Disclaimer: Don't own.
Damon and Elena
Five Scenes of Domesticity
He hates walking in on them together.
It's like someone's driven a stake through his stomach and twisted it around and around just for their own amusement.
The thing is though, neither of them seem to realize how much damage is done to him when he accidentally walks in on one of their moments, mostly because they're so wrapped up in each other during these moments that he - or anyone else - is the last thing on their minds.
The first time it happens is a complete accident on all their parts.
They haven't been broken up for long and he knows that she's been spending a lot of time with his brother. In fact, when she broke his heart, he'd expected her to run to the older, darker Salvatore.
Damon had always had a way of soothing Elena that he's never quite understood.
Still, it's a shock to walk into the Boarding House after a solid hour of hunting and be confronted with the site of Elena and Damon in the kitchen doing something so normal.
Neither of them seem to notice him, though he doesn't believe for a second Damon doesn't know he's there but still, Stefan finds himself standing there watching them silently as Elena teases Damon about making her a sandwich from her perch on the counter.
Her feet and legs are bare and she's swinging them lazily as she pushes her dark fall of hair over one shoulder and smirks at him as he shoots back a sarcastic reply about the absurdity of her relying on him for food.
Stefan watches the scene for a moment longer and deduces - through a haze of pain that doesn't quite coalesce - that they're still friends.
That he's still his murderous older brother and she's still the girl he loves that managed to become friends over a period of months.
He really doesn't think that they're going to stay friends now that she's free of him and he's free of Katherine and they have a chance to figure out whatever it is that simmers beneath the sheen of a shiny new friendship.
The second time he walks in on them doing something normal is almost as frightening as the first, though the pain is dulled slightly.
They're watching television.
It sounds so absurd in his mind, that Stefan turns it over and over, trying to figure out what's wrong with it.
There's really nothing wrong with it, he concludes, but that doesn't make it any less strange.
He really would like to believe they're simply two people sitting on a couch, watching some television but even he thinks a blind man could see the way Elena's body is slanted towards Damon, leaning into him slightly without being too obvious or the way Damon's arm is resting on the back of the couch, his fingers trailing through her hair gently in a way Stefan has never seen.
He hadn't known Damon could be gentle after a hundred and forty-five years of brutality.
Then his brother snorts.
"Seriously? That's pathetic. Sparkling in the sun. What the hell is wrong with these people?"
Elena elbows him sharply, her eyes still trained on the screen.
"Nothing. They just have a softer, more romantic take on vampirism and all that it represents." She slanted a look over to him. "You don't mind, do you?"
"Clearly I mind. The guys a wimp. Look at him. 'Oooh, Bella, I'm afraid to be within a hundred yards of you because I'm denying how awesome your blood smells.' Please. That's pathetic. And furthermore, why does she like him? They've had, what? Two conversations?"
"It's all about romance, Damon. Besides, give him credit. He's practicing restraint." Elena's words are accompanied by an eye roll.
"Hey, I practice restraint! Your blood smells awesome and I can control myself." Damon snorts again. "And we've had more than two conversations."
Stefan holds his breath at his brothers words, wondering what Elena's going to say to him.
He doesn't think she'll respond kindly to the idea that Damon thinks her blood smells awesome, especially seeing as its a touchy subject thanks to him.
But Elena surprises him.
Instead of snapping back wittily, she sidles closer to his brother, her hand sliding up to his leg and resting there. Damon's arm - resting on the couch, waiting to curl around her at the smallest indication - drops to around her shoulders and Elena turns her face towards his.
"That's true. Our conversations are much more interesting than theirs too, wouldn't you say?"
Stefan backs away from the scene as they return their attention to the movie.
He feels sick to his stomach as he slowly, agonizingly climbs the stairs.
He has the absurd impulse to drop his bag and rush back down the stairs to rip Damon away from Elena and stake him. To fight his brother for the girl and continue the damning love triangle that has managed to transcend a century. To remind Elena that she loved him first and that the first is the one you always remembered.
He's turned on the stairs, poised to rush down and do just that when he hears Elena's laugh and freezes.
It's been too long since he's heard that sound and - for the most part - he blames himself.
Lies, lack of control and denial about what he truly was had stopped her laughing and Stefan wishes it was him making her laugh instead of his brother.
But he can't deny that its Damon just as he can't deny they broke up for good reasons.
Its difficult to turn around and continue up the stairs. But he does it.
With Elena's laughter ringing in his ears.
He begins to think of these moments of domesticity as a moment happening in an alternate universe that has nothing to do with the one they're living in now.
He wants to believe that it'll work, that they really are living in an alternate reality and that he'll wake up one day and she'll be there, curled into him and smiling.
But he knows that it's real because while he pretends that its another universe, they're clearly caught in their own world.
It hits him when he comes downstairs from study because Damon's playing music and, as usual, it's too loud.
He's poised for the sarcastic remarks and cutting words that will come with the request but finds that he hopes Damon will say something because he's itching for a fight.
When he turns into the living room, he stops short and wonders how he hasn't seen the scene in front of him coming.
Because Damon's always been a good dancer and the smile on his face as he leads Elena around the room is just as shocking as the simple normalcy of two people being swept into an impromptu dance.
Stefan watches as he spins Elena out, her hair flying wildly and her ebony eyes sparking with laughter. He's riveted by how beautiful she looks and Stefan realizes - with an unpleasant jolt - that Damon is too.
In fact, the way Damon looks at her as he spins her back into his arms and dips her low speaks of love and affection and such humanity, that Stefan wonders if he's really seeing it all there.
"You're all I want, you're all I need, you're everything, you're everything."
Stefan hears Damon sing it quietly - and badly - in Elena's ear as he pulls her back up from the dip and wonders just how true those words are as Elena winds her arms around him and rests her head on his shoulder.
"Lifehouse, Damon? Really? I would never have thought you'd be interested in such...sappy music."
"I can appreciate all types of music, tesoro mio. The question is, can you?"
Stefan's stomach flips at the Italian endearment and he knows, just knows, that this is the last time he's going to see them doing something like this as simply friends.
He doesn't know how he knows, but he knows that they're both teetering on the edge of the point of no return and he feels sick to the stomach.
Quietly, he turns and heads back upstairs, defeat making his shoulders slump because he knows that if he ever had any hope for Elena and himself burning still, it's been snuffed out by the look in his brothers eyes and Elena's laughter.
It's like his worst nightmare come to pass.
They're facing each other, the length of a room between them and words they'd both never said weighing down the air between them.
Elena's a mess. Her hair has been worried constantly by restless hands and her eyes a swollen and red, old tear tracks down her cheeks being obliterated by new ones.
She looks like she's at breaking point and Stefan knows that the blame falls on Damon.
His brother doesn't seem to understand that there's somethings that should never be done.
Fighting with Elena and making her cry is an unforgivable offense that should never be done.
It doesn't occur to him that maybe this is just another normal scene for Damon and Elena, that the fight they're having is not about Damon hurting Elena but about the terror of the new relationship they're both afraid of falling into.
None of it occurs to him as he grabs his brother's arm, twisting it around and yanking it up his back, dislocating his shoulder and enjoying the rush of revenge as he realized that he was going to get a fight out of this.
"Christ, Stefan, not now."
He's opened his mouth to say something when Damon throws him off with barely a glance.
"What did you do to her?" He grits out, the pain of being thrown against a wall rolling through him.
The sentence stops Damon from moving towards the girl they both love and Stefan pushes himself off the wall as Damon turns to him, an eyebrow quirked, the murder that he indulged in for years alight in his eyes.
"I don't see how any of that is your business. Or are you just hoping it is so you can swoop in a play knight-in-shining armor?"
Damon advances on him, eyes leaping with cold fire and Stefan glares at him.
"It's my business when you do it in our house. You're not exactly the most trustworthy guy to leave alone with a human,are you Damon?"
Elena steps in just as Damon's jaw tightens and his hand snaps out to grab for his throat.
"Damon. Damon, don't."
Her hands are smoothing down his face over and over and Stefan snorts.
"Please. He's been waiting to do this for years, haven't you brother?" He taunts.
Elena shoots him a scathing look that she once sent to Damon and then turns her attention back to his brother.
Damon's still tense but his arms drops to his side as Elena continues running her hands down his face, gently speaking to him about nothing at all.
Stefan's disappointed with the fight that never happens and he presses his hand to his side to see if anything's broken. When he discovers everything is in proper working order, he turns his attention to the couple in front of him.
All his attention is on her.
Damon is focused so completely on Elena, Stefan wonders if he could stake him and Damon would only realize it too late.
He's looking at her like she's a lifeline as she continues speaking to him softly, her hands continuing to run down his face as if she can't bear to stop.
They've totally forgotten he's there, Stefan realizes in shock.
As he watches, the mood, the feeling, between them changes.
Damon exhales loudly - though he doesn't need too - and Elena's hands stop soothing and become inquisitive.
He feels like he's invading a private, precious moment between them but can't quite bring himself to leave as Elena trails her fingers over razor sharp cheeks bones, her thumbs brushing under his eyes as she fans her fingers out over his cheeks.
She never touched him like that, Stefan thinks, she never touched him like he the most fascinating, beautiful thing she's ever seen and if she didn't touch, she would die.
Damon's hands have suddenly snapped into action and he's returning the favor.
His fingers trace the curve of her cheek, and then trail down her throat before brushing back up to trace her lips.
They're watching each other intently as they explore and Stefan wants to know how the fight never happened and why all it took was Elena to touch his brother and Damon's anger seemed to drain.
He wants to know but knows he's not going to get answers as Damon drops his brow to Elena's and her hands reach around to curl around his neck, her fingers slipping through the silky strands of midnight hair at the nape of his neck.
Their eyes both close and Stefan straightens.
Then - just like normal - he quietly leaves the room and goes upstairs.
They're pressed tightly against each other, mouths fused, hands tangled in dark hair when he walks in next.
He's been waiting for this moment.
Just waiting to see them like this. To see the lust, the newly discovered love wrapped together in a moment that speaks of a couple who have enjoyed every other scene but this one.
He knows that they're there when he walks through the front door and smells the fragrant aroma of simmering pasta sauce.
He follows - not too sure of what he's going to see - and is met with a moment that he thinks is a fitting end to everything else.
The kitchen's alive with the smells of home cooking and he can see the half used ingredients on the bench and pots already used in the sink. The sauce is simmering as the pasta cooks and they're standing in the middle of the kitchen wrapped - as always - in the bubble they create whenever it's just them together.
He watches nostalgically for a moment, remembering when he and Elena had cooked dinner together and what it was like for her to be wrapped around him like that.
He doubts he'll ever be fully reconciled with the fact that she chose Damon over him. Even if the choice was made without as much drama as he'd thought or without even a chance for him to plead his case to her.
But as he stands and observes the way Damon cradles her face in his hands as he pulls away and the way Elena's eyes open lazily, clouded with all the things she feels for him, Stefan thinks maybe he can live with it.
At least, he can try to live with it.
Because - and he hates this - Damon's his brother and he deserves someone who can look at him the way Elena's looking at him right now. After a hundred and forty-five years of chasing a woman who never cared, Damon deserves a chance with someone who does care and while he wishes it was with someone he didn't love, at least he can try and be selfless about it.
He can do it for Elena, too. Because she was broken and he might have tried to fix her but he's not Damon and - while he can't understand it - Damon's the one that can glue her back together whenever a piece breaks. Because he love's her and he wants to believe the saying if you truly love someone, you'll let them go.
And he can do it because every scene he's walked in on is so normal and that was something they both needed more than anything and - for the moment, whether or not it lasts forever - normal is what they both need.
At least, their brand of normal is what they both need.
He straightens his spine a little, ignoring the twist in his stomach and steps into the kitchen.
Damon flicks him a glance, his hand having drifted down to rub lazy circles on Elena's hip.
"If you're going to join us for dinner, you're doing the dishes."
Stefan raises an eyebrow as Elena rolls her eyes and steps away from Damon, shooting him a smile that's half-apologetic, half-dreamy, her mind clearly still focused on the kiss he walked in on.
"If it's edible, I'll do the dishes." He replies and Damon shoots him a hard look and his shoulders - having tensed when he'd sensed his presence - relax.
"Oh, it's edible. Though there's no squirrels on the menu, hope you don't mind."
"Damon, get cooking, I'm hungry." Elena interrupts, picking up a glass of what Stefan assumes is wine and taking a sip.
He raises an eyebrow and Damon chuckles, seeing the expression.
"I'm working on corrupting her. It's coming along nicely. Set the table, will you?"
Stefan shrugs as Elena throws a tea towel at Damon and then decides to listen to his brother.
As he gets out the cutlery, he glances at the two of them. He feels forlorn when he sees Elena slip an arm around Damon's waist from behind and lean into his back, her eyes closing and her sigh content.
Then he quietly leaves the scene to set the table.
A/N: This is my first TVD story and I hope that it's alright. It might seem a bit choppy but I'm still trying to grasp the characters and while I don't think it does justice to the D/E story line and all it's complications it was fun to write something where they're simply moving forward, even if it's seen by Stefan. Anyway, I hope that it was alright and that it didn't seem too choppy. I hope you enjoyed reading it, as well.