Till We Meet Again
"Get up, Damon. You're not even asleep."
He keeps his eyes shut but the corners of his mouth sneak into a sexy grin, "How do you know that?" He asks, his fingers gliding over the contours of the face mere inches away from his own.
"I dunno, you don't sleep. You just kinda fake it, "She says. He can feel her scrutinizing him; the wheels turning in her head to figure out why come.
This revelation would typically alarm him because she's right.
He never sleeps.
He doesn't need the eight-hour stretch, lying down like a corpse for organs and muscles to rejuvenate.
So he pretends.
He'll simulate slow breathing, make his limbs lax and heavy; occasionally jolt upright in bed and startle his lover next to him with his, "I had a nightmare", bit - his personal favorite - because women get concerned when you don't sleep.
They think something must be wrong.
They think it's because of your bad eating habits and reprimand you for ordering your steak rare at dinner; or it's because you have insomnia and register you to spend a Saturday with red and blue wires attached to your temples at a snooze clinic; or it's because you might be a psycho, when they wake up in the middle of the night and find you in the living room, naked, chin covered in blood (theirs), blasting Pavarotti while watching a Clockwork Orange.
It's never because you're a vampire.
Which is the absolute reason why sleep has become an alien function for you; and it sucks, because you desperately want to shut your brain off, to lose yourself in a dream, but that retreat is out of reach, because in order to sleep - since there isn't a physical exhaustion to knock you out- your mind has to be at peace. And you haven't known peace in five years.
"Damon get up, we're gonna miss the party." She bounces the bed with her knees until blues eyes flash up at her, "We need to leave before it snows, "she whines, reaching over him for the lamp on the nightstand.
If another woman had exposed him like Roxanne has, he would have promptly compelled her to forget his name and address. But Roxanne is different. She doesn't flinch when he bites her and she's never frightened by how much blood he drinks. Damon thinks it might have something to do with her childhood in that trailer park she's always talking about.
"I don't go out when it snows, "He says, squinting from the lamp light, keeping up the act as if he is adjusting to being woken up.
She throws one long leg over his waist, straddling him and cupping his face between her hands, "You promised."
Damon runs his fingers through her pixie white-blonde hair, trailing the side of her neck to his most recent bite mark, "You don't want to leave the house until this is healed, Roxanne," He says, tugging at her chin.
Her eyes water and her bottom lip protrudes and Damon tries not to laugh. "Fine," he says, tearing into his wrist and offering it up to her mouth, blood smearing her cheek.
He likes that since meeting her a year ago; he hasn't had to compel her. She's aware he is some type of a monster: he drinks blood, doesn't age, barely eats, and certainly doesn't sleep. But there had yet to be that awkward conversation; the big reveal, that yes, he is in fact a vampire. Although, the Damon she knows is not even half of the monster he was eight years ago, but that was before he had evolved and started to take into consideration how his choices affected others.
He couldn't help he still loved human blood.
A crimson drop lands on her bare chest and he feels it's his duty to lick it up. That's all it takes. He flips her over, presses her back into the mattress, stretches her legs open, and fucks her. He wants to wear her out because he doesn't want to go to the party. He hates the snow. He wants to stay in his warm apartment, read another chapter of his latest book, have sex again and finish up a game of chess he has been playing against himself.
She comes and complains about being dizzy, which isn't believable because of the smile on her face. He gets up to take a shower, smug and already thinking of his next chess move, until she gets up and follows him into the bathroom. She beats him to the shower, "The girls will me mad if I don't go and Marco's gonna be there. I told him I'd come out tonight."
Damon threads his fingers into his hair and rolls his eyes, "Those girls are nobodies and Marco is a has-been. It's time to move on to bigger fish."
"I ain't gonna do that to them."
"Ain't is not a word, honey," He corrects her while his electric toothbrush buzzes, wondering how much he should expect from dating a model.
He had met Roxanne in New York. It was his first and only stop in the United States since he had left Mystic Falls, and he was spending a week in the city, attending to business matters before taking off to Europe.
He was sitting alone in a bar, in the middle of the day, and she had finished her first photo shoot and was bright-eyed and full of excitement when she walked in with the studio crew. He observed her from across the room; the way she flipped her long chestnut hair and averted her brown eyes when the sleazy photographer wouldn't stop complimenting her. She was eighteen, a thousand miles from Alabama and on her first assignment. She wanted to be liked. But she didn't want to sleep her way to her next shoot, so when the well-respected photographer became gropey, she slapped him and when the photographer looked like he might actually slap her back, it was Damon who intervened.
Damon stared into the photographer's drunken pupils and fed him a story how if he wanted to keep his arms, he was going to run - not walk -home and when he woke up the next day, he was to tell her agency that the camera loved her.
Her name was Sally-Mae Taltson then, before Damon changed it to Roxanne, along with making her cut off her hair and bleaching it to stand out among the other fresh faced girls she was competing with over magazine ads.
They closed the bar down talking; he liked her round eyes and how she naively ate up everything that came from his mouth. She told him she was living in a rented Manhattan apartment with six other girls and modeling was her shot; a chance to prove herself to whatever relatives she had back in Mobile.
Damon decided to take her under his black wing.
She wanted to be a supermodel and Damon - wanting a pet project - like a wicked fairy godfather said he could get her there. At the end of the week she left with Damon for Europe. He coached her on how to charm people and negotiate better contracts. He introduced her to all the right people, made sure she was seen at all the right parties and within a year she was the most sought-after model. The official star of Milan's Fashion Week.
While he waits for his turn in the shower; he shops in his walk in closet; picking out a charcoal tweed three piece suit and classic leather boots, the color of cognac. He folds a silk pocket square, cornflower blue to match his eyes, and he lays out an antique Swiss watch, a remnant from a former life.
He runs his fingers over the links thinking he has been in Milan for six months and that is too long for him to spend anywhere.
He listens to the shower knobs turn and the stream of water stop and he considers packing a bag and tossing Roxanne the keys to the apartment.
But where should he go now? Moscow? Nairobi? Buenos Aires, maybe?
A lot can change in five years.
You discover new labels for yourself. Check the "other" box. Re-brand your modus operandi taking someone else's advice.
You do this because it seems what you've been doing for over a century hasn't been working and even though your face will never change, it doesn't mean your mentality needs to do the same.
But your best friends die.
Then the love of your life chooses your brother for the second time in your immortal life.
And you remember how much you loathe small towns and the small people in it; you want to be in a city where you are overlooked, another face in the crowd, where no one stops by your home to ask you things like, "Are you okay?" or "Do you want to talk about it?" and where they definitely didn't interrupt you getting nice and wasted at a bar to discuss tracking down a demented hybrid or sightings of a dead witch.
Damon clenches the damp towel around his waist while he pads around his living room, turning on the flat screen to listen to the ten o'clock news, throwing out rotten fruit sitting in a basket on the stainless steel kitchen counter and flips through mail until he sees a letter from Stefan.
If Damon were honest, he would admit that having Elena didn't have the same high as chasing Elena.
He came to this assessment a year ago while at the Louvre. He was feeling nostalgic, wanting to visit places he had seen and been before, places that reminded him of Stefan. He turned down the hall where the Mona Lisa was displayed, feeling that climax of expectation that everyone feels on the walk leading to it. And when he finally was in the same room with one of the greatest treasures of mankind, and bodies were shoving into one another to get to the front and he made his way to the velvet ropes, he only saw a painting the size of a human head, dark drab colors behind glass encasing, and security guards yelling at him not to lean over said ropes. He couldn't help thinking, "Is this it?"
He opens Stefan's letter, forwarded to his address by their mutual banker. Before settling longer than expected in Italy, Damon moved around a lot.
It was just like Stefan to write instead of sending an email. Damon scoffed when he received the first written correspondence from his sibling, but he was secretly delighted to scratch an ink pen across quality paper.
A female news anchor reports in Italian the recent discovery of charred remains of an unidentified male, his weight 160 pounds, height 5'9, but Damon is immersed in his letter.
Stefan and Elena were together and living in Toronto, keeping up the charade as humans. Both were enrolled in grad school, psychology for her and comparative religion for him; this was to be Elena's first time with grad school and Stefan's fourth.
Damon didn't want to brag but if he were to do another bid it would be his sixth.
He continued to read how they were building a sustainable home which would be ready by the summer and how much he would like if Damon came for a visit.
Damon is a stickler for how people end letters.
Once upon a time he would receive letters from Katherine, and she would hilariously close them with "faithfully," and eventually from Elena, who would end hers with the abstraction of "love".
The last line of Stefan's letter is his signature. His brother never ends his letters to him with an affectionate closing, probably because they were wounded and prideful and neither could be the first to say to the other that the past was water under the bridge.
Damon sometimes feels like the professor from My Fair lady around Roxanne and wants to force her to repeat, 'The Rain in Spain', to get rid of her grating twang.
"Buona suera", the husky cab driver says, before coughing into his hands and nodding his head at them as they both slide into the backseat.
Damon spouts the address back in Italian and gazes out the window; the streets were empty, people were staying in for the night to avoid the impending snow.
Roxanne links her arm around his and snuggles up next to him, her mink coat is blanketing the backseat and hiding her very short red silk dress.
She lays her head against his arm, "I think I got why you don't sleep?"
'Oh?" He says, half listening, already planning his excuse to leave the party early.
"Yeah, you're searching for something."
Damon looks down into her big brown eyes and thinks she really is a smart girl.
"I see Marco!" Roxanne squeals and let go of his arm to greet the aging designer and Damon takes that as his chance to wander. This particular event was the after party, to the after party, no media was allowed, just industry insiders pretending to be friends in some fashion magnate's home, on top of a magnificent hotel in the middle of downtown Milan.
She waves at Damon to come over and he makes a sign towards the bar; he doesn't feel like chatting about spring colors or Marco's bulimia.
It was only 2 a.m., it was going to be a long night; parties in Milan went until brunch.
Duck faces are pouting everywhere, foreheads aren't crinkling from the Botox, and there's cocaine separated into neat lines across tables.
The bartender tells him they are only serving champagne cocktails and Damon orders two, one for him and the model standing at the bar next to him. She's leggy and seems to be sculpted from onyx, with the neck of a swan, and welcomes Damon's flirty banter until her date swoops in to pull her away.
Damon holds his post at the bar, ordering another drink, yapping with the bartender about how much silicone was in the room, when a dark-haired man in a tux brushes by him in an effort to order two cocktails.
And Damon realizes he's not a man but a vampire.
"Have a good evening," the other vampire says in a heavy Scottish accent, titling his glass to Damon as a request to not out him.
Damon is intrigued. He knows all of Milan's supernatural community. It's a sleepy bunch of ancients who prefer the old guard; how he is tolerated is beyond him. He tries not to think too much if this vampire is a goodie or a baddie because he's no longer a Scoobie and it's possible he's doing exactly what Damon is doing, looking for the next beautiful thing to eat.
But Damon decides to follow him anyway.
The crush of bodies make it hard for him to see who the vampire is heading towards, and the vampire is aware Damon is on his heels, stopping to say hello and kiss cheeks in the European fashion to every third person he passes, as he slithers around shoulders to the corner of the penthouse.
Damon considers letting the vampire go because it was obvious he was making his way to give someone their drink, and it wasn't his place anymore to be concerned with the motives of his brethren.
The vampire abruptly stops and hovers over a woman. Damon can see her delicate dress, the same caramel color as her skin and her wrist and hand blinding him with diamonds.
Damon sips his drink, trying to be casual, waiting for the vampire to move his head. Since he can't see with Tux in the way, he sharpens his hearing to pick up their conversation.
The woman laughs and Damon suddenly feels like he's in Mystic Falls.
Tux leans down for a hug and to whisper in her ear.
And Damon is paralyzed by her crooked smile.
Any man in the room would agree Bonnie Bennett's smile could launch a thousand ships, persuade a judge of Israel to cut off his locks, or render a certain vampire - who is never without a clever remark-speechless.
She is precisely eight steps from Damon and she doesn't notice him; she's pre-occupied with Tux telling her how gorgeous she is and how everyone in the room is envious of him.
He puts one foot in front of the other, drawn in by her smile. And the noise, the jumble of words and laughter over music vibrating through his ears, it disappears, he can only hear Bonnie. He can only see Bonnie. And although he is moving toward her, he feels as if he going backward, back to before waking up that evening, before Roxanne and New York, before drifting from city to city, before Elena. Back. He's fast-forwarding to a specific moment, to the last time he saw her. She was laughing at him, mouth wide and eyes crinkling, and she was standing behind him in his bathroom, extracting bloody wooden bullets from his back.
He's dissected this memory to the point where he has each second of their last interaction categorized in snapshots, like glossy photos spread out in front of a detective who has to determine what happened to the departed, until he's studied enough to say, 'Look, you can tell by the curvature of her lips here that she's lying.'
She said she was going back to the old house, she said she needed to square things up with the hundred witches. When Damon asked if she needed any help, she responded, "Tyler is helping me."
Poor Tyler. The dude woke up hours later, not recalling how he got there or why he was next to a very dead Bonnie.
Damon should have known, but he was riddled with bullets from fighting a hunter, and he wanted Bonnie to hurry up the painful process of removing them, so he could scurry off to the doppelganger's side.
After that day, all he had was this memory, wrapped in yellow tape, for him to ask over and over, at what point did he miss it? At what point did he miss her?
Roxanne's voice scatters the pictures, "Damon?" She grabs his hand, "I've been looking all over for you." And he's confused to see her face a breath away from his; he usually can feel her approaching from the next room.
He focuses on Roxanne, her red lips are parted and he can tell by the way she is squinting at him that she's concerned. She gently caresses his chin, "What's wrong with you? "She asks. And he exhales air he doesn't breathe, opening his mouth to respond when he sees Bonnie close the space between them with the Tux as her shadow.
Bonnie's plump upper lip curves upward, "He's not used to seeing ghosts, that's all." She says coolly, like she's accustomed to having to explain the cause of such reactions. Her voice has changed, the charming timbre was the same, but there was a couth that didn't exist there before.
Roxanne jerks her head away from Damon to the woman and vampire before them.
Tux was right, Bonnie is gorgeous. Truth be told, Damon always thought Bonnie was cute, pretty even, the kind of sweet face they stick into photo frames to get them to sell off the shelves, and when she smiled she made you want to smile, but she was older now, gone were the apple cheeks and angelic ringlets. Nowadays, her cheekbones are defined and her hair is tame, smoothed down and painstakingly arranged like a forties movie starlet, and she had a jeweled hair comb fashioned in her hair that Damon was sure could feed a small country. And her lovely dress gives her the appearance she is naked, like she tightly wrapped a thin layer of tulle around her curves and started at her breast bone and stopped right below the knee. She is taller too, courtesy of her very high heels.
Damon is burning a hole into her skull, "This is Bonnie Bennett, she's a…"
"An old friend," She blurts, handing Tux her champagne glass then extending her hand to Roxanne; her diamond bangles clanging on one another.
Roxanne scrunches her brow at the waiting hand and looks up at Damon, questioning if all of this is real. Damon has not once mentioned any family or friends to her. She can't find any confirmation from him because he's busy staring at the so-called friend. "I'm sorry, I'm Roxanne," She shakes Bonnie's hand, I'm just stunned. I've never met anyone who knows him."
Bonnie places a manicured hand on Tux's chest, "This is Trent Gallagher."
Damon exchanges introductions with Trent and watches the man face for any recognition when he says the last name Salvatore. Trent doesn't blink and starts in on telling Roxanne that he had seen her on Tuesday in Donatella's show.
There is small talk, a forced laugh from Roxanne and a heart-shaped face evading direct eye-contact, and Trent asking the ladies if they need refills, and there is Damon, awkwardly silent.
Roxanne says, "Sure, I'll go with you to give these two a moment to catch up," Roxanne feels like she needs to wave a hand in front of Damon to get his attention but when Trent sticks out his elbow for her to link her arm into his, Damon grabs his arm instead, it's a small gesture, but enough to make everyone uncomfortable.
The vampires meet eye to eye and Damon knows he's being a dick but there is something about him he doesn't like. Trent smiles and pats Damon on the arm, 'I'm sure you will take good care of my date as I will yours."
They leave, leave him alone with just the witch and the white glow of the moon shining through the windows, forming a streak of light, separating him and her. And he's frozen with awe and a smidgen of fear because he can't believe she's actually within reach of him.
"Say something, Damon."
What was it he wished he had told her that day in the bathroom? Oh yeah, 'I'm going with you.'
He looks pained, his brow furrowed as he looks her over. He wants to wrap his hand around her smooth shoulder and confirm she's real and not some numinous creation from the moonlight, that he hasn't become a lunatic from his brain being scrambled by its magnetic pull. "Glad to see you are breathing, Bennett," He finally says, settling on stating the obvious.
And this Bonnie laughs, she laughs when he can still dredge up memories of people mourning her, "Awww," She purrs, titling her head to one side, imitating a sad face.
He instantly remembers who he is, "When I found out you weren't dead," he starts, his eyes narrowing; "I pissed on your grave."
"That wasn't very nice," She says, caressing the lapel of his jacket between her slender fingers, "Come on Damon," She tugs at the fabric, getting him to look into those green eyes of hers, "Out of everyone, you should have known I was never really dead."
How many times had she died and come back?
Killing herself was her thing.
Her friends believed the third time was the charm.
There was a funeral. White casket and white flowers. Caroline wailed, Bonnie's father wept and Elena buried her soppy face in his neck. Stefan didn't cry but that was only because he had shed his tears in private. Damon had overheard him when he was leaving the boardinghouse to pick up Elena for Bonnie's big 'send-off'.
A distant aunt gave her eulogy. She had mossy eyes, like Bonnie, and she blotted her cheeks with a handkerchief while she said lines like, "She was such a sweet girl….."
Damon doesn't enlighten Bonnie with the past of how he wouldn't let them take her body from the basement. How his single response to worried looks was "She's going to wake up". How after three days, she began to decompose, and how he might had to have been restrained by Stefan outside the examining room as the coroner sliced her open and determined heart failure.
Instead he tells the 'such a sweet girl', "I gave up once your body started to smell like hot trash."
There was a time, a line like that would make her eyes roll over, now it gets him a flirty smile and a flash of dimple. Then she picks up a champagne flute from a waiter's tray and tilts up her face to him and bombards him with questions in Italian like she has spoken the language her entire life.
And for himself, he likes to think that five years can make a vampire change, it makes him feel a bit wiser and oddly hopeful. But when he thought about the moment he would eventually run into Bonnie Bennett, she was supposed to be the same, all kind-hearted and serious, and she was supposed to be taken with his newfound change and comment profusely on how she was impressed and then commence to talk his ear off on how he could be even better. Admittedly, he had fantasized about it more than once and she always wore white, like the casket and the flowers and he would say something to get on her nerves and possibly get her to laugh and then all the years in between, from foolishly letting her go to the witches' house alone and now would make sense to him.
Change is inevitable though.
He gets it.
You're born, you die, well in his case, you live forever, but you can still die. Figuratively speaking that is.
If he and Bonnie were competing on how many times the other has died, he has her beat, and with each death, although he accepted those necessary deaths with all the grace of a kicking toddler, he understands that the death is what brings about the change.
And if Bonnie Bennett turned up, at this debaucherous party in downtown Milan, ten times judgier and rocking a black and white habit, then at the very least he would be content, and have a lot more material to crack jokes about, and his black heart wouldn't be caught in this throat.
"Why are you here? He questions harshly, unclear on how, out of all the places in the world he has been, she happens to turn up out of thin air with a vampire at her side.
"Why are you here?" She's a parrot. A beautiful, smiling parrot.
"My date's a model. What does your date do beside suck blood? As the question leaves his mouth he feels like he's entered himself into a game of, 'I know you are but what am I.'
She rubs the stem of the empty glass between her palms, slow-like and sensuous, "I have no idea. I met him last night at the bar downstairs; we're both staying in this hotel," She says.
He crinkles his forehead and takes a quick sip of his champagne as he glances over at the bar and doesn't see Roxanne or 'whatshisface'. He tells his self they are probably in the adjoining room, and she's introducing him to her coked up friends, while Marco is most likely flirting with the James Bond wannabe, but another part of him is bothered.
Bonnie notices, "Don't worry, Damon," She starts, getting his attention, "He's not going to hurt her."
"What makes you so sure?" He doesn't trust this Bonnie. And he's pretty sure he doesn't like this one either.
"He's been compelled not to harm any humans." She states like it was a pain to clarify something that should have been apparent to him.
Her words cause more confusion. It erupts inside of him questions of how, why, and where, since only originals can compel a vampire, and as he scans the room quickly and furiously, expecting to see a rugged blonde, Bonnie stands next to him, not the least bit concerned, and he realizes that Bonnie - his Bonnie - stayed dead.
He yanks her arm rough enough for the crowd to part, glaring and scowling at him, but not rough enough for them to intervene. Italians don't interrupt lover's quarrels. She trips in her heels down the packed hallway, apologizing for the both of them as he does not give one flying fuck of the bodies he knocks out of his way. He's moving briskly, trying not to zip and alarm too many humans he's faster than a speeding bullet, and Bonnie is badgering him about where he is taking her until he opens a bathroom door and pushes her in it.
She tumbles to the ground, knees hitting marble and hands slapping against the floor.
The distinctive sound of her dress tearing and her ragged breath resound in the grand bathroom. Her face is hidden under the shroud of her hair as she collects herself from her hard landing.
He assumes blood vessels will pop, but she's cool as cucumber, as she brushes off her dress, and says, "If you wanted to get me alone, why didn't you say so?"
He's locked the door but he leans his weight on to the wood, and keeps one firm hand on the door handle, and points a finger at Bonnie and mouths, "Is he here?"
It's silly for him to whisper, Damon knows all too well that if he is near than he can hear their words as if he were in the same room.
She scratches the floor when she pulls the gilded chair from the vanity, "Who?" She feigns innocence as she picks up a gold-plated hair brush and glides her hand over the engraving on the back.
He could kill her and this time she wouldn't have to do it herself. He squints at her, "You know who?"
"If he were here, then I wouldn't be," She sing-songs, light-hearted and entertained by his mood.
Damon isn't relieved as he stares at her reflection in the mirror. It was a recognizable face; he could pick her out of a line-up, tell the detective, 'Yes sir, she's the one'. But she wasn't familiar anymore. She was different. She even smelled different. She smelled expensive. Venomous. He observes her, listening to her heartbeat, watching her fingers play over the array of glass jars and bottles, twisting caps and dabbing into silky lotions and creams with more attention than she has paid him this evening. And he sees the original in her: the ennui that comes from living centuries on centuries, the amusement of the filthy rich who are always curiously delighted by the simple chores of the poor, 'Oh, you iron your own clothes? How darling!', and the predator, that comes from being a vampire, laying low and smiling at your victim right before you bleed them out. And he wonders how this is possible and frightens his self that perhaps her little magic trick went awfully wrong when she expelled the hybrid from Tyler.
"What are you doing here?" He demands.
"You know, I thought after not seeing me all this time you would be," She starts, rolling her hand like she was searching for the right words before saying, "A little more excited."
"Maybe I would be if you were the same Bonnie."
"You're sad," She frowns, "How cute."
He defensively folds his arms across his chest, "What have you been up to all this time?
She winds a lipstick, the deep red colored wax rising from the plastic, "A little of this, a little of that. I've been a very busy girl, "She replies before opening her mouth to slide the color over her lips.
"Busy gallivanting with vampires?
She shrugs, "He asked me to dinner, which was fabulous by the way, and then asked if I wanted to go to a party with him, and here we are, me without my date, stuck in a bathroom with Damon Salvatore, I guess something's never change," She says, adoring herself in the mirror and avoiding his stare.
Damon hates how he tries to think of the joke he told her that day, the one that got her to laugh when she got the last bullet out, patched him up and said, "Good as new". He hates it, because the words are lost and he wants her to remember, he wants her to be upset with him for being who he was, he wants her to scream, grill his brain, do anything other than act like everything is fine, spectacular, showing him the same fondness she would a vampire she met the night before in a bar.
She keeps with the surface conversation, "Roxanne seems lovely."
"Don't change the subject. What are you doing in Milan?"
"I love Milan," She gushes, "I wanted to see how it looks in the winter; the last time I was here was in the summer, you'd think it couldn't get sweltering here, but it does and the summer is the worst because everyplace is packed with tourists, and you?"
He's chooses to be all business.
What was five years really to him?
A drop in a bucket, a commercial break, a blip.
And if he never saw her again, would his existence be any different? He summons the old him, the one who used to could care less about a Bonnie Bennett, "I live here; have you been here long?"
He hones in on how her hair brushes her caramel shoulders and clings in places to the fabric of her dress as she reaches for jewelry to try on, "Two days, I leave in the morning," She says, holding up her hand to inspect the gaudy sapphire she picked out.
"Where are you going?
"To be determined."
"Where is he?"
"Why, do you miss him?" She says with a slight smile.
He grins back, he's better at being the asshole than she is, "Nope. Not when I got you doing a bad imitation of him."
That gets her attention, her eyes dart to him, intense and direct, no longer glazed over with boredom. Her pupils darken to a murky green, "You live with someone long enough, you're bound to pick up some of their traits, acquire their taste, kind of like you did with your brother, but instead of picking up honor and compassion; you picked up Elena.
The old Damon doesn't stay long.
He flashes in front of her, startling her when he leans over her, one hand on the counter, and the other on the back of the chair, trapping her without touching her and hovers his mouth right above her ear lobe. His voice is cool and dark when he says, "I haven't seen you in over five years and you appear," he snaps his finger, "Like that". She doesn't shrink, she's brave but he can see the small hairs of her arms standing up. He inches closer, his mouth almost caressing her neck, "I thought you died that day," He whispers, his eyes glued to her vibrant veins, and he recalls when he waited for the same veins to pump and expand in the boardinghouse basement, "And when Elena and Caroline spotted you in Prague with him," He says softly and she closes her eyes, "You lied, Bonnie, you lied to your father, your family, your friends," he lists off, "Me," He says so low that her human ears can't hear, "And I keep thinking about that day, You see?" He rambles, thoughts coming out faster as he thinks about all the many hours spent contemplating her reason, "And all I have is the question of why Bonnie? Why did you do it?"
She bolts from the chair, "I'm bored of this conversation," She says, her dress swishing as she makes her way to the door.
But the vampire catches his prey and pins her to the wall, kicking her legs apart and crushing his body against hers. His hands are encircled around her neck, "You don't get to do that; you can't leave here until you tell me why?" He says with his lips over hers to the point her mouth is forced to move with his each syllable. And when he glares into her eyes, he can see Bonnie, and her heart is racing, beating loud and clear and he wants to lay his head at the center of her chest and repeat 'good as new', her line, not his, and he wants to catch her bottom lip between his teeth, and kiss her, just like he wanted to do in his bathroom.
She juts out her chin, turning it up in the Bennett way, grabbing his hands from her neck and says, "Has the guilt become too much? Is that it, is that the reason you care now, Damon?" She says, not waiting for him to respond, "Well, which explanation do you want to hear? The one where I cut a deal with our enemy and sacrificed myself in order to protect my friends because I loved them so much," She says, and he lessens his grip and drops his hands all together, backing away from her, "Or how I wasn't just dabbling in expression but it consumed me," She spits, pressing her fingers into her chest, "Or the one where I wanted to go, to be free of my responsibility, so I chose to leave." She finishes and blue eyes bore into green ones as she continues, "Which one do you want Damon, which one will make you feel better?"
Bonnie waits for him to answer in her torn dress and tousled hair, her lipstick is smeared and he needs to wipe the smudges away. Make it perfect again. Make them perfect again, like it was when he would come through her bedroom window, always under the pretense to discuss high-level war tactics, but really it was to disrupt her life, because he enjoyed that, very much. He would take up all the space in her twin bed, making fun of her stuffed animals, arguing with her over the importance of being bad, while she tried to study so she could get into a school and start a future that would take her far far away.
"I want the truth."
She sighs and steps forward, "See that's the thing, Damon," She says gently, her eyes bright and focused on him completely. "That was the truth. All of it."
They say the truth shall set you free.
But Damon thinks there should be a disclaimer, in bold red, following immediately after the adage that states - the truth will also fuck you up.
Years before, when Elena and Caroline had stormed into the boardinghouse after their trip, upset and talking fast; Damon had had time to process the news they so excitedly wanted to discuss. He believed them. He didn't feed them some mumbo-jumbo about losing their friend had been traumatic and try to pass off their sighting of the witch as a figment of their imagination like his brother did.
"It was her." Elena confirmed after each doubt thrown by Stefan.
Caroline paced in a circle and gesticulated wildly, "We're not crazy!"
After high school graduation, the girls had gone on their planned European vacation. It was to be a bittersweet trip since it would not include a certain musketeer. Prague was not on the itinerary but Caroline had a feeling - a hunch- and it wasn't a long train ride from Berlin.
The girls strolled the cobbled streets, missing Bonnie.
On their last night in the ancient city, Caroline suggested they have their palms read. The gypsy predicted both girls would have very long lives. And when they left the quaint store-front into the hazy night, Elena agreed with Caroline's hunch about the city, "There was so much I wanted to tell her."
Caroline said she demanded they have a drink, in honor of their friend who couldn't be there. They had walked side by side, somber and present and when they crossed the street to the quiet pub, a block down from a noisy and ominous punk bar, "Everyone was stuck in the eighties, you know, spiked hair
and spiked leather kind of place", Caroline saw her dead friend. She was with the hybrid. "He had his back facing us and they were….."
Caroline wanted to tackle the pair but Elena had restrained her. Elena said she held Caroline back because she hadn't heard Bonnie laugh like she did that evening in a long time, "Grams would shush us at sleepovers because she could hear her through the walls."
Bonnie was under a streetlight, right outside the club, and she held his hand. Caroline had seen him reach for the door and overheard him say, "Are you coming love?"
"She let go of him, like she was ditching him." And Caroline remembered him saying, "You won't get very far."
And then Bonnie peered down the block and the girls swore she recognized them.
"My best friend saw me and turned the other way." Caroline choked.
His phone blew up all day. Collect calls from Prague.
Stefan convinced him to sit until the girls returned. "Could be a trap, he must have got a witch to cast a spell. There's no way Bonnie would…"
After the debrief about Bonnie Bennett being back from the dead, Caroline left to interrogate Tyler, she believed there had to have been some sign he might have overlooked from that day. Their relationship had become rocky. How many months had he been inside of Tyler? Tyler accused Caroline of possessing feelings for the hybrid.
Stefan took off to Canada because Elena had come home and made a choice.
During those days, Elena burrowed herself inside of him, hiding under his arms, asking him over and over, "But why?"
Damon had the answer. But if he had told Elena, if he had uttered it, if he even had whispered a hint of how he had seen a darkness in the pint sized witch, that it swarmed inside of her, like shadowy snakes, right beneath her skin, which is why he had teased her so much for being such a hard-nosed prude because he could clearly see she was ripe for bad, then Elena would had hooked those doe-eyes on him and asked him why he didn't do something?
"What if Bonnie left 'cause of us?"
Guilt was the glue that held him and Elena together.
He drank. Hung out at the bottom of bottles.
She complained about habitually waking up in their bed alone. "You're not sleeping. What's the matter?"
He drank some more.
And when he had come home from a spur-of-the-moment road trip without her (he had started to take a lot of those) and she had boxes taped and labeled, she said she was sorry, she would always love him but she needed to be by herself for a while.
There were no hard feelings.
He was used to the people he loved leaving.
Someone is pounding on the bathroom door.
Bonnie tells him she has to go, "Let me out, Damon."
He hesitates, yells back at the drunk someone to go away, and she lunges for the door, but he blocks her, and she says, "Damon, I don't want to fight with you."
And he's on the precipice of breaking down and telling her he knew, that in the bleak recesses of his mind, he always knew the truth. But it was one thing to know it and it was another to accept it.
Especially, if you blamed yourself for how you had selfishly longed for that darkness to come out and play, because she was the good girl; the one with the shiny halo; and you thought the only way she would have considered you is if she understood.
All of this gushy muck is on his tongue, but even after years of growth and preparing for the day to be able to apologize to this very person, he's still not good with the truth so all that comes out is - "But we're so good at it."
The door magically flings open and she leaves.
He's on her tail, but the crowd doesn't break for him like they did when he manhandled her down the hall, they block him, with elbows and shoulders, and recall his face from the front-row, and want to prattle on about the Spring Collections.
"Tom Ford outdid himself."
He loses her behind the barricade of bodies but he can smell her.
"Speak of the devil." Marco catches him off guard, wrapping his thin arms around him. The older man is wearing a paisley kimono in the dead of winter and dark shades. "I've been asking Roxanne where you've been all night," He says with Roxanne uncomfortably smiling behind him.
"Did you see where Bonnie went?" He impatiently asks her while trapped in the old man's embrace.
Roxanne shakes her head.
"Natasha!" Marco yelps and releases him to schmooze with another face.
Damon tosses glances left and right. Bonnie's scent is fading and all he could think is, 'she's gone.'
Roxanne asks if he needs help searching for her.
He tells her, "Thanks," and quickly kisses the top of her blonde head, because she has been a lovely companion, but he can hear the inaudible tick of his watch and Bonnie could be on her way to a plane to anywhere by now, so he envelops Roxanne, holds her close and whispers in her ear, "Get home safe, Roxy."
The front desk clerk is annoyed. His chubby fingers click the keyboard and he confirms to Damon, for a third time, that there are 520 rooms in the hotel and none of them have guests under the name of Bonnie or Bennett.
The clerk composes himself and brushes his hand over his receding hairline and says he would have remembered a 'Broom-Hilda'.
Damon requests a car be brought around immediately.
There are three airports in Milan, he could get to the one with the private air strip in twenty minutes from the hotel, but if she's leaving out of the others– he's livid with himself for letting her get away.
The telephone rings at the concierge desk across the lobby and the woman manning the desk answers, "Si Signora, we do carry Elijah Craig."
Room-service is perceptive. The goofy-looking young man keeps looking over his shoulder.
He has that eerie feeling of being watched as he raps one gloved hand on the door, "Buona Suera."
He bows, holding crisp bills and expressing how he hopes she continues to have a good night.
As soon as the youth turns away, patrolling cautiously down the hall, the vampire halts the guest's door from slamming with his boot and he shoves it open.
Bonnie drops the bottle on the carpet and tries to push him out, "Get out of my room." She demands, but Damon knows she's not even trying, if she wanted him out, he would be, and there would be nothing he could do about it. She swings violently, her fists landing on his chest, and he takes each blow until she has him cornered against the shut door. He seizes the witch's small wrists in one hand and taunts her, lifting a brow with a suggestive smile, "Make me."
Her chest is rapidly rising and falling, she's angry, and that space between her eyes creases, "You're still unbelievably obnoxious," She says between clenched teeth, pulling her hands from his loosened grip.
His smile widens like he's accepting an award and he motions his hands for her to 'keep it coming.'
"That wasn't a compliment," She says, cutting her green eyes at him like she used to do when she was a teenager. She's still in her ruined evening dress and smudged make up but her heels are off and she doesn't look as unruffled as she did earlier. Her shoulders sag and she threads her fingers through her hair, "Did you finally figure out what you wanted to tell me?"
He answers by capturing her bottom lip in between his teeth, brushing his lips over hers.
He just wanted to kiss her.
She doesn't respond to his kiss, she's confused and she makes small sounds like she's trying to get him to stop and tugs at his hands holding her face but he won't let up, he backs her into the wall with his body, and grabs a hold of her arms, and pins them above her head.
In this moment, he relishes in the fact that she is not gone, she is under him, live and in color and he becomes a bit frantic with his kisses, he's hungry. His lips taste her skin, salt and magic, they brush over her chin, the hollow of her neck, the graceful line of her collar and he feels her arms become lax in his grip and he releases her hands to run his own fingertips over her smooth belly and knead the soft curve of her hips. She surrenders. And circles her arms around his neck and covers his mouth with hers. She opens for him, lets him in and he is grateful because her kiss confirms that he hadn't wasted five years.
He pulls away briefly, takes the fabric at the top of her dress and rips it down the middle, the scraps falling to the ground, and he kisses the valley between her breasts and pays homage to her with his lips working his way southward.
She groans about his clothes and he lets her unbutton his shirt, while he shrugs off his jacket, and she fumbles with his belt and his zipper while he unclasps her bra and pulls her panties off with his teeth.
His mind is empty of coherent thoughts, he's working on instincts: taste, smell, hear and touch and they are all heightened and aroused by the gorgeous witch.
She's naked, lying on the carpet, and she smiles when he tells her she tastes like honey, down there, where he sucks and kisses as she runs her fingers through his hair.
"Damon", she exhales and he glides up and hides his face in the crook of her neck, he draws at the skin and wraps his hands under her ass, and hitches one of her legs around his waist, sliding into her. She squirms, moaning, and he kisses her, swallowing her every sound.
And the emptiness fills with her.
They make love with him whispering words in her ear that come from a place inside of him that he has kept hidden.
How he's sorry.
She trembles and he follows, collapsing his weight on her and she strokes his back and he tells her she was right, he did feel guilty, but that wasn't the reason why he loved her and it wasn't the reason why he has loved her for longer than he can remember.
The curtains are open and the windows are paintings of black. There are no stars.
At some point they made it to the bed, enveloping themselves in cold sheets. He glances at the bedside clock. Three am. The witching hour.
She is curled up on top of him like a kitten and he is petting her, twirling locks of her hair around his fingers, missing her curls, as he listens to her inhale and exhale, and the excited yelps of a man next door who is happy that there is a co-worker still at the office in New York, and a woman above them who is snoring, and the whispering of a husband on the other side of the wall who is asking his wife when is the last time he's talked to their daughter.
He stares up at the ceiling, "You're running from him. Aren't you?"
She tenses, and the heater kicks on and whirs, while he waits.
Bonnie looks like she is made out of gold under the glow of the lamp light and he tells her so before locating his briefs and pulling them on, "Let's a have toast," He suggests.
"To?" She asks with a raised brow.
"To finding each other, come on, stay with me witchy. "
He picks up the bottle and turns it over to check the age, and shrugs his mouth because it's not a bad year. He twists the cap, "This bottle here is older than you Judgy, not how I like my women, but definitely how I prefer my bourbon."
"I haven't heard that in a while."
He smiles as he pours the aged liquor into two glasses, "No one calls you Judgy anymore?"
She throws the white sheet from her naked body, and crawls on all fours to the edge of the bed, and Damon forgets what he was thinking about.
Her eyelids are heavy, like it's too exhausting for her to open them wide and she lazily reaches for her glass, "No one calls me Judgy anymore," She repeats, her voice throaty and low.
Damon wraps her hair around his fist and pulls, jerking her head upward, so he could kiss that mouth of hers, and she smiles and says, "Let me do the honors."
He concedes though he was so ready to give a grandiose speech on how he planned to fuck her into next week.
She sits up on her knees and raises her glass, "Here's to women's kisses, and to bourbon, amber clear; not as sweet as a woman's kiss, but a darn sight more sincere."
The sapphire she slipped on from the party catches the light and Damon wishes he knew that toast before he met two doppelgangers, "That's a good one, where'd you learn it?"
"Klaus." she spouts, gulping down the liquor in one shot and shaking her empty glass for another.
"Are we going to do this? Not discuss you and him," Damon asks, as she scrambles off the bed, upset and looking for something to cover herself with. He hands her his button down and she yanks it from him, flipping her hair out over the collar and huffing. "What do you wanna know?" She says quickly, crossing her arms under her chest and daring him with her eyes.
Damon pours them both another glass and sits on the corner of the bed, "What deal did you cut with him?"
She fidgets, taps her fingernails on the glass, sets it down and then picks it back up, "He wanted to be King, okay, "She says, before gulping her drink, "He wanted to be king and I told him I could make him one."
"What do you mean, king, the king of what?"
She stops fidgeting, "New Orleans."
There is a brief moment of silence before Damon hits her with, "How'd you do it Bonnie?"
And she places the glass on the mahogany bar, walks over to him, and saddles herself between his legs, framing his face with her palms. She kisses him and says, "It no longer matters, Damon. What's done is done."
They're drunk. He is lying down on the bed, propping his head up with his arm folded underneath his neck. She's straddling him, "But why the name Roxanne?"
He caresses her thigh, "It has an edge to it, definitely more of an edge then Sally-Mae," He says making a face, because he's still amazed at how horrible her name was.
She laughs and he can't help but do the same, because she's infectious, and he's happy, like a puppy, he wants to flip her over and pounce on her, take a bite out of her, go where she goes, see what she sees, experience everything again with her.
And he has the crazy idea of them skipping town, traveling to a remote island and making love in a hammock.
He asks her to pick any place in the world she would like to go.
Her face changes, it becomes softer and her eyes focus on him, "Mystic Falls," She says.
"Mystic falls? After the world?"
All of their words are muddled, near slurring, and they are talking over one another, and are starting each sentence with, "Remember that time "or" What about when?"
"Do you remember the time we got drunk at that hick bar outside of Mystic?" He says, tickling her side.
She reacts and giggles and yelps for him to stop before saying, "Ugh, don't remind me, that's the night I discovered boxed wine."
Damon laughs, it bellows from his stomach out his mouth and crinkles his eyes, "You puked all night; I had to angle your head out my car so you wouldn't ruin my ride."
"You mean I hugged your toilet all night, and Caroline yelling at you, asking what you did to me," She says, rolling her eyes dramatically and nuzzling next to him, throwing a bare leg over his waist.
"She never believed me when I said nothing."
Bonnie gives him a look like 'can you blame her?' and adds, "She stayed up with me all night. She was a good friend."
He quirks a brow, "Was?"
"Was. We don't know each other anymore."
This conversation began to sound familiar to him, like something he said to Stefan around 1912 and 1943 and again in '86.
"Neither do you and I Judgy, but look at us now, it's like a day hasn't passed between us," He encourages because he doesn't want to think of them as strangers.
She sobers, props her head up on her fist, "We are reminiscing over those persons we used to be. I'm no longer that scared little girl. No more judgmental witch."
"Hey, I happened to like that pain in the ass witch," He teases.
With a blink of an eye, the whiskey bottle from the bar appears in Bonnie's hand and Damon claps and says, "No more floating feathers."
"I can level this hotel with a bat of an eyelash," She says, holding the bottle to her lips.
"Do it," he says, nipping her neck. Will he ever not desire destruction?
She grimaces, "No," She says, swiping him away, "There are innocent people in this hotel, Damon."
"Innocent," Damon scoffs, "Were you and I not at the same party?"
"People make mistakes."
He takes the bottle from her and says, "So do vampires."
She nods and adds, "So do witches."
It's past late, it's almost morning. The sky is no longer black but a shade of blue. They are in front of the windows, standing next to one another, shoulder to shoulder.
"I looked for you," he says, watching the snow finally fall.
She turns to look at him, "Why?"
He runs his finger over the condensation, writing a name, "I didn't realize it was what I was doing; I told myself I was escaping, trying to get as far away as possible from Mystic Falls. But I found myself in places I thought you would go, ancient libraries, and visiting mystics hoping I'd hear of you in the area, on some subconscious level I searched for you," he says, observing how the water beads from his marking and trickles down the pane.
They make love again.
He intertwines his fingers into hers and wraps her hair around his throat. He has so many questions, they bubble up and pop and she has her cheek melded to his chest and she responds to each one with, "One day."
And it's enough for him to relax, drift off, and fall asleep.
Morning light beams on his closed lids, stirring him out of dreams of blood and magic, and he rubs his face into the pillow and reaches for Bonnie, palming crumpled sheets.
He opens his eyes.
She is gone.
Even though he knows it's ridiculous, he zips in the restroom, tearing off the shower curtain, and he is pissed with her for having him hope she would be hiding behind a fucking curtain of plastic. He throws open the room door, stark naked and yelling her name, and startling the life out of two elderly sisters who gasp and hold their hearts as they hustle down the hall.
"Fuck." He punches the nearest wall and hunts for his pants. He locates them, wrinkled and tucked under the bed skirt and he slips them on. With his fly open, he runs to catch her, only to full body slam into an invisible force field over the threshold.
He stumbles backward, his blue eyes wide and manic, and he speedily rises to punch the thin air under the entrance, and it's like punching brick.
The fear is taking over; he isn't thinking straight. His thoughts are cloudy as he spins around, searching for a way out, and he blinks to the windows, skimming the metal for a latch, and he considers breaking the panes and jumping down. With the best of luck he could land on a car, there would be a few broken bones, but he would heal, and then he would track her down, and once he found her, he would kill her.
Kill her for leaving him.
He laughs to keep from murdering, as he realizes she has driven him crazy and he smacks his forehead on the glass, staring down at the quiet and shadowy courtyard; the streets blanketed in white, untouched by tire marks because the city was still asleep; and the frost-bitten Cathedral across the square, with its many gothic spires glistening with ice.
The large, wooden doors of the cathedral open and a petite woman exits. She is outfitted in black; her fine-cut coat is unbelted and her pencil skirt and blouse are tailored. Her hair is brushed back from her face, tied into a polished knot at her nape. She covers her eyes with dark shades in anticipation of the sun.
Damon curses the woman's name, and slams his fist against the glass and it creaks and whines, splintering from the eye of the pane to the sill.
A town car with tinted windows pulls up to the curb, and she quick steps down the stairs when Damon notices a figure trotting across the street, leaving footprints in the snow.
It is the vampire from last night, still wearing his tux, waving his hand for her to wait.
He is grinning like a dolt and she has one foot in the car, prepared for her fast getaway, but the vampire grabs a hold of her arm. He doesn't want her to go. And she takes the dark shades from her face, and cups the vampire's cheek in her hand and says something to make his anxious grip become tender.
Damon gets the license plates of the car and sends several texts while Bonnie bids a good-bye.
The car drives away.
And his phone vibrates with the response that the plates are not traceable.
He glances down at the vampire standing idly on the curb, looking forlorn and absent, "Me too, brother," He says under his breath and runs his hands through his hair.
The sun reaches its full potential and blinds Damon momentarily as he glimpses the vampire slipping off a ring and throwing it over his back.
He flames up like a lit match.
And the cathedral bells ring as the vampire burns to ash.
The clock changes to one and Damon senses someone outside the room.
When he opens the hotel door, he was totally expecting for Klaus -the big bad- to start howling for Bonnie, surrounded by his hybrid thugs, and have them bust in, fangs blazing, to torture him for her whereabouts, and that he would have a witch conjuring in the hall, ready to send him off on that long goodnight if he put up a fight.
But he is by himself.
And he even looks refreshed and unperturbed in his gray suit and tan trench coat, smiling wide and gesturing his arms out to Damon in faux excitement, "Damon. Salvatore. How surprising it is to you see here."
"She's not here, man."
Klaus rocks on his heels and nods, "Obviously, but I am here for clues, mate. Mind if I take a gander?"
Damon motions for him to come inside, "Help yourself, but unless you wanna be sealed in hell with me, I would suggest taking my word when I say she swiped this place spotless. I think she might have even dusted for her own fingerprints."
Klaus lifts a brow, "You can't get out, can you?"
"Nope," Damon says, popping the p dramatically.
Klaus brands a teasing smile and walks in and demonstrates he can walk back out, "Seems to only be affecting you." He says strutting in to the room and immediately rummaging through the hotel furniture.
Damon rolls his eyes and leaves the door open; he picks up where he left off, nursing the last of the Elijah Craig and watching Italian soap operas.
Klaus eyes the messy bed, "You two did a bit of catching up?" He asks with little interest as he runs his hands under the mattress.
Damon picks up his shirt; it still has her scent, "We did, we ran into each other at a party. She was there with another vamp, but left with me, "Damon stresses the last three words, buttoning his shirt in front of Klaus, making sure the fiend is very aware of what happened in the hotel room.
"Who was the vamp?"
"Trent Gallagher, but you won't be able to get anything out of the guy," Damon points to the window, "I watched him barbecue himself this morning, what's left of him is under the snow."
Klaus's face brightens like a child on Christmas morning, "That must have been a terrific sight," He says and Damon grimaces and takes note of the closest chair he can turn into a weapon.
The hybrid shakes a finger at Damon and laughs like he has him figured out, "If it will make you feel better, old chap, I know what you are going through," He says, observing the cracked window, "Before hopping on a plane here, I was a hostage in my own home for three days, "He finishes, holding up a finger for each day with his back turned to Damon.
Out of all the run-ins Damon has had with the Original, from rescuing his brother and saving the doppelganger, he has never known the hybrid to be this calm. And it makes him all the more alarmed.
"I am going to ask a stupid question here," Klaus starts, his hands clasped behind his back, "Mainly because I recently read a self-help book that advises to do so and although I humbly disagree, I would be remiss if I do not at least attempt to apply its instruction, and trouble you by asking if Bonnie so happened to have mentioned where she might be traveling next."
Damon answers honestly, "I don't know, and if I knew, I wouldn't tell you." Klaus turns slowly to face him and Damon spots the mood change in the hybrid's baby blues but continues anyway, "If I were you, I'd give it up brother, I would take her running away as a hint. You're a nice looking guy, I'm sure you'll land on your feet in no time," He says, pouring his self and the hybrid a drink.
Klaus accepts the offering, "Running from me? Is that what you think?" He laughs heartily, lifting his coat tail and taking a seat, "I forget that you don't know Bonnie now," He says, watching how Damon's jaw tightens and then adding, "Actually, I don't think you ever knew Bonnie."
Damon twirls his drink in his hand, "I think I know her pretty well if you ask me." His face darkens as he thinks of her saying no one calls her Judgy anymore.
"Fucking her and knowing who she is, are not one in the same, mate, "Klaus explains like he is teaching a lesson, "For example, if she were running from me, then she wouldn't have booked this room under Mrs. Niklaus Mikaelson."
Damon gags on his bourbon.
Klaus places his foot over his knee, getting comfortable, "And herein lies the distinction, you are dumbfounded by this because you don't know Bonnie, whereas I am simply amused, because I do know her, and my love likes to indulge in little games," He stands and takes the bottle from the bar to pour another, "What she is doing, brother, is not running, but drawing out her mark. She wants to be pursued."
"Mikaelson?" Damon asks in complete disbelief, wiping his mouth.
"Did you not ask her any questions about her life over the past five years?" Klaus bellows, beginning to show his stripes," Were you not wondering why she faked her death, or how I came to become King, and can I also assume she left out who reigns as Queen?"
Damon makes a blank face ,"It no longer matters, what's done is done," he repeats without thought, even though that is not how he feels at all, inside he desperately wants to know.
Klaus snorts and walks over to Damon to refill his glass. He whispers, "It's so hard to find good help these days, and the younger ones refuse to use vervain, they think the originals are a myth and foolishly believe they are at the top of the food chain, even when I explicitly warn them that the woman they are spying on has enough of my blood in her system to compel anyone to do what she wants, even vampires."
The room seems to shrink and Damon needs to sit. He shoots the alcohol, sinking down on the edge of the bed and creases his brow, "You mean to tell me she can compel vamps?"
"I mean to tell you, she can do a lot of things. Like make the former established King of New Orleans who was protected by two covens of witches- a non-issue," Klaus says, looking out the windows, "She is the most powerful witch to grace your time, and the single most beautiful thing I have ever possessed."
Damon smirks, "Not that I don't agree with you on Bonnie being powerful and hot, but she and I did talk, among other things, and I didn't particularly get any warm fuzzies from her when it came to you."
"She and I have reached an impasse, "He says, and then turns to face Damon, "After five years, she wants a new life ."
Damon stands, ready to test out if the seal on the door is broken, "If Bonnie wants out, and you say she's not running, but drawing out her mark, "Damon says the last word, gesturing like it's under quotations, "Then it sounds like a trap. Why chase her?"
"I am chasing her for the same reason you are," Klaus admits, walking over to confront the eldest Salvatore, "Do not delude yourself of thinking I was not aware of you when we were in Alexandria. I was on to you. You saw a seer there, he spoke with you, and despite my charm and generosity; he would not divulge your conversation, not even when I threatened to cut out his tongue."
Damon is sad to hear of the old mystic who is surely dead after Klaus. Damon remembers how he dripped goat's blood onto the sand and after some hoopla in a language Damon had never heard, he pointed at the clots of blood and sand and said he would not find Bonnie in Egypt.
But he would be an accomplice to the slaughter of a King.
He thought the mystic was a quack and was agitated over the wasted money.
He feels differently now.
Damon narrows his eyes," I guess we'll have to wait to find out."
Klaus meets Damon's stare and says, "You were right. There is nothing here of hers." He extends his hand to give Damon a handshake, "Very well then, I would say it was a pleasure to see you mate, but we both know that would be a lie."
And even though Damon is conscious of the kind of carnage Klaus is capable of, he shakes the hybrids hand and says, "Go back to New Orleans, Klaus. Bonnie is done with you."
Klaus stretches his mouth into a grin and then there is a sickening crunch from Damon's neck snapping, "Consider that a warning, Salvatore. Stay away from my wife."
Cabs are lined up in front of the hotel, with their drivers in standard uniform and black chauffeur hats, huddled and arguing about the soccer game until they see him, and glare, wondering if he will be the one to disrupt their heated debate for a ride.
Damon shakes his head and flips up the collar of his wool coat. He feels like walking the ten blocks to his apartment.
He massages his neck; housecleaning had woken him up hours later, they were distraught thinking they had found a dead body. He tipped them graciously and told them to cancel their call to the police.
He slips his hand into his coat for his gloves and finds a note.
He unfolds the paper and its Bonnie's loopy handwriting, big and expressive.
Till we meet again.
He tucks the piece of paper into his palm. He has never received a 'yours' before.
He checks his phone; Roxanne had sent him a text. She made it home safe. Marco had given her a ride. He knows there will be some tears from her when he tells her he must move on, but he hopes to make it easier by leaving her the apartment and a substantial amount in her savings. He feels it is only right.
As his boots meet the icy pavement, he daydreams of sweltering climates, lush overgrown flora and wild fauna, pockets on earth where guns and Jesus had yet to trample, where tribes still believed in blood suckers and revered witches. He thinks he should travel there next.
He has a feeling - a hunch.
The stoplight turns red and he crosses the street, snowflakes swirling into his hair and melting as soon as they land onto his face, and he doesn't mind.