World On Fire
Chapter Five: World On Fire
He’s been watching her closely ever since it happened and he’s getting a kick out it. This isn’t his first time, and he’s broken down the newborn experience into five stages: Nausea, Wonder, Fear, Anger, and Acceptance (or Partying, depending on the vampire). Caroline’s trotting through all five stages at the usual rate, but he’s a little concerned about Stage Four-Anger. Caroline’s stubborn by nature and he can’t compel that annoying quality away anymore. The first three stages don’t last long; they can go anywhere from an hour to a day, but that’s the maximum. Stage Four is tricky and usually the least fun of all five stages. He’s seen some newborns spend the first decade of their unlives in Stage Four-and it can be such a buzzkill.
Stage One: Nausea, commences right after Caroline finishes her latest bout of snivelling. Honestly, what is it with girls and crying? They look completely unattractive while doing it and any guy with half a brain will take off running at the first sign of tears. He would be the same way, if he couldn’t just magic away the tears. Stefan says manipulating people’s emotions is immoral and a sign of psychosis. Damon agrees-that’s why he does it.
But after Caroline finally stops crying, there’s a few seconds where she contemplates what she’s done. Her eyes go wide, she looks at Stefan in desperation (that oh please let this be a bad dream
kind of desperation), and then she tries to vomit. Only her body won’t let her. It’s an amusing five to ten minutes while Caroline dry heaves and Stefan holds her up. Of course, Caroline is stubborn and repeatedly tries to get the blood to leave her stomach.
“Nothing doing, sweetheart,” Damon says finally, rolling his eyes at the angry look she gives him. “Your body’s too smart to let that stuff out. Just give it a second, relax, and you’ll find you feel loads
“Stop it,” Stefan sounds eerily calm and that just about makes Damon’s night. Calm Stefan in the face of so much shit equals an Insanely Unhappy Stefan. His brother gives him a heated glare and Damon just smirks. Stefan turns back to the quivering blonde mess that hasn’t taken her eyes off Logan Fell’s body. There’s one part horror, one part hunger, and the rest is just revulsion. Newbies are so cute.
“Caroline, we have to move,” Stefan explains gently, a hand grazing the girl’s elbow. Damon rolls his eyes at his brother’s handling of Caroline. The girl’s in shock, he understands, but she’s a vampire
now. Stefan can grab her arm and throw her a few feet into a large tree, but it’s not going to faze her. She’s not fragile anymore.
“There are probably others,” Stefan continues, moving his hand from her elbow to her back, rubbing soothing circles against her spine. Stefan’s free hand comes up and brushes hair out of Caroline’s eyes before dropping to her chin and turning her head so they can lock gazes. Damon’s a little annoyed by this; Stefan’s being awfully over familiar with Damon’s property.
“You know, I’m not sure Elena would appreciate you rubbing your grubby hands all over one of her best friends,” Damon comments drily. “And besides, I said I would share. Not that you would get the first taste.”
Stefan speeds over and pushes him backwards a few feet before Caroline can squawk her indignation. Damon digs in his feet and slowly skids to a stop. He raises his head and sees Stefan’s face, black veins starting to erupt underneath his skin as the red slowly filled in the eyes.
“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Damon crows before speeding back at Stefan and pushing him much farther back. Caroline shouts in alarm and tries to run over to where his brother is laying dazed on the forest floor. He intercepts her before she gets there and she shrieks. Again, he rolls his eyes and grabs her by the wrist.
others in the woods tonight, so keep it down,” he chastises her. “Now, let’s all play nice and go home. There we can play extra nice.”
She jerks her hand out of his grasp and then stills. He watches as realization washes over her face and her head tilts slightly to the left. She can hear them, almost as well as he can. There are three, maybe four, men silently running their way. Caroline’s mesmerized by the sounds of their heavy breathing, the soft thumping of their feet against the ground, and the alluring rhythm of their heartbeats. She barely notices when Stefan gets to his feet and tries to tug her along. Her eyes are wide and distant and she stumbles along when Stefan drags her towards the boarding house.
Damon laughs at her. Stage Two never fails to make him laugh.
He’s faster than Stefan (one of the many things he is infinitely better at than his little brother), so he’s waiting for them in the front hall when they make it back. Stefan isn’t the slightest bit surprised to see him there, but his forehead does wrinkle something fierce at the sight of Damon. Caroline’s far too busy looking at everything to notice the tension between the brothers. She glides into the front hall, running her fingers over every surface and looking intently at every object.
Stefan tries to pull her to the parlour room and she starts, looking up and catching his eye. A small smile starts to lift the corners of her mouth and Caroline immediately invades Stefan’s personal space. His little brother holds still, stiffer than a statue while Caroline runs her hands all over him and stares deeply in his eyes. One hand goes up and starts tracing the rise of Stefan’s cheekbones and she gives a delighted little laugh.
Stage Two is called Wonder for a reason.
Damon smirks at his brother’s discomfort. He figures he’s been ignored enough and if Caroline thinks Stefan’s amazing, wait until she gets a load of Damon with her new eyes. He slips behind the blonde, one finger trailing across her back before his hand lifts her hair and pushes it to one side. She gasps and he chuckles, bringing his face close down to the bared side of her neck.
“Damon,” Stefan’s voice is full of warning, but Damon ignores him. He leans down and places a few feather-light kisses along Caroline’s neck. Her entire body shudders and she spins around quickly. He smirks down at her when her eyes meet his. Soon, her hands are up and gliding over him as she had done with Stefan before. Her right hand dips low, skimming over his silk dress shirt and soon her fingers are lightly tapping against his abs. He laughs softly again, his own hand going down and slipping under her cotton shirt.
Stefan grabs his hand before it wanders too far. “You’re not
doing this,” his brother growls, and his voice is no longer low or calm. There’s fury in Stefan’s tone and it matches the fire in his eyes well.
“Like you can stop me,” Damon returns, turning his hand and pushing Stefan hard in the chest. His brother flies backwards, smashing up against the wall, taking out a table and a lamp while he’s at it. Caroline starts and turns to see what happens. Apparently the sight of his brother crumpled on the floor and bleeding slightly from a gash on his voluminous forehead is enough to bring Stage Two to an end. Caroline eeps and tries to run over and help. She doesn’t make it far because Damon’s still got his arms around her and she squeals in anger when he doesn’t let go.
Quick as lightning, she spins on her heel and puts her two hands against his chest. He doesn’t try to stop her, wants to see what she’s got. The strength explodes from inside her and Damon is airborne. When he smashes through the railing and hits the wall hard enough to put cracks in the ceiling, it’s almost as exhilarating as it is painful. He drops to the floor, wincing when he lands awkwardly on two different steps. He takes a look around and sees she’s almost sent him up to the second floor.
He looks back down to the landing and she’s frozen, staring at her hands like she’s never seen them before. “That’s my girl,” he gives his approval as he picks himself up off the stairs. Her head jerks up at the sound of his voice and very slowly, his words filter into her brain. He sees when she realizes what he’s said, realizes all the implications and double meanings there. Her eyes widen again, and this time there’s fear reflected in those pretty blue eyes.
“Come on, Caroline,” he shakes his head at her. “You’re going through the stages too quickly. Sex in Stage Two is un-fucking-believable.”
Her eyes are filling with water and she’s sniffling again. Damon groans and hangs his head. So much for Wonder-sex.
“Leave her alone,” Stefan orders as he picks himself up off the floor and walking over to Caroline. Slowly, Stefan covers her hands with his own and gives her a one-armed embrace. “I think you should rest,” he says, ignoring Damon’s snort completely. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”
“I don’t-“ Caroline stops and shakes her head. Her eyes go back up to where Damon stood waiting. He winks at her and she starts like a frightened horse. Stefan has to switch to a full on hug to settle her down.
“Haven’t I talked to you about touching my things?” Damon asks, no real conviction in his voice. He says it more for the way that Caroline shivers than from any real annoyance. He’s been through the Fear stage and it’s boring as hell. He’ll take over when she’s firmly in Stage Four. It’s not always a fun stage, but it’s when things really heat up. And it’s never boring.
“Well, I’m going to bed,” Damon announces loudly. “Coming, Sweetie?”
Stefan launches the remains of a side table at his head and Damon just barely dodges in time. He straightens and bugs his eyes at his younger brother. “Fine! You can have her for the first night. I just hope Elena doesn’t get jealous or anything.”
He’s up in his room before Stefan can pitch his next hissy fit. He flops down on his bed, hands folded behind his head, and almost sinfully
proud of what he’s done. Seriously, this might be the best diversion he’s ever created. Even now, Stefan’s got his hands full of weeping blonde that won’t let him go. He listens to their conversations, listens to her pleading with him. Apparently she’s spending the night in Stefan’s bed while he keeps watch from a nearby chair. It’s all so noble and chivalrous-and bound to cost Stefan much needed rest.
Honestly, his own genius sometimes astounds him.
He starts texting Elena around one in the morning. He starts with the usual (‘How’s the search going? How are you holding up? Want me to come over’) and then gets down into the nitty-gritty (‘Seriously, they’ve been locked up in there for hours-and the moaning hasn’t once stopped). At three-after he’s sent something like ten or a hundred messages-Elena texts him back, telling him to do something to himself that isn’t quite anatomically possible (and if it is, it should be illegal), and then she presumably turned off her phone.
Morning came with the usual fanfare-birds singing, the sun brightening, and Caroline and Stefan having a loud argument on whether Stefan should go to school.
“She will know that you’re not there!” Caroline screams in frustration. “She will know, find it weird, and come here to check it out. You don’t know my mother like I do. She’s never going to let this go. She’ll come over here and then she’ll find me-She can’t
“I can’t leave you alone with him-Caroline, you don’t understand how unstable he is-“
“I’ll take his instability over my own mother trying to kill me, any damn day
At this point, Caroline dissolves into hysterical tears and Stefan fumbles to placate her. In the end, he agrees to go to school, but not before he gives her a mug of micro-waved squirrel. Stefan even goes so far as to step into Damon’s room, a warning ready on his lips.
“I’ve already killed her,” Damon says before Stefan can speak. “Really, what’s the worse I can do now?”
Stefan glares. “You always find something.”
He has no response to that, though he does feel his smile widening even further. “You should hurry,” he warns his brother. “Otherwise, you’ll be late and that might grab the sheriff’s attention. You know Caroline doesn’t want that-and you shouldn’t be upsetting her at a time like this. Her emotions are running pretty high right now, so why torture the poor girl?”
Stefan’s forehead gets even more furrowed and Damon can’t help but laugh. It takes Stefan a long time, but he does finally depart for school. Caroline has locked herself away in Stefan’s room and though it’s tempting to go over and bash in the door, he thinks it would be better if she came to him.
It takes him only a short while to download ‘Sweet Caroline’ from the Web, and then he’s downstairs, blaring the song out from a very impressive set of speakers. He’s had a hundred or so years to get used to the hypersensitive vampire hearing, but Caroline’s had less than a day. The high volume must be murder on her eardrums and it’s only sheer stubbornness that keeps her from coming down and smashing the sound system to pieces. He pours himself a glass of blood and a glass of scotch, content to eat and drink until she gives it up.
When she does finally show her face, he’s half-way to drunk and burning for a good distraction. He waits patiently with his back turned to her, not even flinching when she smashes the speakers into bits. It’s an impressive display and he can hear her practically snarling by the end of it.
“How’d you sleep, sweetie?” he asks without turning around. He can feel her indignation at the nickname he has gives her, and it makes him want to jab at the wound even harder.
“I remember,” she finally says after a lengthy silence. He grins briefly before schooling his face into an innocent look. Innocent always looks a bit bizarre on him, but it’s fitting for the situation as it’s likely to drive Caroline bat-shit-crazy.
He turns around to face her, keeping that innocent expression. She’s wearing some frumpy looking sweat pants and an oversized hooded jacket that must belong to Stefan. She’s dishevelled and pale (not that he’s surprised by that
), but it’s her eyes that make him want to crow. Her blue eyes have bled into the vampiric red and black, and the telltale black veins are slowly expanding across her face.
Hello Stage Four.
“So, what is it that you remember?” he asks amicably, bringing another glass of scotch up to his lips.
She growls. She actually growls
. It’s cute.
“I remember everything!” she spits at him. “I remember you using me, manipulating me, erasing my memory-feeding
on me,” she pauses and draws in a breath in an unsuccessful attempt to calm herself.
“Is that so?” Damon tries out his best condescending voice. Her eyes snap upwards and her hands clench into fists at her sides. He watches as she winces, one hand straightening and coming up to press against her mouth. “They only bother you for the first few times,” he tells her sympathetically. “After that, you get used to them. Half the time you won’t even notice they’ve come out.”
“The only reason they’re bothering me now is because of you!” Her anger explodes red and hot. She picks up a nearby lamp and throws it furiously against the wall, shattering the lamp and denting the wall.
He fakes an outraged gasp. “My mother
gave me that lamp!”
She screams at the taunt in his voice and speeds over, hands outstretched and blood on her mind. He bats her away like she’s nothing, and she joins the lamp on the floor.
He turns back to his drink, smirking as he listens to her recover. He picks up the glass of blood and pivots quickly to meet her face-to-face. The sight of the blood has the desired effect; she halts mere inches away, violence forgotten in a wave of gut-wrenching hunger. She wears an almost awed look on her face as she gazes intently at the glass.
He smirks and tilts the glass towards her. “Want some?”
A ragged gasp escapes her as she reaches for the blood with trembling hands. She hesitates, raising fearful eyes to meet his, as if afraid he’ll take it away at the last second. He smiles indulgently and firmly pushes it into her hands. She wastes no more time, bringing the glass to her mouth and gulping down the contents. He watches as she drains the glass, tongue lapping at the insides until she clears it of all traces of blood.
It really turns him on.
“That’s a good vampire,” he murmurs as she lowers the glass, a small sigh falling from her lips. He reaches out, collecting some of the spilled blood around her mouth on his index finger. He brings it to his lips, licking off the blood even as she wipes her mouth with her hands and tongue-anything to get another taste of blood.
“There’s more,” he assures her, taking the empty glass from her and putting it down by the scotch. He moves to stand behind her, hands coming up to caress her face and neck. “There’s lots more,” he whispers into her ear, chuckling softly when she shivers. He drops a kiss onto the side of her neck, right where her pulse point used to be.
She spins around, face like thunder, and then she pounces on him. He laughs because she’s like a rabid animal-biting, snarling, and scratching without a real goal in mind. He wraps his arms around her, trapping her arms against her body. She squeals and starts thrashing around. It’s so adorable-he can’t help the urge to smother her neck with kisses. His affectionate gestures drive her insane, and sometime in between her wild attempts to free herself and cursing him to the bowels of Hell, he bites down on his lower lip and just waits.
Her nostrils flare and her eyes zero in on the few droplets dribbling onto his chin. Vampire blood is not as satisfying as human, but he’s been practically engorging himself since he woke up and there’s enough human there to pique an enraged newborn’s hunger. He drops his hold and watches.
She grabs his face in between her hands and pulls herself up his body so that she’s eyelevel with him. He catches her hips, so gravity doesn’t drag her back down. She falls on his lips in a frenzy, occasionally biting and sucking out blood. His hands move to her legs and he lifts them up to wrap around his waist. He walks them back to the couch, pushing her back and throwing her onto it with quite a bit of force.
She flops onto her back and springs up into a sitting position almost immediately. He grins at her, the soreness in his lips fading even as he speeds over to climb on top of her. Her fangs are still out and she’s still snarling as she grabs at his face. He pushes her so that her back is to the couch and holds her there with a hand on her throat. His other hand goes up to smooth back her hair, and then continues down her face, his fingers tracing the curves of her cheeks tenderly.
“You really are going to be something,” he murmurs, a rush of pride infusing him when she turns her head and bites down on one of his fingers. He watches as she suckles at the blood greedily and imagines all the fun they could have. Katherine might even like her, because Caroline is pretty, blonde, and delicate-the perfect deception for their kind.
She releases his finger, unhappy with the slow blood flow. Within seconds, she’s latched onto his wrist and really, this is some kind of hot.
“That’s my girl.”
She stops, just like the last time he said it, as if the words are a bucket of water. She pulls her teeth out of his wrist and slowly turns her head up to stare at him with wide, horrified eyes. He smiles at her, a parody of gentleness, before moving his hand down to the waistband of her sweats. His