A/N - Any feedback you have - thoughts, suggestions or constructive criticism in the form of reviews is very welcome and requested please. Chapter 2 won't be up for another week or so, as I'm out of town for a bit, so if you like this enough to want to read more, please be patient and you'll have it on the 29th or 30th I think. Thank you!
*DISCLAIMER* I do NOT own Vampire Diaries or the characters associated with Vampire Diaries. No copyright infringement intended.
What Was Lost
Chapter 1 – Slow Poison
Damon Salvatore came fully awake suddenly, as vampires tend to do. He immediately realized from the intense pain that he was bound, blindfolded and gagged with vervain-soaked ropes and rags. His skin burned where they touched his bare flesh. Which was almost everywhere, as he was only wearing the black drawstring pants he slept in. Thankfully he had built up a bit of vervain tolerance over the last six months from ingesting a small amount on a regular basis, or the pain would be far worse.
He struggled hard to break free but the vervain had already weakened him, the ropes were tied tightly and he found he could barely move. Fuck! Where the hell was he anyway? He knew he was riding in a vehicle - he could feel the bounces and jolts as it drove over rough terrain and he could hear the sound of the engine. No voices, but from the slight sounds of movement he noticed when he concentrated, he could sense two presences. One heartbeat. That meant one human and presumably one vampire.
The vehicle came to an abrupt halt and within seconds Damon heard the sound of the rear doors being flung open and felt cool air rush over him. Rough, strong hands dragged him up and he was flung over a large man's broad shoulders. Damn it - if only he wasn't in such a weakened state right now! He knew his chances for a well-timed opportunity to escape were dwindling if something didn't change in his favour extremely soon.
He was carried for some distance. If he had to guess from the surrounding sounds and the feel of the uneven ground below each step the man took, he'd say he was in the forest somewhere not far from Mystic Falls. The vampire lugging him moved almost completely silently.
Damon was thrown forcefully onto the ground a few minutes later and he heard the sound of wood scraping against stone as something, presumably a door, was pulled open. OK, seriously what was going on? Who were these people, why had they taken him and why weren't they speaking?
A few seconds later he was hoisted up. His lower half was pressed against rough, cold stone and his upper half was suspended over thin air. He heard the echo of something moving below him in what could only be water. The vampire behind him, who was holding onto Damon's restraints with one hand, reached down with the other to pull off his lapis lazuli daylight ring. He groaned. This was really not good.
His captor finally decided to break the silence.
"Nothing personal. You brother ripped away my entire life when he…murdered… my Emma. You're the one he loves most so now I'm taking away his." The voice was deep, harsh and tormented. Each word carried a tinge of sadness.
Damon was abruptly released and he fell ass over teakettle into the well.
When he amazingly landed feet first in the neck-deep water that had been saturating in vervain plants for who knew how many years, he knew he was fucked. Seconds later He began to scream through the gag. Never in his entire long life had he endured such fucking excruciating pain. No matter how much vervain tolerance currently existed in his system, it was no match for this. This was all consuming. It took over all his senses. His flesh felt like it was literally burning right off his bones. His last coherent thought before he lost consciousness was of Elena's face and he wondered if he'd ever see her again.
Damon's head slipped under the water and the screaming stopped.
Stefan Salvatore was lying on his bed planning his departure from Mystic Falls. He really should have left before now. The Originals were all gone from the area, probably from the entire continent actually, and life had gotten back to relatively "normal" around town lately. Well, normal for a town that had vampires, a witch, a hybrid vampire-werewolf and a doppelganger in it, anyway. He knew that no one really expected him to stay, after everything he'd done and everyone he'd hurt along the way, but he hadn't quite been able to bring himself to leave yet.
If only there was a way to convince his brother to go with him. But Stefan knew there was no way in hell that was ever going to happen. Damon was going to stay wherever Elena was, and nothing he could say or do would ever change that. The only reason Stefan was still lingering around the boarding house was because he hadn't quite been able to bring himself to leave his older brother yet. But today - today he had decided for sure. He was going to pack and he was going to tell Damon goodbye and he was going to go.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a cell phone ringing somewhere in the large house. Damon's phone. Stefan frowned. He could tell that Damon wasn't home, so why the hell was his phone here? He got up and followed the sound.
He found the phone on Damon's night table, right where he would have left it last night before sleep. It stopped ringing as he approached. "One Missed Call." Hmm. He quickly scrolled through to see who the call came from. Sheriff Forbes. Interesting. He had assumed it was Elena. She hadn't been over since Stefan had been living back there. He was pretty sure she had no interest in seeing him again, to tell the truth.
Suddenly he heard a knock on the front door. Stefan slipped Damon's phone in his pocket and sped downstairs, but when he wrenched open the door, there was no-one waiting. He squinted into the bright sunlight in every direction, but there was no sign of anyone. As fast as he'd gotten down there, there was no way they would be out of his line of sight already – not unless they were a vampire.
He glanced down and noticed a small box that had been left by the door. Picking it up, he inspected it. "Stefan Salvatore" was scrawled across the top. He brought it inside. As he carried it he could tell something small was rattling around in there. He stopped and ripped the box open.
Stefan froze in surprise. Damon's daylight protection ring sat inside. Underneath it was a small note.
"By the time you read this, your brother will be dead. I trust this ring is proof enough. I hope you suffer for the rest of your existence as you've ensured I will for mine."
In a vain attempt to wake herself up, Elena Gilbert poured a second cup of coffee and wrapped her fingers tightly around the hot mug. She still felt bleary-eyed and unfocused. Strangely, the lack of threats to the lives of herself and her friends over the past few weeks had not improved her ability to get a sound sleep. Her own convoluted thoughts had seen to that. She yawned and tried to decide whether anyone would notice or care if she just went back upstairs to bed.
Just as she concluded that it was too tempting an idea to pass up, she heard the doorbell ring. Elena wrapped her robe tighter around herself and went to look through the peephole. It was Stefan.
She sighed and called sternly through the door, " What do you want, Stefan?"
"Elena, let me in please. I know I'm probably the last person you want to see, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't important."
She sighed again, "What is it this time? Where's Damon?"
Stefan sounded a bit more urgent, "That's what I need to speak with you about. Please let me in, Elena."
Something about his tone started an inkling of fear in the pit of her stomach and she pulled the door open. Stefan pushed past her and walked into the kitchen.
"You'd better sit down."
Now she knew for sure that something was wrong. His face looked stressed and it was obvious that he was barely keeping himself together. Uh oh. Where was Damon, anyway?
Elena slid into the nearest chair, "Out with it, Stefan. What's going on?"
He pulled Damon's daylight ring and the note out of his jacket and handed them both to her.
"I found these on my doorstep this morning. I thought you should know."
Elena read the note over and looked up at him with fear and confusion in her eyes.
She hesitated before she spoke, her words slightly unsteady. "Who sent this? Do you believe it? Why would they want you to suffer?" She feared she might already know the answer to that last question.
Stefan tried to keep his voice stoic, "I have no idea who sent it. I do know that's Damon's ring. As you can see, it's a beautiful sunny morning." He gestured towards the front window. "So…do I believe it? I think it's entirely possible, yes."
He paused for a moment. "Why do they want me to suffer? I'd think that would be obvious, Elena. It's an act of revenge. But Damon is nothing if not self-preserving and he's always been one step ahead of any potential threats in the past. It seems he must have been off his game last night."
Elena gaped at him, "This…is because of you? Because of something you did?" Her voice was rising along with her anger.
"He isn't exactly a saint, Elena, as you are well aware. This could have easily been reversed. Go ahead and yell at me if it makes you feel better, but blaming me for this doesn't change anything."
She glared daggers at him, but was silent. Her thoughts swirled in her head. Thoughts she couldn't share with Stefan. Thoughts about the conversation she'd had with Damon last night which undoubtedly had led to his being distracted later and, as Stefan put it, 'off his game". Thoughts like Damon couldn't possibly be dead, because she hadn't had a chance to explain herself yet.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. He couldn't possibly be dead…could he?