The Edge of the World

A/N So I promise I am working on the last chapter of Elements, however it is soooo long that I have to take a break and do something else… so this scene takes place right after Jenna's funeral… it's a complete AU scenario and sort of just wrote itself. Let me know what you think…

Playlist: 'Woman's Work' by: Maxwell and 'Flowers for a Ghost' by Thriving Ivory

When he firsts sees her he thinks he's hallucinating… that perhaps the wolf bite on his arm has finally set in and he's becoming delusional. Because quite frankly seeing Emily Bennett on the edges of the Mystic Falls Cemetery must mean that he's starting to lose his mind. At least that's his original thought until he realizes that she's not looking at him. Her stare is directed past him… to his right, focused on the young witch who is more than aware of her ancestor's presence. His head whips back and forth between the two as though watching a silent tennis match. Emily's hands clasped together in front of her, face shielded from the sun by a floral printed bonnet does nothing to hide the intensive gaze that she has on her descendant.

And as the wind picks up, grey clouds roll in. It's a gradual transition and he can't tell which one of them is doing it. Soft pellets of rain fall from the darkened sky hitting his face and wetting the ground beneath his feet. He watches as the group that has gathered begins to move away from the graves and back to their cars… there is only one that stays behind. Her hand on Jeremy's arm slips away unnoticed as he follows Elena and Stefan back to the main road. And there is something in her stance, the way her shoulders sag slightly beneath the weight of the rain that does something to his insides… it's not pity… it's not concern… but it is the stirring of something…

She watches them until they drive out of sight…until the very last car disappears around the bend before turning back. She doesn't notice his presence as she treks across the wet blades of grass. Head down, hands in the pockets of her black coat, her steps are unhurried but steady. She disappears into the woods and he follows…

He comes upon them in a small clearing… her black coat is soaked, tendrils of hair are plastered to her cheeks and there is an energy that buzzes on the very edges of their surroundings. The wind has died down, the rain has all but stopped but the clouds remain; A thick, dark ominous legion that completely blocks out the Sun. He watches as Emily circles Bonnie once. The fact she is completely dry in spite of the storm that has passed over them makes her seem unearthly… otherworldly. He realizes in the next moment how ironic his statement is, because Emily is unearthly… otherworldly even before she was burned at the stake.

She stops in front of the young girl, cocks her head to the side as Bonnie raises her chin ever so slightly. And there is something in her stance that signifies she is disobeying orders. And although he is certain they are communicating he can't hear anything… and then Emily reaches out her hand…Bonnie takes it without hesitation… the don't shake…Emily's fingers wrap around Bonnie's flesh, grasp it tightly and there is a tension that builds between them. It escalates rapidly… and in the next moment there is a thunderous boom and then a flash of orange lightening that cuts through the sky. It rips through the gray mass of water particles above as though setting them on fire and for just a moment Damon feels fear grip his un-beating heart. When he looks back at the clearing Bonnie is alone staring at the vacant spot where Emily once resided. Her shoulders once again sag under her own weight ever so slightly and once again that stirring is back.

"I knew you were a pervert but I didn't think you were a voyeur too." Her voice travels across to him on the wind followed by an audible sigh even though she never looks at him.

He doesn't bother to ask how she knows he's there… she's channeling the power of over a hundred witches… there is probably very little that Bonnie Bennett can't do.

In the blink of an eye he's at her side. Her eyes remain on the unseen entity in front of her and for a moment there is silence.

"So what was Emily doing mingling with us mere supernatural creatures?" He asks. "It seems a little unfair that she should be able to come and goes as she pleases… you know with her being dead and all."

She exhales deeply. "She came to deliver a message." She states.

"So would you like me to guess or can we just skip that part?" He asks sarcastically because it's the only way he knows how to communicate with her.

"The witches… want their power back." Her voice is even… steady and way too calm for his liking.

"Wait a minute… I thought they gave you the okay to use it… what kind of game are your ancestors running?" He questions with a furrow of his brow.

"Yes to use it…" She hesitates as if to say something else and then at the last moment changes tactic. "But there is a time limit to all things Damon… you of all people should understand that…" And for a second he swears he sees her eyes cut to his forearm. The wolf bite that is hidden beneath his suit sleeve seems to tingle but then just as quick it is gone. Her eyes find his for the first time. "No, one witch, is meant to harbor this much power... for this long. It's wrong… it goes against the natural order of things… against nature."

"Screw nature!"

"It's an abomination… I'm an abomination!" She remarks evenly. "I have to give them back."

And there is something in her words that seem wrong but he can't focus on that. "But Klaus is still out there!" He points out needlessly.

She sighs. "I know… Klaus must be dealt with... which is why Emily was here… I told her I needed more time."

He nods slowly. "And she agreed?" He asks.

The corner of her mouth lifts ever so slightly. "She agreed." She repeats and there is something in her tone that makes him pause, eyes locking together.

"And what did it cost you?" He asks and the sardonic smile that crests her full lips could break a young man's heart. Fortunately for him he was no longer young. "I've been around enough witches to know that anything given never comes without a price. So what did it cost you?"

She leans her back against a nearby tree and watches the sun as it tries to break through those gray clouds. "Nothing that I wasn't already prepared to give." She replies and the light in her green orbs has grown slightly dimmer and he realizes what she is saying... what her great ancestors are demanding…

"They wouldn't… You're one of their own." He points out.

"Which is just one more reason to call me home. Take my rightful place with the rest of them." Her face is impassive and for some reason he can't help but notice that she looks much older than sixteen. She has matured in the last few months and he can't decide whether he should admire the change or mourn it. "I will become one more soul added to guarding our legacy. It's the natural order of things."

"That's wrong! What they're asking… what they're demanding is wrong."

"I have tipped the scales of nature. Balance must be restored…" She reasons and her words sound so much like Emily's that he almost doubts who he is talking to.

"And your life is going to do that?" He asks with such a frustration that she almost thinks he might care. "There has to be another way…"

"There is… We allow Elena to die…"

"I don't understand."

"The warning was always clear… always." And for a second it's as though she's not even speaking to him.

"What warning; the one from the witches?" He questions.

She exhales deeply. "Do not interfere, Bonnie Bennett…Do not alter what is meant to be…" She licks chapped lips and hesitates if only for a moment. "Elena has always been meant to die… Since the beginning of time it was written." Her eyes focus on a leaf that is steadily floating from the treetops and lands in her upturned palm. "The human Doppelganger's life has always been forfeit…" She remarks focusing all her attention on the leaf in her hand. He watches as the edges begin to smoke and burn until it's curling in on itself, turning to ash before it floats away on a passing wind.

"You knew; and you didn't say anything?" He marvels.

"Say what? What was there for me to say? 'I'm sorry Elena but you were born to die?' 'Hey Jer. I can't save your cousin because it's written in the stars?' I wouldn't do that… I couldn't."

"I'm confused… if her life was forfeit from the very start why did they let you channel their powers?"

"Klaus still had to be dealt with… he had to be stopped. Channeling the witch's power made me strong enough to take him down… but Elena's fate was sealed… if Klaus didn't get her…something else would have…So I had to do something…" She sighs, visibly hesitating on her next words.

"What… what is it?"

"I'm not channeling their power anymore… I've taken them." She finally confesses. "Right now I have over a hundred witch's power inside me… moving through my veins. Every second of every minute of every day they are here with me." She looks down at her palms as if they are foreign to her. "That was the only way… it was the only way to stop Klaus and save Elena's life… I had to make a deal… one life for another."

"They can have mine." He remarks instantly and perhaps somewhere deep down she is impressed. She marvels at how far he is willing to go for Elena. All that he is willing to give up… to sacrifice… It's an admirable trait if not a stupid one…and it is not enough…

"An equal offer; It must be an equal. I had to offer them something that was just as powerful as the life of the Doppelganger. And what's more powerful than a witch times one hundred?" She remarks softly. "It must be me." And even though she has known her fate for a while it is the first time she has said the words out loud. They hurt… they make her long for impossible futures; make her mourn for things she will never get to do. Her eyes dance across the sky and fill with tears but they never fall simply ripple across green pupils.

"What if you just don't give them back? What if you just kept the power… you can kill Klaus, save Elena and stay alive… You're more powerful than any of those dead bastards now… what can they do to you?"

She shakes her head sadly. "I would go insane… my mind would inevitably break. Besides I already made the deal…" Lifting her right hand he sees the mark in the center of her palm. "If I go back on my word… break the deal… they will break my mind. It's not what they want to do but they will do it."

"Then why not break your mind now… take back the powers you've stolen?"

"Because they want me in tact… want me whole… a broken witch is no good to anyone; not even when I pass into the next world."

"How long do we have?"

"Three days." She whispers on an exhalation of breath. When she looks over at him she offers a smile. It is full of acceptance and void of regret. "Don't look so worried… we will find Klaus and Elijah." She promises. "I'll take them out."

But that's not what he's worried about. In truth he has always believed that she would come through… it's everything that will happen after that that has now become a concern. "And then what?"

"Then we all go home."

"Not all of us… not you!"

"I get to go home too… just a different kind."

He scoffs at her words. "Don't feed me that bullshit! You're going to die, Bonnie! You just fade away… walk into that gentle night… or do you just drop dead like John Gilbert?"

She furrows her brow at his statement and anger. "What is wrong with you?"

"Me; nothing's wrong with me! But you… you're just as self righteous and pious as the day I met you! I mean have you learned nothing?" He sneered. "Running off to be a martyr, just bowing down to a bunch of other self righteous witches as if somehow you're doing something good… you're not! You're not doing anything but being a coward!"

"What are you talking about? Stop acting like this changes anything! You have been more than ready to barter my life for Elena's. It's the one thing that we have always agreed on!"

And she knows that she's right. He has offered up Bonnie's life in exchange for Elena's multiple times and never thought twice about it…but for some reason this feels wrong… this feels like betrayal! "This is different!"

"Nothing is different!" She yells back.

Placing his hands on his hips he stares her down. "You're not even going to try and stand up to them! You're not even going to try and fight for your life?"

"Oh… like you're doing?" She challenges.

"What; what does that even mean?"

"Witches talk Damon! Especially when the death of a Salvatore brother is on the line," she remarks reaching for his arm, pushing back the sleeve and revealing the infected flesh. The veins are dark almost black beneath the skin and have become swollen and there is a red rash that surrounds the area making the tissue seem inflamed and angry. "From where I'm standing you have no room to talk; so don't preach to me Damon!" She shoves his arm back into his chest with a shake of her head and once again there is silence. He comes and leans into the same tree on the opposite side, throwing his head back he puts his hands into the pockets of his slacks.

"Well… isn't this… just a monumental…bitch!" He remarks and he can almost see her smiling on the other side.

"Very eloquent Damon… you should have been a poet."

"Nah, my father never would have allowed it. Besides eloquent poetry was never my forte." He states absently. "But then again there are a lot of things my father wouldn't have allowed… protecting Katherine probably would be at the top of the list." He chuckles softly a little bitterly. "Yeah if he could see me now…he's probably laughing from hell!"

Bonnie is not sure what to say to that. She never knew the eldest Salvatore or what he might have been like… she hopes that Damon is mistaken… that perhaps his perception of his father isn't as bad as he remembers but somehow she knows that he's not wrong…

"It's kind of ironic isn't it… here we are… two people who couldn't hate each other more… two people who couldn't be more different… standing at what feels like the edge of the world… together… on the brink of death."

"Is that the definition of irony?" She asks softly with a smile even though her tears are back…burning her eyes but refusing to fall. "Besides you and I aren't all that different… at least not when it comes to the people we care about…not when it comes to family."

"When did you know… that you would…" he trails off and she finishes the question.

"When did I know that I would betray my own kind? The day they warned me of Elena's future… I knew then… allowing Elena to die was never an option for me… and then the night of the dance… when I cast the spell… when I died… it all became clear. All of it… what I would need… what I would have to do… and being that I was alone in that house for days… it was easy."

"Emily must have been pissed!"

She smiles sadly… "I think disappointed is a better word. You see witches don't see humans the way I do… don't see the significance of just one life… they don't understand how someone like Elena could be this important to me…how I would risk absolutely anything for her. … I don't think Emily ever thought I would betray her… or any of them. Not for Elena… not for anyone." And the words break her heart just a little. Because in the end… she has betrayed one family for another… and God help her… it hurts…

"Not like they didn't deserve it!"

"Don't… don't do that. Don't make them out to be the bad guys…they're not… they're my family."

"Some family! Making you give up your life."

"They haven't made me do anything…everything that I've done… has been my choice. My decision… I always knew what my fate would be if I did this… You don't betray one kind of family for another without consequence… especially when there are dead witches involved." She adds with dark humor. "I knew that." Her voice is soft…reflective.

Coming around he stands beside her, his shoulder just barely touching hers. "Do you regret it?"

"Not even a little." She replies and it's the truth. Elena has always been worth it… no matter how many times she has to break her own heart to save her.

"So…three days… and it will all be over… for the both of us."

She looks over at him just as the sun finally finds an opening amidst the gray, shedding a sliver of sunlight across her face. Her eyes become a kaladiscope of green and gold and he can't help but think that Bonnie Bennett despite all her flaws and morals… is fucking gorgeous!

"You know Damon… a lot can happen in three days… I wouldn't count yourself as one of the fallen just yet." She watches his brow furrow in confusion and perhaps just a bit of hope. And when she reaches out… her hand brushing the rebellious black tendrils that have fallen across his pale forehead it brings back that stirring from earlier… only stronger…"Like I said… witches talk… and something tells me your story isn't over yet."

She offers up an enigmatic smile that has him seeing her in a completely different light… she's reminiscent of Emily yet there is something that is all her own…completely genuine in nature… she is a force to be feared … a force to be admired. They hold a stare for just a moment longer than they ever have before and then she's walking away from him.

It takes him a moment to process her words but once he does he calls out to her. "You know that if I make it through this… I'm going to spend every minute of every day finding a way to break that deal you made!"

She doesn't bother to stop… doesn't even bother to turn around and when she speaks, it's a soft whisper meant only for his ears to hear.

"I'm counting on it… Salvatore…"