“When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold
When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale”
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Chapter 27: Sexual Healing
Damon’s hands skimmed over his wife’s back, reassured by the soothing sound and feel of her steady breathing as she slept naked, draped across his chest. Her skin still had a light sheen of sweat to it and the memory of how it got there had him smirking as he buried his face into her hair, inhaling deeply. A near silent rumble of approval escaped him as his fine senses picked up the overwhelming combination of their scents. They positively reeked of each other, their scents so entwined it left no room for doubt as to what they’d been doing for the past few hours.
No doubt as to whom they each belonged to…
Such a possessive notion would not doubt have his mina rolling her Bambi eyes at him, but it didn’t escape Damon’s notice that it went both ways. A possessive bastard he may be, but Isabella was just as touchy about him and he enjoyed the two-way street.
Just doing his part for Equal Rights and all that.
Tightening his arms around her, he found himself imminently grateful that their current embrace was so different from their earlier one that night. The instant they’d collapsed out of that burning building, their arms had locked around one another and Damon couldn’t remember ever feeling so relieved, fearful and desperate all at the same time.
The evening had been a roller coaster of emotion, enough to give even his usually unflappable self whiplash.
One minute he’d been getting ready to snap John Gilbert’s pencil thin neck – the next he’d awoken in a basement set ablaze. Fear was not a sensation he wore well – it clashed terribly with his clothes, he maintained, and wasn’t at all his style – but the moment he realized Victoria and her legion of doom was lurking around, intent on killing his wife while he was effectively benched for the game… Well, fear didn’t even come close to describing the emotions that had boiled through him.
Stark terror and utter helplessness. It didn’t even matter that he was facing his own inevitable death – vampires were not flame-retardant, after all – all that mattered was that his brave, beautiful wife was in danger and he was lying around, unable to help.
Absolute fury gripped him as he’d uselessly fought against the vervain running through his veins. Stefan had better keep his promise, he mentally raved. If his brother didn’t follow through for once in his pathetic existence and his wife was hurt… or worse, dead…
Well, he’d make Stefan’s Ripper days look like a stroll down Sesame Street next to what he’d do… And he’d start with all of Stefan’s precious little friends.
Today’s rampage is brought to you by the letters ‘F’ and ‘U’, he thought, his mind sluggish and punch drunk. Finally managing to prop himself up against a wooden beam, Damon took stock of those around him, alarm flaring when he noticed Ana nearly unconscious just a few feet away.
Knowing that Bella counted the girl a friend, Damon tried to summon up some fledgling strength to crawl to the girl, but before he could so much as twitch in her direction, John Gilbert was re-entering the room, dragging another poor bastard behind him.
“You know,” John began, tossing the limp vampire aside carelessly before meeting Damon’s narrowed eyes. “It occurs to me that little wife of yours will be well a truly widowed within the next few minutes.” John lifted a brow to him as he started to exit again. “I think I’ll look her up. Got quite the mouth on her – I wouldn’t mind teaching her how to put it to better use.”
Even knowing the dick was just saying it to get some sort of response, Damon was still unable to hold back a hiss, a feeble growl trying to crawl out of his throat.
John’s progression was halted by Ana, the girl frowning up at the uncle to the boy she loved. “Please,” she whimpered, her fingers curling beseechingly around his ankle.
Head tilted down at her, John reached out to a splintered chair and pressed the tip of a makeshift stake to Ana’s chest. “He’ll see,” he murmured, almost to himself, before fixing Damon with a glare. “They’ll all see that they’re better off without your kind.”
Then Damon jolted forward, crumbling uselessly to the floor as John drew the stake through Ana’s heart.
Kicking her slowly decaying arm away from him, John exited again, leaving Damon staring in disbelief at Ana’s body. Horror filled him, but he was unable to look away as Ana’s body turned grey and sunk in on itself.
“I wanted to help you,” he murmured, eyes burning with tears caused by both the smoke and other sensations Damon refused to own up to.
A muted groan sounded, finally tearing his attention away from Ana’s body and directing it to the vampire John had tossed inside with the rest of them.
Only it wasn’t a vampire – not really.
A growl tore through Damon’s chest as his eyes finally recognized what his other senses had earlier missed; the flaming red hair of the Cold One hellbent on killing his wife.
Even as his anger steadily rose, relief melted against his heart like an ice cube thawing against a hotplate. No matter if it could’ve happened otherwise, his mina was safe, her would-be killer about to burn at the metaphorical stake.
It didn’t even matter that he was going to burn for his sins alongside her. He certainly was in no hurry to die, but if his mina got to live; well then, that’s what he considered a fair deal. He’d give his life for hers a hundred times over with no hesitation.
“Well, well,” he growled, the smoke scarring his throat making the words huskier and darker than usual. “What have we here…”
Victoria groaned like a wailing cat. “What – what have they done to me?”
Damon snorted, slowly inching his way to her. “It’s called karma, bitch.”
“So close,” she muttered, weakened and delirious from the vervain, clearly having never encountered it before. “I had her in my hands… her blood so sweet… I failed you, James,” she keened.
A new fury burned, his chest swelling with the implications of her delirious confession. The bitch had found his mina. She’d hurt her – how bad, he didn’t know – and had almost succeeded in killing her. Killing his wife, his mina, his everything.
With a burst of speed fueled by his anger, Damon was up and over her, his hand brutally plunged within her chest and yanking out her heart.
“You won’t be needing this anymore, bitch. Enjoy hell. I’ll see you there soon,” he said, tossing her icy heart into the steadily approaching flames. Relief had him sagging, collapsing to the floor in a near blackout.
There’d been many times throughout his existence where Damon had faced off with the Grim Reaper. In those instances, he’d been cavalier – giving the metaphorical dude a firm middle finger even as a small part of him relished the thought of dying. But he was a stubborn bastard, unwilling to concede to anyone, even Death.
He was also a clever bastard… Each time, he’d escaped Death’s clutches, sometimes only by the skin of his teeth, but always on his terms. It brought new meaning to Blue Oyster Cult’s, “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
Needs more cowbell, the thought popped into his head as he started to asphyxiate on smoke, well and truly on his way to delirium.
Which is why when he first saw his mina crouching over him, tugging desperately at his limp form, he’d thought her an angel come to herald him into the afterlife. Though he thought it odd that his sweet girl would usher him into hell – where he knew he rightfully belonged.
Perhaps it’d been the vervain or maybe the smoke burning his eyes, but when Damon looked up at his bruised and bleeding wife, a ring of fire haloed behind her, he didn’t think he’d ever seen anything quite as glorious before. An angel, he’d thought… An avenging angel who had lifted him from perdition, snapping along the way, “Now get your fat ass up and help me or so help me God, Damon, you’ll be sleeping on the couch for a month.”
He’d fallen in love with her all over again in that moment.
Sighing, Damon hugged her further into him, remembering the way she’d broken down against him as his brother, Elena and Sabrina the Teenage Bitch had watched.
When she’d cried herself into exhaustion, passing out against him, Stefan reached out to take her.
“You so much as breathe on her and you’re a dead man – well, deader than you already are,” Damon had snapped. “You and I, brother, need to have a little chat.”
“Damon, please, it was an accident,” Stefan began, only for Damon to say darkly, “Save it. I’ve no interest in hearing your pathetic excuses right now. Later – we’ll have our discussion later,” he promised, turning the innocuous statement into a threat.
“Now make yourself useful and bring around the damn car before I lose my patience and decide to make a snack outta your girlfriend and Pretty Little Liar over there. Though I use the word ‘pretty’ loosely,” he sniffed. “Very loosely.”
Used to tense and awkward silences, Damon casually ignored the trio the trip home, his entire focus centered on his wife. He cataloged every scrape, every bruise and every hair out of place on her head, tallying each offense up for when he’d deal with Stefan. As of now, he had more important things to worry about – his wife’s physical and emotional health at the top of the list.
But Damon would not forget… Oh no, he considered it only a stay of execution as he gritted his teeth and carried Bella up to their room, his grip sure even if harder to manage with the lingering effects of vervain still clouding his veins. Stefan had made a limp offer to help carry her, but if there was one thing Damon now knew for certain, it was that his brother was not to be trusted with Bella’s safety.
“I wouldn’t trust you to keep a hamster safe,” he’d hissed. “Go let Elena bandage your emotional wounds, Stefan, but don’t leave the house any time soon. I plan on giving you some physical wounds to match.”
Quick to shed their clothes, Damon let his fingers lightly tracing over new bruises – there was a particularly nasty one on her right hip that he pressed an open-mouthed kiss to – and finally felt some semblance of calm now that he had her home, safe in his arms.
“I’ve got you, mina. I’m never letting you go,” he’d whispered as she whimpered softly, lost in some dream.
When her crying got worse, Damon’s soft caresses turned insistent, waking her up from some nightmare. She didn’t say what it was that she’d dreamt, just simply launched herself at him and plied him with kisses everywhere she could reach, but Damon could guess. It was likely similar to what he feared to see when he eventually welcomed sleep.
Their kisses turned cloying, both desperate and savoring as Damon’s tongue pillaged her mouth. He wanted to drown in her, to get so lost in her that neither knew where one ended and the other began.
Skin slipped against skin as he rolled her under him, thankful for the lack of clothes as he’d have shredded them otherwise. Not that the idea didn’t have merit, Damon had smirked. He’d always been an impatient sort, tearing through the wrapping paper on his presents in his eagerness… And his Bella was the greatest gift of all.
He slid into her as easily as though made for her, swallowing her gasp with a kiss. There was little talking, just feeling, the tingling friction of their sweat soaked bodies as they sought validation within the other.
Don’t ever leave me, he thought as he moved within her, unwilling to give voice to the plea heavy in his heart.
She sighed his name as he adjusted his angle, hitting a sweet spot that soon had her pulling his hips into her harder with the word, “More,” tumbling from her lips.
Always more – it was never enough.
“Fuck,” he groaned, moving faster as his hand slipped between them.
“Damon,” she called out his name, tightening around him.
“Yes,” he hissed, unable to stop himself from coming, her name flying from his lips and searing into him like a brand to his heart. To his soul, if he had one.
They were quiet a minute.
“I want you to drink some more,” he stated once his breathing evened out, bringing his hands up to smooth back her damp hair from her face.
“Only if you do the same,” she countered.
A part of him objected as he felt she needed it more, but after the events of the day, he knew he could use the blood.
Reading him with an ease that bordered on the ridiculous, Bella caressed his face and stared into his eyes. “We take care of each other, Damon. Let me do this for you – I’m not so injured that it’d harm me. Please.”
Fucking hell, he’d never be able to deny her anything, though he would keep that fact to himself for as long as possible.
Grabbing her hand, he brought it to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “We take care of each other,” he agreed, allowing his thirst to swell until he could feel his teeth lengthen and itch to sink into her.
Her head fell back onto her pillow and she bared her neck to him in offering.
“Beautiful,” he thought to himself, though the warmth of her gaze told him he’d spoken aloud.
Leaning down, he placed a wet kiss to her neck, whispering, “I love you,” his lips grazing her skin with each word before they sealed over his favored spot and he bit into her.
Her blood welled up and he sucked, his hands soothing along her arms before burying into her hair. He hardened within her and without thinking he started to make love to her again, glorying in the feel of her moaning under him.
As the hours passed, they exchanged blood as often as they liked, using the quiet moments between their love making to confess in low murmurs about what had happened while they’d been separated. Damon’s fury grew with every word she uttered, but a strange feeling of detachment settled over him.
Sensing he was on the brink of some unknown edge, Bella started running her hands over him, shushing him lightly until his vampire visage melted away again once more, Damon not even been aware that it’d changed.
Remembering it all now brought the sensation back, his body tensing under Bella’s as he fought for some semblance of control.
Again, she appeared to somehow sense it and Bella stirred awake.
“Damon,” she murmured, her voice thick with sleep and love.
“I have to go see to Stefan now, mina,” was all he said. He was unable to let the situation sit any longer.
“I’ll go with you,” she said, moving against him, her limbs heavy with lethargy.
He kissed the top of her head. “No, sweetheart. You stay here and rest – you need it.”
“But Damon –”
“Isabella,” he said firmly, unwilling to tell her what to do, but not wanting her anywhere near the confrontation to come.
“I don’t want to be alone,” she admitted, tugging at his heart.
“And I don’t want to leave you alone – not ever,” he confessed. “Why don’t I ring the Major and you guys can braid each other’s hair and talk about how cute I am – a little girl’s night, if you will…” he offered, knowing that despite everything, his mina held a soft spot for the guy.
“You’re sure he wasn’t in the basement – Rose and Emmett too?”
“I’m sure,” he reassured her for the umpteenth time. “The smell of burning Cold One is unmistakable as you well know,” he smirked, thinking back to Laurent and her cute little sneeze. Then the sexy, badass look on her face as she’d burned Eddie’s hand.
“I’ll call him later then, but I’m not in the mood for company tonight. You do what you have to do – I’ll be alright,” she said even as her arms tightened on him.
“And I need to run an errand too, mina,” Damon said, pushing down a rising lump in his throat as he thought about what it was he wanted to do.
“Errand?” she frowned.
“I’m gonna swing by little Gilbert’s place,” was all he said, thankful that she said nothing in response, only placing a soft, grateful kiss to his lips.
Damon made his way down the stairs, heading towards the living room where he could hear Stefan having a little pow-wow with Elena and Bonnie.
Strolling into the room, Damon gave them a deadly smirk.
“Well, isn’t this cozy?” he said, his voice deceptively light.
“Damon,” Stefan greeted warily. “Please, let me explain…”
“Explain what? How you and your little girlfriend ran off and abandoned my wife, my beautiful wife who has done nothing but try to help you both in your daytime soap opera problems? How you allowed Victoria to kidnap her – however briefly – and beat her…”
He wasn’t yelling. Each word was clipped and light as he strolled through the room, pausing in front of the fireplace and picking up the iron poker there, sticking it into the flames until it glowed red hot.
“She would’ve died tonight because of you. Because of you both,” he whispered, a small crack of emotion behind the words despite his effort to control it. His eyes focused on the glowing tip of the poker, his teeth gritted as his mind flashed with taunting images of his greatest fear – his wife lying in a puddle of blood, her normally warm eyes dull and lifeless.
“Please Damon, it’s my fault and I’m sorry – I didn’t know. I wasn’t thinking clearly and I’m sorry,” Elena spouted off.
Sincere though she seemed to be, her apology mattered little to him.
“You’re sorry,” he mocked, stabbing a log and smirking as it gave a satisfying crack causing Elena and Bonnie to jump like startled little bunnies.
“And let me guess,” he continued, twisting the poker into the log. “The little witch is sorry for lying to us – for willingly trying to get us killed because of her vendetta against all vampires?”
“I was wrong,” Bonnie admitted, and Damon was grudgingly impressed by the low, strong tone she possessed. “I shouldn’t have done what I did – I knew that even as I did it – and I tried to help in the end. I repelled the fire from her. I tried to help keep her safe. It doesn’t make it right, I know, but if I had deactivated the device, then who knows how far Victoria would’ve gotten with her… Who knows if the tomb vampires might’ve gotten a hold of her again?”
Damon gave a mocking chuckle. “Just because the situation ended up working in our favor, doesn’t excuse what you did, witch.”
He sneered when she flinched at the word ‘witch’ being hurled against her like the insult he fully meant it as.
“Damon, please see reason,” Stefan began and Damon’s act of patience snapped.
“Reason,” he snarled. Without warning, he withdrew the poker from the fire and hurled it across the room, smirking with satisfaction as Elena screamed as Bonnie held her back. Stefan gasped and shuddered in pain, collapsing into a pathetic heap on the floor.
Blurring across the room, Damon put his foot to Stefan’s chest and brought his hand to the poker sticking out of his brother’s heart, twisting it with a painful slowness.
Stefan screamed. Elena cried. Bonnie was stoically silent, though Damon knew she would interfere soon. Fucking witches were always interfering.
Leaning down, Damon whispered to Stefan, still slowly twisting the poker into his heart. “This is but a small approximation of how I felt tonight. How it felt knowing that my wife was in danger – that my brother had failed in every way possible – how I would’ve had to face life without my mina, brief as I would’ve made sure it was.”
He leaned his weight onto the poker and smiled grimly as it sank in another couple inches, Stefan sputtering his useless pleas.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret, Stefan,” he smirked, making sure to catch his brother’s eyes so he could see the utter sincerity in his next words. “Your life would’ve been just as brief – along with everyone else in this town. You think of me as a monster, right?” he jabbed the poker in further, a dark part of him relishing in Stefan’s cries of pain and Elena’s begging sobs. “You’ve not seen a monster – not yet. Keep that in mind, Stefan.”
Damon yanked the poker out of Stefan’s heart with a brutal, jerking motion, letting it clang to floor floor as he dusted off his hands.
He quirked his head at Elena as she gave him a horrified, accusing look. “Oh cry me a fucking river,” he scoffed, moving to leave the room. He paused as he drew even with them, ignoring Bonnie’s warning glare as he leaned in to smirk, “At least I didn’t use a spoon – it’s much duller, would’ve hurt more.”
Whistling, he started for the door again. Opening it, he paused before leaving, keeping his hand on the knob. “Oh, and you all want to make sure you’re not here when I get back or I’ll use a stake next time. TTFN – that’s ta-ta for now.”
Slamming the door behind him, Damon struggled with the urge to go back and finish it once and for all. The desire to take a stake to his brother’s heart had been strong and only knowing that Bella would not have wanted Stefan’s death on her hands – and she would shoulder the blame – had stayed his hand.
Oh well, he thought to himself. He’d just have to continue to stab Stefan in the heart with iron pokers until he felt better… It’d take a while. Good thing they had an eternity.
Picking up into a run, Damon made his way to the boy who his wife held a friendly fondness for in order to offer his condolences over their lost friend. He didn’t care much for Ana and Jeremy one way or another, though he imagined that would’ve changed, but the look on his wife’s face as he’d confessed about Ana’s death was enough to make him put forth the effort. Not for anyone else but her.
Even given the circumstances, Damon couldn’t help but to smile faintly. Relieved to be able to leave his wife at home in peace without fear for her life.
Things are going to change from here, he thought. Everything’s just gonna keep getting better.
Bella awoke with a frown, knowing she had dreamt but unable to recall the images. With nothing more than an unsettled feeling feeling like she’d left the oven on or something, she sat up and looked at the clock.
It was late and Damon still wasn’t home.
Feeling hungry, she crawled out of bed and enjoyed the relative silence of the big house as she padded to the stairs. She had no clue where any of the house’s usual occupants were at and while she was starting to feel antsy for Damon’s return, there was still a great deal of relief and peacefulness in the quiet of the night.
It was so quiet, that the small snort to her left immediately caught her attention, her heart seizing as she twirled at the top of the stairs to face the sound.
Eyes adjusted to the dark, Bella frowned, “Elena? What are you doing?”
Elena smiled, a slow, cruel curl of her lips.
“Seems I can’t trust anyone to do my dirty work for me these days,” Elena said airily. “I told the bitch where to find you and even gift wrapped as you were, she failed. Guess if a girl wants something done right, she’s gotta do it herself.”
Bella blinked in confusion and when she opened her eyes, Elena was right in front of her, her cruel smile in place as she left her hands to either side of Bella’s face and quicker than she could process, twisted her neck, snapping it like a pencil before casually tossing her down the stairs.
Fear… Darkness… Damon… and then Bella knew no more.
(A/N): So. That just happened. Lol.
Thanks again for your understanding and patience for this chapter. There’s only one more left, then an epilogue.
Special thanks to Harley and Mommy4Thomas for the Robin Hood reference – teehee – and I’m sure you guys spotted the many references that also worked their way into the chapter. Sesame Street, Winnie the Pooh, Supernatural… Yeah, there was a lot this time 🙂
Thanks again for reading!