Friday, October 11, 2019

The Hunters: Moonsong Chapter Thirty-Two

Moonlight shone in the window, iluminating a long swath of Elena's bed. Meredith had tossed and turned for a while, but now Elena could hear her steady breathing. It was good that Meredith was sleeping. She was exhausting herself: working out constantly, patrol ing every night, making sure al her weapons were in prime condition, wild with frustration that they weren't able to find any solid clues as to the kil er's identity. But it was lonely being the only one awake. Elena stretched her legs under the sheets and flipped over her pil ow to rest her head on the cooler side. Branches tapped against the window, and Elena wiggled her shoulders against the mattress, trying to calm her busy mind. She wished Bonnie would come home. The tapping on the window came again, then again, sharp peremptory raps. Slowly, it dawned on Elena, a little late, that there weren't any trees whose branches touched that window. Heart pounding, she sat up with a gasp. Eyes black as night peered in the window, skin as pale as the moonlight. It took Elena's brain a minute to start working again, but then she was out of bed and opening the window. He was so quick and graceful that by the time she shut the window and turned around, Damon was seated on her bed, leaning back on his elbows and looking total y at ease. â€Å"Some vampire hunter she is,† he said cool y, looking over at Meredith as she made a soft whuffling sound into her pil ow. His gaze, though, was almost affectionate. â€Å"That's not fair,† Elena said. â€Å"She's exhausted.† â€Å"Someday her life might depend on her staying alert even when she's exhausted,† Damon said pointedly. â€Å"Okay, but today is not that day,† Elena said. â€Å"Leave Meredith alone and tel me what you've found out about Zander.† Sitting down cross-legged on the bed next to him, she leaned forward to give Damon her ful attention. Damon took her hand, slowly interlacing his fingers with hers. â€Å"I haven't learned anything definite,† he said, â€Å"but I have suspicions.† â€Å"What do you mean?† Elena said, distracted. Damon was stroking her arm lightly with his other hand, feather touches, and she realized he was watching her closely, waiting to see if she would object. Inwardly, she shrugged a little. What did it matter, after al ? Stefan had left her; there was no reason now to push Damon away. She glanced over at Meredith, but the dark-haired girl was stil deeply asleep. Damon's dark eyes glittered in the moonlight. He seemed to sense what she was thinking, because he leaned closer to her on the bed, pul ing her snugly against him. â€Å"I need to investigate a little more,† Damon said. â€Å"There's definitely something off about him and those boys he runs around with. They're too fast, for one thing. But I don't think Bonnie's in any immediate danger.† Elena stiffened in his arms. â€Å"What proof do you have of that?† she asked. â€Å"And it's not just Bonnie. If anyone's in danger, they have to be our top priority.† â€Å"I'l watch them, don't worry.† He chuckled, a dry, intimate sound. â€Å"He and Bonnie are certainly getting close. She seems besotted.† Elena twisted away from his careful hands, feeling anxious. â€Å"If he could be dangerous, if there's anything off about him the way you say, we have to warn her about him. We can't just sit by watching and waiting for him to do something wrong. By then, it might be too late.† Damon pul ed her back to him, his hand flat and steady against her side. â€Å"You already tried warning Bonnie, and that didn't work, did it? Why would she listen to you now that she's spent more time with him, bonding with him, and nothing bad's happened to her?† He shook his head. â€Å"It won't work, princess.† â€Å"I just wish we could do something,† Elena said miserably. â€Å"If I had gotten a look at the bodies,† Damon said thoughtful y, â€Å"I might have more of an idea of what could be behind this. I suppose breaking into the morgue is out of the question?† Elena considered this. â€Å"I think they've probably released the bodies by now,† she said doubtful y, â€Å"and I'm not sure where they'd take them next. Wait!† She sat up straight. â€Å"The campus security office would have something, wouldn't they? Records, or maybe even pictures of Christopher's and Samantha's bodies? The campus officers were al over the crime scenes before the police got there.† â€Å"We can check it out tomorrow, certainly,† Damon said casual y. â€Å"If it wil make you feel better.† His voice and expression were almost disinterested, provokingly so, and once again, Elena felt the strange mixture of desire and irritation that Damon often sparked in her. She wanted to shove him away and pul him closer at the same time. She had almost decided on shoving him away when he turned to look her ful in the face. â€Å"My poor Elena,† he said in a soothing murmur, his eyes glinting in the moonlight. He ran a soft hand up her arm, shoulder, and neck, coming to rest gently against her jawline. â€Å"You can't get away from the dark creatures, can you, Elena? No matter how you try. Come to a new place, find a new monster.† He stroked her face with one finger. His words were almost mocking, but his voice was gentle and his eyes shone with emotion. Elena pressed her cheek against his hand. Damon was elegant and clever, and something in him spoke to the dark, secret part of her. She couldn't deny that she was drawn to him – that she'd always been drawn to him, even when they first met and he scared her. And Elena had loved him since that winter night when she awoke as a vampire and he cared for her, protected her, and taught her what she needed to know. Stefan had left her. There was no reason why she shouldn't do this. â€Å"I don't always want to get away from the dark creatures, Damon,† she said. He was silent for a moment, his hand stroking her cheek automatical y, and then he kissed her. His lips were like cool silk against hers, and Elena felt as if she had been wandering for hours in a desert and had final y been given a cold drink of water. She kissed him harder, letting go of his hand to twine her fingers through his soft hair. Pul ing away from her mouth, Damon kissed her neck gently, waiting for permission. Elena dropped her head back to give him better access. She heard Damon's breath hiss through his teeth, and he looked into her eyes for a moment, his face soft and more open than she'd ever seen it, before he lowered his face to her neck again. The twin wasp stings of his fangs hurt for a moment, and then she was sliding through darkness, fol owing a ribbon of aching pleasure that led her through the night, led her to Damon. She felt his joy and wonder at having her in his arms without guilt, without reserve. In return she let him feel her happiness in him and her confusion over wanting him and stil loving Stefan, her pain at Stefan's absence. There was no guilt, not now, but there was a huge Stefan-shaped hole in her heart, and she let Damon see it. It's all right, Elena, she felt from him, not quite in words, but in a rock-solid contentment, like the purr of a cat. All I want is this.

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