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The house was quiet when Damon entered. There was no sign of his brother or Elena. He made his way to the bar and poured a drink. He didn't have a taste for the pungent liquor. He placed the glass on the tiled counter and walked to the window. That's when he heard it, a faint cry, a pained grumble, and he remembered Rose. It had been a few days since the wolf's attack and the bite she'd inflicted on the female vampire's shoulder. At first the woman had been fine, lethargic, needing rest. Then it flipped, her hunger became ravenous.

He reached the door that led to the basement and the stench of rotten flesh met his nose. She was down there, a fragment of the creature she once was, driven mad by the wolf's virus invading her system. He was relieved, grateful, that in the haste of battle, those teeth had not torn into his skin. Slowly Damon descended the stairs and knelt beside where Rose was chained. Her normally immaculate hair was matted to her head. Her clothes heavy with the scent of the flesh she was devouring.

When they first met, Rose reminded the eldest Salvatore of the face he stared at daily in the mirror. She was vicious and addictive. A cold blooded killer ruled by her heart. They'd connected out of shared pain; engaged in moments of intimacy to erase memories and thoughts that plagued every waking moment. Now, he knew he wouldn't be able to save her, and her face, those eyes, the lips he'd tasted would pile on to the regrets that filled the void left by his soul.

Damon pulled the stake from his back pocket, Jules words on repeat in his head. The only way to end this was to send Rose to her final resting place. He'd deserved that more than once, and each time someone had granted him a reprieve. Elena convincing Bonnie that vengeance wasn't the answer, the little witch's interruptions during their one - sided battles with Elijah and his band of Originals. Who was he to sentence Rose to a fate he'd escaped time and time again.

His eyes met hers and again past conversations accompanied his thoughts. No after a few hundred years you couldn't turn off your emotions. The wood clattered to the ground as he wiped the corner of the vampire's mouth with the sleeve of his shirt. Today, Rose wouldn't die.

He stood, walking to the stairs, tossing another look over his shoulder before he headed for the door.

This time he finished his drink and poured another when he reached the study. The chime of the door interrupted his descent into self pity. Armed with sarcasm and contempt he opened the door only to have his intentions dissuaded by his visitor.

"Blessed by the mother goddess and laced with passion flower." Bonnie handed over a side of beef, nearly as big as her, before crossing the threshold, "Stefan took Elena home and volunteered..."

"Go home Bennett."

He knew he was unnecessarily harsh in his tone, but the last thing he needed was to break down and accept the comfort of a teen-aged girl.

"Fuck you Salvatore - I go where I want, when I want."

That was why they were friends.

Damon had forced Bonnie from her comfort zone; challenging her to stand confidently against those who questioned her gift and ability. He was proud of her, even if he was the one who bore the brunt of all her attacks.

She shucked off her jacket and headed for the kitchen. She removed a pan from the cabinet, grabbed a butcher knife, and motioned for him to bring the meat to the counter.

"The passion flower will help with her hysteria and if you're lucky, maybe Rose will sleep through the night."

He watched as her tiny hands worked the massive blood stained meat. She prepped the tray and pushed it across the counter to Damon's hands and shooed him from the kitchen. He delivered Rose her dinner and sat on the bottom step and watched her eat. Sure enough, once her belly was full she drifted into a light sleep, which soon gave way to a deep slumber. Glenda the good witch did know her stuff.

When he returned to the kitchen he found a mug of warm blood on the counter. Bonnie's jacket was still thrown across the back of a chair, so he knew she was near. He sipped the hot liquid and smiled. Just a small drop of her blood had been mixed into the brew, along with a pinch of cinnamon. She was way too good to him.

Damon found Bonnie in the study, perusing the shelves, reading the Salvatore journals.

He slipped up behind her, raising the mug to her face, "Thanks for my treat."

"It's the holiday season; I'm in a good mood."

He didn't have to see her face. He'd memorized her looks of delight, anger, and even one that he liked to call the sexy flirt. He banished the thought as quickly as it rose before stepping around the young girl and selecting a journal bound in leather for her to study.

"This was Bree's." He handed the book over, "There's a few cute little spells in there you may like."

She accepted his offering, "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

He heard the breath she took and the words that she didn't speak to calm her nerves, "Whatever, bull you keep telling yourself; I hope you know this wasn't your fault."

"Loyalty blinds you Bennett, it was my fault, and I saved myself; without thinking twice about Rose." He drained the blood from the mug before moving to the bar for something harder, "What's worse I'm glad it wasn't me."

"Everything happens for a reason." The back of the hand that brushed across his jaw was soft and gentle. "I gotta go."

She retrieved her denim jacket from the kitchen. He didn't ask where she was going or why she was leaving, but she told him. He hid the grimace with a painted on smile and filled the uncomfortable silence with insults about high school brat.

Ignoring the sinking feeling in the pit of stomach, Damon issued an insincere, "Have fun," as he watched Bonnie walk from the house to the car.

Bonnie had picked the wrong time to take his advice and now Jeremy Gilbert would reap all the benefits of his unfailing wisdom, and Damon Salvatore wasn't too sure how he felt about those odds.

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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.