It was September 3, 2011 creeping up into midnight. It was silent in the area around, but it was chaotic in the troubled mind of Bonnie Bennett. She stared at herself in a full-length mirror that hung from the back of her bathroom door, finally taking a moment to herself to notice all the changes she'd unknowingly undergone since her last birthday. She had stared at herself in her bra and underwear from every angle.
She noticed that she'd lost a significant amount of weight; that her hip bones jutted out of her body so sharply that they looked as though they might just rip right through her caramel skin. She noticed her collarbones were also protruding in an attempt to free themselves of her body. Her arms were thinner now. There was no meat around her bones and her cheekbones seemed more defined now as if her face was sinking into itself.
Her stomach was flat, but that wasn't what had worried her. It was the fact that her she inhaled and you could almost see right through her and to her ribcage directly. She faintly placed fingers under her forest green eyes, tracing the dark circles that had permanently formed under them. And her eyes seemed to lack their color. She seemed to lack a handful of life in her these days.
She was too thin. She was drained. She wasn't eating much. She was stressed. She was restless. And in this moment, September 4, 2011 at 12:00am, Bonnie realized just how unhappy she truly was with her life. She finally noticed herself withering, but she never meant to. She was wasting away slowly and she never even noticed. It was disappointing that this was how she was bringing in her 19th year of living, coming to terms with the fact that she was slowly dying to keep someone else alive.
And above all that, she was aging. She was getting older and 90% of everyone she knew would never change in their appearance. They would never have to worry about looking as though the life was slowly being drained out of them.
"Happy Birthday to me," She mumbled sarcastically. "I'm dying."
With a sigh, she pulled the over-sized, black t-shirt over her head. It reached to her mid-thighs and it had belonged to an ex-fling of hers. Bonnie couldn't make out what had become of her life, how it had become such a travesty. It seemed that every step she took was another step closer to her death. The life she lived was dangerous and she was constantly on alert, which is why she never slept. She didn't feel safe to sleep, not in this town. Danger lurked on every inch of its perimeter. Nowhere was safe, not even her own home.
There was a soft knock on the door that snapped Bonnie out of her trance. She scrambled around, trying to remember what she'd come for in the first place.
"Bonnie, are you almost done?" Caroline asked concerned.
"Yeah," Bonnie breathed as she opened the door. "Just had to change is all. I was just about to brush my teeth before I headed to bed."
"This early? No. You're not going to bring in your birthday by automatically sinking into some sort of–" She paused. "–elderly protocol."
At the semi-disgusted, incredulous tone in her voice, Bonnie smiled warmly. At least some things didn't change. That was why she valued Caroline so much lately, because even though their worlds were falling apart – Klaus compelling Stefan to turn off his humanity, turning Tyler into a hybrid, leaving them to deal with the bitch Original Blood-Sucker Barbie version of him, and using Elena as his personal blood bank to form an army of hybrids – She still managed to keep a routine with herself, still managed to hold on to who she was.
"Listen, B, I know things have been a little weird lately..."
"A little?" Bonnie returned skeptically, lifting an eyebrow.
"Fine, I know everything's super fucked up right now, but it's your birthday and that's something you should take pride in, something you should celebrate. You can't let the stress of it all keep you from living your life."
"That's easy for you to say with your never-aging and endless, vampire stamina. It feels like I haven't slept in so long and I'm weak." She whined.
"Just stay up for five more minutes and then I promise I'll let you crawl into bed and sleep." Caroline bargained. Bonnie rolled her eyes, fully stepping out of the bathroom.
"Fine, what is it?"
Just as she finished her question, Elena came carefully stalking down the hall, a tiny smile on her face. In her hand, she cradled a small, chocolate cupcake with a single candle lit in its center. Bonnie's features softened. Her entire body relaxed for a moment, took a break from its constant stiffness and paranoia. Her green eyes welled up, but she kept her bottom lip between her teeth to fight off the oncoming tears.
"Happy Birthday to you," Elena and Caroline sang in unison. "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, dear Bonnie. Happy Birthday to you."
"And many more," Caroline sang solo.
Bonnie felt a bit overwhelmed, but it was nice. It made her heart warm and she felt calm and subtle for the first time since her powers had started to come in, since her Grams died, since she took on being Mystic Falls' personal witch. It was nice and she clung to the feeling. It didn't feel exactly weightless, but the world had definitely considerably eased off of her shoulders for a moment.
"You guys, you're amazing." She said softly.
"We know," Elena sang with a shrug. "Now quick, make a wish!"
"Well, if it goes out, she can just start it back up with that witchy juju lighter trick of hers." Caroline smirked.
Bonnie rolled her eyes playfully, a smile still tugging at her lips. She didn't think that they'd forgotten, no. She just thought that with all that was going on, none of them would really have time or the energy to celebrate her birthday. It didn't seem appropriate to celebrate her life when almost everyone she knew was dead or on the next list of victims to die.
Bonnie stared at the candle, trying to muster up into words what she wished for. Her mind was in a blur, but she was rushing through all the events that led her up to right now where she stood. Though she was very thankful that she was even alive, a part of her just couldn't take anymore of everyone's lives being in constant danger. She couldn't take anymore lies or secrecy. She couldn't take anyone else dying.
She thought about Matt, Tyler, Caroline and Elena. She thought about how they'd all grown up together. She thought about how they'd all planned their lives out with each other. She thought about how all of them, excluding Matt, were now some sort of supernatural being. She thought about how ever since the Salvatores came into town, all they knew was fighting for their lives and clawing at the Earth just to have a future. It shouldn't be like this. They should be safe.
She just wished that things were different and that everyone she loved was safe, that she was safe, that the circumstances were different and nobody had to die for Elena's sake.
And just as the thought crossed her mind, she swiftly blew out the candle of the cupcake.
"I sincerely hope you wised for a killer pair of shoes and a to-die-for outfit to magically show up on your doorstep for the party we're planning for you that's tomorrow night at the boardinghouse." Caroline said nonchalantly.
And just like that, the smile was wiped clean off of Bonnie's face. Her eyebrows furrowed together in confusion and she scowled at the baby vampire. Party. At the boarding house. As in the Salvatore boardinghouse. As in the Salvatore brothers. As in one deranged vampire that, under compulsion, had ditched his humanity and another one that was just a world class asshole on his own, humanity intact or not.
"What party? And you better not mean the Salvatore boarding house." Bonnie said sternly, folding her arms over her chest to emphasize authority.
Elena bit her lip nervously, choosing that moment to plead plausible deniability, though she was just as guilty as Caroline. Caroline mimicked Bonnie's stance, unmoving in her decision to throw her a party.
"Your birthday party and yes, the only boardinghouse we know of in this town."
"Care, are you insane? In case you have forgotten, Stefan is a human-ripping machine right now. He will kill everyone on-site, except Elena. No humanity. Did that accidentally slip your mind when you decided this?"
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Elena flinch at the mention of Stefan and shift uncomfortably. She was still trying to cope with the fact that he was gone, that he wasn't her Stefan anymore.
"No, I didn't. I remember perfectly, thank you. Stefan's agreed to behave himself at the party."
"And just how did you manage that?" Bonnie questioned, again, skeptically.
"His only job is to keep Elena safe and Klaus wouldn't be too thrilled if he came back to see that Elena was a vampire all because Stefan couldn't act house-trained."
Bonnie was speechless. Were they serious right now? After a whole year of trying to keep Elena from that, a whole fucking year of trying to keep her alive and human, they were using that as leverage as if it were an option so that they could throw a party? This had to be a joke and Bonnie wasn't laughing.
"No, Damon's still an asshole and I don't want a party. The cupcake and song were enough for me, guys. Tomorrow, I will be spending the entire day practicing spells and eating take-out Chinese food while I watch Love and Basketball until my eyes bleed."
With that, she brushed past the both of them, heading to her room. Their five minutes were up and all she wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep off the sudden ache in her chest.
"Oh, come on, Bonnie!" Caroline whined. "You are not blowing off your own birthday party. I won't let you. I don't care if Stefan's practically insane or that Damon's Damon. You're going and you'll have fun. You're going to drink until the entire world is spinning and dance until your legs are numb. I haven't seen you loosen up in forever, Bonnie and I just want you to have one night of no worries."
Bonnie sighed, immediately feeling just a bit guilty. She was defeated and tired. She knew that Caroline would nag her until she got something out of her.
"Look, I'm tired. I'll think about it. We can talk about it in the morning, but for now, I want to sleep."
"Absolutely," Caroline quickly agreed, nodding.
Bonnie rolled her eyes, turning her back to them, and dragged herself into her bed. She had to sleep on the edge to make room for both Caroline and Elena, too, but she didn't mind. She was used to that when they had sleepovers. She could feel Caroline smirking victoriously behind her and in thought, she reminded herself to muster up the energy to say no to the party in the morning after she was well-rested, whatever that even meant for her anymore.
Bonnie had no idea what was going on. She stood barefoot, clad in her black, over-sized t-shirt, on the side of the road in the middle of the night. She cursed under her breath. She was having those dreams again, the ones that dropped her body off in the middle of fucking nowhere while she slept.
She hugged herself closely to fight off the cold air of the night, but it nipped and bit at her exposed body. She looked around, taking in her surroundings. She was standing at one end of Wickery Bridge. Confused, she quickly looked around to make sure nothing was lurking, because her gut was telling her that something was terribly off. Something was wrong.
Just as the thought came, she noticed headlights nearing in the distance. As they came closer, her eyes became too sensitive of the light too stand it and so she shielded them, not before she caught a glimpse of Elena's father, Grayson Gilbert, with a look of fear on his face. It all happened in a blur then, very quickly. She then heard the screeching of the car's tires as he had attempted to break and stop the vehicle, but it spiraled. Bonnie's eyes were widened and her breath was caught in her throat as she watched the car topple off of the bridge and side-ways into the water below.
She just witnessed the death of her best friend's parents.
A whimper was all the sound that Bonnie could make, because she knew this was wrong. Stefan was supposed to save Elena. Stefan was supposed to come and he was supposed to get her out before she died along with her parents. Her mind in chaos and a cluster of nonsensical, backwards thought, Bonnie frantically looked around, screaming Stefan's name. She then ran, but her knees were weak. Her whole body was shutting down. She ran with tears streaming down her face, screaming for him as if her own life depended on it.
"Stefan, where the fuck are you!"
But he wasn't there. He wouldn't respond, because he wasn't there and this was a dream. The world around began to shake and Bonnie's knees gave way and buckled under her. She fell to the ground, crumbled in on herself, and tried to clutch to the Earth under her. She felt herself slowly drifting back and before she could register the span of events, she was sat pin-straight up in bed, coughing and crying like she hadn't been able to breathe and her body was still rejecting air.
She felt a warm pair of strong arms snake themselves securely around her waist – her nude waist – while she sobbed and choked for air.
"It was just a dream, baby. It was just a dream." Damon said soothingly in her ear – Damon.
Bonnie froze, her breathing still deep and trying to regain composure, but her entire body was suddenly stiff as Damon held her as close to him as he possibly could, kissing her temple, telling her over and over that it was just a bad dream, that he was there, that she was safe. With him. Damon.
"Are you okay now?" He asked her, noticing that she was still and her breathing was slowly becoming calmer.
Bonnie turned her head slightly to catch a glimpse of him and the concerned look on his face. She was naked. In bed. With Damon Salvatore. She focused all of her energy then and Damon's head filled with a sudden rush of pain, causing him to fall back into bed, arching his back as it grew. Bonnie then jumped out of bed, taking his silk sheets with her and wrapping them around her body.
"What the hell, Bonnie!" Damon yelled at her. "What was that for?"
"What the hell was it for?" She asked him incredulously. "How did I get here?" A beat of silence passed. "Did Caroline put you up to this as some kind of sick birthday joke?" She asked angrily. Damon's face twisted up with both anger and confusion.
"What? Why would Caroline need to put me up to anything when it comes to you? And how you got here? You practically live here."
Her blood was boiling. She knew that Caroline wanted her to loosen up a bit, but this was too far. This was too low, even for a Caroline-enthused joke. She started magically inducing aneurysms in Damon's head again so heavy that he clawed at his skull.
"Stop!" He begged.
"Tell me what's going on!" She snapped.
That's when Stefan intervened, unable to endure the noise anymore. He walked in, no shirt, only pajama pants. Trailing behind him was a very confused, messy-haired Caroline who clung to his forearm in fear that Bonnie would aim one of those headaches at her. She was dressed only in a button-up shirt that belonged to Stefan. The sudden distraction made Bonnie ease up on Damon, because she was now trying to figure out why Caroline was here.
"What the hell is going on in here?" Stefan asked.
"She woke up from a bad dream and went bat shit crazy on me!" Damon exclaimed. "She used her witchy juju brain explosions on me. Me!"
The tone in his voice was shocked, confused and slightly pained.
"Who put me in his bed?" Bonnie yelped.
"Uh, you did?" Caroline answered carefully. Damon was right. Bonnie was going bat shit crazy and none of them knew why, but she wasn't in the mood for an aneurysm. "You've been putting yourself there for a while."
"Caroline," Bonnie warned.
Caroline squeaked and Stefan placed himself protectively in front of her. That didn't go unnoticed by Bonnie, the way Stefan was letting her cling to him, the way Stefan looked almost murderous at the threatening tone in Bonnie's voice toward Caroline.
"Know what? Screw all of you." She muttered.
She grabbed a random pile of clothing off of Damon's floor and made her way into his bathroom, slamming the door behind her. Stefan looked at Damon, his head cocked to the side in question.
"I don't even fucking know, man." He answered before Stefan had the chance to ask.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own TVD. That's the CW and L. J. Smith.