Alone in the crowded Grill, the doctor thinks about temptation and miracle cures. About vampires and drowned girls. About head trauma and cerebral haemorrhages. About friends and lovers and the Founders Council. About suspensions and drawn out investigations. About what might have been a good career fast spiralling into the drain.
It’s been a week from hell and two fingers of cheap bourbon don’t last long enough. They might be a good start, but the bottom of yet another glass arrives all too soon. Solace lasts only the moments while the alcohol still burns.
She signals for another drink and stops just short of demanding they bring over the bottle.
Yet she has no regrets. Difficult times mean extreme measures. Vampirism is a fucking risky safety net, but what else can she do? It’s hard watching people die, the last sands of their lives running helplessly through her fingers, harder still knowing she can save them; that just a few drops of blood can pull them back from the brink of forever, can save their loved ones their tears and heal their hearts before they’re even broken. She’s a medical professional; she can’t ignore the cure at her fingertips.
And she’d known all the possible consequences, she’d seen how wrong it could all go and understood the warning that was the messy, terrible fallout of Bill Forbes, but her methods mean Jeremy still has a sister, still has a family and Elena still had a choice to live on or to die when vengeance met her on a lonely bridge in the dark. Meredith would reach for the blood all over again if she had to, to save even one life.
If she still has her medical licence in the morning.
“You look like you could use a friend.” A dark figure joins her at the bar. Damon. He does ask for the bottle; another refugee from this crappy situation seeking refuge in the strong stuff. She knows better than to ask after Elena.
Meredith can’t look worse than he does at least. “I could say the same for you,” she responds.
He frowns and raps the bar impatiently with his knuckles. He doesn’t look at her. “I seem to have some vacancies in that department.”
And so does she, if she’s honest.
For a moment, Alaric remains unmentioned between them, quiet in both their thoughts. The bottle is placed before them and Meredith fills both their glasses with more than generous measures. Their glasses meet their lips in unison; an unspoken toast to a man they both still mourn, still miss. The man who should be drinking this with them.
They have this grief in common, the doctor and the vampire.
Both drunk. Both broken. Both alone.
There will be more nights like this. Maybe many.
Perhaps they can come to some kind of arrangement.