Thank you so much for all the support, I've had a crazy amount of fun over the last 17 chapters.

Now did someone order some cheddary fluffness? ;)

Thinking of You - The Epilogue

5 Years Later

It's been a good 5 years, but also an incredibly hard 5 years. There's been a ton of guilt on Elena's part—something that infuriates Damon more than he would admit. She spent the first couple of years trying to make it up to Stefan and became furious with Damon when he in-turn refused to apologize or make amends with Caroline.

It's taken a while, but all in all, they're okay.

They aren't a conventional couple—their passionate, uncontainable personalities cause them to fight more than what's normal—but Elena's secure in the knowledge that it's always better second time round.

Bonnie thinks they have sex too much—way more than what's healthy—but they were parted for so long, Damon can't get enough of her, and neither one of them pays any attention to the disapproving witch. Things are different this time—there's more freeness and security in her touches, less jealousy and possessiveness in his. She says those three little words much more than he does, but that doesn't make it any less true for him. Instead, Damon does little things to show her he cares—like showering her with affection and letting her snuggle up to him after sex and making an effort to make sure he puts the lid on the toothpaste because he knows how much that annoys her.

Some things haven't changed though. She still thinks he's a self-absorbed, arrogant ass... but she wouldn't have it any other way—she loves him, unconditionally. He's himself around her and he makes no apologies. He still gets jealous sometimes and occasionally she'll get frightened and think he's going to leave her again... but then he scolds her for being so insecure and holds her until every trace of doubt is wiped away from her mind.

She hates how he buys her expensive gifts all the time but she doesn't send them away or demand he take them back because sometimes she thinks he needs this. Because deep down, she knows it's because he still feels guilty... like he has to make up for hurting her, even though she's told him countless times she's forgiven him.

It's the little things he does that make her love him. Things like making an effort to be nice to Jenna and Jeremy, even though she knows he hates being around any human that isn't herself. Things like comforting her instead of walking away when she lashes out at him in angry despair... because really, he knows she's terrified of being alone again. He always tells her she's beautiful and sometimes little things like that make her heart swell.

That being said, it's not like he's become a soft and cuddly carbon copy of St. Stefan. No. They fight passionately, wildly, and he still gets so angry to the point where he has to walk away and she's left sobbing, wondering if he's ever going to come back. But he always does. And he always picks her up, kisses her forehead and tells her he's sorry; that he'll never leave again.

He's been making an effort to patch things up with Bonnie; something Elena loves him for. In some ways, he owes everything to her. The fact that she gave Elena the letter is the reason he's the happiest he's been in decades. It took a while, but eventually the two reconciled and are slowly making their way to becoming... friends. Damon's relationship with Caroline, however, is still on the mend.

"Elena, baby." He chuckles, chasing her through the boarding house, humoring her by keeping his pace human when realistically he could have her pinned under him in less than a second.

She whips round, her expression hard and stony. "Don't you laugh at me, Damon Salvatore." She hisses, before turning around so quickly, her brown hair slaps him in the face and he blinks, amused. "I am so angry at you right now."

"Oh really? I hadn't noticed." His voice is dry, sarcastic, but he can't help the small smile that curls the corners of his mouth.

She sends him a death glare before stamping up the stairs, throwing her scarf from around her neck in the process. She's so furious she can't even appreciate the hilarity of the situation when it whacks him in the face.

She storms into the bedroom they now share. Stefan moved out at the beginning of their relationship, not able to sit around in the same house while they were together. He visits them from time to time with his new-found acceptance, but they're still not exactly at the point where they can all sit down and have tea and crackers.

She throws her keys on the bedside table, kicking her killer heels off.

Damon remains calm as he tiredly shuts the door. "Amore—"

"—oh no you don't." She points an accusing finger towards him. "Now is not the time for your Italian charm." She rolls her eyes, storming over to the wardrobe and throwing the doors open. "You said it. You know you said it."

"Well, I didn't mean it."

She turns around, one hand on the door frame. "You don't even know what you said!" She exclaims, before shoving her head back into the huge wardrobe.

"I thought you said I did know what I said?" He raises an eyebrow, confused.

She inhales dramatically, trying to compose herself. "Well you don't." She shouts. "Do you?"

He tips his head to the side, completely confused. "No." He admits and she throws her arms up in frustration. "But I'm very sorry." He tries to send her one of his seductive, cheeky smirks but she rolls her eyes—something that he makes her do often.

She takes a hanger from the rail. "How can you be sorry for something you don't even know you said? God, I hate when you do this! You pretend everything you say means nothing when really it means something, it's not just something for you to say, nothing always means something!" She rambles.

Damon blinks. "What?"

His voice is blank with confusion and he ducks when she throws the hanger at him.

"You told my brother you wanted me to become a vampire!" She shouts, her screech making his ears hurt. She turns back to the wardrobe and has to grab another hanger to substitute the one she'd thrown at his head. She uses it to hang up her leather jacket. Her angry hands then try to lift her top off, but her fingers are clumsy, causing it to get caught around her neck. She struggles for a few moments, grunting and groaning in frustration under the fabric.

Very sexy, Damon thinks with a smirk.

When she finally manages to pull it over her head, her eyes are wild, her chest heaving and her hair sticking up all over the place. She haphazardly tosses the top on the floor, huffing as she does so.

"You said you wanted me to be a vampire but that I'm not ready!" She rants, arms flailing about as Damon leans against the wall casually. "You might as well have said that I like being a freaking cougar!"

"Well I am starting to see a few grey hairs..." He teases and he can't help his smirk when her eyes widen and she leaps to the mirror, worriedly checking the roots of her thick brown hair.

"This is not funny!" She wails, once she's realized she'd taken the bait. "You told my family I didn't want to be a vampire!"

"I didn't!" He chuckles at her distress. "I didn't say that, I just said you wanted to wait."

She rushes over to the bed, pulling back the covers and fluffing pillows, doing anything to keep herself from punching him. "Which means I don't want to be one right now!"

"Exactly!" He sighs in relief, glad she's starting to see things his way.

"Right." She turns to him, eyes as wide as her mouth, as if he's done some hugely terrible thing and suddenly he's confused again.

"Hang on, I'm confused." He frowns and when he takes a step towards her, she lifts the pillow in a silent warning, threatening him—daring him to come closer, "Why am I in trouble here?"

"Because!" She explodes, trying to reach behind her to undo her bra but she's shaking from the force of her anger and when Damon lewdly offers to do it for her, she give up, grabs one of her heels and throws it at him.

He uses his vampire reflexes to dodge the weapon and she carries on with her rant. "Because you want me to be a vampire and I didn't know that so I've spent the last five years thinking we're doing okay but then I find out that you think there's something missing."

"What are you talking about?" He frowns, his voice suddenly soft and melodic. It doesn't comfort her—in-fact it causes frustrated tears to spring to her eyes. She walks into the connecting bathroom, leaning over the sink and grabbing her toothbrush. She quickly shoves it in her mouth and begins to brush furiously.

"I know what you're really saying even when you don't say it." She says, but the brush muffles her voice to the point where it's almost indiscernible and he shakes his head, rolling his eyes.

He appears behind her, his reflection flawless in the mirror.

He sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Do you want to become a vampire?" He asks, wanting a straight answer.

She spits, rinsing her mouth. She looks at his reflection in the mirror, sniffing back her tears. "Do you want me to become a vampire?"

"Yes." Because every day that passes with you as a human, I risk the chance of losing you.

She blinks, tears swimming on her lids. "See?" She croaks, turning around and going to brush past him, but he grabs her arm.

He looks down at her, their lips inches apart. "See what?" He frowns, frustrated and confused.

"Everyday that goes by with me human is one more day I get closer to losing you forever." Her voice catches. "But I'm terrified. I'm scared of not being able to see my family because all I'll want to do is eat them! I'm scared of never having children or a normal life. Everything would be so much better if—"

"—if you weren't with me?" He asks angrily, bitterly, before turning his head abruptly.

She sighs. "No." Her voice is a whisper now she's calmed down. "That's not what I meant. Sure, things would be... easier if I weren't with you." He turns back to her and her watery eyes cause a twinge in his heart. "But not better. Definitely not better. Damon, you're my reason for existing."

A small smirk curls the corners of his lips. "How very Twilight." He drawls.

But she remains serious.

"You said that to Jeremy because you're mad at me for not wanting to turn yet. And because I'm all old now—"

"—you're hardly old." He rolls his eyes at her dramatic speech. "You're 29. I'm 186."

"You know what I mean." She bows her head. "It's because I'm always insecure and needy and you'd rather be with someone like Isobel or Kelly Donovan—someone who's not clingy... someone who's actually fun and worth spending an eternity with. That's what you're really saying, isn't it?"

He raises an eyebrow. "Now technically Kelly Donovan is old."

She half-screams, half-sobs in frustration as she wrenches herself from his grasp and throws herself onto the bed dramatically.

"You're bored." She whines, the insecure part of her flaring up. "I'm no fun anymore. You don't find me sexy anymore. Why don't you just admit it?"

He's kneeling in front of her in less than a second.

"You're beautiful, Elena." His voice is seductive, sexy. "You know that."

She shakes her head and stands up, walking over to the wall and leaning against it.

"What you're really saying..." The first tear rolls down her cheek and he stands up, watching her with curious eyes, " that you're not happy with me."

His smirk slowly drops and suddenly his face is completely serious... hurt, even.

"That's not what I'm saying." His voice is low, disbelieving. "That's not what I'm saying at all. Is that what you're saying?"

She bites her trembling lip. "I'm saying this isn't the life you wanted. You spent a century doing all these crazy, fun things and now you're stuck here—tied to me. What if this is it, Damon? End of story."

"Well what other story do you want?" He exclaims, his brow furrowed in anger and disbelief.

She pushes past him but before she can get anywhere, he's holding her arm in an iron grip. She looks up at him, tears rolling down her cheeks, as he grabs her and holds her tightly to him. He looks furiously into her eyes.

"What do you want?" He asks angrily, shaking her slightly, as she stares up at him, a small frown line between her eyebrows.

"I don't know." She whispers, causing his heart to drop.

His gaze hardens. "Damn it, Elena." He hisses. "What do you want?" He repeats, this time with more urgency. "I know what I want, because it's standing right in-front of me. Do you know what you want? Because you better tell me if I'm not it."

She notices the warning in his voice and her teary eyes become stonier.

"Or what?" She asks slowly, incredulously, her teeth gritted. "You gonna leave?"

He wants to scream in frustration. So that's what this is about. How many times does he have to tell her? How many years does he have to spend trying to convince her stupid insecure brain that he's never letting her go again?

"Well?" She demands after he says nothing. She pushes at his chest, fear bubbling to the surface. "If you want to leave, leave! I'm not stopping you. Just go. Get out of here!"

When he takes her blows and says nothing, her insecure, needy heart takes that as a sign that he actually wants to go. Fear kicks at her stomach like a mule and he can't think of what to say to comfort her.

"Maybe I'll just call Stefan."

His eyes darken. "Don't push me, Elena." He hisses through gritted teeth.

"Well clearly you want to leave!" She shouts.

She hits at his unyielding chest, literally pushing him away, and his own insecurity is dragged up kicking and screaming. "Do you want me to leave?" He asks, stupidly wondering if that's in-fact what she's trying to say.

They're both insecure idiots.

She crosses her arms. "Well yeah, why don't you? Seeing as you're so good at it."

It's a low blow—bringing up the past and referring to the departure that nearly destroyed them both all those years ago—and she immediately regrets saying it when she practically sees the walls beginning to creep up around him.

He pushes her away. "Fuck this." He mutters under his breath, throwing his arms up and turning around to walk away.

He walks to the door, murmuring in Italian along the way and it's ironic that the only thing she can understand is, "Vaffanculo!" which he spits furiously.

"No!" She contradicts in a scream. "Fuck you! In English!"

Then the door slams and she throws herself on the bed, sobbing into a pillow.

Time stops.

It takes approximately seventy eight seconds—not that she's counting or anything—for him to walk back inside and find her like that.

"Can I come back now, love?" He whispers at the doorway, a soft smile free of any sarcasm or arrogance on his face.

She lifts her head as a half-sob, half-laugh falls from her lips. She jumps up, running to him and throwing herself on him, her legs wrapping themselves around his strong waist and her arms finding their way in his hair. She peppers kisses all over his face as he walks them over to the bed.

"I'm sorry." She cries quietly, kissing his mouth. "I'm so sorry." She repeats it over and over.

He kisses her deeply, expressing everything he can't bring himself to say with his actions, "I'm sorry, baby." He tangles his fingers in her hair, anchoring her face to his. "I'm sorry I said the wrong thing to Jeremy."

She shakes her head, kissing every square inch of his face as he lowers them to the bed, her straddling his lap.

"It's okay. I'm sorry." They both laugh at that word again. "I just get so scared sometimes..." She admits in a breathy sigh, "...that one day you're gonna wake up and realize I'm not enough for you."

He kisses her mouth, "Stupido." He rolls his eyes and she nods; half-sighing, half-laughing against his lips.

"I get so cranky... scared. Bonnie thinks it's because I love you too much." She leans her forehead against his and his fingers are crafty and warm as they sneak up her bare back. "She still thinks it won't last."

He rolls his eyes. "Just because I corrupted you with sex and charm."

She chuckles against his skin when she buries her face in his neck. He closes his eyes, tipping his head back in pleasure, when her tongue traces circles on his collarbone. She lifts her head, brown eyes meeting pale blue.

"I don't want to make any mistakes this time, Damon." She whispers and he can see the worry in her eyes.

He tenderly kisses her eyelids, her nose. "Elena." Her name is a breathy sigh from his lips; like a prayer. "We're not a mistake just because you're not ready to turn yet. I'll wait as long as it takes. And Bonnie doesn't know what she's talking about—we are gonna last."

"How can you be so sure?" She asks, her insecurity getting the better of her.

He smiles, brushing a stray strand of brown hair from her forehead. His hand remains tangled in her locks. "Because I can't imagine spending forever with anyone but you."

She exhales against his lips, stunned at how he can always make such short statements so poetic and loving. "I'm sorry." She whispers. "I see people getting bored and getting divorces and I just get so afraid that when you turn me, you'll tire of me and I'll be left stranded—having to spend the rest of eternity alone... watching Jenna and Jeremy and everyone I care about die... for no reason."

"Tesoro mio, things are different now." She knows he's referring to his departure all those years ago and she shakes her head, cursing herself for being such an insecure mess. He holds her tightly to him as she buries her face in his neck.

He makes her look at him, the intensity in his eyes shining. "And Elena? You've got to stop throwing the past in my face, telling me to leave." She bites her trembling lip and nods. "I'm not going anywhere." He tells her with an infectious smile and she grins back, comforted by the truth of it.

"I know, baby." She kisses his nose. "Ti amo." She whispers playfully, a huge smile on her face, as he raises his eyebrows.

"I thought I was the Italian one." He teases, before kissing her deeply. "I love you too, sweetheart."

They stay like that for a little while, just kissing, until she feels the hot pangs of desire warm her belly and liquid heat coarse through her veins.

He senses her urgency and chuckles against her lips, letting her push him back on the bed.

She climbs on top of him, hips grinding impatiently, and when he trails his hands down her body he purposely strays from the areas that are desperate for his touch.

She exhales in frustration.

"Maybe my next vampire lover won't tease me so much." She taunts against his lips, kissing him softly.

He raises an eyebrow, "You're next vamp—" He shakes his head at her craziness, "Come here, you." He growls, nibbling at her neck playfully, revelling in her squeals of delight when he flips them over and she's staring up at him happily.

"I'm sorry I get so crazy sometimes."

He rolls his eyes. It doesn't matter. He loves her, just the way she is, no matter what.

This is it. This is where he wants to be.

"Just shut up and kiss me."

A/N: I know Damon's a bit out of character but I thought I'd end it with a bit of (well okay a lot of) fluff. God knows we need it after last night's episode -.-

And if anyone has a particular VD couple they'd like me to write a story about, let me know in a review :)

Thank you all, so much, again.

The End.