Prompt: Wild Card for hc_bingo
Fandom/Pairing: The Vampire Diaries; Jeremy-centered with Matt, Damon, Stefan, Tyler, and Alaric
Warnings: spoilers up to 4X5
Summary: It wasn't something they noticed at first. Everyone was so focused on Elena and this thing with The Five that Jeremy had fallen by the wayside.
It wasn't something they noticed at first. Everyone was so focused on Elena and this thing with The Five that Jeremy had fallen by the wayside.
If he allowed himself to admit it, Matt had been the first one to notice. After Jeremy gave his bracelet to April and he had reacted to something invisible on his skin, Matt had known somewhere deep inside himself that something was off. That didn't mean he'd made the connection, though. It was easier to think about Jeremy just being traumatized than something far more sinister.
If he allowed himself to admit it, Damon was the first to notice. "Jeremy, where's your bracelet?" He'd demanded to know, just like he'd demanded to know when the kid had stood in the middle of the road and waited to be hit. He had gotten a similar response, something about being tired of it all and not wanting to keep running. He could hear the exhaustion in the kid's voice, see the hopelessness in his eyes, but all he could think was "we really don't need this right now."
If he allowed himself to admit it, Stefan was the first to notice. It was in the way Jeremy seemed to give up. He hadn't even screamed when he'd been shot. Then, after that, he had shut himself away from them. Stefan wished he'd pushed that point, but the guilt that maybe he was just reacting to Stefan having compelled him stopped him. Jeremy was always so emotional; he'd needed to be compelled to forget after Vicki died and then had very nearly killed himself after Ana died. The fact that Jeremy wasn't even registering Alaric's death, or reacting to his own impending death, should have sent warning bells off. Looking back, he wonders why it didn't.
If he allowed himself to admit it, Tyler was the first person to notice. There was a glint in Jeremy's eyes, some recklessness that hadn't been there before. Jeremy was acting like he'd seen some of the hybrids act, like he himself had acted like when sired by Klaus. There was no regard for himself. Tyler had caught him once, walking into traffic, picking at something on his skin, completely oblivious to his surroundings. Tyler hadn't wanted to draw attention to himself, but with Connor gone, he knew he could afford it. After making sure that Jeremy was okay, he had thrown the first punch... and kept on punching, trying to drive his point home. Jeremy could have been seriously injured, but he didn't even react to Tyler beating the crap out of him, so he doubted that Jeremy even cared. Very few things scared Tyler, but this did, and he would kick himself later for ignoring it.
Alaric was the first to notice and he wished that he could admit it to someone. He meant it when he had told the boy that he would never be alone. Jeremy was the closest thing he'd ever had to a son, after all. Instead of being able to say something, though, all he could do was watch while Jeremy declined. He wouldn't process his death and that had been the first major red flag. He begged Damon to notice that something was wrong with their boy; screamed out at the injustice when Jeremy didn't react to his own near death; stood in front of Matt waving his hand in an attempt to make him see when Jeremy hallucinated the tattoos on his arms; and finally just sat near to his kid and cried when he saw what Jeremy was doing to his own skin to make the invisible and non-existent tattoos not be there. He had never been so helpless, but he was the first to notice. And the last.