Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Pairing/Characters: Damon, Damon/Katherine, Stefan/Katherine, Klaus, Damon/Bree, Damon/Caroline, Damon/Elena, Damon/Andie
Word Count: 2740
Summary: Do past experiences make a person or are they doomed from the start regardless? Damon reflects on the turning points of his life centering around different instances of compulsion, both compelling others and being compelled himself.
Author's Notes: A few weeks ago I got to wondering what all Damon knew of vampires before he became a vampire himself. My main focus was what Damon knew of compulsion because, like Katherine, it is one f his usual tricks now. Thus, this was born. This is something that I thought about prior to finding out about the premises of 3.16 and Sage and all that.
Damon lied when he told Stefan that Katherine never compelled him. She did; but not more than once and not because Damon couldn’t handle her. Rather the opposite, really. Or, at least, Damon thinks it was so. When it comes to Katherine, he is no longer sure what was real and what was the illusion she made him believe. It is perhaps most ironic that he may have came up with the illusion before she.
Once upon a time, Damon Salvatore was a dreamer. He was human and idealistic and full of dreams and ambitions and plans. But when Katherine Pierce came into Mystic Falls in 1864, something irretrievable changed in him.
She left almost as fast as she came but Damon Salvatore feels comfortable saying that in his next incarnation on this earth, transitioning from human to vampire, his time with Katherine Pierce taught him everything he now knows.
It is just now that he’s beginning to wonder if that was a good or bad thing.
In Damon’s mind, the difference between Katherine’s compulsion of Stefan and Katherine’s compulsion of him was knowledge. Stefan never knew what was happening to him, Damon did.
He remembers asking her the benefits of being a vampire, wanting to know what perks exist for a creature he knew he should hate. Her radiant and seductive smile still lingers in his mind. “Well,” she had started, “there is eternal life…eternal beauty. We can go anywhere, do anything; we can be whomever we wish, live luxuriously. We can get whatever we want.”
He didn’t understand what she meant by that last statement, so he asked her to explain.
She called over one of the house maids, looked her directly in the eye, and asked her to go to town to fetch her new dress for the ball that night.
Damon had never heard Bridget speak in that completely monotone voice before, and when she left to fetch the dress, he turned to Katherine.
“What happened to her?”
“She did exactly as I asked, no questions—power and influence, you must understand, Damon, are a vampire’s greatest assets.”
Damon saw Katherine compel Stefan once when they were human, before he was ever compelled himself. He has never told his brother this, but he assumes Stefan is well aware of this now, another power of being a vampire—compulsion wears off.
Damon knew Katherine was playing both brothers, but the extent of this game of hers didn’t become known until Stefan had walked in on Damon and Katherine in a compromising position.
The look on his brother’s face told him everything. He was in love with her too.
Katherine, calm as ever with her impeccable manors and smile, untangled herself from Damon and walked over to the door where Stefan was standing, frozen in place.
“You’re going to walk out that door and forget what you have seen. Nothing has to change,” she instructs Stefan.
Stefan nods in understanding. “Nothing has to change,” he repeats before breaking eye contact and leaving the room.
She turns on him and there’s this fleck of darkness in her expression, reflecting briefly in her eyes. “Now, where were we?” she asks, her expression quickly changing into a smile.
Damon plays along, not ready to feel compulsion yet. It is easier to pretend not to notice the horror around him than to admit that his beliefs may be false; this she may have taught him without being the wiser to the lesson.
The only time Katherine compelled him, Damon had just finished telling Stefan that Katherine was all his. He had truly meant to break things off, but when Katherine came to his bed that night, she wasn’t willing to leave without getting what she came for. She wanted to be able to choose but didn’t want them to have the same option.
She sat on the edge of his bed and ran fingers through his hair. He remembers the darkness in her eyes as his finally meet hers. Thinking back, he wonders why she was so gentle with him when her anger was so palpable.
She tells him to retract his words to Stefan, to which he nods without will. “This is a game of my making,” she whispers with an obvious forced calm. “You are not allowed to make moves without my approval.”
Reflecting on her words now, Damon will be able to piece together the puzzle. Katerina Petrova had been a pawn in a game, much like the human Damon Salvatore. Klaus was the maker of her game, much like Katherine is the maker of his and Stefan’s.
The only difference he can see is that Damon never got to run. By the time she let him go it was far too late.
The world continued to spin after his ‘death.’ Babies were born, people fell ill; some recovered…some didn’t. Years pass in a blur. Damon spent equal time watching over Stefan and trying to free Katherine.
In the 1920s, Damon found himself shadowing his brother in Chicago. Stefan was in full-on ripper mode, so Damon was doing his best to contain the aftermath.
One night, as he was disposing of a body Stefan had left in an alley, a man came up to him and picked up the guy’s feet, helping him drag the body to the nearest dumpster.
“He really is fantastic, isn’t he?” the stranger remarked offhandedly when the body was covered by enough trash.
Damon followed the stranger’s eyes to the spot where the body was left and for the first time he noticed a second set of bloody footprints. He froze then and tried to resist looking down at the stranger’s shoes.
“I don’t control my brother,” Damon said, “I just protect him.”
“Family is important, so I will not begrudge you that,” the stranger answered, walking slowly to Damon with each word. Damon’s eyes met the stranger’s reluctantly, “But you must leave this town and forget this night and all that happened during it.”
The stranger is gone before he blinks and to this day, Damon remembers nothing.
In the late 1980s, Damon was in Georgia attending college. Colleges were and still are a prime spot for vampires because of the nature of the students in attendance. At the larger campuses, parties are thrown every night and many people get wasted—wasted enough that no one would question their lack of memory in the morning.
While going for a degree in history—a cliché for a vampire, but what can be done about it—Damon was making his way through the drunken college partiers. It was a fine time to be a vampire, he thought.
At one of these parties where he planned to feed, he noticed a young high school student who had made her way here with a couple of her more daring friends. It would surprise most people to know just how often high school kids party with the college crowd.
Normally, Damon just compels the lot of them to leave and go home—high school parents are a lot more concerned about their children’s missing memories than college parents. But this isn’t normal, because the girl he was looking at was staring at a candle so hard she kept making the flame go out and relight in quick succession.
Keeping a careful eye on the girl, Damon compelled the other high school girls to leave and then made his way over to her. “It would seem as if your friends left you here alone,” he shouts over the music.
She looked up at him. “Well, they only brought me because Carly’s my cousin,” she said on a sigh. Damon supposed there was more to the story and that her words were not, in fact, meant for him at all. “Are you sober enough to give me a ride?” she asked then, looking at him sideways as if judging his competency.
He gave her a smile. “Completely sober, Miss.”
He escorted her to his car and she directed him to her house without any small talk at all and when Damon parked next to her driveway, his frustration was almost visible.
She had already thanked him for the ride and exited the car before he remembered his only available option and met her halfway down her driveway.
“Meet me at the corner of First and Elm at one tomorrow,” he commanded her, turning her so she would be looking directly into his eyes.
Her eyes widened and she backed up. “What did you just do?” she hissed. “Did you just try to compel me?”
That she surprised him for the second time that night gave her the advantage and all he could say was, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“Well, next time…don’t,” she replied, spinning around and heading to her front door. Damon, realizing the game was up, started for his car. “And by the way,” she continued before she went inside, stopping Damon in his tracks, “what ever happened to actually asking a girl out? Did that die when you did?”
Those words reminded him of the fact that she knew what he was and, once again, gave her the advantage. “I suppose it did,” he mumbled. “I’m sorry,” he said to her, “I’ll just leave now and be on my way.” He opened the car door which she promptly closed for him from across the driveway, reminding him that she was a witch.
“I’m Bree,” she says, “and you are?”
It finally hit him that the night wasn’t completely wasted after all. “Damon,” he answered. “Damon Salvatore.”
“Promise not to compel me again and I’ll consider seeing you at one tomorrow afternoon.”
Bree was the first girl to ever give him a second chance and for that reason, it saddened him when she betrayed him years later. He remembers this moment, standing in her driveway, cursing himself for playing his hand too soon and scaring her away before he could ask for help freeing Katherine and realizes that Bree had tried to teach him a lesson all those years ago.
It’s too bad it took him so long to appreciate it.
Caroline Forbes was an easy target. There really didn’t have to be any reason beyond that as to why he picked her. She was alone, drunk, insecure, and willing…for the most part. She made a statement to Stefan—that he wasn’t going to leave this town without a large body count—and had the additional benefit of being close to Elena.
Damon remembers wondering if high school girls were just getting dumber of if Bree had just been a fluke, because Caroline proved to be preoccupied with a vast array of trivial details and couldn’t be kept on track without constant supervision.
“Are you going to kill me?” she asked him once.
Damon remembers wanting to do so just then before remembering that she still had a purpose. And if it hadn’t been for his brother spiking her drink with vervain at that party, she would have been dead in the grass that night. The power he held over her life eluded her, but he was aware enough of it for the both of them.
Not long after that, she ended up in a car crash and it was doubtful if she was going to live. He didn’t have to offer to give his one-time victim some of his blood to heal her, but he did it anyway. And for his troubles, he ended up with a newborn vampire who resented him for his treatment of her when she was human.
She never forgave him for what he did to her and he really didn’t expect her to, but he noticed that she didn’t resent him any longer. He asked her why once and the answer she gave suggested that she was a lot more like the teenage Bree he remembered than he once thought. “I may be new at the whole ‘vampire’ thing,” she told him, “but I’ve learned that it is really easy to take the easy way out. I don’t blame you any more, but I don’t think I will ever forgive you for what you did to me.”
He asked the question too late, however, and her answer didn’t come until after he should have heard it.
The one time he successfully compelled Elena, he told her that he loved her. At the time, he had thought that he didn’t deserve her love in return, and was still certain she wouldn’t reciprocate, so he hadn’t waited for her response before making her forget he had even been there.
He leaned against a tree across from her house, watching over her after compelling her. He wondered briefly what she was going to make of having her necklace back with no explanation as to why—because he was too panicked to think of one—but his main thoughts centered around wondering what she would have told him if he would have let her respond.
Was there even a possibility that she would have said she loved him too? Or would it be like déjà vu, in which she tells him he stands no chance and that it will always be Stefan?
If she had reciprocated, even slightly, would he have gone ahead and compelled her anyway or would he have left her with the knowledge of his feelings so she would have to think on it all the while she was with Stefan? And what if Stefan eventually turns her into a vampire—will she resent him for this like Caroline resents him? Are the two situations even comparable?
How many second chances would she give him before she realized he was a lost cause?
From the outside, his being with Andie looked a lot like his being with Caroline. They both gave him far more than they would have if they were in their right minds. They both let him into their beds even though he never compelled that out of them. They both smiled at him under compulsion. They both wore those damn scarves around their necks. But with Caroline, it was all about asserting his power and influence and lording it over his brother and Elena. It wasn’t like that with Andie.
Andie was his way of escaping. She was someone who would put him first, who would give instead of take.
And when it came right down to it, he didn’t kill her like he had planned on killing Caroline, had fate not intervened. He, himself, intervened and let her go before he could kill her.
He realizes now that should have been the end of it. She might still be alive if he would have left her alone after that, but when his brother left and Elena was so consumed with finding him, Damon needed someone who would be there for him and the only person he could think of was Andie.
Maybe it is still his fault. For all that he says he didn’t kill her, she wouldn’t have died if she hadn’t been in contact with him.
“What do you want out of this life, Damon?” Katherine asks him now.
“To forget everything you taught me,” he answers, throwing back another drink. It doesn’t cure anything, but it dulls the pain enough for him to function.
Katherine just laughs. “You give me too much credit,” she says.
She leaves him then and Damon ponders her words.
Did this really start with Katherine, or was he this person even before he met her? Did becoming a vampire unleash this facet of his personality that overrides all his good intentions? Is this just one of her games, her last ditch effort to keep control of the game?
Or does it transcend even Katherine? Is Damon being controlled by Katherine’s teachings a result of Katerina having been a pawn in Klaus’s game?
Is there really anyone to blame?