PNEUMA

The rain was deafening. It pounded relentlessly on the car's exterior and caused the narrow roads to become nearly invisible. Normally it wouldn't have been a problem. Normally he wouldn't have batted so much as an eye. But right now, his mind was so flustered and compacted with a million different scenarios, he sped down that road so fast, he was bound to spin out of control any second. It didn't matter, though. Damon wasn't worried about himself.

He was worried about her.

She seemed to be good at that… worrying him, because she sure managed to do it a lot more than he appreciated. But this time was different. It felt different. Not usually did her phone calls send him into a fit of utter panic like this. Hell, normally they didn't cause panic at all. And it wasn't even what she had said, but more of the way she said it.

"I need you to come get me."

That was all. Only seven words.

On the other end, however, her voice sounded completely and utterly exhausted, unlike anything he'd ever heard from her before. The words were fragmented and breathy and slurred together in such a way that if he didn't know better, he would have thought she was drunk. He could hear her voice echo faintly against the walls and back into the phone… she must have been in the bathroom or somewhere fairly empty. Not like that provided him any comfort. In fact, it might have made it just a little bit worse.

Although slowly, he was beginning to convince himself, that maybe she just got sick. Maybe she got in a fight with Bonnie or something and she was upset about it. Frankly, he was trying impossibly hard to be optimistic, but was quickly learning that it wasn't working out quite the way he'd planned. Regardless, he couldn't understand why she called him, of all people. Why not Stefan? What made her need him in particular? It did secretly thrill him a little bit, though, but he would never admit it.

Damon pulled into the parking lot of The Grill just as a streak of lightning flashed through the sky, illuminating the area in an instant of exuberant light, before vanishing once again. If only for a moment, it enabled him to see through the rain, and find his way to the door without a problem. If it were up to him, he would have barged right in there, zipping directly over to find her without hesitating for a moment. But, that would be reckless, and he certainly couldn't risk it.

Pushing through the doorway slowly, with whatever amount of calm he could possibly muster, he stepped inside, immediately blending in with the atmosphere like he always did. He was almost a feature in the place, as he was seen there so often, but tonight he wouldn't waltz over to the bar to "drown his sorrows". He pointedly rushed straight to the bathroom, and from the distance at which he already stood, he could see that the door was closed. Again, his mind began to take hold, causing him to automatically invent of all the worst-case-scenarios that he could. The thoughts were messing with him again, clouding his usually well-established reasoning.

Impatient, he knocked on the door once, twice.

Silence.

Panic.

Without the levelheadedness to wait another second, Damon twisted the knob, pleased to find it unlocked, and threw the door open, causing the door handle to crack against the wall before bouncing back.

"Elena…" He sighed when he saw her on the floor, curled in a heap. She seemed… alright, for the most part. There was no blood, no wounds that he could see, and it was obvious she was still alive, still breathing.

Each of those factors relieved him beyond belief.

She, upon hearing the door slam against the bathroom wall, tried feebly to pull herself deeper into the corner of the little room, but she got no further than a few short inches off the ground before giving up once again and slumping back down. In an instant he was at her side, beginning to tuck a few strands of hair behind her ear so that he could see her face. But the moment his hand came into contact with her flesh, she flinched away, and Damon promptly drew back, almost as if he'd been burned.

"Hey… It's me." He told her before he went to touch her again. It was obvious she was out of it, and maybe the best idea at this point was to go at the same pace as her evidently lagging mind.

"Damon?" Elena tried to blink her eyes open.

"Yeah."

"Sorry."

The sides of his mouth tugged up in a melancholy half-smile. She looked so small, so vulnerable, simply lying there on the ground. It made him wonder who had done this to her and the possibilities began to bubble up in his imagination again.

"What happened?" His voice was low and quiet, barely above a whisper.

"Don't feel good…" She answered, seeming to avoid his question.

"I know, sweetheart." Damon sat there for a moment in the silence and then pressed the back of his hand to her forehead. She was warm, but only a little. He quickly decided that it wasn't something he should get too concerned over. "But I need you to tell me what happened."

There was a long moment of hesitation on her part as she visibly tried to find piece the events together in order. He didn't know if it was because she was actually having trouble remembering, or if she just couldn't grab a hold of what she wanted to say long enough to tell him. "Uh… I came here…"

"Why?"

"Dunno." As if forgetting again what was on her mind, she paused for a moment, "I was talking to someone…"

"Someone you knew?"

"Yeah."

"Who?"

"I don't remember." There was a crease that made itself visible upon her brow, and it was obvious she was getting frustrated with all the questions. "But, I ordered a drink… And there was this guy… Started hitting on me." Elena struggled to create complete sentences, and it made the information come off as vague, in his eyes.

"You ordered a drink?" He asked, incredulous.

"Stop interrupting." She pried her eyes open enough to shoot him annoyed glance, and he got the idea and shut up. "A soda, that's all." She made sure to answer him so he didn't have to repeat the question later and then continued on with what she was trying to say. "Anyway, this guy… didn't know who he was… don't think so, at least." She swallowed, "Rejected him… He got kinda' angry n' walked away. I went back to talk to… whoever it was. After, started to feel sick, and kinda weird… fuzzy… I came in here n' called you."

The longer she went on for, the more her voice began to slur together and the harder it became to understand. After a brief pause, however, he was able to comprehend it all, and he took a moment to put it all together.

There was a guy who was with her? Just that one little thing sent his conscious on overdrive. He was just a stranger, some random person she didn't even know. Did he do something to her? Did he drug her? Did he touch her?

That last question of his was what made all his internal conflict cease.

"Elena, that guy, did he do anything to you?" He felt a kind of fury start to rise, causing the volume of his voice to increase. "Did he come back after he left? Did he touch you?"

When his anger came to the surface, she instantly seemed to shrink back down. Never was she this timid around him, never did she outwardly come off as afraid like this… He must have done something to her, there's no way he couldn't have just left her there, if that were the case she wouldn't be like-

"No… I don't remember seeing him again." She disrupted his churning mind.

A sigh of relief pushed past his lips, "Thank God."

Running a hand over his face, Damon willed himself to calm down. Being on edge like this wasn't exactly his idea of a good night, but then again, neither was having to come and rescue Elena from the bathroom floor after being drugged, or getting sick, or whatever it was that had happened to her.

He was still curious about it all, but he didn't want to ask her many more questions.

"Do you want me to take you home, or do you want me to call Jenna or someone to come pick you up?

"You." He figured she didn't want to wait around here any longer.

"Okay, come on." She raised her arms up above her head wearily and he shrugged off his jacket, draping it around her shoulders just before he allowed her to wrap her arms around his neck and lifted her from the ground.


Hmm. I've been on a roll lately, I guess. Normally it takes me months to actually write something. (Procrastination~) But now they're just flowing.

Anyways, I'm pretty sure this idea has been done before, but you know, I had the muse for it and I had fun with it, so I guess that's all that matters.

Because I didn't want you guys to suffer through about five thousand words, I'm deciding to split this up into two or three chapters. Makes it easier, yeah? ^^

The title means spirit, soul, or breath, in Greek.

Excuse my rambling, and enjoy. (: