To be unaware of one's form is to live a death Ralph Waldo Ellison

After an hour long car ride, the caravan of cars wound down the path to the Gilbert family lake house. The house still looked the same and the midafternoon sun glistened on the surface of the lake while the birds chirped into the still summer air. It was eerily tranquil.

"Stefan, I need you to take her inside and put her into her room. I need to do something." Damon said as soon as the cars stopped in front of the house. His little brother nodded his head and she was transferred to his care. Her body was light, lighter than he remembered and her skin was hot and clammy and slick with sweat. She was burning from the inside out. He watched Damon approach Meredith and tell her about Bonnie's fever. The doctor nodded her head and followed Stefan inside the lake house.

Once everyone was inside the house they watched Damon. Black smoke appeared near his hand and they watched as it solidified into the sword he had when they first appeared out of the bubble. He sliced his hand and allowed the blood to run down the edge and onto the ground. He walked the perimeter of the house and when he reached the beginning spot he murmured again in that strange language that no one could understand. Everyone felt as the ward came up over the house and they watched as he stumbled and fell to his knees. Elena and Alaric raced to him and helped him back inside; half dragging him inside to the couch and yet no one asked him their question.

After ingesting a blood bag, that tasted like ash in his mouth, he silently walked back to where his brother, Caroline, Meredith and Jeremy were crowded around Bonnie's tiny unconscious form. He hurt for her. He had to cut off her wings in order to close the door that their friends stupidly opened.

"She will be fine. I gave her something to cut down the fever and a sedative to sleep. She should be better by tomorrow and I guess we need explanations," Meredith said to Damon on her way out and he nodded to her.

"Thank you," he mumbled as he went to inspect Bonnie.

After his inspection found that she was healing, he decided that no time like the present to rip that band aide off. He reluctantly ventured back towards the living room.

Everyone was still sitting on the couches and the dining room chairs waiting on him with the added bonus of alcohol. He went over to the bottle of Elijah Craig and took a long swig.

"365 years and nothing can replace the taste of good whiskey," he said out loud.

"You may ask me questions now," he said to the group.

"365 years?"

"Where the hell have you been?"

"What happened to Bonnie?"

"One at time please," he said sitting heavily on the couch.

"How about you tell us from the beginning from when Bonnie disappeared in the cemetery," came the calm voice of Alaric.

"Well when Bonnie disappeared into the other side, her and I held hands as the bright light at the end of that tunnel came to take us. I remember it hurt a lot. Something you guys never want to experience. It hurt less to die in that fiery crash than what light did to us. I felt like I was being ripped continuously until there was nothing left but the smallest pieces of me. I don't know how it felt for Bonnie because after all this time she never has told me. Let's just say that I woke up in hell literally. The Dark dimension is a vile and horrible place and is the hell that you guys are picturing. I spent thirty years there till Bonnie came for me…."

"Thirty years," came Enzo's question.

"Yeah one day that passes on Earth is one year in the Dark dimension and the hall of the guardians. Anyway, Bonnie made a deal with the Guardians for me. Their ranks were being decimated and they needed new recruits in the ongoing battle of good versus evil. Bonnie, being the martyr that she is, led an expedition to the Dark Dimension to retrieve me and trust me when I say I was in the worst shape. Her Grams, before the Other side collapsed, made a deal with the Guardians to allow Bonnie to join their ranks but never anticipated that I would tag along to the Hall of the Guardians. She was livid that the Guardians threw me into the Dark Dimension and in her Judgey way convinced them to have mercy but that took her almost 25 years to do and another 5 years to find me in that pit. So, she rescued me and I joined the Guardians as her partner fighting against the invasion of the demons."

"Guardians," asked Jeremy.

"Yeah you would call them angels but most of the time they are self-righteous dicks. By the way little brother, Lexi is a guardian as well. And before you ask, I am not an angel, I was sent to the Dark Dimension as punishment for what I did here on Earth and believe me that place has a way of burning the sinner out of you," he smirked.

"So Bonnie is an angel," asked Caroline.

"Yes and no. She is now a fallen angel technically. I had to cut off her wings when you guys pulled us out of the Dark Dimension. When you guys did whatever it was that you did, you opened a door into the Dark Dimension, which means that the demons and the souls that allied with them were able to pass through to Earth. When we got to Earth you guys trapped her in a human body that did not belong to her anymore and it was like shoving a round peg in a square hole so that is why she collapsed in so much pain. So it was either leave for the Hall of the Guardians and leave the door open and allow a great number of the host of hell to descend upon earth or sacrifice Bonnie's life in order to close the door. And you can guess the answer to the question, what would Bonnie have me do. However, the clever girl that she is, she showed me how to cut off her wings without her dying. I drew on your life forces in order to keep her alive but I also trapped her in that human body again," he said into the silence of the house.

"I don't understand, it is against the laws of nature for vampire to be a witch," Liv said.

"There are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt up in your witchy philosophy; so arrogant. But if you must know it's only because I am a guardian, and don't worry about your precious balance or your bullshit rules."

"What the fuck are you talking about," Luke said as he rose up from his seat.

"Well, warlock, your ancestors did a very human thing. Some bright spot in the guardians decided to give humans magic in order to assist them with the demons. Let's just say that was a very bad idea and humans, being the OCD monkeys that they are, used that power for their own benefit and thus we have all the different sects of magic users and supernatural beings on earth. The balance that you witches preach about is nothing but a way to atone for the misuse of magic and forgetting your duty to the Guardians. And sit down before you hurt yourself," he finished eyeing the warlock with distaste.

"Now, thank you for your help guys but I seem to remember that I asked that you guys stop trying to find us," he said looking around.

"You promised me you would come back, Damon," Elena said sniffling. He looked at her for the first time and saw that even though she had not changed, the sadness had eaten away at her.

"I am sorry for that, Elena. I should have never promised something I couldn't keep," he said stiffly as she approached and hugged him. He felt horrible for lack of a better word. She had only been a year into her mourning and she didn't even mourn properly because she still had hope and that hope had paid off. He had mourned her years ago and put to rest his love for her. The conversation that was waiting to happen was going to get very bloody and very angry.

Finally they broke apart, and he moved away from her.

"So how exactly did you open the door to the Dark Dimension," he asked the room in general.

"Well, the Egyptian Book of the Dead gave us the spell for the door. We figured that since the Other Side had been in existence for only 2000 years there must have been something else to predate that. So Meredith and I figured our best shot would be a civilization that predates Greece and therefore we got Egypt or China. I figured that if we were focusing on death, then we would have to focus on Anubis and anything magic related. It was a long shot but we found it there in the Egyptian museum of Antiquities. Klaus and his minions were able to get the book since we are doing the favor of protecting his daughter," came Alaric's explanation.

"Wait time out… Klaus has a daughter, how does that even happen," Damon asked in disbelief.

"Well son let me tell you about the birds and the bees…," Alaric's voice trailed off at the sound of Damon's laughter.

"Us vampire's do like to practice procreation but it doesn't ever take root," he said to the room.

"Yeah well, she is Klaus and Haylay's little girl but she is being hunted by the witches. It didn't take long for the witches to find out that the baby was here in Mystic Falls. Rebekah heard that the barrier was anti witch magic and she figured that it would be the safest place for her. So long story short, April and Matt are raising her while Rebekah's lurks in the Mikaelson mansion. We exchange our protection of Hope for any help Klaus can provide in the search for you," Alaric finished.

"I guess you guys have been busy. If all the witches are gunning for a baby why are these two helping you out?"

"Well, Luke felt bad that he stopped Liv before you were able to get out and there was the minor problem of their coven shunning them for helping in the first place and for the failure of the barrier being erected in the first place," came Enzo's voice from the kitchen.

"So they know that if anything happens to the child. Klaus would be down here to kill any and every witch in existence. Can't say that I blame him," said Damon.

After a few seconds, Jeremy asked, "so about these Demons."

"Well Little Gilbert, Demons are not the souls of the damned. Think less biblical and more Lovecraftian in terms of their appearance and purpose. They are inter-dimensional beings that travel from dimension to dimension sucking the life out of them until there is nothing for them to feed on. Calling them demons is easier than calling them soul sucking inter-dimensional parasites. Besides its cooler calling myself a demon hunting vampire than a Guardian of truth, justice and blah blah blah," he finished with a slight smirk.

"So if there are angels and demons, what about God," asked Matt for the first time.

"First, I haven't met him, so I can't really tell you. Second, angels are not the messengers of God, they are souls, for lack of a better term, that were able to manifest themselves so clearly that they were able to harness and manipulate the energy of the universe. Some of these first angels took it upon themselves to create order out of the chaos in this universe and created the hall of the Guardians i.e. heaven, and discovered the Dark dimension, i.e. hell. Bonnie has a better answer for you Donovan. Someone gives me my orders and I go kill some demons. By the way Stefan, your doppelganger, Silas is one of those souls that allied with the demons along with Katherine."

After a few moments, "You know that doesn't surprise me much, she would do anything to survive but Silas. No wait he likes power too much, figures he would ally himself with them," came Stefan's voice.

"Those two were the ones, Bonnie and I were tracking in the Dark Dimension for the last couple of years. We had just tried to ambush them when we got sucked down onto this plane. So since, they saw us go through the door they probably followed which means we will be dealing with them sooner rather than later."

In that moment, everybody tensed to spring into action.

"Relax, we can't do anything without Bonnie anyway, she is the one they will want since they could probably feel that the door is closed. She has the ability to go through and unlock the doors but I don't know now since, I cut off her wings. Besides that protection spell I put up can't be traversed by demons and if Katherine and Silas are here both of them are travelers now and I have no problem dealing with the likes of them. So what else have I missed," he said looking over the crowd. He saw as certain people orbited each other and noted that two people in particular couldn't help it. He smirked at the knowledge.

"How can you remain so calm Damon, when we just got you back and now you tell us that there are enemies ready to knock on our doorstep," asked Elena.

He turned to her and said, "I have spent 300 or so years now fighting these things and I learned losing my head over things I can't control will just create more problems for me and Bonnie."

"Ok wait now you really are a pod person, Damon because I have never heard something like that come out your mouth," his little brother said.

"And Vampire Barbie has been rubbing up against you too much because you are starting to sound like her," he smiled with a hint of mischief in his eyes.

"And there you are," his little brother laughed.

"So tell me I am a glutton for gossip, because I will tell you that Heaven is boring," Damon said.

"Only you would consider Heaven boring," Alaric said ruefully.

"Of course I would, buddy. How has unpersonhood been treating you," Damon asked.

"Well can't say that I am complaining, being an original does have its perks and looking for you kept me busy for the past year," Alaric concluded and watched Damon's head nod in acknowledgement.

"So who has been taking care of my stuff since I have been gone?"

"Jeremy has taken over the boarding house along with Liv and Luke. And April and Matt have been caring for Hope inside the town perimeter," answered Stefan.

"Vampire Barbie, how is your…"

That was when the wailing started; so harsh, piercing, tinny and scraping inside of their heads.

A/N: Well guys let me know what you think. I hope you like. Damon is a little OOC here and I recognize that but he is also older and Damon isn't so set in his ways to not change especially since his visit to Dark Dimension. Reviews are golden.