Chapter 001 – I’d Do It Again

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Answering the Prayers of Vampires

A Vampire Diaries Story

By Lilly Gray

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Chapter 001

I’d Do It Again

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Saturday, May 29, 2010; around 7:30 PM

Damon’s POV

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I wake in my bed at the boarding house.  How did I get here?  The last thing I remember is knocking Jeremy to the ground as Liz shot at us in the Grill.  I look down at my chest and see three bloody holes in my shirt.  Guess I didn’t dream taking those three bullets that probably would have killed Jeremy.  I’m clueless about how I got back here though.  A moment goes by and then I see my answer come out of my bathroom.  “Elena?”

Her lip trembles and her eyes are watery with unshed tears as she says, “It’s okay, Damon.  I’m right here,” and after walking to the bed she leans over me and wipes my sweaty face with a towel.

Of course she is, because being the stubborn, pig headed girl that she is she’s always putting herself at risk to help others.  I frown and pain stabs through my chest making speaking more difficult but I manage to tell her, “Elena, get out of here.  I could hurt you.”

My stubborn Elena frowns back at me and as her brows furrow she looks me right in the eyes and says, “No.  You won’t.”  She pauses and wipes my face with the towel again before telling me, “I’m here until the very end.  I’m not leaving you.”

Does she not remember just how close Rose came to hurting her on multiple occasions as she died from her Werewolf bite?  Truth is there have been times in the last 48-hours that I haven’t been entirely sure what was real and what was just in my head and she wants to stay by my side where if I guess wrong I could possibly hurt her, or god forbid worse.  I mean it’s really not a stretch that I could easily kill her, but I could also force my blood on her and then kill her all without even realizing that it’s actually happening.  I try to sit up and argue back just as firmly, “Get out of here,” I intended to tell her everything I just thought of but then pain rips through my body like little stabbing and burning knives being simultaneously shoved all over my chest, arms, and legs.  I scream before coughing up blood, and I lose my train of thought.

As she climbs up onto the bed and sort of cradles me in her arms she helps wipe away the blood I just coughed up with the towel.  I want to keep arguing with her to leave since it really is dangerous for her to be here with me, and I’d never forgive myself if she got hurt because of me.  However, when she leans back against my pillows with me in her arms and my head cradled against her chest saying, “Hey… hey… hey… hey.  Hang on.  Shh.  It’s okay.  It’s okay.  It’s okay,” I lose the will to spend my last few minutes telling the woman I love to leave.

Truth is I don’t want to die alone.  Oh I deserve to do just that, but once again I decide to be selfish though I do offer up a small prayer, ‘Please God if you listen to the prayers of Vampires and might consider answering one please don’t allow my being selfish right now to turn disastrous.  Please keep Elena safe even as she stays with me through my last moments.’

After I think my plea for ‘Lena’s safety I really mull over her words and really it’s so far from okay it’s not even funny so I tell her, “It’s not okay.  It’s not okay.  All those years, I blamed Stefan.”  More pain slams into my body causing me to cringe and shudder before I finish my thought, “No one forced me to love her.”  I swallow hard and tell her, “It was my own choice.”

Her hold on me tightens and she has tears in her voice as she whispers, “Shh.”

I shift on the bed slightly as more little stabbing knives rip through my chest.  My head is pounding but I plow ahead with my train of thought as though she hasn’t spoken, “I made the wrong choice.”  Another hard swallow and I manage to say, “You tell Stefan I’m sorry.  Okay?”

I crack my eyes open and tilt my face up in her direction in time to see the tears spill over her cheeks as she tells me, “I will.”

I close my eyes again and then sigh as she puts her head against mine and we just lay in companionable silence as I focus on her lying beside me with her hair tickling my cheek.  Unfortunately, ignoring the pain radiating through my body with every breath I take is impossible as my focus keeps leaving Elena holding me in her arms and lands on the fire burning within my veins as the Werewolf venom feels as though it’s battery acid slowly eating away at my nerve endings.

I don’t know how long we’ve been just laying here but through my pain it occurs to me that, “This is even more pitiful than I thought.”

She lifts her head and looks at me with her pinched and tear-streaked face as she tells me, “There’s still hope.”

She’s got restless fingers that keep clenching and unclenching as she holds onto me and she’s clenching her jaw tightly so I know she’s lying through her teeth so I forgive myself for not having any hope left either as I sort of ignore the sentiment and say, “I’ve made a lot of choices that have gotten me here.”  I swallow hard again and tell her, “I deserve this…  I deserve to die.”

She shakes her head against mine as her arms tighten around me moments before she says, “No.  You don’t.”

She’s so stubborn, but then again so am I.  I’ve probably killed more people than her and all of her friends have met in their entire lives combined and she thinks I don’t deserve to die as painful a death as possible?  Very few of those deaths I caused were particularly quick and none of them except the few snapped necks were painless so I tell her, “I do, Elena.”  Then it occurs to me that every choice I made led me here so I continue, “It’s okay because if I’d chosen differently, I wouldn’t have met you.”  I close my eyes and clench my jaw through a particularly strong stab of pain groaning ever so slightly then tell her, “I’m so sorry, done so many things to hurt you.”

“It’s okay.  I forgive you.”  Are her words only because I’m dying?  You know what?  Not only do I not care but there is no way I’ll ever know if my impending death is the only reason she said it.  Either way her words cause a weight I hadn’t truly realized was there to lift off my chest, but I need to tell her how I feel so I say, “I know you love Stefan… and it will always be Stefan.”

Even just saying the words causes a stabbing pain to bloom in my heart that matches the pain already so rampant throughout my body but I was right when I told her that I don’t deserve her.  I was just as right when I finished that statement up with the fact that Stefan does deserve her.  I pause as she takes my hand and lays next to me putting her head on my chest and I bask in her closeness as much as the situation and the pain raging inside my body will allow before I finish the thought, “But I love you.”  I pause then tell her, “You should know that.”

Lord knows I tried like hell not to fall in love with her, but how could I not.  She’s the only person who ever told me they were sorry that I had lost Katherine too.  And it was obvious she meant every word, the truth was plain as day in her eyes as she spoke the words.  Who does that except a woman who wholly deserves to be loved by everyone who meets her.

I open my eyes in time to see her tears speed up as she sniffles and tells me, “I do.”

I wish we had met while I was still Human.  I might have actually won the girl if that had happened.  I smile wistfully at what might have been if things had been very different and tell her, “You should have met me in 1864.  You would have liked me.”

She raises her head and looks me in the eyes as she tells me, “I like you now… just the way you are.”

Does she really like me just how I am now?  I mean really?  I killed Vicki and worse yet I turned her into a monster.  I forced my blood on Elena before the sacrifice and only her father’s sacrifice saved me from destroying Elena’s life just as Stefan did mine.  I killed Jeremy and got very lucky that he was wearing Jonathan Gilbert’s Immortality Ring.  I’ve done so much to hurt her that I’m inclined to think those particular words are really just because I’m dying.  I’m so very tired, so I close my eyes then a moment later her soft lips brush mine and I reconsider.  Would she really kiss me even if I was dying if she didn’t truly like me how I am?  Part of me wonders if this is a hallucination but I tell her, “Thank you,” anyway.

She whispers back, “You’re welcome.”

We lay there for a while longer and my strength is slowly seeping out of me minute by minute.  My time here is growing much shorter with every passing second.  There are three more wrongs I have to right though, and I know out of anyone in my life Elena will deliver my messages so I tell her, “Tell Jer I said I’m sorry about Vicki.  I was wrong to do that to her.  Tell him I’m also sorry I killed him.  And tell—tell Caroline…”

I pause trying to gather my strength to say the words I need to say, “Tell her I’m sorry… for how I treated her when I got here…  I was… wrong…  And…  I would do it again.”

She seems to misunderstand as she cups my sweaty cheek and asks, “You’d hurt her again?”

No that’s not what I meant at all.  Obviously something got lost in translation so I frown and shake my head slightly hoping she can hear me as I whisper, “No… I’d let Lockwood bite me again… if it meant protecting her and Matt.”

I think I hear a gasp come from the doorway, but I’m not sure, so I finish the thought, “Somewhere along the way Vampire Barbie grew on me…  And without realizing it she became family… like you, Jeremy, and Stefan… the little sister I never had… never even knew I wanted.  Tell her…  Tell her she’s worth it…  and…  I’d do it again to protect her.”

The bed on the opposite side of where Elena is lying dips and then a gentle hand brushes my dark sweaty hair out of my eyes, and touches my clammy cheek.  I turn to look at the person and my blurry eyes struggle to focus on Caroline’s face.  At least I think it’s her so I ask, “Caroline?”

Her hands tremble as she tries to smile through her tears and cups my cheek while she says, “I’m here Brother, and I forgive you.”

I smile just barely and whisper “Thank you,” as the pain slowly fades and then I’m standing beside the bed watching as my body begins to turn grey and desiccate.  I’ve been in pain for days now so the sudden lack of pain is at once welcome and alarming.

Caroline doesn’t seem able to stop the tears from pouring out of her eyes and obviously neither can Elena.  Elena’s practically laying on top of me as she sobs and begs, “Please don’t be dead, don’t leave me, you can’t leave me, please, come back.”  My heart breaks because I know it’s too late, I’m gone, even if I do still seem to be here.

They sit there, Elena sobbing into my chest and Caroline holding my lifeless hand and bawling for who knows how long before Katherine appears in the room and asks, “What’s going on?”

I scowl at her ruining the moment as Caroline looks up with a slightly slack and vacant look that quickly shifts to a dazed look, as she’s obviously startled that anyone managed to approach without her realizing it.  Ordinarily I’d be upset that she let someone sneak up on her or Elena for that matter but I’m fairly certain Katherine won’t try to harm them, well not physically anyway.

As Caroline’s tears pick up speed, the first woman I loved stares at the last woman I loved and smirks.  Caroline’s brow furrows and she crosses her arms at the same time her mouth turns down as she half-heartedly asks, “Katherine?  What are you doing here?”

She smiles with loose shoulders and limp arms and takes a long moment to just stare at Caroline and Elena before she lifts her hand and jiggles a bottle of, is that blood?  Turns out it’s better than that and a day late and dollar short, “I brought the cure.”

Caroline and Elena both gasp and look at her with red eyes as they both clearly wish she had gotten here a few minutes sooner as Caroline tells the older woman, “You’re too late Katherine, he’s, he’s gone.”

“No…  no.”  She takes several steps forward and I see something I can’t name flash in her eyes when she realizes it’s true.  I’m surprised when a moment later her eyes narrow and her face becomes pinched.  Her shoulders drop as she almost slouches before she seems to realize she’s telegraphing her feelings and she quickly allows her cold disinterested mask to fall back into place.

She places the bottle on the bed and says, “If you’re going to continue playing with Wolves then you might want to freeze that in case someone else needs it.”  The unspoken ‘Not that I care either way’ is so blaringly obvious it’s almost comical.

Elena looks up at her as she almost protectively shields my body and asks, “Where’s Stefan?”

Katherine smirks and sweeps her dark curly hair over her shoulder the way she always does when she’s getting ready to deliver a verbal blow so I tense just before she tells them, “He traded himself for the cure.  He gave up everything, including you Elena, to save his brother.”

All three of us gasp and Caroline lets out a heavy breath before she asks, “What exactly does that mean?”

My sire smiles and it’s definitely not a nice or even remotely reassuring smile, “It means he sold himself into slavery to Klaus for the next ten years.  I’m sure Caroline here will see him again in a few decades, but Elena, you’ll probably be long gone and buried before he comes back to himself.”

Dammit, I bare my teeth and clench my fists at the thought of Stefan doing such a stupid thing to save me, the brother that has done nothing but torment him for a century and a half.  On the other hand, my stomach flutters and despite being wherever I am my heart is banging hard against my chest at the realization that he obviously loves me enough to give up everything, even Elena, to try to save me.  Either way the damn cure didn’t get here in time, so Stefan sold his soul to the devil and is likely well on his way to being a Ripper once more and all for nothing.

Before Caroline and Elena can blink, Katherine’s gone and they’re left to cry their tears in peace.

As I watch them crying for Stefan and me, I notice everything slowly fading to nothing.  Am I going to get to see Hell up close and personal now?  Lord knows I deserve it after all the pain and death I’ve caused in my century and a half as a Vampire.

I say another quick prayer ‘Please God, let those I’m leaving behind, namely my love, my sister, and my brothers, Jer and Stefan, be okay.  Let them survive and find happiness and peace.’  Then I know nothing.

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