Chapter 6: Some things you can't see until it gets too late
Jeremy discovered nothing but the potential for greatness in Bonnie's grimoire. Her notations about what worked and didn't work with the spells were ingenious. He ignored the irritation that flared at missing this stage of her development by being shipped off to Denver. But in all honesty after risking everything with Anna, would he really have been allowed to be around when Bonnie decided to trust herself to make this move?
A heavy sigh heaved from his chest. Away at Denver, he didn't think about how he'd blown things with Bonnie for some stupid fantasy with Anna. He supposed it was the byproduct of being compelled. At some point, he'd have to get to bottom of that and Elena's duplicity. Now that things seemed headed back on the right track with Bonnie, he decided to dig deep and really question his actions. At least for the few minutes, he'd give her some space. If she thought for one second, he'd let her run out after obviously having a vision she had another thing coming.
As he looked at the images she'd drawn in the margins that went along with the instructions for her spells, he thought back to Vicky and Anna's return to his life. He'd loved both girls, but neither had been any good for him. In the long run, neither had the potential for anything lasting or real. Not like what he had shared with Bonnie. He'd known that even before they were really a couple. Hell, that was why he'd risked his life with Katherine to get the moonstone. He could not allow Bonnie to endanger herself. He just couldn't do it.
Everything had been good between them. A little shaky with him wanting to protect her and she being determined to protect everybody else. Otherwise, they had something right. Bonnie wore responsibility like a shield of armor, but there were times he'd been able to get past that barrier. She had trusted him in a way she hadn't trusted anyone else. Until Anna's ghost appeared. If he didn't know any better, he'd wonder if he had been compelled.
"Punk move, Gilbert," he muttered under his breath as he slid the grimoire back inside Bonnie's bag. Compulsion would have been an easy explanation for cheating, but that wasn't it.
He was the asshole. He was the one who ruined things and broke Bonnie's heart.
Still, he couldn't shake that there was more to it. A ghost versus a real, live beautiful girl who'd never once used or hurt him? No, maybe compulsion wasn't the answer. Jeremy knew there had to be something more to it.
Muffled voices came from the hallway. It was about time! Annoyance burned at the sight of Stefan standing too close to Bonnie. A pretty black woman stood with Elijah. Jeremy couldn't tell if she leaned on Elijah for support or if the ancient vampire had her in an iron grip. Either way, none of that mattered when everyone's attention zeroed in on him.
Everything seemed to happen at once. The woman came toward him. Before Jeremy could say a word, Bonnie blocked his path and did that thing that made Damon fall to his knees.
"Bonnie?" he began.
She closed her hand around his wrist. If he had wanted to break free, he wouldn't have been able to.
"Just be still," Bonnie said.
The woman fell to her knees in pain. A deafening screech pierced his eardrums as her eyes pleaded with Bonnie to stop. Finally, the woman lay in a quivering mass, curling into a fetal position. Her low moans made Jeremy's gut clench.
"This is what you brought me here for?" Bonnie asked, her tone quiet with barely concealed rage. "What is this shit, Elijah? We're leaving."
"You're making assumptions, Bonnie," Elijah said. "You're too smart for that."
"Who is she?" Jeremy asked, mystified by Bonnie's anger and her still unbelievably tight grip.
"Bonnie, please," the woman whispered. "I'm sorry. "I-I'm trying. I don't want to hurt your friend."
"I won't let you hurt him."
The woman moved as if to stand. She didn't make it to her feet. A sharp cry came from her and she doubled over in pain again.
Stefan touched Bonnie's arm. "Bonnie, stop it. She means it. Elijah has been working with her. It was just a slip. He's okay."
"Who is she?" Jeremy persisted.
Silence answered him. He stared at the woman's face and finally understood. Bonnie's spell worked on vampires. The woman was beautiful and her features were familiar. Her face…he'd seen her face before, but it was younger. She was in his mother's photo albums. She was his mother's best friend. She was Bonnie's mother.
She gave him a tight smile. "You were just a little boy, a baby really, the last time I saw you. You liked to knock things down."
"Don't," Bonnie bit out. "Just stop."
"Your mother knows a spell that can help us," Elijah said. "She's here to help, Bonnie."
Jeremy had never heard that depth of bitterness from her before. He placed his free hand at her waist and gently squeezed. "We don't have to stay. You don't owe Elena this."
"What?" he asked, cutting off Stefan. "I love my sister, but she's not the only person involved. Bonnie has—"
"I can speak for myself," she said quietly. "What spell, Abby?"
The young vampire rose to her feet. Jeremy watched as years of disappointment and regret flickered across Abby's face. Bonnie's hold on him loosened, but she didn't let go. Normally, he would have been pissed at her fierce determination to protect him, but after everything they'd be through, he couldn't find it in him. And he liked the touch of her small hand on him. Her soft skin melted against his rougher flesh so perfectly. No way he'd give that sensation up.
"Abby?" Bonnie repeated.
Jeremy almost stumbled as Bonnie stepped back into him.
"The one I originally used on his father," Abby said as she nodded toward Elijah. "I'm unable to do it now for obvious reasons, but you can. I can walk you through it."
Bonnie loosened her hold on Jeremy's wrist just to slip her hand around his. He accepted the switch in silence as she had known he would. How he'd managed to be so still during the rest surprised her. Was it only a few months ago he'd been so eager to face Katherine in her place? Abby's sudden rush toward him sickened Bonnie more than she wanted to admit to herself. Witches weren't supposed to lust for blood. They were called to keep it from being spilled. Seeing her mother—and that's who Abby was whether Bonnie liked it or not—lunge for Jeremy's throat reminded Bonnie of everything she'd already lost in this war to protect her best friend's soul.
"I heard you," she answered her mother. She nodded her chin toward the entertainment room where she and Jeremy had been ordered to wait.
Abby glanced at Elijah who took her arm and led her inside. Stefan followed. Bonnie and Jeremy claimed the rear. One glance into a pair of chocolate brown eyes informed her that Jeremy wasn't nearly as agreeable as she wanted to believe. If they had telepathy, she'd tell him that everything was under control. She didn't trust Elijah any more than he did. In the past, Stefan's presence would have comforted her, but after her mother was turned, she no longer trusted him either. But Abby… Maybe once in her life, Abby wouldn't let Bonnie down.
In the room, no one sat. Abby and Elijah claimed one side while Bonnie and Jeremy took possession of another. Stefan appeared impartial in the middle.
"The spell," Bonnie said. They'd wasted enough games. The sooner Klaus was neutralized, the sooner they could all get on with the business of living. Bonnie was sick of everything tottering on the brink. She craved stability. She needed her vision to be wrong. She wanted Jeremy to kiss her again and not worry if it would be the last.
"It's a desiccation spell," Abby explained, perching on the arm of a leather armchair. "I performed it on Elijah's father years ago."
"I know." Bonnie strode to the sofa and pulled her grimoire from her bag. She sat, facing her mother. "What is it?"
"I can help you do this."
Bonnie shook her head. "No. Just tell me."
Abby sighed. Bonnie watched, hoping her expression remained impassive, as her mother gave Elijah an imploring look. What was going on there? Did the Original have a hold over her or was there something more? God forbid, were they a couple?
Bile rushed to her throat. She swallowed to push it back down, but that only led to an embarrassing coughing fit. His hand rubbed smoothing circles around her back. His breath warmed her cheek as he spoke quietly. "Are you okay?"
Stefan pushed a glass of water into her hand. "Drink."
The vampire's forceful tone warned against arguing. Bonnie swallowed in one gulp. All the while, she was aware of Abby and Elijah. Their closeness. It unnerved her. Sickened her. How could Abby trust him? When she left, was it to Elijah she ran?
Stefan took the empty glass and returned with a refill. Bonnie declined. "I'm okay."
"I'm sorry," Abby said.
"What for?" Bonnie asked, bitterness creeping in. "This time?"
"Being a disappointment."
Jeremy's hand settled at Bonnie's waist and he gave her gentle squeeze. "Let's just get on with it," he said. "What do we need?"
Abby stared at Bonnie. "We need to talk alone."
"No," Jeremy cut in before Bonnie could respond. Tenderness gave way to savagery as his fingers dug into her, pulling her close to his side. "No, Bonnie."
She pried loose of his hold and stood. "It's okay." To Abby, she said, "Let's go."
The mother and daughter headed deep into the surrounding woods. Behind her, Bonnie imagined a fuming Jeremy, a mildly amused Elijah, and a brooding Stefan. Inside, she bristled with untried emotions. For so many years, she'd longed for this woman to return. Grams tried, but Bonnie's loss of her mother cut deep. And then when they finally met face to face again and Abby's inability to recognize her instantly… That cut deepest of all until Abby ran away again this last time.
"We're far enough," Bonnie said. "I doubt if they can hear us from here."
Abby glanced over her shoulder to the sprawling estate a couple of miles in the distance. "You're right. I can't hear Jeremy's heartbeat anymore."
"Shit," Bonnie murmured under her breath.
"I don't like this any more than you do," Abby said.
Bonnie shrugged. Telling her how much she hated that her mother was a vampire seemed hypocritical when it was the only thing that kept her mobile on the planet. If she wasn't a bloodsucker, they couldn't have this conversation—as torturous as it was. Yeah, it was pure hell, but the alternative was far worse. She'd lived the alternative when Grams wouldn't wake up. She did not want to lose anyone else.
"One more thing."
Bonnie waited. God, what else? Please no heart-to-heart, mother-daughter bonding shit. She couldn't. Not right now.
"Thank you for stopping me," Abby said. "I haven't been around humans in awhile. I didn't know he was coming so I wasn't prepared—"
"About the spell."
Abby blinked. "Okay, fine. The spell. It comes from within."
"I don't think you understand," Abby said with a slight frown. "You have a wall up and I get that. Hell, I laid the bricks for it. But I hope you hear me and know that I've been where you are now. I was older and—"
"No," Abby said, "you stop. Kill the attitude and the self-righteousness. I was a shitty mother who abandoned you. I own that. I can't take it back and I can't change it, but even though I haven't been around, I see what's been happening. I see it because I lived it until I left. The only thing I regret about leaving is that I didn't take you with me. I thought with Mikael gone so was the threat. I thought Mama would protect you from all this madness. Leaving you was the biggest mistake of my life."
"Are you done?"
Abby gave her a sad smile. "One day you'll understand. I hope it's before your daughter is the one at a vampire's beck and call."
"I'm not at their beck and call."
Bonnie sighed. "The spell, Abby. Just tell me what to do."
"Its strength doesn't come from nature… It comes from the parts inside yourself that you don't even acknowledge. You'll have to go there and then you'll need to use a human's heart to stop Klaus'," Abby said. "Are you willing to do that?"
In the moment, everything seemed to go still. Her vision of a lifeless Jeremy flashed before her eyes again. The feeling that darkness would creep in if they reunited came over her, but she knew it was already too late to ward it off. She hadn't stopped loving him. Obviously, he returned the affection.
The times he snuck out of her bedroom window to avoid her dad seemed so tame in comparison to this. She wanted to go back to that. Not worrying about him dying again or being compelled. If only being late for curfew was still her biggest problem.
Abby started talking again. "You can't do this alone. You'll need help. Klaus will have to be contained. We'll have to drink your blood to bind us to you."
"We?" Bonnie shook her head. "No, you're done here. Thanks for the spell."
"No more running for me," her mother said. "I'm the only one who knows what this spell will do to you. I will not leave." She stiffened suddenly. "He's coming."
"Who?" Bonnie figured it out before Abby answered. The tiny lines around her eyes. The tension around her mouth. The effort of restraint. "Jeremy."
"He's worried about you," she said in a tone that hinted at teasing admiration. "He was always a sweet little boy."
"He's not little anymore." Bonnie left her mother and met him in the middle of the field.
They caught hands and headed back together. The kinks weren't completely worked out between them, but she couldn't deny what he offered. What she needed. The vampire—her mother—brought up the rear, reminding Bonnie that the darkness from her vision was upon them.
(Song inspiration: "Bright Lights" by Matchbox Twenty)