Arabian (arabian) wrote,
Arabian
arabian

Fic: How To Make a Better Vampire 12/24

Title: How To Make A Better Vampire
Chapter: 12 – Wanting… and Not [Featured Characters: Damon, Meredith, Bonnie, Jeremy, Elena, Caroline, Tyler and Stefan]
Author: JenniferH (Arabian)
Rating: M (For future chapters/language, sex, violence)
Summary: Post 3.22 -- Elena grapples with who she is as a vampire, struggling for control as she tries to find herself and accept who she loves (spoiler: it's Damon!) while her friends and enemies grapple with their own choices in this new world.
Word Count: 4,982
Disclaimer: The Vampire Diaries, and all her characters as presented, belong to Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, the CW, etc., etc., so on and so forth. ;)
Notes: Thank you to my group of wonderful beta-readers who made this fic a ton better than it would have been otherwise. Following canon here, so there will be Stefan/Elena and as portrayed on the show, but fear not, this is very definitely a Damon/Elena story (with other pairings referenced, and some featured (Stefan/Rebekah, Matt/Rebekah, Stefan/Caroline).

After I had finally digested the season 03 finale, I began to think up where they could go from there, especially with regards to Damon and Elena. One narrative stuck in my head and as I continuing weaving it I became so fixated with two major turning points in the story that I just had to try and write it. I've immersed myself in this for the last two and half months, trying to avoid spoilers or even read other fic. I have a head-start of sorts on the story and am hoping that I can stay at this pace so that I can deliver chapters at a steady pace. I can't promise that will stay the case, but I'm going to try. :)

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Chapter 12: Wanting… and Not

Damon hesitated a moment before knocking, still not sure this was the right move. However, he honestly didn't see much choice. Stefan was useless at this point. Liz, while fairly cool about the whole vampire-thing, still preferred coming to him rather than the other way around. And, yeah, Jeremy had helped earlier, but Damon needed an adult with some smarts to toss ideas back and forth. Besides, he figured that the lovely Dr. Fell would appreciate hearing about Ric's ghostly visit. Decided, he knocked on the door.

A few moments later, Meredith opened it, a welcoming smile on her face that faded into surprise when she saw him. And then much to *his* surprise, her smile returned, warmer than before. “Damon! This is a surprise. Come on in.” She stepped back, gesturing him in, leveling him another surprise as he’d just been about to ask for an invite, skeptical of a positive response. Ric really must have talked me up.

Entering, Damon looked around. “Cozy.” He looked back at her as she shut the door. “By which I mean small.”

She rolled her eyes, but didn't look offended. “I’ve driven by your boarding house. It’s huge.”

Damon nodded, looking around again and back to Meredith. He raised his brows with a smile, feeling a tad uncomfortable. This was so not his thing.

“Have a seat. Would you like something to drink—I mean… a soda or… Scotch! I have Scotch.”

Smirking, Damon rolled his eyes. “I’m not here to snack on you, Dr. Fell.”

“Call me Meredith.” She smiled with a faint look of embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I know, I highly doubt you'd drop by just to… do that.” She clapped her hands together. “So, Scotch.”

“Scotch.”

She walked past him into the kitchen while Damon settled himself on the couch. “You know Jeremy can see ghosts, right?”

“What?” Meredith looked up from pouring two glasses, spilling some of the drink on the counter. “Yes. Sorry, yes, I knew that." She cleared her throat, reaching for a sponge.

“He saw Ric.”

Her eyes wide, she paused in wiping up the mess, then with a low exhalation of breath, finished up and grabbed the Scotch. Carrying the glasses to Damon, Meredith handed him one before sitting down across from him with the other. “Wow. Well, I guess that’s to be expected. Still, ghosts, wow,” she repeated. “Is he OK?”

“Jere said he’s adjusting." He paused, realizing, that no, he did not want to talk about Ric. “Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about something else. That’s why I’m here.”

“Is it Elena?”

He shook his head. “No, why would you think it’s Elena?”

“Isn’t it always?” She raised a sardonic brow.

“No. Not always. Just… a lot.” He shifted with a frown. “No, it’s not about Elena. Did Ric tell you anything about the Lockwood caves, the information we found in them?”

Taking a sip, Meredith was silent before slowly shaking her head. “He told me it was proof that the Originals were here a long time ago, but that's about it.”

“Right. Me and Jeremy found a few more caves with some *new* old drawings. I was thinking you might join us this weekend at my huge boarding house.” He took a sip of the brandy, eyeing it with distaste and then sat down the glass. “Take a look at them, play a game of Original Pictionary?”

Meredith looked down at his glass. “Not feeling the drink?”

“It’s been aged, what, one week? Did you buy it at 7-Eleven?”

“Mystic Falls doesn’t have a 7-Eleven.” She paused with a grin. “But it was a 24-hour store.” Taking another sip herself, she grimaced. “Yeah, this sucks.” Laughing, she set her glass down as well. “Sorry, I hadn’t tried it yet. Anyway, yeah, I guess I'm up for some guesswork.” Smiling, Meredith nodded slowly. “I have to admit I am curious.”

“Curiosity’s good.” He smirked. “Even if it can get you killed.”

She shot him a glare that wasn't all that heated. “Not funny.”

Damon shrugged. “How ‘bout we get some decent alcohol? Head to the Grill, I’ll fill you in on what we already know?”

“Is this a date?” He looked at her, sincerely hoping she wasn’t being serious. Meredith knew how he felt about Elena. And she was the only one who knew where things stood with him and Elena right now. As he had a flash of Elena climaxing in his arms -- Yeah, that memory just wasn’t getting old anytime soon -- he knew that even the idea of being with anyone else didn't interest him. Not to mention that with all the emotional upheaval and disaster waiting to happen that was Elena in her newly-vamped-out state, seeing him with another woman would probably send her jealousy sky-high and that would only lead to no good, very, very bad things.

Meredith laughed. “I’m kidding.” Thank God. “This may be hard for you to believe, but you’re not my type. I like the good boys, not the bad boy in leather.”

He scoffed. “I’m everybody’s type.”

Meredith reached out and petted his arm soothingly. “Don’t worry, Damon, you haven’t lost your looks. I just definitely have a type.” She wrinkled her nose. “You’re not it. I like accountants, nerds.” Her voice turned wistful. “High school history teachers.”

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Well, good. Cuz I’m not into you either. I mean, you’re hot.” He looked her up and down with a flirty eyes. Meredith set her hands on her hips, trying not to laugh. Damon grinned, then turned serious. “It’s just—you know, Ric. It’d be weird.” Standing up, he turned away. “And I did already sleep with his wife. That‘s enough sharing.”

Stopping at the door, Damon looked over his shoulder to find Meredith staring at him, eyes wide in shock. “Is there any female in this town you haven’t slept with?”

“Sure, lots of them.”

She shook her head and grabbed her purse. “Good to know.”

“Besides, Isobel and I hooked up in North Carolina.” He opened the door for her, then waited while she followed then locked up. “And it was before I even knew Ric, so don’t be judging me.” Damon tried to deny it, but it had been nice thinking for a few minutes that there could possibly be someone on this planet who wouldn’t judge him. As if.

Meredith held up her hands. “I’m not judging.” Oh, OK then. Just…” She paused and looked him over with a quick shake of her head. “So not my type.”

He grinned, offering up his sexiest smolder. “Really? Studs don't do it for you?”

She was silent for a moment and then, with a quick shake of her head and quirk of her lips, she answered shortly. “Nope.”

XxxxX

"So was it weird?" Bonnie asked with a sideways glance as she settled on the couch.

Jeremy shrugged. "Not really. Well, I mean once we cleared the air."

"Cleared the air?"

"Yeah, you know that time he killed me," he offered a broad, fake smile which relaxed into a real grin. "Actually, we really did. I mean, you know I had vampire blood in my system." She nodded. "He knew that, knew I wanted to turn." Jeremy looked away, seeming lost in the memory. "He was giving me what I wanted."

"He said that?"

Jeremy shrugged again. "In so many words. Anyway, it was cool." He laughed lightly, and ran his hand through his hair, his ring glinting in the glow of the lamp behind him.

"You're wearing the ring again?" Bonnie sat up straight, her eyes wide, concern in her voice.

"Uh, yeah."

"Jeremy!"

"No, it's OK." He protested.

"No, no, it's not OK. After what happened to Mr. Saltzman..." She broke off, shaking her head.

"It's different, Bonnie, it is."

"How?"

Jeremy threw himself back, locking his hands behind his head. "Ric is there. He's watching over me. If something happens to me, he'll protect me from Esther."

"Yeah, but—" Bonnie broke off, sighing. "Yeah, I guess. I still wish you wouldn't wear it."

He let out a bark of laughter. "Bonnie, I'm hanging out with Damon!"

She shook her head, not quite able to believe how easily the thought popped into her head, but if she was being honest... "I don't think he'd do anything to you now. I don't. Do you? Really?"

He was silent for a moment, and then with a quick shake of his head, he spoke. "Actually, I don't. But, Damon's not the only vampire in town."

"Yeah, but he's the only one who killed you," she pointed out wryly.

"Yeah, but Klaus compelled Tyler to get me killed and he's back in business." Jeremy paused, then added quietly, "and he's not a baby vampire handling the whole vampire thing really, really badly."

Bonnie blinked a few times, her lips parting as she struggled to respond. "You think Elena's more of a risk than Damon?"

Shrugging, Jeremy leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, looking down. "I don't know, but better safe than sorry. At least that's what Damon said."

Frowning, she tried to catch his gaze. "It was Damon's idea?"

"Yeah."

She pushed, clarifying. "Because of Elena?"

Jeremy was silent, and then finally he looked back up at her. "Yeah." His voice was quiet.

"Wow."

"Yeah." He shook his head. "Anyway, it's fine. He's just being careful because she's all aaaah! But it really seems to only be Damon who gets her going, so—"

"What do you mean?"

Jeremy waved a hand. "Nothing. Anyway, Ric said a few things about her that made me think Damon might have a point. I don't know. I mean, yeah, it's stupid. Elena would never hurt me. But," he laughed. "I *am* hanging out with Damon."

"So it is about Damon."

He was quiet and then he met her gaze, a despairing intensity there that he couldn't hide. "That's what I'm telling myself." He shook his head. “And Klaus. Who knows with Klaus, right?”

“Right. Klaus.” Bonnie nodded. She smacked her hands against her knees and pasted on a bright smile. "So, have you seen Ric since the last time?"

"Nah. But I kinda expect him to show up whenever. He'll probably show up at the funeral."

"Huh? What funeral?"

"Oh yeah, we’re burying Ric’s body tomorrow. "

Smiling, Bonnie nodded. "Oh, that's good. Closure is a good thing. What time?"

"Uh," Jeremy paused, flushing slightly. "Noon, but, uhm..." He laughed awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck. "It's just like, you know, family."

Her eyes widened, a bit surprised. "Oh."

"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry, but it's not like it's even really Ric anymore. And we all said goodbye to him already the night of that 20's dance."

She smiled sadly, thinking of that night, watching Alaric as he watched them pay their respects to the man he still was. Jeremy was right; they had all said goodbye. “Yeah, we did." She leaned forward and rested a hand on his arm briefly before pulling back. "I get it, you want that moment to say goodbye just as... family. I think that could be good for Elena right now."

"Yeah."

Bonnie nodded and then frowned suddenly. "Wait, in the middle of all of this she set that up?"

Shaking his head, Jeremy looked down. “No, uh, actually Damon did.”

Surprise lit Bonnie’s face as she digested that for a moment. Damon is family? The thought sounded so crazy in her head she had to say it aloud. “Damon? Family?”

After a long pause, Jeremy met her gaze, a wistful look in his eyes. “Well, he and Ric, you know?”

She was quiet, thinking of what she knew about their friendship, the circumstances of their lives and how Elena, Jeremy and Alaric had formed a family unit of sorts after Jenna died… and how Damon, as Alaric’s best friend and Elena’s confidant/protector/whatever, had become a part of that unit in a way. “Yeah, I know.”

“Crazy, huh? A vampire and a ghost, BFFs.” He smiled, and it was quick, but genuine.

“Have you been ‘hanging’ with Damon when Mr. Saltzman showed up?”

Jeremy shook his head. “Nope. Not yet, but I’m sure it will happen. As long as Ric is around and I’m thinking of him, he’ll show up.”

Bonnie hesitated then, wondering if that still worked for any ghost. One in particular: Anna. As if reading her mind, Jeremy caught her eye with a self-conscious smile. "He's the only one I've seen in a long time."

"You haven't seen Vicki or... Anna since I sent them all back?" He shook his head. "What about Ric? Has he seen her?"

"Anna? No." He shrugged. "It's for the better. I don't— I don't want to see her again. Don't want to hear about her. She's my past. I should have remembered that."

"Jeremy--"

"No, I was an idiot. I threw away this amazing thing we had for a ghost." He laughed harshly. "A ghost who was using me... again." Jeremy reached out, lightly touching her hand then withdrawing before she could. "Bonnie, can you ever forgive me?"

She laughed. "It seems so stupid. Not able to forgive because of a kiss when the rest of us are forgiving each other for lies and murder. We're talking neck-snapping. Literally."

He shook his head, reaching out this time to hold her hand. "No, it is important. I was wrong. A stupid jerk. Just because of everything, all this crazy, don't think your feelings matter less."

“Jeremy—“ She broke off, a sigh escaping her. “You know I care about you a lot. I still do. I forgive you, I do, but if you want more… I just, not yet. I can’t. Things are crazy, but…” Bonnie trailed off, not sure what she was thinking just that her heart still ached when she thought of him. And sometimes that ache was the sweet kind that filled her pleasure when she looked at him, or he looked at her like he was now.

His eyes were warm, melting as he captured her gaze, a slight smile curved his lips. “But…”

“Jeremy,” she murmured his name, but she couldn’t not respond to that smile of his. And then she got a mental grip on herself. Sitting up straighter, she tightened her lips. "Jeremy," she said less breathlessly. "I can't. It's too soon." She shook her head. "Not yet."

Standing up, Bonnie smoothed down her skirt. She was about to turn and leave, but he reached out and snagged her hand. He was still smiling.

"I'm gonna hold on to that ‘but.’"

Once again, she couldn't help but smile in return.

XxxxX

The Grill wasn’t crowded when Elena entered. She looked around and saw Caroline and Tyler sitting at a table near the bar. Smiling, she moved towards them. “Hey!”

“Hey. Stefan’s not with you?” Caroline asked, her smile dimming a bit.

Elena shook her head. “I went home first. Stefan’s gonna meet us here.”

“Oh.” Caroline looked confused. “But I thought you two were together?”

Sighing, Elena dug her hands in her pockets, feeling self-conscious as if her friend could peer into her mind and see what happened after Caroline left the boarding house. “No, I had to go home.”

“Why didn’t Stefan just go with you?” Tyler piped up, and Elena bit back an urge to bite his head off.

“He just didn’t, OK?” She held his stare for a moment. He put his hands up, his eyes wide in defensive surprise. Elena took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. Tyler?” He looked warily at her. “I’m glad you’re… you again.”

Relaxing, a smile spread across his face. “Yeah, me too.”

Elena turned back to Caroline and smiled at the happy look on her face. “Wanna go to the bathroom?”

“Sure,” Caroline reached over and grabbed her purse. “Be back in a sec,” she chirped to Tyler. “When Stefan shows up, tell him we’re making ourselves beautiful.”

“Impossible. You’re already there,” he shot back with a grin. Her giggle trailed after them as they made their way to the ladies’ room.

Caroline had her purse open right away, pulling out lipstick as she looked into the mirror.

“God, it’s amazing having Tyler back.” She curved color over her lips. “I mean, it’s still a little weird because I keep expecting him to do something that’s not Tyler-y, and I’m not totally comfortable, you know, making out because…” She shook her head. “Never mind.” Smacking her lips, she turned to face Elena. “Spill, why didn’t you and Stefan show up together?” Elena started to protest that it wasn’t a big deal, but Caroline cut her off. “Don’t even. You're so tense you’re making *my* shoulders ache. Did you two have a fight?”

“No, no. It wasn’t anything like that. It’s just...” Elena sighed, and walked over to the mirror, blindly staring at her reflection. “We haven’t been… together since…” She trailed off again, rolling her eyes as she thought about it. “God, it was before Jenna died, before the sacrifice, before Klaus first showed up.”

“Wow, it has been a while.”

“Yeah.”

“And it’s weird cuz you’ve gotten a little freaky with Damon in the meantime?”

Her eyes shutting, Elena saw them on her porch, in Denver, in his room -- God, in his room! -- in *her* room, in the woods. Freaky, she thought, yeah, that’s one way to put it.

“Something like that.”

They were both quiet for a few moments and then Caroline sighed heavily. “Look, Elena, I know it’s hard for you. You love Stefan, but you feel… a pull for Damon. He touches something in you that maybe,” she paused, another sigh escaping her, “maybe Stefan doesn’t.”

Nodding, Elena met Caroline’s eyes in the mirror. “Yeah, but it’s more than that. It’s… more.”

“I get it. I mean, it sucks when you feel that pull even though you *so* know you shouldn’t. When that person is everything that is wrong and you shouldn’t feel anything but hate and anger and flat-out disgust for him. It makes you crazy.” A bitter smile crossed Caroline’s face, as she looked away. “I understand.” She met Elena’s gaze again. “If you ever want to just talk—“

“No,” Elena whispered, an emotion akin to horror filling her, making her skin crawl as she realized just exactly where Caroline’s thoughts were coming from. A rage she had never expected, never could have imagined feeling for this girl she’d known her whole life took over.

“Elena—“

“Don’t.” She hissed, slowly shook her head.

Confusion flooded Caroline’s face. “What?”

Turning around, Elena looked at her head-on, seething anger radiating from her. “Don't you dare compare Damon to Klaus. Everything that Damon has done, his switch was off or his crazed, vampire emotions threw him out of whack.” Elena threw a dismissive hand up in the air. “Fine, it doesn't excuse it, but it also doesn't make him a monster.” She stepped closer to Caroline, her finger coming out and pointing at her chest as she emphatically made her point.

“That is what Klaus is. What he does, when he hurts people, it makes him happy. *He* is evil, Caroline. He *killed* Jenna! He killed her.”

“Elena, I know–“ She tried explaining, but Elena was having none of it.

“No, no, no, no.” She turned away, not wanting to look at Caroline a moment longer. “You badmouth Damon all the time, and I let it go because of your history with him.” Swallowing hard, Elena forced herself to face Caroline once more. “Because he was awful to you, I know that. His switch was off, you know, but he did— he treated you badly. I know. I get that, so you go on and on about how awful he is and I just let it go, but I will not let it slide anymore if you're comparing Damon in any way to Klaus.”

“I’m not. I’m really not, Elena.” Caroline’s eyes darted away and then back to meet Elena’s. “It’s just—“

“No, there is no ‘it’s just.’ Yeah, Klaus may be hung up on you, but the rest of us he’d kill like that unless he needed us for whatever.” Elena shook her head, her eyes beginning to well up. “Damon has been there for more than just me, you know? He’s been there for Stefan, for Ric. *Your mother.*” Caroline looked down. “For Jeremy. He even saved Tyler and Matt’s life. And Bonnie’s. And yours! More than once.” Elena stopped, breathing heavily. She forced herself to relax, tamped her anger down. “Caroline?”

Slowly, Caroline raised her head, meeting Elena’s gaze. “Yeah?”

“I know you hate him, but Damon is nothing like Klaus. Nothing.”

Caroline was silent, her face flushed. She gave a jerky nod. “I know.” Her eyes shut, a tear seeping from beneath her lid. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes, her voice stronger. “I know, OK. I get it. Yeah, I don’t like him because of what he did to me, but you’re right. He’s helped all of us, even me. And he’s not like when he first came to town. But it’s taken a long time for me and everyone else to see that because *he* doesn’t let anyone see that. He’s so mean all the time.”

“Caroline!”

“No, I took it. You let me talk now.” She raised a brow. “It’s my turn.” Elena was quiet, her fists clenched at her side, but then slowly she relaxed them and nodded. Caroline continued. “He’s mean all the time, so it’s easy to not notice when he’s actually doing, you know, good stuff. You’ve seen his good side. He doesn’t act that way with you. So that’s why you fell for him, that’s why you look past all the terrible things that he’s done and the crappy way he acts because you see a side of him that the rest of us don’t. Right?”

Again, Elena nodded.

“So, yeah, he’s not evil. I get that. And I know that Klaus is. And I’m not comparing Klaus to Damon. I know that it would take a thousand Damons to be as bad as Klaus. I wasn’t comparing them, I was—“ She broke off, and wiped another tear. “You have Stefan and you love him and he’s the good guy. But you have these feelings for Damon, and good or bad, they’re there and you can’t make them go away. And I *know* that you want to. Don’t you?”

Elena was quiet. She turned away, considering Caroline’s question and she realized that, no, she didn’t want them to go away. What she felt for Damon meant too much to her now. But… “It would make things easier.”

“Right.” Caroline nodded. “I have Tyler, and I love him, but, even though it’s wrong and terrible, I can’t change the fact that I’ve seen a side of Klaus that none of you have, and I hate it and I hate him, but I can’t make the fact that I… I don’t completely hate him go away.” She was quiet, and then continued softly. “That was the comparison. Just having feelings you shouldn’t.”

Elena didn’t say anything at first. Closing her eyes briefly with a sigh, she turned back to Caroline. “OK.” She let loose a weak smile as she teared up. “I’m sorry, I'm just on edge.”

“I know.” And then Caroline’s face crumpled as she rushed forward and pulled Elena into her arms. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to stop badmouthing Damon. You’re right. His switch was off and he’s saved all of us a gazillion times. Plus,” she laughed. “He’s like my mom’s only friend.” Pulling away, her expression grew serious. She looked at Elena. “And he loves you. And would do anything, like *anything* for you. And I know that you… care a lot, like a super lot, about him. So, I’m done. Damon Salvatore is officially off of my shit list.”

Elena smiled, pulling from Caroline’s embrace to wipe her tears away because, of course, of course!, she was crying. “Thank you.” She nodded. “And I am sorry for tearing into you. I’m just… I’m really stressed out.”

“I know.” Caroline reached out, and wiped at Elena’s cheeks, smoothing away the tear stains. “OK, you look good.” Pulling back, she looked into the mirror, and swiped at her own face. “And I look good.” She wrapped an arm around Elena. “We’re totally hot.”

Elena giggled, and then sighed heavily. “Stefan’s probably here now.”

Caroline’s lips parted as if to speak, but she gave a quick shake of her head. “Yeah, let’s go.”

Stepping out, Elena saw that Stefan was indeed there. He smiled, and she felt a familiar rush of comfort at the sight of him.

“And one for the lady.” Damon’s voice grabbed Elena’s attention. Turning to look past Stefan’s smile, she saw that Damon was now sitting at the bar… with Meredith? What followed was a mix of the familiar rush of desire, confusion and pleasure that seeing Damon now produced, and a new addition: jealousy. The likes she had never felt before. It didn’t come even close to comparing to what she had felt when she found out he had slept with Rebekah. That was then, before she had been with Damon. Now? Now, a violent surge of possession filled her.

“Elena?” Caroline’s voice broke through the haze. Elena turned to see her friend settling down at the table, concern on her face.

Feeling his gaze on her, Elena’s eyes flickered from Caroline back to Damon. He was looking at her now, a gentle smile on his face, but he held up a glass and his eyes twinkled as he toasted it mockingly in her direction. And then he looked away… drawn away by Meredith. Another surge flooded through her. She was about to take a step forward, toward the pair when Meredith slid from her barstool. Elena stilled.

As the doctor drew closer, a smile warmed her face. “Hey, Elena.” She walked past without waiting for a response, heading to the restroom. Elena was quiet. Slowly, she turned around as if in a daze and followed her.

“Hi, Meredith.”

Standing at the mirror, she jumped, her hand flying to her throat. “Oh, God, Elena! You scared me.” She smiled, and then her brow rose quizzically. “I thought you just came from the bathroom.”

Elena smiled. “ Yeah, I just,” she paused, throwing out an artful laugh. “I was curious. What are you doing here with Damon?” She tried to make her voice light, her question casual.

Laughing, Meredith rolled her eyes. “Oh, he’s auditioning to become my boy-toy.” Grinning, she turned away and looked into the mirror, smoothing her brows. “Trying to convert me to his bad boy ways and see what I’ve been missing.”

The room narrowed, that jealousy from moments before returned, amplified a thousand times as a vision of Damon and Meredith entwined in passion flashed through her mind. She saw red and very desperately wanted to make sure that her vision never came to pass. Without a sound, she launched herself at Meredith, her teeth sinking into her neck as the delicious taste of blood filled her mouth.

“Elena!” Someone stronger than her ripped her from Meredith, red nails gripping into her arms. Elena fought, struggling to escape her captor’s hold. “Elena! God, stop it! Elena, stop it!”

The red haze retreated as her veins smoothed out, her fangs receding. Horror filled her as she took in Meredith leaning against the sink, her hand desperately clutching at her bleeding throat. Tears began to fall. She looked away, facing Caroline who finally loosened her hold, her voice soft as she captured Elena’s gaze. “You’re OK?”

Trembling, Elena nodded. Turning to Meredith, she was filled with self-disgust seeing the fear in the doctor’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Caroline let go and moved to Meredith. “Here, let me help you, Dr. Fell.”

“I’m fine,” Meredith responded with a shake of her head.

Sympathy colored Caroline’s face. “You can barely stand. She took more blood than I think you realize. Let me?”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Elena whispered, falling back to lean against the hard door.

Not tearing her gaze away from Elena, Meredith nodded, speaking to Caroline. “OK, yeah.”

Biting her wrist, Caroline offered Meredith her blood, trying to explain. “She’s a baby vampire. She can’t really control herself yet. It’s a work in progress.”

Meredith took a small sip of the blood, and then another, her face twisting in distaste. She gave a quick nod. “I’m good.” Looking towards Elena, she spoke, but there was a touch of guilt, if not conviction, in her voice. “It’s fine, Elena.”

Caroline grabbed a paper towel and wet it. She handed it to Meredith, who wiped at her healed neck. Looking over at her friend, Caroline moved to her. “She will be fine. She just needs some time, some help.”

Convulsively still wiping at her now-cleaned neck, Meredith nodded jerkily. “Yes, she does.”

Elena looked away from the doctor’s eyes, filled now with a mixture of anxiety, guilt and pity. Reaching up, Elena wiped at her mouth, trying not to savor the taste of blood that remained. “I’m sorry,” she offered once more before walking out.

Stefan was standing at the table when she entered the main dining area, looking at her. There was concern on his face. Try as she might, she couldn’t not look past him to Damon. He was watching her as well, the same concern on his face.

Elena took a deep breath, fighting desperately to not crumple and fall to the floor in tears. She managed to stay upright with just one thought keeping her steady. If she fell, it would be Stefan who would catch her.

She wanted it to be Damon.

TO BE CONTINUED

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So, I'm thinking that due to the timing (LJ-downage/holidays) pretty much every one missed the last chapter, so please feel free to leave comments for chapter 11 as well as this one. (At least I hope it was the timing. I gotta admit, I'm a bit behind posting the latest chapters here because there was practically no response to 11. If people are reading it here, I'll make sure to be up-to-date with my posting.)
Tags: bonnie bennett, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, elena gilbert, fic, fic: ...bettervampire, jeremy gilbert, jeremy/bonnie, the vampire diaries
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