AN: Ok, so I know I said there was another couple of chapters to come…I lied. Initially I was going to tag an epilogue on after this. Bt I've decided it won't really fit, and I'd prefer to leave it off here. So this is the end. Please, PLEASE enjoy!Believer
Chapter 10: Believer.
Elena couldn't breathe.
Damon stood with his back to her, a frozen silhouette illuminated by the moon's glow.
Katherine's body hit the earth with a dull thud. She was dead. Gone. And Damon had killed her.
Elena couldn't tear her eyes off him. She couldn't believe what he had just done for her. But most of all she couldn't believe how it made her feel. It was overwhelming. It was like sparks were dancing all over her body, reaching out for him. She needed him. In that moment, she needed him so desperately that it hurt.
But he still hadn't moved.
His hands were still balled into fists at his side. His head was still bowed. He was still staring at the corpse at his feet. And Elena felt a surge of doubt. Her stomach turned and she felt sick. Was he regretting it? She swallowed thickly, her eyes were round and bright, her lip was trembling. She had to see his face. Everything she needed to know would be in his eyes. But time had stopped for Damon. Elena knew and understood. She had to go to him.
She pushed herself up with her hands and gasped. Pain shot through her side as she struggled into a sitting position. But the slightest sound from Elena was all Damon needed to hear. He turned his head first, then his whole body and their eyes met.
Elena's heart felt as though it might explode. His eyes reflected hers and all she saw in them was herself. His brow creased with worry as he took her in, sprawled awkwardly in the mud. He strode across to her, purposeful and sure. And with every second he got closer, Elena's heart ached harder. She needed him.
'What the hell were you thinking?' he hissed suddenly.
Then he was beside her, kneeling on the ground and still not touching her, torturing her with his closeness. His eyes searched her face, dark and angry.
Elena smarted. Her own eyes narrowed dangerously and she snapped back, 'I was thinking of you.'
He shook his head angrily, 'No. You weren't thinking. What the hell did you think you'd achieve by coming here? What the hell did you think would happen?'
Elena's eyes flashed, 'I didn't care what would happen to me Damon. I needed to know what would happen to you. I came here to try and save you!'
His lips pressed into a tight line. He wanted to rage at her for her stupidity. He wanted to shake her for letting her heart rule her head. But it was what he'd have done and he knew that she knew that. So he took a deep breath and his expression softened.
Elena's narrowed eyes grew round again and she asked tentatively, 'Did you hear…?' she trailed off, feeling oddly embarrassed.
Damon nodded once, sharply, his own eyes wide with wonder. 'You're lucky I was even close…I heard the end…'
All tension between them finally faded. Any anger was gone and Elena let the relief wash over her. She let go of the tenuous wall she had placed around her heart and as it all threatened to overwhelm her, she started shivering.
Damon shifted, concerned. 'Are you okay?'
She hadn't realised how much she wanted to hear his voice again. How much the thought of never even arguing with him again had terrified her. Her face crumpled as she tried to blink back her tears.
'I thought I was never going to see you again…' she breathed.
That surprised him. His eyebrows jerked skywards and he cocked his head slightly. Then his eyes stopped searching, they settled on hers. There was silence. They didn't need words. The utter adoration on her face was enough to dispel his doubts. He swallowed thickly and Elena smiled as she watched his Adams apple bob. Everything he did could make her smile.
'You know coming here was the most stupid thing you've ever done, don't you Elena?' he threw her his trademark smirk, but his voice was shaking slightly – betraying everything that he was feeling.
A thrill shot through her as she watched his lips say her name. She smiled a watery smile and nodded. 'But you understand Damon…and you would have done the same.'
He held her gaze, not needing to respond. Because they both knew it was true. They were the same that way. Like two pieces of a puzzle waiting to be slotted together. Like Twin Flames of passion, burning to be one.
'But are you...okay?' he repeated softly after a moments pause.
'Yeah…' She nodded, 'I'm just gonna be bruised I think.' She winced as she tried to sit up straighter. Damon's hand immediately shot out to support her and his touch was like cool fire on her skin. Her heart danced as she looked back at him and found his lips much closer than they had been.
Elena felt heat rush to her cheeks. Suddenly she couldn't think or breathe. She could just see him. She felt his breath brush her skin and she shivered in pleasure. She reached a hand forwards tentatively and the tips of her fingers touched the line of his jaw. His lips parted, his eyes widened and he leant into her touch almost imperceptibly.
Somehow Elena managed to speak, 'Are you okay?'
He knew what she meant instantly. He swallowed again, then a third time. Her fingers cupped the side of his face more firmly and he reached forwards himself to push a strand of hair away from her eyes.
She remembered a time when his face had always been a mask to her. When he had fought to hide himself away. She noticed that he didn't even try anymore. He let her see his confusion and his sadness. He let her see his pain.
'I'll be fine,' he said as his hand mirrored hers and rested on her face. He rubbed her cheek tenderly and Elena closed her eyes with a sigh. She believed him.
She felt him tense suddenly and his hand fell. Elena's eyes snapped open. He was staring at something over her shoulder. Her stomach squirmed with anxiety as she twisted her head, ignoring the shooting pain in her side.
Her heart sank as guilt flooded her and her hand dropped away from Damon too.
Stefan was staggering up the driveway, still not completely over the effects of the vervain she had stabbed him with. His eyes were fixed on the two of them and she couldn't tell what he was thinking. But she could imagine and it tore at her. His eyes flitted to Katherine's corpse and they widened. Damon said nothing. He was waiting for Stefan to make the first move, unsure of what would happen.
Just as Elena thought the heavy silence between the three of them would never end, he spoke.
'Are you hurt?'
Elena opened her mouth to answer but she couldn't speak. Her voice lodged in her throat and no amount of swallowing would clear it. So she nodded and she stared, praying that he could see the apology in her eyes. But Stefan wasn't Damon. She had never been able to read him and he had never been able to read her.
So his eyes fell away from her and met Damon's. Elena looked between them fearfully. She didn't want them to fight, not now. She felt Damon coiling beside her, bracing himself in anticipation. She saw Stefan's jaw lock dangerously. The tension was palpable. Elena's heart raced and she hoped that they'd hear it and that they'd spare her any more pain.
Finally, Stefan looked away.
'You should take her home.' He said simply.
Damon straightened in shock.
Then Stefan turned away from them completely, 'I'll deal with the body.'
Damon and Elena watched in respectful silence as Stefan appeared beside Katherine's blackened figure. He picked her up gently, brow low and eyes dark, and then he disappeared into the Salvatore Manor without another word.
The sick feeling of guilt in Elena's stomach subsided as soon as she couldn't see him. She did love Stefan. How could she not when he had been so desperate to save her, despite how she had hurt him? But it was nothing…nothing compared to the myriad of emotions that scorched her soul as Damon's eyes rested on her warily.
'What happened?' he asked.
Elena closed her eyes. She'd tell him everything, she would. But she was cold and tired. She was still sat in the mud. Her back was starting to stiffen painfully. She opened her eyes again, looked into his and whispered.
'Take me home.'
For a moment, he looked as though he would insist on an answer but then Damon nodded, eyes sweeping over her body as he shifted to pick her up. One arm slipped under her shoulders gently, the other beneath her knees. Slowly he lifted her, trying his hardest to not cause her any more pain. Then he pulled her into his chest. She placed her hand over his dead heart that had suddenly come alive again and burrowed into him, her head nestling beneath his chin.
'Hold on…' his breath tickled her hair as he spoke. Elena couldn't help but smile; she'd never let go.
Then he was running as Elena clung to him. Her mind flashed back to just an hour or so ago. When Stefan had sped her out of the woods. She had been so afraid then, and so confused. Now, she felt nothing but peace.
Before she knew it, she was back in her bedroom and Damon was placing her gently on her feet. His hand was pressed firmly on the small of her back, supporting her as her legs shook. She stared around her appreciatively and then suddenly it was all too much. When she had left, she had believed that she would die. That she'd be leaving Jenna with so much guilt, and leaving Jeremy alone. That she'd never see her friends again. That she'd never go back to school. That she'd never really live her life.
She turned tear-filled eyes to Damon and he frowned down at her, silently asking her what was wrong. She told him without words that it was all for him, that everything she had risked was for him. Then she stepped closer, buried her face into his chest, wrapped her arms around his waist and she cried.
He stood frozen for a while but Elena didn't mind. She understood that this was strange for him. That he barely knew what had happened tonight and that she had a lot to explain. And she knew it had been along time since he had allowed himself to feel. It would take time for it to come naturally to him.
So she cried quietly as she held him. And then, slowly, he relaxed. One arm slipped around her, pulling her in, the other came to rest on the back of her head and Elena smiled through her tears. She pulled back slightly, so that she could look up at him. His hand moved around from the back of her head and he brushed her tears away with his cool fingertips.
There was a flash of confusion and uncertainty in his eyes, but then it passed.
'Thank you…' he murmured.
Elena's heart swelled. She tilted her head back, slipped her arms up around his neck and pulled his lips to hers.
They touched and Elena gasped. He nipped her lower lip gently, their breath mingled. She kissed the corner of his mouth as she curled his hair around her fingers. His fingers caressed her neck as his mouth enveloped hers and suddenly Elena was floating. The kiss was tender and gentle. But the feelings it instilled were like a burst of flame in the pit of Elena's stomach. As her tongue finally found his, she sunk into him, melding their bodies together in their ironclad embrace.
Slowly, reluctantly – Damon pulled away and as his lips left hers Elena followed them hungrily, leaning forwards as he leant back. He smiled, a hint of his usual mischievousness flashing through his eyes.
He quirked an eyebrow at her, 'Maybe you need to get some rest…I don't know if you're thinking straight.'
He said it half-jokingly, but Elena sensed that there was truth in his words. That he still couldn't quite believe what was happening between them.
'I'm going to be stiff in the morning,' Elena said as she stepped back from him in an attempt to support herself.
His hands shot out towards her again as she winced and he rolled his eyes at her stubbornness. She always hated having to rely on somebody else. He helped her over to her bed and sat her on the edge gently.
As he knelt down at her feet, to pull off her boots, his expression fell, 'This is my fault…'
Elena managed to shrug off her jacket as she laughed softly, 'What is?'
'You being hurt,' he said instantly without even a second's pause. His hand came to rest gently on her knee and he looked up at her sadly. 'If I had just been…honest…with you…'
Elena shook her head, still smiling, 'I wasn't honest with you either. But I always believed in you, Damon.'
Damon's jaw clenched in his frustration, 'But I didn't believe in you…'
'Yes you did,' Elena stated with a warm finality. 'Otherwise you would never have saved my life.'
They stared at one another for a moment. Damon, denying his role as saviour whilst Elena told him that he was her saviour and always would be, in more ways than one. It was a silent battle of wills, in which they were equal. Always equal.
'You need to sleep.' Damon said quietly when it was clear neither would back down.
Elena nodded. He was right. She could feel exhaustion seeping through her, physical and emotional. She allowed him to lay her back on her bed. She closed her eyes as he pulled the covers up to her chin and touched her face affectionately.
But then she felt him stepping away and before she let sleep overtake her, her hand shot out and tugged at his jacket. She opened her eyes drowsily and looked up at him from beneath heavy lids.
'Stay with me.'
He paused for a second, holding her stare. Then he nodded. He pulled off his jacket, kicked off his shoes and in a flash was beside her. He pulled her to him, her back to his chest. She smiled contentedly as she felt his breath on the back of her neck. He placed an arm around her gently, letting his hand rest on her stomach.
This was what Elena wanted. Damon was what she wanted. And in that moment, despite everything that had happened, she felt happy. She knew that in the morning she would have to explain everything. She knew that she'd have to go and see Stefan, to explain properly. But right then, Damon was all that mattered.
As her exhaustion overcame her and her eyes fluttered closed, Elena's hand found Damon's. His fingers intertwined with hers and she remembered thinking earlier that she would never let go. She knew, that he would never let go either.
AN: Ok, I'm going to go on a bit here. Bt please read on…
I simply cannot believe the reception this fic received and I am so, so grateful. Every review makes me so damn happy, I can't even explain. I love writing these two, but if you guys didn't respond so positively, I may have given p ages ago. I also probably wouldn't have tried as hard. So really, you were part of this as much as I was.
Reading back, there were definitely times where the quality was a bit lower than others. I'd really love to hear your thoughts in your reviews. Fave chapter? Fave moment? Least fave? What I cold improve on? I'd appreciate you taking the time.
And finally, I'm sure I'll start a new multi-chaptered DE fic eventually. Bt I am now about to start a year abroad. I don't know how busy I'll be and I want to get settled first so I'm not sure when I'll get started. I'm sure I'll throw out some one-shots in that time though. So make sure you check them out!
Right. That's it. Believer is done! Thanks you, thank you, and thank you!