So here it is, the end. I'm really sad to see this story go I'll miss writing it so much :( I just want to thank each and every one of you for reading, adding it to your favourites and alerts and for reviewing, I love reading them so much and they honestly mean so much to me - so thank you. Hopefully this doesn't disappoint any of you!

They weren't a conventional couple by any sense of the term, they weren't ordinary or extraordinary, they just were. They didn't bother themselves with jovial terms like boyfriend or girlfriend. They were just Damon and Elena, Elena and Damon and it worked.

They never said the words, those three little words, that "I love you" speech. They never said it but that didn't make it any less true. Instead Damon did things; little things like making sure she never woke up alone even though he rarely slept. Like smoothing her hair down and holding her tightly in the middle of the night when her dreams got the best of her, teasing her and making jokes until she gave him a watery smile and her heartbeat finally rested. Like leaving bags of vervain-laced cookies in her school locker everyday until she'd graduated. Things Like actually making an effort to be nice to Jenna and Jeremy… sometimes. Like taking her out of town spontaneously so that she could let her hair down and go wild, always sitting with her in the bathroom of whatever hotel they'd chosen as she puked her guts out thanks to the alcohol. He always told her that she'd never looked more beautiful as he handed her a cloth – she always laughed and told him he was a horrible liar.

And in return Elena never asked him to change, didn't want him to. She loved him, unconditionally, trusted him explicitly. Trusted him not to lie to her, not to sugar coat things, to treat her like an equal, to call her out when she was in the wrong, when she was being a bitch, to tell her when she needed to just shut the fuck up and go for it. He let her be herself. Completely. All the time. With him she was free.

If she wanted to sit and bitch about the mundane routines of her life then he'd sit and listen to her; just enough to let her vent, enough to make her feel like she'd gotten it off her chest before he shut her up with a kiss… a kiss that almost always led to mind blowing sex and if she wanted to lay in bed and cuddle afterwards? He let her.

If she wanted to go another round - they did.

If she was feeling restless and wanted to go out and just do something - he'd take her. Anytime, any place. Always.

They fought and it was just like every other aspect of their relationship; passionate and wild. Uncontainable. He'd get so mad that he'd have to leave, blow of steam by draining a few necks but never enough to kill – not anymore and she never begged him to stay. Never because she knew that he'd come back. He always came back. If she was in the wrong then she'd say "sorry" and he'd forgive her, open his arms and let her cry it out on his shoulder before taking her to bed. They'd work out any remaining differences beneath the sheets in the throws of angry sex until they couldn't anymore and if he was in the wrong? Well, he never said sorry but he showed her that he was; through his eyes, through gentle caresses and chaste kisses once she'd cooled off. With the occasional rose left on-top of her make up bag, or on-top of her school books.

She'd sigh the anger already melting away and smile, smelling it before putting it away in the draw she'd reserved specially for him. Away with the other shrivelled petals that she just couldn't bring herself to throw out and her eyes would always fall to the first one. The rose he'd given her so casually at that dinner party and by then her heart wouldn't stop pounding violently until she saw him again, until she told him that he was forgiven. Until she eased that niggling fear that she knew he hid internally, the fear that one-day she'd be taken away from him. That one day he'd do something that she couldn't forgive him for. That he'd screw up so badly that she wouldn't come back because he always screwed up eventually. He always ruined things; broke them. That was his nature.

There were things that Damon would never say out loud, things that he'd never express outwardly even though he probably should. Important things like the fact that Elena made him feel. That when she'd flung her arms around him and refused to let go he'd never felt more wanted in his entire life and he would never be more thankful to anyone because of it. That she'd inadvertently saved him from himself, that her simple kindness and empathy had been all it had taken to allow him to find himself again – slowly.

He never discussed it, never let on that sometimes in the middle of the night whilst he was laying awake with her snuggled into his side, listening to the steady beat of her heart and the rise and fall of her chest that he was scared. Really scared of losing her and it always came after that dream. The one recurring memory where he'd see her laying half dead in his arms again, where he'd hear her final shallow raspy breaths echoing loudly from the depths of his mind. She was so ingrained into his very being that he didn't know where he ended and she began. She was home to him. She was it. And he'd often become disgusted with himself for thinking such ridiculous things until she mumbled something in her sleep, or squeezed him a little tighter and that warm tingling feeling would wash over him again reminding him why he felt the way he did. Reminding him why 150 years of cruelty had finally met its match. Reminding him why he allowed her to see the real him, the human version of himself, the one that just wanted to be loved, just once. The one that wasn't so sure of himself, the one that had been damaged beyond repair.

He'd tried to tell her once – tried to express with words just how much she meant to him; called out her name sometime before dawn and she'd opened her eye's un-focused and bleary taking a few moments to gain perspective of the situation. He'd heard the way her heart skipped a beat as she took in his expression, his blue eyes completely un-guarded and serious and she'd swallowed tightly before whispering, "What's wrong?" into the darkness. He'd been hit with such an overwhelming and un-expected sense of pure affection that he couldn't answer, couldn't find the words to say even when she'd pressed him for a response a worried "Damon?" falling from her perfect lips. It had taken a few moments as she sat up further; brushing her fingers through his unruly hair in an attempt to chase away whatever demon was haunting him now before he managed to speak. Managed to let go of his pride just enough to tell her, to let hew know. To stop hiding and give her those words that he knew she wanted to hear, even though she'd never say so out loud, never ask it of him. She didn't want anything more than he could give – she'd take what she got because what she already had was remarkable enough.

"You're everything to me Elena" he'd confessed quietly and her hands had frozen, her heart had stopped and clenched so tightly that she thought she might suffocate from the overbearing sense of adoration she felt for him and her eyes welled with moisture because those words, those five words meant more to her than any number of "I love you's" ever could.

There were moments, seemingly insignificant one's where she'd catch him doing things, mundane things… ordinary things like reading a book with his brow furrowed and his lips parted slightly, or cooking something for family night completely engrossed in whatever he was doing that she loved him so much that she literally felt she would burst. That her heart would explode because she cared for him so deeply, loved him so much that it started to hurt and every time she felt like that, she'd walk over to him, wrap her arms around him and hold on tight until the feeling passed. One time she just hadn't been able to hold it inside any longer and she'd whispered it into his chest, said those three little words. It meant more to him than he could say. He never questioned her, never got annoyed when she clung to him. Never felt suffocated by her spontaneous bouts of genuine affection when usually he would run for the hills, she was careful not to do it too much and he knew that. He loved her for it. She got him; she gave him space when he needed it. She gave him the time he needed to learn how to love someone again, time to learn how to be loved – she gave him more time than he thought he deserved, let him make more mistakes than he should. He was the im-prefect one and that's just the way she wanted him to stay.

It had been hard at first for Stefan to come to terms with his heartbreak, with his loss because he truly had loved Elena. Did still love Elena, always would love Elena but gradually once the pain had dulled to a low throb and finally the occasional twinge when he saw the two of them together he'd realised that they were right for each other. They worked in a way that he and Elena never had. They'd been happy, yes truly happy and content and in love but they didn't quite gel completely. There had always been something missing and neither one them had realised it until after they'd broken up. Stefan firmly believed in the notion that if it's meant to be it will happen in it's own way – and it had. Just not with him. For a while he hadn't known what to feel, for a while he'd been lost and she had been too. She missed him, she never doubted that, never hid it. Stefan had been good to her and he deserved more than her falling in love with his older brother, so much more but she couldn't give it to him... She would always have time for him, if he needed her; she'd be there. In the platonic sense of the notion she did still love him because he deserved it, and she knew that he would still do anything for her. She knew that he'd loved her deeply enough to let her go and for that Elena would never cut him out of their lives. Damon knew this, and he accepted it… for the most part.

They never discussed the issue of her mortality, Damon lived in the present, he was never one for worrying about the future and he certainly wasn't going to start now – they'd cross that bridge when they came to it, but silently Elena had decided that twenty-three would be a good age to die. She'd eventually come to the conclusion that she still wanted those normal everyday things. Things like college and a 21st birthday - besides Damon had promised he'd take her to Vegas; show her a weekend she'd never forget. How could she argue with that? Bonnie had never been able to accept it, her and Damon's relationship and honestly Elena couldn't bring herself to care. She'd lost so much that she felt it was ok to be selfish just this once, to care only for herself and the people who had stuck by her through everything. She didn't have the time nor the energy to try and repair her childhood friendships. Jenna had gradually come around, gradually begun to accept the idea of Vampires and the fact that her niece was dating one; had dated two.

It had taken a few months for her to forgive Jeremy, for her to understand why he'd chosen to turn and eventually the idea of Elena living un-officially at the boarding house with Damon and Stefan hadn't filled her with an immense sense of discomfort. A few months before Elena's 19th birthday Jenna made sure to make it clear that she would always have a place to come home to and that had been enough for Elena to understand that Jenna was giving them her blessing. Elena had taken the remainder of her belongings and placed them permanently beside Damon's. She was happy now; she'd found such a profound sense of peace. A belonging that she'd never even realised had been missing with Stefan and in the grand scheme of things, that's all she wanted from life - to have her place. To have piece of mind. To be happy and finally… finally it seemed that she was on the right path, with the right brother. She wasn't deluded, she harboured none of the overly romantic notions of marriage and a white picket fence – it didn't even matter to her. It honestly didn't. She and Damon were a team, one and the same, twin flames, however you want to describe it. As long as she could hold onto that, as long as she fought for it, for him, then she'd be happy. She'd be whole.