sometimes you have dreams.
Sometimes you have dreams.
That’s one of those things no one ever told you. That vampires have dreams. Really scary ones, too, nightmares that you never could have conceived when you were human. About coughing up blood that isn’t yours, or coffin lids slamming down and clawing and clawing at the wood until your fingernails bleed. Where the pain is real—you can feel it, in a vampire dream. You can feel the pain.
They don’t tell you that if you’re shot in the head, you’ll feel every second of it. You’ll feel the bullet piercing your skin, blowing through your skull and embedding in your brain. And after you pass out from the pain of it all, you’ll wake up and have to pry the bullet from your brain matter before the wound will heal.
There are a lot of things they don’t tell you. But they make it very clear that you’re alone.
Except for the nightmares, you’ve mostly forgotten what happened that night. If you’re a little jumpy when a door slams closed, who’s to know? If you can’t watch when one of your friends picks at their teeth with one of those… evil little sticks, it’s nothing big. It’s not like this is forever.
But sometimes, when you catch yourself running your hands over your face, looking for burn marks that you know aren’t there, you wonder if it might be.
You fall asleep on the Salvatores’ couch one day.
It’s really no big deal—you just had a rough night sleeping and it was a tiring day at school, dodging peoples’ questions when they asked if you’re okay. You’re fine. Really, you are. You’re better than you’ve ever been, and if you have random attacks out of the clear blue where you can’t stop crying and your chest is burning like you can’t get air (except you know that isn’t it, because you don’t need to breathe anymore), it’s just because you’re under a lot of stress.
When you wake up, there’s a face right above yours and for a brief few seconds, you think you’re about to be compelled. But you remember that you can’t because you’re a vampire now, and even if those ice eyes are hypnotic, they can’t force you to do anything. Tension seeps out of your body and you try for a smile.
It doesn’t fit.
“What are you doing on my couch?” he asks as you sit up. You ignore the question and run a hand through your hair, which is mussed from (you assume) sleepily rubbing your face into the cushions. He sits down next to you and you feel yourself tensing again. “Okay, better question: why haven’t you been sleeping?”
“Who said I haven’t been sleeping?” you ask, still refusing to look at him. Now you rub your eyes, hoping it will make the steady pound that is building go away. Another thing they never told you: vampire headaches are ten thousand times worse than you ever imagined a headache could get.
“You wouldn’t be sleeping on my couch if you could sleep anywhere else,” he says. And you snort, because you know he’s right.
You inhale. It feels good to inhale, even if it doesn’t do anything. “I’m fine. It’s just been… stressful. School, you know. Trying to convince Bonnie and Elena and Stefan that I’m not going to fall to pieces at any second.”
“Are you?” His voice is dry, devoid of the emotion the others have about this whole ordeal. It’s oddly comforting, but that doesn’t do you much good. Comforting tends to make you cry.
“I don’t know,” you say, with a shuddery sort of laugh. “Maybe if people would stop asking me, I’d have some time to figure that out. I just… I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore, not unless someone tells me.”
He’s silent, because this is the truth. You notice a clock ticking somewhere nearby. The table in front of you has a heat ring on it and you trace your finger around it several times.
“Sometimes I have dreams that Tyler doesn’t let me out of the cage.”
He doesn’t respond, but you can see him move just the slightest bit out of the corner of your eye.
“I dream that they give me blood to drink, but it’s laced with vervain. Every swallow is like drinking acid and I hack and gag and it doesn’t stop, but I have to drink it or else I’ll die. I dream that they shoot me in the head over and over, and every time it’s worse.”
Damon still says nothing and you swallow.
“He had blow darts. He shot me in the neck with toothpicks. I think some of them had been soaked in vervain, because they burned so bad, even after I pulled them out. I hid from Elena and Bonnie in the bathroom and threw up blood. It wasn’t mine, so that was good, I guess, but it still hurt. It felt like I was dying.”
Now you pull your knees up to your chest. You sit there, with your arms wrapped around your legs, and stare at the heat ring like it’s the only thing keeping you from falling off the edge of everything.
“How can you be dead and feel like you’re dying?” you ask softly. “It doesn’t make sense. None of this makes sense. I should be rotting in a hole in the ground, but I’m still up, still walking. I’m still here, thinking and moving and talking. Why am I still talking? All I ever seem to do is talk, like it’ll fill the silence, like I can listen to my own voice instead of straining my ears to find a heartbeat that isn’t there.”
There are tears in your voice now and you’re starting to lose it and this is the closest you’ve come to speaking the truth since the night it happened.
You finally say it: “Why am I still here? What do I even matter? It’s not like you would’ve been losing anything if you’d just left me there—”
And suddenly he’s on top of you and anything you were thinking of saying is blown away. He’s got your shoulders in his hands and his grip is so tight that it hurts and his eyes are boring into yours, cold and blue and real. They’re the realest things you’ve ever seen and suddenly it’s like you’ve come out of a fog. He’s glaring at you, but it’s almost like an affectionate sort of glare, but it’s an angry sort of glare, too.
“You’re here because I want you to be here, Caroline,” he grinds out. His mouth is set in a firm line and his lips are barely moving. “You matter a lot. Everyone cares about you. Stefan and Elena and Bonnie and Jeremy. They care.”
You don’t have to say it. But you do anyway. “What about you?”
“I…” He stops himself, almost seems to choke. “I care. Whether I want to admit it or not, I’m your sire. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some fleabag werewolf take you away from me.”
He lets go and moves away, and you can feel the tingle of healing bruises on your arms. He spends several minutes standing on the other side of the room with his back to you and you’re sure that he knows you’re staring, but you can’t seem to bring yourself to stop.
You get up on shaky legs, not quite sure what you’re doing, and cross the room to stand beside him. Hesitantly, expecting him to push you away at any moment, you wind your arms around him and lean into his barely-there body heat. You almost give up hope that he’ll respond before he wraps an arm around your shoulders and holds you tight.
You’re nowhere near father and daughter. You’re not exactly sire and child. You’re not even a couple—not at the moment, anyways. But this… whatever this is… this will do, for now.
- Current Mood: gloomy