I disclaim. I own nothing.
AN: This story takes place almost immediately after the episode 'Fool me once'. There will be a bit of retconning that will make more sense after the third chapter.
Spoilers: Everything up to 'fool me once'.
It started the day Sheila Bennett was laid to rest. Bonnie, her granddaughter, the child everyone could agree had been the love of Sheila's life was no where to be found. Outside the circle of family and close friends, six teenagers stood. Their heads respectfully bowed, tears rolling down a few cheeks as their eyes glanced around worriedly for their missing friend.
"What did she say when you spoke to her this morning?" Was whispered softly.
"I haven't spoken to her in days. She won't take my calls, she refuses to see me. She-" Broke off on a sob, collapsing in tears against her boyfriend's chest.
"Well, we can't just let her go. We have to find her."
The cemetery was empty now, save for the six, everyone else going back to the Bennett home to find comfort in food and company.
"We know that Caroline. Why do you think I asked you all to stay?"
"Come down off the high horse, Elena. I don't know what you did, but I know you're the reason she'd not speaking to any of us."
If possible, Elena Gilbert's face lost even more color. She stared wide eyed at her usually perky friend. Caroline Forbes had never been what anyone would consider observant or overly caring. But Bonnie was her best friend and it was a friendship she held to very tightly. And below that was a low grade resentment towards Elena. And the combination of the two always made her hyper aware of any discord between Elena and Bonnie.
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"Hey," Always the calm in any storm, Matt Donovan stepped between his current and ex-girlfriend. Unable to remember a time when he didn't know the three girls, he'd been cursed at a young age to be the peace keeper between them. "This isn't helping Bonnie."
"I can't believe her dad's not even worried about her." Jeremy Gilbert stood just outside the group, gazing around the sunlit cemetery as if he expected to see Bonnie walk up at any moment. "He has to know she's hurting. How could he just let her wander off like that?"
Everyone, with the possible exception of Tyler Lockwood, had been floored when Bonnie's father informed them that Bonnie had left their home at dawn and had not returned.
"He didn't even know she wasn't here until we told him." Noticing that her little brother's eyes settled sadly on the headstone that marked their parents final resting place, Elena reached out to clasp his hand in hers. "I think we should split up. Who ever finds her first should call me-"
"Why should they call you?" Caroline demanded, angrily shrugging off Matt's restraining hand.
"Because I'm her best friend and I understand what she's going through."
"I'm her best friend too."
"But you don't know-"
"Don't tell me what I don't know."
"That's enough." Stoic, brooding, and eternally seventeen, Stefan Salvatore didn't even need to raise his voice to gather everyone's attention. "We split up. We find Bonnie." The way he said it, reminded everyone that that was what was important. When they all nodded, he pulled Elena to the side. "I'm going to go alone. I'll be able to find her faster that way."
"You should call Damon."
Stefan made sure to school his features in a blank expression. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"We need all the help we can get." Elena pressed. "The only person able to find her as quickly as you is him. Please."
Unable to deny her anything, Stefan nodded. "Okay. Jeremy, go with Elena?"
Jeremy nodded. He watched at Matt pulled Caroline to his truck, not entirely surprised when Tyler moved in a direction opposite them. "Why to be a friend, Lockwood."
Tyler stopped dead in his tracks, as did everyone else. Matt stepping forward, fully prepared to stop whatever confrontation that was in the works. "What the hell are you talking about Gilbert?"
"Bonnie needs our help and you're just bailing. Why'd you even come today?"
Matt, who hadn't even been aware that Tyler wasn't following him until now, looked at his friend with disappointment displayed clearly on his face. "Dude, where are you going?"
"To look for Bonnie." He pointed in the direction he'd been heading. "This way." And with that he hunched his shoulders inside his coat and continued on his way.
Everyone shared confused looks, but said nothing as they continued to their respective cars.
Damon Salvatore thought there was much better ways in which he could be spending his Saturday morning. And just because he couldn't think of a single one, didn't mean they didn't exist. So he allowed himself to be bamboozled by his brother into searching for the little witch. He decided to do it as the crow, it was easier. And this way he could convince himself that he was merely out for a fly over, if he came across the little witch he could let his brother know, get a few points with Elena, and be on his way.
It's not like he was actually concerned for the little witch. Maybe he was a little intrigued by her. The night they opened the tomb she'd been magnificent; just outrageously beautiful in her power. And after, when he learned of Katherine's betrayal, he found comfort in Bonnie's pain. Comfort in knowing that someone was hurting more then he was. At least that's what he told himself on the nights he perched outside her window, soaking in her tears.
He realized his instincts were off when he set in a tree opposite Sheila Bennett's home and watched as Mutt and Caroline pulled up. The grandmother's house was too obvious, if they thought of that, it would be the last place Bonnie would go. He arrived at the school just before Stefan. Caught sight of Elena and her brother coming out of their home. He thought of going down there, playing the concerned friend while reminding Elena that he was hurting too. But at this point, he was curious. Where could the little witch have gotten to?
Damon couldn't say for sure what had him heading back to the cemetery, but it was there he found her. She was kneeling besides the fresh grave, pain etched in every line of her face. But she wasn't alone. Sitting besides her, knees drawn up to his chest was the Lockwood kid.
As he watched, the fingers she'd twisted together in her lap reached out shakily to the freshly turned dirt. The sky darkened, clouds blotting out the sun. As her fingers sank into the earth, thunder clapped violently in the distance. And as the first tear trailed down Bonnie's cheek, the sky opened up, and rain began to pour down. Without so much as flinching, Lockwood shrugged out of his coat and draped it around Bonnie's shoulders. When Damon would have expected, and preferred, him to move back Lockwood kept his arms around the little witch. Holding her together when it looked as if the sobs escaping her body would break her in two.
"I found her." On the other end of the line, Damon could hear Elena's sigh of relief. "She's at the cemetery."
"Damon, thank you so much. We'll be right there. Can you stay with her, please, just until we get there."
"Yeah," Damon kept his eyes on Bonnie. Some people wore their sadness well, Bonnie Bennett was one of them. She was radiant. "Anything for you, Elena."
Stefan, naturally, was the first one back. The rain had let up, Tyler had backed away from Bonnie, but his coat was still around her shoulders. Damon wasn't entirely sure how to classify the look on his brother's face, but was impatient for him to go over and break up whatever the hell was going on between Bonnie and Mr. All American.
"You're powers of tracking have slipped little brother."
Stefan barely spared his brother a glance. "I saw you fly over the school. Where all did you go before finding her here?"
It occurred to both brothers that even now they couldn't smell her, couldn't quite make out her heartbeat, or sense her in any way. But before Damon could open his mouth and question it, Elena, Jeremy, Caroline, and Matt rushed up to them.
"How long has he been here?" Jeremy asked as he eyed Tyler suspiciously.
"Better question is how long has he been here." Caroline glared daggers at Damon.
"He's here to help."
Caroline rolled her eyes. "Like hell he is, Elena. Get him out of here, now."
"Hey, I found her." Damon stopped himself just short of declaring Bonnie his, like a child who found a toy and claimed it as their own.
"I think maybe we should all leave." This statement from Matt earned him killer looks from the two girls. "Look, it's obvious Bonnie didn't want any of us to know where she was. It's probably why Tyler didn't call. We wanted to know if she was okay, she is. And she's not alone. I think we should just leave her be for awhile."
"And leave her with Tyler Lockwood. The guy has the sensitivity and compassion of a rock."
"Jeremy." Elena put a reassuring hand on her brother's arm. "I'm not leaving here without Bonnie. The rest of you can go."
Caroline gave an indignant snort. "Like hell-"
"Then we'll leave!"
Everyone turned to see Bonnie and Tyler standing besides Sheila's grave. Bonnie looked positively elfin in Tyler's jacket. And there was something about the way he stood besides her; on the balls of his feet like a lion ready to pounce should she give the order.
"Bonnie." Elena rushed forward, but pulled up short when Bonnie took a step in retreat.
"What's he doing here?" More then she wanted anything before, Bonnie wanted to send Damon Salvatore up in flames. Wouldn't that be justice, wouldn't that be perfect; to light him up here, just a few feet from his latest victim. She'd dance on his ashes, just as him being here was a mockery to her grandmother's memory.
"I called him." Stefan spoke up before Elena could. She may not see what feeling sympathy for Damon would do to her relationship with Bonnie, but he could. Bonnie was too full of grief and anger to understand Elena's sympathies and if confronted with them now she may never forgive her friend. "We were worried, thought the more people we had looking for you the better."
"I wasn't lost. And I don't want him here." Bonnie started to step forward, green eyes flashing violently, but any forward progress was halted by Tyler. The other's may have missed it, but she could feel the finger he hooked in the belt of his coat to pull her back. "Get out of here." The ground beneath their feet began to tremble. Sensing the danger, birds began to flee from the surrounding trees. "You're not welcome here!"
Elena and Caroline rushed forward both more concerned for their friend then their own safety to move away from her. Elena grabbed her hands, as Caroline framed her tear stained face in her hands.
"Bonnie, sweetie look at me. Don't look at him, look at me."
Tyler moved behind her, hands staying at his side even as he pressed his brow to the back of her head. His words so soft, Elena and Caroline barely caught them. "Forget about him, Bunny. Let him go."
Damon started to step forward, started to demand who the mongrel thought he was to dismiss Damon Salvatore, but before he could even open his mouth Stefan stopped him.
"Don't, Damon. Just this once…don't."
He tried not to look, but he still saw the way Bonnie broke down in Caroline's arms. He didn't know if it was the grief or the fatigue from the powerful displays she'd put on, but the little witch seemed to just collapse.
Fixing a careless smirk on his face, he gave his brother a bored shrug. "Fine, I was leaving anyway. Got an ex I need to find and destroy." No one was paying any attention to him anyway, didn't even notice when he sped away, only to perch himself on a tree nearby.
After a few minutes they all started away. Jeremy and Matt leading the way to their cars, with Stefan bringing up the rear. Caroline and Elena flanked Bonnie, sharing her weight and practically carrying her out. From his position amongst the trees, Damon saw the witch reach back and brush the tips of her fingers with Lockwood's.
And that's when Damon knew. As he took to the sky, he made the decision to keep a closer eye on the little witch. For Elena. Because it was clear to him that in her grief, Bonnie was going to make several bad decisions.
"You should just stay away from Damon." Stefan spoke quietly, eyes scanning the open quad in search of Bonnie. It was the Monday after the funeral, no one had seen Bonnie. Elena was practically making herself sick with worry.
"No," He looked down at the girl he'd fallen for instantly. He loved her, loved her more then he thought possible. So he only wanted for her, what she wanted for herself. Bonnie was her best friend, her one constant, and the last thing he wanted was for her to lose that. "This has nothing to do with me or how I feel about my brother. I'm doing this for you."
"Is not on the list of Bonnie's concerns right now. Elena," He ran a gentle hand down her hair, before cupping her cheek in his palm. "Right now, Bonnie blames Damon for her grandmother's death. Don't you realize that it'll be a short trip from blaming Damon to blaming us."
"Isn't thinking straight. Is completely incapable of thinking past her grief. And the fact is she and Sheila were there that night because of Damon, because of us. They broke the shield, kept it open, for us. And now her grandmother is dead." He heard the caw of the crow, locked eyes with his brother on the school ledge. "Stay away from him, let her hate him. I promise you, it's for the best."
With a defeated sigh, Elena dropped her head against Stefan's chest. "You're right. I just thought they could help each other. Damon lost someone he loved that night, too."
"What did you just say?"
Elena jumped out of Stefan's arms at the sound of Bonnie's angry voice. She'd never seen Bonnie like this. Never thought her best friend could look at her with such contempt. "Bonnie,"
"Did you just compare me losing my Grams to Damon losing that whore!"
Don't, Damon, don't. Stefan chanted mentally, but the warning went unheeded as Damon flew from the school only to appear moments later. He should have known, if his brother was a master at anything it was making a bad situation worse.
"What's going on guys?"
"Damon?" Elena turned to him, immediately recognizing the sadness in his eyes. Unable to stop herself from reaching out and placing a comforting hand on his chest. "What are you doing here?"
With a pained sigh, Stefan closed his eyes and waited for explosion. And he didn't have to wait long at all.
"Ow," Elena pulled her hand away from Damon as if burned. Turning wide eyed to Bonnie, she realized she was.
"Because of him," Bonnie spoke the words slowly, ignoring Damon completely and looking to the sister she was willing to die for. "Because he's been walking around like some ignorant love sick bitch for more then a century, my grandmother is dead. What did he lose, tell me Elena, please enlighten me on what he lost that compares to that?"
"Isn't dead!" Bonnie shouted, drawing the attention of everyone on the quad. "She. Didn't. Want him. She recognized him for the insecure, dickless child that he was and bailed."
"Careful, little witch." Damon took a step forward, eyes going dangerously black.
"Fuck you!" Bonnie snapped. "I'm not afraid of you. How can I be afraid of you after seeing how pathetic you really are? You're a joke. Katherine knew it. As evident by the fact that she was fucking you and your brother at the same time. Emily knew it; she tricked you into a pact she had no intention of upholding. Anna knew it, she and Katherine probably had a good laugh about it. God, even Elena feels sorry for you."
"Bonnie," Stefan spoke before Elena could. "That's not fair."
"Fair! Fair! Is it fair that I lost the person who loved me best because some woman didn't love him at all." She stepped right into Damon's space. Eyes like glaciers, power rolling off of her in waves. "I hope you get to see Katherine again. I hope you get to ask her why she didn't try to find you. And I hope to God I'm there when she tells you it's because you never mattered."
With that, and one last withering look at Elena and Stefan she turned on her heel and left. Stefan wrapped his arms around his girlfriend as she began to tremble uncontrollably. Beside's him Damon stood utterly still, fury like nothing he'd ever seen before flashing in his eyes. It was a wonder the veins around his eyes didn't appear.
Stefan searched the crowd for Caroline, hoping she'd seen and would go after Bonnie. But it was Tyler Lockwood he saw fall into step besides the witch. There were no words spoken between them. Bonnie simply glanced over at him and Tyler ran a finger lightly along the back of her hand. And Stefan began to understand.
Next to him Damon growled, the veins actually starting to show.
"Damon. Are you okay?" Elena reached for him, but this time he flinched away.
"You better reign your friend in, Elena." His eyes were still on the couple that moved farther and farther away from them. "Talk to her, before I do."
Stefan looked suspiciously between his brother and where Bonnie and Tyler could no longer be seen, not even by them. And that's when Stefan knew, Bonnie was going to need Elena now more then ever.