|Each Day That Is Ours
Author: LostInLost18 PM
Seven days. Damon and Elena have seven days left before Klaus makes his return. Seven days to figure out what exactly there is between them. Seven days to act on it. Seven days to say all the words they've never been able to say before. DELENA.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Damon S. & Elena G. - Chapters: 9 - Words: 58,512 - Reviews: 138 - Favs: 143 - Follows: 118 - Updated: 11-27-11 - Published: 11-01-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7513663
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Each Day That Is Ours
Summary: 7 or 8-shot story. With Klaus's inevitable return to reclaim Elena looming on the horizon, it becomes clear Damon and Elena have only seven days left. With the Mikael thing not happening, and with Stefan's ever irritating presence, they decide to spend the last seven days not running, not fighting, but simply being together. Feelings emerge, bonds are tied and one thing is for certain – that something they've been repressing for, like, forever, is going to explode into being. DELENA.
Chapter 1: Monday Blues
She traces a careful, hesitant finger around the bite marks around the base of her neck, wondering if the memories hurt more than the scar. Even in the sweetest of dreams, her mind plunges back into that dark moment, white teeth contrasting against the black night as they make an graceful plunge into her neck, and that moment usually concludes whatever wonderful – however few – thoughts she'd been reflecting upon.
She has seven days until Klaus returns for her, and she knows without even discussing it with anybody once she's gone – once she's been taken – there will be no return for her. She will be Klaus's official property – a human blood bag, as Stefan so eloquently put it. Truthfully, Elena isn't even sure how to deal with that. It's one thing preparing for a sacrifice, preparing for death, when you know the end is just that – the end. But this time, there's a lot of uncertainty, and she doesn't know just how long Klaus plans on keeping her around, how long her blood will be needed, and even when the last hybrid has been created, would he still keep her around?
A heavy sigh bursts from her lips.
It's five in the morning, and although she's politely declined any further training with Ric – what's the point anymore? – she's still up at this obnoxious time, her mind constantly hovering from the past to the present, and she finds it almost depressing how she can't even find the energy to focus on anything anymore. The fight has almost been drained from her.
It's funny, but since Katherine returned, only to drop the bombshell that Mikael had fled the moment he'd proceeded to feed on her – something which completely blew her mind, yet another fun fact she could store away in her overcrowded mind – despair has evaded her presence. Maybe it's resignation she's feeling, like this path she's been forced down was always the way she was meant to have followed. She can't find the energy to be frightened, or to search for another way.
This time, there is no other way. Their "other way" has fled – presumably, although personally she believes he had his own agenda to attend to – and the supposed weapon lurking underground turned out to be the entire sordid affair of the Original family, laid bare in either chalk or paint across the walls. She's not entirely surprised the history seems to be very bloody, littered with violence and curses exaggerated over the years the more times the tale is told.
"What you thinking about?" a soft voice asks, her heart skipping only the one beat this time.
She's used to Damon interrupting her thoughts at this point, and she can't say it's an unwelcome invasion.
He stands by her door, keeping his voice low out of respect for the other (still sleeping) inhabitants of the house. Dressed in the same blue shirt he wore on the night she turned eighteen – somehow she can't help but feel his attire was a significant choice, it's almost staggering how low lighting makes him seem younger in terms of his physical appearance.
"Just thinking about life." It's a vague non-answer, but there's a lot implied there. "Thinking about life, and how screwed up mine is."
He nods, keeping his face remarkably impassive.
"Bonnie's searching for another way," he feels the need to inform her. "And Caroline, despite all her annoying traits, is pitching in too." He strides quietly in, closing the door behind him. "You don't have to be alone in this you know."
"I know." She bites her bottom lip. "Is it wrong that I can't fight anymore? That every ounce of energy I've ever spent fighting is just…gone?"
She might have been imagining the flicker of sympathy in Damon's eyes. Now, of all times, isn't the best moment to be thinking about how the best side of Damon crops up during moments when her world seems to be falling apart piece by piece.
"It's not wrong, Elena." God, she loves the sound of her name on his tongue. "But I don't see you as someone who gives up. I won't let you give up."
"It's not giving up, Damon," she tells him. "It's cutting my losses and resigning to the fact Klaus is stronger than we'll ever be. What can we do that we're not already doing? Katherine's tracking Mikael – if he even wants to be found – and Bonnie and Caroline, like you said, are searching for a way to kill Klaus even though we've been down this road before. Is there a secret third option I'm missing here?"
It frightens them both that there seems to be no audible despair in her voice, no outward desire to try and fight. What is even more frightening, Damon quickly realizes, is how right she actually is. They are doing their absolutely best and even more and it's not producing any results.
"What do you suggest then?" he asks, slightly irate at how numb she sounds.
He wants the old Elena to surface, the one who can fight her way through anything, and not this ghost who is haunting him. Then again, maybe he's asking too much of her, because every time Stefan slides into view, he can see she's trying not to break down, and the effort is killing her. And he knows she's trying to keep up her role as a good student, whilst simultaneously trying to juggle everything else. Maybe asking her to figure out a way to kill the most evil and unkillable creature ever is rocking the boat, but he can't see her slip away – it would be the final blow amongst many he's been dealt over the years.
"I suggest we spend the next week or so just trying not to think about Klaus coming back to take me and Tyler away forever," Elena suggests, her heart really not enthusing at that prospect.
"Oh." He's forgotten Tyler's role in all of this. "And so how do you plan to spend this week, Elena Gilbert, former Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"
"I want to spend it with the people I love and care about," she says. "But since Bonnie and Jeremy are on the outs, and since Caroline is too busy trying to reign in Tyler's sudden devotion to Klaus, and since Ric seems to be too busy trying to decide whether or not to forgive you, I guess that leaves you."
"Me?" The old smirk is back, mostly as a defence mechanism, because he's not entirely sure what to expect from being someone Elena "cares" about. "Why, I'm flattered you've decided me worthy of being your companion for the next seven days, but what if I already have plans?"
She digs a friendly elbow into his ribs.
"Grow up, Damon."
"Can't. I'm sort of…dead."
The joke almost – almost – eases the tension. A reluctant smile breaks out on her face, and though it's far from what he'd call genuine, at least she's trying, and that is more than can be said for Stefan.
Both of them freeze as they hear Jeremy shifting in his bed, a loud groan perpetuating through the silence. In that moment, their eyes lock, something passing between them.
"Did you tell - ?" Damon mouths, only for Elena to shake her head, understanding the question immediately.
"Like I've said, he's wrapped up in his own problems," she murmurs. "I don't need him to worry about the fact his sister might be taken away forever."
"So you've essentially robbed him of a goodbye?"
The silence that follows is thick with meaning.
"Goodbyes are only worth saying if there's a chance, however slim, that you might see that person again," she tells him, her eyes swimming with tears. "I can't put him through all that again. It's best he knows I'm alive, and safe – for as long as Klaus needs me – and that I love him."
He hates hearing her talk about her bleak future like this, but he knows without even asking that she needs to have a plan of some sorts, something to keep her sane and grounded. It's one of the many things he loves about her.
"Do you want me to compel him?" he asks, rather pointlessly seeing how they've been down this road before.
"No." She shakes her head, evidently thinking along the same lines as him. "Not this time."
He finds her curled up on his couch later, after she's completed her day at school, and can't help but smiling. Throughout this world of corruption and evil, it's nice to say the least to come across moments of innocence like this.
"Where have you been?" she enquires, lifting her head up at the sound of his footsteps.
"Want to be more specific?"
He lifts her legs up, in a scene reminiscent of a moment set in simpler times, and sits down, letting her legs fall across his lap. They share a look, a look which speaks louder than words ever could, and sigh as one, the thought of Klaus returning dawning heavily in the forefront of their minds.
"Want to do something tonight?" Elena suggests.
His eyes fall on her, a surprised smile twisting his lips.
"Why, Elena, are you asking me out?"
She rolls her eyes.
"No. But you're the only one who's not avoiding contact with me right now, and I need a distraction." She blushes, immediately realizing how Damon will interpret this. "You know what I mean."
"Are you by any chance trying to put off having to think about what'll happen when Klaus returns?" he guesses, his tone uncharacteristically tender for someone of his calibre.
"Maybe… I don't know." She throws up her hands. "But I'd rather spend these last seven days trying to forget, if only for a moment, than dwell on everything."
They both look up as Stefan strides in, Elena's face twisting with an unpleasant sort of grimace, something Damon doesn't fail to notice. Ordinarily, he'd break the ice with some sort of snarky comment, but tonight just doesn't seem appropriate.
"Hey guys," Stefan greets, and it's extremely disconcerting to see just how okay he appears with his brother and his girlfriend – well, ex-girlfriend – sitting this way, so close it almost appears intimate.
"Stefan," Elena breathes, and it sounds like a curse rather than the name of the boy who, despite everything, she still loves with her entire being.
"You heard about Klaus, I take it?" Stefan comments, carelessly raiding Damon's alcohol stash, something he's so not okay with but having to restrain himself from doing anything about it.
"Heard about what? That he's an arrogant hybrid dick who refuses to die? 'Cause we kind of already knew that."
Stefan chuckles, but it's dry and without feeling, like every other part of Stefan's personality.
"Funny," he remarks. "I won't interrupt for much longer, seeing how the two of you seem to be having a moment, but I thought you should know when Klaus returns and takes you with him, Elena, I'll be coming along too. Honestly, I can't wait to get out of this deadbeat town."
"Oh, joy," Elena mutters, far from happy with that little announcement.
"I didn't really mean to drop the bombshell about Klaus coming back," Stefan continues, either unaware his presence is not exactly boosting Damon and Elena's mood, or carrying on despite of it. "But I thought I should warn you. It's only fair you have time to say your goodbyes, make amends etc."
He actually has the nerve to smile like he's done her this huge favour.
Elena stands up – Damon having had the quick thinking to move his legs in time – and walks up to Stefan, staring up at his cold, emotionless eyes, and the rage is practically etched onto her face.
"Like I've said before, Stefan," she begins, her voice shaky, uneven. "It's up to you whether or not you even try to feel something again. If you don't, at least I know I tried, so I don't have to feel guilty about letting Lexi down." She pauses, waiting to see if Lexi's name does anything to Stefan – it doesn't. "But if I'm angry about anything, it's that you managed to fight off Klaus's compulsion before, and now, it's like you've given up. The Stefan I knew and loved wouldn't have done that."
She strides past, before her shaking hand rises and makes sharp contact with Stefan's face (which is what it's itching to do).
"There – " She slams something into his hand. "Consider that my goodbye to you. I'm done fighting."
She storms out, leaving Damon behind to examine the mysterious object Elena had thrust into Stefan's hand.
It's a photo, though he can't make out the details, although if Elena had been holding it, it's not really hard to guess the subject - or subjects - of said photo.
But Stefan's fingers curl around the photo, almost as if it's a natural reflex, and he's unsure whether to put down the sudden – but quick – flash in Stefan's eyes as a flash of his humanity, or a flash of bemusement.
But he knows where his loyalties lie, and he follows Elena, stopping at the door to stare at his hapless brother with something close to pity.
"Do you remember that whole history will not be repeating itself where Elena is concerned speech you gave?" he enquires, finding it very hard not to be sarcastic even though the occasion certainly calls for it.
"Vaguely," Stefan drawls, promptly scrunching up the photo, a gesture Damon actually finds himself wincing at, even though they both know Stefan has done a lot worse.
"Yeah, well, I'd trade the dick you are now for the dick you were back then," Damon tells him. "At least that Stefan made me chasing after his girl fun."
And he disappears, realizing with a certain amount of glumness that even taunting his brother has lost its appeal.
She finds herself in front of the television, staring at a blank screen, unable to cry, unable to even think. Alaric mumbled something about needing a drink, so she presumes he's staggered off to his usual haunt to fill the void Jenna's death left in the only way he knows how. Jeremy, by the many vague voicemail messages he's left her, is trying to work it out with Bonnie.
For tonight at least, it seems like she's on her own.
Luckily, however, she prepared for such an emergency long before the days of vampires and the supernatural. She kept a box tucked under her bed for emergencies, for those rainy days when she just felt like being miserable – and even before her parents' deaths, there'd been plenty of those days then too – a box filled with DVDs and other activities to keep her mind occupied, if only for a short time.
It sits beside her now, the faithful companion she'd almost forgotten she'd had. Her fingers slide the lid of the box open and she reveals the first hidden treasure - The Notebook. She wonders if maybe tonight's not the night to be shedding tears and watching a flick about the powerful love of a couple overcoming all the odds, so she tucks it to one side.
"I brought a better DVD if a movie's what you're after," Damon's voice calls, and she lifts her head, smiling warmly as he saunters in.
"Please tell me it's not Twilight, 'cause I can't take any more vampires right now," she sighs, grinning at the look of mock disgust on Damon's face.
"If I wanted a vampire flick, I'd choose Dracula, which is clearly the better, superior choice," he snorts. "But no. I've made sure it's completely Elena-approved."
"I asked Caroline what your favourite movie was once," he says, shrugging as though it was no big deal. "I was curious."
He holds up the DVD and she lets a quiet gasp.
"Rebecca," she breathes, then winces as the name reminds her of the Blonde original who somehow disappeared with the wind, not that she's exactly concerned by that.
"I'm honestly surprised by your selection," Damon confesses. "I did consider you to be one of those typical teens who loves all those endless and repetitive nonsensical rom-com flicks."
"I like a few," she admits in turn. "But nothing beats the haunting quality of this movie. The fact it's in black and white only enhances the classic nature of the film." She suddenly looks uncomfortable, aware he's staring at her. "What?"
"Nothing." It's his turn to look uncomfortable. "It's just I've never seen this Elena Gilbert before. The one passionate about literature and movies, as opposed to… " he grins, " well, passionate about throwing herself to the lions, so to speak. Have you read the book the film's based on?"
"Oh yes. It's one of my favourites. You?"
"Daphne Du Maurier… One of the most underappreciated authors in history." Damon shook his head with mock disapproval. "Although, I more enjoyed the dark background set in Jamaica Inn than the haunted moors of Rebecca."
"Listen to us." Elena shakes her head, looking amused. "We're talking about literature and movies like…"
"…like you're not about to be whisked off by an egomaniacal hybrid," Damon finishes, looking physically sick by the end of the sentence.
The silence that follows is almost suffocating; she wants to say something, anything, to break it but what can she really say? Klaus will be coming for her, and there's nothing they can do to stop it, and she's already firmly blocked the idea of leaving the country, because she knows what Klaus will do if he finds out she's run away, and it involves a lot of blood being spilled.
"Shall I stick this on?" Damon enquires, equally as eager to shatter the silence.
It's about halfway through the film when Elena realizes her hand rests neatly on top of Damon's. It wouldn't bother her, had she not noticed her legs seemed to be entangled with his, and her head, which had leaned in about a quarter of the way in, is literally a breath away from touching his.
It bothers her that the close contact isn't bothering her. It feels almost natural, almost like breathing.
"You know, I'm surprised you favour the black and white over the remake," Damon murmurs into her ear, sending shivers down her spine. "Most girls wouldn't favour black and white over colour." He eyes her. "Then again, you've never been most girls."
Her eyes lock onto his, her deep chocolate eyes fixating on his electric blue, and she tries to smile, sure there's a compliment buried in all of the cryptic language he is famous for using. But she turns her attention to the screen, trying to get back into the film she's sure she's watched about a hundred times.
"You know, as loathsome as Max de Winter's character can be towards his wife, I can see why he acts the way he does," Damon whispers, his tone light yet thick with meaning. "Your first love always leaves a mark on you."
Her eyes roll back onto his.
"Thinking about Katherine?" she says shrewdly.
"Actually," he says slowly. "No."
She notices the way he looks at her – I mean, really looks at her, like there's absolutely no other person in the entire world – and she can't exactly pretend there's nothing between them. Not anymore.
"You forget I wasn't really in love with Katherine," he continues, as if he really needs to explain what he's driving at. "Even though it wore off after I was turned, I was still convinced it was real. The real thing turned out to be just as surprising, just as frustrating in a way."
He gives her a half smile, turning away just at the moment she felt the urge to lean in and… She isn't sure exactly what, but she's glad she didn't get to find out. Whatever crazy thing she and Damon have going on, she doesn't need it clouding up her mind. The whole point of this DVD exercise is to forget, not to dwell on the issues – new and old – her life contains.
The movie finishes, and she yawns, suddenly tired.
"This house is too quiet," Damon notes. "It's creepy."
She opens an eye, raising an eyebrow.
"Really, Damon? We've encountered ghosts and vampires and werewolves and hybrids, and an empty house is what you'd deem to be creepy?"
"I'd go as far to say it was spooky," he teases, stretching back his arms and letting out a monstrous roar for a yawn, which naturally makes her jump.
"I miss this," Elena says suddenly, her eyes pooling with this unknown desire to reclaim a lost part of her life. "I miss just being able to sit down and watch a movie with someone, being able to worry about someone else's problems and not my own. I guess I miss the frivolity of it all."
She sighs, leaning her head back to allow her eyes to survey the ceiling.
"You could still have it all, you know. My idea is still on the table…"
"No, Damon. I'm not risking Jeremy's life by running. You heard what he did to Katherine's family because she ran."
"We could take the twerp with us if he really meant that much to you."
"It's not an option, Damon. I don't want to condemn Jeremy to that life."
"But you'd rather condemn him to a life without his sister, his last living member of his family?"
Elena sinks down, her head falling into her hands.
"What does running achieve in the end, Damon? He'll find us. Why prolong the inevitable?"
Damon's eyes spark with anger.
"Don't talk like that, like you've not got a choice."
She rubs her eyes, slightly annoyed he's interrupting Rebecca to bring up an argument they've had over and over. Sometimes it feels like all they do is argue. Well, either that, or trying to stop each other from doing something incredibly stupid.
"I'm not discussing this anymore, Damon. I'm not giving up. I'm just not fighting anymore."
"Why not?" he demands, rising to his feet. "If we all go down, at least we go down fighting."
She averts her eyes, wishing she could attune herself to that same brand of mindless optimism Damon always seems to run by.
"Some things you can't fight," she murmurs, aware she's not just talking about Klaus by saying that, and leaves it at that.
As the late hours of the night creep on by, she lies awake, able to differentiate between Alaric's gentle snores and Jeremy's heavy ones. On ordinary nights, the sound of them both breathing would serve as her lullaby, a way of being able to close her eyes knowing they were both safe and under the same roof as she was.
Tonight, however, feels different.
In her mind, she has that large counter from the gym stuck in her mind, only this time instead of it unleashing Stefan on her, it's Klaus. Each time a second goes by, the sound of the counter flipping makes a loud, obnoxious sound, and it's the only thing she can really blame her insomnia on.
Eventually, there's only so many things she can think about to distract herself before they all circle back to Klaus anyway, so Elena throws back the sheets and turns on her lamp, retrieving her diary, even though she's pretty sure all the words she can manage for tonight seem to revolve around the statement I don't want to be taken.
She wonders if Damon is feeling the same edginess, and, on a completely random whim, she makes sure the door is shut and then throws open her window, before tentatively calling Damon's name.
There's a moment's silence before he immediately appears, looking faintly curious.
"How did you know I was even out there?" is his first question.
"I have no idea," she admits, still stunned he's even here. "Why were you outside my house?"
"Habit," is his vague answer. "I tend to end up coming here when I don't want to be, well, at home."
"Is Stefan - ?"
"Still being a first rate jack ass? Yep."
He leaps gracefully into the room, his eyes surveying the room carefully, as though expecting some monster to emerge from the shadows. It moves her that even after hours, he seems to still want to protect her.
"Anyway, you called, milady?" he calls, giving her a mock bow.
She can't help but smile.
"Yes." She wrings her hands awkwardly together. "I can't sleep."
He instantly looks confused – and guarded.
"What do you want me to do about that? I don't know any lullabies, if that's what you're asking," he jokes, finding humour helps prevent him from going to that place, the one where he's imagining every sort of romantic scenario possible with Elena.
"Could you, maybe, stay a while? Just until I drop off?" she enquires, her guard completely dropping, every emotion flickering across her face, from confusion, to fear, to more confusion.
"Drop off what? A cliff?"
"It's an expression, Damon."
"Ah, too bad. I liked the other idea better," Damon teases, smirking even though they both can see through his somewhat pathetic attempts at using humour as a defence mechanism.
"On the nights I couldn't sleep, Stefan used to come over, even at ridiculous times, and he would sleep next to me," she recalls, a smile tainted with sadness emerging. "He would wrap his arms around me and it would be…" She throws up her hands, unable to explain. "Well, he helped me forget for that one moment exactly why I couldn't sleep."
He stares at her, and the expression in his eyes is hard, and perhaps there's even a glimmer of hurt there. He's always been hard to read.
"You know I'm not Stefan right?" he asks, stepping forwards, closing the gap between them. "I will never be Stefan."
"I know," she says, almost a little too defensively.
"Do you?" His gaze intensifies. "Because I don't want you to pretend I am for the sake of finding closure, or whatever the hell it is you think you're doing here. Putting my feelings aside, it isn't fair to you, and it isn't fair to Stefan – and I'm not talking about the ripper bitch Stefan. If he is still in there, somewhere, he'd want you to at least be able to differentiate the feelings you have for him, and the feelings you have for me."
"What?" she demands, looking shocked, every nerve standing upon edge.
"Oh, don't pretend," he scoffs. "I'm not going to immediately make a move on you if you confess. But it'd be nice to know everything I've ever done for you has made the slightest impact on you, even if it just means you no longer viewing me as a monster."
She wants to protest that she doesn't think of him as a monster, but then that will lead to inevitable questioning about how she does view him and, honestly, it's a complicated road to go down. Because, although she can think of a dozen or so reasons for repressing whatever it is she feels for Damon, it's getting to the point where denial seems like a supremely stupid choice to make, and perhaps he knows that, which goes somewhat into explaining why every one of his flirty little comments is getting to her, in a way it hasn't ever done before.
But it seems like out of everyone, her relationship with Damon has undergone the most changes. She started out fearing him – and that was even before she found out what he'd been doing to Caroline, what he was, because even then she'd sensed something was off about him – and then that had developed into full blown terror and resentment, before eventually a grudging sort of respect and understanding had blossomed between them, before she eventually came to care for him. But after the incident with Jeremy, she'd been convinced he wanted to be hated, and she'd obliged, wondering if it was ever possible to hate someone as much as she'd hated him in that moment – and yet even that had changed. He'd continued to pursue his efforts in helping her, and the walls of hatred – a phrase she fondly recalled him using – had crumbled a little each day.
Now, well, she can't deny the attraction – and it isn't even about his good looks, but about the good that is actually in him. And when he'd been showing her where the most vulnerable parts of a vampire were, his fingers along her skin had actually caused her to shiver with pleasure, although her heart still fought to protect the love she had for Stefan.
"I'll stay if you want me to," Damon suddenly says, cutting across her thoughts. "But I won't be Stefan for you, so don't ask me."
"Okay," she whispers, finding the conversation draining.
Damon draws up a chair from nowhere, tucking it just at the end of her bed, watching as she slips back into bed, keeping her eyes fixed on him. She allows her head to sink into her pillow, a thousand different images flashing before her eyes, some happy, some tragic, all of them shimmering with the mark of the past. She doesn't want to think about what memories will be made when all of this is gone, when Klaus is her only companion, barring the ripper version of the boy she loved – and it cripples her to use the past tense in that instance.
But as she closes her eyes, and allows herself to drift off, she can feel the weight of the bed shift as another presence makes itself known.
It's the first time in a long time she's fallen asleep with the biggest smile on her face.