Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(10)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(10)
Author: L.J. Smith

For that I honor and thank them - and, wel , we'l have a party sometime."He blinked hard and turned away. The two girls melted at once - even Meredith sniffled.

Damon heaved an exaggerated sigh. "Animal blood? Oh, bril iant. Make yourself as weak as you can, little brother, even with three or four wil ing donors around you. Then, when it comes to the final showdown with Shinichi and Misao, you'l be about as effective as a piece of damp tissue paper."

Bonnie started. "Is there going to be a showdown...soon?"

"As soon as Shinichi and Misao can manage it,"Stefan said quietly. "I think they'd rather not give me time to get wel . The whole town is supposed to go up in fire and ashes, you know. But I can't keep asking you and Meredith and Matt - and Elena - to donate blood. You've already kept me alive the last few days, and I don't know how to repay you for it."

"Repay us by getting as strong as you can,"Meredith said in her quiet, level voice. "But, Stefan, can I ask a few questions?"

"Of course,"Stefan said, standing by a chair. He didn't sit himself until Meredith, with Bonnie almost in her lap, had sunk down on the love seat.

Then he said, "Fire."

Chapter 4

"First,"Meredith asked, "is Damon right? If you go back to animal blood, wil you be seriously weakened?"

Stefan smiled. "I'l be the way I was when I first met you,"he said. "Strong enough to do this."He bent toward the fire irons right below Damon's elbow, murmuring absently, "Scusilo per favore" and removed the poker.

Damon rol ed his eyes. But when Stefan, in one fluid motion, bent the poker into a shape and then straightened it immediately back and replaced it, Matt could swear that there was ice-cold envy in Damon's usual poker-player expression.

"And that was iron, which is resistant to al eldritch forces,"Meredith said evenly, as Stefan stepped away from the fireplace.

"But of course he's been imbibing from you three charming girls for the past few days - not to mention the nuclear powerhouse that dear Elena has become,"Damon said, clapping his hands three times slowly. "Oh...Mutt. Sono spiacente - I mean, I didn't mean to add you in with the girls.

No offense meant."

"None taken,"Matt said through his teeth. If he could, just once, wipe that flashing, there-and-gone smile off Damon's face, he would die happy, he thought.

"But, the truth is that you have become a very...wil ing... donor for Dear Brother, haven't you?"Damon added, his lips twitching slightly, as if only the strictest control kept him from smiling.

Matt took two steps toward Damon. It was al he could do not to get right up in Damon's face, even though something in his brain always screamed suicide when he had thoughts like that.

"You're right,"he said as evenly as possible. "I've been donating blood to Stefan just like the girls. He's my friend, and a couple of days ago he looked like he'd just gotten out of a concentration camp."

"Of course,"Damon murmured, as if chastened, but then he went on in even softer tones, "My little brother has always been popular with both - wel , with ladies present, I wil say genders. Even with male kitsune; which of course is why I am in this mess."

Matt literal y saw red as if he were looking through a haze of blood at Damon.

"Speaking of which, what happened to Sage, Damon? He was a vampire. If we could find him, your problem would be over, right?"Meredith asked.

It was a good riposte, just as al Meredith's cool responses were. But Damon spoke with his fathomless black eyes fixed on Meredith's face. "The less you know and say about Sage, the better. I wouldn't speak of him lightly - he has friends in low places. But to answer your question: No, I would not let Sage make me into a vampire. It would just complicate things."

"Shinichi said good luck on finding out who he is,"Meredith said, stil calm. "Do you know what he meant by that?"

Damon shrugged fluidly. "What I know is my own business.

He spends time in the lowest and darkest of the Dark Dimensions."

Bonnie burst out, "Why did Sage go? Oh, Damon, did he go because of us? Why did he leave Talon and Saber to watch over us, then? And, oh - oh -  oh, Damon, I'm so sorry! So, so sorry! "She slid off the love seat and bent her head so that only strawberry curls were visible. With her smal pale hands on the floor to brace her, she looked as if she were about to bow her head to the ground at his feet. "This is al my fault and everyone's angry - but it was just so horrible I had to believe the worst things I could think of!"

It was a tension-breaker. Nearly everyone laughed. It was so Bonnie, and so true of al of them. So human.

Matt wanted to pick her up and put her back on the love seat.

Meredith was always the best medicine for Bonnie. But as Matt found himself reaching for her, he was confounded by two other pairs of hands doing the same thing. One was Meredith's own long, slender olive-skinned hands, and the other pair were male, with even longer tapering fingers.

Matt's hand clenched into a fist. Let Meredith take her, he thought, and his clumsy fist - somehow - got in the way of Damon's reaching fingers. Meredith lifted Bonnie easily and sat back on the love seat. Damon lifted his dark eyes to Matt's and Matt saw perfect comprehension there.

"You real y ought to forgive her, Damon,"Meredith, ever the impartial referee, said bluntly. "I don't think she'l be able to sleep tonight otherwise."

Damon shrugged, cold as an iceberg. "Maybe...someday."

Matt could feel his muscles clench. What kind of bastard said that to little Bonnie? Because of course she was listening.

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