The Walls Listen
Author's Note: Tonight I thought I would sit down and write some Bamon. A short drabble to kick start some more consistent writing again. Only that 500 word dream turned into this. It is set post Season 4 and contains speculation for Season 5, so expect shades of Delena (though not in depth). It's from Damon's POV and some people might not like what he has to say. This is a weird one in that it turned out completely different than what I intended. I hope people give it a shot!
Jeremy's biggest mistake(and there have been plenty including the time he destroyed the kitchen trying to make a fruit smoothie) since crash landing at the Boarding House is that he forgets what Damon is.
Damon is a vampire.
Which by definition means he is going to drink copious amounts of blood, win the marathon every time, and hear a whisper from across the expanse of the home they now share.
It's a rookie mistake, especially for someone who is surrounded by them.
It starts days after Jeremy moves in (Damon was in a sex induced hazed when he agreed to let him, he had to be). A faint hint of conversation, a few words drifting over the silence here and there. At first Damon ignores it. He has never particularly cared what Jeremy Gilbert has had to say, he is not going to start now.
But when his eyes open wide in the middle of the night because his keen senses have picked up on the hushed tones of Baby Boy Gilbert, Damon feels the need to rationalize it.
Obviously Jeremy has come back a little touched.
Really though, Jeremy Gilbert was dead, his body burnt to a crisp (a thought that no matter hard he tries, Damon can't seem to forget). You don't come back from that playing with a full deck.
Damon is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt however. Perhaps Jeremy is in good mental health and just trying to make up for lost time. Clean the pipes and all that. Damon makes a face in the dark as the thought crosses his mind.
Probably thinking about the witch...
And then it hits him.
Of course Jeremy is thinking about the witch.
Given that Bonnie has decided to make herself M.I.A. this summer Jeremy has probably spent as much time has he can chatting it up via phone. In fact, Damon now suspects every time Jeremy's grating voice has hit his ears it is because he is face timing the hell out of Bonnie Bennett.
He is able to drift back to sleep.
In fact, Damon sleeps much better from there on out. Occasionally he is jarred awake by the sounds of Jeremy muttering in the room two doors down but he merely reminds himself of young love and rolls back into sleep. He thinks (though he will never admit aloud) that this Odd Couple scenario might work.
Until the day he comes upon Jeremy in the middle of the living room holding a conversation with air.
Damon holds back, hidden just out of sight and just listens.
"I can't keep this up..."
"They should know."
Well damn...he has to throw out his sexting theory doesn't he?
Jeremy isn't thinking aloud either (how MacBeth would that be? Enter stage right, purge deepest darkest thoughts into the air). No, there are strange down times, moments were Damon wonders if Jeremy is finished and he can make his entrance like nothing is wrong. But then just as Damon considers shifting his weight and moving forward, it begins again.
"This isn't fair."
From then on out, Damon listens. He thought his eavesdropping days had been over the moment his brother had crossed town limits but yet he sits, a glass of bourbon in one hand, with his head cocked toward wherever Jeremy has landed for the day.
His roommate doesn't do it all the time. In fact now that Damon is actively seeking out the behavior he realizes it is hard to find. He actually misses sleep in favor of eavesdropping on a kid he could care less about (lies). What he manages to catch does nothing to help solve the growing mystery. In fact the only thing he is sure of is that the younger Gilbert is growing increasingly agitated.
He doesn't tell Elena. He doesn't have the heart to. Right now she is having pillow fights with the blonde one at Whitmore in between attempts at being studious. After the complete hell that was her last year of high school, he isn't about to give her reason to fret (just yet).
One night he sits outside of Jeremy's bedroom, slumped with his back pushed against the wall. On the other side of the door, Jeremy is pacing (probably wearing a path on the rug).
"I won't be quiet!"
"This has gone on too long."
"It will just more when the truth comes out. Don't you get that?"
The awkward moments of silence cause him to learn forward as if to catch the other side of the conversation. And then it clicks: there is another side to the conversation. Words, whole sentences that he is not privy to. For a split second he thinks that Jeremy has truly lost his mind but then he realizes that he has forgotten something (seems that Jeremy is not the only one): Baby Gilbert can talk to the dead.
Damon nearly groans aloud. How on earth could have he have bypassed that simple fact? Maybe he hasn't even wanted to see it. Maybe for just five minutes he has wanted to live in blissful ignorance. Klaus and his werepire ways have relocated to the swamp. Silas is a hunk of rock. He got the girl!
Of course he has known all along that everything exists on a precarious balance. Thoughts have been nagging at the back of his brain (just where in the hell has his brother chosen to brood is the one that reoccurs the most). It shouldn't surprise him that the realization he has just made about Jeremy is the subtle shift that brings him tumbling down to reality.
He should tell Elena now.
The last time Jeremy carried on long conversations with the dead he managed to get himself involved in one hell of a freaky love triangle. As her boyfriend, Damon supposes he has some sort of obligation to keep her informed of the goings on of her younger brother.
But he still doesn't - because he wants to know more.
The fact that Jeremy has not yet realized he is entertaining an eavesdropper works to all their advantages really. By the time Damon lays the evidence out for Elena to see, he can have all the answers to her inevitable questions. Then together they can think of a solution.
For the next two weeks he listens, takes mental notes and forms hypotheses. He wonders if in Jeremy's time on the Other Side he has managed to have himself a ghostly booty call with the fair Anna and is now struggling to find a way to tell the witchy one (to be honest he'd be a little scared too considering she has the ability to calcify an ancient warlock without even breaking a sweat). Jeremy lends some credence to this theory but uttering her name once or twice (always when Damon has stopped paying attention - there it is, the name 'Bonnie' drifting across the usual quiet of the house). He casually drops hints to Elena to see if Bonnie has mentioned any trouble in paradise in her long distance relationship with Jeremy but Elena assures her that Bonnie's texts are nothing but sunshine and rainbows (okay, she didn't quite word it that way but she did tell Damon that Bonnie is happy and relaxed in her Mystic Falls time out).
He is almost ready to call it quits and sink back into the world of turning the other way when he wakes in the early hours of the morning. There is a sick feeling in his stomach and it takes him a moment to shake off the sleep so he can find the source.
You gave up everything for me.
The words are clear, echoing through his head. Jeremy's voice. Perhaps it is something just said that has sprung him back into the waking world. Perhaps it is something he has caught earlier and has been mulling around in his mind. Either way, he gets it.
Oh, but he wishes he hadn't.
He lies there staring into nothing, that feeling of dread inching over his body until he is enveloped in it. He tries to reason his way out of the conclusion he has just made but instead he finds himself affirming it. Each piece of evidence fits together just so until the truth is so snug he can't even begin to fathom how to pull it apart.
The anger he feels is surprising. It curls in his stomach, stretches out to clench his heart tightly. He writhes in the bed until he throws back the covers and stands. To the air, he says, "You're a fool."
He swears the room turns cold.
He finds himself at a loss as to what to do. He wants very much to go down the hall and rip Jeremy Gilbert out of bed to hear what he already knows. But then – what purpose would that serve? Damon's temper is an unstoppable force; he knows in the mood he is currently in he is bound to do something he regrets.
So he leaves. Leaves Jeremy snoring and her watching. He moves through Mystic Falls in the predawn hours looking for a perfect outlet for his anger. Two years ago he would have left bodies – on this night the worst he does is send a mailbox flying with a flick of his wrist.
He figures that means he has enough control to return home.
A strange feeling has come over the Boarding House; maybe it has been there all along and he is finally attuned to it. Either way, he doesn't feel comfortable yet, knowing he is sharing the place with two others instead of one. He finds himself standing in the middle of the living room, his paranoia chipping away at his brain. She is here; she is everywhere.
He can't deal with the uncertainty of it. It is one thing to think that Jeremy has lost his mind; it's another to lose his wondering if a ghost is looking over his shoulders.
Best to take control (as much as possible).
"I meant what I said," he begins. "You are a fool. An idiot really. This is by far the stupidest thing you have done and you've racked up a hell of a list." He pauses as if expecting pain to bloom behind his eyes. He feels nothing (and curses when he realizes just how much that bothers him). His hand goes to his temple out of reflex anyway and he closes his eyes. "But it's you. So very you. Always giving. You'd cut off your own arm if you thought it would help. You wouldn't even realize until after the fact that you'd done it. It's engrained in your DNA or something."
The silence eats at him.
He imagines that Jeremy sometimes wishes for it in order to clear his head, recharge to come at her again (the stubborn witch). Damon never once thought he would find himself in a position where he would want to switch places with Jeremy Gilbert but he does now. Just for a few moments, just so he can tell her exactly what he is thinking and have the satisfaction of seeing her face.
"Is that what happened? Did you cross that line without even knowing it? Too focused on doing the right thing to even notice you were dying? Or did you go into it with the thought of not coming out?" He nearly spits the words out, noting the bitter taste in his mouth. He has always known, from the moment she had been willing to throw herself on the metaphorical stake to take out Klaus and Elijah, that her inability to be selfish would lead to this. He almost wishes he could have taken her under his wing, schooled her on how to think for herself for a fraction of a second. But then again, she always has – and still chose the path that led her to this moment. He wonders if she is screaming at him now, tilting her head in that arrogant way, her eyes blazing as she verbally cuts him to pieces.
He swears for just a moment he can see her.
But then he knows that that is just the image he has created of her in his mind. He doesn't even know if she is there. If she is listening.
"You've made a mess really. Setting aside the whole fact that Jeremy is alive; you've gone and left your best friends without you. Do you know how many times I've heard your name this summer? 'Bonnie's down South with her mother', 'Bonnie's finding herself – but she'll be back'." Always said with a hint of sadness in those doe brown eyes, something that Damon is never fond of seeing. "I've got to hand it to you, Judgy – hell of a scheme you had going there. So did Jeremy brush up on his teenage girl or did you hang over his shoulder and dictate every word? I guess it doesn't matter." Another pause, another series of imagined outrages flung in his direction. "What matters is that she is counting on you coming back. Did you think that far ahead? Probably not. It's kind of insulting really. To her intelligence, Caroline's, mine. I bet you think you are being selfless once again, saving them from the pain of losing their best friend." Christ, he is going to have to be the one to tell Elena. He'll watch a part of that light go out in her eyes, he knows it. "In the end, it's an entirely selfish thing to do – which I should really be congratulating you on considering its one of your first. You can't control how they feel. You can't manipulate them into a false sense of the world around them. They would have found out – one way or another in the end. How do you think they are going to feel knowing that they spend their summer laughing, swimming, planning for college thinking you were meeting them there eventually? Sure, Bonnie, let's throw a heaping pile of guilt on top of the grief consuming them."
He lets that hang in the air between them.
Maybe he is being too harsh, but then again that is the only way to catch her attention. She needs to know that her actions will cost her, have cost her. She should have never tried to hide this. She should have never let it go this long. She should have never thought she could be successful…
…she should have never died.
He is still silent as he sinks down onto the sofa. His eyes search the room, bathed in a dim light from a sun that is just starting to peak above the horizon. "You know…" And he's quiet, almost too quiet. He reckons if she is there, she can still hear him. "…I feel sorry for you really. You put yourself in an impossible position. I have no idea how you are going to wiggle out of this one on your own. Maybe…" And he's musing aloud now. "…maybe I can help you. Save you from the explosion that is about to happen, save them from the pain of ever knowing that not only is their friend dead but as one of her final acts she chose to lie to them." She, of course, sees it differently, he knows that. He knows that when they do fix it (because he is not a believer in 'if') he will get an ear full of why she was right to act in this way in the first place. He welcomes it. "I don't know quite how yet. But you haven't lived as long as I have without collecting a few favors. You'll owe me." He laughs but acknowledges that it sounds bitter, hollow. "I think I'll like that."
He stands now, deciding he needs the comfort of his bed for even a few hours. Enough to clear his head so he can make what he has just said come true. He is nearly to the foot of the stairs before he stops, and looks back to where he imagines her standing. "Just hang on a little longer, okay?"
He wonders as he climbs the stairs if she was even there to begin with. He could have very well just spent the last ten minutes of his life arguing with pure air. He opens the door to his bedroom, shrugging off his shirt as soon as he is inside. It falls to the floor and he stops mid step. Turning he finds his eyes drawn the dancing flame of a candle. For a moment he is entranced as it rises and then dims until it nearly disappears all together. But not quite.
"Clever," he remarks and this time his smile is genuine.
Apparently the walls listen.