Seen It Coming

A/N Okay so I know I should be writing the last chapter of Elements but this One-shot kept bothering me to be written… so I promised myself that once I finished it I would get back into the final chapter of Elements… hope you guys enjoy!

Soundtrack: No One Else by Amel Larrieux & Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles

One Shot

He should have seen it sooner.

That's what he tells himself as he watches them from the kitchen window of his home. The sun, high in the sky casts a bright ring of light in their direction.

All the signs had been there right from the very beginning. He hadn't been paying attention. He hadn't noticed the change… or if he had he misread the signs… too caught up in falling for her he had missed it…

He should have paid attention.

Jeremey had always thought of himself as relatively aware of his surroundings, conscious of the goings-on that existed. He had figured out about vampires all by himself despite the fact that his sister/cousin, Elena, had tried to conceal it from him. He wasn't naïve.

'I'm not a kid anymore, Bonnie.'

He had said those exact words to her months ago, back when he was trying to make her take notice. She had smiled… a crooked upturn of lips that had stolen his heart and made him believe in the impossible. Yes he had been gone from that moment… and he had foolishly thought he could make her feel the same. And perhaps he could have… might have been able to persuade her heart to open up to him…if it wasn't already being pulled in another direction.

He watches as they stand toe to toe in the front yard, her hands on her hips, a furious scowl darkening her brow. Damon's frame seems to tower over her, creating a shadow across her face…but she doesn't back down. She never backs down.

He had seen it before… many times actually. They argued fiercely about anything and everything. Most times it was about Elena…what Bonnie could do to protect her best friend… what she could do to be a better witch… Damon could be cruel even on his best day especially with her… as if there were no limitations to how far he could push her…until she pushed back. Jeremy didn't realize the true meaning of why Damon was the way he was… hell he wasn't even sure Damon knew at that time.

But now…now all of them could see… all of them understood the motives of why Damon did what he did…

He cared…

In his own way he was trying to make her a better witch…trying to make her stronger. So she could protect those around her…

So she could protect herself…

Jeremy swallows hard and moves his hand over his chest where his crushed heart beats…

Damon pushed Bonnie because he knew she could take it… she could endure the insults, bare the burden that was Elena and shoulder the responsibility of two vampire brothers that didn't deserve her loyalty. Yes Damon pushed because he understood that in order for her to rise to her potential, limitations had to become nonexistent. Nothing could ever be too much…

Back then Jeremy had misconstrued Damon's intentions… had misread the signs… it wasn't until they argued over him that things started to become clear… When he had foolishly gone into the tomb to retrieve the moonstone… he had been trying to prove his worth and it almost cost him his life… she had said as much that night in this very kitchen while he cleared the blood from his neck… but all he could see were her walls cracking… slightly crumbling…

He thought it was because of him… that she was softening to the possibility of what they could be… because she cared about him… and when he moved in to kiss her… to show her what she was denying herself she had stepped back… moved out of his reach. Mumbling incoherent reasons why it was wrong and then she left…

He watched her go… getting as far as the stone walkway when Damon appeared.

Their argument had been fierce.

'…He's reckless!"

"No more than you are!" She shot back.

"I'm reckless with calculated intent… that boy in there… what he did was just stupid!"

She sighed. "Right… because you've never done anything stupid?" She rolled her eyes at him. "He was just trying to help!" She reasoned.

"And look where that got us. Stefan's in the tomb and little Batman in there almost died! Help like his we can do without. This isn't even his fight!"

"Elena is his family… that makes it his fight!"

"And Stefan is mine! And now because of your little friend my brother is stuck in that tomb…"

"He made a mistake."

"Stop making excuses for him! Stop coddling him Bonnie… if he wants to play the hero then he better get it together! I'm not going to allow Little Boy Wonder to put the people that matter to me at risk!"

"Stefan can hold his own… and Elena will be fine! I'll make sure of it."

"And you?" He asked instantly.

"What about me… I'm going to do my job and protect Elena and Jeremy!"

He furrowed his brow as if she had missed something… something important… but then changed tactics. "Really… how are you going to do that? You can't even get Stefan out… and you think you're going to be able to hold your own against 500 year old vampires? Stop overpromising when all you do is under-deliver!"

Her shoulders stiffened and her back went ramrod straight at his cruel words.

He stepped further into her space as he continued. "You're not strong enough Bonnie… and all that false bravado won't help us! In fact it's just going to get everyone around you killed. So pull it together and do better!" He spat before disappearing as quickly as he appeared.

She had stood there for a few moments, her hands on her hips as she shook her head. She wiped at her cheeks furiously before stomping off.

He had been pissed at Damon… cooler older brother or not, he had been out of line… but 3 weeks later Bonnie started casting spells that before she hadn't been able to properly pronounce…

His cruel words had forced her to focus… made her push herself and conquer what she had been afraid to do before…

Back then he didn't realize what was happening…didn't see the dynamic of the relationship changing…

She went to him for answers on questions in her Grimoire… yes they were always embedded within insults and his answers were always veiled with crass remarks but they were communicating… seeking each other out.

But even then Jeremy hadn't seen what was right in front of him… It wasn't until a few weeks ago that it became crystal clear as to what was happening...

She had found a cure for Rose's wolf bite. A spell that could purify the vampire's blood… a complicated, repeated incantation that required a lot of time, magic and very close quarters which was a recipe for danger considering that Rose was rabid with fever and attacking anything in her vicinity. She was being kept in the basement beneath the boardinghouse for the time being.

Jeremy had gone to ask her to rethink her decision. That perhaps they could find another way without her having to risk her life but when he found her in the library she was already tied up with Damon. He was leaning against the corner of the unlit fireplace his arms folded across his abdomen. His face was impassive but his eyes watched her movements like a hawk.

"And this is going to heal Rose?"

"It should." She answered somewhat distracted as she poured what looked like black powder into a small narrow vial.

"And how does this whole thing work again?" He asked as he pushed himself off the wall and walked to her side.

She exhaled a deep breath as she placed a stopper in the vial and began to shake it quickly. "I inject her with this," she held up the vial that had transformed itself into a blue silver liquid. "… say the incantation several times and she should be good as new… or as good as any vampire can be." She smirked he returned it full force.

"And how exactly are you going to get her to stay still long enough to inject her?" She didn't reply only held up a familiar silver bowl filled with ash. "Oh incapacitate her with the ash trick again… do you remember what happened last time?" He asked skeptically.

"Jeremy isn't a witch… and he didn't have as much ash as I do. It should be fine."

"Should be or will be?" He countered.

"It should work. But like with any spell things can go wrong...it happens. As you have so graciously pointed out, I'm not perfect!" Taking up the syringe on the desk she began to fill it with the liquid. He watched her for a moment in silence.

"Why are you doing this?" He asked.

Placing a cap on the needle she placed it in the pocket of her button down sweater. "Because she's in pain and needs help."

He laughed softly and gave a slight shake of his head. "She's a vampire that's probably killed people…innocent people… she tried to kill Elena." He stated coldly. "You do realize that this is the same Rose that kidnapped your best friend and tried to bargain her life away."

"That didn't stop you from sleeping with her." She stated with an arched eyebrow.

Once again he smiled. "But I'm evil just pretending to be good… you're actually good. Besides what's one less vampire to worry about in the grand scheme of things?"

"Do you not want me to do this?" She snapped turning her eyes on him.

"I want to know why you're doing this!"

She tensed slightly, offering up a slight shrug that looked as awkward as it probably felt. "Because… she's suffering… and I have the ability to stop it. Because… I can't just stand by and watch this happen to her." She remarked quietly.

He didn't reply but there was a slight shift in the contour of his face, as though he were searching hers for something but coming up empty. She sighed and grabbed the bowl from the desk. Walking around him he reached out and grabbed her elbow forcing her to turn back and face him.

"You could die…and you're okay with that? You're willing to risk your life for some vampire?"

"She's not just some vampire…she's… your friend." She pointed out as if that should explain it all away. He dropped her elbow as if he had been burned and took a step back.

Jeremy watched from the doorway not sure who was more surprised by her response him or Damon… she wasn't doing this for Rose…she was doing it for him...

It was then that Jeremy knew… it was in that moment that he realized that Damon was more than just the extra wheel… more than someone that Bonnie had to accept because those that she loved wanted her to… Damon had become someone she actually wanted to help. Somewhere along the way she started to care about him… to take him in under her wing of protection and not because of an extended courtesy to Stefan.

Her little revelation changed everything …as though turning the world on its axis and watching as everyone tried to adjust Bonnie had completely altered their dynamic and there was no going back to the way it used to be. Even when Damon had to save her from Rose… things should have shifted … he should have reverted to scathing words and reprimands… but he didn't. He had simply buried Rose in silence…

There was no denying that Bonnie felt responsible…that she shouldered the blame for not being able to save the redhead… but in the end it had been too late. The poison from the bite had been in her system too long and completely overrun her bloodstream. There had been nothing Bonnie could do… no matter how hard she tried. Stefan had told her as much… as did Alaric… and Elena… and even Katherine to some degree.

But that didn't mean she believed them… didn't mean she would stop trying to prove herself… and her worth… which is why they were here now... Her and Damon were battling it out in his front yard. Bonnie had found a spell… a way to kill Klaus… no moonstone required… no blood sacrifice needed by Elena… just a very complicated spell that dabbled in the Dark Arts…

Black Magic…

As soon as she brought it to them Damon had shot her down… said it was impossible… which she quickly refuted. It was possible… in fact it was very doable… and sounded relatively easy…at least at first…

A Latin incantation; an ancient Talisman; three drops of blood…

Oh yeah and ripping the soul of the witch that did the spell…

She had tried to brush it off when Damon pointed out that any witch that used the Dark Arts had to tear their own soul each time a spell was cast… she said it was only a one time deal… that it was a small price to pay in order to rid them of Klaus forever. Obviously he didn't agree.

"It's a bad idea and it's too risky."

"You've got a better one?" She asked with an arch of her eyebrow.

"If you give me a moment I'm sure I could think of one."

"Right… you've had weeks… we've all had weeks and none of us have been able to come up with anything… every move we make Klaus seems to always be one step ahead of us!"

"We got the upper hand on Elijah didn't we?" He shot back.

"Yes… and all it costs us was releasing Katherine from the tomb! Somehow that doesn't exactly seem like a fair trade in my book!"

"She's on our side."

"Yeah for now! How long is that going to last?"

"Elena and Stefan are never going to let you do this."

"Well then it's a good thing they went back to the Gilbert cabin for some R&R! I can cast this spell and get rid of Klaus before they ever return." She exhaled deeply. "This could fix everything… it can save our lives… it can save Elena's life. Isn't that what we're all striving for?" She asked pointedly and there was a slight tick in his jaw at her words. "It's the only way." She pointed out.

He nodded. "Right… Look we all know how eager you are to prove that you're not a complete failure as a witch but let's face it…you're not exactly batting a thousand when it comes to spells and them working…"

She took a step back as if she had been slapped. Biting the inside of her jaw she lifted her chin slightly and for a moment Jeremy would swear that he felt the temperature in the room rise about ten degrees. Her eyes set on Damon he stared back at her, arms crossed over his chest as though daring her to do something.

This had been long overdo…Damon knew that she blamed herself for Rose's death… and she wondered if he blamed her as well… his words implied that he did…

She shook her head even as she grabbed the Grimoire from the kitchen counter. Tucking it beneath her arm she shrugged. "Look I don't need your permission. I only told you because I thought you would want to know… be in on bringing down the bastard that's been set on hurting the people we care about…"

"Even if it gets you killed? I never knew you wanted to be a martyr so badly." He quipped.

"Well, look at it this way… if I fail the only real damage is to my soul… no one else will die for my incompetence!" Rolling her eyes she turned to her friend. "I'll see you later Jeremy." She remarked before making a quick exit not bothering to turn around.

Damon stood there for a moment his eyes still on the door as though he could still see her. Moving his jaw back and forth he exhaled a deep breath.

"You should go after her." He stated and watched Damon's eyes cut to him.

"What?"

"Goafterher! She's going to do that spell…unless you give her a reason not to."

"I did!"

"A real reason… the real reason." He remarked holding the older man's stare for a long moment… silently conveying what they both knew to be true.

A second later Jeremy was alone in his kitchen… watching them through the window.

He caught up to her at the edge of the Gilbert lawn. Falling into step behind her he tried not to be distracted by the scent of lavender coming from her wavy brown tendrils that moved over her shoulders.

"You're being stupid about this." He remarked not sure how to approach her…not sure how to make this right… he wasn't even sure what 'this' was or even when 'this' happened.

"Go away Damon." She continued towards her car when his hand on her elbow stopped her. With a firm albeit gentle tug he turned her to face him. "What do you want?"

Her green pupils catching the fading rays of the sun had him momentarily stunned… he wasn't prepared for the flecks of gold that danced in her emerald orbs like flashes of lightening in a summer storm. He swallowed hard and cocked his head to one side. "You…can't do this spell."

She nodded sarcastically throwing a smirk his way. "Yes I know… I'm stupid… I'm incompetent… I've heard all your reasons…" She began when he reached out and placed his palm over her mouth halting her words.

"No… that's not… what I meant…" Once again he sighed. "I don't… blame you."

She stared at him for a moment. "Yes you do…" She mumbled behind his palm.

Pressing a bit more firmly he took a step in her direction bringing him closer to her. His eyes bored into hers searching for that lightening. "It was too late for Rose." He remarked softly… it was the first time he had ever said those words out loud… he had always known them to be true… he knew even before Bonnie tried to save her… the truth was he shouldn't have let her try… but when she had given him the reason why… why she was willing to risk her life… because of him… for him… it had changed something… changed everything… "Rose's death… wasn't your fault." He stared into her eyes waiting for her to accept his words… to believe them as truth… they would stand there all day if that's what it took. "And doing this spell… won't change that… it can't bring her back… You did… all that you could." He stated and waited… she finally nodded her head somewhat jerkily and exhaled deeply. He felt her warm breath on his flesh, the sensation had him swallowing hard and dropping his hand away.

"I'm sorry." She stated and the way her eyes blinked rapidly let him know that she was fighting insistent tears and a lot of guilt. "I tried."

"I know." He exhaled deeply. There was another moment of silence. A gentle breeze passed over them blowing her hair against her cheek. "Doing the spell won't bring her back Bonnie. You can't undo the past or try to make up for something that wasn't your fault to begin with."

Her eyes went wide if only for a moment and she swallowed hard. "I know… I'm not doing it to… prove something." And they both knew her words were a minor lie but she pushed on before he could speak. "I'm doing it for Elena."

He nodded. "Right."

"This spell could save her life…"

"This spell could backfire…" he began.

"I can do it." She cut in even as her fingers pressed into the edge of the Grimoire. "I can."

"But…" He exhaled a deep breath trying to find the right words to make her understand what he himself still struggled with.

"No buts… this will save Elena's life… that's all that matters."

He furrowed his brow. "Says who?"

"What?" She asked confused.

"You keep saying things like 'I'm doing this for Elena,' or 'saving Elena is the most important thing,' why?" He asked.

"Because it is."

"No it isn't!" He shot back. "We are not going to save Elena at the cost of one of our own!" He stated heatedly.

"This isn't about me being a martyr!" She snapped.

"No it's about you thinking you're not every bit as important as your best friend."

"I'm not!" She all but shouted and then inhaled sharply at her own revelation. It was an obvious surprise… to the both of them which was evident by the silence that ensued. Licking her lips she shook her head slightly. "Look that came out wrong…" She began when he cut her off.

"You are." His words were resolute… solid. "Contrary to whatever you might think, you were not born to die for Elena. None of us were." He stated. "Well maybe Stefan was but that can't be helped." He joked darkly giving her small smile before he grew serious again. "Your life is worth every bit as much as Elena's… don't ever doubt that."

She stared at him, green eyes scanning his features… it only took him a moment to realize that she was trying to determine if he were lying… if he were playing with her. He didn't blame her. Sincere sentiment was Stefan's territory not his.

"So is this the part where you give me a pep talk?"

"If that's what it takes." He took a step in her direction clasped his hands behind his back and leaned down so his face was close to her own. "Isn't that what friends do?" His voice dropped an octave and she could see his eyes light up like blue fire.

"We're friends now?" She asked trying to keep her breathing even and heartbeat under control.

He shifted his head from one side to the other as if stretching out his neck. "More or less."

"A little less, than more, if you ask me." She quipped.

His gaze dropped to her mouth as she licked her lips before going back to her eyes. Reaching out he allowed his fingertips to brush the hair from her cheek. "You know what I like about you Bonnie?" He asked, the casualness of his tone belying the way in which he touched her. "You refuse to see the world through rose colored glasses… you have never been naïve, not even in the beginning." He let his hand drift further into her hair, allowing the smooth tendrils to flow over his flesh taking another step in her direction. He was so close he could feel her rapid breaths on his face… practically taste the vanilla and mint on her tongue. "You've always seen things exactly for what they are… never disillusioned… never afraid to step into the harsh light of truth… so don't stop now. After everything we've been through… what we are becoming… could never be labeled as just friendship." He remarked moving ever closer… his lips were no more than a breath from her own. Inhaling he took the very air from her lungs.

She felt him pulling her in like a moth to a flame. She would be lying to herself if she said she hadn't thought about this… hadn't felt the shift in what they were… it was evident… but so was everything else. People put under extreme circumstances often banded together… found comfort and solace in the most unlikely of places… but that didn't mean it was real… didn't mean that affections developed in the heat of the moment would linger beyond the passing of danger. Yes change was inevitable but that didn't mean things couldn't change back…

She stepped away from him, allowing a gust of spring air to rush between them cooling the moment.

"Don't… don't do that." She whispered softly.

He stared her down confused dropping his hands to his sides. "I'm sorry… I thought that was a 'kiss moment'; Silly me!" He shot back sarcastically.

She shook her head shrewdly and rolled her eyes. "Yeah… because I can't see exactly what you're trying to pull, right?"

"What?" He asked truly at a lost.

"You're trying to distract me… play on my… my… feelings for you… because you don't think I can do the spell."

Cocking his head slightly he exhaled an unnecessary breath. "Stop being stupid!" He stated plainly and watched her green eyes flash.

"Oh… so now I'm incompetent and stupid?" She asked incredulously.

Letting his hands come to rest on his hips he nodded. "About this… yes you are!"

"Screw you!" She pivoted on her heel about to stomp off when he reached out and grabbed her. Spinning her around he grasped her upper arms firmly but not roughly.

"Listen to me… You have no idea what you're doing! Ripping your soul isn't as easy as you might think! It's painful, physically as well as emotionally… You haven't a clue about all the consequences that go along with this… that's just one of them… but there are others … messing with the Dark Arts always have more than one… you don't get to just do this spell and walk away free and clear. That's not how it works. Do you have any idea how addictive it is?" He warned.

"I can handle it!" She argued trying to break free of his grasp.

"They all say that… Stronger witches before you have fallen prey to the Dark Arts… Good witches that have lost themselves to Black Magic… too tempted by its appeal." He swallowed hard as the blues of his eyes darkened with something akin to sadness… remorse. "It's starts out with one spell. All your reasons and good intentions cloud the fact that you're messing with something that you shouldn't be… something foreign and toxic… and then you do it again because you feel like you have to… because someone will die if you don't… and then again… until it's your first course of action… it's all you know… you think you've mastered it when in reality it has mastered you…it will destroy your life and all those that matter to you…" His breathing ragged he stared searchingly into her eyes, desperate to make her see that this way was wrong… too dangerous… the cost too high.

"I know that you can do the spell... it's not a question of that…" moving his palms to the sides of her head he cupped her face making sure that she focused on his eyes, "I just don't… want you to do it." He finished softly watching the way her eyes shimmered with tears as she took in what he was truly saying, what he was asking. He swallowed hard and felt a steady rhythm in his chest. It was like a phantom heart beat… an echo of what he used to have.

"But… Elena?"

"We'll find another way…" He promised.

She stared at him a long time… moments that felt akin to eternity. "And if we don't?"

"We will!" He insisted. "I'm asking you… not to do the spell… for me."

"Why?" She asked.

The question shook him to his core and this time he stepped back putting just the barest of space between them. "You know why." He whispered.

He watched her shake her head slightly as if that wasn't enough… and perhaps it wasn't. In all truth this was a question that had been long-overdo. After months of dancing around one another…she had taken the plunge and confronted the elephant that seemed to forever be between them. She had asked…

Staring down into her eyes the answer became crystal clear… like sunlight breaking through a haze of fog he could see it… the reason…the real reason. How could he have missed it… how did he not see this coming? All the signs were there… the gradual shifting of what they were… he had felt it. It was clear in her actions… evident in his words. Everything had been leading them to this…this moment. They were on the very precipice of something great, something that was more powerful than either of them could ever know… all he had to do was tell her.

So he did…

"Because… you matter to me," he confessed and he swore he felt his nonexistent heart skip a beat at her sharp intake of breath. His words carried on the breeze straight to her ears.

"Damon…"

He nodded slowly. "You do… Bonnie Bennett… the one woman that I never thought to care about… has become the most important person in my life." He admitted almost as shocked by his own declaration as she looked. But he could feel the truth behind each word… knew that this was where he was meant to be…

"No… we're not..." She shook her head as if to refute his statement when he cut her off.

"Yes... we are." He stated even as he stepped further into her space, felt the warm tingling sensation of energy as her emotions overflowed with each breath. He sensed something akin to a flutter in his chest as he stared down at her. His hands moved once again to her face, cupping her cheeks in his palms he tilted it up, allowing his lips to hover above her own. "Perhaps we didn't see it at first… too distracted by what we thought we wanted… what we thought we needed in other people… but it's always been us…" He admitted, as his eyes danced over her face taking in every detailed feature before finally landing on her lips. "You and I Bonnie…We have always been the endgame." He whispered before his lips captured her own. Soft pliant flesh melted beneath him as his tongue slipped past her lips and into the cavern of her mouth. She tasted of sweet vanilla and cool mint. Like a fresh waterfall on a hot summer day she was his only desire… his only need… his only want.

And when they finally pulled apart and came up for air, {her need, not his} she laughed with her first inhale of breath. "Who would have ever in a million years… seen this coming?" She asked breathily.

Locking eyes with her once more he licked his lips before he replied. "Everyone."