Chapter 002 – Death Is Only The Beginning

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Chapter 002

Death is Only the Beginning

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Saturday, May 29, 2010; around 8:00 PM

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I’m floating in a sea of nothing then I begin to hear voices, and I at once know they’re voices from my past.

*~*~*~*~*~

A woman’s voice says, “Congratulations, Hector, it’s a boy.”  She’s speaking of me, I’m sure of it, but who is Hector?  My father’s name was Giuseppe, not Hector.

“A boy?”  The voice I vaguely recognize as Hector’s asks.

I can hear the smile in her voice as a baby, me I guess, lets out a loud wail, “Yes, an apparently healthy baby boy.”

“My boy,” the voice I now recognize as belonging to my father, Lord Hector, whispers clearly delighted by the prospect of a son.  I pause and wonder that he actually seems happy about me.  I don’t remember him ever being happy with me.

The woman asks, “Have you decided on his name?”

Now I can almost see him in my mind’s eye standing there with his broad chest puffed out and the high chin and the gleam in his eyes I only rarely saw thrown in my direction as he lets out a booming laugh and says, “Yes, his name is Drago, after his fire breathing ancestors.”

*~*~*~*~*~

Slowly images begin to accompany the voices, and I’m standing in a ballroom surrounded by at least 50 dancing couples and probably twice as many people gawking on the sidelines.  I’m not much into dancing right now, so I’m one of the ones standing a few feet from the dancers.  I look at Stefan with his long shoulder length brown hair and soulful green eyes as he smiles.

Elijah, whose long dark hair is pulled back with a crimson ribbon as he stands to Stefan’s left smiles a smile that makes his chestnut colored eyes twinkle with joy as he says, “Brother, allow me to reintroduce my sister, the lovely Lady Briseis.”

I turn and smile at the brunette woman as I take her gloved hand and kiss it.  I gasp as my eyes meet hers and then catch myself staring as I hold her hand and just barely manage to get the words, “It’s a pleasure M’lady,” to come out of my mouth.

I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman and my pants begin to tighten as the knowledge that I’ll never want anyone other than her ever again settles firmly in my mind.  I try not to telegraph any of that though lest her brother kill me for thinking impure thoughts about his baby sister.  Being his best friend and older big brother type will allow me to get away with a lot others can’t but wanting to throw his sister on a bed and spend hours enjoying every inch of her is the quickest way to get myself killed.

I do find myself wondering though because she looks like Elena but I’m certain that it’s Briseis not Elena as her eyes crinkle and a broad smile breaks out on her face and she responds, “The pleasure is all mine, good to meet you again Lord Drago.”

I smile back and bite my tongue to keep from insisting that the pleasure is really all mine but that I would love to make it hers, if only she would allow me.

Elijah shifts slightly and with much effort, I pull my eyes from hers as he laughs and then thankfully gets distracted by a young lady who obviously wishes to dance with him.

‘Thank you, Goddess,’ I offer up as he smiles at us before following after the fair maiden who caught his fancy.

*~*~*~*~*~

I’m standing in another crowded ballroom with Stefan, no my mind tells me, his name is Dante, and Elijah, no that’s not right, he’s Balthazaar.  Briseis, who at this point is my wife so I can have as many impure thoughts about her as I like, is on my arm and the four of us are once again avoiding having to dance though I have promised at least a few to Briseis.  Dante smiles again and asks me just slightly louder than necessary, “Have you met Miss Lilith yet?”

I smile as he bounces from foot to foot, “No, not yet Brother.”

Balthazaar laughs and leans in closer to tell me, “Well here she comes now so here’s your chance.”

I turn and see a woman who looks remarkably like my wife.  The resemblance is because some of Briseis’ blood was used when they created this woman who is the first of her kind, a Human.  As she reaches us, she smiles and extends her hand to me and says, “Lord Drago, I don’t believe we’ve met yet, it’s a pleasure.  I am the Lady Lilith.”

My stomach immediately plummets and a sense of doom settles over me and I’m not sure why, but my instincts rarely lead me astray, still I smile and tell her, “The pleasure is all mine I am sure.”

She smiles and laughs at that as she turns and gives a wink and a coy smile in Balthazaar’s direction as he gazes softly at her.

Damn, Balthazaar is clearly smitten and not feeling the sense of doom that is blossoming in my chest the longer Miss Lilith is in my presence.

*~*~*~*~*~

Katherine, no some part of me knows it’s Lilith, happily says, “Drink my darlings and we’ll never be alone again.”  I’m sitting at a round table with Briseis, Dante, Balthazaar, and Lilith, as well as Caroline?  And then my mind supplies, ‘No, she’s not Caroline, she’s Asya.’

I smile as Lilith encourages us to drink from the goblets she’s handed us and then once we drink the disgusting drink her Witch, my great-great granddaughter, Fontina, whispers some words and I find I can’t move.  I watch in horror as Lilith walks to each of us and snaps our necks.  That sense of doom I felt the first time I met Lilith seems to have been a foreshadowing of this moment.

My eyes shoot to Briseis’ chocolate brown eyes as she sits unmoving across from me and her face turns ashen as she blinks rapidly and watches our friend kill our loved ones and then each of us.

When I come to all of us, including Lilith, are all lying on the floor in crumpled piles.  Colors seem brighter, and I seem to be able to see finer details than before.

Every noise, even the rustle of fabric as Lilith and Balthazaar’s oldest daughter walks to me when she realizes I’m awake, is infinitely louder than it was before.  I freeze when I see the dagger in her hand, but then she does the damnedest thing and slashes her wrist.

I’m on her before I can even realize what I’m doing, and I’m drinking from her wrist as she pulls me into her body and strokes my hair gently as she tells me, “Everything will be fine Drago, you’ll see.  It’ll take a while but it’ll all work out as it’s meant to, as it should.”

Lilith and Balthazaar’s other daughters are doing the same to the others and my heart breaks as they become our first victims.

*~*~*~*~*~

Another flash and I’m seeing a new scene, the six of us are once again frozen as we’re literally forced to drink from a goblet.  When my descendant and dear and trusted friend, Tianna, reaches me, she strokes my cheek and says, “Brother, I wish I didn’t need to include you and Briseis, but the others need to learn what love, loyalty, and honor are and your nature and how you came to be Vampires requires I spell all six of you.”

She leans down to my ear and tells me, “Fear not my dear friend, to break the spell simply give your life for someone you truly and selflessly love.  A willing sacrifice to save a life you truly care about.”

I understand as she sets about casting her spell.  The others know nothing of love, oh they say ‘I love you’ left and right but they don’t truly understand what they’re saying.  Furthermore, their constant murderous rage that they share with the world through repeated, frequent, and often uncalled for violence shows they have very little honor or consideration for anyone other than themselves.

If she thinks this will help I won’t fight it.  I just send up a little prayer to whomever might listen to and answer the prayers of Vampires, ‘Please let us all survive this long needed lesson.’

*~*~*~*~*~

Other memories from the lives I spent as a Human after Tianna placed her spell flash through my mind quickly, and rather suddenly, I remember everything and then I’m gasping for breath as Briseis and Asya hover over me crying and running their hands over my face and arms.  Then I realize they’re not truly Briseis and Asya as they have yet to break the spell so they are simply Elena and Caroline.

I feel like a drowning man as I involuntarily gasp for breath I haven’t needed in a very long time.  It takes me a minute or two to get my bearings and regulate my breathing.  It takes a minute longer for full feeling to return to my body but once it does I quickly gather up both girls in my arms and pet their hair as they gasp and tremble while they cry because I’m not truly dead.

I replay all the memories that are still settling in my mind as I mindlessly coo to my love and my sister telling them, “I’m okay.  Everything is fine, I’m okay.”

About ten minutes later Caroline seems to calm enough to break away first, “Damon, what, you were dead, you were all grey and veiny and desiccated and now, you’re, you’re not.  What’s going on?”

I pause and consider what to say.  I know instinctively that the nature of the spell placed on all of us won’t allow them to believe me if I tell them there is a spell on them, but they might believe there was a spell on me, so I tell them, “A very long time ago a Witch placed a spell on me.  It was meant to teach me the true meanings of love, loyalty, and honor.  The only way to break the spell was to willingly sacrifice my life for the life of someone else, someone I truly and selflessly love.  Apparently it didn’t need to be romantic love, and brotherly love was enough.”

They’re both looking at me with wide eyes so I smile my trademark smirk that is still the same as it has been for most of my 490,454 years and wait to hear what they think.  Surprisingly they both just sit there a moment, and despite their still watery eyes their shoulders loosen and they begin gently and slowly nodding and equally slow smiles break out across their faces.  Clearly, some part of them understands even if the memories are not theirs for the remembering just yet.

We’ve had an audience since about the time I began gasping for air so I smile and say slightly louder, “Judgey and Little Gilbert, you don’t need to keep standing out in the hallway you can come in if you want.”  I try to smile reassuringly as Bonnie and Jeremy enter.

I shake my head almost in denial when Jeremy says, “Katherine was here and she said you were dead so I called Bonnie and told her she should get here as fast as she could, but you’re definitely not dead.”

I laugh despite the seriousness of the situation I was recently in, “I was but now I’m not, not any more than I was yesterday at least.”

Bonnie’s brows draw closer together as her face tightens and she interrupts, “So if a spell was placed on you who did it and when?”

I smile again as she really does remind me of Tianna although once she grew up Tianna wasn’t nearly as judgmental as Bonnie currently tends to be.  Then again, I can admit, even if only to myself, that I haven’t really given her any reason not to condemn me.  Still I respect her, so I tell her the truth, “Your ancestor, Tianna, did the spell a little under 1,235 years ago.”

Still her brows grow impossibly closer together and she purses her lips.  The look seems to somehow deepen even more as she asks, “So you’re, what, as old as the Originals?”

I smirk again, “Oh no, I’m much older and one of the Pervonachalnyue, which loosely translates to ‘The First Ones.’”

Elena puts her hand on my face and turns me to look at her as her brows furrow and she asks, “Exactly how old is much older?”

I sigh then kiss her lips with the barest of touches as I try to mesh the different methods of time keeping through the years then say, “Well I was already over 35,450 years old when I was turned Vampire and that was, hmm, maybe about 455,000 years ago give or take.”

Bonnie scoffs obviously thinking she senses a lie that really doesn’t exist; “Now I know you’re full of shit, how could you possibly be thousands of years old before becoming a Vampire?  Plus, Humans didn’t even exist 500,000 years ago.”

I sort of half smile half frown as I tell her, “I know, I never said I was Human, well not until the second spell was cast anyway.  I was a Fire Demon.”  I focus and then turn my skin the reddish orange color it was for the first 35,450 some odd years of my life.  Then when I feel my third eye appear in my forehead I ask, “See?”

As I hold out my arm to give them more skin to see I smile and breathe out a few little puffs of flame, which causes their jaws to all drop before Elena says, “That’s not possible, how…”

I chuckle at their widening eyes and slack mouths as they grow impossibly still except Jeremy who smiles wide and sort of bounces on the balls of his feet at receiving new Supernatural information and a moment later says in a hushed whisper, “So cool.”

Bonnie just stares at me while I will my skin to look Human once more and my third eye becomes hidden again.  I can see her wheels turning, and I know what she wants to do.  I’ve actually seen the spell I think she’s considering using done before so I tell her, “Do it, if it’ll make you believe me then do it.  There are candles in the bathroom.”

Jeremy goes to get them without waiting to be asked and then looks at her with a question written all over his face when he returns, so she tells him, “One in each corner of the room and Damon you need to hold the fifth one.”

I nod as Jeremy hands me the candle, and I catch her eyes briefly before telling her, “Bonnie I have to warn you if you’re going to do what I think you’re going to do it will hurt, a lot, and you will know everything, including things you might not want to know.”

She rolls her eyes at me but nods once, so I know she understands I’m not lying.  Suddenly the candles ignite and she begins chanting.  I look at Jeremy and tell him, “Get ready to catch her.”

He nods and moves closer to her and after three minutes of chanting that grows louder and firmer with every passing second the room goes completely dark despite the lights being turned on as Bonnie drops, and she begins to convulse.  Jeremy shouts her name and catches her just a moment before her head would have hit the floor as a windstorm breaks out in my bedroom.

Her hair and several book covers in the room are all flapping in the wind.  Despite her convulsions, Jer manages to lower them both to the ground and sit with her in his lap as I place the no longer lit candle onto the bedside table.  A moment later, I latch onto Caroline and Elena’s arms when they move to go to her and tell them, “Stay where you are.  I’m not sure what either of you touching her right now will do.”

I pause then tell them, “Actually, I’m pretty sure nothing good would happen if any of the three of us touch her before she wakes up.”

Surprisingly despite their usual inclination to argue with me they both seem to take me at my word so they stay put.  A minute later, they both lean into me, and I wrap my arms around them realizing that they’re still shaken up from my death.  None of us speak and about a half hour later, though I know it’s actually 27 minutes later, Bonnie stops convulsing, the wind stops as the lights come back on.

I kiss Elena’s forehead and then Caroline’s before I reluctantly let go of them and climb off the bed to stand over Jeremy and Bonnie as she finally lays seemingly at peace in his arms.  “Little Gilbert, Caroline, Elena, and I can’t touch her until she wakes, so do you think you can pick her up and carry her into one of the spare rooms?”

His brow is wrinkled and he’s biting his lip as he holds Bonnie and has tears in his eyes so when he looks up at me I tell him, “I’ve witnessed this spell before, so I promise you, she’ll be fine.  But she’s going to sleep for a long time, and I’m sure you’d both be much more comfortable in a bed than here on my bedroom floor.”

He nods and after wiping at his eyes with the hem of his t-shirt he moves around a bit, before he manages to stand and then pick her up.  I grab his bag off the floor and walk him out of the room and into the one across the hall where he lays her down and then walks to the other side of the bed before he sits beside her.

I place his bag beside the bed and as I go to leave them in peace I turn back and tell him, “Holler if either of you needs anything.”

He nods as he lays down beside her and grabs her hand immediately joining her in slumber, so I leave them to my memories, which past experience tells me are currently playing across the backs of their eyelids as they rest.

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