Summary: Lexi and Stefan have that inevitable conversation about love and cement their friendship.
Spoilers for: -
Characters featured: Stefan and Lexi.
Extract: ""All I need you to promise me, Stefan, is that no matter how bleak you feel life gets, no matter how unbearable you feel your life is, I want you to keep fighting. It's all I ask."
It's just after Lexi teaches him how to separate the anger from the rage (which inevitably leads to ripper-style activities) that they find themselves discussing a topic he never thought he'd be discussing with her.
After a vigorous session of detoxing himself – whereupon she used actual restraints to stop him lunging after every thing possessing a steady heartbeat, like he was some kind of animal – they sit and watch the stars, up on some hill tucked away from civilisation.
He kneads his fingers between the blades of grass, averts his eyes aware from her prying stare, and breathes deeply, relieved not to have his head flooded with the sounds of beating hearts and erratic breaths. He relishes the clean night air, more than joyful at the fact there is no life nearby for perhaps miles.
"The stars are incredibly bright tonight," Lexi comments, gazing upwards, tracing patterns with them using her fingers. "I cannot remember if that is a good omen or not."
"After the day we've had?" He leans back, ignoring the damp. "I'd say it was a bad one."
"Oh, you would complain after making progress," she snorts derisively. "I think you possess the willpower, you just don't believe in yourself enough to want to change."
He stares at her, but chooses not to comment.
She's right about one thing – the stars are unusually bright.
He picks one out in particular, located just to the west. It's a loner star, not clustered in a group like all the rest seem to be, and what makes it stand out is not the fact it shines the brightest, but rather it seems to feebly flicker, almost like it's trying to shine but failing to match the standards its brothers and sisters have set.
He watches it carefully, wondering if stars struggle as well as everything else in the universe seems to do. Considering the star is an icon for success, it fills him with some kind of warmth to know nothing in the universe is born perfect; everything seems to strain to be what it's supposed to be, and he can relate.
"What are you thinking about?" Lexi enquires, noticing his distant look.
"Life. Love. Everything," he explains vaguely.
"That's specific," she snorts.
He glances at her.
"I'm just wondering if I can change, if I can really become the person I want to be more than anything else. I regret my choice, Lexi, but it's more than that. I regret forcing my brother to make the same choice as I did. I was selfish, and because of that I've lost him forever." He looks at his hands. "I'm beginning to think I have developed this habit of driving away the things I love from me forever."
"Not true," Lexi insists, moving closer to him. "You've yet to drive me away."
"I don't love you though. You're annoying, pushy, and I more often than not entertain the notion of driving a stake through your heart," he grumbles, grinning softly to show her he is jesting.
"Ah, well, you love me like a sibling then," she counters, smiling.
He ducks his head, a wave of uncertainty washing over him. He is tired of feeling like this, tired of trying to pretend to be something he's not, and maybe it shows on his face, because Lexi's next words seem to directly correlate with his train of thought.
"You're not worthless, Stefan. You might think you are, and there is no denying you have done some terrible things, but that's the beauty of starting over – letting everything you did in the past stay in the past."
"They won't stay in the past, Lexi. That's the problem," he tells her, his eyes flooding with this deep sadness he knows he will never fully be free of.
"Maybe not," she backtracks, trying a different approach. "But one day you'll find someone who will not care what you did in the past. That girl, woman, will one day sit where I'm sitting now, and tell you the exact same things I'm saying. She will tell you that she doesn't care what you did in the past, because it's in the past not the present. She'll tell you things she's done in the past she isn't proud of, and she will tell you that love doesn't mind the things it should mind, but continues to exist regardless. She will kiss you, hold you tight, and remind you that there are dark and terrible things in this world, but there will always be goodness and light, and you are both of those things."
"Dark and terrible?" he repeats, his brow furrowing.
"No. You are good and you are filled with light, Stefan," she insists. "You were good when you were human. I see no reason why that has to disappear just because you're a vampire."
"But I - "
"You'll find someone one day who'll do a better job at convincing you there is still hope for you, I'm sure," she interrupts, smiling wistfully at him. "Until you start to believe that for yourself, there's not really much I can do except keep saving you when and where I can."
"And you're going to keep doing that? For as long as it takes?" he says, the doubt evident in his voice.
"Of course," she replies earnestly, tilting her head to one side, smiling brightly. "You told me Damon made a promise to give you an eternity of misery, right? Well, I'm here to promise to give you an eternity of friendship, if you'll have me." She holds up a hand before he can talk, adding, "This is not to be taken lightly. This will involve me kicking your behind into gear, if I think so, and I make no guarantees about what I will or will not do to bring you back from the edge, only that I will not let you down."
"And what can I promise you in return? I'm not stable enough to promise you the same."
"Like I'd need you to pull me from the edge," she teases, laughing boisterously. "All I need you to promise me, Stefan, is that no matter how bleak you feel life gets, no matter how unbearable you feel your life is, I want you to keep fighting. It's all I ask."
He smiles – sincerely, for once – and takes her hand in his, squeezing it the once before letting it go.
"I promise, Lexi."
"Good," she says, relaxing, directing her eyes back towards the stars.
He does the same, noticing the star he'd spotted earlier had stopped flickering. It shines with an adequate glow, not quite as bright as the others, but it at least (for the moment) seems to have stopped struggling.
Maybe there's hope for him after all.