“They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul
I need to let you go
Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light
I can’t escape this now
Unless you show me how”
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Chapter 28: Eternally Yours
After leaving little Gilbert to his pity party, Damon was gripped with a foreign but strong sense of pride. The past few decades held precious few moments holding true sincerity, but his conversation with Jeremy carried the weight of an epiphany.
It was so easy to see how his wife had flourished in their short time together – how she continued to blossom and come into her own even while never losing sight of who she used to be and who she truly was. Damon had never set out to change – he was perfect just the way he was, thank you very much – yet moments had suddenly turned into opportunities to him. Where he once would’ve left Gilbert to his suicidal thoughts, he’d found a small itch to go to him that wouldn’t silenced. Despite what he’d believed in the past, there was no ointment to soothe the itch – to silence his burgeoning conscience – so he’d gone to the boy. Not to comfort, per se, but sympathize.
How different would Damon’s life be if he’d had an honest person to be there and sympathize for him? Not someone like Stefan who played at being sympathetic but was really just judgmental… What would his life had been like if he’d met Bella before bitterness had eaten away his innocence? Not that it mattered much, he knew. Life’s a bitch either way – he just tried to be the bigger one in the end so he’d come out on top.
For a long time, that’d been all that mattered to him.
Then he’d tripped over Isabella; small, broken Isabella whose expression in that meadow as that Laurent dick had been about to kill her still haunted him, though not exactly in the way one would expect. There’d been no love lost between them at first, naturally, so it’d hardly mattered that she’d had some sort of death wish. No, he’d cared in the sense of indignation, disgust even, that she appeared to surrender so easily. That she would be dead was of no consequence to him – it was her weakness in accepting it that offended.
It’d been that reflection of his human self within her that haunted him – still did to some extent. Used and broken by a vampire for some twisted game or scheme… He supposed he and his mina weren’t the only human causalities in such games, but he’d never been faced with it to such a way that there could be no denial.
In running from Mystic Falls – Katherine’s now so obvious betrayal – he’d run straight into his past reflected in Isabella and was forced to face it. He now understood he hadn’t been running from his life, from Kitty Kat and whatever her ultimate end was…
He’d been running to her. Running to Isabella to conquer his past and meet his future.
Fate, he supposed some would call it. He didn’t buy that future mumbo-jumbo crap, but when he looked at Isabella – his wife – he sometimes thought maybe he could. If he could land a hot tamale like her, someone who had the whole package, then just about anything was possible.
About halfway back to the Boarding House, a strange sensation gripped him and he came to a halt as a sharp jab pierced his chest. A chill danced down his spine as if someone had just walked over his grave and he shivered, fighting the urge to pull his arms around himself.
For a moment, it was all Damon could do to breathe.
Not that he needed too technically, or at least not as much as a human, but his chest must have had one of those comically large weights from cartoons sitting on it because he felt suffocated.
Without thinking he started running home, knowing that something was wrong. Horrifically wrong.
Just about busting the front door in, he froze as shock wrapped its gnarly fingers around his heart and squeezed. The image of his wife at the foot of the stairs, neck twisted at a horrific angle and the grey tinge of death upon her, seared itself into his heart.
The seconds passed like molasses poured through the eye of a needle, Damon’s mind unable to comprehend what he was seeing. Every core part of him rejected the sight in order to preserve his sanity, self-preservation kicking in least he lose his ever-loving mind.
Before sanity could return, dark whispers slithered into his mind and for a good minute, Damon was paralyzed by the thought that this had been inevitable. Someone like him didn’t deserve one such as her; he should have seen this coming. For once in his pitiful existence he’d been happy. Unashamedly, incandescently happy and it was the last thing he deserved.
Nothing good ever happened to him. When life handed him a break it was only to snatch it away and laugh in his face. Hardy-har-har, joke was always on him. Let’s just kick Damon while he’s down and out…
Beating against the current of negativity, a small thumping sound tickled his senses…
Thump… A long pause… Thump…
A part of him recognized it as the sound he’d been measuring his life by for weeks now and awareness trickled over him. His blood. He’d been diligent in making sure she always had his blood in her system and their last share had been scant hours ago.
Not dead, the words drifted through his mind like a life preserver to pull him out from drowning. Only mostly dead.
The realization freed him from his state of paralysis which had lasted just a mere minute upon arriving – though it would forever be the longest vampire minute of his life. In a blink he was by her side, mindful of causing her any undo pain as he cradled her to him. The soft thump of her heart coming back to life served as a balm to his battered soul and he buried his face in her hair to hide the tears welling up in his eyes though there was no one there to witness them.
His lips pressed to her temple, placing a reverent kiss there before he silently whispered a prayer of thankfulness to God, Buddah, the fucking Easter bunny… Whatever it was out there that had saved his worthless life by sparing hers.
Bella awakening was an uneventful thing.
Slowly the curtain of darkness withdrew from her and her eyes fluttered open. The soft light of the lamp pierced her skull and she groaned as she brought a hand up to massage her neck. She must’ve slept weird because there was a sharp tinge of pain lingering though it was fast fading as her gums ached.
Confused by the strange sensations filling her body, she rolled over and threw out her hand as she groaned out, “Damon.”
He responded instantly, gently taking her hand in his and bringing it up to his face as she cupped his cheek, immeasurably relieved to just touch him. “I’m here, mina,” he said softly, a hoarseness to the words that confused her.
Something was wrong, she knew just by the air around him. Something was wrong about her vampire.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” she asked, awareness sparking even more as her eyes finally focused on his face. He looked… deflated. Tired, relieved, grateful, happy, confused… Each emotion flew across his face so fast that most would be unable to register them.
But Bella knew Damon better than anyone. She frowned as her hand traced across his face in an action meant to be reassuring, but she felt the tell-tale sign of dried tears tightened over his cheeks.
Something was very wrong if Damon of all people had cried…
“Tell me,” she said lowly.
He cleared his throat and she watched him shove all of his emotions away in order to focus solely on her. “What is the last thing you remember, mina?”
Frowning at what felt like a distraction on his part, Bella batted away the strange aches of her body and thought on his question as she tried to find an answer that would hopefully set him at ease.
“It was dark,” she began, her voice fuzzy as she tried to piece her memory together. It was surprisingly harder than she thought it would be. “You left to talk to Jeremy,” she ran her fingers through his hair in a silent thank you for that. “And I was thirsty. No one was home, I thought.”
“You thought?” he asked, tone carefully neutral.
She wracked her mind for more than that. “I…” she began as the memories went dark and the pain her gums ached with new fire. “I don’t remember beyond that,” she whispered, disturbed by her lack of knowledge. “Something… bad happened, didn’t it?”
Damon made a humming sound that was neither affirming or denying. “How do you feel now, mina?” he asked, a vague hint of knowing behind the question. “Still thirsty?”
She took inventory of her faculties again and was surprised to find that she was more than merely thirsty…
She felt absolutely parched. Her throat ached as if she’d been wandering the harsh Arizona desert for weeks without a friendly drop of water.
Moaning in pain, she whispered harshly, “So thirsty…”
Damon’s arms tightened around her and he took a deep, fortifying breath.
“Come on up,” he called out, angling his head to the door as he kept his hold on her.
Bella heard footsteps thudding down the hall. They sounded unnaturally loud to her tender ears and when the door swung open, she was both pleased and horrified to see Jeremy.
Pleased because though he looked sad and tired, he shot her a reassuring smile that had her smiling back as a reflex. Horrified, though, because a strange urge swelled within her as she truly looked at him. His healthy, pink skin along his neck… the thumping vein at the base of it…
Her gums flared and she slapped her palm over her mouth in horror.
“Damon,” she nearly screeched. “What’s happened? What’s wrong with me?”
Her hand started trembling. She had the strongest urge to drink… from Jeremy.
“Sh-h, mina,” Damon soothed, running a hand gently up and down her side even as the other kept a good grip on her just in case. “Nothing’s wrong with you, but there’s been a development.”
“A development,” she scoffed, almost amused at his understatement despite the situation. “Is that what you call wanting to sink my teeth into Jeremy’s neck as if he was my own personal juice-box?”
“Mina,” Damon said, not a trace of humor to it. Bella froze in his arms. “I came home to find you at the base of the stairs, your neck broken. I thought you dead, Isabella.”
She heard what he left unspoken. The tear tracts made sense now, she thought dimly, her own fear forgotten in the face of Damon’s own silent suffering.
Slipping her hand around his neck, she attempted to reassure him. “But I’m fine,” she said quietly. “I don’t remember what happened – maybe I tripped and fell,” the words sounded hollow even to her own ears though.
While she couldn’t remember, she knew she hadn’t fallen.
Still, she attempted to soothe him. “And though you weren’t here, you saved me anyways, Damon. Your blood saved me.”
He sighed against her, some of the tension draining from him. “Half right there, mina. I mostly saved you. Now it’s time for you to finish it and save yourself.”
Her eyes flicked to Jeremy who was watching them in respective silence.
“I don’t know if I can,” she said, even as her gums twanged otherwise. “I don’t want to hurt him.”
His arms tightened around her again. “I won’t let you, mina. And the kid came willingly. But it’s your choice. I won’t force you into anything,” he said. The fact that he’d whispered the words to her didn’t conceal how his voice cracked slightly at the end.
Taking a deep, stuttering breath, Bella said, “I made my choice a while ago, Damon. You have nothing to be worried about. I’m just scared is all.”
“It is scary,” he agreed. “But you can do this, Isabella. I will help you.”
Stealing herself, she looked to Jeremy again. “Are you sure? You shouldn’t feel obligated or anything.”
Jeremy smiled. “Don’t sweat it, girl. Just don’t like, rip out my throat or anything and we’re cool.”
She snorted. “No promises,” she grinned half-heartedly. “Alright, let’s do this before I lose my nerve.”
Moving away from the door, Jeremy moved to her and Bella fought a surprisingly strong instinct to rush over to him and bite anywhere she could reach.
Sensing the desire, Damon soothed her again. “You’re doing awesome, mina.”
Jeremy perched at the foot of the bed. “So come gimme a hug, girl. Don’t be shy,” he smarted.
Snorting, she said, “What’s with you? You got a death wish or something?”
His eyes flickered above her and locked with Damon’s. “No,” he said after a moment. “Not anymore.”
There was a tense moment between them and Bella wondered just what it was Damon had done for her friend by going to visit him in such a sad, dark moment in his young life.
“Just be careful with my neck,” Jeremy spoke, breaking the tension and staring contest between them. His eyes flicked down to hers and he smiled again. “I rather like it, you know.”
“Not from the neck,” Damon grumbled into her hair. There was a possessive growl behind the words that had her shivering in unknown anticipation.
“Easy there, guys,” Jeremy snickered, holding out his wrist in offering. “Drink now… Sexy times later. When I’m already home, preferably.”
Rolling her eyes, she reached out to snatch his wrist, only Damon’s hand caught hers. “Easy, mina. You may think you’re still moving at your normal speed, but you’ll snap the kid’s wrist moving like that.”
She deflated in his embrace. “Oops,” she mumbled sheepishly.
Jeremy snorted, amused and not overly worried.
“I’ll hold him to you,” Damon said. “You hold onto me.”
Nodding her agreement, Bella took another deep breath to steady herself. Only, the action caused her to be assaulted by Jeremy’s scent and she felt her face ripple, changing into what she imagined was her own vampire visage.
Keen eyes focusing on the blue veins lining her wrist, Bella swallowed back nervously before breathing over it, “Thank you, Jeremy,” and then sank her teeth into him as gently as she could.
Ambrosia. Being a girl who usually fainted at the smell of blood, she imagined she made a rather ironic picture as she drank in steady gulps of her friend. He tasted unbelievably good and the pain gums and throat eased almost instantly. Sweet… like cotton candy but not as sugary.
The thought that she could drink from him all day crossed her mind and she moaned lightly.
“Easy, mina,” Damon rumbled gently, his lips brushing the curve of her ear and alighting a different hunger in her gut.
Yes, she could drink from Jeremy all day but he still didn’t taste near as good as she knew Damon did…
That realization had her releasing her friend’s wrist and turning to Damon. Her face had yet to revert back and she studied him with the ease of a hunter focusing on her new prey.
Damon’s eyes widened before they hooded, a dark, inviting hunger reflecting back at her.
“Go ahead and skedaddle, Gilbert. Your services are no longer needed,” Damon told the boy, not looking away from her.
His voice was richer than she remembered; her vampire hearing picking up delicious timbers her poor human ears had been denied.
From far away it seemed, she heard Jeremy snort a wry, “Clearly,” before his footsteps faded away.
The click of the door behind him sounded like the starting gun of a race, launching them both into action.
“Fuck,” Damon growled as they collided, mouths seeking the other’s as their teeth clanged at their impact.
She hummed in response, unable to articulate anything else.
Pushing her back down on the bed, he hovered over her, his hands fisting her hips as she rose them to grind herself against his length. He hissed welcomingly and she growled lightly, a damn near purr, at the sensation.
The sound set something off in Damon and he slipped his hand down to her pants, ripping them off of her as his fingers instantly sought her clit, rubbing insistently as she keened. Satisfied by her responsiveness, he pulled back only far enough to shove down his pants and free himself, pushing into her immediately after.
They sighed into the other, both feeling a small relief at the connection. Though there was no pause, no tender romantic kisses to slowly stoke them into a frenzy. They were already afire with desire and Damon immediately pulled almost completely out before driving roughly back in.
A drive. That was exactly what it felt like to Bella. A driving impulse to be with him, to devour him in all ways conceivably possible.
Mark, bite, drink… mine… The words crossed her mind with little coherency. She had half a mind to flip them over and ride him to completion, the idea barely forming before her newly enhanced body was in action doing just that.
“Yes,” Damon hissed, pulling her down to him as he rose to meet her hungry thrusts.
“Mine,” the word flew from her lips.
“Yes,” he moaned again, his head falling back and baring his neck.
She accepted the offering it was, obeying a foreign instinct to latch her mouth onto him in a cloying kiss before her teeth broke his skin and she drank from him.
Later, she could barely recall shattering apart in pleasure around him. She couldn’t say when Damon had flipped her over under him, driving into her from behind in a position they had yet to attempt. It was all a haze of pleasure that pinnacled with him pulling her up to his chest and sinking his own teeth into his favored spot on her neck, drinking deeply.
She knew there was nothing gentle about their lovemaking, if it could indeed be called that.
Minutes passed marked only by the number of times they came together. As the night flew into morning, Bella watched her husband with new appreciation for what it meant for him to have resisted the urges and impulses she now was a slave to when they made love.
Now they were both free – free to enjoy their eternity with each other.
“How did this happen?” she asked him as they lied naked, the sheets tangled about their legs as their hands continued to rove over ever bit of sweat soaked skin they could reach.
“I don’t know,” he confessed. “Most I can figure it was as you said – you got up for some water and pulled a Bella, tripping and falling down the stairs.”
The explanation rang hollow to her and she could tell even Damon didn’t really believe his own words, though he admirably tried to hide that from her.
Bella managed a flat smile for him, her mind drifting again to the last moments of her life. As she scrambled for some explanation, the memory dancing just on the edge of her fingertips, Damon moved closer to her.
“I should’ve been there,” he said, the words holding the weight of confession. “It shouldn’t have happened like that.” His fingers traced over her face, lingering over her lips. “You should’ve felt safe and loved…”
Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Bella covered his hand with her own. “I do, Damon – I do feel safe and loved. Even when you’re not beside me, I feel it. You can’t control everything. My turning without you here was not your fault.”
He didn’t believe her. It was clear as day on his face, the guilt hidden behind an expression of casual ease. That was just Damon though – consummate poker player always playing with his hand close to his chest. The man could bluff his way through any game, but not with her.
Still, knowing him as she did, Bella gave him the courtesy of not pointing out the matter.
“In all my years,” he began quietly, a hint of incredulity to his tone. In a rare moment of openness, Damon leaned over her and pressed a kiss to her lips. He pulled back, their skin clinging pleasantly and looked down at her, emotion brimming in his eyes as he breathed, “You are by far the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my one hundred and seventy-three years on this Earth.”
Bella inhaled sharply, tears stinging her eyes.
Leaning down to catch her gaze again, he completed in an unashamed whisper, “I love you.”
The slow thumping of her heart faltered, missing a beat. When she blinked, two rivulets of tears leaked from the corners of her eyes. Still, there was no force on the Earth that stopped the beaming smile that lighted her features as she looked up at him. Damon Salvatore – he was so many things. An asshole, a bad guy, snarky bastard…
But with her, he was open and honest. Romantic… sweet even. He was everything to her.
“I’m going to love you more each day for all of eternity, Damon. No matter what the future brings, you will always have me. You are everything to me.”
“Everything,” he breathed, leaning down again and catching her lips in a searing kiss.
There was no doubt where that would’ve led to had they both not picked up a commotion downstairs, Stefan tentatively calling out for Damon.
“Fucking cock blocker,” he groaned into her mouth, making her giggle.
He pulled away from her, a mischievous light to his eyes that had been missing since she’d awoken. Quirking a brow at him in question, she couldn’t help but to grin when he said, “Let’s go have some fun, mina. Let’s see what the dynamic duo wants.”
Snorting, she allowed him to pull her up from the bed. Moving with new vampire speed and grace, she was dressed almost instantly in a pair of boy shorts and one of Damon’s shirts.
Looking at Damon with a grin, she saw him chuckling at her.
“What?” she grinned, feeling a bit like a toddler who just discovered candy. “The speed and grace is pretty cool – never had them as a human.”
Damon’s smirk softened as he pulled her to him. “Oh mina,” he said, a tint of humor lingering in his expression. “Even as a human you were full of grace – just not the kind you’re thinking of.”
She gave him a smile and a kiss for that. A small part of her had half a mind to ask what his game was; he was being uncharacteristically sweet, but she wisely silenced the joke before it flew from her lips. Coming home to find her at the base of the stairs with her neck snapped – thinking her well and truly dead, no matter if only for a minute – had obviously left it’s mark on him.
Only time would ease his worries and until then, Bella would do him the courtesy of not belittling his emotions or throwing them under a spotlight. Instead, she’d let them wash over her and soothe her own fears with all the grace he claimed she possessed.
They walked to the stairs hand in hand, Bella smiling softly as she felt the pad of Damon’s thumb rubbing soothing circles over her wrist. As they reached the top of the steps, Bella was hit but a sudden déjà vu, an image of herself frowning, calling out to –
“Elena,” she said, the memory slamming into her like a Mack truck.
Elena making a comment about dirty work before slamming into her – the snap of her neck breaking echoing even as darkness enveloped her.
“Damon?” Stefan stood at the foot of the stairs, Elena hovering slightly behind him. “We have an issue.”
“You got an issue? Well here’s a tissue!” Damon smarted with his classic smirk. Behind the witty retort though, Bella heard the concern as he picked up on her body’s tension.
“You,” Bella whispered, her eyes not leaving the human girl who had killed her. But then, the memory of Elena didn’t match what she was seeing. Different clothes, different hairstyles…
And last time she checked, Elena couldn’t move at an inhuman speed and didn’t have the physical strength to snap a neck as easily as one snapped a toothpick.
“Bella,” Stefan said, his annoying voice even more grating with her supernatural hearing.
Her eyes flicked to his and she saw him swallow nervously as she the telling ripple under her eyes. Her anger was bleeding into her expression, her new vampire face trying to take over.
Stefan swallowed. “You’ve transitioned,” he stated.
“Well spotted, brother,” Damon rolled his eyes.
Bella remained silent, staring Elena down and trying to make sense of the conflicting emotions washing over her. Anger, betrayal – both of them warred with confusion which was winning only by a hair.
The memory of Elena didn’t match up with the real Elena, she decided. But then what the hell did that mean? Had she been possessed? Was there some witch using her…?
“You saw someone who looked like Elena recently, didn’t you?” Stefan asked knowingly.
Finally, Bella tore her hungry eyes away from the quivering girl and glanced at Stefan. “Yes,” she said, the single word sounding hoarse even at a whisper. “She met me at the top of these stairs – said she was the one who set Victoria after me. Then she ran up to me, snapped my neck and tossed me down the stairs.”
Damon stiffened. A low growl started to rumble within his chest and before he could launch himself down the stairs and return the favor to Elena, Bella’s arms flashed around him and met his grumble with a reassuring purr of her own.
“But it wasn’t Elena, was it?” she said slowly but firmly. Damon stilled in her arms but she dared not release him, knowing he’d been stretched to the brink of his sanity that night and it wouldn’t take much for him to well and truly snap.
“It wasn’t,” Stefan confirmed, careful to keep his little girlfriend shielded behind him.
“Then who – or what – was it?” she asked.
Stefan swallowed again but it was Elena who enlightened them. Leaving the safety of her position behind Stefan, she came out and fixed Bella with an apologetic gaze that did little to sway her. Though Bella believed it hadn’t been Elena who had killed her, there was still the issue of the girl up and abandoning her at the Founder’s celebration, almost doing just that anyway.
Nervously clearing her throat, Elena spoke, “Katherine. It was Katherine. And you weren’t the only one she paid a little visit to…”
Bella was aware that Elena was still speaking, but her mind had stalled on the name. Katherine. Damon’s Katherine. The one he’d gone through hell for, thinking she loved him and was trapped, waiting to be rescued in that forsaken tomb.
Katherine who had used her Damon up dry – took all the best of him only to shatter him into pieces. Katherine who with all the fascination of a deranged psychopath had torn Damon apart like a child plucking at the wings of a butterfly. He hid it well, but she knew…
Damon had only saved Bella that fateful day in the meadow because a part of him had been trying to save himself.
Voices were still echoing around her – something about Caroline transitioning and trying to sort out why Katherine had returned, what her endgame would be.
All the while, Damon kept his arms around her, steady and sure. He was silently reassuring her with one of their silent conversations, but she already knew not to fear what he was assuming. There was no fear that Katherine would come after her to finish the job for good – no insecure wonderings about whether Damon would falter in his love for her and go back to the woman whom he’d built his life around once, a long time ago it now seemed. The Bella that would have worried those things, allowing her insecurities to swamp her until they ate her alive and took away the best of her, was dead.
Now, a new Bella stood in the arms of her husband, her own hands tracing reassuring patterns over his arms, the slow curve of her lips upwards spelling out a new drive. A new goal for things to come.
Determination. Anticipation – eagerness, even.
It was time for her to do for Damon what he’d done for her. Give him courage to face his past with the safety of knowing she was right beside him, every step of the way.
They’d sort out his terrible ex, ripping off a few arms in the process and like a true couple, they’d do it together.
Only Bella was thinking she wouldn’t be quite so generous as Damon had been…
She was gonna take the bitch’s head if it was the last thing she did.
Her lips arched further and as if sensing her thoughts, Damon looked down at her, eyes roaming over her face for any trace of fear or worry. Seeing none, he reeled back slightly, looking vaguely proud before a smirk tugged his wicked lips.
They were in agreement. A united front to face the gathering storm. Fucking bring it.
(A/N): Le sigh… Yes, that is the last chapter of Thirsty though a brief epilogue will follow in just a day or so. Some of you may still have questions, but keep in mind, a sequel is outlined and is planned to start in a month or so. I want to write ahead some so I won’t be posting right away, so please make sure you’re following me here and facebook as that’s where I’ll be posting sequel information first…
As ever, thank you so much for reading and please let me know what you think! See you in a couple days with that epilogue (and a special Christmas one-shot on Christmas Eve!) and no matter what holiday you’re celebrating this season, I wish you the best of times 🙂
Credit to the show for Damon’s “I love you” bit… The awesomely talented 4Padfoot used it in the trailer for this story and I had to include it even though the timeline needed to be fudged for it. Worth it!