Damon Salvatore was not a vampire who could be considered squeamish, but even his stomach flipped as he waded through the pile of bodies in the alleyway. Each one had two holes in their necks and some of them had their throats ripped out. Muscle, veins and bone popped through the skin. There were even some body parts littered about and blood splattered the brick walls. The ones that remained intact had not a drop of blood left in them. He saw one victim not quite so pale and held the hope that maybe, just maybe she had left one alive. Damon listened carefully for a heartbeat and when there was none; he smashed his lips together, tightly closing his eyes shut. Fifteen human bodies lay dead in the alleyway and the person responsible was the love of his life… he would do anything to get her back. Anything.
He heard a hiss behind him and spun around. His eyes landed on the dark hair and the black eyes of his girl.
She stared coldly at him, “You followed me, again?”
She stood there with her arms crossed as if she had not a care in the world, as if the bodies laid before them held no significance to her. That was not the girl he had fell in love with. No, this girl was smart, dangerous and a Ripper. Someone who had a never-ending thirst for blood and violence. His brother was one and it had taken more than a century for him to control his bloodlust. That was something he had to never worry about when he changed his girl.
Sadness washed over him briefly as he eyed her. The girl that was all heart and soul, the girl who had the best self-control of any vampire he’d ever known; the one he loved was no longer there. In her place, clad in black jeans and a leather jacket was a cold blooded and vicious killer, the perfect image of a vampire who had ‘flipped the switch’ on their emotions. She was leaving body trails all over the state and he would track her every time, hoping to catch her; to bring her home. This was the closest he had gotten in the past four months, as she always managed to elude him.
“You need to come home, Isabella.” he stated in the same cold tone that matched hers.
He had tried the caring route before she ran out town, to get her switch those emotions on. That didn’t work and now he had to be the bad guy. He was hoping to spark some sort of emotion from her by using her given name; knowing that under other circumstances, she’d hate it. Right then, he’d take any emotion he could get out of the girl. It’d be a start in the right direction.
“I don’t need to be anywhere but where I want to be, Damon.”
She stood opposite him at the end of the alley way. Her head tilted in a cat-like manner, her black eyes void of any meaning behind them.
He pursed his lips and crossed his arms, “So, you are going to keep running around draining bodies left and right? Is that all you do? I gets rather boring after a while. Trust me, I know.”
He dropped his arms to his side and stepped forward, “Just how long do think you’ll be able to keep that switch off, huh?!”
She slightly shrugged, “Long enough…”
Damon shook his head, “Wrong answer, sweetheart.” He then blurred to her and stood behind her grabbing her from behind. He inhaled deeply as he fingered the vervain syringe in his pocket, “I love you.” he murmured in her ear before stabbing her in the neck with the needle and pushing the plunger.
He tossed her over his shoulder and made his way to his car. He popped the trunk and gently laid her inside. His eyes misted over as he pulled on some latex gloves and grabbled the vervain-laced ropes to bind her hands together. He continued to bring the rope down, wrapping the remaining length around her ankles and securing them in a knot. He quietly brushed the hair out of her face and kissed her forehead. “I’m gonna get you back, I promise.” He then pulled out another syringe of vervain, injecting her once more.
He run a hand through his hair as he pulled out his cell, furiously punching the number on his speed dial. He paced back and forth, silently counting the rings to keep himself sane. It was finally picked up on the forth ring.
“I found her, Ric.”
“Bring her home, Damon.”
The vampire chuckled mirthlessly, “What did you think I was gonna do? Take her on a teacup ride at Disneyworld?”
Ric sighed on the other line, “I know this is hard on you-”
“You have no idea! I have the woman I love tied up in the trunk of my car! Do you know how fucked up that is?”
“You’re doing what you need to do. You’re not alone in this.”
Damon closed his eyes and leaned against the car, “Just be prepared for the worst, because what we did for Elena when she switched off will be nothing compared to what we’ll have to do for Isabella. I will do anything to get her back. Are we clear?”
He heard the other man gulp as he quietly replied, “Yes… I’ll let the others know.”
“Good. I’m on my way.” With that, he ended the call and hopped in the driver’s seat of his car and turned on the ignition.
During the drive home he could not help but think back to happier times. He let out a heavy sigh as the memories washed over him.
He remembered their first meeting at the police station. They were new to the town and her father was taking over one the positions as a deputy sheriff. He had been there to pick up the new guy and his friend, Sheriff Forbes. There was to be town council meeting to discuss all things supernatural. Just the usual order of business in a town like Mystic Falls. The council was established to keep the town safe from vampires. Damon snorted as he thought on it, considering he was the head of the so-called council.
He had walked into the station with his usual swagger and stopped short when he saw a gorgeous young woman arguing with the receptionist to see her father, Deputy Swan. He promptly waltzed up to the desk, put on his flirt and the receptionist was goo in his hand, granting the girl access to see her father.
“Umm…thanks.” the girl shyly said, with a touch of uncertainty in her tone.
“No problem.” he replied with a wink.
He leaned his head back as he remembered just how innocent and shy Bella had been when she first came to Mystic Falls. She was barely out of high school and waiting for the fall semester to start at Whitmore College nearby.
It had turned out she, herself was no stranger to the world of the supernatural, but she was unaware of his kind of vampire. There was also the fact of no matter how often he tried to compel the girl, it failed every single time. That little quirk piqued his interest even more, and he found himself spending more and more time with her, trying to figure out just what it was about her.
Not only that, but with his brother, Stefan having left town, and Elena finally ending their love affair, once and for all… he was bored and had nothing better to do. The more time he spent with Bella, the more he found that he liked. Over time, he fell in love with her.
Somehow, she had grown to feel the same for him and what they had was more than any of them had ever experienced before in a relationship. It was more than just love they had between them. There was a level of respect and acceptance between them; a perfect balance of give and take. There was also a level of honesty that Damon was not used to, but he appreciated it.
Their relationship was not perfect, both were stubborn, passionate and had tempers. Tempers that would often flare up. They would fight, sometimes for days on end. He smirked as he thought on it. The make-up sex was always worth it, though.
They had an unbreakable bond; a bond that was tested time and again. The worst was when a long thought dead friend escaped the experiments on vampires run by a professor at Whitmore. Damon had also been captured, but managed to escape, as well.
Once out, his so-called friend Enzo had managed to wreck a little havoc. He kidnapped his girl out of revenge for Damon leaving him behind back in the 1950’s after a stint of experiments. It was decades of torture afterwards while Enzo was treated as nothing more than a lab rat. A pittance to his own five years he spent caged like an animal and tortured in such ways that it still made him shudder when he recalled upon it.
He bit down on his lip as he thought to his friend’s words, “You took my chance at love, my freedom! You abandoned me! Now… it is your turn, my friend.” He had then snarled and viciously bit into Bella’s neck, heavily sucking the blood from her body, nearly draining her dry.
Rage had consumed him and he attacked Enzo with a deadly vengeance. He staked him in the chest, nearly missing his heart. It was Stefan who stopped him. “Bella’s still alive. You have a choice, brother… go and save her or kill him.”
With that, Damon had walked off to the classroom where she’d been held hostage and fed her his blood. It was enough to save her, but things took a turn for the worse when Stefan was unable to stop Enzo from marching in. He picked Bella up off the floor and threw her against the wall, not realizing that Damon had just given her his blood, “Now she’s dead! Your eternity is gone, Salvatore. Just like mine!” He then quickly blurred out of the room.
The minutes ticked by like hours until Bella awoke and her new life begun. Like many vampires before her, a certain amount of darkness crept into her soul, but she never denied it. She embraced what she was and never lost the light she carried within. That is, until Edward Cullen and his family decided to show up.
The return of her ex-boyfriend and his family into her life drained the light out of her bit by bit as Edward badgered her, stalked her and claimed that he loved her. Unwanted roses were sent to her dorm room, gifts would pop up at her door. Bella brushed him off time and time again. She finally confronted the family at their home, begging to be left alone. She told them all that she wanted nothing to do with any of them, especially Edward. He had stood in a corner, his face a sullen mask as she told the patriarch of the family exactly what his precious son had been doing.
Instead of seeing how sick his young progeny was, he simply told Bella that she was Edward’s mate; that she should accept the bond between them. That only infuriated her more so, and then her vampire side reared its ugly head as she slapped him with all the strength she could muster. “There is no such thing as mates, Carlisle. It’s a crock of mythological bullshit. Believe me, I know… You’re not the only one that does research.”
Bella had brought along her group of friends, her father, and Damon. They all stood united, and supported her.
There were hisses from various members of the Cullen coven, “How dare you! He loved you as a daughter!” Esme, the matriarch shouted.
Bella tilted her head at the absurdity of the statement. “He loved me as a daughter?” She then laughed mirthlessly, “He abandoned me! Just like the rest of you did! And just in case you have forgotten, I have a father!”
“We left to keep you safe!” Alice piped up. Her head bowed as she mumbled, ‘Not that it did any good.”
Bella fumed as she asked, “What exactly does that mean!?”
“Look at you! You’re a monster!” Alice exclaimed.
“And look at you… you’re a little fairy” Damon retorted as a scowl marred his features. Alice then marched forward, hand raised with intent to slap him, but he caught her by the wrist, squeezing it tightly, “Don’t.” he sneered in a venom-laced tone. “I will kill you and your pretty little coven won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.” He roughly let her go and looked around the room.
He took his place beside Bella and eyed the so-called leader, “Do you have any idea what Edward told her in the woods that day you all left her?” Carlisle and the others bowed their head in shame.
“Do you know what it did to her when you left and how long it took her to get over you?” The guilt on their faces was obvious, “Oh! Of course you do, because of the little fortune teller you have over there.”
He had then tossed his head in Alice’s direction before adding, “Why wait until now to show up?”
“Edward was a depressed little pussy and he missed his precious little human. She disappeared from Alice’s visions a few months ago…” Rosalie spoke up as her golden eyes burned with anger, “We all had to help him search for her! Alice thought she had died and Edward wanted to join her.” She chuckled as she glanced over to Bella, “Imagine his reaction when he got the first sight of you and lover boy at that campus party.”
Bella had inhaled a sharp breath, “What? Did you think I would never move on, Edward? That I would mope and cry until the day I died? No one is worth that! Especially you.”
“Bella, I love you. That will never change. You must understand that I left to protect you from this world… you deserve far better than this.” He had stated earnestly.
“You know the old saying “You always get what you deserve?” She smiled as she approached him. “I got what I deserve. I found out who I am… I met the love of my life. I’ve never been happier. You, on the other hand, got what you deserve. You will face eternity alone because you refuse to change. Don’t tell me that vampires can’t change because I know they do! All you ever did was paint a picture of how you saw this world, Edward. You never gave the facts as they were. You made it sound as if being a vampire was the most revolting being out there, but yet… you thought yourself far superior to others. You tried to change who I was to fit your needs.” She then turned about and met each coven member’s eyes. “All of you did. You played on my humanness and used it against me, exposing my weaknesses and insecurities. Don’t stand there and say you loved me because your actions speak much louder that the words you spout.”
She then faced Edward once again, “Truth is, you’re scared of what you are and the world you’re in. You’re scared that you don’t measure up. That’s why you treated me as nothing more than a little toy. Someone weaker than you, someone who was stupid enough to fall for your corny romantic lines. Someone who was naïve, idealistic and really didn’t know the meaning of the word love. You treated me as nothing more than a possession; one that you easily discarded that day in the woods.”
She scoffed before she continued, “I hate to tell you… but you are right. I deserve better and it sure as hell isn’t you! You don’t measure up! Neither as a man, nor a vampire. In fact, you are a worthless piece of shit!” She had angrily spun around while Edward grabbed her arm, “Bella-”
She responded by yanking his arm off and tossing it across the floor, “Do not touch me! Ever!”
He tried to grasp her hand with his remaining arm and that got the same treatment. He screamed in pain and his eyes welled with tears that would never fall. Bella simply cocked her head, smirking, “You deserved that, too.”
Damon sighed as he remembered that night. How proud he was that she had confronted her past and stood her ground against the family; against an obsessive, overbearing ex. She had something in her that Katherine, or even Elena never had, and that was the strength of her convictions. She was led by her heart, even in her darkest moments. She always did what she felt was right. He himself thought Edward had gotten off easy. That just proves how much control Bella had over her vampire side. Any other vampire with a temper such as hers would have surely ripped him apart and burned him to ash.
He drove for a while before the memory of the night she switched it off came to mind. Earlier that day, Sheriff Forbes had called him; to let him know that Charlie Swan had not reported to work. It was news that unnerved him at the time. He had scoped the town of Mystic Falls, not finding a clue. He’d even run to the Gilbert’s lake house and checked the fishing spot there… No trace of the man could be found anywhere. By four o’ clock that afternoon, he knew he had to go see Bella.
Little did he know that it would be a night that would change his world, forever. He found her on the campus commons of Whitmore, chatting with her friends. She had been laughing and glowing with joy in the bright Virginia sun. He had hated having to tell her about her beloved father. But it better him than Liz Forbes. He knew that they were each other’s rock. At least, he had thought so at the time, anyway.
Once he had told her the news, she run off towards her dorm room to pack a bag and help in the search. They both knew something was off the minute they stepped into the dormitory. They both smelled Charlie’s scent and the intoxicating odor of his blood. Damon had took her hand in his and led Bella to her room, the scent growing more powerful as they neared closer to it.
Before they opened the door, he had took her face in his hand, gently stroking her cheek with his thumb, then kissed her forehead. “You stay here.” he gently told her.
He entered the dorm and found her father dead in a small pool of blood near his head on the floor, his neck twisted at an awkward angle. A note was found pinned to his chest:
My Dearest Bella,
You told me just how unworthy I am. You told me that I don’t measure up, neither as a man, nor a vampire. I thought perhaps, it was time to prove you wrong. I am going to live my life once again as a vampire that lives in the shadows, hunting and feasting on humans. Charlie had the honor of being my first kill. Please do not burden yourself with concern in regards to his feeling the pain from my venom. I snapped his neck before I nearly drained him dry. It is my dearest wish that you see how worthy I am, my love.
Edward Anthony Masen Cullen
The girls and Stefan were rushing down the hall just as Bella walked into the room behind him. She had stood frozen at the spot, her eyes widened with horror. “Charlie…” she whispered as her hand flew to her mouth.
“Oh my God!” Caroline carelessly uttered as she took in the scene.
Damon had snatched the note from Charlie’s body and balled it up with in his hand, and stuffed it in his pocket before he gingerly approached Bella. He couldn’t find it in his heart to speak as he saw the shattered look of the girl he loved. He stood before her, doing his best to block her view. She remained unresponsive as he embraced her.
It was sudden when she finally started sobbing and gasping for air. Her friends gathered ‘round, offering support. After a few moments, Bella stepped back, “I want to see the note, Damon.”
He shook his head, “Not a good idea, Iz.”
“Give me the note!” she demanded
Damon pursed his lips and closed his eyes, his emotions getting the better of him, “No.”
“No?! It is my father that’s dead! I have a right to see the damn note! Now, hand it over!”
He was just as stubborn as she was and the two locked stares; either one refusing to back down.
“Damon,” Stefan softly spoke, “She has a right to see it.” He was then met with the icy glare of his older brother.
Bella had used the slight distraction to snatch the note out of Damon’s pocket. She un-balled the paper and took a step back as she read each word until her back hit the wall. It was then she dropped the note and slid to the floor, “It’s all my fault…”
Damon squatted in front of her, “No! It’s Edward’s fault and I swear… right here, right now… he will pay.” He had meant every word he said, too. He had every intention of ripping the twat apart, piece by little piece until he was nothing but kindling for a fire.
“I can’t take any more…I-I can’t! Silas…The Travelers…Katherine…C-Charlie!!” I can’t-” She shook her head, “Damon!! Make it stop, please…make it stop!!” She became hysterical and started sobbing uncontrollably.
“I can’t…” he murmured. “I’m sorry… I wish I could, baby. I wish I could.” His own heart had nearly broke at the sight and he didn’t know what to do. When Elena had lost Jeremy, he had her flip the switch. That little plan didn’t work out too well, so he wasn’t about to suggest it for Bella.
He held her hand and brushed her hair out of her face. Her friends then inched closer, “We are here for you.” Bonnie spoke.
“Is there a spell that can bring him back?” she asked between sobs.
The young witch shook her head. “The witches won’t allow it. There would be too many consequences.” She bowed her head mournfully, “Charlie wouldn’t want me to use magic to bring him back. I am so sorry.” The witch then tearfully blurted, “I lost my dad, too. Elena and Jeremy lost their parents. We’ll get you through this.”
Damon nodded in agreement while Bella remained quiet. She wiped her tears away and licked her lips, shaking her head minutely as she looked around the room. “Give me room.” she said and stood up as everyone gave her the space she requested. She eyed each person in the room, “I can’t do this.” she spoke in a low voice. “I can’t.”
Before anyone could catch on to exactly what she meant, her posture straightened, her tears dried up and her face was an emotionless mask.
“Bella! NO!” Elena shouted after she realized what had happened.
Damon went to grab her, but she quickly blurred out the window. “Damn it” he uttered.
He quickly blurred out the window, grateful no one was around that he had to compel and took off, looking for her. It was hours later when he found her behind a grocery store, feeding on a bag boy. Damon grimaced at the sight, snatched the teen from her, then compelled the kid to forget and sent him on his way.
He approached her as she simply stared at him, “That was not smart, not smart at all. What if he had run through the streets screaming about vampires, huh?”
She shrugged, “I don’t care.”
“Turn it back on!” he ordered. She remained despondent, even when he placed his hands upon her shoulders. “Iz, please for me, flip the switch back on.”
She blinked, “No.”
He sighed heavily as his eyes bored into hers, “I love you and I know that you love me. Don’t throw that away because of what happened. You’re stronger than this. Switching it off is the easy way out, and in the end your emotions will only be worse because you’re just putting them on pause. Believe me, I know…”
He then cupped her face, “Flip the switch back on. I can’t live in the darkness without my light. I need my light to guide me.”
She blinked again and just blankly peered at him.
He bit his lip and shook his head. A million thoughts had gone through his head at the time, trying to think of the one thing that would tug on her feelings and trigger that switch. His thoughts had boiled down to their future, their eternity together, his love for her and he blurted out, “Marry me.”
If she had her emotions on, she would have either called him crazy and laughed at him, or broke down and cried. Instead, he got the emotionless Isabella that just pushed him away and run into the night. He was left heartbroken as he sat on the ground against the brick wall of the building.
He didn’t know how long he sat there. He was drowning in rejection and sorrow. He had no idea what to do. For once in his life he didn’t have a game plan.
“Brother.” Rang out into the night. Damon looked to see Stefan standing there before him, his hands dug into his pockets. “You didn’t find her?”
He eyed his brother briefly before scoffing, “Oh, I found her alright! I even asked her to marry me!”
Stefan crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows, “Did you, now?”
Damon quizzically looked at his brother, “Why are you not surprised? It shocked the hell out of me!”
“One, you love the girl. Two, she is everything you have ever wanted. Three, it’s a typical Damon move to do something crazy and unexpected. Marriage is something Bella is not too keen on, so you’d use it to provoke her.” At his brother’s wide eyed gaze, Stefan chuckled. “You want to marry her, don’t you?”
“My dear little brother, that is not up for discussion.”
“Of course not.”
Damon got up, shooting daggers with his eyes. “Well obviously she doesn’t love me enough if it didn’t make her turn it all on.” Stefan then sighed heavily in response.
“Now is not a time to be selfish. It’s not about you! It’s about Bella! You need to go get your girl and for once in your life, fight. Fight to bring her back, fight for the love that you two share. Fight to bring Edward Cullen to his knees… I am with you all the way. We may have had our fair share of disagreements, we may have fought, but it was always you that helped me when I needed it the most. Let me help you. Not just for me or for you, but for Bella as well.”
“Don’t tell me you’re starting to get the feels for my girl.” Damon teased.
Stefan cocked his head and smiled wanly. “Truthfully? Perhaps if we had never met Elena, then we’d be at each other’s throats right about now.”
Damon snorted, “Iz would have never gone for you…” He eyed his brother as he smirked, “She’d had enough of broody assholes by the time she showed up around here.”
“So, your good looks, your charm, your unflinching ability to listen to Taylor Swift won her over?” Stefan mocked in an attempt to lighten the moment. Those words were spoken by the very vampire who stood before him years ago.
“Good quote…Did you write that down in one of your journals?” he replied with his usual dose of snark.
Damon smirked as he remembered the conversation. True to his word, Stefan had his back. He was the one who had rallied everyone together, made sure that they all united in one goal… to find Bella and bring her home. Then, they’d get her to somehow flip the switch back on.