Chapter: Three - Drowning on Dry Land
Word Count: 3307
Rating: PG 13 - references to violence (this is not fluff and rainbows people)
Pairing: Klaus Mikaelson, Bonnie Bennett
Disclaimer: Vampire Diaries belongs to L.J Smith and the people who brought it to TV
Summary: There is nothing left to do but let the emotions overwhelm you
Author's Note: I am so glad that people are enjoying my little tale. Once again this chapter is influenced by the events of 3x18 but it goes AU from here. There is some dialogue from the episode - I am merely borrowing it. This chapter is angsty but I think that our pair will bounce back to snarking at one another before long.
Author's Note (April 24th): I edited to change the ending ever so slightly, mostly in the way Rebekah reacts to Bonnie's situation.
For a split second she closes her eyes and hopes upon opening them that she will not see Damon Salvatore strung up in the ballroom. It’s a trick of the mind, an illusion created by the extreme stress her body is steeped in.
But he is there when her eyes open.
So she is forced to take him in.
She notices the blood first. On the tarp below him, some of it caked there, some of it pooling and glistening in the light. On him, dried as well with no marks to show the damage that has created it. But she knows, from the patterns and lines, just what has happened to Damon.
Her stomach churns.
And she speaks before she can hold it back. “Oh my God.”
Beside her, Klaus pipes up immediately. “Yeah, you’ll have to excuse the mess. Apparently Damon hurt her feelings.” He explains it all as if he is mortified that as her host he has exposed her to some area the cleaning staff has overlooked.
Rebekah has done this. With her cheery smile and peppy attitude to rival that of Caroline’s, she has slashed at Damon until he can barely hold his head up. She has pinned his wrists by animal traps whose teeth gouge into the flesh. Even from here, she can see that he is trying to heal around the intrusions only to for the skin to be ripped open again at the slightest sway of his body.
It all seems so inhuman.
It is the first time Damon has acknowledged her presence. She hadn’t even been sure he could tell she is here – he seems so far gone. He has said her name so many times since they first met – often in anger, exasperation, mocking amusement.
But this – this is desperation.
Damon needs her.
She lurches forward, with no plan in mind, no real solution to the problem presented. He is hurt. She will help.
It’s who she is.
“Go on,” Klaus instructs. “Help him…”
Bonnie’s eyes flicker between the monster seemingly giving her permission and the wounded animal trapped and crying out.
If he hadn’t spoken, Bonnie would have gone – almost like a reflex. She would have forgotten Klaus, forgotten where she was, forgotten the misdeeds of Damon Salvatore…
Klaus knows this – and he is no doubt delighted in turning it on her.
“Save the man who turned your mother into a vampire.”
There it is – the death knell.
Klaus has poked that raw nerve again, right at the most opportune moment. She can’t think of anything else but that night, the night she had realized so concretely just where she stood in the whole order of things. The night a woman who had no real reason to be there but for her daughter had her free will taken from her. The night Abby Bennett-Wilson became something she despised.
The night Bonnie’s hatred for Damon Salvatore was at its highest.
Those emotions come flooding in, pouring over top of her already overloaded system. She feels consumed by it all, and worries that she will buckle right then and there. She needs an out – and she has a feeling that Klaus will be all too happy to give it to her, because it will be a metaphorical dagger to Damon’s side.
Bonnie Bennett, the girl who has saved his life on numerous occasions is leaving him to the mercy of Klaus and his demented sister.
“Just get me out of here,” she says, surprised that she is able to keep the emotions from spilling out as she speaks.
“Very well.” He isn’t as proficient as her – she can hear the smugness in his voice (or perhaps he wanted her to hear). He reaches for her, to guide her toward the door. She places one foot in front of another, focusing on the mechanical action of walking instead of the emotions that are threatening her very well being. She dare not look back at Damon, to see how he has reacted to these turn of events, to see him, because she knows that will be the catalyst.
And right there in the foyer she will collapse at Klaus’ feet.
To his everlasting amusing no doubt.
He opens the door and she gets her first taste of freedom in the form of the cool evening air. “Go on then.”
She gives a curious glance, wondering if it is really that simple. She would like to think she knows how he operates at this point – there will be a catch. There is always a catch.
“I would see to it that you arrive safely at your doorstep myself, but I have matters to attend to,” Klaus drawls out as he glances over his shoulder, leaving her in no doubt as to just what those matters are – just who.
There is the catch.
She is walking out the front door with the knowledge that Damon will not. He is making her an accessory to Damon’s downfall. It is painfully obvious that as much as she understands how he works, he understands the same of her. A parting shot of guilt, that’s what he is leaving her with.
She takes a breath, holds her tongue, therefore holds her tart goodbye and steps out the door. He wastes no time in shutting it behind her and she stands alone on the front step. It takes her eyes a moment to adjust to the dark. It takes her mind a moment longer to realize that she is, indeed, free.
But at a cost.
The guilt mingles unpleasantly with all the other emotions and she nearly heaves, reaching out to grab purchase on one the stone pillars that frame the doorway. She holds tight for a moment, keeping herself on her feet.
She has to act. She can’t stand there and let the guilt eat away at her.
She pushes off, and is reaching into her bag before she can even think it through. She has the phone to her ear a moment later praying that unlike her, Elena isn’t screening calls on this day.
“Bonnie!” There is relief evident in her friend’s voice. “Where have you been?”
There is no time to explain herself, to appease Elena’s need to hear that she has not been purposely avoiding her (even though she has). Bonnie has to get right to the point. “Klaus has Damon.”
A beat of silence and then the confusion sets in.
“Klaus…Klaus should be dead. They should all be dead. We just killed Finn.”
Bonnie takes a deep breath, realizing how close they had come to finally ending this once and for all. The Original family and the death and destruction they have caused was moments away from being nothing more than a memory. Something that would take time to heal from - but something benign from then on out.
And she has been the one to stop it, however unwittingly.
She has saved Klaus.
She can’t take much more. She feels battered down now, ready for her body to give out. She doesn’t understand how she can continue to push forward, put distance between she and the monster she has just saved. “No, Elena.” How can she even speak? Explain herself? She marvels at her ability to go on even as she feels herself cracking. “He forced me to do a spell that unlinked all the siblings. He’s still alive.”
She can hear the sigh, the disappointment evident in Elena’s voice as she asks where Damon is. Bonnie wonders if Elena is disappointed in her for her role in all of this. Elena would be free if Bonnie…
But it’s not her fault.
It’s not her choice.
Bonnie has to tell herself that.
Still, she feels the cracks deepen and knows she is only moments from falling into a million little pieces. She will not make it to her home. She might not even make it off this property. “At Klaus’ mansion.” A consequence of her impeding breakdown is that she is not able to stop herself and the words coming tumbling out. “It’s bad, Elena. He threatened Jeremy. And my mom.” She feels the first hitch of her breath.
Just a little longer, Bonnie.
Hold on just a little longer.
(Easier said than done).
Intuitive Elena asks just the right question at just the wrong time. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t know…” Bonnie’s lip trembles and the tears burn her eyes. She can’t continue. She has to fold before it’s too late. “I’m sorry. I have to go.” She finds herself repeating it as if she needs to justify herself. “I just I have to…I have to go.”
She hangs up before Elena can protest.
And then finally, after holding it all in since the moment she woke up, she explodes.
Bonnie stumbles, desperate to find a place to curl up and let it all just come.
The wide open courtyard provides little space for her to burrow into and as a result she finds herself sliding down the side of one of Klaus’ expensive little toys. She leans against the vehicle, her head tipped back, her eyes firmly closed and for a moment tries, just tries, to push it all down.
But it is no use.
Once the floodgate has been opened there is no way of stopping the overwhelming tide now is there?
Her chest begins to move rapidly as each individual emotion fights to be free. They all seem to want to come pouring out at once and since she now longer has control she has no choice but to let them.
She lets out a loud sob first; her hands flying to cover her face as if to shield herself from any onlookers (but there are none of course - they are too busy torturing Damon). The tears come next, flowing freely down her cheeks, soaking through her fingers, catching on the cloth of her shirt.
She can feel another choking sob pushing through and she curls her fingers into her mouth as if to silence herself.
But it’s not use.
So she buries her head into her lap and just cries.
Until she fears she will never stop. She is reminded of when she was a child, when she got sick. She would heave until there was nothing left and then heave some more. Her father would have to kneel down beside her, rub her back and tell her that she had to stop, that it was okay to stop.
But there is no one to do that now.
Her legs are damp; her chest is surging as she struggles to maintain a balance between sobs and breathing. She knows the physical reaction her body is having. She knows it will only get worse if she doesn’t do something about it.
So she settles on a game plan - she will bring each emotion out, one by one. She will confront it for what it is...and then she will move on.
Anger comes first - because the white hot flash of rage was the first thing she felt when she knelt down by her mother’s prone figure. It hadn’t lasted long, but it was there and is still there festering and spreading throughout her mind. She is angry at what was done to Abby. She is angry that she wasn’t given the chance to find a solution before it was too late. She is angry because she foolishly believed that Damon and Stefan Salvatore saw her as more than a solution to their every problem. She is angry because her own mother couldn’t face her, couldn’t accept her help.
Despair follows easily - because it is so intertwined with her anger. For each little thing that made her angry also cut deep into her heart. She is at a loss as to how to deal with the hurt associated with realizing her mother is now something she never wanted to be. Fresh tears come with the thought that although she considered Stefan a friend (she merely tolerated Damon), he clearly did not hold her in the same regard. And there is, of course, a part of her that is still that lost little girl missing her mother.
Guilt comes last - because it is fresh. And because she really rather not think of it at all. She squeezes her eyes shut to avoid it, and her body shudders. She has to - she has to look it in its ugly face. She is guilty, not because she left Damon there - she never truly believed that Klaus would have let her touch him if she had been strong enough to pull herself up from his barb. No, she is guilty because she wants to leave him there. There is a part of her that wants to see him suffer (there is an even darker part of her that wants to be an integral part of it). She has never seen herself as an overly malicious person. Yes, there were times when she let her need for revenge overtake her senses, and yes most of those times have been related to Damon. But in the end, she has never truly wanted to end him - not like she has tonight. And it is eating her up - to think that for the briefest of seconds she entertained those thoughts.
She lifts her head a little, resting her chin on her knees. Her eyes don’t seem to want to focus on anything right now. It takes her a moment to notice that she has stopped crying. She has brought the emotions to the forefront - she has examined them.
And now she is numb.
She loses track of time.
She has no idea how long she has sat there, curled into herself as she is. She has turned to the side a little, her head resting against the hard steel of the driver’s side door. Her eyes have fallen closed but she is not sleeping - she is recovering.
Her body is trying to pull itself back together now.
The first thing she truly becomes aware of is the sound of footsteps.
She lifts her head a little, her breath catching in her throat. She can see the sources now.
Stefan is with Damon, the older brother slumped over the younger. She focuses on the fact that Damon is alive. That like she, he walked out of that house. And she can throw the fact that she had been the one to alert them to the fact that he was there right in the face of her guilt.
Still, she burrows into the car, quiets her breathing and hopes that they are too distracted to notice she is there. Her plan succeeds and she watches the Salvatore brother leave.
She needs to do the same.
Only she can’t quite pull herself to her feet yet.
Just a few more minutes.
A few more minutes and she will be strong enough to stand. Strong enough to follow in the footsteps of Damon and Stefan. Strong enough to leave and never ever look back.
Only fate can do a lot with a few more minutes.
The sound of a door slamming jerks her out of the final stages of her recovery.
Her eyes widen as she turns her head enough to see Klaus storming out of the house at a maddening pace. Even from here she can feel the rage pouring out of him. Her body kick starts the fight or flight processes by doubling her heart beat.
A dead giveaway to a vampire.
She can only hope that like Stefan and Damon, Klaus is too distracted by whatever is going on inside his head that he does not notice her. She has the urge to crawl right under the car, like a frightened cat. She can see his fists clench by his side, he is breathing heavily. For a moment he stands there, in the middle of his courtyard.
And then he tips his head back and lets out an inhuman cry.
She bets there is guilt there somewhere.
A second sound, much more calm, a female voice fills her ears. “Nik?”
There is a slight pause.
“Go back inside Rebekah,” he instructs.
“Nik, let me…”
There is an air of finality that has even herself wishing she could scramble from her current hiding place for a new one inside the monstrosity he calls a home. She squeezes her eyes shut, concentrates solely on hearing – on trying to pick up any subtle shift of his feet. Any hint that he is closing in.
Vampires, of course, are whisper quiet when they want to be.
There is a stillness in the air that chills her. She raises her head now, wishes she didn’t have to open her eyes but knowing what she will find when she does.
He stands inches away, looking down at her. She finally takes a breath (she hadn’t realized she had been holding it in the first place) and tries to read his face. What she sees there is barely restrained. His eyes almost shimmer. His brows are screwed together and his lips are pressed so thin they are almost white.
He is hurting.
“They killed my brother,” he says simply.
She barely has time to react, barely has time to pull herself to her feet before he is pressing her against the vehicle. “They killed my brother!” He cries, and she winces as his emotions overpower her. He slams the metal next to her arm and she doesn’t need to look to know it is dented in. He repeats the action and she sucks in air.
“Are you just going to stand there? And say nothing?” He spits out, his breath hot on her face. “They killed him. Without warning or provocation. They murdered my brother. Because of me!”
There it is – the guilt.
She meets his eyes for the first time and she feels like he is not even truly seeing her. He is lost in whatever has come over him. She is afraid that if she doesn’t think quick, act even quicker, that she will be a conduit for his pain.
So she slips past him.
Or tries to.
He swings around, his arms banding across her stomach tightly. He lifts her off his feet. She doesn’t have it in her to play calm, to feign indifference in hopes that he will lose interest. No, she is open and raw from everything.
So she fights.
She kicks, and claws.
Her powers are erratic but they still lash out at him.
In the end, she is not strong enough. Her valiant efforts are for none because he easily drags her across the courtyard, back towards her prison.
Her freedom has been temporary.
By the time she is back under the artificial lights of the Mikaelson home, most of the fight is out of her. However, she is still jerking her body in hopes to be away from him.
Bonnie’s eyes find Rebekah standing at the foot of the staircase regarding the pair with frank curiosity.
“What on earth are you doing?” The blonde vampire takes the last stair and walks toward them slowly, her lips curling into something resembling a smile. “Are we going to drain the little witch?”
Klaus stills. Stills her. For a moment there is silence and Bonnie thinks for the first time that he truly understands what he has just done.
However, he recovers quickly.
“Rebekah, she is my plaything, not yours.” As if to drive his point home, Klaus tightens his grip, pulls her into him.
From the look on his sister’s face, Bonnie gets the feeling that Klaus is throwing something back at her. However, she doesn’t have the time to focus on that – not when her body is filling with overwhelming dread.
Unsure of how to cope with it, she lashes out again.
Fruitlessly of course.