Disclaimer: Oh, hello! If you're reading this, then you've just wandered into the afterparty! Of course I don't own the Vampire Diaries – nothing's changed from chapter 1 of No Good Deed, I'm still me.
The Velociraptor sisterhood is, to the uninitiated (those who haven't read the books), the way Elena, Bonnie and Meredith (Yup, she's not in the TV series), would do anything to protect each other. It is the closest knit, most honest sisterhood, and it is proof of the strength of their friendship.
Bonnie let out a scream of frustration, pulling her body in and pressing her face into her hands. She pressed her elbows to her knees and let out a furious groan.
"What's wrong?" Elena's eyes, wide and panicked, looked between her best friend and the door which was streaming smoke, panic and sheer horror. Stefan and Damon could be burning to death, and Bonnie was having a heart to heart with the floor. "Bonnie! What's wrong?"
"I can't do it!" There was silence for a beat, just the thundering sound of the flames and the terrible, painful, rushing sound of Elena's heartbeat, pounding, pummelling, pulsing through her ears. "Elena! I'm not strong enough! I need to be closer, or I need somebody else..."
Elena took a breath and looked her friend up and down, still gripping Bonnie's arms, holding on for support.
"I can concentrate; I can do whatever you need." She tried again, but it was simply not enough. Not enough at all. Blinking, and looking anywhere but at her best friend, Bonnie looked away and stared at the door, unable to think, breathe or see. Decisions had to be made. That's what the sisterhood was for. Bonnie had broken the first rule of their friendship. No lies.
"I need to be closer." The meaning of the words registered in Elena's head, and she knew exactly what Bonnie was saying. The ultimate act of the Velociraptor Sisterhood.
"No, Bonnie." The smaller girl took two steps and shrugged Elena's hands from her shoulders. "You can't." Though Elena's tone was telling her to go.
"I have to." She glanced down at her feet, then back up at Elena, locking eyes and trying to press the guilt and fear that she was feeling, "I did this." She blinked and two pearly tears made tracks down her cheeks, making slow, soft tracks through the murky ash which had settled itself against her cheeks. "I need to make it right."
"Bonnie... you're stronger than you think, you can do this, I know you can!" Elena did not want to lose her best friend. Even if she had done something deplorable, something honestly wrong... Elena had been through enough. She honestly thought that it was just... enough.
"I need to get inside. I can save them, Elena. I can save them both." She blinked twice, waiting for motion to return to Elena's limbs so that her friend would release her and let her walk away. She didn't want her to let go. She had to. "Please, E. Let me just..."
Elena could see the steely glint, the strong look in her best friend's eyes, and even though she was so close to just wrapping her arms around Bonnie and finding the nearest vampire to erase their memories, she fought the feeling and nodded weakly.
"Get Mr. Saltzman or something... I don't know who would be best in this situation-"
"Go, Bonnie." Elena commanded, knowing that no matter how honest and true, and noble her friend was trying to be, this was terrifying her. She was walking into what could only be classed as almost-certain death, "and you'll be back sooner than you could ever imagine."
Set firm, Bonnie nodded and Elena watched her friend disappear into the black smoke of nothingness. It was horrible.
It was repentance. Elena did not know how to tell her it was okay, to tell her that there was no need to panic. This was quite possibly it.
Only time would tell.
It was dark, and as the metal fire-escape door shut behind Bonnie with a surprisingly loud and reverberating clang, Bonnie was forced into a corner, backed into the ropes and faced with a monster that she was terrified of facing. Herself. Her fears. Whether she could do this or not.
Everything had gone black upon the closing of the door. There were flickers of light, dancing shadows and everything was alive. Smoke filled the room, twisting and turning on the superficial air currents and making it so, so hard for Bonnie to breathe, to think, to keep chanting the words that would keep the fire at bay – at least, away from the Salvatore brothers. That's all she could afford to care about. That's all she could think of.
She had to save the Salvatores.
No. She had to save Stefan. Damon did not matter. Elena had not said a word about him, but Stefan... Elena was more in love with Stefan than any words could say.
Bonnie stepped down the stairs, her hands constantly moving, constantly pushing the flames away alongside her words, feeling nothing but searing heat and massive amounts of fear and pain as she stumbled, blinded and confused.
"Where's Elena?" The voice was hoarse, the hands which caught her as she dropped to the floor solid and well-rounded. He sounded like Stefan, but Bonnie's thoughts were consumed by the words she had to keep repeating, in order to protect them, protect them all. "Tell me she's alright!"
"Outside." She hissed tiredly, speaking quickly and hoping that he would understand.
The arms which held her shifted slightly, strong hands curled around her upper arms and lifted her back to her feet.
"You are an angel." A pause, "I owe you more than just my life." A pair of lips pressed to her forehead and she heard a whispered, "Thank you."
Bonnie wondered if she had done enough. She had kept the flames at bay for long enough, she was sure, for Stefan to have escaped, and, though she did not want to admit it, perhaps Damon had done so too.
There was a painful silence as her thoughts wavered, and she began the slow and painstaking ascent, straight up the stairs.
Something, someone, grabbed her around the ankle and pulled her to the floor. She gasped, and a lungful of ash and smoke coursed straight through her chest, burning her lungs and making her eyes stream.
There was a sharp pain in her head, and her vision imploded into stars and flickering candles. She wanted to scream, wanted to voice her pain. The scratching in her throat would not allow it.
Elena had been pacing, she had called Alaric, but he was in trouble with trying to get Jeremy home – the boy was sulky, acting out and yelling, and Jenna was almost afraid of being left alone with him.
He would get here as fast as he possibly could.
Part of Elena was more worried about Damon than anybody else. He had the least to live for – but he had said it himself, he was finding it more and more difficult to hate the town that had brought him up and forced him out. The place was... well, for reasons unknown, the place had been growing on him.
And he had been growing on Elena. She did not know whether it was because he was irritating and close and always, always there... but it was comforting, and... when she looked at him, and he did that little eye thing...
It was almost easy to believe what Isobel had said – that he loved her. But Elena did not want to believe it, simply because – and if anyone had asked her this, she would vehemently deny it – she sometimes wondered whether she had fallen into the arms of the wrong brother.
Damon wasn't possessive, he had nothing to lose, and everything to gain; he would never, ever pull her aside and question her faithfulness. Stefan had almost done that only that morning, telling her that he didn't 'get' the relationship that Elena and his brother shared. What was there to get? Really?
She shook her head and leaned back against the nearest post, hoping against hope that three people would emerge from the smoke and fire, silhouetted like a movie with everybody smiling and hugging and everything going back to the way it should have been. The end of a movie.
Not the end of a friendship, the end of a relationship, or the end of god-knows-what she had with Damon.
Suddenly, Elena was pulled from her reverie by the sound of the metal door exploding outwards, coupled with a loud shout and masses of coughing as she looked up to see a figure standing, alone, doubled over and having difficulty breathing.
"You're alive," She whispered, sprinting to him, helping him away from the smoke, rubbing his back, letting him breathe. She pressed a kiss to his lips in a motion of sheer, blind panic and barely registered the surprise he elicited at the action. "You're not dead!"
"We've been over this, Elena. I'm not alive, and I'm not dead." No matter how much pain he was in, Elena was not going to take his smart-assed comments. She smacked his back a little too hard and he looked up at her. Staring for far too long.
"What?" His relentless, beautiful gaze made her uncomfortable. Wait... beautiful? What-
"You kissed me."
"What?" She hadn't even registered the movement. Had she done it? Was he toying with her, or- "No, I-"
"Yes, you did."
Life was a beautiful thing. Damon felt as though it was all over him, all around him, making everything sharper and everything brighter, though that could have been the abundance of flames on a dark night such as this.
Or it could have been Elena.
"Yes, you did." He nodded, smirking just a little bit.
He had found the chink in her armour, of sorts. He had managed to find a way in. It had been entirely unintentional, but as he sat, taking in lungful after lungful of semi-tainted air, he let the thought consume him.
She had kissed him. She had pressed her hands to either side of his face, pulled him sown and pushed her lips to his.
"I didn't mean to." She was suddenly sheepish, as though she had done something incredibly wrong, unwanted or disgusting, but Damon's hand shot out to brush against hers, then rise up to brush against her bottom lip, pulling it from her teeth and making sparks shoot straight through her body. With a smile that raised only half of his face, he nodded and let out a sigh.
"You did." And it was the sensation that drew her to nod, to smile and to let out a small whimper of desire as he bent down to brush his lips against hers once more.
The unwelcome heat against Damon's back, contrasted with the comfortable warmth of a tiny Elena pressed against his chest. It made him groan, unhinged, the sound emerging from his throat and sliding into Elena's mouth; the sound made her smile straight back.
She pulled away first, at the sound of a support beam in the burning building hitting the floor. It was with a heavy heart that she looked between Damon and the flames and knew there was no chance. Not one.
"He's not coming out, is he?" And a pair of solid, comforting arms slid hesitantly around her as Damon let out a small sound and shook his head. The petite girl in his arms merely buried her head into his chest and clung on tighter.
This was the future, Damon decided, tainted by the past, by his brother, by her best friend.
With tears on her cheeks, Elena turned away from the fire as the proper authorities – who had honestly taken their time, accosted both her and Damon and asked them what had happened.
"Don't know." Came the sullen reply.
Except that was a lie. The death of a brother, a lover, an antagonist and a friend, would have sounded ridiculous, however, so Damon and Elena kept their mouths shut and walked away.
He held her hand, and she held his heart. It was enough for now, while the grief consumed her, for him to keep her together.
Damon was not usually a patient man, but for her, he would wait forever.
A/N: Well, that kinda sucked, didn't it? Not as good as NGD. Hmmph.
Or did it? Let me know?