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i.

Damon notices it.

The rest of their little rag-tag group doesn’t. But he does. He notices the shift in Bonnie. She acts as though there’s nothing wrong, back to being her old, reliable self. She’s at some seedy glowstick rave with Elena looking for Caroline when he calls her. She’s overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people crammed into that dark, crowded club but once she sees his name show up on her phone, she loosens up and a brief smile gracing her lips.

“Can’t believe I’m about to say this but…I’m glad you called.”

He can hear the hesitation in her voice. It speaks volumes through her calm demeanour and it’s something he recognises far too well. Their time in the prison world changed them both and as a result it was hard to readjust to reality – to the fact that life kept moving while they were gone. He understands. He knows her better than he knows himself at this point. She’s as familiar as the back of his hand.

“And here I was thinking our friendship didn’t exist outside that little 1994 prison world, bestie.” Damon grins and they fall back into their old pattern.

So, while she talks to him, he cracks some jokes and without even seeing her he can imagine her rolling her eyes, unable to stop her small, gentle smile from showing.

If it calmed her nerves, Damon was more than ready to spend all night doing so.


ii.

Damon feels it.

He feels the way her eyes burn into him. He feels the pain that courses through her veins and directs itself at him. He tells himself he deserves it for bringing Kai to her. He knew she didn’t want to see him, didn’t want him to even breathe in her presence but he went ahead and ambushed her anyway. She shakes in a mixture of fear and anger in front of the roaring flames of her fireplace, contrasting with the tears of sadness threatening to spill at any moment. She would not willingly put herself in the firing line anymore. She would not play along as the self-sacrificing martyr – the time she spent in complete loneliness in the prison world, relying on herself and no one else, had hardened her and for the first time in a long time she realised that she was the only one who would put herself, her life, first. She fires off every single retort like a targeted attack, each one praying on the fears that resided in Damon. About Elena, about his worth, about being irredeemably lost.

He knows this isn’t her. The words are just the product of her anger and hurt. But he already opened up the floodgates and now there was no stopping her.

“GET OUT!” she screams and the words bounce off the walls, off the ceiling.

His eyes widen and he wants nothing more than to wrap his arms around her and hold her.

He doesn’t.

He turns around and leaves instead.


iii.

Damon stops it.

When the blood begins to drip from her nose and her eyes begin to glaze over, he rushes over and stops it. He sees the lengths she’s pushing herself to. The extremes she’s so eager to chase in the name of achieving higher levels of power. Day in, day out she’d been practicing, polishing, perfecting her craft. No one had thought anything of it at first. Bonnie just wanted to brush up, wanted to improve. But somewhere along the way it had turned into an almost obsession. It started with the growing pile of books in her room filled with spells and knowledge beyond what any of them knew, dating back years, decades, centuries ago. Then it escalated to skipping class choosing to instead remain holed up in her room to focus her energy entirely on absorbing it all. Soon enough, she was bailing on everyone at every opportunity – “I think I’m just gonna stay in tonight”, “I’m not in the mood”, “I’m really close to perfecting this spell, maybe another time?”.

So, when Damon sees that she’s reached breaking point, instinct kicks in. He breaks her off mid spell and she collapses into him, eyes fluttering shut, her chest heaving up and down. He looks down at her face with her dark circles and beads of sweat on display and his heart aches.

“I…just…wanted...” She struggles to get her words out.

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” He says in a mantra to her repeatedly to soothe her.

She ends up passing out in his arms.

He holds her for what feels like a lifetime.


iv.

Damon ignores it.

They’re driving in his Camaro and the radio’s been playing for the last half hour. Bonnie’s in the passenger seat, looking out the window thoughtfully. They’re both sitting in an easy silence. Every so often, he looks over at her and every time he feels this unfamiliar lump in his throat. He sees the curve of her nose, the flutter of her eyelashes, the fullness of her lips, the perfectly manicured hand her head rests on.

Suddenly he thinks about how soft her hands would be. How tiny they are compared to his. How it would feel to hold them in his own.

He’s ashamed and guilty but the curiosity doesn’t stray.

When he drops her off at hers, his mind is still caught up in the images of her hands and the things they could do. But this was Bonnie. His best friend. Elena’s best friend. He decides to keep it to himself and bury it deep within him.

He thinks about it to himself later that night, hours after Bonnie had left him. Even when Elena snuggles up to him in bed and rests her hand on his chest, he can’t help but imagine Bonnie’s hand there instead.


v.

Damon fights it.

The jealousy.

Bonnie and Enzo have been all over each other the entire party whilst he resided in the corner, nursing the same glass of bourbon he’d poured an hour ago.

His attempts to be subtle are futile as he scowls and grimaces every time he sees her flirt with Enzo. He can tell she’s buzzed by how obvious she’s being. She strokes his arm and laughs at his jokes while he leans down to whisper sweet nothings in his stupid British accent and tucking her hair behind her ear. He can tell that her heartbeat sped up ever so slightly.

Sometimes this vampire hearing was just a curse.

As if on cue Elena bounds up to him, slightly tipsy, and without a single word being exchanged she drags him to dance. Normally he would dig his heels into the ground and complain about being forced to partake in such a thing but right now he needed the distraction.

She wraps her arms around his neck and naturally his hands land on her hips and it’s familiar. It’s something he understands. The heat, the passion, the weight of it all is like breathing to him. She begins talking about how Caroline and Stefan got into a huge thing about Stefan bringing the wrong bottle of wine that night and how they tried to involve her in it but the details beyond that escape him. His gaze drifts over for a second and there he catches it. The briefest look of…disappointment? (or perhaps jealousy) on Bonnie Bennett’s face as she almost mirrored him and Elena with her arms around Enzo’s neck. As soon as he had noticed, it vanished and Bonnie’s attention was back to Enzo with a smirk and a dangerous look in her eyes. That single look, though, still knocked the wind out of him. A million thoughts raced through his mind. Each one of was them about her.

Pulling him out of his haze, Elena’s voice rings in his ears.

“Damon, are you alright?” She falters for a second, something akin to a knowing look on her face.

“Perfect, I’m here with you.” He smiles as genuinely as he could but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

Elena sees this and yet she chooses not to push it. Instead she just presses her cheek against Damon’s chest and closes her eyes, enjoying their gentle swaying. Damon rests his chin on her head in response and on another day, it would have been perfect. It should have been perfect.

But when he closes his eyes all he can see is that look on Bonnie’s face.


vi.

Damon accepts it.

At some point, Bonnie had filled in the position of being Damon’s drinking buddy so when she invites him to her place, he doesn’t hesitate to text her back.

‘be there in ten.’

She pours a bourbon for him and a gin and tonic for her.

When she opens the door, he can’t suppress his smile when he sees his favourite witch. She’s in her usual Bonnie attire - a simple tank top and denim shorts underneath an oversized cardigan.

“Was someone feeling lonely?” He mocks her with a smirk plastered on his face.

“What? I can’t just invite my best friend for a friendly drink?”

As usual, she rolls her eyes at his response, and moves out of his way.

Once Damon plants himself on the couch, she follows suit. They fall into their typical routine – Bonnie tells him about her week, they drink, he cracks jokes, she makes fun of him. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. Damon can’t lie that the nights they spend together aren’t his favourite part of the week. But he would never openly acknowledge it.

So, a couple of drinks later, when she relaxes into him, legs stretching across his lap, he doesn’t object. Instead he indulges in the feeling of her body next to his. The warmth that radiates from her. Her eyes are shut as a relaxed hum escapes her.

Damon wonders when she had managed to creep her way into his mind, planting herself into even the darkest corners.

If he closes his eyes then he can pretend that this moment can never end.


vii.

Damon admits it.

Elena sits across from him and the silence is deafening. It’s almost like they don’t recognise one another anymore. Something’s changed.

Every time he tries to open his mouth, the words seem to get caught in his throat and no sound escapes. She glances over at him every once in a while, but she seems determined to look anywhere but at him and it’s painful but he understands. He’s not the man she fell in love with. She noticed the change in him, in the way he looked at her, in the way he talked to her. It was slow. Subtle. And then it became all too real. Too much to avoid or overlook and pretend it wasn’t happening. Their love was passionate – white-hot and blinding – but it had taken its toll. The fire had begun to set and the remnants of its beauty was left behind in the ashes.

Because with Elena, it’s all fire and adrenaline and it consumes every part of them. Passionate but turbulent. For better or for worse.

But with her, it’s gentle.

Warm.

Constant.


viii.

Bonnie initiates it.

It’s late.

Very late.

Bonnie knows that she’s been avoiding him for the past week. She knows he’s been texting her throughout the week, worried and confused. She knows there’s a thousand better ways for this to go. But it’s as if she can’t control her feet and somehow, she ends up at the boarding house urgently knocking on the door.

The door swings open and there he is.

Damon.

He’s looking at her with a mixture of confusion and incredulity, and for a moment they just stand there staring at one another, intense and longing.

Then with a strange certainty, Bonnie wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him down before he can utter a single word. Her lips gently brush over his before completely melting into him. She pours everything into it. Every pent-up emotion. Every resisted urge. Every instance of guilt and fear about her feelings. She knows in her heart of hearts that this isn’t smart. That there may come a time when she regrets it and wants the earth to just swallow her up whole.

But right now – it feels so right.

And once Damon manages to wrap his head around the situation happening before him, his hands immediately find their way to her hips and bring her in closer until she’s pressed against him. She’s solid and real in his hands and this isn’t just another dream of his, another reverie he’s found himself in.

No. It’s real.

It’s real and she’s here. Her lips pressed against his. Her hands drifting through his hair. Her warmth passing through to him.

It’s like the world stops entirely around them.

All he can focus on is the softness of her lips.

The way they fit together seamlessly. As if they’re made for one another.

When they break apart, he rests his forehead on hers and they catch their breath. Like a mirror, massive grins break out on both their faces as the weight of the moment hits them.

Dragging her inside, he slams the door behind them and soon enough his lips are back on hers. Where their first kiss was sloppy and desperate, their second kiss is passionate and searing and Bonnie swears to herself that no other kiss ever was or could be better.

A pleased moan escapes from her and lingers in the air. Damon wants nothing more than to hear that sound for the rest of his life – and to be the reason for it.

And when they spend the whole night together, they’re whispering sweet nothings and declarations of love to one another, their kisses burning marks onto one another’s skin.

They’re hopelessly, foolishly drunk on each other and they love it.

It’s messy and imperfect, but for them it’s perfect in every single way possible.

And neither of them wants to let this feeling slip through their fingers.