Cut and Dried

Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing.

Summary: Damon and Elena run into an enemy with a definite ax to grind. Can they save each other before it's too late, or will the past do more than just haunt them… Post 3.2

This is the result of a major block while trying to write a Supernatural story. I thought I'd try to write something different in an effort to shake an idea loose, so

Chapter One

"Damon, no! Stop!"

The Grill was teeming with people and Elena struggled to follow in Damon's wake as he pushed his way through the crowd toward the exit.

"Damon, stop! I know you can hear me!"

Damon continued to ignore her as he dragged a twenty-something jock out by his hair. The frat boy was so drunk he seemed more confused than anything, although the closer he got to the door the more he seemed to catch on that he was in trouble. He latched onto the doorjamb as Damon pulled him through, but without even breaking his stride Damon shook him loose and kept going.

Elena followed Damon out of the restaurant and had to run to catch up when she saw Damon already a block away, dragging the jock into the closest alley.

"Damon, I swear if you lay a hand on him…"

Sure, the jock was a total jerk, but he didn't deserve to die, and Elena knew that if she didn't get there fast, that's what was going to happen. The guy had made the unfortunate mistake of taking a liking to her. She'd caught him looking at her a couple of times during the night, but hadn't thought anything of it. He'd even given her a sloppy, drunk smile or two and a nod, asking her to join him. When that didn't happen, he'd shrugged it off and gone back to his beer.

An hour later, however, Elena had been leaving the restroom, when he'd spotted her again. He'd offered to buy her a drink, and managed to stagger his way into blocking her into a corner. Taking that as his first sign of success, he'd gone for a good groping. Elena had been struggling to push him away from her when disaster had struck. The drunk moron had grabbed her crotch, Damon had realized Elena was missing, caught the guy in the act, and now…

The jock was as good as dead.

Damon was in a bad mood anyway. They hadn't heard anything about Stefan since the mess with the werewolves in the mountains, and they were out of leads. They were just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, waiting, and Damon had a lot of qualities, but patience was not one of them. Waiting usually ended in boredom, which usually led to disaster. Which led to Damon being at the Grill, and their current predicament.

Elena ran into the alley and without even pausing grabbed Damon's arm on the downswing. For her to stop him, Damon had to have allowed it, and she took it as a good sign.

"You can't kill him, Damon."

"Actually, I'm pretty sure I can." Damon furious gaze was still on the man who was currently wheezing due to the fact that Damon's other hand was around his throat, pressing him into the brick wall of the alley.

"You shouldn't kill him, then."

A wolfish smile appeared on Damon's face. "Oh, I really should."

The drunk frat boy finally seemed to realize he was in even more trouble than he'd thought and began to struggle furiously against Damon's grip, much good it did him.

"You will not kill him, Damon," Elena ordered as forcefully as she could manage.

Damon finally turned to look at her, and she could see the icy fury in his eyes, no blue evident, only cool gray reminding her of storm clouds and the threat they brought. As she watched, however, the fury seemed to bleed away, and a mischievous smirk appeared. Somehow, that didn't lessen her unease.

"Fine," he said, his tone clipped. Damon turned back to the now weakly struggling frat boy and stared him straight in the eyes. The jock became very calm and still, and Elena saw his pupils dilate.

"Damon," she said in warning, but he acted like he didn't even hear her.

"You will never touch another woman as long as you live," Damon stated, almost merrily. "Is that understood?"

"I will never touch a woman," the man parroted.

"You have a sudden desire to enter the clergy. You want to dedicate yourself to helping others."

"Damon, you can't do this," Elena hissed.

"No, you're right," Damon said, cocking his head to one side as if deep in thought. "I should be more specific." He focused again on his victim. "You will never touch another woman, man, child… farm animal. Anything. You've entirely forgotten what the family jewels are even good for. Got it?"

"Family jewels… sheep…"

"Exactly." Damon smiled in wicked delight and released the jock, who immediately fell to the ground in an unconscious heap.

Damon gently tugged his arm free from where Elena forgot she'd been holding it. "You were right." He smirked. "That was much more fun than killing him. I should bring you along more often."

"I can't believe you did that."

"Why?" Damon scoffed. "The jerk deserved it."

"Because you just can't!"

Damon rolled his eyes and walked back toward the street, leaving Elena once again to hurry after him. "Relax," he said, heading for his car. "The guy's so drunk, I bet the compulsion won't even hold. He'll be back chasing sheep before you know it."

"That's not what this is about," she snapped. She was so angry she could hardly think straight, angry and tired of having to chase after him, of having to tell him things he should know. Of course, the problem was that he did know. He just didn't care. And Elena was tired of trying to figure out how to make him care. And besides that they didn't have time for this. They needed to find Stefan, throw him on the wagon and tie him there permanently. She shouldn't have to waste her energy on Damon's issues when they were both supposed to be focused on Stefan. "It's wrong, Damon. You can't just mess with someone's life like that!"

Abruptly, Damon stopped walking and turned around nearly causing Elena to crash into him. "What did you want me to do?" he demanded, suddenly serious. "Just ignore him? Let him stick his hand down your pants while you try and push him away? The guy had a hundred pounds on you, Elena."

"I wanted you to…" She trailed off, suddenly unsure. The truth was she had been afraid. The guy'd been a lot bigger than her, stronger. When he'd tried to feel her up, she hadn't been able to get away and she'd panicked before Damon had arrived to drag the guy off of her.

"Uh huh," Damon said knowingly. "Then don't get all high and mighty."

"You still can't just go around making every guy who looks sideways at me become a priest."

"Did I say priest?" he asked innocently. "No, I said clergy. His options are wide open."


"Think of it as a warning to others." He smiled sweetly. "I am Damon Salvatore, protector of gently-raised women from uncivilized men."

"Right," she said wryly. "You're a champion of defenseless crotches everywhere."

Damon blinked, surprised at his sweet Elena saying something so crass, and then she saw the edges of his mouth twitch like he wanted badly to laugh. He couldn't, of course. Damon smirked, he mocked, he occasionally let out a derisive snicker, but he didn't laugh. It would somehow tarnish the persona he'd spent so many years perfecting.

"Yes, well," he cleared his throat. "Now that we've put a young soul on the path to redemption, I think it's time to call it a night."

Elena rolled her eyes. "Just try to get home without any other incidents, will you?"

"You know me." He widened his eyes comically. "I'm discretion personified."

"I'm not even going to comment on that."

Damon grinned, pleased as always at his own ability to rile her, and once again turned toward his car. As soon as he did, however, he stopped dead in his tracks.

"Is there a reason you're touching my car?" Damon said, his tone plainly a warning.

Elena moved slightly so she could peek around him and saw that there was a woman leaning nonchalantly against the driver's side door of Damon's Camaro. She was a dark-skinned black woman with hair in long, beautiful ringlets, dressed in an elegant, form-fitting, knee-length black dress, with silver and burgundy detail work. If Elena was any judge, it cost more than all of her own wardrobe put together. She certainly didn't look like a normal Grill patron. She looked more like someone out of Vogue magazine.

"Hello, Damon."

That seemed to throw him off kilter and he paused before saying, "Have we met?"

"No. But we will become acquainted, I think."

Not American, either, Elena noted, British with a pinch of something else, which meant this was getting weirder and weirder. In her experience, weird meant dangerous and she started looking for good places to hide.

"If I don't know you, then do me a favor," Damon said, his voice dripping with sugar-coated menace, "get away from my car and go away. I'm not in the mood."

"Now, now," she chided. "Is that any way to speak to a lady? I understand you were raised as a gentleman."

"I'm a great supporter of modern womanhood." Damon's smirk became more pronounced. "If you get to be such bitches, then I don't have to pretend to be nice to you. Perk of contemporary life."

"How charming," she replied, her tone implying he was anything but. She stood away from the car and took a step toward Damon. "Very well. Let us begin."

Damon moved back, and Elena knew that whatever was about to happen wasn't going to be in their favor. He pushed her behind him, but Elena peeked out just in time to see the woman raise her hand high and twist it in a gesture almost like she was screwing in a light bulb.

For a moment, Elena thought nothing had happened. Then Damon's hand that had been keeping her back fell away. He staggered to one side. Elena reached for him, but by the time she did, Damon had pitched forward and landed face first on the pavement.

Elena dropped down beside him. She set her hand on his back and leaned forward so she could see his face which was turned toward her. He appeared to be out cold.

Elena looked up to see that the woman was several feet closer than before. "What did you do to him?" she demanded.

"That is not your affair. Damon Salvatore and I have… business." She raised a mocking eyebrow. "If I were in your place, I would be more concerned about my plans for you."

Every hair on Elena's body stood on end. The woman was obviously a witch and whatever business she had with either one of them probably wasn't going to end well. "We have friends. If you think I…"

The woman raised her hand again and made the odd twisting motion. "I really don't care what you think, dear."

Immediately, Elena felt light-headed. She slumped forward, only distantly realizing her face was resting against Damon's shoulders. Just as her eyes closed, Elena saw the woman's chic high heels appear in her line of vision.

"Go to sleep, dear. We're just getting started."

More soon? It's my first attempt at TVD, so if it's completely off say so and we'll all move on…