curiosity in every step and the ever present dull throb in his ears.
She's been in her head way too much lately. It really doesn't mesh with the lifestyle she has carved out for herself, but somehow, she just can't stop thinking. But god she wants to, hence the drinks, hence the hiding out in dark places. She wants to forget herself here, and then wake up to do it again.
That spontaneous girl from last year is but a shell that sometimes lets out spurts of her old self but mostly acts as a pretty facade: she looks the same, she talks the same, but she's not. She kind of wants to say it's because she's all grown up now. She also kind of wants to blame it on him, Damon that is, he definitely had a role in facilitating her change. She's not really sure what has changed or why and how, but she's different now or maybe the whole world is and she's still the same. Whatever it is, her thoughts have become the only thing loud enough to hear, real life has faded to a dull hum in the background.
He's been on her mind lately. Sometimes she'll try to push him out, other times she'll close her eyes and remember the way he used to excite every fibre in her being. He made her feel alive. The girl she had been when she was with him was pathetic; it's easy to recognize that now. Still, life has been a little less exciting since she stopped swapping spit and other bodily fluids with the darker Salvatore.
Everything is quieter now. Dull.
She's spotted him around town of course, most of the time she runs; it's been a while but she doesn't know if she trusts herself with him just yet. She's bored and he's always exciting; it would be so easy to slip and get caught up in him again. Lately though, she's stopped hiding when she sees him, he's drinking more- a lot more – something must have happened. She wants to feel vindicated but she doesn't. He's still a hole that she wants to fill. But she's changed, or so she thinks. She might be able to handle him this time; she might be able to handle herself.
She broke up with Matt last week. She'll miss his smile, and his hugs and his morning cups of coffee, even his sugar sweet kisses. His love is the lasting kind, the sweet amiable kind that you want because it's kind you can grow old with, safe; warm and lasting. Maybe last year it would have worked. Or maybe not, after all, she never really was the commitment type, never really wanted it until Damon came along. But she thinks that last year, she would have liked to at least try with Matt. That's got to be worth something.
Now she just can't seem to find her footing. She feels standoffish and alone every moment of every day. This town just seems faded and quiet. Her world is muted and grey and she wants to get out of here more than ever.
Suddenly he is sitting beside her.
There's a palpable shift in the air. He's different; a little quieter, even his posture seems muted. But it's exciting, and for the first time in a long time, she feels alive.
This time he speaks first.
Although she doesn't hesitate to reply, her stomach is in knots.
It takes her a moment longer to realise that it's not fear that is causing the butterflies, but excitement. His hand is in the middle of the table and she meets him halfway, latching on to it with her own. She knows where this is going, and for once, she feels ready.
They drink; they are both season players and he pays for every shot. They talk, but not that much needs to be said. They have sex. In his car, the hard seat pressing into her , her nails in his back, his teeth in her neck. They make it back to her place, and she forgets she is drunk because he is intoxicating and thrilling. She remembers how much she enjoys his arms around her, while he remembers her skin and the taste of it all.
Maybe he is using her again. He needs this... this little shred of control, this superiority; it gives him a little life; it helps turn the volume up again. Maybe she's playing the victim again. She needs this...this little spark of excitement, while in the safety of his arms...she needs him. And it's different now, because she knows the need is mutual. They're both selfish creatures at heart, pleasing each other to satisfy themselves.
There's a bloodstain on her pillowcase and she rubs at it lazily with one hand, her other hand still holding tightly onto his. He's looking at her now and it feels as if he is looking at her for the first time as a person, and not as a means to his end. It's nice.
It's not the first time he's offered to turn her, but it's the first time she's ever really considered accepting.
"Does it hurt?"
He shrugs, a sadistic edge to his sugesstive grin. "Of course"
It appeals to her on so many levels. None of which she would ever disclose to him, but the promise of eternal youth- her looks preserved, her intelligence and wit never to dull and fade- is alluring, although not as much as the possibility of lifetime after lifetime with him.
In her heart she has already accepted, but she stalls, just because she can. There's an equality between them now that didn't exist before. It's not completely equal, she knows he'll always have the upper hand, but she's not scared to stand up for herself, and so far it seems he's enjoying it.
"I should probably wait till I graduate"
He smirks and leans over to kiss her breast, nipping not so gently at her skin. She refuses to wince, and that alone makes her smile.
"You can do that anytime. You can graduate a thousand times over later on"
She pushes him off and frowns up at him.
"Where are we going to go?"
"I'm getting the fuck out of this town. What you do is up to you. One time offer, yes or no?"
For a minute she falters; she thinks of Elena, her mother, Bonnie, school, even Matt. But then her head is flooded with fantasies of houses in California, sex on the beach in Hawaii, hunting for campers in the Rockies and all the time in the world.
And he does.
Wow, I can't belive I finished this!!!! It took me a long time to figure out just how to get them together in the end and make it the least bit plausible - because really, Damon going for the girl is hard to imagine, let alone make believable.
Anyways thanks SO SO SO SO much for sticking with this and reviewing, I've gotten such a great response for this story, and that makes me happy considering they aren't exactly a popular pairing.
One last review from all of you would make my life, and you know, help inspire me to write more stories =)
Thanks Again, seriously!!!