Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(5)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(5)
Author: L.J. Smith

An instant later, horror just catching up with his hand, he was snatching it from her throat. His telepathic blast was entirely reflexive:

What in Hell are you doing? Killing yourself because of what I said? This blade is like a razor!

Elena faltered. "I was just making a nick - "

"You almost made a nick that spurted six feet high!"At least he was able to speak again, despite the constriction of his throat.

Elena was back on stable ground too. "I told you I knew you knew you'd have to try blood before you'l try to eat. It feels as if it's flowing down my neck again. This time, let's not waste it."

She was only tel ing the truth. At least she hadn't seriously hurt herself. He could see that fresh blood was flowing from the new cut she'd so recklessly made. To waste it would be idiotic.

Utterly dispassionate now, Damon took her again by the shoulders. He tilted up her chin to look at her soft, rounded throat. Several new ruby cuts were flowing freely.

Half a mil ennium of instinct told Damon that just there was nectar and ambrosia. Just there was sustenance and rest and euphoria. Just here where his lips were as he bent to her a second time...and he had only to taste it - to drink...

Damon reared back, trying to force himself to swal ow, determined not to spit. It wasn't...it wasn't utterly revolting.

He could see how humans, with their degraded senses, could make use of the animal varieties. But this coagulating, mineral-tasting stuff wasn't blood... it had none of the perfumed bouquet, the heady richness, the sweet, velvety, provocative, life-giving, ineffable attributes of blood.

It was like some sort of bad joke. He was tempted to bite Elena, just to skim a canine over the common carotid, making a tiny scratch, so he could taste the little burst that would explode onto his palate, to compare, to make sure that the real stuff wasn't in there somehow. In fact he was more than tempted; he was doing it. But no blood was coming.

His mind paused in midthought. He'd made a scratch al right  a scratch like a scuff. It hadn't even broken the outer layer of Elena's skin.

Blunt teeth.

Damon found himself pressing on a canine with his tongue, wil ing it to extend, wil ing it with al his cramped and frustrated soul to sharpen.

And...nothing. Nothing. But then, he'd spent al day doing the same thing. Miserably, he let Elena's head turn back.

"That's it?"she said shakily. She was trying so hard to be brave with him! Poor doomed white soul with her demon lover. "Damon, you can try again,"she told him. "You can bite harder."

"It's no good,"he snapped. "You're useless - "

Elena almost slid to the floor. He kept her upright while snarling in her ear, "You know what I meant by that. Or would you prefer to be my dinner rather than my princess?"

Elena simply shook her head mutely. She rested in the circle of his arms, her head against his shoulder. Little wonder that she needed rest after al he'd put her through. But as for how she found his shoulder a comfort...wel , that was beyond him.

Sage! Damon sent the furious thought out on al the frequencies he could access, just as he had been doing al day. If only he could find Sage, al his problems would be solved. Sage, he demanded, where are you?

No answer. For al Damon knew, Sage had managed to operate the Gateway to the Dark Dimension that was even now standing, powerless and useless, in Mrs. Flowers's garden. Stranding Damon here. Sage was always that blindingly fast when he took off.

And why had he taken off?

Imperial Summons? Sometimes Sage got them. From the Fal en One, who lived in the Infernal Court, at the lowest of the Dark Dimensions. And when Sage did get them, he was expected to be in that dimension instantly, in mid-word, in mid-caress, in mid - whatever. So far Sage had always made the deadline, Damon knew that. He knew it because Sage was stil alive.

On the afternoon of Damon's catastrophic bouquet investigation Sage had left on the mantel a polite note thanking Mrs. Flowers for her hospitality, and even leaving his gigantic dog, Saber, and his falcon, Talon, for the protection of the household - a note doubtlessly pre-prepared. He had gone the way he always did, as unpredictably as the wind, and without saying good-bye.

Undoubtedly he'd thought that Damon would find his way out of the problem easily. There were a number of vampires in Fel 's Church. There always were. The ley lines of sheer Power in the ground drew them even in normal times.

The problem was that just now al those vampires were infested with malach - parasites control ed by the evil fox-spirits. They couldn't be lower in the vampire hierarchy.

And of course Stefan was a complete nonstarter. Even if he hadn't been so weak that trying to change Damon into a vampire would have kil ed him; even if his anger over Damon's "stealing his humanity"could be assuaged, he would simply never have agreed, out of his feeling that vampirism was a curse.

Humans never knew about things like the vampire hierarchy because the subjects didn't concern them - until suddenly, they did, usual y because they had just been changed into a vampire themselves. The hierarchy of vampires was strict, from the useless and ignoble to the fanged aristocracy. Old Ones fit in that category, but so did others who were particularly il ustrious or powerful.

What Damon wanted was to be made a vampire by the kind of women Sage knew, and he was determined to have Sage find him a vampire lady of quality, one who was real y worthy of him.

Other things tormented Damon, who had spent two entire sleepless days pondering them. Was it possible that the white kitsune who had given Stefan the bouquet had engineered a rose that turned the first person to smel it permanently human? That would have been Stefan's greatest dream.

The white fox had listened to days upon days of Stefan's ramblings, hadn't he? He'd seen Elena weeping over Stefan.

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