Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)
Author: L.J. Smith

Chapter 1

"Dear Diary,

I'm so frightened I can hardly hold this pen. I'm printing rather than writing in cursive, because that way I have more control.

What am I terrified of, you ask? And when I say "of Damon"you don't believe the answer, not if you'd seen the two of us a few days ago. But to understand, you have to know a few facts.

Have you ever heard the phrase "Al bets are off"?

It means that anything, anything, can happen. So that even somebody who figures out odds and takes bets from people gives them back their money. Because a wild card has entered the situation. You can't even figure the odds to take a bet.

That's where I am. That's why my heart is pounding in my throat and head and ears and fingertips in fear.

Al bets are off.

You can see how shaky even my printing is. Suppose my hands shake like this when I go in to see him? I might drop the tray. I might annoy Damon. And then anything might happen.

I'm not explaining this right. What I should be saying is that we're back: Damon and Meredith and Bonnie and me. We went to the Dark Dimension and now we're home again, with a star ball - and Stefan.

Stefan was tricked into going there by Shinichi and Misao, the brother and sister kitsune, or evil fox-spirits, who told him that if he went to the Dark Dimension he could get the curse of being a vampire removed and become human again.

They lied.

All they did was leave him in a stinking prison, with no food, no light, no warmth...until he was at the point of death.

But Damon - who was so different back then - agreed to lead us to try to find him. And, oh, I can't even begin to describe the Dark Dimension itself. But the important thing is that we finally found Stefan, and that by then we'd found the Twin Fox key we needed to release him. But - he was a skeleton, poor boy. We carried him out of the prison on his pallet, which later Matt burned; it was so infested with creepy-crawlies. But that night we gave him a bath and put him to bed...and then we fed him. Yes, with our blood. All the humans did it except Mrs. Flowers, who was busy making poultices for where his poor bones were almost sticking out of his skin.

They had starved him to that point! I could kill Them with my own hands - or my Wings Powers - if only I could use them properly. But I can't. I know there is a spell for Wings of Destruction, but I have no idea how to summon it.

At least I got to see how Stefan blossomed when being fed with human blood. (I admit that I gave him a few extra feedings that weren't on his chart, and I'd have to be an idiot not to know that my blood is different from other people's -

it's much richer and it did Stefan amazing amounts of good.)

And so Stefan recovered enough that the next morning he was able to walk downstairs to thank Mrs. Flowers for her potions!

The rest of us, though - all the humans - were totally exhausted. We didn't even think about what had happened to the bouquet, because we didn't know it had anything special in it. We'd gotten it just as we were leaving the Dark Dimension, from a kind white kitsune who'd been in the cell across from Stefan's before we arranged a jailbreak. He was so beautiful! I never knew a kitsune could be kind. But he had given Stefan these flowers.

Anyway, that morning Damon was up. Of course, he couldn't contribute any of his own blood, but I honestly think he would have, if he could. That was the way he was back then.

And that's why I don't understand how I can feel the fear I feel now. How can you be terrified of someone who's kissed you and kissed you...and called you his darling and his sweetheart and his princess? And who has laughed with you with his eyes dancing with mischief? And who's held you when you were frightened, and told you there was nothing to be afraid of, not while he was there? Someone you only had to glance at to know what he was thinking?

Someone who has protected you, no matter what the cost to himself, for days on end?

I know Damon. I know his faults, but I also know what he's like inside. And he's not what he wants people to think he is.

He's not cold, or arrogant, or cruel. Those are fa?ades he puts on to cover himself, like clothes.

The problem is that I'm not sure he knows he isn't any of these things. And right now he's all mixed-up. He might change and become all of them - because he's so confused.

What I'm trying to say is, that morning only Damon was really awake. He was the only one who saw the bouquet.

And one of the things Damon definitely is, is curious.

So he unwrapped all the magical wards from it and it had a single pitch-black rose in the center. Damon has been trying to find a black rose for years, just to admire it, I think.

But when he saw this one he smelled it...and boom! The rose disappeared!

And suddenly he was sick and dizzy and he couldn't smell anything and all his other senses were dulled as well. That was when Sage - oh, I haven't even mentioned Sage, but he's a tall bronze gorgeous hunk of a vampire who's been such a good friend to all of us - told him to suck in air and to hold it, to push it down into his lungs.

Humans have to breathe that way, you see.

I don't know how long it took Damon to realize that he really was a human, no joke, nothing anyone could do about it.

The black rose had been for Stefan; and it would have given him his dream of being human again. But when Damon realized it had worked its magic on him...

That's when I saw him look at me and lump me in with the rest of my species - a species he's come to hate and scorn.

Since then I haven't dared look him in the eye again. I know he loved me just days ago. I didn't know that love could turn to - well, to all the things he feels now about himself.

You'd think it would be easy for Damon to become a vampire again. But he wants to be as powerful a vampire as he used to be - and there isn't anyone like that to exchange blood with him. Even Sage disappeared before Damon could ask him. So Damon is stuck like this until he finds some strong, powerful, and prestigious vampire to go through the whole process of changing him.

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