Chapter 6 – A penny for…
Bonnie let the voices of her friends wash over her unheard as they once again pleaded with Caroline to change things, only this time she didn’t jump in. It took her a moment to see it but she wasn’t the only one who held their tongue. In fact neither Matt or Alaric said anything either, they both seemed to be as lost in thought as she was. How could the others be pleading for Damon’s life after everything he’d said? How could they ask Caroline to forgive him after everything he’d just admitted to doing to her? Were they all really that selfish? Was she? She knew that a lot of the time they were all so focused on Elena and making sure that she was okay that a lot of other things tended to fall through the cracks, to be forgotten or even purposefully pushed aside, but for the first time since this whole supernatural mess started she began to wonder if that was really a good thing to do. She had thought that it was, she’d thought that putting everything on the line for a friend was what you were supposed to do when everything hit the fan, but now she wondered if ensuring the safety of one friend at the expense of another was what she’d been doing this whole time.
Yes, she loved Elena and wanted her to have a good life, especially now after losing so much, but where did that leave Caroline in the grand scheme of things? From everything she’d heard so far, it left her out on her ass, used and abused by them all more often than not. What kind of friend did that make her? A good one or a self absorbed bitch. She’d thought they had all been on the same side of things, and if someone had asked her before this little game to name her friends she would have numbered Caroline high on the list, but was she really. Just saying someone was your friend wasn’t nearly enough, you had to act the part as well, and she hadn’t been doing that since the Salvatores came to town, if not before even then. From the sound of things Caroline was their friend, but they weren’t really her friend, none of them were. She made a new vow to herself then in there, if she survived this game of the originals she would change that, she would start to be there for Caroline more, she would finally be the friend she deserved. Then again, why wait for tomorrow what you could begin today.
“Everyone shut up and leave Caroline alone!”
Matt was stunned by everything he’d learned so far, he’d always been so focused on himself and what the supernatural had done to his life he hadn’t really noticed anything else. He’d been so focused on surviving the hell that his life had become that he’d become one of those people that he always hated in the past. Someone who when faced with the choice of what to do turned a blind eye and did nothing at all, just because it was the easier path. The path of least resistance had never been his style, at least it hadn’t been until vampires stopped being myths to him. He supposed he’d always known that this single minded drive to save Elena was wrong, even bordering on obsessive. He didn’t know about everyone else but for him it had always been more about what saving her would symbolize than anything else. Not that he didn’t want to save her, or that he didn’t think that she deserved the life they were all trying desperately to give her, it was more like that wasn’t the only reason for his involvement in all these schemes.
He’d had a lot of time to think about things since this game began and what he now understood was that for him, and more than likely for some if not all of the others as well, it was less about actually saving Elena from her fate and more about proving that they could save her. Saving Elena from the Originals proved that the supernatural could be overcome, that even though they were bigger and stronger they could still be beaten. For that reason, he’d poured all of his energy into doing the impossible, and he’d hurt one of his closest friends along the way. What kind of friend did that make him? He was jerked out of his thoughts at the sound of Bonnie’s voice echoing off the walls, demanding that everyone back off. Just another example of his single minded selfishness, why hadn’t he thought to help Caroline now any more than he’d thought to help her all the times before? Why wasn’t he a better friend to the one person who’d always been there for him, the one person who he now knew would always forgive him?
No! He was done being that person, he would be better, for Caroline and for himself. The old Matt Donovan was dead and gone, he would be someone worth her forgiveness from now on. He would be a good man and stop being such an apathetic one.
Alaric listened with half an ear while everyone around him droned on about things they couldn’t change. He wasn’t really paying attention his focus was more on watching Caroline. Now that he looked for it, he saw how she never really hid her emotions, it was all there in her eyes for the world to see. What he saw now, broke his heart, she looked so resigned. Like she’d known all along that when it came down to it everyone would side with Damon her abuser over her. It wasn’t until Bonnie began to stand up for her that her normal light seemed to fill her eyes. Was that what they’d done to her? Had they made it so that even the smallest crumb of friendship, of help, made her so happy. Did she expect so little of them? Did they really do so little for her?
Yes. After listening to answer after answer over the hours he knew that’s exactly what they did. Sometimes they didn’t even do that much for her. How could they have all been so blind? So cruel? At this point he didn’t see how any of them deserved her forgiveness, and he thought she was a saint for granting as much of it as she had. She really was the best of them.
Tyler was completely numb inside by now. The familiar anger that had been his constant companion for most of his life was gone, leaving nothing in its wake. He was going to die, he knew it as well as everyone else did, there was no getting out of it this time. No clever plan thought up at the last minute, no calvary, nothing. He supposed he could take comfort in the fact that he wouldn’t be going alone, he knew at least Damon would be coming with him for that particular ride, and after what he’d confessed it was more than likely that Damon would have it worse than he would. He listened for a moment while everyone plead for Damon’s life as they’d plead for his own, even though he knew it would be useless. They were all asking for the wrong thing after all. They kept begging Caroline to change her mind, but that wasn’t what needed to be changed, it wasn’t her mind that wouldn’t forgive what they’d done. It was her heart. He knew from experience that changing what was in your heart, was a lot harder than it sounded.
Once an emotion was in your heart, no matter what it was, it was there to stay. The darker emotions more so than any others. Anger, pain, bitterness, regret, etc. They stuck with you, and no matter how much your head told you to let it go, and to leave it all behind you, your heart would hold on just that little bit harder. He understood now, he hadn’t at first until the anger had subsided but he got it now, Caroline was just as compelled as the rest of them. Pleading for their lives, and saying they were forgiven, it wasn’t so much that she didn’t want to do it, though on some level that might be true too, it was that she couldn’t do it. Because that would be a lie and right now she couldn’t lie to Klaus anymore than they could.
Stefan didn’t know what to think anymore than he knew what to do. What he did know was that after Damon’s little confession Klaus was going to rip him apart. His brother was probably going to die soon, and die horribly, and he didn’t know how to feel about it. On the one hand Damon was his brother and he loved him more than anything for over a century. On the other hand after everything he’d just confessed to doing to his best friend, not to mention all the other things he’d done over the years that hadn’t been done to Caroline, he wasn’t sure anymore if he didn’t deserve whatever Klaus was going to do to him.
Yes, his brothers emotions had been resurfacing more and more of late, his humanity was coming back because of Elena, but was that enough. Did wanting his brother to live make him a bad friend to Caroline? Did wanting him to die for what he’d done make him a bad brother to Damon? Was there even a right answer here?
Damon wanted to tell Elena to stop trying to save him, wanted to tell her that he wasn’t worth it, but the words just wouldn’t come. He had known from the beginning that he was done for, ever since the rules of the game had been explained. She had known it too, he knew that much as well, Elena never had any blinders on when it came to his past behavior. She’d known what he’d done to blondie, and she’d known that it was next to impossible that he would be forgiven, but she wouldn’t be Elena if she didn’t at least try to save him. He would have that at least, when the end came for him, he would have the memory of the girl of his dreams trying so hard to keep him safe, to keep him with her. Screw everything else, that was what mattered to him more than anything.
Elena couldn’t believe it! Bonnie was sticking up for Caroline, she was agreeing with her, she was saying that Damon deserved to die. Alright so, yes what he’d done had been wrong, and no, he hadn’t been sorry like she’d always thought he was. That didn’t mean he deserved to die! It was all in the past now, he’d changed so much, he was becoming a better man. All he needed was a little more time, a second chance, and her friends were acting like that was too much to ask for. Like he didn’t deserve those things when she knew deep down that he did. Caroline had to change her mind, she had to reason with Klaus on their behalf, she had to fix this. It was all her fault anyway, if Klaus hadn’t been so obsessed with her none of this would have ever even happened, this game was all her doing. What kind of friend did that make her? Dragging them all into this. Maybe she should re-evaluate who her friends really were, from the reactions of some of the people here she’d been wrong about who she could really turn to. Her friends, her real friends, wouldn’t do this to her.
Caroline couldn’t believe it! Bonnie was standing up for her, and if the head nodding was anything to go by Matt and Alaric were agreeing with her. They were siding with her over Elena, on purpose. This was one of the best moments she’d had in a long time, and considering that she was tied up in the basement of a psychopathic immortal waiting to be tortured that was saying a lot about her recent history. Maybe her friends did care about her after all, or at least some of them did. She could live with that. She was saved from more of her own thoughts by the sound of the door being opened, what now?
All the vampires were given one blood bag each, while Alaric, Matt, and Bonnie were each provided with a simple turkey sandwich and a bottle of water. At least they hadn’t forgotten that not all of them required blood to survive. As everyone did their best to eat while still chained up, and for most of them, the vampires especially it was a acrobatic feat they were all startled as Damon began to yell and spit out the blood he’d managed to swallow. Through his numerous curses one word was clear, vervaine. The Originals had spiked his blood bag. It was still edible, if uncomfortable, but they knew that he wouldn’t eat it now. Then came the inevitable argument from Elena, that someone give up half their blood bag to Damon so he would have some un-tainted blood in his system as well. That one request set everyone off, for one reason or another.
Klaus listened to them all bicker and argue. Honestly those people could argue about just about anything given the chance. What had surprised him though was the little witch coming to the rescue of his darling girl. It seemed that at least one of them was learning their lesson early. Glancing around the room at his siblings he found them all in good spirits as expected. Listening in to their “private” moments and conversations had to be the best parts of this game so far. They were hilarious! They were all so reactionary, the only thing that would have been more fun, would have been seeing the looks on their faces when things started to stop going their way. When the witch stood up for Caroline over poor pitiful Elena, when Damon got his first mouthful of his evening meal, when his darling girl refused to bow down to their petty demands. All very much against their norm, they should have known it was bound to happen eventually. Things can’t go your way forever after all.
Standing he motioned to his siblings to follow, it was time to finish this. As much fun as the game has been, it was drawing to a close now, and he couldn’t wait to reach the final act.
“Shall we continue on then?”