Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or Vampire Diaries.
Isabella steps into the crowd, thankful for her inconspicuous wear. She had followed Emily Bennett's spell to this small town, Mystic Falls. Her timing, however, is incredibly off. She ought to have arrived at least a week before to search for her possession in town and the Founder's Day parade would have been the perfect time to get the moonstone.
"Let's welcome the Mystic Falls stunning ladies and their handsome escorts. Miss Mystic Falls, Caroline Forbes!" A woman's voice rings out through the speakers and Isabella instantly winces. It would take some time to get used to the super hearing again. After her "death," she had to train herself all over again.
She moves through the cheering bodies and leans against a tall tree, still having a clear view of the Miss Mystic Falls float.
She looks at the ladies and when her eyes land on Elena, she sends a silent 'thank you' to Emily. Her advice has worked after all.
She looks around once last time and heads to the tomb.
"Anna!" Isabella hugs the small stature girl tightly. She hadn't been expecting company in the tomb, but it makes sense for Anna to want to be at the place which held her mother's lingering scent.
"I go by 'Bella' nowadays. Have to keep up with the times, right?" Bella teases. Her smile slips off her face with her next statement, "I'm sorry about Pearl."
Anna's face hardens. "How did you know?"
"I heard Johnathan Gilbert talking to the Mayor."
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," Anna replies softly.
"Oh, sweetheart." Bella wraps her arm around Anna's shoulders.
"But you know the real reason I called you…"
And she does know. When Bella had gotten the call, she was shocked to learn the tomb had been opened and the vampires released. Emily had told her the amulet was destroyed by her own self, yet the open tomb stands as proof right before her own eyes. Perhaps this is just another sign that Bella is needed here.
"So they're planning revenge on the Founding Families?" Bella inquires.
"Yeah, tonight. When the fireworks are scheduled."
"But I saw John with the Gilbert device."
Bella nods in affirmative. Anna grabs her arm and leads her out of the tomb.
"We need to talk to Damon, then," Anna states.
"He's a vampire. He's also in the Anti-Vampire council."
Bella raises her eyebrows, prompting Anna to continue.
"Basically, he's an inside ear and keeps his brother and himself safe and unknown."
Bella smiles slightly, awed at the vampire; most just turn their emotions off and go through the centuries aimlessly.
She follows Anna slowly through the crowd, growing bored of the slow human pace.
"There he is," Anna informs.
Bella could make out 'Damon's' strong features from here; his black hair, baby blue eyes, crooked nose, smooth lips, and a sharp jaw.
"Color me impressed," Bella whispers.
Damon smirks. A new voice, a new person, a new body, and new food. And from the smell, she would be delicious.
"You're still around? Thought you'd run by now," he replies, without turning around.
Anna grabs his arm and he lets her drag him to a corner. He catches the delicious scent following close behind him. Huh. Either it's a friend of hers or she's compelling her food to follow.
"What do you want?"
"There's something you need to know," she begins, "The vampires from the tomb are planning an attack. They want revenge on the Founding families. Tonight."
"How do you know this?" Damon asks, keeping track of the dark silhouette leaning against the wall to his right.
"They think I'm helping them."
"No. I'm not," Anna confesses.
"When?" Damon commands.
"When the firework starts."
Damon rolls his head slowly. "John Gilbert wants to use his invention on them."
"Then we shouldn't be here!" Anna exclaims.
"It doesn't work. It's been deactivated."
"Deactivated?" The sudden question makes Anna flinch, but Damon merely turns to the shadow.
"Bella." She steps closer to them and Damon trails his eyes over her heel boots, skinny jeans, and a black leather jacket. Just my type, he thinks. His eyes widen when they meet her green eyes, lined with thin eyeliner.
"Well, hello there," he says, in a sultry voice.
She smirks. "Who deactivated the Gilbert device? As far as I'm aware, there's only one witch in town, and not a powerful one at that."
Damon scowls, narrowing his eyes. "How would you know? I've never seen you around here before."
"I have my ways."
"You're just a human! How do you know about vampires and the device?"
"And that's where you're mistaken. I'm not human." She smirks.
"What are you, then?"
"Why are you so certain Bonnie wasn't able to deactivate it?" Damon growls.
"She didn't even try it."
"What?" Damon gapes.
"Her roots lie with the witches. Most of them hate vampires, as does she. You think she'll deactivate the device that's meant to injure, or in her eyes, kill vampires?"
Damon realizes there is truth to her words and they are reasonable. However, he's not used to not being right. He hates being told what to do and hates even more to be wrong.
"You could be wrong."
"I've never been," she replies in a bored tone.
"Regardless," Anna butts in, "Even if the device doesn't work, there are more than fifteen vampires loose right now, planning on wrecking havoc."
"I have to get Elena and Stefan out of here," Damon mumbles under his breath.
Bella's head whips around to meet his eyes. "What?"
Damon stalks off, not only pissed at the new girl but also at himself for being attracted to her. As far as he knos, she hasn't even been here a day yet she is questioning him. He growls under his breath, striding up to Ric.
"Do you keep those naughty little vampire darts in the car?"
Ric nods, frowning. "What's happening?"
"Square's crawling with tomb vampires. We might be in need of some wooden weapons," Damon replies stiffly.
Damon looks around. Weapons, done. Gilbert, in his office. Elena? Still around here somewhere. He walks to the parking lot and spots Stefan.
"What's Elena doing?"
"Lockwood ordered the three to go home." Stefan inclines his chin towards Elena, who's waving towards departing Tyler, Matt, and Caroline.
As Elena walks over and wraps her arm around Stefan, and Damon moves closer to the two.
"Tomb vamps are here. Founding families are the target. Get her out of here, now!" he commands.
"Wait, what about you?" Stefan asks.
"John Gilbert needs me," Damon answers, wiggling his eyebrows with a smirk.
At least Elena would be safe. Isobel's words repeated through his mind all of last night, enough to make him drink a bottle of scotch easily. He isn't sure what he feels for Elena is love. Then why didn't you deny it? Shut up, voice.
Damon shakes his head and moves toward the Gilbert office.
He arrives just as John is finishing.
"Do you have any idea what you've done?" Damon snarls.
"Yeah, as a matter of fact I do."
As Damon moves forward, John pushes the small circular metal into its place and watches Damon fall to the floor, clutching at his head.
"I get what I want, Damon," John whispers his words before injecting Damon with vervain.
Damon winces, feeling his ear drums throb and his body ache in a way it hasn't since his human days in the army. He could still imagine the sharp piercings on his head although the intruding noise had stopped.
He forces his eyes to open and turns over. He sees John pouring gasoline and halts his movements. He watches Anna and John talking before John stakes her in the chest, wanting to move but unable to. His ears throb, his eyes hurt and his legs burn from the flames licking at his body.
When did he light everyone on fire?
The other bodies in the room whither in pain; he notices some with stakes and others undead, now burning towards death.
"Damon? Is that you?" He slowly moves his head towards the voice.
"Mayor?" he asks in disbelief.
"What are you doing down here?" Mayor Lockwood barks.
"I'm a vampire. What's your excuse?"
He would've smiled at the Mayor's widened eyes but it would take more energy and he wasn't feeling up to it.
"I told you," sings a voice from the stairways. Damon clenches his eyes shut and imagines the voice to be just in his head, remorseful for not listening to its owner.
"Damon. Damon!" He feels a poke on his stomach and opens one eye, only to see Bella leaning over him with furrowed brows, her long brown curls grazing his chin and chest.
"What?" he growls.
"Geez…here I come to help you and you respond like this," Bella pauses, and then continues with a dramatic sigh, "Maybe I'll leave you like this."
He feels her head turn, her hair feeling like a caress.
"Mayor?" The Mayor probably gives an affirmative, for Bella continues. "Great, there are wolves here, too."
"Wolves?" Damon hears the Mayor's weak voice.
"You're from wolves descendant. You also have something of mine. If you're willing to give that to me, I can exchange it for your life."
Damon chuckles, before groaning. Here she is, saying she's going to save him and then offers the same to the Mayor, bargaining like she's talking about goddamn cookies and chips.
"Whatev—whatever you want. Get me out of here," the Mayor rasps.
Damon gives into his struggle and closes his eyes. He hears a sigh. He feels the air rush around him, and feels himself being uplifted.
"Useless men," he hears Bella mutter.
"Damon? Damon?" he vaguely hears Stefan and Elena shouting for him to wake up.
"Here, let me," Bella offers.
He feels a weight settle on his chest; he makes it out to be a small hand. It makes his skin burn, in almost a good way. He hears a resounding SMACK, and then feels the sharp sting in his cheek. He sits up suddenly, clutching his stinging cheek.
"What the fuck?" he roars, glaring at Bella, getting off of the floor, shoving Bella off of him.
"There!" she responds, smiling wide.
A body suddenly runs into him, wrapping its arms around his middle.
"I'm so glad you're okay," he hears Elena whisper. He rubs her back twice and then backs off, with Stefan immediately wrapping him in a one arm hug. Damon pats him on the back before going back to his usual snarky attitude.
"I knew you loved me," he announces.
"He's back," Elena laughs.
"Someone's coming," Stefan announces. They all listen to the footsteps making their way to the back alley.
"Bonnie!" A surprised Elena says.
"The Bennett witch," he hears Bella murmur.
"How do you know?" he raises his eyebrows at her.
"I have my ways," she repeats.
Bonnie stops in front of them, giving Elena a pleading look. "I'm sorry I lied to you," she whispers.
"I…I don't know what to say."
"You shouldn't have lied," Bella chimes in. "I'm happy you follow your beliefs, but don't do it on the account of lying to your friends. Emily wouldn't be proud."
She gives them all a mock salute and then drags the unconscious Mayor towards the Mystic Square.
"Who was that?" A stunned Bonnie asks.
"Bella," the three reply at the same time.
Damon walks towards Elena's house, lost in thought. Why would Bella save him? She doesn't even know him. Yes, he is thankful she helped but why would she do it? He was an ass to her.
Maybe she's your personal sadist, brought to you to pay for all your sins, a voice snickers in his head.
Maybe she is, he agrees with it. After all, it is because of her that he is now on his way to Jeremy.
He shakes his head and starts to run. The quicker this is over, the better. I could use some scotch.
He finds Jeremy sitting on his bed, staring into nothing.
"How are you holding up?" he begins.
"Wonderfully. Where's Anna?" Jeremy asks blankly.
"She's…dead," Damon responds slowly.
"I figured that when they took her."
"I, I saw her die. When John killed her, or was about to, I wanted to stop him."
"I don't know. Whether I felt I owed her for taking the risk to warn me about the vampires or simply because you didn't deserve to go through that again, I don't know."
"Why are telling me this, Damon?"
"I took away your suffering once. I can do it again," he offers.
"You can never really take it away. Yeah, I forget all about the situations and the people, but the emptiness is still there, just without a reason for it to be."
Damon approaches Jeremy. "I am…" he struggles for words, "I am sorry for my part."
He turns abruptly to leave when Jeremy calls out to him.
"Ana told me that when you're a vampire, you can turn off your emotions. You don't have to feel anything."
Damon contemplates his words carefully. "She's right. But it comes at the price of your humanity."
"When you turn off your feelings, your regard for human life is also lost. Meaning you will kill and hurt others not only out of your hunger, but for your enjoyment for being superior to them."
Damon nods to Jeremy and leaves. Giving up humanity is an easy choice for a vampire who has centuries ahead of him, but for a human to want vampirism isn't light. Hopefully Jeremy doesn't have Anna's blood in him.
He opens the door to find Elena outside of it, carrying her dress.
"Damon," she says, "What are you doing here?"
"I came to talk to Jeremy."
Elena's brows furrow. "Oh?"
Damon nods. "I wanted to apologize to him about Vicky. For the first time since I've been turned, I thought about how my actions have affected others."
"You aren't incapable of emotions, Damon."
"I used to be." Damon pauses before continuing, "I also want to thank you, Elena."
"For caring about me."
Elena moves closer to Damon and hugs him. He bends down a little and kisses her cheek.
Just as he turns to leave, Elena grabs his hand and places her lips on his lightly. He moves automatically, the kiss being so familiar. Opening of the door disturbs them and they part immediately, Jeremy looking between the two with wide eyes.
"I think it's time to come in, Elena," he states.
Damon turns and walks quickly towards the Salvatore Boarding house. They have a new problem.
"You do realize who that was, right?" Bella's voice sounds next to him.
"I didn't hear you coming," he replies with suspicion.
"I have many talents," she smirks.
"Yes, I realize that was Katherine."
"And you realize you left Elena's brother alone with her. The girl you love won't like that."
"I don't love her," he replies weakly.
"Ohhh, so convincing," Bella taunts him.
"What do you want?"
"I want to help."
"It's why I exist."
Damon stops and turns to her. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that there's a reason Elena and Katherine look alike. Before you ask, I can't tell you just yet. You have to help me and in turn I promise you I will lay my life down to save Elena from someone nearly incapable of being destroyed."
"What? But how does—"
"I told you, I can't tell you. All you need to know is that I am the only one who can help keep Elena alive, and human."
Damon narrows his eyes at her. He doesn't trust people, least of all brats who keep popping up wherever he goes.
"I am not a brat."
Damon gapes at her.
"I can read your mind. You need me. And I need a place to stay."
"I can always compel you."
"I am a vampire. You can't compel me."
She smirks. "That's what you think. I'll give you a demonstration later on."
He sighs and opens the door to the boarding house. "Let's see you get invited in," he smirks.
His wide grin falls off his face as Bella dances into the house, and then looks back at him and winks. "I have many talents, don't forget," she sings.
"Bella?" Stefan and Elena ask from the couch. She waves to them and plops down in the chair front of the fireplace.
"We've got a problem," Damon announces. "And it's not the one currently sitting on my favorite chair."
Bella sticks her tongue out at Damon.
"What happened?" Elena asks.
"Katherine happened. She's at your house right now."
"I need a room," Bella chimed in.
The other three in the room turned towards her. She rolls her eyes in turn. "Don't worry about Katherine."
"You know her?" Stefan prompted.
"Of course. I've been alive for nearly 1000 years," Bella grinned.
Elena gasped, "1000?"
"Yup. I don't mean to nag, but a room…?"
"You could always share my room," Damon smirks, certain he'd have the upper hand.
"Thanks! I'll take the bed, you can take the floor. Should I guess which room is yours, beast?" Bella retorts.
Damon glares at her.
"Fine, you can be beauty. I won't judge." She holds up her hands in mock surrender.
Elena laughs while Stefan grins. Finally, someone to put him to his place.
"Where's your stuff, Shortie?"
"Have none. Emily needed me by Elena tonight. Apparently it wasn't for her safety, but Stefan's and yours."
The three whip around to look at her. She rolls her eyes and sighs.
"Ask me whatever you want and I'll answer the best I can."
"What do you want with Elena?" Damon burst out.
"I want her alive."
"She dies, I die."
"What?" Elena gasps.
Bella winks at her. "So my life's in your hands. Please don't chase danger or give up."
"Give up?" Elena questions.
"Yes. When time comes, you'll know the reason why you look like Katherine and why exactly she's back."
"Why can't you tell us now?" Stefan questions.
"The time isn't right."
"When will it be right?" Damon barks out, sipping scotch by the fireplace. He glares at Bella.
"When you can control your anger."
"Cryptic much?" he asks.
"Gotta stay alive some way, right?" She grins.
"How do you communicate with Emily?" Stefan enquires.
"Emily's ancestor kept me under her protection, and then Emily helped when she joined her ancestors. I can't die. If somehow I am killed, I come back."
"Why would the witch do that? Don't they hate vampires?" Damon prompts.
"No, that's just between you and Bonnie…and probably every other witch you've come across," Bella replies, with a cheeky grin.
Damon scowls at her.
"Anyway… Emily is the last powerful witch that was in contact with both me and the moonstone. She's leading me and providing me with power and spells and whatnot to protect the moonstone foremost, and Elena."
"How does she know Elena?"
"Just like she knew to bring me here tonight."
"How do you know us?" Stefan asks.
"Elena looks like Katherine and Anna filled me in on Damon and you."
Bella looks at the three, who look both stunned and lost in thought.
"Why don't you all sleep on it for tonight and ask me whatever you need tomorrow? Besides, I need to catch a few winks of sleep before I collect my payment from the Mayor." Bella wiggles her eyebrows at them. "So where is your room, beauty?" Bella turns to Damon.
"Third floor, second door to the right. Don't touch anything," he barks out.
"Ohhh, now I just have to!" she blurs upstairs.
Stefan and Elena watch in amusement as Damon curses under his breath before following Bella.
"Well, that was interesting," Stefan breaks the silence.
"I like her."
Stefan raises an eyebrow.
"I feel comfortable with her. You know how sometimes your skin prickles when someone's watching you? But when you're with the people you know, you feel this odd sense of protection and warmth? I felt the latter with her."
"If you trust her, so will I," Stefan states, kissing Elena's forehead. "You go on upstairs and I'll go get Jeremy. He can spend the night here."
Elena nods. She kisses Stefan and then slowly trails to the third floor. As she opens Stefan's bedroom door, she hears voices coming from Damon's room. She raises her eyebrows. Maybe Bella will bring a breath of change.
Damon wakes up with his arm stretched towards the other side of bed, which is empty. He looks around, with hope of finding Bella there. He shakes his head. It's good she's gone. She was going to be a nuisance anyway. He rubs his chest at the odd feeling and gets up. From what he heard last night, Jeremy is here as well. Breakfast time.
He gets ready before heading downstairs. Should head to the Mayor's today. Carol will want answers.
He finishes cooking eggs and bacon when Jeremy comes downstairs, rubbing his eyes.
"Where's Elena?" Damon questions.
"I don't know. I didn't want to go into Stefan's room just in case."
Damon's eyes narrow, just as he hears a car pull up. He peeks around the wall separating the kitchen from the main entrance and gawks at the sight of Elena and Bella giggling like best friends.
"Where have you been?" he barks out.
Bella lifts up numerous bags while Elena lifts up one. "Shopping," they both reply together.
"Breakfast is ready," he grumbles out.
Elena heads towards Damon while Bella blurs upstairs.
"I like her," Elena dramatically whispers to Damon as she passes him.
Damon involuntarily smiles, thinking of green eyes. He shakes himself out of his reverie and steps back into the kitchen. He blinks, frozen, looking at Bella.
He points to her and then to the living room. "You were there, and then upstairs, how are you here?"
"Another one of my talents." She grins. Turning to Jeremy, she introduces herself. "I'm Bella, your sister's guardian."
Jeremy's eyebrows nearly shoot up to his hairline. "Jeremy, the cousin."
"He's my brother," Elena corrects.
Jeremy scoffs under his breath. Damon sees Bella reach her hand to Elena's and squeeze gently, as if saying, 'He'll come around'.
How much does she know? Damon keeps an eye on Bella throughout the breakfast.