Title:A Footnote in History
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV-verse)
Characters: Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert
Summary: He hates that porch. Nothing good ever happens to him on it. If he's not kissing the wrong girl, he's being told by the right one that there's no longer room for him in her life.
Spoilers: only through 2x01
Word Count: 1733
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of L. J. Smith, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec.
- o – o – o -
He hates that porch. Nothing good ever happens to him on it. If he's not kissing the wrong girl, he's being told by the right one that there's no longer room for him in her life.
If he were that porch he'd be bragging to all the other porches about his juicy gossip.
But he's not a porch. He's a vampire. A vampire who's trying to support the wriggling right girl's weight while she fumbles for her keys and argues (loudly) that she and her severely sprained ankle don't need him.
He rolls his eyes and cuts her off mid-rant. "Look, Elena, I get it, okay? You hate me and you're a strong, independent woman who doesn't need someone like me swooping in to rescue you after you don't look where you're going and step into an inappropriately placed ditch. But I've had a long day dodging my psycho ex, my broody brother and The Wolfman. I'm tired and hungry. So can we please skip the speech?"
She glares. "Go. I'm not asking you to stay. In fact, I'd prefer if you didn't. I can manage on my own."
"Yeah, I could tell by the way you limped up the path. You're just lucky I stepped in and carried you up the steps. I can't tell you how pathetic you would have looked trying to hop up them."
"Gee." She's clearly unimpressed by his newfound sense of chivalry. "You really know how to make a girl feel good about herself, don't you, Damon?"
He laughs, but it's a low, bitter sound. "I'm not here to make you feel good about yourself, sweetheart, just to make sure you don't fall down the stairs and smash your head open while trying to get up to your bedroom."
"Oh, please. Your life would be so much easier if I did fall down the stairs." The sarcasm drips heavy from her words.
"Undoubtedly." He smirks. "But then who would I stalk?"
She rolls her eyes and, really, the amount of time she spends doing that these days, she's going to seriously strain a muscle or something.
She finally finds the right key but, overwhelmed by her anger at him probably, she drops the whole bunch before she can get it in the keyhole.
He snatches them out of the air before they even pass her hips. Her eyes narrow dangerously as he dangles them in front of her face, and when she grabs them, she deliberately drops them again, just so she can pick them up herself and prove she doesn't need him there.
Now it's his turn to roll his eyes. "I should have just called Stefan, made him collect you from the side of the road."
"Why didn't you then?"
It's the cutting spite in her voice, taunting him, that snaps his patience. He lets her go and squashes the guilt that comes from seeing her stumble and hasten to support her weight against the door.
"Because, Elena!" He can feel the anger and hurt, that dreaded mix he's come to hate, twisting his features. "Maybe you're not my friend anymore, but I'm still yours!"
He turns away, ready to leave now, but only makes it to the bottom of the steps before he's turning back to her. "And you want to know something else? Every night I sit at the bar in the Grill and I tell myself that I'm done, that there really is no way of getting back into your good graces and that you really will hate me forever. Every night I promise myself that I'll leave you alone so that you can go on living your life in self-righteous anger, and so that maybe I can figure out how the hell I'm supposed to stop loving you!"
Her mouth has dropped open. Literally. If he were in a better frame of mind, he might find it funny that this is the first time in a hundred and sixty odd years that he's actually witnessed this overused writer's tool.
"But then," he continues, "every morning I get up and, no matter how drunk or firm I was with myself the night before, I can't stop myself trying to think of ways to make you see me again! That's all I want, Elena. You're the only person I think I've ever known who can look at me and see me."
His breaths are heavy and laboured, which is really screwed up because it's not like he needs to breathe. Human habits will stick, though.
Her face is shocked. There's no other way of saying it. But she's utterly silent.
He drops his gaze from her and looks at the ground. His eyesight is sharp enough that he can watch a crumb-carrying ant meander past the toe of his shoe. So he focuses on that ant, because anything is better than letting himself think of how desperate he just sounded, and how he spouted off all the things that he's never actually said out loud, even to himself.
Stefan would have written it all down in that godforsaken journal of his. But he's not Stefan, is he? And isn't that the problem?
He sighs quietly and scrubs a hand down his face. He's tired. No, he's weary. Until now he's never understood the difference. This feeling, this ache that settles deep into his bones, is enough to make him want to lie down and never get up again.
He's encroaching on Stefan-land. He can do self-pity and wallowing, but thoughts like these just aren't like him. Perhaps the most worrying part of all, though, is that he can't seem to find it in himself to care.
Time takes on a strange quality when eternity stretches out before you. Each moment passes too quickly to notice, only weighted down with the knowledge that there are many, many more to come, that they will never end. So he's not sure how long they stand there, in that unsteady place between friends and enemies, love and hate, misery and anger.
Well, this is unexpected. He never would have guessed she'd be the one to break the uneasy silence. She was supposed to turn and go into the house. It would be better if she did; every time she walks away, he can add another brick to the wall being built between them.
Is he in the mood for this? No, not really. There's only so much emotionality and vulnerability a guy can take, and he reached his quota around the time Katherine came clean about one hundred and forty five years too late.
So he waves her off. "Look, Elena. Just forget it, okay? Erase this entire conversation, or better yet, this entire afternoon from your memory." He steps away from her and says over his shoulder. "But don't try to get upstairs before Jenna or Jeremy get home, okay? And if you won't do it for me, or even for yourself, do it for Stefan. He's got enough on his plate already."
The girl won't even let him take a step. Honestly, does she want him to stay or go? He should just pretend he didn't hear her and walk away. See how she likes it.
But because she's Elena, or maybe because he's Damon, he turns to face her again and shrugs.
What he really wants to say is, "Go on. Whatever it is, hit me. There's not much left to say that can hurt me now."
Instead he just says, "What?"
She hesitates now, bites her lip. It's the most uncertain she's been around him since…well, he can't even remember. A long time anyway.
She takes a subtle breath and meets his gaze head on. "You've never said it before."
He shakes his head. "Said what?"
Her tongue peeks out to brush her lower lip. "That you love me."
Her voice is steady but he never expected it to be otherwise. She lives in a world where vampires, werewolves and witches exist. It takes a lot to faze the girl these days.
"I've heard it from other people," she goes on. "But never from you."
He shrugs again but doesn't look away. "It wouldn't have made a difference."
The frown that graces her face tells him that he's thrown her.
"Because, Elena," and he sighs, for once feeling like he's an adult talking to a child, "we don't live in a world where telling someone you love them can make them love you back. Reality sucks like that. Besides, you love Stefan, remember?"
They both fall silent. They've reached an impasse. She can't deny what he's said and he can't take back killing Jeremy.
Damn, his life would be so much easier if he'd never come back to this town.
…And now is not the time to have a mental easier versus better debate.
Once again, it's her who breaks the silence.
"Thank you." Granted, the words sound like they're being painfully extracted from her mouth, but it's nice to hear them all the same. "For driving me home. There's no way I would have made it on my own."
He nods. "You're welcome. And you should really ice the ankle. It'll help stop the swelling."
He turns away again. This time he manages to get as far as the door to his car before she stops him again. Hand on the handle, he looks up when she says his name.
She gestures half-heartedly towards the open door of her home. "I really do need to get upstairs. I have a report due for history and I don't think being the niece of your girlfriend is enough to prevent a fail, even with Mr Saltzman."
He's not going to make her say the words, "Help me." Honestly, he doesn't think he deserves much more than what he's getting, and it's more than he's gotten from her in weeks, so he has no right to complain.
Which is why he zips over to her, ushers her inside and supports her weight as she tackles the stairs. Then he brings her an icepack, a glass of water and a slice of carrot cake.
He's not optimistic enough to think this is a turning point in their relationship, but as he steps back off the porch he hates so much, he hopes that it at least warrants a footnote in their history.
- o – o – o -
A/N: This started out as, and was supposed to be, a fun, light-hearted and short piece, prompted by the completely random idea of Damon hating Elena's porch. But then Damon got angry. All I could do was let him go for it and hang on tight. Still not sure how I feel about the piece, to be honest. It's more dialogue heavy than what I usually produce, but that isn't necessarily bad. I do like the voice.
Anyway, let me know what you think please. Oh! And if you've read/alerted/favourited my other TVD fic "Nothing to Worry About", thank you so much! It's become really popular and I still get regular emails about it. LoL. I'm really pleased it's been so well received. Thanks again. :)