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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Bonnie's heart just wasn't in it.

For weeks Caroline had babbled on and bubbled over about what prom meant to her. A barf bag would be needed if the witch were forced to endure more from her favorite baby vamp. It was worse than those contestants at the Miss Universe pageant. She was happy for her friend. Thankful that she had found some joy after Tyler's sudden departure. Yes, everyone called him a traitor and other names that weren't deemed proper for a southern lady to repeat.

Yet she knew Caroline, and despite her feigned aloofness, the friendship the preppy undead teen shared with the new wolf meant more than she was willing to admit. It had been Bonnie who found the blonde curled into a tight ball in the center of her queen sized bed, fresh tears spilling from her eyes as she tried to understand why he would betray her and leave like some, "Jersey Shore punk." Caroline's eyes were not as wide without the presence of Tyler, despite the devotion she claimed to Matt. It could be seen in far away gazes and frowns that told the true story of her divided heart.

Bonnie had held her friend and shooed away the pain with sweet words and vanilla bean ice cream. She watched as the cheerleader threw herself whole heartedly into regaining Matt's love.

Time healed all wounds.

And what Chronos couldn't handle, a momentary glance in the baby vamp's eyes and a few soft whispers definitely erased any anger or mistrust that had formed between Caroline and Matt.

Tyler hadn't been the only casualty. The pages of Bonnie's journal were quickly filling with the names of deserters and unintentional martyrs. The war against the enigma that was Klaus, took a toll on the ones she loved.

Elena struggled to connect with the mother she had never known existed. Shaken and disturbed by the chaos Isobel's reappearance brought to the lives of the aunt who had become more than family to brown - eyed girl.

Alaric and Jenna tried to do the right thing by giving one another time to heal from the lies that had been told to both their ears. The only thing they managed, was to break each other's hearts a little more.

The young witch sat by, helpless, as Jeremy forged a new offensive in becoming the man he wanted to be and not the one his Uncle John demanded he be to sustain the Gilbert legacy.

Then there was Damon. Missing girls' faces filled television screens nightly in suburban homes. She'd made him a promise once, that she would end him if he hurt another innocent person. He was right about her, she was worse than incompetent...she was weak, held hostage by the dormant feelings that remained in her heart just for the sadistic vampire.

The elder Salvatore taunted Bonnie nightly; appearing beneath her window, fresh blood staining his lips. No words passed between them as he stood on the patch of lush green grass, listening to the sobs that always came until his presence finally chased the tears away.

He never ventured beyond his spot, he watched in silent anticipation until the black of night swallowed him whole.

Bonnie was unsure if Damon had really been present or if it was a twisted hallucination brought on by the emotions at war within her. She was growing so very tired of tears; she blamed the senseless deaths of the Martins, followed by the anniversary of her mother's abandonment, and finally the date of her grandmother's birthday.

Hot pools of salty liquid fell against her skin.

She breathed in and out, invoking calm, encouraging it to consume her.

One night...

That's all Elena had asked; one evening where they could indulge in the blissful ignorance that accompanied life as a normal teenager. The limo would arrive in less than hour, reservations at the candlelit bistro had been confirmed, and three suites booked at the only five - star hotel in a three mile radius of the Falls.

Another round of deep breaths followed as Bonnie's mind drifted from Damon to Jeremy.

Repetitive deep breaths did little to calm her nerves. Every time her eyes closed, she saw his face; firm lines, chiseled bones, and an icy glare that was filled with hurt and something akin to hatred. She trembled as her fingers trailed the fabric of the elaborate dress he had purchased, when she bent at the waist to secure the straps of her shoes.

So much had changed.

Mr. Bennett's voice startled her; she hadn't expected him to be home this early from the hospital. Nor did she anticipate the flash of light that nearly blinded her when she turned to meet the lens of his camera.

"You're so beautiful baby girl."

She couldn't be mad when his eyes glazed over. She knew where his mind went. It raced feverishly to thoughts and images of the woman who had left them so many years before. Yes there were obvious traces of the Bennetts in her features. The eyes she shared with her father, grandmother, and Emily. The warm creamy skin that lined all their frames and the gift they shared in their veins. His fingers reached for the stray tendrils not pinned in the crown of curls on top of her head, mouth poised to remind her of who blessed her with the crooked heart shaped pout.

Bonnie grabbed her father's hand before he could say the words. She didn't need to think about her mother.

Not tonight.

She studied his hand; it was twice the size of hers, smooth despite constant washes with harsh soap. She'd always equated his grasp with strength. She never worried when his arms enclosed around her. She knew that come what may he would protect her.

Now as those arms wrapped tightly about her, Bonnie let it go. Everything, the hostility, the hurt, and the responsibility she carried on her shoulders alone. There was no explanation necessary; he deciphered her words in every wail. His hands were firm yet gentle as he turned her face upwards.

"This is why I didn't want you involved." He brushed her tears away with the pads of his thumbs. "It's a weight no one, not even you, should have to bear."

It was the very reason he supported her connection to Jeremy. She was carefree and happy when they were together. A teenaged girl adored by her boyfriend, not the witch needed to secure the master plan. Yes Jeremy and Bonnie had endured their share of storms; Jules' attack and her confusion about what had sparked with Damon.

"In the end, it's always going to be your decision."

Bonnie's father freed her with those words; loosed her from an invisible restraints that had held her captive for months on end.

She shook her head in agreement as her eyes closed with the kiss he placed on her forehead.

It was time for the confusion to end.

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.