Author's Note: This started out as a drabble under my A Snapshot in Time series but after I hit 1200 words I figured it was best to post it as a one shot. It's been awhile since I wrote anything significant under the Bamon banner. I missed them! The title credit goes to Airborne Toxic Event, since I was listening to the song over and over as I wrote this!
Sometime Around Midnight
Damon wonders one afternoon (over a bottle of bourbon) if she realizes just how transparent she really is.
He has to give her some credit he supposes - she puts on a good act.
Bonnie Bennett - the concerned friend, the loyal ally, the good witch.
Then again after playing that particular part for so long, she would be able to pull it off without blinking. He is willing to bet good money (or just the bills he found in the crack of the sofa) that she pats herself on the back on a nightly basis, thinking that she has fooled them all.
She should really pay more attention to him.
Because from the moment he first laid eyes on her, he has paid attention.
He made a promise after all - it makes no matter to him that both he and Emily voided their little contract the night he put fear in the eyes of Bonnie Bennett.
Damon likes to think that every once and awhile he can be a man of his word.
The Bennett line will survive, flourish and continue underneath his watchful (but sometimes horribly misguided) eye.
Besides, the chance to best Bonnie at her own game proves to be too good of an opportunity to pass up.
He sets aside the empty bottle, forces himself not to hone in on the hushed whispers of Stefan and Elena from elsewhere in the house, and then stands.
He has a bad little witch to find.
He wonders if they asked too much of her, pushed her too far, made her the answer to their every problem.
Then he realizes that is a stupid thing to wonder.
Because he knows they have.
So really, this is partially their fault.
But hell if he's ever admitting that out loud (but he is free to think whatever he wants).
He strides up to her like he owns the place (owning a street - now there's an idea, he'd probably charge a toll just to piss off the good citizens of Mystic Falls). She is moving with purpose, away from the school towards God knows where.
The moment he is close enough he thinks that her friends must be blind not to see it. The change in her rolls off her in waves, and it's almost seductive really. It has been awhile since he has been in the presence of a witch who dabbles in dark magic. He has forgotten just how it changes the user. There is the psychological change – how the soul tarnishes a smidgen with each use. That is not visible to the naked eye of course. But the little physical things are.
Like smell. That is apparent to someone with as keen a nose as him.
Bonnie Bennett smells good .
It's not like any perfume or cloying body wash. It's something from within her that hits him hard.
He wonders what she tastes like.
If he is being honest (and he usually is with himself and only himself), he would like nothing more than to throw her against a nearby surface and sink his fangs into her throat just so he can see what her little secret has done to her blood.
It would solve so many problems.
Well...except for the whole 'the Bennett line will survive thing'.
"I never took you for the strong silent type, Damon," Bonnie quips as she walks. She hasn't so much as given him a sideways glance. If she knew what he was just thinking she might.
Damon smirks, going to his trademark. "You never take me for anything, Bon-nie ."
"Except for annoying," she tells him as she rounds the corner. He deduces she is heading home. Well, that won't do. Because the moment she crosses that threshold that puts her out of his reach, he's shit out of luck.
He guesses this will have to be quick and dirty.
He maintains his easy gait. If she can play the role of the good witch, he can certainly pretend to be clueless (he's never been clueless a day in his life, well...except for maybe when it comes to Katherine but she an anomaly wrapped in an enigma and all that crap). He trades barbs with her, letting her think she has superior wit, letting her fall into a false sense of security.
He waits until they are relatively out of sight before he strikes.
Bonnie doesn't even know what hit her (which is probably a good thing considering the amount of power she is no doubt packing right now).
He is perched on a chair reading The Witches of Eastwick when she finally comes too (because it's goddamn funny and John Updike was once an acquaintance of his, amusing guy). It takes a moment for everything to sink in. She blinks, rubs absently at the sore area where neck and shoulder meet (of course he is going to pick his favorite spot to drive home a hypodermic needle). Then it all fits together just nicely.
She narrows her eyes and launches at him.
He gives himself credit for not laughing when she hits that invisible barrier (does she even realize how much willpower that took? She's landed on her ass, her hair askew and her eyes blazing).
"What the hell?" There is venom in her voice. Enough to make him realize he had been lucky to nab her as easily as he did. She probably has enough juice to turn his brain into liquid mush. He doesn't want to spend any amount of time drooling in the corner.
He waits until she has pulled herself to her feet (because seriously, he doesn't want to laugh when he is trying to play the straight cop role). Then he stands as well, tossing the book over his shoulder (first edition, personally dedicated, probably worth something someday). "You know when I started to do a little research I discovered something that was highly entertaining."
"You are going to be in so much trouble," she promises, her hands clenched by her sides.
He believes her (of course he acts like he doesn't and pushes on through). "Did you know the main ingredient in neutralizing negative energy is garlic? All that folklore on garlic and vampires and it turns out that witches are the ones..." He trails off realizing that she is not amused. "Of course it is not that simple. I can't just stuff spaghetti aglio e olio down your throat until you behave. There was like a thousand little things stuffed into that potion I injected straight into blood stream. But I have to admit, I laughed when your cousin threw big clove of garlic in the mix."
For the first time she looks a little panicked.
"Oh yeah, did I mention that I talked to Lucy?" He leans against the doorframe and realizes that this room has become the all-purpose holding cell for those who still have a bit of good in them that needs to be coaxed (beaten) out. "She told me to tell you that you've been a naughty little witch. I think also she told me to spank you. Or maybe I added that part myself – it's a bit of a blur."
"Damon, let me out!" She stands now right in front of him. Right against that barrier that holds her in and he once again is annoyed that he can't have a good laugh at the role reversal (or maybe he can, in the comfort of his own bed while she's down here).
"Let yourself out," he tells her casually. He waits a beat. Smirks. "You can't. You know your cousin is quite good at what she does." He takes a moment to tap at the protective ward hastily nailed over the doorframe this very morning. It serves to be the source of power that seals the bad witch in. "You could learn a thing or two from her."
Bonnie takes a deep breath.
There is a flash of something in her eyes – something dark and twisted.
Just how far gone is she.
"Calm down, Wicked Witch of the West. You know what this dark magic thing has done to you? It really has robbed you of your sense of humor," Damon retorts.
"I don't know what you are talking about," she says and there she goes, trying to be good little Bonnie, all sugar and fire.
He's not buying what she is selling.
"You must think I'm an idiot." When her face lights up, he shakes his head. "Yeah, I kind of walked into that one. But seriously, Bonnie, I'm not stupid. I've been around a lot longer than you. I've seen of a lot of things, and I know when someone is just pretending to be good. Hell, I wrote the book on it." Or he would of if he were ever a boring pompous ass (he should have paid John to do it when he had the chance).
Bonnie is quiet now, stewing no doubt. This is his moment – he has shown her that he can beat her at her own little scheme.
This is his triumph.
Only it doesn't quite feel like that.
Because the girl standing before him is not his Bonnie. She is a mutation, a product of way too many tragedies and not enough good memories to counterbalance it all out.
So he can't claim victory over her.
It wouldn't be the same.
He can, however, take steps to help her take back herself (he can gloat then of course).
"I learned something else too, when I was chatting it up with Lucy the good," Damon steps back now. Now that he realizes he can't brag (well, he probably has known that all along), he is finding this situation rather tedious (no, sad…another thing he'll never admit out loud). "Dark magic is a drug. You take a little hit and then you want more. And more. Bonnie Bennett, you clearly are an addict. If there is one thing I know it's how to deal with an addict." He makes that duh face as his eyes cast upward to where Stefan sits on the couch no doubt brooding to the point of wrinkles (he had been smart enough to let his brother in on the plan because frankly, Stefan is such a bleeding heart he would have let Bonnie go had he not known the 411).
"You can't keep me here." True to his words, she reacts like the typical addict. Her heart rate has sped up, she is flushed, she is on the edge of freaking out. She'll bargain soon. And as much as he has always wanted Bonnie Bennett to get off her high horse and beg him for anything it won't give him any satisfaction.
Stupid life; it always has a way of taking away the fun bits.
"Yeah, I can," he summarizes neatly. "You need to dry out. It won't be pretty. You'll probably call me a lot of names, threaten to cut out my tongue, boil my blood. You know, standard dark witchy fare. I promise not to take it personally."
She lowers her head now, and he wonders if she is weighing her options, realizing the odds and conceding defeat.
When their eyes meet, it is back – the dark fathomless look that chills him to the bone. He swallows on reflex. He realizes that he isn't scared that she will break through the ward – he is scared that she will never break through the hold that the darkness has on her.
That his Bonnie will never return.
"Mark my words, vampire, I will find a way out. And when I do, you're going to pay for this." Even her voice has taken on a different intonation. She doesn't sound like she should. She sounds…cold.
Cold and inhuman.
He finds himself missing the days when she would hiss and spit at him like a cat. Even when she was verbally dissecting him at least there was something resembling life behind her words.
Of course, he can't actually tell her this. First, because he doubts that in this current state she will actually give a rat's ass. Second, because he knows that when his Bonnie is back, she will throw it back in his face.
So he plays it off with a brush of his hand, an amused scowl, and his usual teasing tone. "Sure you will, witchy poo. It'll be cute to see you try. You'll be all 'rawr' and I'll be lounging upstairs with a glass of my best scotch."
He turns to do just that now and feels it. The unmistakable blast of power hitting the barrier hard. It holds - but he gets just a taste of what she is capable of.
He moves quicker now.
He doesn't go into the basement for two days.
He doesn't dare.
He can hear her no matter where he is in the house. Screaming, chanting, breathing (yes, he eavesdrops on that every now and then – because he feels the need to be sure).
Damon only opens the door that leads him down to what is no doubt Bonnie's version of hell at the moment when he has heard nothing but a steady heartbeat for an hour straight. The moment he places his foot on the first step, he flinches. There is something in the air, a smell, a sense of left over energy – like ozone after a lightning strike.
He focuses on her heartbeat, strong despite what it has been through over the past forty-eight hours. When he comes to stand before the still open door (because seriously, why close it when that's not what holds her in…moot point and all), he raises an eyebrow.
She is sprawled out in front of the doorway, unconscious. He has no idea if it is because of exhaustion or something else. She is wearing the evidence of two days of clawing, pushing, fighting back. Her hair is a tangled mess, there are dark circles under her eyes, her lips are pressed together tightly, her hands are clenched even in her sleeping state.
Bonnie Bennett – fighter to the end.
To some, this might not look good. It might look as if she is desperate to hang onto the very thing that is slowly poisoning her.
But to him, it is a sign – because only his Bonnie would be this stubborn.
He crouches down now, in front of the doorway. He is tentative (thank God no one is around to see him second guess himself, he'd shake it off) but in the end, he reaches across the divide, his fingers coming to play in the loose curls of her hair.
She doesn't stir (further evidence to just how much she is fighting back, just how much she is coming back).
He grins a little.
They'll be back to flinging insults and aneurisms.
It won't happen overnight (especially when it comes to her stubborn ass).
But it will happen (and this is one of those things that he will admit out loud).