Loopholes

{One Shot}

A/N Just something that came to mind that wouldn't go away… I'm still working on Elements of an Ill-fated Romance… but this idea just wouldn't go away.}

Playlist: Hey Lady by Thriving Ivory or Angels on the Moon { I listened to both while writing this.}

Hey Lady

Don't give up on me…

Don't burn your heart out Love

Till we're ash over seas

"I want you to do me a favor." She spoke up suddenly.

He quirked an eyebrow. "And why would I do that?"

Positioned on opposite sides of the library in the Salvatore Boarding house he sipped on his scotch as she leaned lazily against a corner of bookcase and waited. In just a few hours they were going up against Katherine. It had been a long time coming… many hearts broken…too many casualties to name… really this battle was inevitable. He liked to believe that they had the advantage. They had more than one vampire plus a witch… the odds should have been in their favor. But this was Katherine Pierce… a sadistic, lethal force that made torturing others something of an art form. She might go down… but she wouldn't go alone.

He knew it… and by the look that Bonnie gave him, she knew it too. He didn't speak only raised an eyebrow.

"Did you know that death is rarely a surprise to a witch?" She asked suddenly.

He was staring at her while she looked down at her palms. He had decided many months ago that whenever Bonnie Bennett was in the room the safest thing for him to do would be to remain silent and never take his eyes off of her. Sure they had come a long way since that night at the carnival but they were far from being friends.

She flexed her fingers turning them over as if examining them; concentrating all her thoughts on her ten slender digits. She exhaled deeply. "We get a tingle… in our fingertips… almost as if they have fallen asleep…" She rubbed the pads of her thumbs against the others with a sad smile. "I assume it's to give us time… to put our affairs in order… say our good-byes." Her sentence trailed off and she swallowed hard. Closing her palms tightly she looked up and met his stare.

And it hit him… quite suddenly stopping the drink half way to his lips.

She was going to die… tonight.

"How long have you known?" He asked.

She sighed. "Thirteen days." He arched an eyebrow at her precise number. "I've known about the sign for about six months… midnight reading of Grams' Grimoire… but the actual feeling came thirteen days ago." It was the day that Elena came up with the plan for them to take on Katherine… she could see him putting the pieces together…without knowing… Elena had written Bonnie a death sentence. "I don't want Elena to know…" Her words were quiet, steady as she saw recognition in his eyes before she continued. "And I don't want to be turned."

He furrowed his brow at her words. They didn't make sense. He hadn't even thought of turning her… the very idea of making her a vampire after what happened to Caroline… but as he remained silent watching her as she pushed herself off the wall and began to walk around the room he suddenly realized what she was asking. "You want me to stop Stefan from turning you." He remarked softly.

She gave him a crooked smile… no teeth… just an upward turn of full lips. "Elena will ask him… and he won't refuse her… you know that… he loves her too much."

He frowned slightly. "And I don't?" He asked somewhat bitterly.

She stopped coming to stand right in front of him. "…I don't doubt your feelings for Elena… in your own way… you love her every bit as much as Stefan… perhaps more…" And there is an ache that settles over her heart as if it's breaking. It's a hurt that can't be explained; not now… not when there was so little time left. She can't analyze this pain because it's too late to do anything about it. It's too late to confess a feeling for a man that could never truly be hers. So she averts her gaze to right over his shoulder and takes a steadying breath before continuing. "…but you owe me." Her voice is a lot stronger than she feels. "And if I know nothing else… you always keep a promise." There should have been a sarcastic remark thrown in there somewhere but it never came and she was almost disappointed. Licking her lips she exhaled a breath. "I'm asking you to promise me… that when the time comes… and it will…you won't let Stefan turn me."

"Then why not ask Stefan to promise you?"

"He would promise me… and then he would do what Elena asks." She remarked and they both know she's right.

"You would just allow yourself to die…knowing there was another way?" He asked. His voice is filled with a mixture of frustration, agitation, and disbelief. "And everyone calls me the selfish one!" He shook his head, bringing the glass to his lips and draining it. Stepping around her he went for the bar again. "I mean do you have any idea what someone would give to cheat death; and you're just going to look a gift horse in the mouth and spit on him!"

She shook her head and felt a small chuckle bubble in her throat. This was the Damon she was accustomed to. It was somewhat of a relief to see him. Turning she watched as he began to pour himself another drink. "Damon…" Her voice was soft cutting into his tirade but it didn't stop him.

"I tell you… witches are just ungrateful creatures!"

"I guess we're just in a whole league of our own." She remarked coming to stand by his side. "Judgmental and ungrateful," she shook her head in mocking agreement.

"…and don't forget self-righteous and proud… I'm surprised you haven't choked on all that damn pride in there!"

She nodded. "You're absolutely right." She nodded when he scoffed with indignation. "Promise me Damon." She stated not to be deterred by his ranting.

Instead he arched an eyebrow and brought the full glass to his lips. She reached out and placed her hand over his to stop him. "Promise me." She said again.

"Elena…"

"It's not her choice…it's mine."

"And you're choosing death!"

"It's my time…" She tried to explain.

"Bullshit!" Because he doesn't want to believe that. "That's cop-out and you know it."

She shook her head from side to side. "You think I want this? You think I want to die?" Her voice is filled with an anguish that is shredding her to pieces.

"Then don't."

"It doesn't work that way! We don't always get to cheat death… sometimes… sometimes you just have to let it be… you know I'm right." Her voice waivered… tears choking her words. She swallowed hard. "And you have to make her understand that."

"She won't forgive me… she'll hate me."

"At first… and for that I'm sorry." And she really is.

He smirked. "I just bet you are!" His words are meant to be biting and sarcastic but there is an undertone of desperation that she can't ignore and she's not sure if it's because he realizes there's no way out of this…or because he really doesn't want to do this.

She hopes it's the latter.

He looks away from her, staring intensely into the flames of a dying fire. He's sure there's some beautiful poetic meaning in it but he can't seem to find it… he can feel her hand on his… and he can hear the steady beating of her heart…

And he hates it…

He hates the sound…

He hates that he will miss it.

He hates that he will miss her…

"Promise me."

"Why me?" He asked softly.

She smiled and gave him a look as if he should know the answer… "Who else would I ask… who else could I ask?"

And when she reaches out, her fingers smooth against his cheek as she guides his eyes back to her own he realizes how fucking unfair his life has always been.

Not because Katherine always wanted Stefan… not because Elena always wanted Stefan…

…but because Bonnie never did… Stefan was never even a passing thought to her… and he never bothered to notice until this moment.

He was always first to her…

First to be blamed… because he was usually to blame

First to fight… because she knew he could take it.

First to call for… because she knew he would always come.

Definitely fucking unfair!

"Damon…" Her voice is like a beacon of light drawing him back to the present.

Staring down into her eyes he knows that if he had a beating heart it would skip at the sight of her. Caramel skin glowing against a dimming fire… and he suddenly sees it.

She is the poem… she is the meaning.

"I promise." He stated and he watches as her eyes soften with something like relief. She takes a step back putting distance between them and looks down at her fingertips suddenly. Furrowing her brow in slight confusion she doesn't get a chance to analyze it as her phone rings.

Looking at the caller ID they both know it's Elena. "I'm on my way." She speaks into the phone before ending the call. When she looks at him again he's turned away from her.

"Thank-you," because she doesn't know what else to say. And with soft footfalls and the snapping of a door she's gone.

"You know it's rude to eavesdrop." Damon quips not bothering to turn around.

Stefan is in the doorway staring at his brother. "Damon…"

"Don't." He warns tipping the glass back feeling the brandy burn the windpipe he no longer needs.

"I won't let her die." Stefan stated.

"Neither will I." He remarked lazily as he placed the glass down.

"But you promised…"

"I promised I wouldn't allow you to turn her… I never said a damn thing about me!"