The Queen of Unintended Consequences
By Terri Botta
Summary: What happens when a vampire gives up, gives in, and gives the girl exactly what she wants.
Disclaimer: All rights belong to The Vampire Diaries belong to Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, L.J. Smith and the CW. I just take them out and play with them. No money, no infringement intended, yadda yadda yadda. I'm poor so don't sue.
Author's note: This is an AU fic that takes place in an alternate Season 3. I'm going to warn you. This is nota fluffy romance story. I'm not even sure it's a D/E story. Damon's angry and he's had enough. Elena is going to have to live with the consequences of her actions.
Much love to my betas Lisa Morgan and Glamoured-by-Eric
Setting the stage:
Episodes 1 and 2 have happened as they were aired, but Episodes 3 and 4 are switched. Ric telling Damon to take a beat with Elena, and the Founder's Party where Damon kills Ric and attacks Bill Forbes all happen BEFORE Damon and Elena go to Chicago to find Stefan. In this AU, Gloria performs the blood ritual on Stefan, but Katherine does not interrupt the truth spell and kill her. She is able to juju the truth about Elena being alive and her blood being the key to solving Klaus's hybrid troubles.
Everyone with me? Okay, here we go. Hold on. It gets bumpy from here.
It began with a conversation. Most things usually do. A conversation involving words which precipitate actions based on those words. It's part of the decision process: weighing what was said, considering the options, and then trying to decide on the best course of action based on what was known and available.
This decision process was no different for Damon Salvatore, except that it usually involved trying to figure out how to keep the important people in his life alive while minimizing collateral damage.
It wasn't as easy as he made it look, especially when said people actively undermined his efforts and even tried to circumvent them. It also didn't help that the very people he was trying to protect seemed hell-bent on pissing him off. Ric telling him to take a beat from Elena, and Elena getting all high-and-mighty with him at the Founder's party – she even thought spiking the town's water supply with vervain was a good idea! Help him keep himself in control? Seriously? That certainly didn't help their case any. He was a 170-year old vampire, and no one – especially an 18-yr old girl, even one he loved – told him what to do. No one.
For sure, killing Ric hadn't been the smartest thing in the world to do, and he did sort of regret it, but they'd needed a reminder that he wasn't a tame vamp like his brother. Although Stefan was anything but tame these days. The point was that both of them – all of the little Mystic Falls Scooby Gang actually – kept looking for Stefan in him, and they kept missing who he was. They didn't see him. They never saw him. All they saw was another vampire who sort of did what they asked; who maybe, if Elena batted her eyes in just the right way, they could get him to play along. But they never understood what was really going on, that he was giving them the illusion of control. They thought they had him on their leash, but in reality he was never tethered at all.
The debacle of the Founder's party, where the people he had come to trust and consider friends, ganged up on him, all but accusing him of needing to be kept under control and turned into his brother, grated on him in ways that made him angry and resentful. It proved that, even after everything he had done all summer to help Elena and keep her safe, even after acting as werewolf bait to draw the threat away from Ric and Elena in Tennessee, they still saw him as a monster who couldn't be trusted.
The truth hurt a lot more than he thought it would, and the betrayal cut deep. So maybe he shouldn't have killed Ric… or attacked Bill Forbes, but, hey, they obviously expected it of him and who was he to disappoint? Why should he act like a man when all they saw was the monster? Why put up with all the judgment and recriminations and orders when there was no reward?
Of course, the real tragedy in all of this was that they were missing the point. Damon was loyal to those who were loyal to him. (Hello! Pined after a self-serving bitch who never loved him for 145 years!) He didn't have many friends. He was a dick after all and most people wouldn't put up with that – but what friends he did have, he cherished. If they treated him well and kept faith with him, there was almost nothing he wouldn't do for them. In all their looking for Stefan in the elder Salvatore, they were completely ignoring the man who would have followed them to the ends of the Earth if they'd just stopped stabbing him in the back.
With everything that was going on with the Council, and Stefan, and the threat of Klaus finding out Elena was still alive, discovering that his "friends" were anything but was enough to make him want to throw up his hands, give them all two one-finger salutes and head for greener pastures. The only thing that kept him from doing so was his irrational fear that Klaus would decide to bring Stefan back to Mystic Falls and find the doppelganger still breathing, and no matter how much he had tried to kill the feelings he had for Elena, he couldn't stop loving her and he'd do anything to keep her safe.
It was a no-win situation for him, and it was driving him nearly out of his mind. Normally, he would call Andie and lose himself in her for a few hours, but Stefan had killed Andie – a little fact that Elena seemed to be all too happy to sweep under the rug. It was okay that Stefan killed his girlfriend. She wasn't a real girlfriend like Elena was to Stefan. She was a fake, compelled girlfriend so it was okay that Stefan had made her jump to her death. Apparently killing someone didn't count as murder when Saint Stefan did it. It only counted when Damon killed someone, then it was all "you're a psychopathic murder with no redeeming qualities." Until he was needed, or dying, then all would be forgiven, until the next time he did something to piss the perfect Elena off. Really what sane person who wasn't a hopeless masochist would put up with this shit?
It was in this dour, fuck-it-all frame of mind that he found himself when his phone buzzed and announced an unknown caller just as he had poured himself the first of what he'd hoped would be many drinks. Enough to drown his sorrows for a few minutes, or at least dull them long enough for him to see a clear path around the reeking piles of crap he was trying to navigate through.
"You're interrupting my drink," he growled, raising the glass to his lips.
"You miss me?"
'Katherine.' Just what he needed to make his little circle of Hell complete. "Katherine," he sighed. "Where are you?"
"Lurking outside your window, pining away," she answered coyly, chuckling.
"What do you want?" He really was not in the mood to play her games. He was raw and on edge enough as it was.
"I'm homesick. What have I missed?"
"Well, Stefan's still Klaus's little prisoner, and Elena still thinks she can save him… and no one's thought about you since you left," he replied, adding the dig on purpose.
He took a drink, letting the familiar burn ground and center him. When dealing with Katherine, you had to bring your A-Game, and for that he needed to be focused. Everything she said had two, sometimes three, different meanings and had to be run through the self-centered, self-serving bitch filter.
"And what about you? I'm sure now that you've given up on your brother, you're plotting some sort of way of moving in on his girlfriend."
Her voice was a sultry purr, but he wasn't going to stroke that kitty. No how. No way.
"I didn't give up on him. I just don't know where he is," he answered tersely.
Her reply, and the indulgent silence that followed, told him everything he needed to know. He could almost see the smug smile on her face, and he wanted to rip it off.
"But you do. Are you trailing them?" he questioned, dangling the tease out for her to grab.
"A hybrid who wants me dead and a sidekick who's off the rails? I couldn't be further away."
'Yeah, right.' "Which means you know exactly where they are."
"All I know is that Klaus pitched a fit once his hybrids didn't work, and now he's looking for some answers."
She was matter-of-fact now. All business and it made his ears perk up. There was a message there, he just needed to decipher it.
"How do you know that?" he pressed, not really wanting to play her game, but knowing if he didn't give her at least a little of what she was hunting for she'd take her toys and go home.
"You spend 500 years running, and there'll be a few people along the way that are looking out for you."
"Is that what you're doing? Looking out for my brother?" he asked, unable to keep the cruel edge of betrayal out of his voice.
"Maybe. Maybe not. I'm conflicted."
Okay, that was enough. He was losing his patience, and she was interrupting his drinking time. Drinking time that he was spending alone because Ric wouldn't drink with him after the whole snapping-his-neck thing. Some people were just way too sensitive. 'But yet they expect me to take whatever shit they dish out at me, and I'm just supposed to deal with it because I'm the "evil" vampire.'
"Where are they?" he demanded.
"So impatient. One would think you aren't having any fun having Elena all to yourself."
As always, she knew what targets to aim at, but he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of knowing she'd scored a hit.
"Where. Are. They," he snarled.
"Okay, fine. I'll give you a hint. Klaus dragged them to see an old friend. A dark-skinned, white-haired witch he used to run with in the 20's," she replied with a petulant huff.
"Gloria," he deduced in a second. Powerful voodoo witch, but boy could she sing. He'd kept track of her over the years, and he knew that she was still in Chicago, only now she owned her own bar.
What was it with witches and bars? Bree had owned a bar. A number of other witches he knew also owned bars. There was something about the profession that drew them; probably the ability to meet with lots of people in a setting where no one tended to look twice at who was associating with whom. He'd found that all the real witches he knew either owned bars or plant nurseries, and all the new age witchy-wannabes were the ones who owned occult shops that sold tarot cards and spell components. He preferred the bars. They smelled so much better.
"Gotta go. All this running is making me peckish," Katherine teased, bringing him out of his musings just as the line went dead.
After she hung up, Damon considered his options. Obviously, a road trip was in order just to make sure Katherine was telling the truth, and maybe he could have chat with Gloria to get an idea as to what Klaus was up to. She'd always liked him, and he felt that she might help him rescue his brother if he could get her on his side.
However, it was the worst time to find Stefan, especially an off-the-rails Stefan. With the Council breathing down on them, threatening to spike the town's water supply with vervain, and Bill Forbes running around – uncompulsible and unkillable - playing the role of a middle-aged, unattractive Van Helsing, adding an unpredictable, strung-out-on-human-blood Stefan to the mix was a recipe for ultimate disaster.
Still, part of him wanted to court that disaster, to toss a truly wild card into the mix, and remind the naïve town of Mystic Falls what a real hunting vampire was like. Elena thought he was the aberration, not bunny-munching Stefan and his blonde, bagged blood drinking protégé. Ric had deluded himself into thinking he was some sort of super vampire hunter who stood a chance against a real seasoned killer who wanted him dead, and Bitchy Witchy was stupid enough to believe her little migraine trick would work on multiple vamps at once or even one blood-crazed vampire hell-bent on eating her. The Council, of course, was a clueless joke even with Bill Forbes leading the anti-vampire charge. If a real threat like the tomb vampires were to come into town, the streets would run red with blood, and the hapless citizens of Mystic Falls would be helpless to defend themselves against the onslaught.
His protecting the town and its inhabitants had done them a disservice. It had made them complacent and overconfident. Maybe it was time for him to rescind his protection and let them deal with an active predator on their own for once, and a Ripper at that because he had no doubts that his brother had returned to his old dine and dismember ways. Maybe it was time to show Elena the real Stefan and not the vegetarian, brooding stick-in-the-mud he'd been for the last fifty years.
The whole lot of them needed a wake-up call. They needed to realize that he was not the one who needed to be controlled. He was not the one they could tell what to do or try to mold into the image of someone he was not. He'd played the marionette, dancing to their tune, letting them think they had the ability to order him around. Well, now he was cutting the strings. Yesterday had been the last straw. He was not Stefan, and he wasn't going to turn himself into Stefan, not for Elena, not for anyone.
Maybe they needed to learn that his not being Stefan was a good thing.
He entertained the idea of going to Chicago, kidnapping his brother, dragging him back to Mystic Falls, and dropping him on Elena's doorstep with a jaunty sayonara. That lasted all of two minutes as his overactive imagination supplied the gory details of what a Ripper Stefan would do to her. He might be royally pissed off at her and Ric for the crap they pulled, but he wouldn't wish the tortures his off-the-rails brother would inflict upon a victim on anyone, least of all the girl he loved. And Stefan would hurt Elena. Damon knew it with complete certainty, because Stefan still loved Elena, and you always hurt the ones you love the most.