Tear the World Down
~One Week Later~
"Are you sure you don't want to come over?" Elena pressed.
Bonnie cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear as she rearranged the makeup on her dresser. "I'm sure. Besides, I'm sure you have your hands full without me there."
Elena snorted. "You have no idea. I could use the distraction."
"How is Jeremy handling Jenna hovering like a crazed-Momma bear?" Bonnie asked. She separated the lip sticks from the lip glosses and arranged them by color shade.
"At least she's not watching him sleep anymore," Elena admitted with a chuckle. "That was kinda creepy. And Jeremy knew she was there the whole time. I think Jenna thinks if she watches Jeremy every second he won't disappear."
Bonnie knocked over a tube of mascara, watching as it rolled off the dresser and onto the floor. She sighed and stooped to pick it up. "But can you blame her? A few weeks ago her nephew overdosed and then vanished from the hospital, and now he turns up saying he's sorry? Of course she's freaking."
"Jeremy's been great, though," Elena replied with a smile. "He's just letting her do what she needs to feel better. He gets how hard this is on Jenna, and he even admitted it was his fault. But I'm wondering when he'll have enough and—"
"Eat her?" Bonnie quipped, standing back up.
"That's so not funny," Elena retorted.
Bonnie smirked and headed for the bathroom. "I thought Jeremy had his cravings … under control."
"Yeah, as long as Stefan keeps sneaking him blood from the hospital." Elena made a disgusted noise in the back of her throat. "I wish he'd just switch to animals or something. Not humans."
"At least he isn't killing humans," Bonnie added. "And it's only been what? Three days since he came back home? He needs to adjust as much as Jenna does." She walked to the bathtub and turned on the water.
Elena hesitated. "Speaking of adjusting … how are you?"
Bonnie hesitated, flicking her fingers under the water to test the temperature. She perched on the edge of the bathtub and closed the drain. "I'm OK."
"I'm serious, Elena," Bonnie cut her off, forcing an edge of steel into her tone. "It's been a week since Damon left and I'm … I'm OK. Not great, but OK."
Elena sighed quietly. "Bonnie, I just … I wish there was a way for me to make this easier for you. I feel like this is my fault. Like I should have seen it coming."
"I made the decision to bond with him," Bonnie replied, squeezing her eyes shut. "I knew what I was getting into."
"Did you really?"
"It doesn't really matter now, does it?" Bonnie said softly. "He's gone, and I … I'm dealing with it."
"I won't keep bugging you, I promise," Elena assured her. "I'm just worried."
"I appreciate it, but I'm really OK." Bonnie stood up and opened the closet door to pull out a thick terrycloth towel. "I'll call you tomorrow, OK?"
"Sure. Talk to you tomorrow."
Sighing, Bonnie ended the call. She knew Elena meant well, but she just didn't get it. She didn't understand.
Bonnie turned off the water. She set the phone down on the counter and started to pull off her top until a movement out of the corner of her eyes caught her attention. She spun and gasped, pressing a hand to her chest when her heart slammed painfully against it.
"Damon," she breathed, her green eyes widening as she looked him over.
He hesitated in the doorway of the bathroom and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "Can we talk?"
She nodded soundlessly.
"Not here," he said softly, backing away. "Will you come with me?"
"OK," she whispered, taking the hand he extended to her.
The charred remains of the cabin looked like a skeleton against the full moon. Broken fragments of black wood and shattered glass littered the ground. Bonnie couldn't help but feel connected to the destruction. She felt just as smashed and hollowed out inside as the cabin looked.
"I knew Stefan told my dad that there was a fire at the cabin," Bonnie started slowly, moving away from Damon, "but I didn't expect this."
"We had to make it look believable. It explained the … burns," Damon replied softly, making no move to join her. His eyes followed her movements with sharp awareness.
She absently rubbed her arms where the burn marks had nearly completely faded.
"How … are you OK?" he asked stiffly.
She turned and looked back at him with a thin smile. "Yeah." She extended her arms so he could see. "The blood you gave me worked. I probably won't even have a scar."
Silence hung heavy and thick between them, uncomfortable as a wet blanket and just as suffocating. A wood frog trilled in the dark of the woods, his call piercing the night.
She smiled, biting her lower lip. She gestured to him. "You first."
"No, go ahead."
She arched an eyebrow. "You wanted to talk to me, remember?"
A shadow crossed his eyes and his lips pressed together grimly. "I just … I wanted to make sure you were all right."
She swallowed roughly and glanced away. "I guess so." She looked back at him, still feeling a spark when their eyes met, but it was nothing like what it had been the last few weeks. Now it felt like a broken power line, snapping and popping with electricity. It was out of control and frightening. It wasn't like the solid, flowing current that had bonded them so tightly earlier.
"Did you …" She cleared her throat nervously. "The bond…"
"It's a spell," he answered softly.
Her brows raised dramatically. "You know magic?"
A flashed her a rueful smile. "A small spell. I just … blunted the bond. The distance helped."
"So it's gone?"
"Does it feel gone?" he replied, his tone laced with bitterness.
Bonnie stiffened. She didn't need a bond with him to feel his irritation. A flush blossomed on her cheeks and she quickly looked back at the ground. "I can do some research. Find a spell to completely remove the bond."
His teeth clicked together and he sighed. "If that's what you want."
"What I want?" Her head snapped up, eyes wide. "What the hell does that mean?"
"It means do whatever you want, Bonnie," he replied wearily, his eyes narrowed.
She spread her hands out at her sides. "Damon, I don't know what I want. What do you want?"
"It doesn't matter."
"I don't know!" His eyes flashed silver in the moonlight, feral and uncontrolled. His hands clenched by his sides as he took a single step in her direction. He raked a hand through his hair. "I don't know what the hell I want. All I know is I can't do…"
"Can't do what, Damon?" she challenged, raising her chin a notch.
"This."He gestured to the space between them.
Her expression went cold, hard. "A relationship? You can't do a—"
He held up his hands and started to back away. "You know what? Forget it." He turned and started back for the car when he was suddenly forced to a stop.
"Don't you dare," Bonnie hissed through clenched teeth. She relaxed her Power so he could move again. "Don't you dare walk away from me. Not again."
He spun around, his glittering dangerously. "You still don't get it, do you?"
Her eyes drifted shut, her expression pained. "I know I betrayed you—"
"Dammit, Bonnie!" He lashed out, his fist catching a sapling and snapping it. He came at her, grabbing her shoulders in his hands and forcing her to look at him. "Losing Katherine nearly killed me. It ripped me apart day after day for over a century. I loved her and it nearly destroyed me. And then this thing with you happened, and I almost lost you, too. I can't be that vulnerable again. I won't let that happen."
She knocked his hands away from her but took a step closer so they were toe-to-toe. "Love is hard, Damon. It's a daily fight—especially for people like us." Her gaze softened and she reached up to trace his jaw. "Don't you see? That's why I did it."
He snorted. "You lied because you love me? And here I thought I was the one with the questionable morals."
"No," Bonnie retorted. "I lied because I saw her kill you in my vision. I stood there and watched you die, and I was completely powerless. This was the only way I could make sure that didn't happen. I couldn't risk her killing you."
"Bonnie," he said with a reluctant sigh, his fingers tangling in her hair.
"I can't live in a world where she could kill you while I did nothing," she admitted. She swallowed. "I don't think I can live … without you."
He tipped his head back and scoffed. "That's pretty fucking selfish."
He looked her in the eye. "You can die and leave me alone? How is that fair?"
"You would have done the same if the situation were reversed," she accused.
"Maybe I would have," he admitted. "But I don't know where that leaves us."
Tears swelled in her eyes and she blinked them back. "Damon … What do you want?"
Emotions flickered over his face and he shook his head. "I want you."
Relief surged through her and she stepped towards him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I want you, too."
He moved his hands automatically to her waist, his expression stricken. "Do you even think this can work?"
"I think so," she said with a nod. "I mean, it will be hard—"
"How? I mean," he began, looking over her shoulder, "I'm responsible for your grandmother's death, remember?"
"I forgive you," she replied gently.
His eyes widened, surprised. "Why—"
She pressed a finger to his lips. "I get it now."
"When I thought Katherine killed you," she said softly, "I would have done anything to stop that. Anything to get you back. I understand why you did what you had to so you could get Katherine out of the tomb. I don't exactly agree with it, but I understand it. And I forgive you. I know you didn't mean to get Grams killed. And Grams knew what she was getting into when she agreed to help you. I think if she had really wanted to, she could have stopped you. But she didn't." Her fingers toyed with his hair, her nails raking lightly against his scalp.
He sighed and closed his eyes, pressing his forehead to hers. "Promise not to lie to me again."
"I promise," she repeated, meaning every syllable. She could feel the bond stirring to life inside her, the weak threads slowly tangling together. "Promise not to lie to me? Ever?"
He chuckled. "Promise." His fingers traced her nose and then her jaw. "I promise."
She pulled back, opening her eyes. She smiled when she saw the silver blue of his irises staring back at her. "Hey, Damon?"
"Hmm?" he murmured, pushing her hair away from her neck.
Bonnie arched an eyebrow. "You planning on kissing me anytime soon?"
His lips curved into a wicked smile and then he was kissing her, lifting her off the ground in his arms under the stars.
Author's Note: I cannot thank you all enough for all your lovely comments and encouragements while I wrote Tear The World Down. Trying to write for a new fandom is always a challenge, and the way this fic was received was more than enthusiastic. Thank you so, so much!
In fact, I already have a sequel in the works, so expect it in the next few months. If you go to my livejournal community, you can see a banner for the sequel fic: How A Resurrection Feels.