Author's Note: Oh hey, look, here's another fic that Sasha mostly likely won't finish! Ha ha, ha…
This is an AU future fic that came to me, as usual, when I should have been doing homework. The pieces are all there, I just have to assemble them, so bear with me. All will hopefully be revealed in due time, even though multichapter fics are always something I notoriously suck at. I'm not even really sure where this is going, so come along for the ride—it will certainly be an experience for us both. I hope you find my story compelling and my "big bad" worthy :) As always, review what's on your mind, good or bad!
As a general warning: this chapter contains harsh language, gore, and in general some disturbing descriptions. M for a reason, peeps.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything but my words.
001. HELLO, DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND
She always did like playing with her food.
He was handsome, this one, and young, too. She liked them young. Their youthful energy was so vibrant and so bright in their last dying breaths. It gave her a strange and delicious ache whenever she felt it fluttering against her tongue, swelling inside of her like a tiny, shivering little bird taking wing.
She kissed him softly, sweetly, even. She knew how he wanted it, she could tell that much from the little pieces of his soul that she sampled with each stroke of her tongue against his. He was still a little boy on the inside, she learned; he wanted to be held and stroked and told the stuff of his nightmares were just that, only that, even though he knew much better. Sadly this was the one thing she couldn't give to him, especially not now when it would be so blatant a lie to cross her lips. She owed him that one small honesty, at least. He resisted her valiantly at first, which impressed her; thoughts of his girlfriend and their love, his confusion about what was happening, they all crowded his conscious, making him try and break her grasp. But with her every touch his fight slowly ebbed, until she left him gasping and so weak-limbed he wobbled and then sank to an awkward kneel by her feet.
He blinked up at her through eyes shining with unshed tears, his face so young and so lost that she was almost moved out of pity to rethink his use for her.
"Please." The word dropped clumsy from his tongue, as if he had forgotten how to use it. It was almost endearing, the way he said it so brokenly, yet with such hope.
She smiled down at him, a radiant, beautiful smile that seemed to fill the air with shimmering light, a light comparable to the rays of the dying sun behind them. The sunset painted her skin a rich golden hue and lent her glittering black eyes a warmth they perhaps did not hold without. The boy's face filled with trust, and she could feel him swell with love at the sight of her. She reached out and tenderly caressed his cheek, and his eyes fluttered closed, long lashes sweeping her thumb as she smoothed it along his cheekbone. He glowed so brightly from within. She truly found it beautiful, and it almost saddened her, as they always did. She pressed a kiss to his temple and smoothed his hair back from his forehead. He leaned heavily against her thighs, unable to hold himself upright.
"Please," he repeated sleepily, eyes still closed, although in his delirious state he no longer had any idea what he was pleading for.
She shook her head.
And with a swiftness that belied her grace, she reached out and in one fluid motion parted his head from his shoulders.
His blood sprayed upward in an arc, bathing her in crimson and sluicing down her face and arms in dark streaming rivulets. She shuddered, closing her eyes and licking her lips clean of the coppery warmth. Tears shimmered between her eyelids but did not fall as she felt his energy shiver, uncertain, and then merge slowly with her own. This one was sad, heart heavy with years of hurt it did not deserve to bear. It was always the good ones who tasted sweetest from within. He was at peace, now. She would keep him safe. She was Mother.
She could be kind.
The golden shine of the sunset seemed like fire reflected in her bright shimmering orbs, forever changing: now purple, now blue, now red, now black. She focused on one of the last images in his mind before he died, a woman he once knew. A thrill of excitement shot through her.
Yes… she's the one.
She smiled, satisfied. At long last, I have found her.
She turned away from the carnage she had wrought.
Her footsteps made bloody prints across the boardwalk as she strode purposefully away from the surf, to hasten her destiny and the end of mankind.
"YOU FILTHY LITTLE CUNT!"
The screech ricocheted off the rafters of the warehouse, echoing for a few moments before being sucked into the yawning dark beyond the flickering circle of light.
Bonnie closed her eyes and sighed, letting out the stream of air between clenched teeth.
Why did she always get the screamers?
Pinching the bridge of her nose to ignore the migraine that was beginning to form, Bonnie finished lighting the circle of candles on the floor, putting out the match with an impatient flick of her wrist. Lighting the candles by hand took an annoying amount of time in comparison to what she could have done, but ritual was ritual and cheating just left loopholes in the spellwork to exploit. She pushed herself to her feet, the dusty floorboards creaking underneath her boots as she strode over to the table she had set up by a wooden beam near the window, which was covered with a paint-splattered drop cloth. Bonnie tossed her matchbook onto the table and shrugged out of her leather jacket, which she, too, flung atop the grimy pockmarked wood. She rolled her shoulders experimentally, tossing her dark curls over her shoulder.
"WHORE! I WILL STRIP THE FOUL FLESH FROM YOUR BONES! I WILL RIP YOUR INNARDS! FUCKING CUNT WHORE!"
Bonnie inhaled sharply. She leaned across the table to snag the satchel that she had brought with her. Undoing the latches, she slid her hand inside and smiled as her fingers brushed against the spine of the book within. She let the bag drop to the floor as she clutched the book tightly to her chest, eyes fluttering closed for a heartbeat. The book seemed to hum in her grasp, as if sensing her familiar presence.
Bonnie's eyes shot open. She cracked her neck.
"Okay. Let's do this."
And then she finally turned to face her.
The girl might have been pretty once, before. In the picture her father had shown Bonnie, she had a bright white smile with dimples, high cheekbones, and sky blue eyes. The kind of eyes they write songs about. The picture had been taken a year ago, back when the girl was simply Annabeth.
Bonnie could not help but feel pity and revulsion in equal measure as she gazed down at what had become of the vibrant young girl in that picture.
Her skin had gone lumpy and sallow, like curdled milk, and it seemed swollen and heavy on her body; yet for some reason it stretched much too tightly across her face, revealing every contour and jutting angle of the bone beneath. Annabeth's eyes were sunken, red, and watery, one pupil much larger than the other… one eye was effectively black, with no iris to speak of. It could have been a symptom of the concussion she had given herself in one of her throes, but Bonnie knew better. Anna's hair, once a beautiful rich auburn, now fell in brittle white strands to her waist, what little of it she hadn't torn from her scalp with her own two hands. Her lips were stretched back across her teeth in a macabre facsimile of a grin, though not by any effort of her own; there was barely any gum left, only long teeth, sharp and pointed— a sign that she had succumbed and eaten human flesh quite early on in the transition.
The wire that bound Annabeth to her chair had cut deep into her pale doughy flesh, and as she had fought her bindings she had nearly sawed clean through to the bone before Bonnie realized what she had done. Bonnie had made sure to place heavy strips of cloth between the metal wiring and the girl's wrists from then on, but the damage was done. Blood pooled thick and congealing around the girl's ankles, staining the raw wood an unmistakable color. The girl's fingertips were a bloody mess; she had tried to claw her way out of the room they had first locked her into, and had she not eventually been restrained, she would have worn her hands down to bloody stumps on her arms. Eventually she had resorted to clawing at her own eyes, but thankfully she had no fingernails left with which to scratch.
Bonnie burned with hatred at the sight of her, of what it had turned her into.
The creature sensed her gaze. It rolled Anna's head around until it could fix her with its eyes, one blue, one black. It snarled gutturally in response, an echoing, gravelly noise that no human girl should ever be able to make.
Bonnie blew it a kiss.
Anna's body seized as if shocked by a powerful electric current. Her hands scrabbled against the armrests of the chair as she struggled to break free and attack. The chair rocked back and forth as she yelled, eyes wide, spittle flying.
"YOU FUCKING FILTH! YOU BITCH! YOU ARE DEAD! FUCKING WHORE WITCH!" With each word spoken, the pitch deepened and distorted. Bonnie could distinguish two distinct voices at least, maybe three. Blood spattered across the floor as the girl's body contorted, the thing or things inside of her battling to break loose.
Bonnie clenched her jaw tightly, a determined look settling across her features. Holding the grimoire aloft in her left hand and raising her right palm to the heavens, she began.
"I call upon my ancestors to guide me as I expel this unholy creature from our realm," Bonnie recited loudly, voice ringing clear over the increasing howls of the foul monster before her. Wind whistled through the floorboards and unfinished gaps in the woodwork of the warehouse, swirling around her ankles and guttering the flames of the candles in the circle. "I call upon the ancient guardians of this domain to restore balance as it was, and as it ought. Hear my plea and harken."
Suddenly, the candles flared in pentagonal order, the flames growing to several times their height and glowing so blindingly bright that Bonnie had to throw up a hand to cover her eyes. The creature in the middle of the circle hissed and convulsed, attempting to pull away from the bright light.
The wind picked up again and the book in Bonnie's hand rose into the air, hovering in the void between her and the possessed. It floated for a moment, then in a flurry of motion the book shot open and the pages blurred as they sped past. Finally, the book seemed to settle upon a particular point. With a sudden and sharp motion as if thrown, the book slammed to the floor with a bang like a gunshot, raising the dust that coated the warehouse floor in an ashy cloud about it. The light of the candles pulsed and swayed in unison with the movement.
The edge of Bonnie's mouth cocked upwards and she shook her head. Astral witches... always throwing stuff around to make an impression.
She knelt down. "Let's see what we're dealing with today…" she muttered to herself, eyes roving the page before her. A satisfied grin slowly unfurled across her face as she read. She glanced up at the thrashing demon, smile still plastered to her face.
"Oh, goody. I've never met you before. I just love trying new spells," Bonnie smirked at the demon before her. "Don't you? Let's begin, shall we?" Gripping the grimoire and lifting the heavy tome from the floor, she commenced the incantation.
"Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas," Bonnie began to chant. The wind played havoc with her hair, blowing strands of it across her face and into her eyes, making them water. The demon snarled and bellowed in the circle, an otherworldly cry that made her skin prickle with gooseflesh. "…omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica!"
Annabeth began shaking.
Her head began swaying back and forth, slowly at first, like a pendulum, but as Bonnie continued speaking the tempo increased until her head was a blur, shaking at preternatural speed as the demon within her roared in anguish.
"Vade, satana, inventor et magister omnis fallaciæ, hostis humanæ salutis!" Bonnie shouted over the creature's cries. The candles flickered and pulsed brighter still, in time to the fluctuations in her voice.
Annabeth began to cry, or maybe it was the demon. Her head had stopped shaking, instead bowed at the neck as she whimpered. Thick ropes of black blood bubbled forth from her eyes, trickling their way down her cheeks as she shuddered and shook, dripping in long lines of crimson down to the floor.
The edges of Bonnie's lips turned downward, unnerved, but she shook herself and continued. "… Contremisce et effuge, invocato a nobis sancto et terribili nomine—"
"—NNN… NNNOOO! Wait! Please!" It was sobbing now. "Please, please! No! Don't send me away! Please! I can't go back! I can't have failed!"
Bonnie shut the grimoire with a snap. In three quick strides, she stepped over the flickering candle boundary and into the pentagrammaton, stopping when she was face-to-face with the creature.
"Back where?" Bonnie growled, bending down so that she was eye-level with the thing inside of Anna. "Failed what?"
The creature blinked blood out of its eyes and slowly lifted its head with a wheeze. It fixed her with a stare, and long moments passed before it opened its mouth once more. When it did, the long sharp teeth clacked together as it threw its head back and began to laugh. The noise was akin to nails on a chalkboard, grating her eardrums and chilling her to the core.
"You are going to burn, you FUCKING WHORE! WITCH, YOU ARE GOING TO FUCKING BURN!"
Its laugh deepened and echoed, growing louder and louder until it pressed up against every sense Bonnie knew. It fouled her mind.
And it hardened her heart.
"My name," Bonnie hissed over the creature's cackling laughter, "Is Bonnie fucking Bennett! And the only one who's going to burn here tonight is you, once I send you right back to hell!" Opening the grimoire with force and holding in aloft, she roughly gripped the creature's forehead tightly with her other hand and began to read once more, shouting over the demon's screams.
"Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine!"
The creature began shaking again. The flesh of the girl's forehead that Bonnie gripped began to smoke and blacken, and the nauseating smell of charring flesh reached her nostrils as the demon fought against its bounds. The wind had reached hurricane speeds, and everything outside of the circle was being lifted and thrown against the walls with the force of it.
"Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, AUDI… NOS!" Bonnie shouted, slamming the spellbook closed.
The demon screamed.
Bonnie staggered backwards and out of the circle, nearly tripping over the candles of the pentagrammaton as the demon bucked in its seat. She used her magic to anchor herself to the floor; the wind outside the circle nearly ripped the grimoire right out of her hands.
Then it happened.
The demon reared and threw Anna's head back, entirely too far back, until the nape of her neck was almost in contact with the other side of the chair. Her eyes opened wide as the demon contorted her mouth in a grotesque, soundless scream.
The air grew still and silent, the wind slowing and then ceasing altogether.
All Bonnie could hear was her breathing, coming in ragged, uneven bursts.
And then with a sound like a small detonation, the demon erupted, shrieking outward from every orifice, a black cloud of smoke and ash spewing forth from its host's lips like a fountain as it swirled up towards the rafters in a tight spiral. The warehouse heaved and shook, and Bonnie fell to her knees as she struggled to stay upright. As the demonic smoke reached the ceiling it exploded, consumed in a gaping maw of bright orange flame. A thousand voices of hell seemed to scream in unison, and Bonnie cried out, covering her ears as her nose and eyes began to bleed at the din.
The windows imploded, glass showering the room. Bonnie was lifted into the air and slammed twenty feet away by the shock of the blast, the grimoire flying out of her hands and out of her reach.
And then the room fell blissfully silent, and the demon was no more. It was done.
Bonnie groaned from her position on the floor and spat out a mouthful of blood. She had bitten her tongue.
That went well.
"Hi, Mr. Davenport. Yeah. I'm done." Bonnie grimaced as she looked over at Annabeth's prone form, slumped over her bindings in the middle of the extinguished circle. "She's… been better. What? Um," Bonnie scratched her head and screwed up her face, wincing when that further agitated her split lip.
"Well, to be honest, she lost a lot of blood. No, no, she's stable. She's gonna need stitches. And counseling. But… Oh. Well, healing's extra, you know that. Yeah." Bonnie sighed again. "Two hundred, flat rate, in addition. You sure? Alright. You remember I only take cash or check? Mhm. Yup. Good. You're wel-Yeah, of course. You're absolutely welcome, Mr. Davenport. Okay, see you soon. Bye."
She snapped the phone shut and placed it down upon the table with a slam, her jaw clenched painfully tight.
God. She hurt all over. Bonnie rubbed her right elbow, the one which had effectively broken her fall when the blast had thrown her like a rag doll across the room. Thankfully, she hadn't broken anything, but the fact that Anna's father wanted to add a healing element meant less energy that she could use for healing herself.
She stooped, about to start clearing the circle of candles when the phone beeped not once, but three times.
Bonnie frowned and spun around.
Bonnie blew out a calming stream of air through her mouth. As usual, this is what happened when she turned her phone off for two short hours. Her voicemail started to pile up.
Impatiently striding back to the table, she grabbed her cell phone and flipped it open.
Three missed calls. Two voicemails. Both from restricted numbers.
Bonnie gave her phone a look, then rolled her eyes as her curiosity got the better of her. She hit voicemail on her speed dial and waited.
"Two new messages. First voice message." The automated female voice sounded oddly comforting after hours of listening to the gravelly demonic distortion of Anna's passenger.
Bonnie's mouth dropped open.
"It's Stefan. We used to be friends once, if you can remember that far back." He chuckled mirthlessly at his own joke. His voice was flat, even, and expressionless. Bonnie wondered how long it had been since he had turned the switch off, the switch that determined his access to human emotion and which had effectively started a downhill spiral that ended with his exile. It was three years ago if it was a day, but it seemed like a lifetime.
Stefan cleared his throat. "I have something that needs… a certain skill set to address and I'm told you're still in the business. I thought I would drop you a line and see if you're willing to do an old friend a favor."
Yeah, right, Bonnie snorted to herself. Old friend? Wrong choice of words, asshole.
"I know what you're thinking, Bonnie," he continued, lowering his voice to a rumbling timbre, "which is why I offer something to sweeten the deal. You work for cash nowadays, right? Well my benefactor is very interested in hiring the best of the best. I told him that meant you. Let's just say he's… familiar with your work."
Bonnie closed her eyes.
"For this particular job, he's offering ten up front, fifteen more if you end up being what we need," Stefan intoned blandly, as if he were commenting on the weather. "And yes, that's twenty-five grand, not twenty-five hundred."
Bonnie's mouth parted. Twenty-five thousand dollars. Dammit, dammit, dammit. She could really use that kind of cash. She felt dizzy all of a sudden.
Bonnie pressed an unsteady hand to her temple and tenderly felt across her brow for cuts and bruises as she listened.
"By the way, he's offering that 10-thou just for showing up. So… I suggest you do. Unless you intend to survive on fifteen-cent Cup o' Noodles and becoming a professional Dial-an-Exorcist for the rest of your college existence," Stefan snickered on the other end, like he already knew the answer to that. "That is how you're paying the rent these days, right? Hm. Well. If you're interested, you know how to get in touch.
"I'll be waiting," he sing-songed. A click, and the message ended.
Bonnie's heart dropped to her stomach as she realized what he had said.
How did he know all those things?
He was watching her.
He had to have been. Right?
The phone chirped. "Next message."
She could deal with Stefan later. Or never, hopefully. Bonnie worried at her lip and waited for the next message to begin.
Her shock deepened further when she heard what was next.
"Bonnie, hi. Hi. It's… it's me."
Bonnie's teeth clicked audibly together at the sound of that voice, all worry and shock about Stefan's message instantly forgotten in a sudden flare of anger. Her finger hovered over the call end button but there was something in Elena's voice that stayed her hand. She swallowed and forced herself to listen, closing her eyes against the sudden headache she felt above her left eye.
"Bonnie, I know that you said you never wanted to see me again. After what happened, I understood, but… something… something's happened, Bonnie, I—I can't—" There was a shuffling noise on the other end of the line, as if the phone were being handed over to someone else. Bonnie thought she heard the faint, soft sound of sobs before another familiar voice came on the line.
"Bonnie. Yeah. It's Damon," Damon sighed heavily, and when he spoke next it seemed as if he were choosing his words carefully. "Bonnie, I'm sorry I—it's Jeremy, Bonnie. Jeremy's dead." Fresh wails interrupted in the background. Bonnie could hear Damon breathing hard through his nose, something he only did when he was extremely angry, or extremely upset. "Just come home, for Christ's sake, Bonnie," he muttered, his voice almost too low and hard to make out.
"Just answer your goddamn phone and come home."
There was a click and the line went dead.
The automated voicemail continued. "End of message. To erase this message, press one. To hear more options—"
Bonnie slowly lowered the phone from her ear.
Calmly, she turned and hurled the thing across the room, where it shattered into pieces against the wall.