Summary: Stefan is back. Jeremy and Bonnie broke up. All was good, but then MF turned into the zombieland. Mostly inspired by Corpse Bride.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.
"So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."
A Jug of Wine and Someone in the Dark
It was almost midnight and Damon Salvatore was wasted. You can say whatever you want about the Lockwoods but they certainly knew how to throw a party. They knew where one can order good drinks too. Damon was sure that he was clutching the glass for the whole evening and that glass was never empty.
The guests gathered near the swimming pool. Partying teenagers were half-naked and totally drunk — not a very good but at least funny combination. Damon could see Matt, Tyler and Caroline chatting enthusiastically (what a terrifying triangle), Stefan and Elena stood not so far away from them. Damon looked at his brother and the girlfriend of his for a long moment and turned away. And saw Bonnie who stood under the tree decorated with colorful lights. She was talking quietly on her cell phone.
For a moment their eyes met and Damon saluted her with his drink. Bonnie just shrugged.
And that was invitation enough.
Bonnie turned off her phone and looked up when Damon came closer.
"Damon," she answered calmly.
"Why are you standing all alone at the party like this?"
"I'm just waiting for Elena. I need to talk abo —"
"Y'know you can wait forever for Elena."
She smiled coldly and looked away.
"You should know."
"You were asking for it."
Damon sighed dramatically.
"And here I thought you and I have a special connection. I mean we both were rejected by Gilberts."
She didn't even flinch.
"Oh, Damon, you're drunk."
"And you are observant. And sad. Still heartbroken over whatever happened between you and baby Gilbert?"
"And here comes Elena!" Bonnie exclaimed cheerfully. "Still wanna stay?"
Damon smiled rolling his eyes.
"No, you go ahead, have your little girls' heart-to-heart…"
He walked away without a look at Elena. Bonnie sighed with relief and smiled at her friend.
"What did he want?" Elena asked frowning.
"No idea. Just annoying as usual."
"Well, he loves the sound of his own voice."
"So? Who's stopping him from talking to his reflection in the mirror? I mean, he does reflect in mirrors, doesn't he?"
"Oh, trust me…"
Bonnie smirked and then shifted uncomfortably, remembering about Jeremy.
"I… I really wanted to talk to you about…"
"Bonnie, I know. And I'm trying to help you here, but I don't understand what exactly happened between you and Jer…"
"Me neither. He told me that I was a replacement. What the hell does that mean? I understand he loved Anna and Vickie, but why suddenly… "
"Bonnie, listen, don't let it bring you down," Elena said hotly, "Maybe Jeremy just needs time…"
"Okay, I hope it's just that! But I'm really scared… Elena, please, you are the closest person to him right now. Can you make sure he's okay?"
Bonnie's words were filled with desperate hope, and Elena felt really affected by her friend's feelings.
"I will," she said hugging Bonnie, "Promise."
The touching moment was suddenly ruined by the blonde hurricane named Caroline. She appeared next to the girls and grabbed Bonnie's hand.
"Come! We're going to play a game. You know, you're supposed to have fun."
"Uh-oh, no games," Bonnie laughed nervously. "You're not going to blackmail me with another tape picturing me in cowboy hat and —"
"Still can't forgive me?" Caroline looked at her incredulously. "Come on, that was ages ago!.. How come you even remember that, save your great memory for your spells… "
"It doesn't take a good memory to remember that," Elena whispered, "Whole school still remembers."
"You are not helping… We must cheer Bonnie up since —"
"Since I'm the only one without a boyfriend. Yep, what happened to my youth?"
"You know I didn't mean that," Caroline said kindly.
And Bonnie did know that.
"Fine," she said smiling. "I'm in."
Elena nodded too and they approached the small circle of the very happy teenagers surrounding a very unhappy Alaric.
"Caroline, can someone else do it?" he asked hopefully. "I'm not so good with games and all."
"No way, we need your imagination. Now, bring the chair for our favorite teacher!"
Someone brought the wooden chair and Alaric sat down. He still looked like someone who's been sentenced to execution. Meanwhile, Caroline took the big carton box and told everyone to put something in it.
"Is it a charity auction," Bonnie mumbled dubiously.
Elena walked back to Stefan, while Caroline came closer to Bonnie, looking at her impatiently.
"Just give me something, you'll have it back. Come on, give me you ring."
Bonnie hesitated a little — it was her Grams' ring after all — but then did what she was told to.
"Okay!" Caroline said. "Now I'll stand behind Mr. Saltzman's back, pick one thing from the box and our professor will name the task. And the person to whom the item belongs will perform."
"So, it's the dare part only," Bonnie muttered, "How very creative."
"And she calls herself a vampire, what is the compulsion for? Guess, once a blond, forever a blond."
Bonnie turned around only to see Damon standing next to her. There was the shadow of skepticism in his eyes, something she felt herself. Not that she's gonna admit it.
"We are trying to have fun here."
"Well, you can always try…"
"Here we go, Alaric!"
Caroline picked the red headband from the box.
"What will this person do?"
"I.. well… Let him or her sing a song."
"That'll be me," said a petite brunette stepping forward.
"Shame on Rick," said Damon to Bonnie quietly. "Sing a song, my ass. What's he, an eighth-grader?"
"She has a nice voice though," Bonnie replied, listening to American Pie.
"And nice veins."
"Oh, I'm really enjoying your company."
"Baby, I hear that line from women every day of the week ending in –y. Get creative."
Bonnie was ready to snap but noticed Elena's worried look.
"You know I'll go stand with…"
"Stay still, I beg of you," he said crossly.
"What will this boy do?"
Bonnie glanced at Caroline and saw Stefan's watch in her hand.
"He will kiss the girl who he considers the most beautiful here."
Damon rolled his eyes and Bonnie chuckled.
"Not so lame now? But I bet you still hate Alaric."
"It's still lame and Rick is still pathetic," Damon gave a quick look at Stefan and Elena kissing. "And you are evil."
"How come I am —"
"Rick, consider yourself dethroned!" Damon pronounced loudly. "I'll take over from here."
Alaric stood up with a flash speed, Damon took his place and Caroline sighed unhappily.
"Fine," she muttered. "So what…"
"She will take two whole glasses of scotch. And I'm holding the glass."
Caroline blinked looking at Bonnie's ring in her hand.
"How do you know it's 'she'?"
"Oops, my mistake. I mean, she or he…" Damon smirked rolling his eyes.
Bonnie looked at him suspiciously and frowned.
'Did he smell me on the ring or something?'
"So? Who's the lucky one?"
Damon turned to Caroline and took the ring from her hand.
"It's me, it's me," said Bonnie quickly and stepped forward.
Well, at least it wasn't so bad! It could be so much worse, considering it was Damon and all…
"Come here," Damon waved with a bottle of scotch. "Good, it's you, you need to loosen up…"
Bonnie was hoping to see Alaric now — he was a teacher after all — but it seemed that the wise vampire hunter decided to run away from crazy teens.
Damon was now holding the glass full of scotch. Bonnie raised her hand, but Salvatore shook his head.
"Don't need to use your hands, you have me for that."
"Disgusting," she muttered and that only made his smile wider.
That was very strange. Damon was in control and while Bonnie tried to drink as fast as she could, he didn't let her to. She felt drunk after finishing the first glass. When she was dealing with the second, she looked up and saw Damon staring at her with the hint of interest and seriousness in his eyes. Suddenly she felt like a pet being fed from master's hand. That thought alone made her choke.
"Easy," he said quietly.
She stepped back, covering her mouth with her hand.
"Y'know, Bonnie, you should only drink when you're happy," Damon said so that only she could hear. "Otherwise, it'll be not you consuming wine, it'll be wine consuming you."
Before she could answer he put the glass to his lips and finished her drink.
Caroline, who looked obviously fascinated with the whole scene, cleared her throat.
"Ok… That was nice indirect kiss and… Let's continue the game."
"I'm out," Damon said. "Have to stop playing while I'm the one who's winning."
"No to whatever you say, party Barbie. Actually I want to take a walk."
Bonnie was a little dizzy and didn't remember about Grams' ring until Damon's disappeared into darkness.
"He has my ring," she whispered angrily and heard Elena's calm voice:
"Bonnie, you OK?"
"Not really. Damon pocketed my ring. If he loses it, I'll make him celebrate Guy Fawkes' Day before November comes."
"What are you talking about?" Elena laughed.
"About fireworks, fire, explosions… Usual stuff. Look, I hate to bother you, but could you call him?"
"You saw how wasted he was? He will not pick up."
"Everything's fine?" Stefan asked coming closer.
"Yep," Bonnie smiled, "I'm gonna find your sweet brother. Be right back."
"It's dark," Elena said worriedly, "Can't Damon wait till tomorrow?"
"Damon can, but my ring not," she looked away, "It was Grams' actually."
"All right, let us come with you," Stefan offered.
"Nah, it's OK. See you later."
She walked in the direction Damon went in, trying to dial his number, but Elena was right — Damon didn't answer.
Damon stood in front of the boarding house. He knew that Elena and Stefan were inside, and that thought made his heart feel empty. Ever since Stefan's return Damon was trying to avoid both his brother and his girlfriend.
Not because he lost his hope.
"One day you will wake up…"
Just because he never did.
"One day you will wake up and see that something you used to think was real was just a silly dream. A dream not even worth remembering in the morning."
Elena's words rang in his head. He looked at the house' windows and closed his eyes slowly.
"How can you pretend it was nothing?" he said almost pleadingly. "Don't tell me you never felt anything for me!"
"Of course, I did. How can I not be grateful to someone who loves me so much?"
"Grateful?" He repeated slowly.
He loved her desperately. And not so long ago he could take her gratitude and be happy. Whatever Elena was willing to give him made him happy. But right now he just couldn't reach that part of his own heart, the part that could love someone selflessly.
Because right now that wasn't enough. Forget their history, he was a man and she was a woman and instead of true love she was offering him just her noble attitude. Same girl who claimed without a second thought that she loved Stefan...
Still he couldn't give up easily.
"Listen, I know that it scares you. You're supposed to love my brother and now it looks like you betray him. But you can't fight with what you feel..."
"I'm not supposed to love him, Damon," she said calmly, "I do love him. That's the only truth I know..."
"But what about me? About us? You are not going to pretend that we're not connected!"
"We are. By life and even by death. Was it possible for me to fall in love with you? Yes. Would it last? Hardly. I'm not going to lie to you, Damon. And I don't want to avoid this subject anymore. I'll face it: the brother of my boyfriend loves me. Thank you. But this feeling will not save either you or me. It'd be the greatest mistake if we even tried to be together."
"My love for you saved me," he whispered, "You made me the man I am now."
"I am not your moral compass. And let's be true with each other: your love was never enough, you never changed. Still, I don't blame you for what you are. It has nothing to do with what I feel."
"What... what do you feel?"
"I'm scared because the only man I truly love is in the real danger and I'm not powerful enough to save him. "
"What do you feel about me?"
"I feel... there was never hope for us."
She could have stabbed him and still it wouldn't hurt like this. Damon stepped forward and looked deeply into her eyes.
"I won't give up. I'll love you forever."
"No. You will not. One day you will wake up and see that something you used to think was real was just a silly dream. A dream not even worth remembering in the morning."
Maybe it'd be better if he spent night somewhere else.
Damon looked up and saw Stefan in front of him.
"What's wrong? Are you coming in?"
"Guess so. It's still my home, isn't it?"
"Did you walk Bonnie home?"
"Oh. Did she want me to? Surprises will never seize."
"No, I mean neither of you came back to the party, so Elena and I thought that you left together."
"What are you talking about?" Damon frowned.
"Well, she did find you, didn't she?"
"What do you mean?" it was Elena's voice now and Damon turned his head to look at her.
"I didn't see her."
"You didn't?" she repeated worriedly.
"No…" Damon took his phone from the pocket.
"Hell, she must be furious," he said smiling and checking all the missed calls and left messages, filled with murderous intent, "Why was she looking for me?"
"You took her ring."
"My, isn't she greedy."
"It belonged to Sheila," explained Stefan calmly.
"So?" Damon dialed Bonnie's number and held his phone to his ear, "She thinks that it'll be cursed if I hold it in my hand? She isn't picking up."
"Maybe she went home and fell asleep."
"Oh no," Damon pocketed his phone. "Knowing her she would first find me, beat me, insult me, lecture me, grill me, sigh dramatically, take this goddamned ring and only then go to her bed. With clean conscience."
He looked at Stefan and Elena and smiled.
"You go to sleep. I'll find Bonnie."
"If I'm not back before dawn… Well either I'm lucky or I'm really, really unlucky. And the story of my life tells me it's gonna be the second."
Elena didn't look at Damon. Stefan was confused.
"But then again… Maybe, tonight is that night."
"Call me when you find her," Elena said and went back into the house.
'Damn you, Damon!'
Bonnie was stepping on fallen twigs and snapping them angrily. She felt stupid. Well, she was alone in the night forest looking for the vampire and that was indeed a stupid thing.
Seriously. It must be alcohol affecting her. That's why she was always cautious with strong drinks. And she was worried a little. Damon was in no good state, he could hurt someone. Or himself.
"It shouldn't bother me," she whispered to herself. "Damon is not my problem."
Then Bonnie sighed. Still she could understand him a little. An unrequited love sucks. She should know — Jeremy became her everything and the next moment he turned away from her. And deep inside she felt that it was her power and her desire to always protect him that scared him away. Maybe he didn't like that he was always protected. Maybe he just wanted to save her. He was a savior all right for Anna and Vickie.
It was strange, though; she never associated the man she loved with the knight in the shining armor. He was just Jeremy. Her boyfriend and Elena's little brother.
"Probably I should have shown more respect to his decisions…"
Bonnie shook her head slowly and looked around. She remembered this place. When they were children — Elena, Caroline, Tyler and her — they used to play here. Lockwoods' mansion was really like a castle.
She smiled sadly at the old memories and then froze. A very strange feeling came out of nowhere and filled her whole body. First it was a horror. Then the weakness came.
The pressure of someone's power was unbearable. Bonnie was shaking with fear and the next moment her legs gave way. She saw nothing but she felt like someone passed by her.
'I can't use my power… I can't… Someone, help me!..'
He was very weak. He was disorientated. What was he doing in this place? It has been too long, it has almost been eternity for him. And who called him?
The moon was still in the sky. This moon seemed somehow evil.
He looked forward — there young people were partying by the pool. He knew that mansion. That, he remembered, was his home once.
Lucy Bennett was indeed having time of her life. The candles lit everywhere, the rose petals on the bed and a handsome man leaning on her.
"Love your smile, it makes me really happy."
Cheesy, but he was handsome enough and that was the most important now.
And right when she was going to kiss her gorgeous date Lucy heard familiar voice coming out of nowhere, calling for help.
She stood up frowning. Her man looked up at her questionably, but she was trying to detect magic signals and paid no attention to him.
After a minute or so Lucy looked at the candles and the flowers and her ideal lover and sighed.
"Well, it started out way too good..."
"Baby, what's wrong?"
"Sorry, I have to go. Family stuff. "
"What? So suddenly?"
"You can say it."
He rubbed his eyes.
"Can I help or —"
"No, I'll deal with it."
She took her jacket from the chair and put it on.
"Guess this time our baby princess really needs me..."