AN: I swear I write this every time I update, but seriously thank you so much for your patience with my updates. I'm settling into my new job and working another so I'm basically always working now. Finding time to write is rare, but I still really enjoy it and plan to continue writing this story and my other too. I promise I will finish them and I do not plan on abandoning them at all. All right, for this chapter its more of a filler, but nonetheless important. Thank you so much for your comments on my last chapter. They by far were my favorite. Please leave your reviews on this chapter as well. Happy reading : )


CHAPTER 24.

The notecard size message was pinched between his thumb and index finger. He must have reread it about a thousand times trying to contemplate what it meant. It was obvious the meaning behind the message, but the more he embedded it into his brain, the realization of how real things were becoming made him anxious. Tonight was the night things would change. Fate was capable of altering.

Damon looked over his shoulder at the clock on his nightstand. The evening was upon him and the sun was finally setting outside his window. Outside his bedroom Stefan and Caroline sat on the couch. When he received the note, he had played it off like it was nothing and just a message from his landlord. It took a lot of pretending to not seem suspicious or the least bit enthralled by the idea of knowing what it meant. But they bought it and now he had spent the entire day sitting in his bedroom pretending to rest and sleep, while he was really just drawing up about a million different scenarios of how this night would go and how it would be like to have her back.

You're getting ahead of yourself, he inwardly thought. Nothing was set in stone. Nothing had changed for the better yet. Getting his hopes up for all the good that could come out of this was dangerous. He wasn't ready to meet defeat again. Damon wasn't entirely sure if he could handle it either.

Time was ticking and he needed to get past his brother and Caroline without them questioning his behavior. What he needed was a distraction for the two of them. What he needed was a plan.

With a quick thought, he shoved the note under his bed sheets and stood up. He needed his phone that was still in his office. Being quiet, he snuck out his bedroom to see the lights low and the two of them cuddled up on the couch together. Some bad movie was on TV and he rolled his eyes. God they were boring, but he knew of a way to make things exciting for them while helping himself out too.

Once inside his office, he found his phone and searched through his contacts. A fancy Italian restaurant caught his eye and he dialed the number fast. Placing the phone to his ear, he smirked.

Twenty minutes later, he walked out of his office making sure to not be as quiet. Stefan and Caroline turned their attention to him. He prayed his plan would work.

"How are you feeling?" Stefan asked.

"Great." Damon said trying to sound honest when in reality it was all a lie. "Slept finally."

"You still look exhausted." Caroline mentioned.

Damon bit his tongue. "Yeah, well I think that might be a permanent look for awhile." He stated. "You know with every thing I'm going through Caroline."

Not a single snarky comment escaped her mouth. She nodded her head and glanced away. Some unspoken agreement had blossomed between them since his cathartic moment hours before. To say they were fine with one another was pushing it, but they were good. Being in the same room as Caroline was more tolerable now.

"But enough about me. I think we covered that topic earlier." Damon sighed. "Here," He walked up to them and handed Stefan a sheet of paper that was folded. "Open it."

Seeming hesitant by the mystery paper he was receiving, Damon anxiously hoped this would work. This move was generous, but also brilliant in ditching his babysitter. The hours of the evening were ticking away and he needed the entire night to have to him. With Bonnie not specifying what hour to meet him and only stating some time tonight, he needed the option of keeping his entire night clear.

Stefan with the paper in his hand looked to Caroline. The suspense of him opening the sheet of paper was about to cause him to snap. His brother had every reason to be hesitant when it came to anything involving him, but this gesture wasn't malicious or at least it wasn't harmful toward him. It was distraction to say the least, but it was a distraction Damon needed desperately.

"What is this?" Stefan asked after letting his eyes scan the information printed out on the page.

"It's the president's signature." He joked. "What does it look like you idiot?"

A brief unappreciative stare from Caroline shot his way. Damon chose to ignore it.

"What is it?" She asked.

Drawing in a deep breath, Stefan read aloud, "It's dinner reservations for two." He informed her. "And a reservation at the Mystic Deluxe Hotel for tonight."

"Why did you make reservations?" Caroline asked. Her blonde locks whipped in the air and off her shoulders as she sharply turned to look at him. The assuming stare of something diabolical from his gesture was written all over her face.

"Because maybe I actually want to say thank you, Caroline. Maybe I do have a heart and do care. Maybe I actually want to show the both of you that I appreciate what you're doing." Damon responded.

By giving them this night courtesy of him, he hoped it would portray his gratitude and not as a decoy to his master plan. It was far fetched for him to do something like this, but it was the only thing he could think of at the last minute. What he was offering was well deserved on Stefan and Caroline's part. However, he was done pouring his heart out and being sensitive. The wall he had built was going back up.

The repeatedly exchanged glance between his brother and Caroline was getting old. They were reading too much into this and yet they had every right to. Damon couldn't afford them to think too much on the offer though. The longer they took to think of why in the world was he being so nice after being such an asshole for so long would only cause suspicion to rise. Damon snatched it out of Stefan's hands and flicked his finger at the paper.

"I guess I'll cancel seeing as you two don't seem to care for the idea." Damon whined and turned on his heel.

"Wait," Stefan called out. A pleasant smirk came across his face. It was working. "Give me that."

Damon handed him the reservation back and Stefan scanned over the information one final time before he stood up and crossed his arms. For someone who was younger than him, he sure did take on the role of being the older brother at times.

"You're coming with us." He flatly stated.

"What?"

"I can't just leave you alone, Damon. You know the rules. You know you're supposed to be under watch for obvious reasons." Stefan explained. "So you're coming with us."

"But the reservations are for two." Caroline spoke up.

"Exactly." Damon mimicked his brother by crossing his arms and staring him down. "This is for you and Blondie. Alaric is coming over anyways. I told him about all of this and he agreed to come over to take your place."

The internal jab of guilt hit him knowing he had just lied to his brother. Alaric had no knowledge of this decoy to get Stefan and Caroline out his sight or more like him out of their sight. Time was ticking though. He could hear the sound of the second hand counting down the minutes until he had to go find Bonnie and figure out this whole thing with bringing Elena back. Desperation was on the tip of his tongue and he knew no boundaries if his plan failed.

"Seriously." He confirmed his well-constructed information.

"We can wait then until he gets here." His brother replied.

Fuck if he was going to let that happen. They would be here all night if they actually waited for Alaric to show up, which he was definitely never going to. His heart thumped in his chest knowing how eager he was growing and how close he could taste Elena's lips upon his again. Not Stefan, not Caroline, no one was going to fuck this up for him.

"You're going to be late if you do that." Damon remarked. "Go! I'll be fine until Alaric gets here, which should be soon. I promise."

Stefan didn't seem to believe him.

Damon sighed. "Trust me. Please." He begged of him. "I know I haven't given you much of a reason in the past, but I'm tying to be better this time. And if I do mess up you can personally kick my ass to rehab or hell if you prefer."

It was like pulling teeth with him trying to instill the idea of him not falling back on his word. Alcohol was the last thing on his mind. The only thought he had was Elena. All he saw at the end of the tunnel was her beautiful brown eyes and genuine smile appearing before him like an angel, but instead of being transparent she was whole.

"Please." Damon asked once more.

"I'll personally kick your ass if you even dare to think about messing up." Caroline snapped and pointed at him. She rose from the couch and took the paper with the reservations from Stefan's hands. "And don't worry, I've taken plenty of kick boxing classes."

"I wouldn't second guess it." He said aware of how hard her slaps could be.

Her tiny eyes looked at the paper and then she turned her back to him whispering something in Stefan's ear. Whatever was being discussed in secret, he hoped she was reasoning with him. He eyed his car keys on the kitchen counter and read the note he had photographed in his brain again. This was being dragged out too long. Damon felt like he was going to burst.

"I swear Damon if you…" Stefan began to threaten.

"I won't." Damon saved him the trouble of listing off the possibilities of trouble he could get himself into. "Now go!"

Caroline became giddy at the idea of dinner and the luxury of staying in a nice hotel for a night. What he was doing for them wasn't cheap and to say he didn't pull some strings to get these reservations at the very last minute would be putting it lightly. Thankfully, he knew people and it worked. His watchdogs were fleeing to a night of bliss, while he would be flying down a road to the unknown hoping for an answer. An answer he had been looking for all along.

"Hey Damon," Stefan yelled from the door with Caroline in hand. "Thank you."

"Go!" He shouted back and winked.

Something happened as he watched his brother leave out his door. Part of his mouth rose into a smile. It was only half a smile, but a smile nonetheless. It was an emotion he hadn't seen on his brother's face caused by him in ages. Instant guilt boiled inside his stomach knowing the smallest trust Stefan was gaining back for him was all stemmed from a lie.


The speedometer on his dashboard read 50 mph. The sign he passed read 35 mph, but he chose to ignore the posted speed limit and continue on his journey. Crumbled up in the pocket of his leather jacket, Damon kept the note and sped down the streets in the darkness hoping to find the spot Bonnie had designated as their place of meeting. The crossroads could mean anywhere seeing as so many roads created intersections outside of town. However, he knew of one that might hold the sacred meeting place and so he navigated toward it at high speeds.

It had been forty minutes since he had left his apartment convinced he was prepared and what this night could hold. Part of it was spent making sure he was in the clear of Stefan and Caroline seeing him sneaking out. Once that was confirmed, he threw on what he had lying around and darted for the parking garage. His chest felt tight and his throat went dry thinking of the many ways of how he would react to seeing her again. It was cliché to say he had the feeling of butterflies in his stomach, but he did. That's how Elena made him feel. She was the only one who could let him feel like this.

A stop sign was up a head and he glanced both ways before taking a sharp turn to his left. Not bothering to stop, Damon veered on the road only being lit by the headlights of his car. Fields surrounded him with tall trees planted against the ditches every so often. A few wooden buildings occupied the land here and there. For the most part though, he was alone with little to no life getting in his way. The only life he wanted to come in contact with was her, but he had to go through someone first. Someone he was slightly terrified to meet.

Up ahead a large, wide intersection shined in his lights. He slowed down for the first time in his entire drive and pulled off to the side. This had to be it. Something told him this was the place.

Withdrawing the note from his pocket again, he read it. TONIGHT MEET ME AT THE CROSSROADS OUTSIDE OF TOWN. ITS TIME! – B

Damon gulped and closed his eyes. "…we found Elena's car wrecked on Highway 6." The words of the officer still echoed in his mind. This was where she crashed her car. This was where she died. He had not been out here nor had he found the strength to visit the site until now. Highway 6 ran perpendicular creating an intersection with county road 66, ultimately creating the famous 666 intersection outside of town. The thought of it made him shiver. If there wasn't a more perfect spot for this night, this was it.

Looking up, he flew back into his seat and felt like he was on the verge of having a heart attack. In front of his car in the headlights stood Bonnie. She stood up tall and straight, while she stared at him with crazy eyes. Once he was no longer feeling momentarily paralyzed, he killed the engine and exited his car. With no light coming from his vehicle, Damon shuddered at the darkness surrounding him.

Bonnie remained still and he searched for her form of transportation here. No car was in sight and he spun around before walking up to her trying to figure out how she got here at all.

"Guess I found the place." Damon uttered. "How the hell did you get here?"

"You have about ten minutes before its time." She said ignoring his question. "Are you ready?"

"Ten minutes? Are you playing receptionist for this guy?" He chuckled. "Did he find time to pencil me into his appointment book?"

"He isn't some guy." Bonnie argued. "He's not even close to being human. You really have no idea what you are getting yourself into, do you?"

Damon rolled his eyes. "Look, I don't care who he is or what he is. As long as he can give me Elena back, that's all that matters." He told her. "And I thank you for doing this."

"I really shouldn't have done this." She bowed her head. "I shouldn't have got involved. I should have stayed away."

The mentally unstable Bonnie was coming forward. Her tone of voice suggested it and it was a drastic change from the image of her standing before his car looking confident and almost menacing. Damon reached out to touch her, but she flinched hard and stepped away.

"Don't touch me. Don't." Bonnie yelled. "I just…I just need to tell you a few things before it time."

"Okay, shoot." Damon replied.

"She's not happy about this. She's not happy that you're doing this at all." She informed him. This "she" she spoke of must be Elena. Her ability to contact with her on the other side was a brilliant capability, but a conflicting one to say the least. Damon knew she wouldn't want him to take the extreme route like she had, but he had no other option. He hoped when this was all over, she would understand and forgive him for what he was about to do.

Bonnie clenched her fists and raised them in front of her chest. "It's like she's kicking at the walls telling me to tell you to not go through with this. It hurts." She gasped. "It hurts to hear her so upset."

"If you're telling me this to get me to back out of this plan, you're wrong." Damon spoke harshly. "I'm going through with this. I'm doing whatever it takes to get her back. Do you hear me?" He looked up to the night sky and shouted, "Do you hear me?"

"She hears you. She hears you loud and clear." Bonnie responded. "And she says you're a fucking idiot for doing this."

"And she was a fucking idiot for doing it in the first place." He barked.

The intensity in Bonnie's face fell and she seemed less unstable. Her shoulders began to rise and her chin was no longer pointed at the ground.

"You both are idiots." She said with disgust.

Glancing over at the middle of the intersection, she walked slowly and bent down running her hand along the gravel. She walked in a circle and then remained still standing back up and facing him.

"Come." Her hands gestured for him to move.

Damon moved cautiously looking around. Some light would be good about now, but not even the stars were shining tonight. He felt a sudden chill go down his spine.

"You must stand in the dead center of the intersection." She advised him. He looked down to see faintly the circle she had drawn in the gravel and stepped inside of it. "Here, take this and cut the palm of your hand squeezing the blood all around the edge of the circle."

"I do what? No." Damon argued.

"You said you do anything." Bonnie replied portraying her menacing side. This was by far the side of her he actually feared the most. He knew what she could do to him.

The blade of a knife was drawn from her back pocket and she held it out to him. He was hesitant about slicing his hand open and bleeding all over the place. Before he could say another word, Bonnie reached for his hand violently and cut it deep enough to let the blood ooze out.

"Ouch!" He screamed through his clenched teeth and now clenched hand. It stung and he felt the blood dripping down the palm of his hand and on to the gravel. Once the initial shock of the blade slicing him, he did as he was told and dripped his blood on to the ground creating a circle. It seemed satanic, but wasn't that the point? Wasn't he about to make a deal with the devil?

"Now you wait." She stated. "Now you wait."

"What does he look like?" Damon whispered feeling the silence closing in.

Bonnie didn't say a thing.

"Bonnie." He said again.

Nothing.

"Earth to Bon Bon."

A brisk wind swept through the air and this time they both shuddered. Damon looked to Bonnie, who was staring down the road and appeared frightened. She took a few small steps back before she turned away from him and continued walking on.

"Wait, where are you going?" Damon called out.

"He's coming." She shouted.

"You're leaving?" He asked trying not to show how scared he truly was becoming.

"I can't stay." Bonnie informed him. "I have to go."

"You can't leave me here." Damon yelled sounding desperate now. "Bonnie. Bonnie!"

Down the road and into the complete darkness she disappeared. He couldn't believe she had left him. Alone he stood in the circle of blood waiting for him to meet the face of pure evil. Damon breathed heavily and clenched his fist close to his chest as it continued to bleed. Something was happening. Something was coming.

Out of sight, he heard, "Hello, Damon."