Summary: Because some dreams are future reflections of reality – based on the dream scene at the beginning of "Memory Lane".

~ Future Reality ~

Four months.

That was how long it took before the world became normal and right and safe again. Two months ago, they had driven a stake through Katherine's heart, and killed everything that she ever stood for – deceit, manipulation, fear; they were all gone now.

And Elena had been able to breathe a little better ever since.

She grabbed her house keys and her jacket as she made her way downstairs, kissing Jeremy goodbye, and promising Jenna that she would "be just fine. Really, I'm just going to hang out with my boyfriend at the Grill for a while. What's the harm in that?" before kissing her as well, closing the door behind her. It was nighttime, and Elena closed her eyes, breathing deeply. She had lived with the fear of Katherine snapping her neck in the dark for so long; it would still haunt her from time to time.

She opened her eyes and smiled – You have nothing to worry about – everything would be just fine; she had to remember that.

She stepped down her porch and started walking towards the Mystic Grill, her posture more relaxed, her steps more confident. She knew that it would take a while before her fear of the dark (of Katherine) would completely fade away; but she was getting better every day, and for now, that was enough.

The Grill was buzzing with life when she walked through, even though it was only nine. She waved at Matt absently, her gaze already traveling around her surroundings. Where was he?

Just as she decided that he still had not come, a strong pair of arms wrapped themselves around her waist. She almost gasped out loud when warm breath tickled her ear. "Looking for me?"

Elena turned around, slapping the arms. "Damon! You scared me!" His eyes were sparkling with amusement, and she fought to catch her breath.

"I'm sorry," he said, not sounding sorry at all. "Forgive me?" His arms had nestled around her waist again, and he smiled, bemused, at how easily she leaned into his touch. Her hands wound themselves around his neck. "M-hmm, alright," she murmured.

Damon kissed the top of her head, wrapping his arms around her more tightly when she went on her tiptoes to meet his lips. The familiar sparks shot through him, and once again he found himself thanking God for having put her on his way.

He took her hand in his. "Come on, the pool table's ready."

"Ooh, fun. Ready to get your butt kicked?" Elena smiled sweetly.

Damon snorted. "If anyone's kicking any butt tonight, it'll be me." His eyes found hers, and he did that eye-thing she both loved and hated (though nowadays, she tended to love it just a tad-bit more). "And what a fine butt I'll be kicking."

Elena laughed. "Shut up." She took the cue stick Damon handed her, watching him as he placed the white ball in front of the triangle of colored balls. He looked at her and smiled. "You break this time," he said. "I'll go get myself a drink."

Elena nodded. "Sure."

Damon looked at her skeptically. "Don't try anything funny like last time –," He ignored her protests and smothered laughter. "– I know you know what I'm talking about." Then, almost as an after-thought, he added, "I won't be long." His eyes were soft, and filled with something that made her heart skip a beat – or five.

"I know," she breathed, and he smiled. Then he was gone, and Elena leaned in, cue stick firmly in hand, eyes focused. With one swift jerk, she hit the white ball, sending it straight into the myriad of colored spheres. Smiling triumphantly, she stood up straight, cue stick proudly in hand. "Your turn," Elena said, and there was victory in her every gesture.

Damon came around barely a second later, a glass in hand, and a cocky smirk on his mouth. "Be prepared to lose," he teased, singing out the 'lose' and extending the 'o' for a mile. He laid the glass down on the pool table, and bent down to capture Elena's lips in one sweet, chaste (but looking absolutely nowhere near chaste) kiss. Elena smiled into his mouth, closing her eyes and reveling in the sparks that shot through her body from such a simple contact.

They broke off soon enough, Damon glancing at the pool table. "Alright," he murmured, walking around Elena and stopping right behind her. Instead of taking the cue stick from Elena's hand though, he placed his right on top of hers. At her questioning gaze, he smiled. "Let's play a little differently," and snaked his arm around Elena.

She understood immediately what he meant, and her heart fluttered in her chest. They leaned in together, her hands on the cue stick, and his hands right on hers. In tandem, they focused on one ball. "That one?" he murmured in her ear, and Elena shivered with delight. Together, they hit it.

And then, Damon leaned in and kissed her cheek, and a bright smile illuminated her face.

She realized a long time ago that smiling is the only thing she could do around Damon, and having fun is the only thing they could possibly do together. Their relationship was far from perfect, and they didn't try and make it so – and perhaps that was why she loved being with Damon so much; the she loved him plain and simple.

And when he tried to kiss her cheek again, Elena shifted her face ever so slightly, so that he was kissing her lips instead. She tasted the pleasant surprise in his mouth and shivered when his hands left the cue stick, and stroked her hips.

"Hmm, much better," Damon said, and Elena laughed.

They weren't perfect, not by far, but they were Damon and Elena, and right now and for forever, that was the only way she wanted it.

Author's Note: So I'm sure everyone was disappointed (again) when the episode rolled up and that absolutely yummy scene between Damon and Elena was only a dream (literally). Ten to one the writers did that on purpose?

Anyways, I'm absolutely sure that the writers were trying to tell us something in that scene and that is: Damon and Elena will happen in the future. So I just took the scene, and set it in a possible future. This is just my interpretation of it – I know I didn't explain anything (how Stefan and Elena broke up, what happened to Caroline, Bonnie, and Tyler) but I did that on purpose. That dream scene focused on the now, and I wanted to do the same.

But just in case you were curious, in my four-months-later future, Caroline and Stefan are together. :)

As always, I'd love to hear what you think about this one, and I'll make sure to get back to you ASAP!