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This document was generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter program L. J. Smith The Vampire Diaries The Return: Nightfall im. The Vampire Diaries been not quite human but something else. A demon lover that Elena had died to redeem. Damon knew the truth. Stefan was dead all . The Return: Nightfall is the fifth book in L.J. Smith’s New York Times bestselling Vampire Diaries series. Elena Gilbert is back from the dead, but she’s come back changed—with newfound powers and blood that is irresistible to vampires, including Stefan and Damon Salvatore.

Nightfall is the first book in The Return trilogy and the fifth book in the The Vampire Diaries novel series. The book was published in , seventeen years after the previous installment, Dark Reunion. When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her — the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon — she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back. Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together.

So we'll see, I suppose. Overall, this book is kicking off a new arc in the story of these characters. I'm very glad to have Damon, Bonnie, and the rest back in my life. Apr 02, Rebecca rated it did not like it Shelves: Like many other readers here, I first read The Vampire Diaries series as a teenager, and really enjoyed it. Although I am in my 20s now, I was excited to see a continuation of the story, and see what happened next to the characters I had loved so much.

However, I ended up completely disappointed by this book. The biggest problem I had was the characters and setting in this book just didn't seem like they fit with how they were portrayed in the first four books. This book supposedly picks up righ Like many other readers here, I first read The Vampire Diaries series as a teenager, and really enjoyed it. This book supposedly picks up right where book four ended, but the characters are completely different, and the magical and horror elements are pretty different from those featured in the older books.

Also, this book just seemed overly long, like the writer attempted to stuff too much into one book. I think it would have worked better as two books - especially since this is a series, there's no reason not to divide it into more books if it works better this way.

I do realize it's been a long time since the original Vampire Diaries, and I respect that the writing style of an author can change with time. But rather than continuing a series that readers loved so much, and taking the characters in a direction that just doesn't fit with the original books, why did the author not create new characters and a new world and write a new series that fits with her current writing style?

Had she put her talents to that, I think a lot of her older fans would have been a lot less disappointed. I ended up giving up on fully reading this book about halfway through and skimmed through the rest, hoping it would look more promising, but it didn't. I may try again when I've gotten over the disappointment of the book being so different from the rest of the series, but I would encourage those who truly loved the earlier books to avoid this one.

They will likely end up disappointed as well. View 1 comment. Sep 17, PurplyCookie rated it did not like it Shelves: When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her—the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon, she was consigned to a fate beyond death until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back. Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What's more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her blood irresistible to any vampire.

I'm not going to sugar coat anything. This book w When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her—the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon, she was consigned to a fate beyond death until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back. This book was awful. Now I will agree that sometimes a book can start out slow and redeem itself by the end.

Sometimes a book can have a great beginning but fall flat. But this book never took off. I was confused and annoyed by the silliness from the beginning and it got worse from there. To be honest, I did not finish the book. I read half way and threw it down in disgust. It seems like LJ Smith has been cooped up in the house with every season of Sailor Moon for the past 10 years. The villains are kitsune twins, who look like Pokemon and act like Team Rocket, spout stereotypical Japanese words, and seem to generally fail at being anything other than vaguely annoying and really attractive.

Or how about this harsher description: Evil Japanese twins that are incestuous, sadistic, and absolutely ridiculous cartoonish would be accurate. Then there are suddenly random Japanese families in Fell's Church who, of course, randomly provide clues. I'm suspecting Smith of some cultural racism because these characters border on parodies of Japanese people and folklore.

Lastly, Elena's healing and flying powers all have thematic names, which she yells out as she's executing them: Did I forget to mention the angry sentient trees from the angry Old Wood that has suddenly appeared in Fell's Church as though it's been there all along?

And giant invisible insects made of jell-o that seems to be causing a rash of possessions in Fell's Church? As for this being a more "adult" L. Smith--I could not disagree more. Gratuitous violence and sophomoric sexual overtones do not an "adult" novel make.

Instead we are forced to endure absurd musings over lingerie while someone is dying, euphemisms for sex that are utterly juvenile, and implications about sexuality that are at best offensive and at worst irresponsible. All of it is as far removed from the very adult, very subtle themes of the original series as to be absurd.

Title Nightfall The Vampire Diaries: The Return, 1 Author L. Smith Reviewed By Purplycookie View all 10 comments. Dec 27, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: Elena is no Buffy, but she does like to foil the best laid plans of the evil doers that come to wreck havoc on her little country town.

Though Stefan and Angel share a lot in common. Spike and Damon; however, are nothing a like in my opinion. I liked Spike, but I love Damon. I might have been the only person who was happy when Buffy and Spike ended up together or maybe not , anyway I'm hoping if these characters and a Fell's Church is the Hellmouth of Virginia, like Sunnydale was to California. I might have been the only person who was happy when Buffy and Spike ended up together or maybe not , anyway I'm hoping if these characters and author are anything a like, then I can hope that Elena and Damon will find their perfect happiness together.

I might be okay with Bonnie and Damon, we'll see. I'm not sure what to do about Stefan. Hopefully Fell's Church doesn't end up like a big hole in the ground like Sunnydale. But, I'm hopeful for more Vampire Diaries. I hear that the CW is creating a series for next season. I'm looking forward to it. Over all, I enjoyed this book, especially since Damon was in it more regardless if he was possessed by ugly demon creatures.

The one negative I do have was at times feeling like the story was dragging. It didn't always bother me, but there were times I was like, "lets move it along" View all 4 comments. That was, um, weird. Feb 20, Megan rated it really liked it Shelves: This is L.

Smith's next Book number 5 in her Vampire Diaries series. The original four were written in So, this book comes 18 years later. The Vampire Dairies is one of my all time favorite vampire series because the story and characters seem so timeless.

Now, after 18 years, L. Smith has written a fifth book in the series.

This newest book follows all of the characters we so desperately fell in love with in the first four books. However, as L. The first pages or so are written in a completely different style, the rest of the book is more like her writing. You cannot expect a carbon copy of any of the previous four books. This book cannot be compared to the other four at all.

It think this new book, and the other two to follow need to be judged separately from Ms. This book is very different. There are new bad guys and Elena has new Power. My enemies. Yup it's that bad that it doesn't even deserve 1 star. It was so bad that I was like, what the hell did I just read. In fact, I made a 'what-the-hell-did-i-just-read' shelf just for this book lol. The story was so lame and stupid I can't even explain how lame it is.

Honestly nothing in the book made sense. And all of a sudden the characters became extra stupid. That whole baby Elena to human Elena and the to being an angel And going on like "lovely love".. And Damon acting even more psycho than usual and all of a sudden he can't remember Mutt, I mean Matt's name. And don't get me started on those twins.. This book didn't feel anything like the first 4 books. Smith was definitely on drugs or something when writing this book Honestly I can't imagine a sane person writing this crap!

It's worse than the lamest Wattpad book I've read. All I've left to say to the TVD show lovers.. Even if the show did drag at some point, at least things made more sense in the show. Oh and thanks for the headache.. Aug 02, Ashley rated it did not like it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Put this book down and run away very quickly.

I couldn't even get past the second chapter. Quit ruining your perfectly good series by adding more books, LJ Smith. You managed to suck out every ounce of fun from your characters by wrapping them in this vacuous cloud of vague emotions?

Can you please explain to me how Carol Put this book down and run away very quickly. She's kind of a bitch. Vampires are big, bad, and scary. Fairies are not. There is no rivalry between them, because vampires would eat fairies for breakfast if they would stop giggling and flitting around long enough.

But this isn't your gravest sin, LJ Smith. Oh no. Not by half. Feb 10, Lisa Bookworm Lisa rated it liked it Shelves: This is a difficult book to review. I must say that I did enjoy this book, but there were many distrubing elements to it. This new series is much darker and edgier than the previous series.

This series is geared to a young adult audience, but I would not want my teen to read this book. Stefan is lured from Elena as the town is falling apart. Very strange things are happening.

This book has two "malach" who are trying to destroy the town. There is possession, seduction, and self-cutting. In the se This is a difficult book to review. In the seduction area, it doesn't go into too much detail, but the images are very stong in the other. I think that an adult can handle this book and see where it is going enough to enjoy it, but it is for mature audiences only. View 2 comments. Jun 21, Annette mathews rated it did not like it.

This is one such book, where the show is million times better than the book. This book is utter nonsense. Writing at its worst. I wonder if Smith knew what she was writing. Exactly what does these words mean?! The characters really gets into our nerves. Stefan is really pathetic. The way he calls elena ''My love'' is really annoying. Elena is the same.

As a spirit, she did some crazy stuff. Bonnie,as usual was This is one such book, where the show is million times better than the book. Bonnie,as usual was over dramatic. Damon is the only sane one remaining in the group. But Smith ruined his character too. Though this book was a disaster, i will be reading the next book in the series. With stefan out of the way,i am hoping for some delena moments. Oct 24, Katherine rated it did not like it Shelves: Yer it gets worse, stefan getting off on Elenas blood which is soo good cause shes got spiritual powers!!!

Stupid, stupid book!!!! View all 5 comments. Feb 10, Mell rated it did not like it Shelves: I've waited more than 10 years for this book, having started the series my freshman year in college. I wasn't expecting great literature- but this was very bad. The characters seem nothing like the original books, and the chemistry between them has disappeared.

Nightfall reads like bad fanfiction it must be contagious. Apparently there are more books to come, but I won't buy them. Dec 21, Kate rated it it was ok Shelves: Well, I doubt any of the plotlines in this installment of the Vampire Diaries series will be making it to the TV show anytime soon. Because this book was ridiculous. At the end of the last book, Elena had been turned into a vampire, then killed, then brought back from the dead six months after actually dying.

She doesn't remember how to talk, and she floats, and has healing powers. Everything's great except Caroline is acting very weird and Damon go Well, I doubt any of the plotlines in this installment of the Vampire Diaries series will be making it to the TV show anytime soon. Everything's great except Caroline is acting very weird and Damon got bit by something in a tree and suddenly all hell breaks loose.

Stefan disappears, and trees are attacking people, and girls are either turning into insects or flailing about mostly naked and piercing themselves. It was all so silly and over the top.

Apparently, some random Japanese fox demons named Shinishi and Misao were drawn to Fell's Church because of Elena's weird powers. What, there were no demons who lived geographically closer? Elena also annoyed the crap out of me here.

First she can't speak so she's all mewling like a kitten, while Stefan is helpless to resist her. Every time he called her "lovely little love" I wanted to barf. I was almost thankful when he was kidnapped off to another dimension. Then suddenly Elena's an angel with all these powers and Wings of Redemption?

And while Damon was possessed through half the book, I didn't understand how he could be so completely blind to the fact that he was possessed. He went from evil to maybe-not-evil so many times I couldn't keep it straight. Matt, Meredith, and Bonnie were the most superfluous characters ever. Bonnie was like their psychic cellphone. And suddenly there's a drink that vampires can conjure up out of the air, in a wine glass no less, that will sate their thirst for blood?

How convenient. Probably as a teenager I might have enjoyed the crazy plot twists, and I gave this two stars because I did feel the need to finish it. But obviously I will not be reading the rest of the Vampire Diaries: The Return series.

View all 3 comments. Mega-Fans of the TV series. I don't think I've ever read any other book series that is so inferior to its tv adaptation. These books honestly read like bad fanfiction. If this rating was solely based on my enjoyment, I'd probably give it 4 stars. But it wouldn't be fair to forgive so much based on a stellar TV adaptation.

In all honesty, this is a 2 star book. Both the human and vampire characters respond to situations in bizarre, nonsensical ways. It's often hard to understand exactly what is happening in a scene. And my particular pet peeve is that a large portion of Elena's inner dialogue always seems to be dedicated to questioning whether or not she should trust Damon in Every.

On the subject of Damon When watching the show, I'm Team Delena all the way, however in this book it is impossible to root for him. He bounces between being controlling and totally lovesick.

The Return Nightfall

Neither of these are attractive qualities. And trust me, even Ian Somerhalder couldn't pull off some of this dialogue. Stefan isn't much better. He's overly angelic, and his nickname for Elena "my lovely love" is both awfully unimaginative and vomit inducing. Book Elena can do better than both of them. In short, I'm going to keep reading these, but I really, really don't recommend that anyone else starts. Poor Damon! Poor Stefan!

Mar 17, Steph Sinclair rated it did not like it Shelves: I think I got to page 57 when I just couldn't continue. And it takes a lot for me to not finish a book! Feb 12, Heather rated it really liked it.

I loved The Vampire Diaries and have read them often since junior high in the early 90s. Smith was a favorite author for a significant part of my life and is still an author I enjoy going back to. Because of this, I was so excited, and yet a little nervous, about a new installment in The Vampire Diaries series.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. I noticed several things right away. The book was definitely more adult than the previous 4. More mentions were made of adult situatio I loved The Vampire Diaries and have read them often since junior high in the early 90s.

More mentions were made of adult situations, more nakedness happened and Caroline ended up pregnant for an encounter with Tyler that supposedly took place during Dark Reunion.

Still, in some ways it was like the others. Edgy seemed to be the kitsune having red tipped hair. This book took place a week or so after the end of Dark Reunion.

This was hard for me to accept because it's been over 10 years since Dark Reunion. Some places that were left blank in Dark Reunion, like what went on while Caroline was kidnapped by Klaus and Tyler, were filled with explanations of the kitsune giving Caroline Dark Magic. At least that's what I got from it. Caroline has since been conversing with one of the kitsune through her mirror and I suppose that she was promised Elena's head on a platter.

I had honestly thought Caroline had grown at the end of the 4th book, but apparently not. Elena starts as a mostly spirit, unable to function as a teen girl but with full use of White Magic. She can see the malach that are possessing Damon and Caroline as well as many of the girls in town. As time goes by, she becomes more like herself. She still has her White Magic, but she no longer has the innate knowledge to use it. She has to learn as she goes. Elena became a little Mary Sue in this, able to pull different wings to heal, help someone remember, purify and fly.

But, in the end, she used her strength and will to do what she needed to do. Damon changes the note to read that Stefan has decided to leave Elena for her own good.

Elena wakes and believes that she has been abandoned by Stefan. She decides to find Stefan with the help of her friends. Meanwhile, Matt is attacked by malachs on the way back from the boarding house. The next day, Matt returns to the boarding house, where Mrs.

Matt has two unexplained punctures on his neck, which everyone dismisses. The sheriff calls the boarding house to warn Matt that he is a suspect for the removal of stop signs from intersections.

Matt denies the charge. Meredith and Bonnie set out to visit Caroline to see if she is malach-infested. The possessed Caroline, or some other force, grabs their ankles. Bonnie calls Damon to help. Damon arrives, frees Bonnie and Meredith, kisses Bonnie, and leaves.

Matt and Elena visit Tami, who has super-glued a homemade stripper outfit onto herself. She makes sexual overtures to Matt, who is horrified. Matt and Elena then head toward the Old Wood for further investigations, while Bonnie and Meredith head to the house of a friend Isobel Saitou. Isobel has mutilated herself, and Dr. Alpert thinks she should go to the hospital. All set out, but Meredith and Bonnie leave to find Mrs.

In the Old Wood, Matt and Elena encounter Damon, who orders them to kiss and then have sex while he films them with a video camera. Elena at first tries to cooperate, but Matt objects and is tortured by Damon. Elena decides that Damon is not acting like himself.

She attempts to rescue Matt by persuading Damon to drive away. However, she leaps out of the speeding car, hoping to make her way on foot to a nearby house.

She is badly injured by her jump, however, and she cannot find the house because she is caught in a snowglobe trap designed by Shinichi. Damon suddenly comes to himself with vague memories of hurting Elena. He finds Shinichi and threatens to torture him. Damon creates a door to whatever room he finds necessary to heal Elena. The kitsunes are the ones behind the malach, the ambulatory trees, and the sexually precocious and self-mutilating girls.

The Return: Nightfall

Damon also drinks Elena's blood and realizes that it has amazing powers, including the power to restore a vampire's sexual potency. When Damon chases her to this place, Elena finds within herself a power she identifies as Wings of Redemption. Rainbow-colored wings open on her back and enfold her and Damon, who screams as he is redeemed from all his sins. He also forgets everything, so Elena opens up her violet-blue Wings of Remembrance , which allow him to remember.

Elena then opens up her white Wings of Purification. Still with the wings open, she causes Damon to lie face-down on her lap and uses her fingernails to pull the malach out of his spine.

Damon stands up and stomps on the malach to kill it. Damon and Elena then concoct a plan to defeat Shinichi and Misao. First, however, Elena makes a side trip to visit Stefan, who is imprisoned in a dungeon in a hell dimension. She makes him drink her blood to regain some of her strength. Meanwhile, Matt has regained consciousness. Tracking Elena, he ends up at the house she was trying to reach. There another girl, Kristen Dunstan, makes sexual overtures to him.

He continues into the woods and finally runs across Meredith, Bonnie, and Mrs. The four then encounter Isobel and Dr. They reach the boarding house, but other possessed girls attack. Damon appears, and then two of the group are revealed to be Shinichi and Misao, who have been playing with them all along.

Damon, Shinichi, and Misao take Dr. Alpert, Mrs. Flowers, Matt, Meredith, and Bonnie prisoner. Was she really all right? Could Caroline send flowers?

Could Elena have visitors yet?

When would she be all right? Everyone else was waiting just as anxiously to see how Elena was. Meredith, who always had a pen and paper, was scribbling some words.

I swear not to tell anyone about any supernatural events relating to Stefan or Elena, unless given specific permission to do so by Stefan or Elena.

This vow is made in perpetuity, with my blood as my witness. Matt was nodding his head. Each of the individuals around the table took the piece of paper, read it aloud, and then solemnly signed it. Then they each pricked a finger with a safety pin that Meredith had in her purse and added a drop of blood beside their signatures, with Bonnie shutting her eyes as she pricked herself.

That was when it happened. It landed on the table with a raw-throated scream, causing Bonnie to scream, too. The crow cocked an eye at the four humans, who were hastily pulling back their chairs to get out of its way. Then it cocked its head the other way. It was the biggest crow any of them had ever seen, and the sun stroked iridescent The Return: The crow seemed, for all the world, to be examining the contract.

And then it did something so quickly that it made Bonnie dart behind Meredith, stumbling over her chair. It opened its wings, leaned forward, and pecked violently at the paper, seeming to aim at two specific spots.

And then it was gone, first fluttering, and then soaring off until it was a tiny black speck in the sun. When they dared to move forward and look at the paper, Bonnie felt as if someone had thrown a blanket of ice around her back. Her heart began to pound. Impossible as it seemed, the violent pecking was all red, as if the crow had retched up blood to color it. And the red marks, surprisingly delicate, looked exactly like an ornate letter: D And under that: Elena is mine.

They looked for Mrs. So they walked up the narrowing steps with the worn carpet and splintering balustrade, hallooing as they came. He looked—different somehow. Just the way she was when they met, The Return: You saw her in the woods. But nobody could sit down. All eyes were fixed on Elena. She looked exactly the way Bonnie remembered her.

Except that she was floating three feet off the floor. Stefan saw them all gawking. Elena was looking. Her gold-flecked blue eyes were curious, and she was smiling, but there was no recognition as she looked from one visitor to another. Bonnie had been holding her arms out. I was there when you came back. These are your friends, your good friends. This tall, dark-haired beauty is Meredith, and this fiery little pixie is Bonnie, and this guy with the all-American looks is Matt.

Or am I invisible? She sounded good-humored enough, but Bonnie knew that it made Caroline grind her teeth The Return: Which, of course, was pretty much what he was, Bonnie thought.

Caroline looked slightly smug—Stefan had taken his time with the hand kiss. They nearly died for you—and for me. There was still no sign of recognition on her face, but there was something else. There was a kind of limitless benediction and tranquility. Elena radiated a calming peace and an unconditional love that made Bonnie breathe in deeply and shut her eyes.

After a moment Bonnie realized she was in danger of crying at the sheer feeling of goodness—a word that was almost never used these days. Some things still could be simply, untouchably good. Elena was good. She held out her arms. Caroline looked flustered. A wave of scarlet swept up her neck.

And Caroline and Elena had been close friends—until Stefan, their rivalry had been friendly. It was good of Elena to pick Caroline to hug first. For long moments Caroline stood deathly still as if in shock. Then she reared back and struggled, at first feebly, and then so violently that Elena was catapulted backward in the air, her eyes wide. Stefan caught her like an infielder going for a pop fly.

It does exactly what you said, Stefan, helps them identify specific individuals. Scrubbing her mouth had been a bad idea; she had smeared scarlet lipstick all around it, so that she looked like something out of a Bride of Dracula movie.

What do you think I am? Because some hamsters do it, that makes it okay? Not hamsters. The door closed again—this time, as if it had been kicked. Bonnie ducked her head and clutched at her short strawberry curls, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her. Then she looked up and realized that everyone else was more concerned about Elena, who was clearly upset by this rejection. If there was one thing Damon would know about, it was consequences.

Even as she was thinking this, she joined the huddle around Elena. When Bonnie joined them, Elena gave up trying to get to the bathroom. Her face was distressed, her blue eyes swimming with tears. Unfortunately, this coincided with Caroline stalking out of the bathroom.

The bottom of her face was paler than the top, having been denuded of all makeup: She stopped dead and stared. And what do I see? And he was different, somehow, Bonnie thought. Not just happier to have gotten Elena back. He was. Stefan had always been quiet inside; her powers sensed him as a pool of clear water. Now she saw that same clear water built up like a tsunami. What could have changed Stefan so much? The answer came to her immediately, although in the form of a wondering question.

What did it do if you drank the blood of someone who was in that state? Oh, that makes everything all right The Return: Bonnie was surprised to feel the sting of tears behind her eyes.

They were looking at each other and Elena was beaming. She soared around the room twice, and as she was silhouetted against the dusty old window, Bonnie thought, Oh, my God! She looked at Meredith and saw that Meredith had shared her realization.

Yes, they had to get Elena clothes—and most especially underclothes. Even Stefan turned away sharply, his gallantry toward a guest clearly fighting a losing battle.

The Return Nightfall - PDF Free Download

About as far as vampires could go, Bonnie remembered, which was not the whole way. Something about the bloodsharing substituting for—well, for Doing It. Caroline was infamous. Bonnie glanced at Elena, saw that Elena was watching Caroline with a strange expression. Not as if Elena were afraid of her, but rather as if Elena were deeply worried about her. To her surprise, Elena nodded, then looked at Caroline and shook her head. She carefully looked Caroline up and down and her expression was that of a puzzled doctor examining a very sick patient.

Then she floated toward Caroline, one hand extended. No, not disgusted, Bonnie thought, but frightened. What do we have going on here? Elena afraid for Caroline, and Caroline afraid of Elena. What does that equal? And the air. She moved behind a chair. She was alone, walking down the side of the street, her titian hair blowing in the wind, her arms weighted down by packages.

Damon immediately did the chivalrous thing. He let the car glide to a stop, waited for the girl to take a few striding paces to catch up with him—che gambe! Her name, as it turned out, was Damaris. Veni, vidi, vici, Damon thought, and flashed a wicked smile into the middle distance. I want to go home now.

His Ferrari was safe. Her ultimate yielding would be particularly pleasant, he thought as they continued their drive. If she shaped up as well as she seemed to be doing, he might even keep her a few days, might even Change her. Now, though, he was bothered by an inexplicable disquiet inside. It was Elena, of course. Being so close to her at the boardinghouse and not daring to demand to go to her, because of what he might do.

Oh, hell, what I should have done already, he thought with a sudden vehemence. Stefan was right—there was something wrong with him today. There was a noise going on in the car. Annoyed and too busy with his fantasy to go over what his mind might have heard of her speech, he shut her off, and she was instantly quiet.

Damaris was lovely but una stomata—a ditz. Now she sat with her titian hair whipping The Return: And all for nothing. Damon made a hissing sound of exasperation. Damon cocked his head and leaned back, three fingers on the steering wheel. She would belong to him utterly, and if he had to give up her mortal blood. He wanted her more than ever now that she had been a spirit. Even as a vampire she would retain most of her own nature, and he could just picture it: He would stop that exquisite mouth with kisses, smother her with them— What was he thinking about?

The blood, the hunt was all. Only sentimental idiots like his brother bothered with such foolishness. That was how they found their pleasure. Still, Damon found himself excited by the idea of kissing Elena, of forcing kisses on her, of feeling her desperation to get away from him suddenly pause—with the little hesitation that came just before response, before yielding herself completely to him. He had never gone crazy before that he could recall, and there was some appeal in the idea.

All the better for you, Damaris, he thought. He had reached the point where Sycamore Street cut briefly into the Old Wood, and the road there was winding and dangerous. Regardless, he found himself turning to Damaris to wake her again, noting with approval that her lips were naturally that soft cherry color, without lipstick.

He kissed her lightly, then waited to gauge her response. He could see her mind go soft and rosy with it. He glanced at the road ahead and then tried it again, The Return: He was elated with her response, with both of their responses. This was amazing. Some small russet animal had appeared as if by magic on the road in front of him.

He grasped the steering wheel with both hands, his eyes black and cold as glacial ice in the depths of a cave, and headed straight for the russet thing. Not all that small—there would be a bit of a bump. At the last instant, the reddish thing dodged. Damon wrenched the wheel round to follow it, and then found himself faced with a ditch. Only the superhuman reflexes of a vampire—and the finely tuned response of a very expensive vehicle—could have kept them out of the ditch. Fortunately Damon had both, swinging them in a tight circle, tires squealing and smoking in protest.

And no bump. Damon leaped over the car door in one fluid motion and looked around. But whatever it was, had vanished completely, as mysteriously as it had appeared.

Pointed at one end and fan-like at the other. Oh, well. He turned back to the car, where Damaris was having hysterics. She slumped back into the seat, tears left to dry on her cheeks unheeded. Damon got back into the car feeling frustrated. But he knew now what he wanted to do today. He wanted to find a bar—either seedy and sleazy or immaculate and expensive—and he wanted to find another vampire. Vampires and other creatures of darkness were drawn to hot spots like bumblebees to honeysuckle.

And then he wanted a fight.

He felt like taking his frustrations out on something, and—he flashed that inimitable, incandescent smile at nothing—some werewolf or vampire or ghoul was about to meet its quietus. Maybe more than one, if he were only lucky enough to The Return: After which—delicious Damaris for dessert. Life was good, after all. And unlife, thought Damon, his eyes glinting dangerously behind the sunglasses, was even better. By some freak of light or inversion of the atmosphere, it seemed that he could see his eyes behind his sunglasses—burning red.

Everything she does is pure. Here, with all this going on! You probably just want to watch it going on yourself, two girls kissing. Her purse trailed after her. Then the door quietly shut. This was Power, in such amounts that her psychic senses were stunned and temporarily paralyzed. Maybe Stefan had changed just as much as Elena had. Might as well take her mind off it, and maybe make herself worthy of a thank you from Stefan, Bonnie thought.

Elena broke the kiss very quickly, as if afraid to set off some holocaust again. But Bonnie saw at once what Meredith had said about it not being sexual.

It was. When Elena moved away from Bonnie she beamed at her just as she had at Meredith, all the distress washed away by—yes, the purity of the kiss. But I know Caroline, and she could have gone on ranting for another half hour, never actually leaving.

Bonnie wondered. Of all people, Meredith and Stefan were least inclined to chatter, but here they were, saying things that The Return: Then she realized it was for Matt, who was moving slowly but with determination toward Elena. Bonnie got up as quickly and as lithely as if she could fly, and managed to pass Matt without looking at him. And then she was joining Meredith and Stefan in small talk— well, medium-small talk—about what had just happened.

Caroline made a bad enemy, everyone agreed, and nothing seemed to teach her that her schemes against Elena always backfired. Bonnie would bet that she was hatching a new scheme right now against all of them. As if nobody who really got to know her would trust her.

After all, we did rescue her and save her life just over a week ago. She sneaked a peek behind her. She never has a good word to say about anybody. She plays games all the time—and—and I know we used to do some of that, too. That was what you got for ignoring premonitions. Oddly, though, she was carrying her high heels. Caroline was twitching. She had a facial tic, and her lovely face was convulsed, dark red, with fury. The shadow was surprisingly dark and surprisingly tall. The thunderstorm feeling was back.

Bonnie was shaking now; trying not to, but unable to stop the shivering that had come on as if she had been thrown into icy water. It was a cold that had gotten directly into her bones and was ripping layer after layer of heat off them like some greedy giant, and now she was beginning to shake hard. Something was happening to Caroline in the darkness—something was coming from her—or coming for her—or maybe both.

In any case, it was all around her now, and all around Bonnie, too, and the tension was so thick that Bonnie felt choked, her heart pounding. Beside her, Meredith—practical, level-headed Meredith—stirred uneasily. And Caroline screamed. Bonnie screamed, too. Bonnie was able to stop the new scream building in her own throat, even though her shaking was worse than ever.

His voice was creaky, as if he needed a drink of water. But it was the best thing that he could have said, because of all things in the world to fear, Bonnie was most afraid of the dark. There were things in it, things that only she saw.

She managed, despite the terrible shaking, to stand with his support—and then she gasped, and heard Matt gasp, too. Elena was glowing. Not only that, but the glow extended out behind her and far to either side of her in a pair of what were beautifully defined, and undeniably there.

She was sitting on thin air, steady now, one hand held out with her fingers all spread in a gesture of denial. Elena spoke. The words were sharp, thin-edged, like the splintering of myriad shards of crystal that had fallen from somewhere very high and very far away. It was a Power that stood tall against the darkness and now was sweeping it aside.

Ice-sharp words followed them all the way, dismissive now.

And Elena. But Caroline was shouting, too. She was using powerful words of Black Magic, and to Bonnie it was as if the shadows of all sorts of dark and horrible things were coming from her mouth: It was a duel, a face-off of magic.

Only how had Caroline learned so much dark magic? It terrified Bonnie. But she had to do something. When Elena clasped hands with her, Bonnie realized that Meredith was on her other side. The light grew. The scrabbling lizard things ran from it, screaming and tearing at each other to get away.

The next thing Bonnie knew, Elena had slumped over. The wings were gone. The dark scrabbling things were gone, too. Elena had sent them away, using tremendous amounts of energy to overwhelm them with White Power. The window shade rolled back up, rattling furiously.

He must have been trying to fix it. Caroline was now on the floor, on all fours, groveling, breathing hard. Elena had won. Elena fell. Only inhumanly fast reflexes could have caught her, especially from across the room. Then he was holding Elena, encircling her protectively. Black trails of mascara ran down her face, making her look like something not quite human.

She looked at Stefan with unconcealed hatred. He looked back soberly—no, sternly. Not now. Because Hell might hear and call back. Caroline had knelt in it, too, making things pretty messy. Bonnie felt a sympathetic throb of pain in her own fingers The Return: You two fly like bats together now, do you? When she stood again she was holding a long white feather. It shone in the light. Stefan went white, his compressed lips showing in a tight line. Elena may have had as many boyfriends as the stars in the sky, but in the end she had given all that up—because she fell in love—not that Caroline would know anything about that.

Bat got your tongue? Bonnie had said most of them at one time or another, but here, and now, they formed a stream of venomous power. Glass, her intuition told her. Get away from glass. There was a similar shattering in the bathroom. The mirror had exploded behind the closed door. Then Caroline slapped Elena across the face. It left a bloody smear, which Elena patted tentatively. It also left a white handprint, turning to red. And then Stefan did what Bonnie considered the most astonishing thing of all.

He very gently put Elena down on the floor, kissed her upturned face, and turned to Caroline. He put his hands on her shoulders, not shaking, only holding her still, forcing her to look at him. Come back. For the sake of your old friends who care for you, come back. For the sake The Return: For the sake of your own immortal soul, come back.

Come back to us! Stefan half turned aside, toward Meredith, grimacing. Can you help your old friend again? She had pulled herself up very shakily, first by the rocking chair and then by Bonnie, who tried to help her under the burden of gravity. Elena was as wobbly as a newborn giraffe in roller skates, and Bonnie—almost half a head shorter—was finding her hard to handle. Stefan made a motion as if to help, but Matt was already there, steadying Elena on the other side.

Then Stefan had Caroline turned around, and he was holding her, not letting her dart away, forcing her to face Elena fully. She seemed to know exactly what she was doing. White Magic. But is she strong enough to pull Caroline out of the darkness?

And at last, as if to complete the ceremony, Elena leaned forward and kissed Caroline chastely on the lips. All hell broke loose. Objects in the room went sailing through the air, propelled by no human force. He seemed to assume that Meredith could take care of herself—and he was right. Caroline swung at Meredith, but Meredith was ready.

Caroline landed on the bed, twisted, and then rushed Meredith again, this time getting a grip on her hair. Caroline collapsed. Bonnie cheered and refused to feel guilty about it. It must be. What else could have done it? Meredith was massaging her own hand. Is it the same for guys? I mean, Elena could. And Bonnie and I have a job to do. So now we have to take her home.

Very much afraid. I think I have to do some serious research. The feeling of how close the frigid ocean of fear was, ready to topple down on her and take her on a swift trip to the bottom. Less than a beat, and just the faintest of sibilant whispers? She called on Hell at a moment when this room was saturated with Power.

With all that going on—well, I just wish we had a good parapsychologist around. They said their good-byes separately to Elena, not sure of what might happen. But she simply smiled at each of them and touched their hands. By good luck or by the grace of something far beyond their understanding, Caroline woke up. She even seemed mostly rational, if a little fuzzy, when the car reached her driveway. She was a mousy, timid, tired-looking woman who did not seem surprised to be receiving her daughter in this state on a late summer afternoon.

Dear Diary, Something is going to happen tonight. So this is my diary now. I woke up again! It was still summer outside, and everything was green. The daffodils in the garden are all in bloom. And I had visitors. The fourth one was different. I could only see a shattered color, laced with black. I want to be with Stefan and feel him holding me. I love Stefan. I would give up anything to stay with him. He asks me, Even flying? Even flying, to be with him and keep him safe. Even anything, to keep him safe.

Even my life. Now I want to go to him. They come as thoughtfragments, I guess. Usually she thinks in bright pictures, with a scattered word or two. Elena has known Caroline almost since babyhood, I think.

What happened to Caroline during the short time she was kidnapped by Klaus and Tyler? And did she do what she did today of her own free will? And most importantly, what do we do about it? And then she bit her lip, stifling a scream.

A face was bending over hers, upside down. The last thing she remembered was lying on her back in a sleeping bag, talking about Alaric with Bonnie.

Now Bonnie was bending over her, but with her face inverted and her eyes shut. She waited for Bonnie to speak, staring in the gloom at The Return: She must have turned it on for a video recording for she opened her mouth and began to gesture and speak. It was terrifying.

MARTA from Kansas
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