A/N: After this episode, I can legitimately say I ship these two pretty hard.

"What do you do," she asks, "when everyone's asking what's wrong?" She curls into a fetal position and tucks her chin underneath her jacket. "And, and all you can say is, that you don't know, because that's all that you think, and –"

She stops and shakes her head. She exhales slowly. "What do you do when the world starts waiting for you to snap?"

What do you do when you feel like snapping? she doesn't say.

He closes his eyes. "You tell the world that you're fine," he tells her. "You simply find something worth breathing for. And snapping... doesn't seem so easy, then."

She thinks of Matt. "My boyfriend thinks I hate him."

He doesn't say a word.

Sometimes, they're up so late. They're up until the finches are singing for dawn to come and the sun rests beneath the earth, ready to light the whole world. And that's when she falls asleep, always.

He's so exhausted, so worn-out from the easy little lessons he's been teaching her, that he falls asleep, too.

It's always on the chair to the side of her bed. He's gone when she wakes.

"My mom hates vampires more than anything in the world," she tells him suddenly. "She wants them all dead. Every last one of them."

He answers for her the question she doesn't say. "She's your mother. She'll love you anyway." The lie burns deep in his throat; that's what he thought of his father, too.

She seems to realize he's not telling her the truth. But she smiles and fakes it. She's good at that and he wishes she wasn't. "Did your parents love you anyway?"

"No." He traces intricate patterns in the ceiling texture. "My dad hated vampires more than anything in the world."

Without meaning to, he repeats her words, and she looks at him wordlessly, as if she's just remembered something special.

"Did you prove him wrong?" she breathes.

He closes his eyes. "No."

This time, she simply takes his hand, and she smiles a little, like they share a secret. And he smiles back, because sometimes it's easier just to fake it.

They're more alike than he thought.

It's nearly two in the morning when she flits to his window in a blur of speed. He awakes with a start and she's a blubbering mess on the bedside.

"I lost control," she says. "My eyes, they did the, the thingy, and I'm just –"

She looks up and squeezes his hand, as if willing the pain to go away by transferring it to him. "I'm a monster," she wails. "And soon everyone's gonna see it, everyone's going to know."

"Do you think I'm a monster?" he asks softly, searching her expression for redemption.

She looks struck. "No, but –"

He wraps his arms across her shivering body. "Then neither are you."

We're the same.

"You meant it, right?" Her eyes are wide open. He's ready to leap from her window and escape, but she's already awake. It's almost dawn again. The stars break apart in the lightening sky. "What you said – that you'd never let anything happen to me."

He nods. "Why would I say something I don't mean?"

She gives him a peculiar look, as if he should know. "Because too many people are lying to me," she says simply, as if this explains everything.

He watches a shadow pass over her expression and thinks, maybe it does.

"Just... carry me, okay?"

She's a broken mess, blood streaming from her lips and her eyes dull and gone. There's a body at her feet. He can't identify the face, only its fear, only the total mask of terror on every feature. And for a moment, he realizes that Damon was right. More people can't afford to get hurt.

But she's looking up at him like he's going to save her. And he can't bring himself to admit the truth, so he nods and swallows and does his best to ignore the limp body at her feet, the blood on her hands. So he holds her instead. He picks up the shattered pieces of glass and tries to make it whole, but he thinks he's just forcing the jagged edges to fit.

"Damon was right, wasn't he?" she whispers with a little hiccup, tears soaking into his jacket.

And he can't bring himself to lie so he doesn't say anything. Silence is the best truth.

She closes her eyes. "You don't have to say anything," she sighs. "Actually, don't. Don't say a word. Just carry me."

She awakes in her own bed and looks, out of habit, to the chair beside it, where he so often spent his time.

The barren space looks so cold in the sunlight.