All I Need

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I think it's safe to say that if I did, Damon and Elena would have given into their feelings at the end of Season 2, episode 1.

Chapter 1: Discovery

Elena turned toward the door, ready to make her way home and collapse onto her bed. She was exhausted after the struggle with Mason Lockwood earlier and his attempts to keep her and Caroline from saving the Salvatore brothers from getting killed. She'd been terrified when she'd seen them both lying on the ground, bloody from the many bullets Caroline's mother had fired into both Damon and Stefan; though Damon was the worst. Elena had to steel herself against showing too much concern for him, considering she wasn't ready to forgive him yet. Besides, there hadn't been time, because Liz had turned on her, gun aimed at her chest. Caroline rushed in and killed one of the officers without a thought, blood smeared all over her face, and Liz couldn't bear the thought of what had happened to her child. She'd told Damon to kill her, and for a second it looked like she would get her wish. Elena knew he was capable of it; she'd seen that dark side of him emerge too many times to doubt her fears now. But as she'd shouted for him not to do it, he'd practically rolled his eyes. "You're my friend," he'd said softly to Liz, and then he'd told her that he would make sure she forgot everything. A flutter of hope stirred inside Elena that the friend she'd known and cared about, was still alive. Katherine hadn't killed the good in Damon's heart after all. What this meant for Elena's own heart, however, was still confusing to her and it didn't help that she was feeling a distance between her and Stefan. Ever since he'd fed off of her and become addicted to human blood, their relationship had hit a downward spiral. He was so timid with her now; afraid of getting too close, and using everything from Katherine to Caroline's recent change to keep some sense of distance between them. He'd spent an entire day with Caroline, teaching her how to control her baser instincts; while Elena had done everything she could to resist Damon. It had been more difficult than she'd ever let on, for just his close proximity to her could send erotic images unbidden into her thoughts. She was very glad he couldn't read her mind; otherwise he'd have known she was lying when she'd told him he'd lost her forever. She'd thought she was doing the right thing, turning him down flat had hurt her as much as him, but she was with Stefan. She couldn't just leave him for his brother. She wouldn't be like Katherine and play them against each other, and she knew she'd had to choose. So she had. She'd chosen Stefan and she was happy with that choice. He was safer. Or so she'd thought, until she'd learned he'd spent the day before torturing Katherine. AND before he'd decided that maybe he should drink human blood after all, because maybe then he could control himself. Elena had hated that idea, naturally. She needed only to picture the bloodlust in his eyes when he'd attacked her in her room. When she'd had to stab him with the vial of vervain, she'd known just how dangerous that side of him was. She'd been truly terrified of him during that time. And now he wanted to try and control himself. Elena was disgusted with him for not even considering how she'd feel. She'd stormed out of the room, ignoring Caroline's questioning stare as she passed. She didn't see the blonde vampire turn toward the room Elena had just left; she was too focused on leaving the boarding house. She didn't get far.

Damon appeared in front of her, as he had an annoying tendency to do, and immediately her heart leapt into her throat at the sight of him. She placed her finger to her lips, speaking with her eyes that she wanted to keep her departure quiet.

"I left Caroline with Stefan," she said calmly.

"I heard," Damon whispered, gazing at her with those penetrating eyes that unnerved her more than she was willing to admit. "And you?" he asked.

Elena sighed, knowing that staying would be a very bad idea. Not just because she was angry with Stefan, but because Damon's actions today reminded her why she cared about him in the first place.

"I'm going home." She moved past him toward the door, but paused at the heavy wooden frame. She turned to look back at him; her expression instantly softening. "What you did for Caroline's mom, that's the Damon who was my friend." She turned to leave again.

Damon stared after her, wondering if perhaps their friendship hadn't been lost after all. True, she said she didn't want him. He knew as well as she did that she was lying, but she wasn't going to admit it any time soon. In the meantime, however, he'd felt what it was like to not have her in his life and it was a far worse torture than simply having her as a friend. If that meant he had to let her be with his brother, then so be it.

"Just so you know, Stefan didn't drink the people blood. But he needs to, and I think you know that, too."

Elena looked back at him, thanking him with her eyes. Then she turned around and walked past him; back to Stefan. Damon watched her go, a haunted expression of pain in his ice blue eyes. He then turned toward the door. He needed a drink badly, and the house was just a little too crowded at the moment for him to enjoy his own liquor supply. His car had almost pulled out of the long driveway when he heard Elena's cry of pain.

A few minutes earlier….

Stefan placed his head in his hands and sighed in frustration. How was he going to make Elena see that he needed to build up a tolerance to human blood, that it was the only way to defeat Katherine? His brooding thoughts were interrupted as he felt another presence in the room. He looked up, expecting Elena to be standing in the doorway, ready to apologize, just as she always did. The girl stepped cautiously into the room, a small smile of understanding painted across her lips, but she wasn't Elena.

"Hey," he rasped, giving her a small smile of his own.

"How are you holding up?" Caroline asked softly as she slowly approached him, her small hand unconsciously moving to touch his hunched shoulders. He didn't shrug her off, and she sank down beside him on the sofa.

"I should be asking you that," he replied. "I heard what your mom said. She didn't mean it, you know." He looked up at her, trying to reassure her with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Yes, she did." Caroline sighed. "And you're a terrible liar," she added.

Stefan lowered his gaze and stared at his hands. "Sorry," he whispered.

Caroline smiled softly and placed her hand over his. "It's okay," she said. "You were only trying to make me feel better."

Stefan turned to meet her soft gaze. "You're lucky, you know," he admitted. "At least Damon will be able to compel your mom to forget everything."

Caroline shook her head. "I don't think I'm that lucky," she admitted, drawing in a shuddering breath in an effort to keep her emotions in check. She seemed to have to do that a lot lately, now that she was a vampire and everything was more intense. "Mom never really approved of me that much when I was human, but I at least thought she'd loved me. Tonight, I found out that she really didn't. She found out what I am, and she looked at me like I was a monster. She wanted to die, rather than be my mom, but she's okay with having Damon compel her to forget. She'd rather go back to the secrets than get to know me." A small tear managed to free itself from her eyes and trickle down her cheek. Stefan stared at the broken young woman beside him. He hadn't realized until now just how vulnerable Caroline was, and just how much he wanted to protect her. His fingers moved, as if they had a mind of their own, to brush the tear away from her cheek. Their eyes locked, and Stefan found himself telling her something he'd never thought he'd share with her.

"My father tried to kill me, when I came back," he admitted. "I tried to get him to accept me, to let me explain that nothing was going to change. I was prepared to die that night, but I wanted to say goodbye, and he attacked me without even thinking about it."

Caroline's eyes widened in shock, but she let him finish. His hand was still unconsciously brushing against her cheek in a soft caress. She wasn't even sure if he was aware he was doing it. He continued his story, the pain in his voice evident as he spoke. "I didn't know my own strength, and I fought him off, still hoping I could reason with him. But, there was a lot of blood, and he was dying. I….I couldn't help myself." He let out a small sound, almost a sob and Caroline placed a finger to his lips, her eyes full of concern and unshed tears. Nothing more needed to be said; she knew what had happened next. Knew of the guilt he must have felt, must feel still, over his father's death. She didn't know what was happening between them at the moment, but it was as if an invisible force had her moving toward him, slipping her arms around his shoulders in a comforting embrace. He leaned into her, letting her pull him closer. They held each other for what seemed like hours but were only a few minutes. And then she realized what she was doing, and tried to pull away. He gripped tighter, leaning his face up toward hers, staring back into her eyes. And then she was leaning back, and he was hovering over her, his tear stained cheeks matching her own. He placed the softest kiss against her lips; the tenderest one she'd ever experienced. She shivered involuntarily, her emotions getting the better of her again, and her hands slipped into his hair to pull him closer. He drew her down to the cushions, his fingers tentatively stroking down her neck as he deepened their kiss. They were so lost in the sensations that even with their heightened sense of hearing, they didn't hear the footsteps coming from down the hall. It was only when Stefan's hands had trailed down to slip under Caroline's shirt that they finally heard the sharp gasp from behind them. They immediately turned to see the pained dark eyes, full of angry tears.

"Oh my god!" Elena cried, pain warring with fury.

Stefan got up and smoothed out his hair as Caroline attempted to adjust her top that had ridden up almost to her breasts. "Elena, I can explain," Stefan said calmly.

Caroline just looked away, guilt written all over her face, as Elena let out a strangled cry of raw emotion. "Go ahead, Stefan, EXPLAIN!" She cried. "I'd love to know why I just walked in on you and…." She paused, and Caroline felt Elena's eyes on her. If looks could kill, she'd be a pile of ashes.

"I should go…" Caroline murmured, turning toward the door. Elena's glare stopped her in her tracks.

"Don't you fucking move," she hissed.

Despite her newfound vampire strength, Caroline was terrified to disobey and mutely stood there, waiting for her friend's wrath. Elena laughed bitterly. "I should have expected this, after all it's not the first time you've gone after something of mine." Caroline winced, but kept silent.

"Elena," Stefan tried again, but she cut him off with a glare so menacing, he was certain she was burning him.

"Don't. You. Defend. HER." Elena growled. She turned back to Caroline. "Was it not enough to go after Matt, you had to go after Stefan too? Who's next, Caroline? Are you going to go after Damon? Oh wait," she chuckled darkly, "you already did. Well I suppose now that I actually care, you might just decide to go for round two, am I right?"

This time it was Stefan's turn to wince, but Elena didn't care. He deserved to suffer. "That's right," she said, turning on him. "Damon wasn't imagining it; there is something between us. And I was just such an idiot that I turned him down because I actually felt guilty!" She shook her head, a bitter smile on her lips. "Had I known this was going to happen, I would have let him kiss me in my room that night. I wouldn't have fought him off, and I wouldn't have lied to him for you." Stefan simply looked down at the floor, knowing he deserved her harsh words. He knew his betrayal had hurt her. Elena wasn't finished, however. "Look at me, you coward," she growled. He met her gaze, and was terrified by the fire smoldering in her eyes. The look she gave him, full of contempt and hatred, hurt more than what she said next. "Had I known everything, I would have let Damon take me right then. I would have wrapped my legs around his hips, and I would have never looked back!" She let out a strangled sound between a bitter laugh and a painful sob. "I can't believe I EVER thought you were the better choice!" She turned on her heel then, giving the two of them one last look of cold hatred, and stormed out. Tears clouded her vision as she ran; her heart feeling like it might shatter. She hardly noticed the pain as she suddenly slammed into a hard, muscular body.

"Elena?" Damon gasped, his arms instinctively coming around her small frame.

"Damon," she sobbed into his chest.

He pulled her away just enough to lift her chin up to meet his gaze. Her eyes were red and swollen, her face was stained with tears, and she had the most pained expression he'd ever seen on her beautiful face. "What happened?" he asked her, softly stroking away the tears that kept falling down her cheeks.

"Just….Just get me out of here," she pleaded. "Now!"

"Okay, I'll take you home," he said, sensing the urgency in her voice.

She shook her head. "No!" she cried. "I can't…I don't….just take me away. Anywhere. I don't care, just…please?" she whispered the last word and Damon's jaw tightened. If Stefan had done something to hurt her…but he couldn't think about that right now. He would deal with his brother later. Right now, Elena needed him. He nodded. "Okay," he agreed. And without a glance back, he led Elena out to his car, her arms still wrapped tightly around his waist.

Author's Note: It's been a long time since I've been inspired enough to write. Hope I still know what I'm doing. I promise there will be steamy DELANA in future so stay tuned. And please review. My muse needs to be fed to be kept happy ;)