lunes, 15 de agosto de 2011

True Blood 4 x 08 subtitulado online

sábado, 2 de abril de 2011


Damon leaped. Somewhere in the middle of the leap Elena felt herself left to the whims of gravity. She tried to curl into a ball to take the impact on one buttock.

What happened was strange—almost miraculous. She came down, right side up, on the opposite side of the couch from the plate of steak tartar. The plate did a little leap of its own, three or four inches, perhaps, and then settled back where it had been.
Elena was also lucky enough to get a perfect view of the end of the heroic rescue—which involved Damon diving for the floor and grabbing the bottle of precious Black Magic wine just before it hit the ground and smashed. He might not have the kind of lightning-fast reflexes he had when he was a vampire, but he was still far, far faster than an ordinary human. Leap holding girl, drop girl onto something soft, turn leap into dive, and at last instant grab bottle, just before it would hit. Amazing.
But there was another way that Damon wasn’t like a vampire anymore—he wasn’t invincible to falling onto hard surfaces. Elena only realized this when she heard him gasp, trying to breathe and not being able to.
She scrambled wildly in her mind for all the accidents she could remember with jocks, and—yes, recalled one when Matt had had the wind completely knocked out of him. The coach had seized him by the collar and thumped him on the back.
Elena ran to Damon and grabbed him under the arms, rolling him onto his back. She put all her strength into hauling him into a sitting position. Then she made a club of her hands. Pretending she was Meredith, who had been on the baseball team at Robert E. Lee High and had a .225 ERA, she swung as hard as she could at Damon, slamming her fists into his back.
And it worked!
Suddenly Damon was wheezing, and then breathing again. A born straightener of ties, Elena knelt and tried to rearrange his clothes. As soon as he could breathe properly, his limbs stopped being pliant under her fingers. He gently curled her hands into each other. Elena wondered if possibly they’d gone so far beyond words that they would never find them again.
How had it all happened? Damon had picked her up—perhaps because her leg was burned, or perhaps because he had decided Mrs. Flowers was the one with the star ball. She herself had said, “Damon, what are you doing?” Perfectly straightforward. And then halfway through the sentence she had heard for herself the “darling” and—but who would ever believe her?—it hadn’t been connected with anything they had been doing earlier at all. It had been an accident, a slip of the tongue.
But she’d said it in front of Bonnie, the one person most likely to take it seriously and personally. And then Bonnie had been gone before she could even explain.
Darling! When they had just started fighting again.
It really was a joke. Because he had been serious about just taking the star ball. She had seen it in his eyes.
To call Damon “darling” seriously, you would have to be—have to be…hopelessly…helplessly…desperately in…
Tears began to run down Elena’s cheeks. But these were tears of revelation. Elena knew she wasn’t in her best form today. No real sleep for going on three days—too many conflicting emotions—too much genuine terror right now.
Still, she was terrified to find that something fundamental had changedinside her.
It wasn’t anything she had asked for. All she had asked was that the two brothers stop feuding. And she had beenborn to love Stefan; she knew that! Once, he’d been willing to marry her. Well, since then she’d been a vampire, a spirit, and a new incarnation dropped from the sky, and she could hope that one day he would be willing to marry the new Elena, too.
But the new Elena was bewildered, what with her strange new blood that to vampires was like rocket fuel compared to the gasoline most girls carried about in their veins. With her Wings Powers, such asWings of Redemption, most of which she didn’t understand and none of which she could control. Although lately she had seen the beginning of a stance, and she knew it was for Wings of Destruction. That, she thought grimly, might be quite useful someday.
Of course a number of them had already been helpful to Damon, who was no longer simply an ally, but an enemy-ally again. Who wanted to steal something that her whole town needed.
Elena hadn’t asked to fall in love with Damon—but, oh God, what if she already had? What if she couldn’t make the feelings stop? What could shedo?
Silently, she sat crying, knowing that she could never say any of these things to Damon. He had a gift of farseeing and a level head in times of emotion, but not, as she knew all too well, aboutthis particular issue. If she told him what was in her heart, before she knew it, he would kidnap her. He would believe she had forgotten Stefan for good, as she had forgotten him briefly tonight.
“Stefan,” she whispered. “I’m sorry…”
She could never let Stefan know about it either—and Stefanwas her heart.

“We’ve got to get rid of Shinichi and Misaofast,” Matt was saying moodily. “I mean, I really need to get into condition soon or Kent State’s gonna send me back stamped ‘Reject.’” He and Meredith were sitting in Mrs. Flowers’s warm kitchen nibbling on gingersnap cookies and watching her as she diligently worked at making beef carpaccio—the second of the two raw beef recipes in the antique cookbook she owned. “Stefan’s doing so well that in a couple of days we could even be tossing around the old pigskin,” he added, sarcasm edging his voice, “if everybody in town would just stop being crazy possessed. Oh, yeah, and if the cops would stop coming after me for assaulting Caroline.”

At the mention of Stefan’s name, Mrs. Flowers peeked into a cauldron that had been bubbling away on the stove for so long, and was now emitting such a fearsome odor that Matt didn’t know who to pity more: the guy getting the huge pile of raw meat or the one who’d soon be trying to choke down whatever was in that cooking pot.
“So—assuming you’re alive—you’re going to be glad to leave Fell’s Church when the time comes?” Meredith asked him quietly.
Matt felt as if she had just slapped him. “You’re joking, right?” he said, petting Saber with one tanned, bare foot. The huge beast was making a sort of growly purring sound. “I mean, before that, it’s going to be great to throw a couple of passes to Stefan again—he’s the best tight end I’ve ever seen—”
“Or ever will see,” Meredith reminded him. “I don’t think many vampires go in for football, Matt, so don’t even think of suggesting that he and Elena follow you to Kent State. Besides, I’ll be right beside you, trying to get them to come to Harvard withme. And worse, we’re both checkmated by Bonnie, because that junior college—whatever—is much closer to Fell’s Church and all the things around here they love.”
“All the things around hereElena loves,” Matt couldn’t help correcting. “All Stefan wants is to be with Elena.”
“Now, now,” Mrs. Flowers said. “Let’s just take things as they come, shall we, my dears? Mama says that we need to keep up our strength. She sounds worried to me—you know, she can’t foresee everything that happens.”
Matt nodded, but he had to swallow hard before saying to Meredith, “So, you’re eager to be off for the Ivied Walls, I’m sure?”
“If it wasn’t Harvard—if I could just put it off for a year and keep my scholarship…” Meredith’s voice trailed off, but the yearning in it was unmistakable.
Mrs. Flowers patted Meredith’s shoulder, and then said, “I wonder about dear Stefan and Elena. After all, with everyone thinking that she’s dead, Elena can’t live here and be seen.”
“I think they’ve given up on the idea of going somewhere far, far away,” Matt said. “I’ll bet that now they think of themselves as Fell’s Church’s guardians. They’ll get by somehow. Elena can shave her head.” Matt was trying for a light tone, but the words sank like lead balloons as they left his mouth.
“Mrs. Flowers was talking aboutcollege,” Meredith said in a tone just as heavy. “Are they going to be super-heroes at night and just veg out the rest of the time? If they want to go somewhere even next year, they need to be thinking about it now.”
“Oh…well, I guess there’s Dalcrest.”
“You know, that little campus in Dyer. It’s small but the football team there is really—well, I guess Stefan wouldn’t care how good they are. But it’s only half an hour away.”
“Oh,that place. Well, the sports may be fantastic but it’s sure not an Ivy, much less Harvard.” Meredith—unsentimental, enigmatic Meredith—sounded as if she had a stuffed-up nose.
“Yeah,” Matt said—and just for a second took Meredith’s slim, cold hand and squeezed it. He was even more surprised when she linked her chilled fingers up with his, holding his hand.
“Mama says whatever is fated to happen will happen soon,” Mrs. Flowers said serenely. “The main thing, as I see it, is to save the dear, dear old town. As well as the people.”
“Of course it is,” Matt said. “We’re going to do our best. Thank God we have somebody in town who understands Japanese demons.”
“Orime Saitou,” Mrs. Flowers said with a little smile. “Bless her for her amulets.”
“Yeah, both of them,” Matt said, thinking of the grandmother and mother who shared the name. “I think we’re going to need a lot of those amulets they make,” he added grimly.
Mrs. Flowers opened her mouth, but Meredith spoke, still focused on thoughts of her own.
“You know, Stefan and Elena may not have given up on their far, far away thing after all,” she said sadly. “And since at this point none of us may evenlive to make it to our own colleges…” She shrugged.
Matt was still squeezing her hand when Bonnie dashed in the front door, keening. She tried to speed through the foyer toward the stairs, avoiding the kitchen, but Matt released Meredith and they both dashed up to block her. Instantly, everyone was in combat mode. Meredith grasped Bonnie’s arm tightly. Mrs. Flowers came into the foyer, wiping her hands on a dish towel.
“Bonnie, what happened? Is it Shinichi and Misao? Are we being attacked?” Meredith asked quietly but with the intensity to cut through hysteria.
Something shot like a bolt of ice through Matt’s body. No one really knew where Shinichi and Misao were right now. Perhaps in the thicket that was all that was left of the Old Woods—perhaps right here at the boardinghouse. “Elena!” he shouted. “Oh, God, she and Damon are both out there! Are they hurt? Did Shinichi get them?”
Bonnie shut her eyes and shook her head.
“Bonnie, stay with me. Stay calm.Is it Shinichi? Is it the police?” Meredith asked. And to Matt: “You’d better check through the curtains there.” But Bonnie was still shaking her head.
Matt saw no police lights through the curtains. Nor did he see any sign of Shinichi and Misao attacking.
“If we’renot being attacked,” Matt could hear Meredith saying to Bonnie, “then what is happening?”
Maddeningly, Bonnie just shook her head.
Matt and Meredith looked at each other over Bonnie’s strawberry curls. “The star ball,” Meredith said softly, just as Matt growled, “Thatbastard.”
“Elena won’t tell him anything but the story,” Meredith said. And Matt nodded, trying to keep from his mind a picture of Damon casually waving and Elena convulsing in agony.
“Maybe it’s the possessed kids—the ones who walk around hurting themselves or acting insane,” Meredith said, with a side glance at Bonnie, and squeezing Matt’s hand very hard.
Matt was bewildered and fumbled the cue. He said, “If that S.O.B. is trying to get the star ball, Bonnie wouldn’t have run away. She’s bravest when she’s scared. And unless he’s killed Elena she shouldn’t be like this—”
Which left Meredith the grim job of saying, “Talk to us, Bonnie,” in her most comforting big-sister voice. “Something must have happened to get you in this state. Just breathe slowly and tell me what you saw.”
And then, in a torrent, words began to spill from Bonnie’s lips. “She—she was calling himdarling,” Bonnie said, gripping Meredith’s other hand with both of hers. “And there was blood smeared all around on her neck. And—oh, I dropped it! The bottle of Black Magic!”
“Oh, well,” Mrs. Flowers said gently. “No use crying over spilled wine. We’ll just have to—”
“No, you don’tunderstand,” Bonnie gasped. “I heard them talking as I came up—I had to go slow because it’s so hard not to trip. They were talking about the star ball! At first I thought they were arguing, but—she had her arms around Damon’s neck. And all that stuff about him not being a vampire anymore? She had blood all over her throat and he had it on his mouth! As soon as I got there he picked her up and threw her so I couldn’t see but he wasn’t fast enough. She must have given the star ball to him! And she still was calling him ‘darling’!”
Matt’s eyes met Meredith’s and they both flushed and looked away quickly. If Damon was a vampire again—if he had somehow gotten the star ball from its hiding place—and if Elena had been “taking food” to him just to give him blood…
Meredith was still looking for a way out. “Bonnie—aren’t you making too much of this? Anyway, what happened to Mrs. Flowers’s tray of food?”
“It was—all over the place. They’d just tossed it away! Buthe was was holding her with one hand under her knees and one under her neck, and her head was way back so that her hair was falling all over his shoulder!”
There was a silence as everyone tried to imagine various positions that might correspond to Bonnie’s last words.
“You mean he was holding her up to steady her?” Meredith asked, her voice suddenly almost a whisper. Matt caught her meaning. Stefan was probably asleep upstairs, and Meredith wanted to keep it that way.
“No! They—they werelooking at each other,” Bonnie cried. “Looking. Into each other’s eyes.”
Mrs. Flowers spoke mildly. “But dear Bonnie—maybe Elena fell down and Damon had to just scoop her up.”
Now Bonnie was speaking remorselessly and fluently. “Only if that’s what’s just happened to all those women on the covers of those romance books—what-d’you-call-’ems?”
“Bodice-rippers?” Meredith suggested unhappily when no one else spoke.
“That’s right! Bodice-rippers. That’s how he was holding her! I mean, we all knew that something was going on with the two of them in the Dark Dimension, but I thought all that would stop when we found Stefan. But it hasn’t!”
Matt felt sick in the pit of his stomach. “You mean right now Elena and Damon are in there…kissing and stuff?”
“I don’t know what I mean!” Bonnie exclaimed.“They were talking about the star ball! He was holding her like a bride! And she wasn’t fighting it!”
With a chill of horror, Matt could see trouble, and he could see that Meredith could see it too. Even worse, they were looking in two different directions. Matt was looking upstairs, at the staircase, where Stefan had just appeared. Meredith was looking at the kitchen door, one glance at which showed Matt that Damon was entering the foyer.
What was Damon doing in the kitchen? Matt wondered.We were there until a minute ago. And he was, what, eavesdropping from the den side?
Matt gave the situation his best shot, anyway. “Stefan!” he said in a hearty voice that made him wince inwardly. “You ready for a little athlete’s-blood nightcap?”
A tiny part of Matt’s mind thought: But just look at him. Only three days out of prison and he already looks like himself again. Three nights ago he was a skeleton. Today he just looks—thin. He’s even handsome enough to make the girls all go crazy over him again.
Stefan smiled faintly at him, leaning on the banister. In his pale face, his eyes were remarkably alive, a vibrant green that made them actually shine like jewels. He didn’t look upset, and that made Matt’s heart twist for him. How could they tell him?
“Elena is hurt,” Stefan said, and suddenly there was a pause—an utter silence—as every person froze in place. “But Damon couldn’t help her, so he brought her to Mrs. Flowers.”
“True,” Damon said coldly from behind Matt. “I couldn’t help her. If I were still a vampire…but I’m not. Elena has burns, mainly. All I could think of was an ice pack or some kind of poultice. Sorry to disprove all your clever theories.”
“Oh my heavens!” cried Mrs. Flowers. “You mean dear Elena’s waiting right now in the kitchen for a poultice?” She hurried out of the foyer toward the kitchen.
Stefan was still coming down the stairs, calling, “Mrs. Flowers, she scalded her arm and leg—she says because Damon didn’t recognize her in the dark and jostled her. And that he thought it was an intruder in his room, and nicked her throat with a knife. The rest of us will be in the parlor if you need help.”
Bonnie cried, “Stefan, maybe she’s innocent—buthe isn’t! Even according to you, he burned her—that’s torture—and he put a knife to her throat! Maybe he threatened her to make her tell us what we wanted to hear. Maybe she’s still a hostage right now and we don’t know it!”
Stefan flushed. “It’s so hard to explain,” he said very softly. “And I keep trying to tune it out. But so far—some of my Powers have been growing…faster than my ability to control them. Most of the time I’m asleep, so it doesn’t matter. I was asleep until a few minutes ago. But I woke up and Elena was telling Damon that Mrs. Flowers doesn’t have the star ball. She was upset, and injured—and I could feelwhere she’d been injured. And then suddenly I heard you, Bonnie. You’re a very strong telepath. Then I heard the rest of you talking about Elena….”
Oh my God. How insane, Matt was thinking. His mouth was babbling some “Sure, sure, our mistake” gibberish, and his feet followed Meredith’s to the parlor as if they were attached to her Italian sandals.
But the blood on Damon’s mouth…
There had to be some mundane reason for the blood, too. Stefan had said that Damon had nicked Elena with a knife. As to how the blood got smeared around; well, that actually didn’t sound like vampirism to Matt. He’d been a donor for Stefan at least a dozen times in the last days and the process was always very neat.
It was strange, too, he thought, that it had never occurred to any of them that, even from the top of the house, Stefan might be able to hear their thoughts directly.
Could he always do that? Matt thought, wondering at the same time whether Stefan was doing it right now.
“I try not to listen to thoughts, unless I’m invited or I have a good reason,” Stefan said. “But when anybody mentions Elena, especially if they sound upset—that I can’t help. It’s like when you’re in a noisy place and you can barely hear, but when somebody says your name you hear it instantly.”
“It’s called the Cocktail Party Phenomenon,” Meredith said. Her voice was quiet and remorseful as she was trying to calm the mortified Bonnie. Matt felt another tug at his heart.
“Well, you can call it whatever you want,” he said, “but what it means is that you can listen in on our minds any time you like.”
“Notany time,” Stefan said, wincing. “When I was drinking animal blood I wasn’t strong enough unless I really worked at it. By the way, it may please my friends to know that I’m going back to hunting animals by tomorrow or the next day, depending on what Mrs. Flowers says,” he added with a significant glance around the room. His eyes lingered on Damon, who was lounging against the wall by the window, looking disheveled and very, very dangerous. “But that doesn’t mean I’ll forget who saved my life when I was dying. For that I honor and thank them—and, well, we’ll 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, brilliant. Make yourself as weak as you can, little brother, even with three or four willing donors around you. Then, when it comes to the final showdown with Shinichi and Misao, you’ll 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 well. 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.”


“First,” Meredith asked, “is Damon right? If you go back to animal blood, will you be seriously weakened?”

Stefan smiled. “I’ll 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 rolled 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 all 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…willing…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 allhe 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—well, with ladies present, I will saygenders. Even with male kitsune; which of course is why I am in this mess.”
Matt literally 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 all 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 ofhim 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, still 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 ofus? 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 small 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 all 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 soBonnie, and so true of all 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 really ought to forgive her, Damon,” Meredith, ever the impartial referee, said bluntly. “I don’t think she’ll 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.
“Damn you,” Matt said under his breath.
“Excuse me?” Damon’s voice was no longer languid and falsely polite, but suddenly a whiplash.
“You heard me,” Matt growled. “And if you didn’t, maybe we’d better go outside so I can say it louder,” he added, soaring on the wings of bravado.
He left behind a wail of “No!” from Bonnie, and a gentle “Sh,” from Meredith. Stefan said, “Both of you—” in a commanding voice, but then he faltered and coughed, which both Matt and Damon took as a chance to sprint for the door.
It was still very warm outside on the boardinghouse porch. “Is this the killing ground?” Damon asked lazily when they had descended the steps and stood beside the gravel path.
“It’s fine by me,” Matt said briefly, knowing in his bones that Damon would fight dirty.
“Yes, this is definitely close enough,” Damon said, flashing an unnecessarily brilliant smile in Matt’s direction. “You can yell for help while little brother is in the parlor, and he’ll have plenty of time to rescue you. And now we’re going to solve the problems of what you’re doing in my business and why you are—”
Matt punched him in the nose.
He had no idea what Damon was trying to do. If you asked a guy to step outside, then you asked him to step outside. Then you went for the guy. You didn’t stand around talking. If you tried that, you’d be stuck with the label of “coward” or worse. Damon didn’t seem like the type who needed to be told that.
But then, Damon had always been able to repel any attack on him while he got as many insults as he liked…before.
Before, he’d have just broken every bone in my hand and gone on baiting me, Matt guessed. But now…I’m almost as fast as him, and he simply got taken by surprise.
Matt flexed his hand gingerly. It always hurt, of course, but if Meredith could do it to Caroline, then he could do it to…
Damn, did I just take downDamon?
Run, Honeycutt, he seemed to hear the voice of his old coach telling him. Run. Get out of town. Change your name.
Tried that. Didn’t work. Never even got a T-shirt, Matt thought sourly.
But Damon wasn’t leaping up like a flaming demon from hell, with the eyes of a dragon and the strength of a raging bull to annihilate Matt. It looked and sounded more as if he were shocked and indignant from his disheveled hair to his earth-stained boots.
“You…ignorant…childish…” He lapsed into Italian.
“Look,” Matt said. “I’m here to fight, okay? And the smartest guy I ever knew said: ‘If you’re gonna fight, don’t talk. If you’re gonna talk, don’t fight.’”
Damon tried to snarl as he knelt up and pulled spiny teasel and prickly sida out of his distressed black jeans. But the snarl didn’t come out quite right. Maybe it was the new shape of his canines. Maybe it just didn’t have enough conviction behind it. Matt had seen enough defeated guys to know that this fight was over. A strange exaltation came over him. He was going to keep all his limbs and organs! It was a precious, precious moment.
All right, then, should I offer him a hand? Matt wondered, to be answered instantaneously by,Sure, if you’d offer a hand to a temporarily stunned crocodile. What do you really need ten whole fingers for, anyway?
Oh, well, he thought, turning to go back into the front door. As long as he lived—which, conceded, might not be too long—he would remember this moment.
As he went in, he bumped into Bonnie, who was rushing out.
“Oh, Matt, oh,Matt,” she cried. She was looking wildly around. “Did you hurt him? Did he hurt you?”
Matt smacked his fist into the palm of his hand, once. “He’s still sitting down back there,” he added helpfully.
“Oh,no!” Bonnie gasped, and she hurried out the door.
Okay. Less spectacular of a night. But still a pretty good one.

“They didwhat?” Elena asked Stefan. Cold poultices anchored by tight bandages were wrapped around her arm, hand, and thigh—Mrs. Flowers had cut her jeans off short—and Mrs. Flowers was wiping away the dried blood on her neck with herbs.

Her heart was pounding with more than pain. Even she hadn’t realized that Stefan was tuned in to the entire house when he was awake. All she could do was to shakily thank God that he’d been asleep while she and Damon—no! She had to stop thinking about it, and right now!
“They went outside to fight,” Stefan said. “It’s idiotic, of course. But it’s a matter of honor, too. I can’t interfere.”
“Well,I can—if you’re done, Mrs. Flowers.”
“Yes, dear Elena,” Mrs. Flowers said, winding a bandage around Elena’s throat. “Now you shouldn’t get tetanus.”
Elena stopped in mid-motion. “I thought you got tetanus from rusty blades,” she said. “Da—this one looked brand-new.”
“Tetanus comes fromdirty blades, my dear,” Mrs. Flowers corrected her. “But this”—she held up a bottle—“is Grandmama’s own personal recipe that has kept many a wound disease-free down the cen—down the years.”
“Wow,” Elena said. “I never even heard ofGrandmama before. Was she a—healer?”
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Flowers said earnestly. “She was actually accused of being a witch. But at her trial they could prove nothing. Her accusers seemed not even to be capable of coherent speech.”
Elena looked at Stefan only to find that he was looking at her. Matt was in danger of being dragged off to a kangaroo court—for allegedly assaulting Caroline Forbes while under the influence of some unknown and terrible drug. Anything to do with courts was interesting to both of them. But looking at Stefan’s concerned face, Elena decided not to pursue the subject. She squeezed his hand. “We have to go now—but let’s talk aboutGrandmama later. I think she sounds fascinating.”
“I just remember her as a crotchety old recluse, who didn’t suffer fools gladly and thought just about everyone was a fool,” Mrs. Flowers said. “I suppose I was going down the same path until you children came and made me sit up and take notice. Thank you.”
“We’re the ones who should thank you,” Elena began, hugging the old woman, feeling her heart stop pounding. Stefan was looking at her with open love. It was all going to be all right—for her.
I’m worried about Matt, she thought to Stefan, testing the waters more vigorously. Damon’s still so fast—and you know he doesn’t like Matt a bit.
I think, Stefan returned with a wry smile, that that is a rather stunning understatement. But I also think you shouldn’t worry until we see who comes back injured.
Elena eyed that smile, and thought for a moment about impulsive, athletic Matt. After a moment, she smiled back. She was feeling both guilty and protective—and safe. Stefan always made her feel safe. And right now, she wanted to spoil him.

In the front yard, Bonnie was abasing herself. She couldn’t help thinking, even now, about how handsome Damon looked, how wild and dark and ferocious and gorgeous. She couldn’t help thinking about the times he’d smiled at her, laughed at her, come to save her at her urgent call. She had honestly thought that someday…But now she felt as if her heart were breaking in two.

“I just want to bite my tongue out,” she said. “I should never have assumed anything from what I saw.”
“How could you possibly have known that Iwasn’t stealing Elena away from Stefan?” Damon said wearily. “It’s just the kind of thing I’d do.”
“No, it isn’t! You did so much to free Stefan from prison—you always faced the most danger yourself—and you kept us all from being hurt. You did all that for other people—”
Suddenly Bonnie’s upper arms were being held by hands that were so strong that her mind was flooded with clichés. A grasp of iron. Strong as steel bands. An inescapable grip.
And a voice like an icy torrent was coming at her.
“You don’t know anything about me, or what I want, or what I do. For all you know I could be plotting right now. So don’t ever let me hear you talk again about such things, or imagine that I won’t kill you if you get in my way,” Damon said.
He got up and left Bonnie sitting there, staring after him. And she’d been wrong. She wasn’t out of tears at all.