That Organ in Her Chest

Bonnie extended her upper body into her car to retrieve her bulky messenger bag, and then she shut the door with a swing of her hip. She leaned against the door like she'd been doing for two weeks now and closed her eyes. Today was a day when the wind picked up her hair and whispered through her roots. She focused on the sounds in her neighborhood: car doors opening and closing either because moms and dads were leaving to go pick up their children or because people her age were pulling home from school, a car honking so that the one in front of it would move past the stop sign, and the stillness in front of her house.

It was two weeks ago that she'd stepped outside of herself.

Since Jeremy had died and for four days after she'd brought him back to life, she had been withdrawn. Everything and everyone around her had dulled to an unremarkable light grey, and the only colors were her feelings, Jeremy's death, and Jeremy coming back to life. Everything outside of those things were simply unremarkable. It wasn't until two weeks ago, when she'd come back from school the day after Jeremy had sat her down for a talk, that she'd realized that there were colors around her. Life was colorful again, or, rather, there was life again.

The belated realization had made her smile and, closing her eyes, she had infused the struggling grass in front of her house with that life so that it was just a little greener than her neighbors' grass and just a little taller and the soil just a little richer.

The first four days that Jeremy had been back, he had been all she'd been able to focus on, though she'd done a lot, unconsciously, to put people between them, to keep from being alone with him. She'd felt like she was existing a little bit outside of herself, like she was seeing him without really seeing him, like maybe he was more real than her. He was fresh-faced, his brown eyes active, his muscles well-oiled and working, while she'd been tight with apprehension and still had grief in her bones, loss in her bones, anger in her bones, the density of being a witch, of being Bonnie Bennett, of fixing everything and performing miracles, and being the beacon, the lighthouse, during a turbulence, all of it filled her bones so that she was heavy and less real than he was.

During those first four days he looked at her and she remembered their time on the other side, after she'd talked her dad into letting her channel him so that she could stop her heart and see Jeremy. It hadn't been an easy conversation.

/

Two weeks and four days ago

/

"Bonnie, you're talking about Dark magic."

"I know what it is, dad; I've done it before. I just need to see him. I need to talk to him. I need to ask him something."

Rudy paced the living room, one hand on his hip and the other stroking his closely-shaved head. He was on board for her killing someone to bring Jeremy back. He couldn't not be after she'd spent the day after her return from the island throwing up in the bathroom because her memory of Jeremy's death had come back.

She'd had a vision of it in painful detail right before she woke up, and her stomach hadn't been able to handle the image of his lifeless body with the open eyes that weren't seeing, so she'd vomited until she'd been dry heaving and all he'd been able to do was clean her mouth and hold her, and give her water to rinse her mouth and beg her to please stop throwing up because she'd emptied her stomach.

She'd shaken her head in the negative, crying and inconsolable, repeating over and over, "Dad, please. Dad. I saw it. I saw him."

She'd clung to his wrist with a desperation that he hadn't seen since her nightmares in the wake of Abby's departure when she was a toddler.

He'd tucked her between his legs in the bathroom and rocked her while Abby had contacted her friend.

They hadn't been interested in deterring her from bringing Jeremy back; they'd only been concerned about the type of magic she would use; they'd only been interested in minimizing the damage.

During a quiet moment when she'd been tucked in bed and staring at the wall by her door, he'd come to check on her and to bid her goodnight. He'd asked her how she was feeling, like he'd been doing since she got back, and she'd said, "I want him back, dad. And if I can't, if for some reason I can't...can we move? Please?"

He'd sat on the bed and she'd gotten up to sit against the headboard. She'd looked terrible, tired, like she could sleep for the rest of the month. He knew that the only thing that was powering her was bringing Jeremy back to life.

"You want to move?"

"Yeah. I don't wanna stay here. I can't." She teared up. "They can't have us both. I can't continue to do this, keep caring, if he's not here. It's not fair; They can't have us both, the spirits, God, the Goddess, whoever or whatever is watching over this, they can't have us both. Either they give me Jeremy and they keep me, or they keep Jeremy and lose me. I can't care anymore. I'm done. So can we please move?"

He'd nodded. Yes, they could move. They could leave all of this behind, just like he'd suggested to Abby once.

"But you know there are vampires in other places; there are things in other places."

"It won't be here; it won't be Mystic Falls. We can move down the street from Aunt Naomi and uncle Willie in Savannah. I'm done with this place," she shrugged. "I hate this place," and she dissolved into tears. "I don't wanna do this anymore."

So he was on board for her killing someone to bring Jeremy back. That was the life his baby was living. But as a father, he didn't want to give too much. He didn't want to follow her lead too much, because she was impaired; she wasn't thinking clearly; she was single-minded at present so that meant she didn't care much for risks to herself.

So she wanted to channel him to stop her heart, and he had to decide whether or not that was okay, whether or not that was in her best interest, whether or not, in her grief, she wanted to do more harm to herself than good. They had figured out a way to bring Jeremy back, so why did she want to stop her heart and join him on the OtherSide? He needed to make sure she wasn't damaging herself.

"I need to make sure he wants to come back," she quietly answered his unasked question.

He stopped pacing and said, "Oh baby. Why wouldn't he?" He thought again of how tired she looked as she sat on the couch, leaning on her hands that were clasped on her thighs.

Bonnie's smile was barely noticeable. Her father had dug his head so deep in the sands that he couldn't fathom why Jeremy might not want to reclaim the life he'd been living, the same one that had led him straight to death's lair.

Instead of explaining, she said, "Please."

She could attempt the spell herself, but that was it: at most it would be an attempt. Relying only on her powers meant relying on her energy, which meant there was a high chance that she would fail, that she'd only bleed and pass out, not die. And she did not want to know the consequences of a botched spell meant to stop the heart.

So she stood from the couch and joined her father in the middle of the living room. They sat, and she held out her hands. His weighed heavy on hers, and she looked up at him. "You need to know exactly what's going to happen." She cleared her throat. "I'm going to use Dark magic, so...I mean Jeremy told me that there were these black veins on my hands and face the last time I did this-"

"Wait. You've done this before?"

She folded her lips guiltily and then cleared her throat again. "And I saw them when the spirits took grams away from me. So that's gonna happen. I might also...bleed." She cringed inwardly and hoped Rudy wouldn't change his mind when he inhaled deeply, clearly uncomfortable with how the spell is going to work. "And then I'll die." But she wasn't finished.

"Also..." she avoided his eyes for a second but then squared her shoulders and looked at him head-on. "The last time I was on the OtherSide...grams warned me that the spirits could keep me there."

Rudy was silent for a second and then, "What?"

It was Bonnie's turn to inhale.

"No, what? Bonnie-"

"Dad-"

"No. What do you mean keep you?"

"For messing around-"

He took his hands back.

"Dad-"

"You're telling me you could die. Permanently. That's what keeping you there means, right? They make you stay dead?"

"That's not gonna happen," she said hurriedly.

"You just said-"

"I know, but they won't keep me."

"How do you know?"

"Because I've alive." Her body shook with the force she used to say the word. "I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm the one who's here; we were both in that stupid cave, and someone stabbed me in the back, dad. It hurt, and there was blood in my mouth, a lot of blood, and I could barely speak, and I could barely see his face, but I knew it was him; it was Jeremy above me, and it was just the two of us, but somehow I'm the one who made it even though I should've died first. Or after him."

She squeezed her hands against her eyes and felt the hot tears. "Silas saved me. This two thousand year-old vampire saved me. I should've died. My wound was fatal. I was paralyzed, and I couldn't move, and I watched him die. I couldn't do anything. Because I was dying."

"But then I didn't die," she shrugged. "I don't understand it. I just didn't die. Because somehow Silas needs me. And I don't understand it. It worked out that he needed me, so that stupid cave wasn't the last thing I saw. So...they're not gonna keep me. Whatever it was that saved me then...will probably save me again. Because I'm needed...I'm needed to help, I think. That's why I'm alive: to help. I'm in the middle, so I can't just die. Not like Jeremy. But...if I can't have him...then I won't help anymore. Because I made a choice, once." She chuckled and took in her dad's troubled features, and she realized that this was the longest they've talked about magic, about her real life.

"It wasn't really a choice. People were getting hurt; I had the power to help, to stop, or to at least make it hurt less, to...absorb some of those blows. And I did. I absorbed, and absorbed, and absorbed until I forgot that I made a choice, that it was a choice. As horrible as the alternative was, it was a choice. I barely thought about that back then. I'm tired of taking blows, dad. Of absorbing them as if they don't hurt. They hurt me. They hurt me. I made a choice once, and I can make another one. I will make another one. I can do that now. I couldn't then because the alternative seemed so...inconceivable. But the choice that I did make...it's so...horrible," her voice cracked. "I've been living with the choice I made, and it's horrible. And it leads to this: Jeremy dying. Another blow. I understand the alternative now. I understand...not helping. Leaving it. I'm only alive to help...that's why my life is worth saving."

"Bonnie-" Rudy said softly.

Bonnie shook her head. It was how she felt. She hadn't died in the cave; she hadn't died after Alaric, a brand new vampire, fed on her. Anyone else would have, but she'd been saved. Whatever the vehicle, Silas, Damon, something had put them there, and she'd been saved. For what?

Why?

Why else?

Someone thought her life was only worth saving for what she could do for others: absorb the blows, make it hurt less. She idly wondered if her life would go down in value if she stopped helping. If she took herself out of the middle, out of Mystic Falls and watched everything burn; if she heard the screams but chose to do nothing, because they could absorb the blows just like she could; they could hurt just like she could. They could die just like Jeremy did.

They were no different, she and them. She had an advantage because of her powers, but in the end she hurt just as much as the kids her neighbors took to school, just as much as the reporters who lamented the death of seventeen-year-old Jeremy Gilbert.

They were no different, and if she couldn't get Jeremy back, if he didn't want to come back or the spell failed, then she would put in end to pretending that they were, that she was different from every single other person in Mystic Falls because she'd been born with magic. She would stop pretending that she could take on more, handle more, fight more, bleed more, lose more than they could. They were no different.

Rudy took her hands in his, hers light inside of his.

Bonnie held on to him and closed her eyes tight. She squeezed his hands, and Rudy remembered the first time she'd squeezed his right index finger when she was a baby, her tiny fingers unable to wrap around his index.

Now she squeezed his hands because Dark magic wrapped around her heart and gave her an attack.

Bonnie was overcome with nausea. Her left breast hurt; her back hurt, and she was running out of breath to keep reciting the spell. She couldn't stop in the middle for she would surely end up with permanent damage to her heart and body. This was the spell she'd robotically written in her room after Stefan's call to alert her that Elena was in transition. She'd sat at her desk and hunched over a piece of paper, picturing Elena with fangs and blood on her mouth. She'd needed to keep that from happening. She'd needed to save Elena. Stefan had asked her to keep him updated on her progress. He'd told her that Damon was waiting for her to wake up when she'd asked where Elena was.

She'd succeeded at not thinking about her own feelings about Elena becoming a vampire. She'd succeeded at not thinking about her undead mother and why she was in that state. Elena needed to be saved. So she'd robotically written a spell that stopped the organ beating in her chest in order to jump-start Elena's heart, her fingers gripping the pencil until they sweated and rusted.

It was such a relief when the pain went away.

It was such a relief when the magic let go of her heart.


A/N: Fun Fact: the prompt I gave myself for this story was Beremy prom after Bonnie's brought Jeremy back to life, and he's been hiding in her house. And then all of this started to pour out.