posted by LotusWhispers
"Semi-consciously, Elena let her aura expand, and met a mind almost at once. To her surprise, it recoiled from her. That wasn’t right. She managed
to snag it before it could retreat behind a great hard stone, like a boulder. The only things left outside the boulder—which reminded her of a picture of a meteorite she had seen, with a pocked, charred surface—were rudimentary brain functions, and a little boy, chained to the rock by both wrists and both ankles.
Elena was shocked. Whatever she was seeing, she knew it was a metaphor only, and that she should not judge too quickly what the metaphor
meant. The images before her were really the symbols of Damon’s naked soul, but in a form that her own mind could understand and interpret, if only she looked at it from the right perspective.
Instinctively, though, she knew that she was seeing something important. She had come through the breathless delight and dizzying sweetness of joining her soul to another’s. And now, her inherent love and concern drove her to try to communicate.
“Are you cold?” she asked the child, whose chains were long enough to allow him to wrap his arms tightly about his drawn-up legs. He was clothed
in ragged black.
He nodded silently. His huge dark eyes seemed to swallow up his face.
“Where do you belong?” Elena said doubtfully, thinking of ways to get the child warm. “Not inside that?” She made a gesture toward the giant
The child nodded again. “It’s warmer in there, but he won’t let me inside anymore.”
“He?” Elena was always on the lookout for signs of Shinichi, that malicious fox spirit. “Which ‘he,’ darling?” She had already knelt and taken the child in her arms, and he was cold, ice cold, and the iron was freezing.
“Damon,” the little ragamuffin boy whispered. For the first time the boy’s eyes left her face, to glance fearfully around him.
“Damon did this?” Elena’s voice started loud and ended up as soft as the boy’s whisper, as he turned pleading eyes on her and desperately
patted at her lips, like a velvet-clawed kitten.
This is all just symbols, Elena reminded herself. It’s Damon’s mind—his soul—that you’re looking at.
But are you? an analytical part of her asked suddenly. Wasn’t there—a time before, when you did this with someone—and you saw a world inside
them, entire landscapes full of love and moonlit beauty, all of it symbolizing the normal, healthy workings of an ordinary, extraordinary mind. Elena couldn’t remember the name of the person now, but she remembered the beauty. She knew that her own mind would use such symbols to present itself to another person.
“If Damon put you here, then who are you?” Elena asked slowly, testing her theory, while taking in the black-on-black eyes of the child, and the dark
hair and the features she knew even if they were so young.
“I’m—Damon,” the little boy whispered, white around the lips.
Maybe even revealing that much was painful, Elena thought. She didn’t want to hurt this symbol of Damon’s childhood. She wanted him to feel the
sweetness and comfort that she was feeling. If Damon’s mind had been like a house, she would have wanted to tidy it up, and fill every room with flowers and starlight. If it had been a landscape she would have put a halo around the full white moon, or rainbows amongst the clouds. But instead it presented itself as a starving child chained to a ball that no one could breach, and she wanted to comfort and soothe the child.
She cradled the little boy, rubbing his arms and legs hard and nestling him against her spirit body.
At first he felt tense and wary in her arms. But after a little time, when nothing terrible happened as a result of their contact, he relaxed and she felt his small body go warm and drowsy and heavy in her arms. She herself felt a crushingly sweet protectiveness about the little creature.
In just a few minutes, the child in her arms was asleep, and Elena thought that there was the faintest ghost of a smile on his lips. She cuddled his little body, rocking him gently, smiling herself."
"But then she remembered her curiosity about the little boy and the great stone boulder, and she deliberately opened her mind to Damon’s. He fell
into the trap of his own making.
As soon as their minds connected there were something like fireworks. Explosions. Rockets. Stars going nova. Elena set her mind to ignoring her body and began looking for the boulder.
It was deep, deep inside the most locked-off part of his brain. Deep in the eternal darkness that slept there. But Elena seemed to have brought a
searchlight with her. Wherever she turned, dark festoons of cobwebs fell and heavy-looking stone arches crumbled and fell to the ground.
“Don’t worry,” Elena found herself saying. “The light won’t do that to you! You don’t have to live down here. I’ll show you the beauty of the light.”
What am I saying? Elena wondered even as the words left her lips. How can I promise him—and maybe he likes living here in the dark!
But in the next second she had come much closer to the little boy, close enough to see his pale, wondering face.
“You came again,” he said, as if it were a miracle. “You said you would come, and you did!”
That brought down all Elena’s barriers at once. She knelt, and pulling the chains to their utmost length, took him on her lap. “Are you glad that I
came back?” she asked gently. She was already stroking his hair smooth.
“Oh, yes!” It was a cry, and it frightened Elena almost as much as it pleased her. “You’re the nicest person I’ve ever—the most beautiful thing I
“Hush,” Elena told him, “hush. There’s got to be some way to warm you up.”
“It’s the iron,” the child said humbly. “Iron keeps me weak and cold. But it has to be iron; otherwise he wouldn’t be able to control me.”
“I see,” Elena said grimly. She was beginning to get a grasp on what kind of relationship Damon had with this little boy. For a moment, on a hunch, she took two lengths of iron in her hands and tried to tear them apart. Elena had super-light here; why not superpowers? But all that happened was that she twisted and turned the length for nothing, and finally cut the web of her finger against an iron burr.
“Oh!” The boy’s huge dark eyes fixed on the dark bead of blood. He stared as if he were fascinated—and afraid.
“Do you want it?” Elena held out the hand to him uncertainly. What a poor scrap of a creature to be coveting other people’s blood, she thought. He
nodded timidly as if he were sure she’d be angry. But Elena just smiled and he reverently held her finger and took the whole globe of blood at once,
closing his lips like a kiss.
As he lifted his head, he seemed to have a tinge more color in his pale face.
“You told me Damon keeps you here,” she said, holding him again and feeling heat being sucked from her into his cold body. “Can you tell me
The child was still licking his lips, but he turned his face toward her immediately and said, “I’m the Warden of Secrets. But”—sadly—“the Secrets have gotten so big that even I don’t know what they are.”
Elena followed the motion of his head from his own small limbs to the iron chain to the huge, metallic ball. She felt a sinking inside herself and a deep pity for such a small warden. And she wondered what on earth could be inside that great stone sphere that Damon was guarding so intently.
The true soul of Damon was a little boy held in chains for God-knew-how-many centuries, who had never known warmth and closeness but who still had a tearful appreciation for them. The child who was chained to the rock surrounding was one of Damon’s deepest secrets.
And now Elena was trembling so hard she wasn’t sure she could stand up, and she was wondering about the child. Was he cold? Was he crying
like Elena? How could she tell?
Damon had said he was hungry earlier, she remembered, and she had ignored him, too enthralled by the silver pen to put the words together. But she put them together now, and understood—except why he seemed to be so exceptionally hungry tonight.Maybe even…excessively hungry.
Damon, she thought gently, you’re taking a lot.
She could feel no response but the raw hunger of the panther.
Damon, this could be dangerous…for me. This time Elena put as much Power as she could into the words she sent.
Still no response from Damon, but she was floating now, down into darkness. And that gave her the vague thread of an idea.
Where are you? Are you here? she called, picturing the little boy.
And then she saw him, chained to his boulder, curled up in a ball, with his fists covering his eyes.
What’s wrong? Elena asked immediately, floating near to him, concerned.
He’s hurting! He’s hurting!
Are you hurt? Show me, Elena said instantly.
No! He’s hurting you. He could kill you!
Husshh. Husshhh. She tried to cradle him.
We have to make him hear us!
All right, Elena said. She really was feeling odd and weak. But she turned, along with the child, and cried voicelessly: Damon! Please! Elena says
And a miracle happened.
Both she and the child could feel it. The little sting of fangs being withdrawn. The stop of energy flow from Elena to Damon.
And then, ironically, the miracle began to take her away from the child, with whom she really wanted to speak.
No! Wait! she tried to tell Damon, clinging to the child’s hands as hard as she could, but she was being catapulted back to consciousness as if bya hurricane. The darkness faded. In its place was a room, too bright, its one candle blazing like a police searchlight aimed directly at her. She shut her eyes and felt the warmth and heaviness of the corporeal Damon in her arms.
“I’m sorry! Elena, can you speak? I didn’t realize how much—” There was something wrong with Damon’s voice. Then she understood. Damon’s
fangs were unretracted.
Wha—? Everything was wrong. They’d been so happy, but—but now her right arm felt wet.
Elena pulled away from Damon entirely, staring at her arms, which were red and with something that wasn’t paint.
She was still too worked up to ask questions properly. She slipped behind Damon and pulled his black leather jacket off him. In the brilliant light she could see his black silk shirt marred by line after line of dried, partially dried, or just plain wet blood.
“Damon!” Her first reaction was horror without a touch of guilt or understanding. “What happened? Did you get in a fight? Damon, tell me!”
And then something in her mind presented her with a number. Since she had been a child, she had been able to count. In fact. she’d learned to
count to ten before her first birthday. Therefore, she’d had seventeen full years of learning to count the number of irregular, deep, still-bleeding cuts in
Elena looked down at her own bloody arms and at the goddess dress, which was now the horror dress because its pure milky whiteness was
marred with brilliant red.
Red that should have been her blood. Red that must have felt like sword slashes into Damon’s back as he channeled the pain and the marks of
the Night of her Discipline from her to him.
And he carried me all the way home. The thought came swimming in from nowhere. Without a word about it. I would never have known….
And he still hasn’t healed. Will he ever heal?
That was when she started screaming on all frequencies.
In the very deepest trenches of communication, a little boy was with her in the dark. She remembered him, but not his name. She held out her arms and he came into them and it seemed that his chains were lighter than they had been…when? Before. That was all she could remember.
Are you all right? she whispered to the child. Down here, deep in the heart of communion, a whisper was a shout.
Don’t cry. No tears, he begged her, but the words reminded her of something she couldn’t bear to think of, and she put her fingers to his lips, gently
Too loud, a voice from Outside came rumbling in. “So, mon enfant, you have decided to become un vampire encore une fois.”
Is that what is happening? she whispered to the child. Am I dying again? To become a vampire?
I don’t know! the child cried. I don’t know anything. He’s angry. I’m afraid.
Sage won’t hurt you, she promised. He’s already a vampire, and your friend.
Then who are you afraid of?
If you die again, I’ll be wrapped in chains all over. The child showed her a pitiable picture of himself covered by coil after coil of heavy chains. In his mouth, gagging him. Pinning his arms to his sides and his legs to the ball. Moreover, the chains were spiked so that everywhere they dug into the
child’s soft flesh, blood flowed.
Who would do such a thing? Elena cried. I’ll make him wish he’d never been born. Tell me who’s going to do this!
The child’s face was sad and perplexed. I will, he said sadly. He will. He/I. Damon. Because we’ll have killed you.
But if it’s not his fault…
We have to. We have to. But maybe I’ll die, the doctor says… There was a definite lilt of hope in the last sentence.
This time, she knew Damon heard her.
At first, she thought Damon was dying. That Bloddeuwedd had somehow come back and pierced him through his entire body, as with a spear
made of light. Then she realized that the feeling was rapture, and two tiny child hands reached out of the light and clung to hers, allowing her to pull a thin,ragged, but laughing child away free.
No chains, she thought dizzily. He’s not even wearing slave bracelets.
“My brother!” he told her. “My little brother’s going to live!”
“Well, that’s a fine thing,” Elena said shakily.
“He’s going to live!” A tiny frown line appeared. “If you hurry! And take good care of him! And—”
Elena put two fingers over his lips, very gently. “You don’t need to worry about anything like that. You just be happy.”
The little boy laughed. “I will! I am!”
Elena came out of—well, she supposed it was a daze, although it had been more real than many other things she’d experienced recently.
NOTE: From what it seems like, Elena understands Damon in such a way, no one else does. The little boy is happy when Damon saves Bonnie and Stefan, because he does care about them. But the little boy reaches out only to Elena, because their souls are connected. From what I remember, Damon's soul speaks to Bonnie once, when he was dying in Midnight. Damon's soul has spoken with Elena a number of times in Shadow Souls and in Midnight and acknowledges that she brings light to the darkness within. After all, the origin of Elena's name means "the bright one, light, mercy, torch, shining light, moon" according to several different sources online. This is emphasized when Elena says she brought a searchlight and also when she promises him rays of sunshine and that he will live in the light. The little boy also calls her the most beautiful thing he has ever seen and I don't think he meant her appearance, but her kindness.