Part of the drabble-exchange between ellensmithee,duchessofdisaster and me.

He stumbles, goes down. Doesn't get up.

Can'tget up.

He tries to draw in a breath, almost gives up because it hurts too bad. His lungs feel like they've been scraped raw by the stinging night air. He tastes blood in his mouth.

He's been running for too long, running without a direction, without knowing where he's going.


That's all there is, all he can think of.

Run. And never stop.

There's a voice in his head, reverberating through his skull, through his mind. Sneering. Unfamiliar.

Cold, hard eyes staring into his, pushing him under so fast and so deep, his body is reacting automatically. He knows he's been compelled— but that knowledge doesn't help him at all, it only adds to the pain he's in.

His body wants to run— needs to obey the order— but he's at the end of his strength, there's nothing left to give, no energy to burn. His legs twitch, feebly, straining to get up, to keep running and it hurts, white, hot needles piercing his skin. He whimpers, doesn't fight to hold it back, doesn't care how pathetic he sounds. There's no one around to hear him anyway.

He doesn't know what happened, all he remembers is waking up from a deep sleep, standing at the side of a road in nothing more but his jeans, a T-shirt and his shoes— and that man, taller than him, a dark frown on his face— and those eyes.

Run. And never stop.

His lungs cramp and he chokes, fights to get another breath in, moaning at the ice lancing through his chest. If he could, he would stop breathing, it hurts too much.

There are footsteps, getting closer. Slowly. Casually, as if they have all the time in the world. He lifts his head, squints into the darkness— and wants to cry out in relief.


Damon's voice is low, strained, but it's the best thing he has ever heard.

"Ric, get up..."

He wants to answer him, to say something, tell him how fucking good it is to see him— but he can't, too busy, still, getting enough air into his body.

Damon's still a few feet away from him, but getting closer. Slowly.

Too slow.

"Get up Ric... Run..."

He lifts his head off the ground, eyes going wide, body shuddering with the air that's rushing in and out of him. "Wh—at," he croaks, barely audible.

Damon takes another step closer, grimacing.

"It's Kol— one of the— he's compelled me, Ric— revenge— have to— kill you—"

It becomes obvious, now, that Damon is fighting to hold himself back, body tense and twisted, straining to get away from him.

"Ric, please, get up— run!"

I can't, he wants to say, can't run anymore, I can't...

But the words don't come out.

Damon gets closer, still, his eyes pleading with him while the rest his body is poised like a wild cat getting ready to pounce.

He closes his eyes, feels the tension drain out of his body, relaxes onto the cold ground, no longer fighting, no longer scared.

It will be okay.

Damon takes another step closer.

"I'm sorry," he whispers.