Disclaimer: L.J. Smith created these characters and the CW created this universe. I just play in it.
Author's note: Here it is, folks. Warm and fuzzy with a touch of angst, just like you like it.
"…and so then I told Matt that there was no way I was letting him wear a brown shirt to the dance when I had clearly already gone to the trouble of color-coordinating our outfits to match my eyes. Of course, I didn't realize he was kidding at the time. But you know Matt, I mean, it was a very real possibility he was being serious."
Elena grinned at Caroline being… well, Caroline. "Yes, thank God he has you for fashion advice." She took a sip of her soda and glanced at Matt bussing the table behind them, rolling his eyes as he overheard their conversation. He tossed a dishtowel over his shoulder and waved before disappearing into the kitchen.
"Well not all of us are lucky enough to have a boyfriend who dresses in designer clothing," Caroline sighed.
"Talking about me? Well, of course, why wouldn't you be. I am, after all, pretty amazing," Damon said, appearing out of nowhere and sliding in the booth beside Elena.
"And so modest, too," Elena teased before acquiescing to a brief kiss hello.
" See what I'm talking about? Look at him. John Varvatos from head to toe," Caroline huffed. "Although you do wear too much black, Damon. You realize we're in the South, right? I've never seen a Southern boy with that many leather jackets. If we could just add some color to-"
"Stop right there, Barbie," Damon said, noting the gleam in her eye. "You're not making over this Ken. I like my look. Elena likes it too, don't you, honey bunny?"
"Honey bunny?" Elena said, raising an eyebrow.
"Sweetie pie? Sugar? Dumplin'? Cupcake? Pumpkin?" Damon offered. Elena just stared at him. "Ah, well, we'll work out the inappropriate food-based nicknames later."
"Ugh, gag me, I'm gonna go find Matt and make sure he was kidding about the bowling shoes, too."
Elena waited until Caroline left before turning to Damon. "'Dumplin'?" she repeated, dissolving into giggles.
"Ok, you know I was kidding, right? Just because we're together now, don't think that I'm going to go all soft and boring. I'm still a big bad vampire," he said, wiggling his eyebrows for emphasis.
"Oh, sure," Elena said in mock seriousness, nodding her head. She relaxed against the back of the booth as Damon nonchalantly stole her drink, taking a slow sip.
"What?" he asked. He could tell something was bothering her.
"Have you heard from him?" she asked quietly.
"He's doing ok. His friends up north are looking after him. He texts every once in a while to let me know he's alright so I don't come looking for him. He just needs some time. Can't say I blame him."
"Oh," Elena said, guiltily looking down at her hands.
"Look, you let him down as gently as possible, right? Don't beat yourself up over it," Damon said, genuinely trying to make her feel better.
"I know," she said, still feeling uncomfortable remembering the conversation with Stefan where she had to tell him how she developed feelings for his brother. He took it rather well, considering. That made her feel even worse - he probably already suspected it.
"Besides," Damon said, smirking. "It's not your fault I'm so irresistible. Women have been falling in love with me for over a century. Nothing to be ashamed of."
Elena rolled her eyes. "Yes, clearly I had no control over myself. One look at you and, bam! Love at first sight. Shame I'll never get over it."
"You better not," Damon said, scooting closer, "because lucky for you, I fell in love too." He cracked one more signature smirk as Elena's cheeks flushed. "Just don't spread it around, ok? Don't want to ruin my reputation," he said, his lips finally closing in on hers.
"Not a word," Elena breathed against his lips. She hummed with satisfaction as he kissed her, the type of kiss that was filled with promise of kisses to come. Her body melted against his, taking the kiss to a rating that was soon to be inappropriate for the family crowd at the Mystic Grill. She was just about to boldly suggest moving things to a new location - preferably his bed - when a familiar voice interrupted them from above.
"Damon, come on, get off my best friend. And would you please tell Matt what it means to accessorize?"
Damon groaned and placed one final kiss on Elena's lips before turning to Caroline. "We're busy right now."
"Well get busy later. Ew - I didn't mean it like that. Just - can you tell him?"
Elena repressed a laugh as she took in an exasperated Matt, one arm in a death grip from Caroline.
Matt interrupted. "And can you tell Caroline, for the love of God, I was kidding about the cowboy hat?"
"Is this going to be my life now?" Damon whined.
"Yup," Elena said. "Pretty awesome, huh?"
Damon snorted. "Yeah, awesome." All of a sudden, he got a dangerous gleam in his eye. "You know what would be awesome…"
"What?" Elena asked suspiciously.
"Caroline, Matt, buddy," Damon said, sliding out of the booth with Elena in tow, smoothly guiding the trio toward the door. "You know what this group needs? A road trip."
"Damon…" Elena warned.
"Shh, baby, I'm talking here. Have you guys ever been to Georgia? No? Great. First, let me explain Damon's Official Road Trip Ground Rules..."
Author's note: That's it! ::sniff, sniff:: Hope you liked my little alt-verse. I know the story's over so there's no begging for reviews to inspire the next chapter, but hey, feed the ego anyway, hm? It's nice to know whether or not you enjoyed the ride.
Meanwhile, I just so happen to have another story in my head, one that doesn't even remotely follow the current plot of the show. Mostly because I have no idea where they're going with the Originals thing and I don't want to conflict with the next season. (But don't worry, it's Delena – no contest there.) So, send your love and I'll see you next time! Thanks for reading!