Title: Fragile
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Friendship
Characters: Damon Salvatore / Elena Gilbert
Rating: K
Word Count: 1662
Disclaimer: I don't own The Vampire Diaries and this story was simply written for fun. I don't make any money with this.

Summary: "I didn't want that." She whispered and locked her eyes with Damon's piercing blue ones. Understanding lit up in his gaze and he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her fragile form against his, steadying her while she was fighting her sobs.

A/N: This was inspired by the 17th episode "Let the right one in". At first I had planned this to be a little bit more romantic, but in the end it didn't fit the whole atmosphere... I hope you like this nonetheless and leave a small review to tell me your opinion. :)


Fragile
April 11th, 2010

Carefully she held her left wrist against the cold bottle of water and sat down on the side of her bed. Too many bad things had happened tonight and just the memories of every single moment hurt and made tears sting in her eyes. Just a few rooms next to her Jeremy was probably crying himself to sleep, knowing now why Vicki was gone and that she would never return to him. Matt had to face the pain of knowing that his sister – the sister he loved so much – would never come home again and lead a happy life. And in Caroline's eyes she had seen the fear of losing Matt by having found his dead sister's body, which had been a nightmarish experience for her which nobody would ever want to go through.

But all of this was overshadowed by Stefan's outburst and the inhuman side of him she had seen. The bite injury on her left wrist burned at the thought and a cold chill ran down her spine. What had happened to him? The way he had looked at her when she had tried to stop him from reacting unusually brutal was etched on her memory. For the first time she had seen the vampire in him… a lethal and untamable creature. And it had scared her in a way she was afraid to admit.

The tears, which had formed in her eyes, started to roll down her cheeks and left a salty taste on her lips. Not wanting to show weakness now, she hastily tried to wipe them away but winced when she moved her wrist too roughly. More tears followed and soon her body shook with sobs she couldn't control anymore. Elena gave up fighting and closed her eyes to let herself fall down onto her bed, hoping she'd find sleep to be able to forget. But before her body could touch her sheets, she felt strong arms envelop her and hug her close to someone.

The first thing which crossed her mind was to scream and fight the intruding person off. But when she breathed in and smelled the person's scent, she realized that she should just accept the comfort he was offering.

Damon.

Soon she grabbed onto his shirt, ignoring the stinging pain in her wrist and just looking for some support in his embrace. In return, he steadied his hold on her and pulled her body closer to his to provide her with a minimum feeling of security.

"Why does… every-… everything go wrong? Why… why can't things… be… be easy once?" She sobbed into his neck while trying to get control over herself.

"Shh…" He whispered into her ear and started to rub small circles onto her back to soothe her. "We'll make things all right."

"How… are we go-… going to do that?" She asked in return and raised her head to look into his eyes. Tonight they were a clear blue and even though she would have tried to deny it in any other situation, they had a calming effect on her. "Everything went wrong. How can we fix things when they are broken like this?"

"Maybe we start with you telling me what happened." He tried to smile softly and pulled both of them onto her bed completely to lean against the headboard. Once he was sure that she was steadied, he let go of her and simply sat beside her without touching her. Repeating his question in her mind, Elena winced at the images in her head which were evoked by the attempt to arrange the events in a chronological order.

"They found Vicki's body." She started and looked at her hands in her lap, not knowing how to explain the things that had happened to Stefan. "Now everyone knows that she'll never come back. Jeremy and Matt… I wanted to spare them the pain of losing her."

"They found her?" He repeated and stared at her incredulously.

"Yes." She whispered and moved her head slowly to let it rest on his shoulder. It was a weird situation. Here she was, sitting on her bed with Damon Salvatore, the self-serving psychopath with no redeeming qualities she had promised herself to be angry at forever, and actually enjoyed the comfort he was offering. If he hadn't come to Mystic Falls, Vicki would not have died and the vampires which had tortured Stefan wouldn't have been released from the tomb. But right now she had no strength to be angry at him. She needed him to be there for her, to give her a little bit of normality tonight.

"And what happened to Stefan?" He asked in a low voice, his head moving to his right to smell her hair. It was an intimate gesture which created a lump in her throat, so instead of answering, she lifted her left hand and showed him the bite injury on her wrist. Since she was concentrating on her own hands, she couldn't see the expression on his face, but the hardly audible gasp revealed his surprise.

"He bit you?" His voice had an unbelieving undertone, even though the mark on her wrist was proof enough.

"I made him do it. He was so weak… and there was this other vampire. I… I literally forced my blood on him." Damon's eyes went to the cut on the palm of her hand and he understood how everything had happened. Carefully he let his hand meet hers and caressed the wounds with a delicate touch she probably wouldn't feel if she wasn't able to see it. It was incredible how a light skin contact like this could make her injury hurt less.

"So he had human blood?" His voice was softer than she had ever heard and there was an underlying tone she didn't like.

"He was completely different afterwards." She stated, reacting to his question. "What happened?"

"Nothing too bad happened. Stefan has lived on animal blood too long. It's only natural that human blood has an intense impact on him." Damon sighed and let go of Elena's hand.

"But…?" She asked and looked up at him, sensing that Damon was thinking of more than he dared to say.

"But… it will be hard for him to go back to drinking the blood of squirrels and rabbits. When I came home, I found him draining the blood bags we had in the fridge." He answered, holding Elena's gaze for a moment. "They contained human blood of course."

"Why?" She whispered so quietly that only a vampire would be able to understand her. Guilt started to envelop her mind and created an uneasy feeling in her stomach.

"Try to picture an alcoholic who is only allowed to drink water to be able to fight his addiction. And one day this man is close to dying from thirst and the only thing people can give him is a glass of the finest bourbon. He can't refuse it because otherwise he'd die and wouldn't be able to protect the ones he loves. But afterwards his addiction will have gained new strength over him and fighting it will be harder than ever."

"You mean that Stefan is the alcoholic, the water is the animal blood and the bourbon is my blood?" She asked, starting to see the difficulty of the whole situation.

"Yes." Damon answered slowly and put his arm around Elena's small body again once he realized that her breathing and heartbeat became erratic.

"So, basically you're saying that it's my fault that Stefan cannot stop drinking human blood and acts completely different now!" She exclaimed and freed herself from his embrace to stand up and get away from him. How was she supposed to accept comfort for something she had done wrong? Scared of his answer proving the allegations she made against herself, she looked at him cautiously.

"I wouldn't exactly call it a fault." He answered and smirked to lighten the mood. "If you hadn't done what you did, neither of you would have survived to have those worries now. And after all, Stefan is a vampire and vampires are supposed to drink human blood."

"But he doesn't want to! And now I made him drink human blood and I ruined everything for him!" She cried out and again tears started to blur her vision.

"Elena!" Damon stood up as well and let his hands cup her cheeks to force her to look at him. "Calm down!" His order was enough to get her attention, but it didn't help to hold back the tears which rolled down her cheeks and wetted his fingers, which in return tried to wipe away the salty water.

"I didn't want that." She whispered and locked her eyes with Damon's piercing blue ones. Understanding lit up in his gaze and he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her fragile form against his, steadying her while she was fighting her sobs.

"I know, Elena… I know." He murmured into her ear and pressed a soft kiss into her hair. Beneath all anxiety something in her wondered about his unusually careful and gentle behavior towards her. But she didn't want to analyse it – not now. He was helping her, giving her the strength she needed to realize that the things she had done for Stefan weren't a mistake. Both of them knew that this realization would take time and that her condition was fragile, but when she slowly fell asleep in his arms and he positioned both of them on her bed to hold her all night long, it was the first step to make her feel better. And deep down inside she was happy that she had decided subconsciously to stop being angry at Damon for what he had done to her birth mother, Vicki, Caroline and everyone else… despite everything he was good for her and right now she would not be embarrassed to confess that she needed him.