A/N: so, it's been over a year and I'm so sorry. there have been so many things going on-I've had terrible writer's block and life has just generally been kicking my ass. good news, I'm starting uni in a week. bad news, I'm not too sure what that will mean for updates. in addition, I've realised that I've really lost all interest in Bonnie and Damon and all things TVD, like, I literally don't care what happens. I've got both of my stories all planned out, so they'll definitely be finished, but it's a bit sad. anyway, thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed and stuck by me. enjoy/review and, hopefully, I'll be back in the swing of things.

"Why should we believe a word that comes out of your mouth? We all know you have an issue with Bonnie." Damon was leaning back, staring impassively at Elena, the undertone of ice in his gaze making it all the more hurtful for the girl, who bowed her head and played with her fingers.

"I know…I know that I've hurt you all, especially Bonnie, but…I want to make things right. I don't know what's wrong with me, it's like I had no control of my actions." Stefan, Damon and Bonnie exchanged a look.

"Well, I call bullshit," Caroline piped up from her seat on one of the couches, the one furthest from her old best friend. "You're a hateful bitch and I don't trust a damn thing that you have to say."

"Care." Bonnie's tone was warning as Tyler rubbed a soothing hand down the blonde's spine.

"What?" When Bonnie widened her eyes in response, her temper flared. "She killed you, yet I'm the one getting scolded like a child? How does that work?" She rose to her feet, sending Elena a death-glare before storming from the room in righteous indignation. Elena turned to the group of people all eyeing her warily, her gaze trained specifically on the bronze-skinned, green-eyed beauty directly before her.

"Bonnie, I know you have no reason to trust me, but I swear I'm telling the truth. Klaus and Rebekah kidnapped me and she told me that they wanted to take you out because you were the biggest threat to them."

"Do you have any idea how delusional you sound right now?"

"Damon." Bonnie placed a hand on Damon's thigh to calm him and Elena gritted her teeth against the urge to rip the appendage clean off.

"I'm not lying. I know I messed up, but I'm trying to help you here." Damon scoffed.

"And, what, we're supposed to be grateful? You killed Bonnie and you're gonna sit there and act like you're doing us a favour? You're lucky I don't rip your heart out right here."

"Damon, stop it." Bonnie elbowed him in the rib and rose to her feet. "Look, this meeting isn't going to get anywhere with everyone putting in their two cents, so you either listen to what she's saying or you get out." She stared at Damon and placed emphasis on the last two words of her sentence. He folded his arms stubbornly, shooting her an equally irritated scowl in return.

"I'm gonna go…check on Caroline." Tyler stood and slipped out of the room, escaping the awkward tension. Matt sprung up from his perch on one of the side tables, following rapidly after his friend; Jeremy, too, stood and exited the room, shooting Bonnie a look that promised that their conversation would be continued at a later date. Stefan watched his brother, a confused frown marring his face, before he too rose slowly to his feet, preparing to leave.

"Stefan, wai-" He held up his hand, halting Elena's speech and stalked from the room, his gait stiff with restrained tension. She deflated back into her seat, wrapping her arms around her waist and turning to watch the intense stare off between her best friend and ex-boyfriend.

"Look, I'm not trying to cause any trouble. I just wanted to warn you guys." Damon let out a growl from deep in his throat and turned his icy stare to her.

"Shut up, Elena." Turning back to Bonnie, he reached out and gripped her arm, pulling her in close.

"You're not really going to listen to this, are you? Why would the Originals want to kill you when you've turned into a vampire already? What exactly would their endgame be?" Bonnie threw an unsure glance at Elena over her shoulder before turning back to face him.

"Look at her, Damon. What reason would she have to make something like this up?" He rolled his eyes.

"You're such a bleeding heart. What does someone have to do to get you to realise they can't be trusted-kill you? Oh wait, she already did that." Bonnie wrenched her arm from his grip, glaring venomously at him.

"Yeah, you'd know all about ways to hurt me, right?" He stepped back, her words delivered with such venom that he physically recoiled. A tense silence immediately descended over the pair and Damon's ears picked up the sounds of Elena shifting uncomfortably on the leather couch.

"Do you think I could get a shower or something?" Elena's quiet voice piped up from behind them as she swiped sweaty hairs from her forehead, grimacing when a smudge of dirt came off on her hand. Damon turned to face her, glaring fiercely.

"You have a house, don't you?"

"Damon!" Bonnie's reproaching tone immediately raised his hackles.

"You can yell all you want but she is not staying in my house any longer. If that's an issue, you can go with her." Bonnie gritted her teeth against the hurt that his words evoked.

"Fine." He stormed from the room, sending one final glare at the two women in the room. Moments later, their enhanced hearing picked up the sound of his bedroom door slamming.

"Trouble in paradise?" Elena was quickly silenced by Bonnie's animalistic growl.

"Don't. I'm still debating whether this information that you so happened to acquire is worth me not ripping your heart out of your chest." Elena raised her hands in surrender. "Look, I'm not in the mood for any more fighting. You can go now."

"So you're just going to dismiss me?" At Bonnie's hard stare, she sighed in defeat, pushing herself from the couch and moving wearily towards the door. "Y'know, I'm really sorry for what happened between us. I know I've been a grade one bitch, but I'm trying to redeem myself here." As she moved towards the door, Bonnie opened her mouth preparing to call her back and offer some words of comfort. However, memories of Elena's hands wrapping around her throat caused her to close her mouth, swallowing heavily as her old friend made her way out of the door. Raking a hand through her hair, she pulled her phone from her pocket, scrolling through her recent calls to find Lucy's contact details. She chewed nervously on her thumbnail as she waited for her cousin to pick up.

"Bon? What happened?" Bonnie released a half sob.

"We need to talk. There's a problem."

7 months ago

Stefan stepped further into the room, his eyes darting between the other two occupants.

"What's going on here?" Bonnie pushed away from the wall that Damon had pinned her against. She sent a withering glare in the vampire's direction as he pushed himself back onto his feet.

"I was just leaving." Moving back over to the desk, she gathered her laptop and the wide array of papers strewn across the wooden surface, stuffing them messily into her laptop bag. In a matter of minutes, she was on her way out of the door, skirting around Stefan.

"Bonnie!" Damon's call was answered by the front door slamming, the heavy wooden object muffling the sound of her rapid footfalls as she ran towards the safety of her car.

"Good job, Damon. You really know how to treat a lady." Damon frowned at his brother.

"Where the hell have you been? We've spent all this time trying to find you and you just stroll in like nothing happened." Stefan shrugged, moving towards the bar and pouring himself a tumbler of bourbon.

"I've been…around." Damon smirked sardonically.

"Yeah, I saw. You've been a busy boy, haven't you?"

"Don't patronise me, Damon."

"Ah-there's the Ripper Stefan I know and hate. Am I gonna have to vervain you, tie you up in the cellar like before?" Stefan narrowed his eyes at his brother.

"I'm going to bed. You may want to apologise to Bonnie before Elena finds out that you choked her best friend, otherwise she'll get all upset and she starts getting all doe-eyed and frowny and before you know it, she's crying to me and that'll open up a whole other can of worms that no one wants opened again." Damon stared in shock at his brother's retreating back, his mouth agape at his newfound confidence.

"What the hell?"

Damon returned back downstairs nearly an hour after he had heard the front door close. He was surprised, therefore, to see Bonnie sitting on one of the leather couches, biting her thumbnail as she listened to whoever she was talking to on the phone. As his foot hit the bottom step, her eyes darted up to meet his.

"Hey, Luce, I'm gonna have to call you back. Yeah, okay. Bye." She hung up, never breaking eye contact with him, and nervously wiped her palms on her jeans as she rose to her feet.


"Hey." She felt hope rise in her chest at the sight of his softened gaze, an indication that his temper had abated.

"I sent Elena home."

"Yeah, I see that." She scuffed her shoe against the floor, her eyes glued to the movement. Damon wasn't giving her anything to work with and she wasn't sure whether he was still mad at her.

"Well, I guess I'll just go then." She moved to leave but was halted by the soft grip of Damon's hand on the inside of her elbow.

"Wait. Don't go. I…I'm sorry." She shut her eyes, inhaling a deep breath before turning to face him. "You just…you drive me crazy. Sometimes, the way I feel about you makes me do crazy things." She swallowed.

"And…how do you feel about me?" He stepped in closer, his warm breath fanning across her face.

"How do you feel about me?"

"I asked you first." He smiled, leaning in to press his face into the crook of her neck, inhaling her scent. Her fists tightened as she fought to hold back the onslaught of embarrassing noises building up in her throat. When he finally pulled back, she let out a relieved breath that she hadn't know she was holding.

"You know that I'm in love with you, right?"

Well, there goes all the oxygen in the room.

"I'm getting really sick of that doppelgänger bitch knocking me out." Klaus scoffed, leaning against the wall as he watched Rebekah running a brush through her hair.

"Perhaps you should stop letting a baby vamp get the best of you, Beks, it's becoming rather embarrassing." She paused her actions to shoot him a withering glare in the mirror.

"So, what are we meant to do about their merry band of misfits then?" Klaus shrugged, already bored with the subject.

"Nothing, Rebekah. Our war with them is over." At her indignant huff of air, he moved further into the room. "The Bennett witch was the only one strong enough to pose a threat to us and it would be foolish for them to attack now that she is without her powers. It would be fruitless to waste our efforts on a pre-emptive strike against them." Rebekah narrowed her eyes at her brother, taking in his relaxed stance and smirking face with a suspicious gaze.

"Is this about the Bennett witch, or is it you seeking favour with Caroline by sparing her friends?" Klaus shrugged lazily but the slight widening of his grin indicated that, yes, that was exactly why. Rolling her eyes, the blonde Original slammed her hairbrush on the table with such force that she cracked the ornate handle and dented the wooden surface of her dressing table (A/N: vanity table in American English).

"You are joking, right?" Further irritated by the immovable smug smirk on her brother's face, Rebekah rose to her feet, stalking closer to him with each word. "So the big, bad Klaus Mikaelson is pussy-whipped by a teenager? Oh, wait, she doesn't even want you." A sardonic laugh bubbled up in her throat and escaped her lips. Klaus stiffened, her words grating a sensitive spot.

"That's enough, Bekah." She sneered at him, rising from her seated position.

"No, what I've had enough of is this stupid obsession that you have with Caroline Forbes. It's pathetic and beneath you and downright embarrassing to watch." Klaus sped across the room, grabbing onto his sister's neck and slamming her against the wall.

"I said that's enough," he roared, punching a hole in the wall beside her head with the fist of his other hand. Rebekah's shocked expression quickly morphed into one of anger, mirroring the look on Klaus' face. She snapped his wrist, disengaging his grip, and quickly shoved against his chest before he had time to overcome his shock. He hit the opposite wall, the flimsy plaster offering no resistance against the force of his body, which quickly crumbled beneath him. Quickly hopping to his feet, he let out a growl that was more animal than human, his eyes burning yellow. "Don't push me, little sister. My patience is running thin." She curled her lip and snarled, her body crouched low in a defensive stance as she anticipated his next move; to her surprise, he turned and left the room, his eyes returning to their usual colour whilst he casually brushed dust from his jacket. "And I meant what I said. Elena Gilbert and her friends are off limits." She rolled her eyes as he called back at her, frowning when she took in the damage done to her room.

"Great, thanks a lot, Nik."

Lucy hiked her bag further onto her shoulder, struggling under the weight of the numerous grimoires which she was carrying.

"Do you need some help with that?" She watched warily as Stefan approached her, reaching for the strap of her bag and relieving her of the weight.

"Thanks." Glancing at him out of her peripheral vision, Lucy readjusted the books in her arms and the two walked in a slightly uncomfortable silence towards the front door of the boarding house. As they ascended the steps, Stefan turned to face her, his expression apologetic.

"Lucy, I know that you don't have a very good impression of me or my brother and I understand your hesitance to trust us; we've hurt Bonnie a lot over the years, but I really do consider her to be a close friend and I want to help her through this as well."

"Look, Stefan, you can save the heartfelt speeches for Bonnie. I'm here to protect my cousin and if that means playing nice, that's what I'll do. I don't trust you and I probably never will, but if Bonnie is willing to continuously risk her life for you, then I'm going to stand by her. We're the only family each other have left and I'm not going to abandon her again." Before he was able to respond, the door was pulled open and Bonnie's smiling face peered out at them.

"Lucy, you came." The older Bennett forced a smile onto her lips, gritting her teeth behind her closed lips.

"What's Damon doing letting you answer the door?" Bonnie's smile dimmed at her cousin's reprimanding tone.

"I'm right here, witchy." The door was pulled open to reveal the older vampire, his arm wrapped firmly around Bonnie's waist. "No need to get your panties in a twist."

"You're disgusting." Lucy shot a grimace in his direction as she moved past him.

"Yeah, well Bonnie said the same thing and look at us now. Face it, Lucy, you and I are gonna be BFFs." She pulled a face, violently shrugging off the arm that he draped over her shoulders.

"Over my dead body." Damon's smirk dropped abruptly off his face.

"You keep talking to Bonnie about California and that can be arranged." Stefan stepped in, placing a warning hand on his brother's arm.

"Stop antagonising her. She's Bonnie's family." Damon turned on him, barely keeping his temper in check.

"No, we're her family, and the last thing she needs is some stranger trying to ship her across the country just because they happen to share the same last name."

"Damon." Bonnie stepped into the room, her glare fierce and her tone hard. Feeling his defences go up, he crossed the room and crowded her space.

"What, Bonnie? You don't know anything about her other than that she was willing to work with Katherine, vampire-bitch extraordinaire, and you're just going to blindly believe that she has your best interests at heart?" When she remained silent, he turned to his brother, his gaze wild. "Am I crazy or should we not be wary of her intentions?"

"I can assure you that I'm only trying to protect my cousin."

"From what? From us?" Lucy jutted her chin out in defiance, refusing to back down.

"With the amount of times you've made Bonnie feel expendable in the name of keeping Elena alive, is it any wonder that I'm not convinced by this new 'caring' act you've all got going on?" Damon bared his teeth, advancing on Lucy.

"Damon, stop!" Bonnie sped in front of him, pushing him forcefully away from her cousin. "What is your problem?" The force of her push caused him to crash into a side table, splintering the wooden object with his weight. "Are you seriously threatening my cousin right now?" He snarled, pushing himself to his feet and brushing himself off.

"She is not taking you away from me." He ground out through gritted teeth.

"She's not taking me anywhere, I'm going voluntarily!" The words burst from her lips in an aggravated rush, her mind barely having time to catch up with her mouth. By the time she realised what she had said, her friends had fallen silent, matching looks of horror on their faces.

"What?" Caroline's whispered question resonated loudly in the quiet of the room. Shooting a panicked look at Lucy, she struggled to find something to say. Damon took a step forward, his eyes blazing with barely restrained fury. "What did you just say?" She stumbled over her feet moving away from him.

"I-I've been talking to Lucy and I think it would be best if I went to California with her, maybe just for a while." He slammed a hand into the wall beside him.

"Best for who? Best for me?" He turned around, gesticulating wildly with a frantic look in his eyes. "Caroline, would it be best for you? Stefan? Who would it be best for?"

"Me! I'm doing this for me because, contrary to popular belief, I actually like being alive. I am sick of being targeted just to protect some brat who couldn't give a shit about me. I'm tired, Damon." He opened his mouth, an objection on the tip of his tongue, but she held up a hand to silence him. "Listen to me, Damon. I can't do this anymore." His mouth snapped shut and what little warmth remained in his gaze quickly evaporated. Nodding abruptly, he turned and walked silently from the room, exiting the house with a soft click of the front door. Bonnie barely had time to feel the impact of his quiet departure before she felt someone's soft grip on her arm. She turned to face Caroline, whose eyes were red-rimmed and filled with tears.

"Bonnie-". She floundered for words, her mouth open and gaping. Gently prying her arm from the vampire's strong grip, she shook her head.

"No, Care. I'm done, honestly. I'm tired and I'm just done." The blonde sucked in a sharp breath, a rivulet of tears falling from her eyes.

"I'm so sorry, Bon. I-I know I should have done more to protect you, and…I just want you to know that you're my best friend no matter what, okay?" Hiccupping over her tear-filled words, she smiled weakly, reaching out for Bonnie's hand. Instinctively, Bonnie jerked the appendage away, shutting her eyes against Caroline's hurt expression.

"I just need a fresh start, Caroline. And I love you, so much, but I've put my life on the line for you too."


"Tyler. I saved Tyler for you and I saved everyone's lives and you never even said thank you, you never…you never even acknowledged what I'd done. I could have died." Caroline covered her mouth to stifle the sob building up in her throat as Bonnie quickly fled the room. Lucy stared pityingly at the crying girl before silently collecting her bag and grimoires and following Bonnie up the stairs. Her bedroom door was wide open and the newly turned vampire was lying face-down on her bed. Lucy shut the door softly behind herself, moving over to the bed and laying a gentle hand on her cousin's back.

"Bonnie, maybe we should do this another time." She jerked backwards when Bonnie's head lifted at an unnatural speed, noting with surprise that her cheeks and eyes were teardrop free.

"No, Lucy, I need this. I heard that sometimes witches who are turned keep their powers and become hybrids. If it's possible for werewolves like Klaus and Tyler, why not for me?" Shifting closer, Lucy took Bonnie's hand in her own.

"Bonnie, what you're talking about is unheard of. Witches are servants of nature and life itself. Vampires are the complete opposite-the likelihood of you having access to your magic is almost non-existent." Bonnie's expression was puzzled as she moved into a seated position.

"Why are you being so negative?"

"I'm not, I just…I don't want you to get your hopes up and be devastated if it doesn't work out. Last time, you tried to kill yourself and I'm not ready to lose you just yet."

"Lucy." Bonnie shook her head, smiling in what she hoped was a reassuring manner. "I'm not that girl anymore. I was scared and out of control and I still am, but I'm not in that place now. I'm learning to control it, okay." Nodding shortly, Lucy tried to discretely wipe the tears from her eyes. Sniffing, she set determined eyes back on her cousin.

"Okay, we're going to do this. And if you want to keep it quiet from your friends and you want to move to the West Coast, that's what we'll do." A happy grin spread across Bonnie's face and she pulled her cousin into a hug. For the first time in a long while, she felt like everything might just be okay.

Damon took another shot to the head, slamming his glass on the bar and motioning for the bartender to fill it up once again. He had driven for two hours, his mind whirring, before finally pulling over at a dive bar miles outside of Mystic Falls. The alcohol was cheap and bitter, but it did a good job at quieting the panicked voice in his head.

What if Bonnie actually left?

Another shot.

Was he ever going to be enough to make the woman he loved stick by his side?

Another shot.

What if Bonnie was actually in danger, and he was too far away to protect her.

Another shot.

His phone had died a while ago, so he couldn't reach out to her even if he wanted to. Which he didn't…not even slightly. Signalling for another shot, he ignored the movement beside him as someone slipped into the barstool to his right. The sensation of eyes on the side of his head wasn't enough to pierce through his drunken haze as he threw the shot back, swallowing with a wince.

"Lemme guess…woman troubles?" He turned to look at the figure beside him, his gaze taken in by the skin-tight dress and generous cleavage on display. He tipped his shot glass towards her, smiling bitterly to indicate that she was correct. She laughed, her red lips parting to reveal straight, white teeth, and tossed her long black hair over her shoulder. "Yep, me too." She stole his next shot from in front of him, throwing back the drink before he had time to protest.

"What, you're having woman troubles too?" She licked her lips and leaned in closer to him.

"Yep. My girlfriend and I just broke up." A perfectly arched eyebrow raised at him. "Is that a problem?" He raised his hand in surrender.

"Hey, no judgement here." He snorted in laughter. "That's Bonnie's forte. Such a judgy, judgy little witch." The nameless woman leaned closer, stroking a hand down his arm.

"Bonnie. Is that your girl's name?" At his nod, she smirked. "Cute." He blinked in shock at the shot which had materialised in front of him. The woman leaned in closer, her chest now brushing his arm, regaining his drunken attention. "Y'know, I'm looking for some fun tonight, before I have to go home and make nice with my girlfriend. Maybe you and I could, I don't know, help each other forget for a while." He blinked at her, his inebriated brain trying to remember the reason why this was a bad idea.


Unable to make the connection with his thoughts clouded by so much alcohol, he shrugged, turning and catching the woman's lips in a sloppy kiss.