Chapter 34: Falling Off The Rails
Bonnie was tired. She finally made it back to Mystic Falls, dropping Caroline off on her way home and wanted nothing more than to shower and crawl into bed.
What greeted her on the other side of her front door made it difficult to do either. Abby stood from the couch in the living room and smoothed her pants down nervously. "Hi Bonnie."
"What are you doing here?" She dropped her purse to the ground and walked passed her into the kitchen for a glass of water, but mostly just to avoid the awkward stare of her estranged mother.
Instead Abby just followed her. "I thought we could talk."
Bonnie rounded on her. "About what; about how you left me? That's the last thing I want to do right now."
Abby wrung her hands. "I know this was unexpected-"
"Do you have any idea what I've been through recently? My friends were kidnapped, I was taken hostage, tortured, forced to do a spell, and watched my friends get tortured because I refused. I do not need to deal with excuses from my estranged mother. I need a shower and my bed." She stormed passed her and up the stairs.
"Bonnie…" but her only response was a slamming door.
The next morning greeted Damon with a sense of foreboding. Something didn't feel right. He jolted out of bed, only wearing the jeans from the night before and sped down the stairs to the living room. He looked around cautiously, his eyes following the speeding blur around the room.
"I'm surprised you came back." He called out. "What makes you think I won't kill you?" he threatened.
The blur materialized at the top of the three stairs that separated the living room from the hall. "Because I'm your brother and as much as you may hate me…you can't kill me." Stefan stated with a smug grin.
Damon narrowed his eyes and slowly sauntered up to him. Even standing two steps below him, Damon was still more intimidating. "You underestimate me, brother. I can. I chose not to because it's so much more amusing…" he stepped up a stair putting him face to face with Stefan. "to make your life miserable and watch you suffer." He uttered slowly and menacingly.
Stefan laughed, and crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't think that's possible at this point. Klaus helped me turn it off. Caring about you or Elena…I'm over it." His brows furrowed in false concern. "I'm wondering what you're doing here though…after everything Elena went through I'd think you'd want to be with her."
Damon hid his surprise at the question. "She's with her family."
Stefan's brows rose. "Oh! So she's not avoiding you…she's handling this better than I thought." He mused to himself.
Damon rolled his eyes, indulging in this little game his brother was playing. "And why would she be avoiding me?"
A sly smirk crawled over Stefan's lips. "You don't know? She didn't tell you? Oh this is interesting."
"What are you getting at Stef…I don't have time for your bullshit."
Stefan's eyes pierced into Damon's. "When Elena was Tatya…Klaus fulfilled his 'needs'…several times." He laughed. "And she remembers all of it."
Damon's heart dropped. He didn't waste any time in pinning Stefan against the far wall; he broke a leg off the wooden table and rammed it into Stefan's stomach. "Don't fuck around Stefan." He whispered in his ear. "Or next time I won't miss."
He left him there, pinned to the wall, sputtering and struggling for freedom. Damon raced up the stairs, threw on a shirt and shoes, grabbed his keys and headed to Elena's.
She had been up for hours, but getting out of her bed was not something she planned on doing. She felt wrong. She remembered everything that Tatya did as if she was in the driver's seat but had no control of the wheel.
She faintly heard the doorbell ring and her aunt answering the door. There was a quick exchange of words before Jenna called up to her. She didn't move.
"I think she's still sleeping."
Thanks Jenna. She said silently in her head. The door closed and she closed her eyes in relief. She didn't want to deal with anyone right now.
"Faker." Damon's voice called out from her window sill. He sat with his elbows resting on his knees, and fingers laced together.
Elena jolted up in surprise, cursing herself for not knowing better. "I'm exhausted, Damon. I told Jenna I just needed some rest." It was clear on her face she was tired. There were dark circles ringing her dull eyes, and her skin was paler than her usual olive glow.
He slowly stood with a concerned look, and crossed the floor to sit on the edge of her bed, facing her. He clenched his jaw apprehensively as he reached out a hand to touch her cheek. He was worried about her reaction, because it would either confirm or deny what Stefan had told him earlier. When she reeled away and tucked her hair behind her ear, a nervous habit of Elena's, he knew. She flung the blankets off her legs and got off the bed and walked to her vanity, where she busied herself with tying her hair up into a messy bun.
Staying where he was, Damon tightened his jaw painfully, and bowed his head. "Is it true, Elena?" he mumbled lowly.
She gulped, keeping her eyes averted from his form in the mirror. "Is what true?" the tremor in her voice betrayed the innocence in the question.
When she looked up Damon was standing behind her, his eyes catching hers in a penetrating stare. "Did Klaus…" he couldn't even say the words.
Elena turned around and her dull brown eyes drooped. "Yes…did Bonnie tell you?" her voice was so mousy and quiet that he barely picked up on it.
"No Stefan told me, in a completely infuriating way. Wait, Bonnie knows?" He asked slightly wounded that she could tell Bonnie, but not him.
"I didn't tell Bonnie. When she did the spell it all came in flashes. I told her I didn't want anyone to know." She moved around him to avoid his proximity.
Damon rounded, staring at her back and pointed to himself. "Even me?"
"Especially you!" She was suddenly emotional, turning back to him with tears welling in her eyes. "Why would I want you to know that; so that you can be weird around me and treat me differently?"
"I wouldn't treat you any differently." He defended instantly. He sighed and clenched his fist in fury trying hard not to expel his rage. He had hoped that Stefan was lying to get under his skin. He found a picture of Stefan and Elena framed on her vanity with other pictures of her and her friends and his temper snapped.
Snatching the frame he smashed it against the far wall away from Elena. She jumped in shock. "Damon!" she lifted her hands up. "Calm down…please."
"He's had you, Elena! I wish he was still alive so I could kill him!"
She cautiously stepped towards him as one would a cornered animal. "This is why I didn't want to tell you…I was afraid you'd-"
Damon's eyed darkened. "Afraid I'd what, Elena? Fall of the rails? Go on a murderous killing spree? What?" he taunted as he closed in in her.
But she stood her ground. "Why are you getting mad at me? I'm not the one you're mad at so don't take it out on me!"
At her words, he visibly deflated. "I'm not mad at you…It's just-" he grunted in frustration. "I hate this! This shouldn't have happened, I should have stopped it." He ranted.
She grabbed his hands in hers, and closed the distance between them. "Damon, don't do that. There's nothing you could have done, okay."
"Yes-" he tried to argue.
"No. This is not your fault." She gave him a hesitant smile. "We're going to be okay. I promise." Her voice was more convincing than she felt.
Damon looked apprehensive. "Are we?" he pulled one hand away and stroked a thumb over her cheek. He was happy when she didn't recoil.
"Yes. We are not going to let this get between us."
He heard her, and he wanted to believe her, but he wasn't sure. To avoid the uneasy feeling, Damon pulled away and walked to the window. "We can't trust Stefan, Elena."
She frowned and crossed her arms, staring at his back, tense with his frustration. "What? Why, what happened?"
He looked at her over his shoulder with eyes as tired as hers. "I don't think it's me you have to worry about falling off the rails." Damon had his moments hitting the off switch and making Stefan miserable; mostly because he felt that Stefan deserved it at the time, but he was always in control of turning his emotions back on. Stefan wasn't.
"Again?" Her face mostly just showed the concern and worry she felt. This was the second time in a year Stefan had turned off his humanity, and it didn't end well last time. "Wait if Klaus compelled him to turn it off, and Klaus is dead then-"
Damon turned back to her and shook his head. "Klaus didn't compel him to turn it off. I saw him Stefan this morning, and let's just say he was uncharacteristically detached…unhinged." He added as an afterthought.
Elena plopped back on her bed running her hands over her face. "Is there ever going to be a day where I wake up and everything is okay; there are no hell bent hybrids, or psycho doppelgangers, or ripper brothers to worry about tearing this town apart."
Damon crouched down to her level. "We brought him back last time." He tried to reassure her.
She huffed out a bitter laugh. "Yeah and it took killing Katherine to break through to him."
"I'll deal with Stefan."
"How?" She knew Damon wouldn't kill his own brother, but she was worried what extent he would go to.
He rolled his eyes. "I don't know yet…but I'll figure it out. This isn't something I want you to worry about."
Elena smiled. "That's like telling Caroline not to plan for her birthday. Next to impossible." She could sense Damon's worry for her and conceded. "Okay…no worrying, I promise."
Damon smiled back, and then his face quickly changed to one of disappointment. "Jenna's coming…I gotta go." He kissed her forehead and was gone in a breeze out the window.
Her door opened seconds later. "Hey…" Jenna poked her head in with a cheery smile. "I made breakfast. Actually Jeremy made breakfast and I watched."
She smiled at her aunt. "Yeah I'll be right down."
Elena was going to absorb any normal family time she could, because she knew it wouldn't last forever.