Chapter 40. Welcome To The New Age (Final Chapter)
"Radioactive" (Cover) by Lindsey Stirling
Tear stained and blinded by passion and rage, Damon stood like a statue in the living room of his home. He didn't know how to move. He didn't know how to breathe. He didn't know how to do anything. All he knew was how to feel. The heavy weight falling upon his chest was more than he could handle. Every thing had gone to shit.
Humanity was his worst enemy and no matter how hard he tried not to welcome it, the bastard of feelings crept through tugging on his heart. This was his fault. He should have never let her leave the house by herself. Under the circumstances a few hours earlier that were simmering into a boil, he should have not been so stupid. If anything the roles should have been reversed. His lifeless, dead body should have been lying in that field. He should be the one lying on the couch like a corpse, not Elena.
Every possible thing he could imagine was coming to the surface.
When he met her, he should have left it at that. There should have been no chase, no pursuing her, but he couldn't help himself. He was weak for beautiful women, especially her. The dark long locks of hair that fell in front of her face. Her brown doe like eyes studying him like a book. Tall, thin, and tone her structure and frame were built marvelously. Just like many artifacts in a museum he told himself to look, but not touch and he failed miserably to follow his own rules. Helpless in his own control, Elena was his weakness.
Years he spent drowning in women leaving them to their own despair as he left them to ever wonder what happened during the blank days or months they could not recall. He never hesitated of piercing pure, unblemished skin and drawing out the red substance that made him tick. This was his nature, his true self. Back then times were simpler and carefree. He couldn't picture a future where he was bound by some unforeseeable force. Love was a forbidden fruit and he wouldn't succumb to tasting it ever again after his broken heart was shot dead. But how foolish he was to believe that.
A silver circle ring of unity hugged his finger on his right hand. Symbolic and a reminder of what he gained and what he lost. Elena had changed him more than he could ever imagine. The rekindle of a flame once put out had been lit in his darkest hour and she had shown the way. She made him happy and questioned life all over again. He found the will to fight for passion and sanity. He realized how insane his life had been even when he was "in control" of it like he thought. And even if nothing amounted to anything, he knew one thing for sure. It was possible to love again.
It was early on that he knew he loved her, yet remained silent on the topic. Denial was his biggest obstacle in admitting he felt this way. Every bit of him told him to push away the warm and tingling sensation boiling inside of him when he saw her. He wouldn't allow it. Hurt and betrayed by love once before, he knew he couldn't handle going through the pain of it again. But then it was out in the open like a banner waving for all to see. Confessions of his love for her were known and she returned the emotion making it mutual. He was stunned and almost believed someone was toying with his mind, but it was real. Elena loved him and he loved her. That's when it all changed.
He didn't know it he enjoyed falling in love with her more or if loving her presently was better. What he did know was once loving her was more than he could take. The girl he loved and he hated to think of it in past tense was dead. He watched her crumble on the very ground they stood upon earlier discussing their future, wishing for nothing more than a happy ending. This was no happy ending in his book. This was devastation. This was life's way of showing him he could never be truly happy for long. Love had been ripped from him again and he cursed heaven and hell for allowing him to welcome it like he did because this hurt like fucking hell.
In his mind he played out destroying every thing in his possession. He had to ruin what little memory he had of her. He couldn't stand to look and see every thing reminding him of Elena. She was everywhere. The image of his home, his corporate office, and even her two-story house went up in flames. It would all come burning down into ashes just like he wanted it to. Nothing could be left behind. He would start over, return to his lifestyle of being reckless and ravenous. The humanity he switched back on for her would be turned off permanently. He wouldn't feel a thing. The blood flow would be endless and he wouldn't care how many bodies he left behind. He would become the true person he was, a monster.
A tiny force halted his murky thoughts. His eyes locked in on Elena still and peaceful upon his couch. She would hate him even in the after life if he went about with the plan he just concocted. Even in death she still had a hold on him.
Anger was followed by regret. He went crazy with thought of how he could have prevented this. Damon loathed the idea of what he could have done in her finals moments on Earth. He could have saved her, but it would risk every thing. All she needed was his blood in her system before she passed and she would awake. Scared and hungry, petrified of coming back from the dead was the image of how he saw her awaken. He wasn't sure if she could handle it. He didn't know if she could go through with the one thing she desired most, to create the eternity they wanted together. Panicked and in the moment, all he did was cradle her in his arms and watched her take her final breath.
His left eye produced a tiny stream of water down his cheek. Damon didn't bother to wipe it away. He didn't care who saw him cry. This was Elena. He wasn't ashamed of how he felt for her.
Regret and anger formed a bubble together that was ready to burst. A clenched jaw and blurry vision left him barely holding it together. He should have done something. Why hadn't he done enough? All Elena wanted was to become like him. She whined and complained about it and yet she was never given the chance. So against her transformation at first, he tried to talk her out of it, but something changed. He changed. The light that shined from her soul, the love that swarmed him whenever he was around her told him that there was no other option but eternity. They had to be together forever. He couldn't go on without her.
A million different ways he could have reacted to the revelation of this, but he stayed in the same spot he had been standing in since he left her on the couch. Damon hated that he hadn't opted to give Elena another chance at life. It didn't matter how she reacted or how she dealt with it. She would be alive. She wouldn't be motionless on his couch lifting up to the heavens. The answer was in his veins. All he had to do was give it to her, but he hadn't. This was entirely his fault.
Over time he lost how many hearts he had ripped out, human or vampire. In this moment he wished someone would do the same to him. He didn't deserve to be breathing. For every sin he conducted he was positive his life after death was only meant for the fiery depths of hell. He wasn't pure. He wasn't innocent, but he damn near tried to make up for all of that with Elena. An angel in disguise brought every ounce of good and worth to him and even at his best he didn't feel like he deserved any of it.
He was a monster. Cursed to the life of the damned. Even trying to right so many of his wrongs, it was next to impossible to break him from what he truly existed to be.
"Damon!" The sound of his brother's voice broke through the silence. He wasn't alone. Two sets of feet stumbled into his horror filled home and he heard from the front entry way staggered and worried breathing. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Stefan and Caroline halt in their tracks. The sight of Elena resting peacefully as if nothing tragic had happened took their breaths away. But something tragic did happen and he was too late. All the blame pointed to him.
"No, no, no." The blonde broke down. Her ugly sobbing pushed her toward her friend crouching at her side and weeping into the fabric of the couch.
One swift motion of his blinking eye released another stream of water down his other cheek. Her death was not only affecting him, but others. The impact she left behind was far greater than she could have possibly imagined.
"Come on, Elena." Caroline whispered brushing her hair with her hand. "Wake up."
"She's not going to wake up. She's dead." Damon strained to speak. No fluctuation hindered in his voice.
"She can't be." She denied the truth.
Bowing his head, he uttered, "She is." Damon didn't hold back the third tear that fell. A tiny ounce of hope rendered in his heart that maybe she would wake up and be okay. The trauma of what she had been through had simply knocked her out cold. But he knew the honest reality. The blood had stopped flowing. Her heart had stopped beating. Those two combined only meant one thing.
"No, she'll wake up." Caroline stood staring down at her ghostly friend. "Elena will wake up."
"Caroline, she's dead. Do I need to spell it out for you?" Damon asked irritated.
This was hard to accept, he understood that, but to be in complete denial was just plain stupid. He didn't want to believe she was dead as much as the next person. The evidence was clear as day in front of all of them though. Elena was dead.
"No." She argued. Her eyes fixated on his brother, who was mesmerized by the beautiful brunette they all once knew.
Air was beneath one of his feet as he took his first step forward. The fire behind his blue eyes was roaring with flames burning through the ceiling. Caroline's complete denial was more annoying than sad. If she couldn't accept it then he would gladly put in a way that would make her understand. He didn't care how ugly this conversation would get. He didn't care if he hurt her feelings and his brother punched in the face. All he cared about was giving Elena the dignity she deserved. No one needed false hope here.
"I watched her die in my arms. How much more do you need to hear for you to understand that she's gone and she's not coming back?!" Damon articulated.
Caroline wasn't one to back down in any situation. He knew that very well from personal experience and Elena's mouth. Before all of this, he was aware of her disapproval for their relationship and she had every right to be. The way things began weren't right or normal. Elena was sucked in before he could even push her away. He would be lying if he didn't at one point hate Caroline for the way she reacted toward their relationship sometimes. It wasn't hers to judge, but she got over it. Elena was happy with him and she saw that first hand. Despite everything, he cared about her too and he knew so did his brother, so the thought of crushing her throat to make his point known was out of the question. He would have to stick to harsh words instead.
"I let her out the house by herself. I let Klaus and Katherine kidnap her on my watch. I got there too late and I hate myself for that." He bellowed. "I'll never forgive myself for not getting there in time to save her. But don't you dare tell me that she is going to wake up when she isn't. I may be a lot of things, but I am not an idiot."
"Are you done?" Caroline snipped.
"No, I'm not done!" Damon pushed his chest out and licked his lips. Inches away from her porcelain skin he shouted. "Elena's dead. How many times do I have to say that before you believe it? Elena's dead. Elena's dead."
"Stop it." She begged of him.
"Do you believe me now?" He glorified in her sensitivity. "You're best friend is gone."
Two hands pushed him back and he was met with the gaze of Stefan, who clearly wasn't happy with the way he was talking to Caroline. Invisible steam shot out of every pore. He was worked up and pissed. Channeling emotions right now was not something he had control over.
"Stop it, Damon! Do you hear yourself right now?" Stefan asked. "Do you hear what you're even saying?"
The power of rage had forced him into his fit of determination to make Caroline squirm. He honestly wanted her to understand the truth of the matter, but as he blew off his steam and came back down to reality even he was ashamed with his actions. It didn't take much for him to be set off on anything, but right now he was walking on eggshells. A wrong look or even someone saying the wrong thing made him mad. He wished he wasn't like this, but it was who he was. Being a vampire only magnified his personality.
"I'm sorry." He apologized.
Caroline smudged her make-up wiping her eyes. Her mouth opened as if she wanted to say something, but closed it abruptly and turned toward Elena. She knelt back down and caressed her hand.
"Damon, there's something you should know." Stefan attracted his attention.
It didn't matter what he was going to say. Nothing mattered to even make him care.
"What else is there for me to know? Just stop trying to make things okay when they're not." Damon lowered his voice and brushed his brother's hands off his shoulders. He felt defeated. "Please."
"It's about Elena's accident. From when the car drove through her house." He explained.
He was already living in the present of what happened and didn't wish to live in the past. However, something glimmered in Stefan's eyes telling him he wasn't about to stop talking. This was up for discussion whether he was willing to listen or not.
"She lost a lot of blood. The doctors said the impact of the crash caused some internal bleeding." Stefan spoke cautiously.
"What?" Damon listened, but didn't comprehend. "She looked fine, beat up, but fine when I got there."
"That was a few hours after, Damon." Caroline interrupted. Her hand touched Elena's cheek. "When she arrived that was her diagnoses."
Back and forth his eyes fell between the two of them. His stomach flopped and coiled at a disturbing thought he hoped he wouldn't hear come out of his brother's mouth. The muscles in his chest tightened.
"What are you trying to say?" He anticipated the answer.
"That night I was nowhere near the house. I was out getting blood. Caroline knew what I was doing and I told her I would be back as soon as I was done. In that time, the accident happened." His brother informed him painfully. "Only being a mile out, I was coming back and that's when I sensed it. I heard Caroline's voice. It sounded so scared and desperate, I darted back. Elena was buried under debris and it was bad. She was bleeding everywhere. There were so many things on top of her. I panicked."
Damon held on to every word he said. When he arrived to find Elena lying in the hospital bed she was tired and bruised. A few places upon her body were covered with bandages and some scratches were visible. He half expected the worse, but when she spoke and the light in her eyes shined bright he knew she had been fine. It still didn't stop him from wanting her to fully recover. He thought Katherine's plan of attack had just barely missed her, and yet she had succeeded. What a fool he had been to believe any of that. He grabbed the fabric of Stefan's shirt pulling him close.
"What did you do?" Damon whispered severely.
"I fed her my blood." He confessed.
Tossing him from his grasp, Damon fumed with the news.
"Are you telling me that the only reason she appeared to be better than she actually was because of your blood? Are you fucking insane?" Damon shouted.
"I thought she was dead or dying." Caroline screamed in her girlish tone. "I was the one that told him to do it. I didn't trust the doctors to help her, not completely. If you want to scream and blame someone then do it to me. Stefan was only trying to save her and he did."
"Why didn't you tell me?" He asked.
"I was scared you would react like this." Stefan held his hand up in defense. "I know what you two talked about. I know what she wanted and I know that now wasn't the right time, but I had no other choice, Damon. It was either she suffered or I help her."
The chances of Stefan's vampire blood saving Elena after the accident wasn't the reason he was so heated about what he had learned. It was idea of knowing his brother's blood could bring her back from the afterlife.
"It was supposed to be me!" Damon punched his fist into his brother's chest.
"Damon, I know that." Stefan defended his explanation.
"How dare you think you have the right to give her that chance over me." He gritted through his teeth. "I was the one that was supposed to change her. Not you. Not anyone else."
"You don't think I know that." His brother yelled. "After I did, I instantly feared about what you would think if you found out. I didn't think any of this would happen thinking it would leave her system and she go on being fine."
"Son of a bitch." Damon launched toward him.
"Stop!" Caroline yelled bringing them both to halt their aggressive actions. "Why are you fighting over this? Stefan is sorry for what he did, but now you know. She's not dead. She's going to wake up."
The optimism in her voice should have brought hope and joy to him, but it didn't. Stefan would be the one to save her after all, not him. Deep down he was thankful to know there was still a chance. Elena could possibly wake up from this nightmare and be in the in-between stage of life and death. Knowing this now made him panic. He wasn't prepared for this at all. He had been convinced she was dead.
What they didn't understand of why he was so torn and belligerent toward the news was because he felt guilty. It never should have been the blood of his brother that passed her lips. It should have been his. Once he had accepted Elena's wish, he knew it would only be him to help her achieve it. Instead he was fighting off his enemies while his brother was the one tending to her injuries. This could have been over a long time ago. Katherine never should have got as far as she did. For all the times he let her slip through the cracks was unthinkable. He should have killed her the first chance he got.
"She might wake up." Stefan corrected her.
"Might? But your blood is in her system." Caroline responded in great confusion.
"From the time of when I fed her my blood and until now, it could have passed through." He said. Distress swept over him. "I don't know if she will or not."
"How long does it take? If it is, when would she wake up?" Caroline urgently questioned him.
Stefan shook his head. "Maybe an hour, maybe more or less. I don't know." His hand combed through his hair and he paced. "I'm so sorry, Damon. I just…"
The raising of his hand and his palm flat out indicated he was done talking. Damon walked over toward Elena fixating his stare upon her like she was a goddess. The hope igniting in him before was gone. Even if what Stefan had done and said, it didn't matter. He couldn't accept to think that there was a tiny chance of hope she would wake up even if he wanted her to. The more disappointment he met, the more grief he felt and he was already tired of mourning her death.
"If she wakes, so be it." Damon hushed them from speaking. "But if she doesn't…" He was certain she wouldn't. "Please just go."
The sobbing on Caroline's end had returned. Frozen at her side, he heard Stefan beckon Caroline away and into the hallway. They didn't leave the premises, but went to the farthest part of the house to let him cope. He wanted to be alone with her. He needed to say goodbye.
Damon sunk to the floor and rested his head on the cushion that stuck out of the couch. He sat staring blankly off into the distance. All the 'what ifs' came to mind followed by the memories of their past playing out like a high speed soap opera. The guilt was consuming him harder than he could handle and he pressed the palm of his hands to his forehead.
"I'm sorry." He cried. "I'm sorry I wasn't quick enough. I'm sorry I didn't feed you my blood instead of his. I'm sorry for ever hurting you. I'm sorry for bringing you into all of this."
No apology could amount to what he couldn't undo. He had lost the best thing that ever happened to him. He deserved no mercy.
Trying to tune out the blubbering of Caroline, he shook his head and pulled on his hair. It was like his heart wanted him to hear the cries of Elena's best friend. To understand the extremity of the situation when he was already well aware of how bad it was. He didn't need someone else's sorrows to confirm that.
"I'm sorry." Damon breathed.
It was all he could muster up to say to her. He hoped wherever she was that she understood how sorry he really was. As much as he wanted to take all of it back knowing he was the reason she was dead, he couldn't. All the happy memories, all the progress they had made, he had made…it was worth it. Elena was worth it and she always would be.
He didn't move again for a while. He didn't know how too. The memories poured in leaving him feeling numb or to crack a smile or even chuckle at the thought of something humorous. Clasping his hands together, he felt his wedding band on his finger and frowned. The numbing sensation was taking over again. He glanced back at her engagement ring and wedding band that matched. Only married for less than two weeks and she had already been ripped away from him. The thought made him infuriated. He didn't want anyone else. He didn't want to love anyone else but her. He married her because he loved her. He didn't care to even sleep with anyone else either. Elena was the one, in life and in death.
Of all the girls he ever slept with, she was the most memorable.
Digressing in his thoughts, he closed his eyes and focused.
Turn it off, he requested of himself. Like many times before he had turned off his humanity switch with ease. He learned how to do so over time, but each time he did it became less of a hassle. This time wasn't as easy as he hoped.
Damon reopened his eyes and looked out the fogged up window of his living room and spoke within again. Turn it off, he demanded. The ticking of his humanity roared in his ears. Why was he still holding on to it? Elena was dead. He had no reason to feel anymore. Every emotion she made him feel was a memory now. Forever he would cherish them, but he couldn't go on living with them, otherwise it would destroy him.
God damn it. Turn it off! He punched the floor.
His force and strength made the room shake. The glass bottles of half empty bourbon and other assorted liquors rocked on the shelves. He was sure Stefan and Caroline heard it too. The sobbing had turned into sniffles by now, but he still couldn't manage to tune her out.
Flying upward and on to his feet, he tore the rug from underneath him and tossed it aside. The tables and chairs sitting upon it tipped over letting anything on top crash to the ground. He kicked the objects around like they meant nothing. Wood shattered into pieces and the stuffing in the cushion of the chairs spilled out. Damon was dealing with this the only way he knew how.
With every passing moment, he was ticking like a bomb. He couldn't sit down and talk himself into turning it off. He had to destroy every thing in his path while doing it. The rage clinging to his soul was a huge part of why he was unable to let go amongst the other obvious reason.
Damon knocked each bottle of liquor from the shelf not caring if he was wasting the liquids. The neatly stacked books from decades passed down had pages tearing from the bindings as he thrashed each one over his shoulder. All he could think of was how awful he felt. The thought from earlier of wanting to burn it all down crossed his mind again. He struggled and searched for a matchbook through the mess he was creating. There had to be one somewhere. The tipped over tables sprawled damaged drawers and he hysterically rummaged through them. A small thick square touched the pad of his fingertips and he withdrew it. His eyes fell on the couch next to him and he froze taking his heated frenzy to a complete ice chill going down his spine.
It was empty.
"What are you doing?" Her ghostly voice asked to his right.
Pale and exhausted, confused and terrified, Elena stood staring at him like he was a crazed lunatic. The matches fell from his hands and every thought of turning his humanity off went out the window.
Her gaze fell down to the floor and rapidly scanned every bit of her surroundings. Lifting an arm to touch her shoulder, she winced. "How did I get here?" Her simple question left him breathless. He felt foolish for ever losing hope. "Damon?" Elena said his name. He loved the sound it rolling off her tongue.
The perplexed glaze over her eyes registered to him she had no idea what was going on. In the midst of his rampage to destroy his home, he had not heard her awake. Too focused on himself, he ignored the fact she had regain breath and rose from her deathly slumber to find him going mad. He swallowed hard at the thought.
"I thought…" She spoke and cut off her statement sliding her hand from her shoulder to her neck. The bite mark on her neck was cleaned, but still very present. Wide eyed and frightened, she breathed fast and hard. "I thought, I thought I died."
"You did." He choked out a reply.
What he pictured in his head of this moment went differently. He knew of what this felt like and the confusion that came along with it, but for Elena this was more than confusion. The one thing she wanted she got and she didn't seem a bit relieved by it.
Her mouth gapped open and Elena ran both her hands through her hair. The only thing she could utter was, "Oh my god." Her eyes lifted to him. Reality was hitting her like a ton of bricks. Neither of them expressed what was happening, but was known with unspoken words. Elena was in transition.
AN: Nine months later this story is complete. Originally I began the Fifty Shades of Salvatore fanfic series back in May 2012. Never did I imagine the amount of readers I would gain, the views I would get, and the sort of reactions I would receive. It hasn't always been easy, but I thank each and every one of you who made this story and this series into what it is today. I thank you for all of you who have reviewed my stories whether it's just once or for every chapter. Your feedback has a great effect on me and keeps me writing. Sometimes I don't always like what I read, but it helps me to become a better writer.
In the past, I've written various fanfictions of different topics. The Vampire Diaries fandom by far has been the best. No one compares to you guys and once again I thank you for that.
As I ramble, I hope you leave a review on this final chapter. If you choose not to that is fine too. Just to have someone reading my work makes me happy. Reviews are just nice added touch : )
If you don't follow me on Twitter or read my author notes at the end of every chapter then you'll be happy to know that Fifty Shades Bloodier isn't the end. A fourth and FINAL installment is coming later this fall for the FSOS series. I'll be posting the title and an eBook cover soon. If you want to get the exclusive on that follow me at MystFallsFanfic and FSOSfansite on Twitter.
Final thoughts: Thank you everyone for reading, supporting, promoting, and reviewing. Much love, MFF.