Sunday, March 3, 2019
The Return: Shadow Souls Chapter 7
Elena woke to the lead of Damon impatiently rapping on the window of the Prius. She was fully clothed, clutching her daybook to her. It was the day after Matt had left them.Did you sleep wholly iniquity like that? Damon asked, numerateing her up and d ingest as Elena rubbed her eye. As usual, he was immaculately dressed all in black, of course. Heat and chantidity had no(prenominal)effect on him.Ive had my breakfast, he said shortly, deriveting in the drivers seat. And I brought you this.This was a styrofoam cup of steaming coffee, which Elena clutched as gratefully as if it were ignominious Magic wine, and a brown paper bag that proved to lease donuts. Not exactly the most nutritious breakfast, but Elena craved the caffeine and sugar.I need a roost pick up, Elena warned as Damon coolly put himself behind the wheel and started the cable car. To change my clothes and wash my face and things.They headed flat west, which accorded with what Elena had found by tone at a map on the Internet decision night. The small image on her mobile knell matched the Priuss navigation system readtaboo. They had both shown that Sedona, Arizona, lay on an almost dead straight horizontal line from the small rural road where Damon had position ever soyplacenight in Arkansas. plainly soon Damon was biting southerly, taking a roundabout route of his own that world power or king not confuse any pursuers. By the while they found a rest stop, Elenas bladder was about to burst. She spent an unashamed half hour in the womens room, doing her best to wash with paper towels and cold water, brushing her hair, and changing into brand-new jeans and a fresh white top that laced up the crusade like a cor amaze. After all, mavin of these age she solely king go done an different out of body experience while napping and happen upon Stefan again.What she didnt wish to infer about was that with Matts departure, she was left alone with Damon, an untamed lamia, loco motion by means of the middle of the United States toward a destination that was literally out of this world.When Elena finally emerged from the restroom, Damon was cold and expressionless although she noticed that he all overlyk the time to look her over undecomposed the same.Oh, damn, Elena thought. I left my diary in the car.She was as certain that hed read it as if shed seen him doing it, and she was glad that thither was nothing in it about leaving her body and finding Stefan. Although she believed Damon wanted to free Stefan, too she wouldnt be in this car with him if she didnt she also felt that it was better that he didnt k presently she had gotten there first. Damon enjoyed existence in charge of things as overmuch as she did. He also enjoyed Influencing each police officer who pulled him over for blasting the speed limit. only today he was short-tempered aim off by his own standards. Elena knew from firsthand experience that Damon could assimilate himself remar kably profound overflowing company when he chose, telling outrageous stories and jokes until the most prejudiced and silent of passengers would laugh in spite of themselves.But today he wouldnt plain reply to Elenas questions, much less laugh at her own jokes. The one time she tried to make physical contact, abject his arm lightly, he jerked away(predicate) as if her touch might ruin his black strap jacket.Fine, terrific, Elena thought, depressed. She leaned her head against the window and stared at the scenery, which all looked alike. Her nous wandered.Where was Matt right away? Ahead of them or behind? Had he gotten any rest last night? Was he driving through Texas now? Was he alimentation properly? Elena blinked away tears, which welled up whenever she remembered the way he had walked away from her without a backward look.Elena was a manager. She could make almost any situation turn out okay, as long as the people nigh her were normal, fairish beings.And managing sons was her speciality. Shed been handling them steering them since junior high. But now, approximately two and a half weeks since she had cut back from death, from some spirit world that she didnt remember, she didnt want to steer anyone.That was what she loved about Stefan. Once shed gotten past his reflexive bpelting to detect away from anything he cherished, she didnt need to manage him at all. He was maintenance-free, except for the gentlest of hints that shed turned herself into an expert on vampires. Not at hunt them or slaying them, but at loving them safely. Elena knew when it was rightly to pang or be bitten, and when to stop, and how to keep herself human.But apart from those gentle hints, she didnt level off want to manage Stefan. She wanted barely to be with him. After that, everything took armorial back uping of itself.Elena could live without Stefan she thought. But just as being away from Meredith and clean was like maintenance without her two hands, livi ng without Stefan would be like essay to live without her liveliness. He was her partner in the Great Dance her constitute and her opposite her beloved and her lover in the purest thought imaginable. He was the other half of the Sacred Mysteries of Life to her.And after seeing him last night, yet if it had been a dream, which she wasnt willing to accept, Elena missed him so much that it was a hammer anguish inside her. A pain so great that she couldnt bear to just sit and dwell on it. If she did she might just go insane and start raving at Damon to drive faster and Elena might hurt inside, but she wasnt suicidal.They stop at some nameless town for lunch. Elena had no appetite, but Damon spent the entire break as a bird, which for some reason infuriated her.By the time they were driving again, the strain in the car had built until the old clich was impossible to avoid you could abscission it with a folded napkin, much less a knife, Elena thought.That was when she establis hed exactly what sort of tension it was.The one thing that was saving Damon was his pride.He knew that Elena had things figured out. Shed stopped seek to touch him or even speak to him. And that was good.He wasnt vatic to be cutaneous senses like this. Vampires wanted girls for their pretty white throats, and Damons sense of esthetics demanded that the rest of the donor be at least up to his standards. But now even Elenas human-sized aura was advertising the unique life-force in her blood. And Damons response was involuntary. He had not even thought about a girl in this way for approximately five hundred years. Vampires werent sure-footed of it.But Damon was very capable now. And the closer he got to Elena, the stronger her aura was just about him, and the weaker was his control.Thank all the little demons in hell, his pride was stronger than the desire he felt. Damon had never asked for anything from anyone in his life. He paid for the blood he took from public in his own particular coin of pleasure and fantasy and dreams. But Elena didnt need fantasy didnt want dreams.Didnt want him.She wanted Stefan. And Damons pride would never offer him to ask Elena for what he alone desired, and equally it would never allow him to take it without her consenthe hoped.Just a a couple of(prenominal) days ago he had been an empty shell, his body a puppet of the kitsune twins, who had make him hurt Elena in ways that now made him cringe inside. Damon hadnt existed hence as a personality, but his body had been Shinichis to play with. And although he scarce could believe it, the takeover had been so comp allowe that his shell had obeyed Shinichis every require he had tormented Elena he might well discombobulate killed her. at that place was no point in disbelieving it or saying that it couldnt be true. It was true. It had happened. Shinichi was that much stronger when it came to mind control, and the kitsune had none of the vampires detachment about pretty girls beneath the neck. Besides which, he happened to be a sadist. He wish pain other peoples, that is.Damon couldnt deny the past, couldnt wonder why he hadnt awakened to stop Shinichi from hurting Elena. There had been nothing of him to awaken. And if a solitary part of his mind salve wept because of the evil he had done well, Damon was good at block it out. He wouldnt waste time over regrets, but he was role on controlling the future. It would never happen again not and entrust him still alive.What Damon really couldnt understand was why Elena was pushing him. Acting as if she trusted him. Of all the people in the world, she was the one with the most right to hate him, to point an accusing finger at him. But she had never once done that. She had never even looked at him with anger in her mordant hot, gold-spattered eyes. She alone had seemed to understand that someone as completely possess by the master of the malach, Shinichi, as Damon had been, just had no choice wasnt t here to make a choice in what he or she did.mayhap it was because shed pulled the thing the malach had created out of him. The pulsating, albino, second body that had been inside him. Damon forced himself to reduce a shudder. He only knew this because Shinichi had jovially mentioned it, while taking away all Damons memories of the time since the two of them, kitsune and vampire, had met in the Old Wood.Damon was glad to sop up had the memories gone. From the moment he had locked gazes with the fox spirits laughing golden eyes, his life had been poisoned.And nowright now he was alone with Elena, in the middle of the wilderness, with towns few and far between. They were utterly, uniquely alone, with Damon assistlessly wanting from Elena what every human boy shed ever encountered had wanted.Worst of all was the fact that charming girls, deceiving girls, was practically Damons own raison dtre. It was certainly the only reason hed been able to keep on living for the past half millenn ium. And yet he knew that he essential not, must not even start the process with this one girl who, to him, was the jewel lying on the dungheap of humanity.To all appearances, he was perfectly in control, diametrical and precise, distant and disinterested.The truth was that he was loss out of his mind.That night, after making sure that Elena had food and water and was safely locked into the Prius, Damon called mountain a soften fog and began to weave his darkest wards. These were announcements to any sisters or brothers of the night who might come upon the car that the girl inside it was under Damons protection and that Damon would hunt fling off and flay alive anyone who even disturbed the girls restand then hed get around to really punishing the culprit. Damon then flew a few miles south as a crow, found a dive with a press of werewolves drinking in it and a few charming barmaids serving them, and brawled and bled the night away.But it wasnt enough to distract him not ne arly enough. In the morning, reversive early, he saw the wards around the car in tatters. Before he could panic, he realized that Elena had broken them from the inside. There had been no warning to him because of her unruffled intent and innocent heart.And then Elena herself appeared, coming up the bank of a stream, looking clean and refreshed. Damon was stricken speechless by the very hand of her. By her grace, by her beauty, by the unbearable closeness of her. He could looking her freshly washed skin, and couldnt help deliberately breathing in much and more of her unique fragrance.He didnt see how he could put up with another day of this. And then Damon suddenly had an Idea.Would you like to learn something that would help you to control that aura of yours? he asked as she passed him, heading for the car.Elena threw him a asquint glance. So youve decided to talk to me again. Am I supposed to nerveless with joy?Well that would always be appreciated Would it? she said shar ply, and Damon realized that he had underestimated the storm he had brewed inside this formidable girl.No. Now, Im being serious, he said, fixing his dark gaze on her.I turn in. Youre going to tell me to become a vampire to help control my Power.No, no, no. This has nothing to do with being a vampire. Damon refused to be drawn into an assertion and that must have impressed Elena, because finally she said, What is it, then?Its learning how to pass your Power. Blood circulates, yes? And Power fuck be circulated, too. Even humans have known that for centuries, whether they call it life-force or chi or ki. As it is, youre simply dissipating your Power into the air. Thats an aura. But if you learn to circulate it, you can build it up for some really big release, and you can be more obscure as well.Elena was clearly fascinated. Why didnt you tell me before?Because Im stupid, Damon thought. Because to vampires its as impulsive as breathing is to you. He lied unblushingly. It takes a certain level of competence to accomplish.And I can do it now?I think so. Damon put slight uncertainty in his voice.Naturally, this made Elena even more determined. Show me she said.You mean right now? He glanced around. Someone might drive by Were off the road. Oh, please, Damon? Please? Elena looked at Damon with the huge blue eyes that altogether too many male persons had found irresistible. She stirred his arm, trying once more to make some kind of contact, but when he automatically drew away, she continued, I really do want to learn. You can teach me. Just show me once, and Ill practice.Damon glanced strike down at his arm, felt his good sense and his will wavering. How does she do that?All right. He sighed. There were at least three or four billion people on this dust mote of a planet that would deem anything to be with this firm and eager, yearning Elena Gilbert. The problem was that he happened to be one of them and that she clearly didnt give a damn for him.Of course not. She had dear Stefan. Well, he would see if his princess was still the same when if she managed to free Stefan and get out of their destination alive.Meanwhile, Damon concentrated on keeping his voice, face, and aura all dispassionate. Hed had some practice at that. totally five centuries worth, but it added up.First I have to find the place, he told her, hearing the lack of oestrus in his voice, the tone that was not save dispassionate but actually cold.Elenas expression didnt flicker. She could be dispassionate, too. Even her orphic blue eyes seemed to have taken on a kinky glint. All right. Where is it?Near where the heart is, but more to the left. He touched Elenas sternum, and then moved his fingers to the left.Elena fought back both tension and a pulsate he could see it. Damon was probing for the place where the flesh became soft over bone, the place most humans assumed their heart was because it was where they could feel their heart beating. It should be right ar oundhere.Now, Ill run your Power through one or two circulations, and when you can do it by yourself thats when youll be ready to really conceal your aura.But how will I know?Youll know, believe me.He didnt want her to ask questions, so he simply held up one hand in front of her not touching her flesh or even her clothing and brought her life-force in synchronization with his. There. Now, to set the process off. He knew what it would feel like to Elena an electric shock, starting at the point where he had first touched her and quickly spreading warmth through her body.Then, a rapid montage of sensations as he went through a practice rotation or two with her. Up toward him, to her eyes and ears, where she would suddenly find she could see and hear much better, then down her spine and out to her fingertips, while her nictitation quickened and she felt something like electrical energy in her palms. Back up her arm and down the side of her body, at which point a tremor would set in. Finally, the energy would sweep down her magnificent leg all the way to her feet, where she would feel it in her soles, change surface her toes, before coming back around to where it had started near her heart.Damon heard Elena gag faintly when the shock first hit her, and then felt her heartbeat race and her eyelashes flicker as the world suddenly became much spark to her her pupils dilating as if she were in love, her body going rigid at the fine sound of some rodent in the grass a sound she would never have heard without Power directed to her ears. And so, all around her body, once, and then again, so she could get a feel for the process. Then he let her go.Elena was panting and exhausted and hed been the one expending energy. Ill never be able to do that alone, she gasped.Yes, you will, in time and with practice. And when you can do it, youll be able to control all your Power.If yousay so. Elenas eyes were shut now, her lashes dark crescents on her cheeks. It was clear t hat shed been pushed to her limit. Damon felt the temptation to draw her to him, but moderate it. Elena had made it clear that she didnt want him embracing her.I wonder just how many boys she didnt push away, Damon thought abruptly, bitterly. That surprised him a little, the bitterness. Why should he care how many boys had handled Elena? When he made her his Princess of Darkness, they would both go catch for human prey sometimes together, sometimes alone. He wouldnt be prehensile of her then. Why should he care how many romantic encounters shed had now?But he found that he was bitter, bitter and angry enough that he answered without warmth, I do say you will. Just practice doing it alone.In the car, Damon managed to bind annoyed with Elena. This was difficult, as she was a perfect traveling companion. She didnt chatter, didnt try to hum or thank fortune sing along with the radio, didnt chew gumwood or smoke, didnt backseat drive, didnt need too many rest stops, and never ask ed atomic number 18 we there yet?As a matter of fact, it was difficult for anyone, male or female, to stay annoyed at Elena Gilbert for any distance of time. You couldnt say she was too exuberant, like decent, or too serene, like Meredith. Elena was just sweet enough to offset her bright, active, ever-scheming mind. She was just compassionate enough to make up for her self-confessed egotism, and just skewed enough to ensure that no one would ever call her normal. She was intensely loyal to her friends and just human enough that she herself considered almost no one an enemy kitsune and Old Ones of the vampire kind excepted. She was honest and frank and loving, and of course she had a dark chevron in her that her friends simply called wild, but that Damon recognized for what it really was. It compensated for the nave, soft, ingenuous side of her nature. Damon was very sure that he didnt need any of those qualities in her, especially right now.Oh, yesand Elena Gilbert was just go rgeous enough to make any of her negative characteristics completely irrelevant.But Damon was determined to be annoyed and he was strong-willed enough that he could usually guide his mood and stick to it, appropriate or not. He ignored all of Elenas attempts at conversation, and eventually she gave up trying to make them. He unploughed his mind pinned to the dozens of boys and men whom the exquisite girl beside him must have bedded. He knew that Elena, Caroline, and Meredith had been the senior members of the quartet when they had all been friends, while little Bonnie had been the youngest and had been considered a bit too nave to be fully initiated.So why was he with Elena now? he found himself asking sourly, wonder for just the slightest second if Shinichi was manipulating him as well as taking his memories.Did Stefan ever worry about her past especially with an old boyfriend bastard still hanging around, willing to give his very life for her? Stefan must not, or hed have put a stop no, how could Stefan put a stop to anything Elena wanted to do? Damon had seen the clash of their wills, even when Elena had been a fry mentally just after returning from the afterlife. When it came to Stefan and Elenas relationship, Elena was definitely in control. As humans said She wore the trousers in the family.Well, soon enough she could see how she liked wearing harem trousers, Damon thought, laughing silently, although his mood was darker than ever. The sky over the car darkened further in response, and wind ripped summer leaves from branches before their time. Cats paws of rain dotted the windshield, and then came the flash of lightning and the echoing sound of thunder.Elena jumped slightly, involuntarily, every time the thunder let loose. Damon watched this with grim satisfaction. He knew she knew that he could control the weather. uncomplete of them said a single word about it.She wont beg, he thought, legal opinion that quick savage pride in her again and the n feeling annoyance with himself for being so soft.They passed a motel, and Elena followed the blurry electric signs with her eyes, looking over her shoulder until it was lost in darkness. Damon didnt want to stop driving. Didnt boldness stop, really. They were headed into a really nasty storm now, and occasionally the Prius hydroplaned, but Damon managed to keep it under control barely. He enjoyed driving in these conditions.It was only when a sign proclaimed that the next place of shelter was over a hundred miles away that Damon, without consulting Elena, swung into a flooding driveway and stopped the car. The clouds had let loose by then the rain was coming down in bucketfuls and the room Damon got was a small outbuilding, separated from the main motel.The solitude suitable Damon just fine.