Chapter 8, Hereafter.
In the morning, however it becomes that from the night she remembers it being, the loud sound of her phone alarm suddenly brings her from sleep. That loud sound of the alarm irritating to as much her ears as her body, she refuses to immediately open her eyes. If maybe that will make the sound stop enough to help her put together how it happened that it suddenly became morning, she'll keep her eyes closed for a little bit longer.
But that stupid sound! It's still blaring.
Clearly, she needs to physically reach out her hand and turn it off herself, because keeping her eyes closed is doing nothing to shut it up. Convincing herself of that, believing that she's on the same side of the bed on which she always sleeps, she begins to reach out her hand, but it doesn't reach the hard surface of the supporting bedstead. It takes extending her whole arm and feeling a whole lot of body on the way, to finally get her phone.
As soon as the phone is in her hand, she opens her eyes and lifts her upper body from the bed, to see just what's going on. She manages to switch off the alarm while her eyes study the body that she touched, and just then, everything from the night before comes back to her. That's Damon, of course, how could she have forgotten? He's sleeping on her side of the bed, that guy. And going by the fact that her phone had been on that side of his, he most likely moved her to this side. Feeling aggressive, just because he made her move in her sleep, she lets the phone drop from her hands, to put both of her hands on him.
She vigorously shakes him, calling his name a second time, just to make sure that he doesn't remain asleep. The thing is, she doesn't even remember them falling asleep together. She remembers holding the baby and how he held the baby with her, just assuring her with his presence that he was there for her, but not the sleeping together. She must have fallen asleep before him. Ugh, she'll need to check on the baby, since he's not in the bed with him.
'Damon,' she calls for him again, shaking him harder than ever. 'Wake up!'
She feels confident that she's managed to wake him, so she lets go of him and then climbs out of bed to check on the baby in the crib. Carefully, she walks to the crib and once there, she peers into it, afraid that if she directly looks into the crib, she'll scare the baby awake, and that, she so doesn't need this morning.
He's still asleep. Good. That's good. With him asleep, she'll be able to relax a little bit. She won't have to worry about him being hungry and crying, at least not before she attends class. Lightly, she strokes two fingers across Dean's cheek, just suddenly getting the urge to touch him and… She doesn't know, she just wants him to know that she's seen him this morning, that she's not just going to rush out to school and not see him. There's a little feeling that accompanies that stroke, a saddening feeling, actually, that she finds herself stepping away from the crib without meaning to.
That was strange.
It wasn't deep or even overwhelming, but it was a feeling that appeared all on its own, and she just doesn't need it this morning. To distract herself from the feeling, she looks behind her, hoping to find Damon awake, but also not (because he might have noticed that she suddenly caught a strange feeling), only, he is still flat on his stomach, his naked back very displayed for her to see.
'Damon!' she cries, wishing that she could throw something at him.
Wait, what is she saying? She's a witch. From where she is, she can generate something, preferably a magic something, to toss at his naked bed. Really, he has the nerve to stay asleep when she's woken him more than three times. With a small smile on her face, she points a finger towards his sleeping body, saying the words, 'Dolorem Tricia,' to support her gesture.
A little sound of sparkling breaks through the quiet air, and what follows the brief second of that sound, is the sound of Damon's deep groan of irritation. Stubbornly, he doesn't move from his position, or change it, except for groaning again, this time, her name.
'Wake up,' she says, beginning to walk to the bed.
If she has to turn that man over onto his back with her own hands, she'll do it, just so he's awake and attentive to what she has to say to him.
Raising an arm over his head to cover his ear, he asks, 'Why?'
'I have two early classes.'
The first of the two classes start at seven thirty, and they are back to back, so she needs to go already.
'So?' he wonders, uncovering his head. 'Why wake me?'
Before she answers him, she walks over to the side of the bed where he is, places one of her knees on the bed, while the other leg keeps her balanced on the floor, and bends her body over Damon's stationary body, to get her phone on her side, where she left it. She wants to check the time only, just to confirm how much time she has before class begins.
It's six forty-five. Great, she'll be late.
Why didn't she change her alarm when she came back home? She just forgot that her alarms are only valid for when she's living on campus.
'Great,' she mutters to herself as she drops the phone on the bed again.
She'll have to reset all of her alarms and reminders, to fit into her life of living at home. She'll have to find time later on in the day to do that. She begins to unplant her hands from the bed, but a hand takes hold of her arm, keeping her in place.
'Why did you wake me, Bonnie?'
'Who else is going to look after the kids, Damon?' she asks, struggling to look at him probably from her position. 'I can't take them to school. Your mom is probably following me, and I don't want her to see them.'
She doesn't want anyone to see those kids, actually, but it's too early, and she will be really late if she starts talking to Damon about such things.
'And let me go,' she tries to budge her arm free. 'I'm late.'
'I won't let you go, you shocked me.'
She's about to answer that he deserved it for not waking up the first time that her hands were on him, but he moves fast, somehow disabling her completely, that she finds herself on her back on the bed, with Damon's body keeping her pasted on the bed.
'Get off, I'm late.'
She's not exactly irritated with him, but she is a little bit. Not really the irritated that makes her want to kick him out of her life, just the light and momentary one that makes her want to scratch him a little bit. It's weird that she feels that.
Producing a fake smile, he says, 'Say please.'
'I'll just shock you again. How about that?'
That gets him off of her, and she quickly gets off her back and climbs out of the bed. The time to be playing games and jokes with Damon, is what she doesn't have. Her classes are important, and she can't miss them. She looks back at him, and he plops back onto her bed, spreading himself comfortably as he looks at her.
'So, you want me to stay with the kids?' he asks.
'No,' she smiles a fake smile. 'I want you to cook them for breakfast.'
He returns the fake smile, saying, 'Vampire, Bon, not cannibal. Huge difference.'
'Get out of my bed,' she tells him, 'and make sure they don't do anything. Don't let them use their magic.'
Because he has a habit of that one time telling Mia that she can use her magic, like it's a responsible thing to tell a kid. If there's anyone not better than allowing kids to do what they want to do, it's Damon Salvatore.
'Bon, if they have magic, why can't they use it?'
He's seriously asking her that? She'll tell him why.
'Because it's not responsible,' she retorts with arms crossed.
'Because it's not responsible,' he mimics, pulling a mocking face to match.
Uncrossing her arms, but only to show Damon the way with her hands, she cries and impatient, 'Get out of my bed, Damon!'
Not giving her a response, he only looks at her. It's the way that he's looking at her, though. The fact that he even straightens himself to lean on the headboard, just watching her, that makes her feel more irritated with him. He really doesn't know when to take things seriously. And now he's forming a smile on his face, a small one, but a smile still. Why would he do that?
'Get out of my bed!' she tells him for the last time, because she won't tell him again.
Turning her back, she thinks that she anyway doesn't have time to tell him to leave her bed again. She's already wasted too much time bickering with him, and she's so going to be late if she doesn't hurry. All the time that she's got, is to wash her face, brush her teeth and then put on the first set of clothes that she can find in her closet. After that, she'll quickly have to check on the other kids, just to make sure that they're still there, and then rush, actually, drive like she's a race car contestant, all the way to school to make it for her class.
The speed with which she flies from her second class, is mostly caused by the run in that she had with Lily the last time. Nothing like that should happen today, that's why she takes off in the direction of her dorm room, not even exchanging small words with her classmates after the class. She's sorry to them, but meeting Lily is not on her list of things to do today. In the same speed that she rushes to her dorm, she opens the door, almost like there's someone chasing her. As soon as she closes the door behind her, she leans her back against it, to breathe out her relief.
That's Elena's voice, and it makes her straighten herself and put on a smile. She doesn't not feel like smiling, but there's a part of her that's not feeling up to smiling. Everything just seems to be a little bit out of place for her today, and she just doesn't understand why. She focuses on Elena on her bed with books spread out all around her.
'Hey,' Elena waves, returning the offered smile. 'Where were you last night?'
'I slept at home.'
Walking deeper into their shared room, she sees that Caroline is still sleeping. Lucky her, she must not have morning classes, when she's usually the one to have all the morning classes.
'Doesn't she have class?' Bonnie wonders, still looking at Caroline.
'I do,' Caroline also replies for herself, albeit groggily.
It's just like Caroline to have one part of her awake, while the other is catching up on sleep, Bonnie thinks with a genuine smile. It feels good to know that some things don't change so easily.
'Come,' Caroline beckons with a weak and sleepy hand, flapping all over the air.
Feeling that she can't refuse, not that she wants to, Bonnie walks over to Caroline's bed, automatically climbing into it to sit with her knees drawn up. Her friend snuggles into her, as if she's been waiting for the chance all morning. It feels nice, though.
'Where'd you sleep last night?'
'At home,' she answers, looking at Elena with a puzzled face. 'I just told Elena, didn't you hear me?'
'I heard you,' Caroline confirms, 'but that doesn't mean that I believe you.'
'Why would I lie about where I slept?'
'I don't know. You've been too secretive since you came back. I feel like there's some guy that you're not telling us about.'
A guy, no. Other things, namely kids, yes. More than they can imagine.
'There's no guy, I promise.'
'Okay,' Caroline accepts. 'But I will find out, you know. You know I will.'
'Bonnie would have told us if there was a guy, right, Bonnie?' Elena defends her.
'Maybe,' she teases.
Being with her friends is a good relief, she realises. It's this type of escape that's just light. She can make jokes and not feel any pressure to be strictly serious. It's different when she's with Damon. She can be joke with him as well, but he's so loose that she has to be serious most of the time with him. It's like she her work is keeping him in proper check, more than she has to do with anyone else.
'I can't believe you'd do that,' Elena throws a pillow at her.
'I wouldn't,' she assures her friends. 'But… I am going to be living at home for a while.'
Caroline being close to her, Bonnie feels her reaction first. She wouldn't not be able to feel a body peeling off hers anyway. She only makes space to freely and openly look at Caroline, who's now seated upright, complete with a serious expression on her face.
'What?' Caroline asks. 'Why?'
At this point, Elena comes from her own bed, to sit in the middle of the bed, as close to them as she can get without actually touching either of them.
'What happened, Bonnie?'
'I just want to live at home for a while, I guess.'
'Alone?' Caroline asks with concern.
She remains silent, choosing not to answer, because saying that she will definitely not be alone at home, will make Caroline question her more.
'Do you want us to stay with you?' Caroline presses. 'I mean, Elena practically lives with Damon most nights, and I'm out with Nora, so we could stay with you. We're not here most of the time anyway.'
'It's okay,' she refuses the offer. 'I'm fine. And besides, it won't be for like ever. I'll be back.'
Eventually. She hopes.
'Are you sure?' Elena presses.
'I'm sure,' she answers, looking from one friend to the other, hoping to make them see that she's going to be okay.
They don't need to know that she has absolutely no idea what she's doing, so attempting to assure them that she'll be fine, is the alternative.
'Are you sure, sure?'
It's Caroline questioning this time, and she has no problems with replying that, 'Yeah,' she's sure, even if it's not all the way honest.
'Okay. Just let us know if you need anything.'
When she gets to her front door, her mind is no less calmer than it was when she left through that same door earlier this morning. Then, she'd been consumed with the fear that she'd be late for her class, and that someone would notice that she didn't shower – you know, guilt mentality; thinking that everyone somehow knows your secret if they look a second longer at you. The earlier morning had just been a mess, but after attending class and having a few laughs with her friends, she would have thought that being back here, would find her calmer.
It doesn't find her calmer, and she's not all that sure that she will be any calmer once she's actually inside the house. It's inside that house, where she has to make actual decisions. From the little decisions and changes like changing her alarms, to actual real life ones like moving back home full time. Oh gosh, at the end of the day, she'll have to go back to the dorm and pack her things… This is real life, and she's living it without a plan in place.
She'll need to put a routine in place, for everyone involved.
She can't repeat what she did this morning, rushing out without knowing what will happen to the kids.
Who knows, the next morning, Damon might not be there. Caroline said it perfectly, Elena lives with him half of the time, so...
Oh, someone help her find and keep the strength to keep herself together and deal with her situation.
Taking in a small breath, readying herself to sort this thing out, she opens the door and steps inside the house. There's no noise meeting her at the door, and she almost believes that everything is fine. She likes that the front door doesn't have an immediate view to the living room, that it's first concealed by a little blockage that one has to pass through, because it gives her a little moment of peace before she is to look into the faces of the kids, to decide about their future.
Slowly, she walks along the small corridor, around past the blockage leading to the living room, savouring in the fact that she even has a minute's worth of preparation time. Only, it's when she comes to the end of her walk, that she instantly hates how long she had to wait before seeing the dire mess in front of her eyes right now. Had it not been for the long entrance space between the door and the actual living room, she would've walked into this disturbing mess much sooner.
'What's going on?'
She heard the shocked words come out of her mouth, but she doesn't think that she consciously made them come out of her. She couldn't possibly have made them come out of her mouth, because the picture before her eyes is very, very clear. There's no way that her eyes are deceiving her, to the point where it feels like her heart is frozen along with her body, unable to move.
There's just no way.
There's no way that Damon with his arms outstretched, continuously reaching for the twins, who are clearly moving away from him with every reach, is unreal. Her mind can't make up something like that. It's also not unreal, the way that Mia's just there, doing… Well, something, it seems; with the way her hands are swiftly waving around, while looking towards the floating twins. And not to forget Flora. Even though she's just standing there, doing nothing, she can't be a made up image either. Just like the actual mess of scattered things all around the living room.
Oh yes, she sees everything clearly, she even believes that it's not made up by her worried mind, but um, just what is going on?
'Damon,' she calls his name, in case he thought that she hadn't been speaking to him the first time. 'What's going on?'
Right now, all that she knows, is that for sure, she can't say that she's never seen floating toddlers before. And that shouldn't even be a thing that she should have been able to witness. She needs answers, and she needs them this instant.
'Damon!' she cries a little louder this time.
Damon, apparently hearing her name, does this motion with his body that allows him to turn his head back to where she is, while still keeping his arms reaching for the twins. It would be impressive on another day, actually, because it's not just him turning his head to look at her, he actually does move his body, but in an elegant way that still allows him to have control of the situation. That image breaks apart when he sees her, and then seeming to come to terms with the gravity of the image, like someone caught in the act, hastily drops his arms, as if to prove that he hadn't been doing what he was seen doing.
'Hey, Bon,' he cheerily greets, insincerely so.
'What's going on?' she asks for the third time.
Most of her visual attention is fixed on the toddlers floating in the air, seeing as he just let his arms down like it was nothing to leave them floating. Maybe it is nothing, and they're only playing a game, hence her asking one more time what's going on.
'Nothing,' he shakes his head.
He's really denying the evidence present in the room? Okay.
'Oh,' she sighs in fake relief. 'Here I thought that Ethan and Nice were floating, and you couldn't get them down, but luckily it's just nothing.'
'He gave them some blood,' Flora suddenly says, pointing a finger at him. 'I bet he forgot that he's not supposed to give them blood. He forgot everything.'
She's still unable to move, for some reason, except for averting her eyes here and there. Her eyes shift from the toddlers, to Flora, who looks upset in a way, accusatory in her stance, to be honest, and then she finally looks at Damon. Damon, who gave toddlers blood apparently.
'You gave them blood, Damon?'
Confirmation, that's what she wants from him. She doesn't want to hear excuses, and she definitely does not want to hear any denial. Is he serious? He gave toddlers blood?
'What was I supposed to do?' he asks, while making a questioning gesture as well shrugging. 'They asked to have some blood.'
Ha. That confirmation didn't create the relief that she thought it would. In fact, now she's just beginning to boil. She means, forget that he was reckless and having blood in front of kids, but the giving them blood!
'Damon! They're toddlers!' she shouts at him.
'They're vampires, Bonnie!' he heatedly returns.
'They're clearly not vampire enough to handle blood. Just look at them, they're drunk!'
'They're not drunk!' he defends.
'Mom, he's right,' Mia joins in, continuing to say, 'they're not drunk. They're just high. A little bit.'
High. A little bit. Wow. The difference between that and being drunk is so very assuring, she must say. At that one, she actually smiles, because wow, what's drunk when her supposed toddlers are high, a little bit?
She went through two very long morning classes, without showering, might she add, she hasn't had food yet, and this is what she comes home? Especially after she told Damon to not allow them to do anything? What did he think she meant by that by saying to look after them?
'Okay,' she shrugs, pulling in a deep breath.
This is not her problem, she tells herself. This is Damon's problem, so he has to fix this.
'What do you mean, okay?' Damon asks her.
Weirdly, she feels feeling come back to her body, and the ice that had been keeping her in place, melting away, leaving her to feel other things that are far different from shock.
'I'm sorry, Damon, what do you want me to say? Congrats on getting the kids high? You think you did something good? That I should praise you for it?'
'I want you to do something,' he cries. 'Like get them down.'
'You get them down!' she shoots back, upset that he would expect her to clean up after him.
If he's so good at disobeying what she tells him not to do, then he should be prepared to clean up after himself.
'Don't you think that I've been trying?'
'He can't do it, Mom,' Mia cuts in again. 'Only you can. You know how to calm them down.'
'You see, Mia, they both forgot everything,' Flora adds her cries to the already noisy mess in the living room. 'Mom doesn't even know what to do.'
Why is everyone making this her responsibility? No, no, no. They can't do this to her! Telling her that only she can get the twins down? This isn't her problem.
'I didn't get them drunk,' she tries to shake off the responsibility that they are pushing onto her. 'No, I'm sorry, I meant to say high. I didn't get them high, so I shouldn't have to solve this. Damon you better find a way to get them down.'
Following that, to avoid anything else being thrown her way, she runs off to her room. To calm down, she just needs to calm down.
What in the world did she just walk into? And another thing, how in the world is she supposed to get toddlers down from their high? Sure, she's dabbled in bringing people back from the dead, and casting dangerous spells, but getting toddlers down from a high? What? Where does she even begin? There can't be a spell anywhere in the books of the world for that.
Getting to her room, she forcefully shuts the door behind her, going to plant herself on the bed. Instantly, she starts thinking about what to do and how to do it, but nothing comes up. All she can think of, is that Damon gave toddlers blood, and now they all don't know what to do. Grams told her once, that when she was younger, she would cry for wine, so she would be allowed two sips twice a year, but she never got high or drunk.
To begin with, what? Where? How?
To bring them back from a high, she'd have to somehow reverse the effects of the amplifying agent in blood, and then extract it? Maybe? Will she have to make the kids bleed? To have them to some kind of twisted detoxification, maybe? What's even to so say that they aren't high from the reckless combination of immature magic and the controlled magical properties in vampire blood? Just great! What spell is there to know for sure? Who would know it? She doesn't know someone who would know such a thing. Mia obviously doesn't know it either, or else she would have done it.
She knows, she can just try to make them sleep, right?
Ugh. Is she even a witch? She can't do anything right with her magic already and obviously, she's going to have to step up her magical skill if she's going to host kids in her house. For all she knows, the next day might find them bathing in fire, completely unharmed, and the day after that, she may find them spilling juice on her done-last-minute-assignments-
Oh gosh! That's a serious hazard, she'll definitely have to find a spell for that one. She can't not know how to siphon juice from her hard copy assignments, she just can't. But that's for later. For now, she needs to find anything as close to an anti-high spell as she's able.
That's her name. And that's a knock on her door. She should probably answer both calls, but she chooses that closing her eyes is the better option.
'I'm coming in,' Damon announces, forcing her to open her eyes and keep them on the door.
As it opens, she looks the other, not willing to see the face of the very person who's got her in a mess like this. First, he got a version of herself pregnant, four times, and now he can't even keep his kids disciplined. Two are floating, one is hurt and accusing them of forgetting a life that they never lived, one is a baby, and the last one is – well, Mia is helpful, so she doesn't count as part of Damon's doing.
'Are they down?' she interrupts him.
'Then what are you doing here?'
'I didn't know,' he says quietly. 'I just… Mia came in too late, and she told me that they're uncontrollable when they have blood. I didn't do it on purpose.'
'They have to get down,' is her response to him.
What he did or didn't know, or do on purpose won't help them get the issue fixed, so she doesn't want to get into that. His concealed apologies can wait.
'They technically aren't even hurting themselves,' he tries. 'Mia said so.'
Oh, yeah, because that makes it so much better.
'They have to get down,' she says instead of what she's really thinking.
'I tried everything.'
'Well, I don't know anything,' she looks at him to tell him. 'I don't know what to do.'
'There has to be something that you can do.'
He's pleading. And great, he's making it worse for her. Doesn't he think that she knows that? They're all looking at her for help, and what, it looks to him like she's not aware of that fact?
'If I could do something, I would have done it already. Don't stress me, Damon,' she concludes with that soft warning.
'I'll call Nora, then,' he offers. 'She might know something. She could help.'
That suggestion of his, doesn't even deserve a verbal answer from her; it's that stressful. If he'd been expecting approval from her, tough luck to him, all he'll get is a fixed stare.
'Okay, fine,' he apparently surrenders. 'My brother. I'll call my brother.'
'I said don't stress me!' she cries, bringing her hands to rub her temples. 'I don't need more people knowing about this.'
He throws his hands up in surrender, saying, 'I'm just trying to help.'
'Just go and make sure that they don't fall,' she makes a suggestion of her own. 'I'll think of something.'
He nods, apparently accepting her way, and then bids her, 'Good luck.'
'Go, Damon,' she replies, and then sighs when he disappears from her sight.
Come on, Bonnie, she internally motivates herself, there has to be a spell that you can use. You better find it somewhere within you.
There'd been a big part of her hoping that when she eventually returned to the living room, she'd find a different picture. It would have made things so much easier for her, not to walk back into the scene that she found when she came from school. The truth is that she still doesn't know what to do, but the best that she can do is try. She walks to where they are, a little bit itching to ask what Mia's actually doing with her hands, but she ignores that itch.
Her plan is to knock them unconscious and then keep them asleep. Unfortunately, she'll have to ask Damon to look after them again, because she has three more classes in an hour and a half. The worst part about the classes, is that they have one or two hours between them, so she'll have to wait on campus for all of them to be over. First, she needs to take care of getting them down, and then she can stress about leaving them with Damon again.
'You have something, right?' Damon asks as he comes to stand beside her.
'You better catch them,' she says without looking at him.
To begin with, she holds out her arms, and then braces her arms, making sure that they are steady enough to do the spell. What she has in mind, is a spell that she's never really tried, let alone on kids, so it might have a terrible effect on them. Also, Damon being a vampire with speed and strength hasn't been able to do anything to them, so they might have unleashed some magic of their own, keeping them from being touched. Her theory is that when they get tired, their protective magic may go down, but waiting for them to wear out could be a bad idea for two reasons. One, who knows when they will decide to get worn out. And two, it could be dangerous to wait for that; what if it depletes them completely?
In short, she has to do this.
But before she does, she makes sure to have them in her view. Confirming that they are, she starts her long incantation that should surround them with her own magic. That's the first step. Encasing them in the confines of her own magic, makes it easier for her to have control over what they are able to do. Her magic surrounding them, is to pin them inside it, and then begin to choke out the properties that make the other magic active. It's one thing to perform such a spell on an unsuspecting adult, especially when they don't have any other shield of magic around them, but to assume that it will work on conscious toddlers who are actively using the magic through their high, is too optimistic.
She can't be too sure.
Anyway, she does it. She forces her magic to choke out the other properties, which is what the second part of the incantation is for. It all has to be precise, she can't take extended breaths between words of the incantation. Nothing physically happens to the situation surrounding the twins; they are still laughing and bouncing around in the air. But, there's this slight strain on what she's doing, that she has to put more mental effort into the whole practice, that's encouraging her that she's doing the right thing.
When she enters into the third part of the incantation, it's with a lot more optimism and determination. She's to quickly use her magic, penetrate through to bodies of the two, and then induce them into inactivity; she has to overwhelm them with tiredness, basically. Giving it her all, a super onslaught is what she performs, and immediately the results show themselves as the twins lose balance and begin to fall.
'Damon!' she frantically cries for him to hurry.
Watching them fall, while she's still focused on keeping her magical field around them, just in case, she's afraid that he might not move fast enough to catch them. They're so small and helplessly falling, that if they hit the floor…
'Gotcha!' he exclaims, catching them both together.
Right in his arms, he catches them and just like that, everything else that had been out of place, falls back into place, flying from all sorts of directions to get back into place. She knows one thing, and that's the fact that that, what happened with everything falling back into place, had definitely not been her magic.
Impressive, that toddlers could do that on a high. But that's for later consideration, for now, she lets her arms down, rushing to Damon.
'Are they fine?' she asks, but he just gives her a scared look.
She can't believe that Damon scared her like that. When all he could've said was, yes, they were fine, he'd instead looked at her like the twins weren't breathing, or at least broke some bones with their fall. Her heart had stopped for a moment, making so afraid to look at what she'd done, but on the other hand, she knew that if she'd done something to harm them, she'd have to look, to reverse it obviously. She'd moved fast to inspect them, to find nothing.
Her relief to find that they were breathing and seemingly unharmed, was so overwhelming that she had to fight the strong urge to cry that she felt, by snatching both of the kids from Damon's arms (with a lot of help from the flare of magic that suddenly lit up inside of her) and taking them to the safety of her bed. There was nothing more than stare at them that she could do, and even staring at them felt tiring to her, so she decided to take a shower instead.
It should have helped her, the shower, at least to calm down and identify what the hell is wrong with her today, but the best that she could manage, was to make the decision that she'll have to miss the remainder of her classes today. As she turns the off the water, preparing to step out of the shower, her hand reaches around the shower curtain to find the towel that should be there. She moves her hand around a bit, searching to making contact with soft fabric, only, it doesn't happen, so she gives up and pulls the curtain back. Without actually looking around, she steps out of the shower with her eyes focused on only where the towel should be.
'I should have listened to you, Bon.'
At the sound of the words, she feels herself pull an expression, probably one of confusion, she thinks, but she still doesn't remove her eyes from looking for a towel in its usual place. Sure, it sounded like Damon in the bathroom with her, probably seeing her naked, but that can't be. Damon's bold and crass when he wants to be, but there's no reason that he'd come into the bathroom while she was inside it.
'It all happened so fast, but I promise to do better from now on.'
Okay, there, Damon again. And it sounded like he's in the bathroom with her. She'll look towards the door, and if she finds him standing there, she'll cry. She'll really just cry. After everything this morning, Damon seeing her naked will be the last load that she can take.
Partly believing that she's hallucinating, she looks, and there's Damon. But not just Damon alone. It's Damon with a towel in his hands, her towel. Hmm. Okay. Damon with her towel. Okay. So, while she promised herself a cry, she realises that she's just too shocked to react.
'I'm sorry, Bonnie,' he says as he walks over to her.
He sounds sad, sorry, even, but she can only wonder if he's sorry for seeing her naked. She doesn't care that he's reached her and is now wrapping the towel around her, because how does that take away what he just saw? She looks at him, shocked, confused, and maybe lost. She doesn't know. Everything that happened today, must be mixing together into one murky state of mind for her. And maybe for him as well.
'Bon, I said I'm sorry,' he tells her, trying to hold her by the shoulders.
His hands don't make it to touching her, because she shrugs away from him, stepping around him too in the next second, before making her way to the door. She properly fastens her towel around her on her way to the door, only to find Damon blocking her exit.
'Bon, come on,' he begs. 'Say something.'
'You just walked in on me in the shower,' she reminds him, not necessarily angry, mostly still in a state of shock.
'I don't care about that,' is his urgent reply. 'You're pissed at me anyway, so what's seeing you naked? If I hadn't come in here, you would've ignored me, and you know it. I know you, Bon. I only care that you know how sorry I am. I'm sorry, okay? I didn't know what else to do. Mia was trying everything, and so was I. I wasn't having fun with it, okay? I just didn't know what else to do. When they fell into my arms, Bon… It scared the hell out of me.'
Well, for the most part, he acted like it was nothing that the twins were floating around. Just like he's acting like it's nothing that he just saw her naked. And now what, he's looking at her, looking for her understanding, her sympathy? No, she's sorry, she doesn't want to sympathise. It's not that she doesn't, she just can't afford to right now, so she's sorry.
'I have class to get to,' she hears herself saying, even though she made the choice to stay home.
Either not accepting what she tells him, or still insisting that she accepts his apology, he holds her arm. It's the kind of hold that's desperate to be succumbed to, and knowing what it will mean to him if she does, she instead ignores it, just standing still there with him, but with her eyes averted from anything to do with him. After a minute, he lets her go, also stepping away from the door. She takes the opportunity to leave, because if she doesn't he'll find another thing to keep her trapped in the bathroom with.
As fast as she can, she puts the bathroom behind her, into her bedroom. It's no better relief in her bedroom, because she has direct vision of the twins sleeping on her bed, and… Just the thought of those kids unconscious… What if they never wake up? They came down so suddenly in a way that she didn't expect them to. They're apparently part vampire, and she's can't be all that worried about their death, but what if she did too much and they die? They're just kids.
She shouldn't think about that now.
There are three other kids that she has to worry about, one of them being a baby, and speaking of that baby, it's been a while, but he's still not awake. She needs to check on him. Going over to his crib, she finds him awake, just not crying. Weird. He's just in there. Isn't he even hungry? Isn't the entire purpose of their existence to eat and sleep? What do they even think about? What is he thinking about, just lying there? His parents? She and Damon? Does he even know them? And-
'How did we make something so little?' she wonders to herself.
'Bonnie, trust me,' a voice suddenly says next to her, 'if I didn't have a girlfriend, knowing that you, at some point become the mother of my five children, I would show you the answer to your question.'
Too fast, she turns to look at him, with her heart beating way too fast. What? Where did that come from? Did he forget that he just saw her naked, to be saying such things to her?
'Don't say things like that,' she says, feeling quite a bit breathless.
'You don't ask clueless questions, like you don't know how little ones come to life.'
Thankfully, he shoves her face with his forefinger, which is miraculously enough to bring them back to level and even ground. They are not fine, at least, she's not okay with him yet, but they've just now crossed a pavement into a wide open road.
'You don't sneak up on me,' she reprimands. 'And that wasn't what I meant. I'm just amazed.'
There's a difference between what she meant and what he interpreted, except, she'll ignore that. Between argue over something silly with Damon and being worried about Ethan and Nice in peace, she'll take being worried in peace.
'Do you think they'll be okay?' she nods towards the sleeping kids.
'Them? Yeah, they're apparently Salvatore witches with Bennett blood. They'll be fine.'
In case he doesn't know, being that doesn't necessary mean that they are invincible. It would be nice if he stopped being proud of that for a moment, to realise that anything can happen to anyone. She'll let him have it, though, because talking to him about it will just make him insist more on it. She knows him, he likes to press harder where he is being pushed away from.
'I hope so,' she nods. 'I just don't know if I was right to do that to them.'
'How was it not right? It worked, didn't it?'
'That's not the point, Damon,' she stresses. 'I realised today that I don't know any magic safe for kids. I'm going to have to live in this house with them, and I have to know so much. Did you see me this morning? I had to rush out for class, and now I have more classes. I can't leave them like this. I don't know what I'm doing. You don't either, so what will we do with them?
'They can go to school too, you know. Flora hasn't stopped asking when they'll go back to school.'
'Don't remind me.' He please shouldn't. 'That's another thing to add to the list. So it's either we tell our friends about them, or we figure out a way to live with them in secret.'
His response is silence, and she can imagine that he's thinking along the same lines of how inconvenient it will be for either of them to do that.
'I already told Elena and Caroline that I'd be living at home,' she's telling him, just so he's aware. 'It's only a matter of time before they show up here unannounced.'
'So, what do you want to do?' he roughly questions, his expression more than irritated. 'Do you want to hold an introduction conference, announcing it all to the whole town?'
Excuse her, what's with the attitude!? She pulls her head back, stunned by his response. He hasn't provided anything helpful so far, so he should not start.
'I said to tell our friends,' she clarifies with an attitude of her own. 'It's not the same thing. Weren't you the one who wanted to call Stefan and Nora?'
'Weren't you the one who said that you didn't want anyone else knowing about them?' he fires back.
'I'm presenting options, not telling you what to do.'
'Okay,' he throws his hands up as if expecting her to give him the wrong answer anyway, 'since you're being so kind as to give me options, give me one where I tell my girlfriend how I have five kids with her best friend?'
How it irritates her that he can only think of Elena at the moment. And using Elena to make her feel bad? How sadistic. Does he think that she hasn't factored Elena into their predicament? Elena will be the hardest part of all of this. Apart from losing her friend, Damon might be given an ultimatum between Elena and the kids… Even if he chooses the kids, he's going to do it miserably and resent her for making him lose Elena after everything.
Just about bringing herself from the point of shouting at him, she levels her tone to say, 'Tell her that we had a different life in 1994. Tell her that we had sex, that we kept having sex. That's where the kids came from. Tell her that I was there, and she wasn't!'
'She didn't have the choice to be there!'
'You think I did?'
When Damon only looks at her, unable to respond to her, she decides that she's had enough, so she goes to the crib, picks up Dean, and then walks to the bed to the toddlers. Once on the bed, she uses a soft spell to shock them, and then waits. To her great relief, after no longer than a minute, they begin to open their eyes.
Ever so softly, she calls for them, 'Nice, Ethan?'
She would have waited for a few more moments to pass, to allow them orientation time, but she'd rather know that they are all right all at once. Expectantly, she looks from one to the other, holding the baby close to her.
'How are you?' she asks both of them.
'I'm hungry, Mommy,' Ethan replies to her.
'I'm hungry, Mommy,' Nice repeats.
'They're hungry,' she softly says to herself.
Now why didn't she think of that possibility? Never mind that anyway, because there goes her class attendance for the day.
TV bribes actually work, she's finding out. Thank goodness they work, because without a TV to bribe the kids with, she doesn't know what she would have done with them, while she attempted to make them something to eat. It was –still is- awkward enough with only ignoring Damon inside the same house, but it would have been worse ignoring him in front of them, and then pretending that she wasn't.
This day is, and has been all types of wrong for her, with the only constant being the little baby in her arms. He's just so the same since the beginning. There's nothing about him that's different from when he first showed up, and unlike everyone else, he doesn't need much to be alive. He doesn't seem to need her supervision, since he apparently only needs to sleep most of time and then be fed here and there.
Producing a little smile of appreciation , she looks right into Dean's unfocused eyes, thinking that if he's not careful, he might just become her favourite person in this house. He'll most likely never use magic that hasn't developed yet. He's not bound to get high on blood. Or constantly accuse her and Damon of not being the parents that they used to be. Or just be too ridiculously a smartie, with an answer for everything. Oh, not forgetting that Dean's not likely to be as infuriating as his dear dad.
And speaking of dear dads, she needs to have to talk to Damon. Since the kids are now eating, she can just return Dean to his stroller, so that she can go to Damon for a talk. She can't go on like this with him. Besides, she has no idea what to do with the kids once they are finished eating. Of the two of them, he's the one bound to have an idea. Gosh, Damon always has ideas. That's one of the things that she equally dislikes about him. Likes, because he's a lifesaver that way, and then dislikes, because no matter how bad she thinks his ideas are, he always manages to make her go along with them.
As she's inside her head, beginning to think of a way to approach, considering how she'd been ignoring him when tried to help her cook, he enters the kitchen, coming to stand next to her. At least she's saved that uncomfortable part of making the first step to apologising to him in a way, as seeking him out, would've been an informal apology of sorts.
'Don't you have class to get to?' he quietly asks.
'I'm not going.'
'I can stay with them, you know,' he offers, looking towards the kids.
Hmpf. Right. That's funny. She's not coming back to something worse than high toddlers. And anyway, she has to be here; they need to talk.
She adjusts Dean in her arms, making sure that she has a better grip on him, in the likely event that her talk with Damon goes bad. It's likely to go the wrong way, because she's going to have to mention Elena, and when she does, he'll get defensive.
'Look, Damon,' she turns to him, 'we need to talk.'
She would have liked that he said that with a little more enthusiasm, and maybe that he turned to face her, but okay, he's allowed to be distant. He has a reason to be, she guesses.
'I can't do this by myself,' she starts, the effect to the words beginning to weigh her down already, that her next words sound more like a declaration of defeat than a statement. 'I don't even want to, Damon.'
'I said, I'm here,' he replies, still not looking at her.
It's not just that he's not looking at her, it's that he seems to be accusing her of not trusting him, or his word. His tone at least sounds like that. She doesn't appreciate that, not when she's not trying to pick a fight with him. Actually, no, it makes her feel defensive, wanting to justify why she'd be entitled to distrust him, if he thinks she does.
'You don't even know what to tell Elena,' she reminds him with just a little bit of venom.
Maybe the poison in her words hurts him so much, that he sharply turns to her, but it's more the irritated look on his face that's difficult to witness. Gosh, Elena's name can't be mentioned at all?
'What does that have to do with anything?' he demands, his tone just low enough not to be heard by the kids.
'How are you going to be here when she finds out about this?' she demands back, clutching Dean a little bit tighter. 'Elena is your air. You wouldn't want to lose her.'
'Okay, first of all,' he lifts a finger, 'I don't need air, so no, she's not. And number two, I sorta, kinda like those kids.'
'Fine,' she says, because she's not going into that with him, just like she's not going to entertain his attempt to make the conversation a joke. 'There's still getting them into school. And working on a schedule for them. There's their grandmother, who is either Lily or Abby, and I'm not comfortable with either of them being around the kids. What parenting skill do we have? I can't even pull a stunt like my mother's and reject the kids. I know how it feels like to be rejected, I'm not doing that to them. There's so much to think about, Damon, and I just can't miss school again.'
'You worry too much, Bonnie,' he says, frowning. 'We can sort it out. We survived 1994. We've got this.'
The way that he says that so normally makes her take a look at the eating kids, and wonder aloud, 'Do we?'
Yeah, they look to be normal eating there and talking, but until when? She means-
'There's a whole lot of afternoon left to dinner. What do we do with them in the meantime?'
'That's what you're worried about?' he asks, a little lively laugh audible in his voice.
'Yes,' she answers, struggling to look away from the kids.
She obviously can't go to class anymore, which means that she'll have to stay inside this house with them. What are they supposed to do first, attempt to work out school for the kids? They'd need to forge documents, and -
'We take them to Disneyland, duh!'
Disneyland, cute. It's a cute joke, really. At least he's managed to make her smile through all the worrying going on in her head. She turns to look at him, ready to smile directly at him for making her smile, only to discover that he doesn't appear to be joking.
Eyebrows lifted, she asks, 'Disneyland?' only ready to hear him finally laugh at the joke.
'Come on, Bon! You know you've always wanted to go.'
First of all, she recognises that he's serious, and the secondly, yes, she did want to go to Disneyland, but that was years ago;
'When I was twelve and under!'
'It's Disneyland,' he pushes. 'Grandmas go to Disneyland.'
It all still seems like a joke to her, but then studying him and adding the determination he's putting into convincing her that Disneyland is the place to go, she's… A little nonplussed. A second ago, she kind of reconciled with the fact that he's serious, but what, he's really, really serious? What, is this a secret adventure that he's always had on his bucket list? Is this something that he thought up just today, or has he been plotting it since the kids showed up yesterday? She needs to be sure.
'You're serious?' she asks.
Instead of giving her an answer, while keeping his eyes straight on her, he lets out a loud, 'Hey, kids, we're going to Disneyland.'
Okay, she can't say that he's joking anymore, because he's clearly not. It's just… Disneyland? How many more things are going to shock her today? And how many more things is she going to allow to shock her today? Hasn't she been shocked enough? It can't be healthy for her to keep being shocked. It would help to do that, if the kids weren't now noisier than ever, partly screaming in ecstasy.
'Damon!' is all she can immediately manage at the moment.
With a shrug, not at all bothered, he asks, 'What?'
Ugh, this Damon. If she wasn't holding the baby, she'd smack his head for what he's done. He's gone and gotten all the kids excited.
'What do you mean, what? We can't take them to Disneyland!'
'Why not?' he wants to know, as if he doesn't know.
'Oh, I don't know,' she sarcastically retorts. 'Remember what you did with the twins today?'
'Pfft, that?' he rolls his eyes. 'You cured them. They're fine.'
Infuriatingly, he really doesn't see why they can't take the kids to Disneyland. The point that he's supposed to get, is that everyone's nerves got on high today, and rewarding such behaviour with a fun trip, is not a good idea. She's no expert, but she feels like there has to be a calming sort of environment that follows a stressful situation.
'You're not taking this whole thing seriously,' she remarks as though tired.
And he's really not. He's acting like the responsibility of five children is all fun and jokes. She would step away from him, if he didn't move fast enough to grab her around the back and bring his face closer to hers first.
'You think I'm doing all of this for fun?' he asks with urgency. 'What the hell else am I supposed to do? Huh, Bonnie? Make them feel uncomfortable? Those kids went for days without seeing their parents. They had to change homes. Nothing is the same in their lives anymore, so I'm doing what I think I should do. I'm trying to make them feel comfortable being here. That's how seriously I'm taking it.'
To his fierce monologue, she can't say anything as a response. She feels that he's suddenly just too close to her, and not physically. It feels like he reached a hand inside of her heart, and opened a sensitive compartment, that's filled with only uncomfortable things. He's just too close. All this talk about feeling comfortable… She needs him to move back. He's just too close.
'If you don't want to come, then don't,' he says a little too harshly, letting her go, also stepping away from her. 'I've been spending a lot more time with them anyway.'
Mhmpf, that hurts.
So vividly, it hurts, that she has to hold her breath in the hope that it'll stop hurting if she does.
Wow, that hurts. She can't even-
'Fine. Dean's staying with me,' she barely whispers, feeling every bit as unable as the sound that was supposed to let her words.
'You're staying?' he asks, eyes wide like he doesn't recognise her.
You have your way of taking this seriously, so let me have mine. Those words are right there, on her tongue, anxiously dying to be released, but when she opens her mouth again, it's only to tell him, 'Take them to Atlanta, Damon.'
He can go, because come tomorrow morning, she'll be the only one waking up for school, not knowing what to do with the kids, while he relaxes in bed. He might as well go, she might just be able to get something sorted today. Plus, she really doesn't want to be near him right now.
Chapter 9, Is This What Love Means.