So, I couldn't resist to write another oneshot. They are just so much fun!

Plus, I had a really crappy day, and needed something to take my mind off it.

And I know that this is becoming a habit but: as always, it's dedicated to my beta, because she listened to my ramblings (and boy, I used so many expletives, Damon would be shocked) all day, and really helped me LOADS.

So, thank you my dear AVECIA!

Disclaimer: of course I don't own anything but the plotline!

There are a few spoilers for 'Rose' in there, but it's not all that important for the story.

On with it!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Damon knew he should have stopped drinking about an hour ago. It was not the easiest task for someone who healed as fast as a vampire to get drunk, but he had over a century of experience on what to drink, and how much to accomplish it.

And now he was so hammered that he could neither walk a straight line, nor see clear.

And what a wonderful state of mind that was right now. At least, it had been for about ten minutes. The problem with him was that he had never really liked to be drunk, because he tended to think way too much then – upside of it was, he wouldn't really remember it the next day, and that was what he was aiming for. Now, normally he wouldn't confess to that, but it was just him and his overactive mind in the room, so there was no harm in being a little open.

This week had been one of the shittiest he could remember in his long (un)life.

Sure, their problems were mostly over, now that those damn Old Ones were feeding the worms. He still had no idea how they had managed that. They hadn't been stronger, or smarter or more resourceful then them, not by a long shot. But luck had been on their side. It also probably helped that those ancient assholes had been way too full of themselves, too.

Whatever the reason was, they were gone now, and Elena was safe.

As was Katherine. The vampiress had celebrated the fact by flipping them the finger and breezing out of town.

He wasn't all that crushed over the fact – he only was irritated by the more-than-usual frown on his brothers face.

Even though said brother had Elena as his girlfriend, the eternal thanks from her aunt and was hero-worshipped by the blonde baby-vamp aka Caroline.

And him? He got nothing but a quick thanks and a pat on the shoulder from The Teacher.

Oh yeah, and Elena was talking to him again.

And he would be content with that; only… the longer he stayed in this town, the more there was this feeling growing in his chest.

The feeling of always being second best, of always standing in the shadows, watching those who wandered in the light. Stefan always had had everything he ever wanted.

He got the approval of their father, he had been the one vampire that had a right to roam the earth in the opinion of the witch (it's not like Damon cared about what Judgy thought of him only… sometimes he did, just because she was Elena's best friend), he got the approval of Jenna, even after she found out what they really were.

And he had Elena, even after everything.

He had worked his ass off to redeem himself, but no matter what he did, it never seemed good enough.

Sometimes the urge to just shut his humanity off again was so big, he could barely restrain it.

But then he thought of the hate on Elena's face the night that Vicky died. Or how there was anything but hate on their road trip to Georgia – the first time he really had let her see the non-monster part of him.

He thought about how she had hugged him after what happened in the tomb, of how she had been worried about him as he got thrown into that cellar to burn.

And he saw how devastated, how broken she had been as he snapped her brother's neck.

So he clamped down on the urge to just stop feeling, put one of those masks he was so good at fabricating on, and pretended to be his cocky, sonofabitch self.

In the last few weeks he had managed to be happy for his brother, to be grateful that everything had turned out alright and be content.

But he had known that that couldn't last forever.

He knew that he had given up on Elena; had done so, as he confessed his love and made her forget it.

That didn't mean that she wasn't still the only reason worth existing for him.

And last week his brother had come home with her, both of them smiling like there was no tomorrow… and a diamond ringing glittering on her ring finger.

He knew what had happened even before his brother had told him that he had proposed – and that she'd said yes.

So he put on a snarky grin, teased his brother about how he was now cursed for life – or eternity, as it was – and that he should rethink about chaining himself down.

Stefan just shook his head at him, and grinned right back; not a thing that his big brother could say would crush his good mood.

Damon wanted to shake Elena until she came to her senses. He wanted to ask her why she couldn't see how Stefan acted all forlorn and like a kicked puppy since Katherine skipped town – how he only settled with her, because a) he could feel more human with her and b) because he knew that, even if she really loved him, Katherine never would be satisfied with the kind of life he led.

But he didn't; couldn't.

Because despite everything, both Elena and Stefan looked happy, and he couldn't bring himself to destroy that.

All these things went through his head, as he downed one glass of Bourbon after the other.

Now he had reached his 'what if' point. It always came when he was drunk, sooner or later.

A few years back, the what if's had been what if I'd go and drain the president. Would there be hysteria about vampires really existing, or would what really happened be swept under the carpet? Stuff like that.

That had changed, of course, and now his what if was entirely more self-destructive.

Because tonight, everything that came into his head was what if I died tonight?

Would there be people mourning his loss? Would his brother – despite all his attempts to end him himself – miss him?

Would Elena stand there, above his corpse, hands pressed over her mouth, and cry?

Would there be anybody, shedding even a single tear for him?

Or would the only person over his graveside be Bonnie, dancing out of joy?

The stupid thing was, he had always acted on the what if's.

Of course he hadn't really killed the president, because by the time he had managed to get even halfway to Washington, he had been sober enough to realize that it would be a really idiotic thing to do.

But now the only thing at stake (pun fully intended) was his own existence. And with that, he had never been all that careful to begin with. And now he had even less that bound him to this life than ever before.

He lifted the bottle of Bourbon (when had he swapped the glass for the bottle?) to his lips again, and then looked at the meager drops of liquor left in it.

Suddenly he had to grin. What the hell was he still doing here, anyway? He no longer had to free his vampire-lover of her prison, there was no human doppelganger he had to protect, and his brother would be more than happy to see him gone.

Why hadn't he thought about that sooner? He jumped up off the couch, all of a sudden not that drunk anymore, and sped up to his room.

Entering it, he went to his writing table and grabbed a sheet of stationary and a pen and began to write.

As he finished, he signed his name with a flourish, folded the paper and put it in an envelope.

He left his room without sparing it a second glance – it's not as if he would need anything from it were he would be going.

He put the letter on his brother's newest leather-bound diary on his nightstand, knowing that he would definitely find it there.

After only a moment's hesitation, he took off his ring and laid it on top of the letter.

He tried to think of the last time his mood had been this good – probably that time in Georgia – as he left the Boarding House behind.

Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Elena was staring at the words in front of her, like they would start to change if she just tried hard enough.

But still they remained what they were.

If it wouldn't be so damn tragic, she would be tempted to laugh. Only Damon could manage to make a suicide note sound snarky, sarcastic and damn near cheery.

But no matter what words he used, what threads were written down, how he told Stefan that he would haunt him for the rest of eternity if didn't take the damn best care of Elena – it didn't change the fact that it was a fucking suicide note.

And the ring told Elena that this wasn't some sick attempt to scare them, either.

On the etches of all the panicked thoughts running around in her head, she asked herself if Damon was aware that he was trying to end his life in the same way that Stefan once did.

But like everything else, it was fleeting; because everything that mattered was that she had no idea what to do now.

Stefan had breezed out of the room the moment he had finished reading, not even thinking about taking Damons ring with him.

But Elena knew that he wouldn't find him. Brother or not, she realized that Stefan just didn't know his brother well enough to figure out were he would go to die.

She spared a glance at her left hand ring finger – at her bare ring finger.

Shaking her head, she thought that Damon had the worst timing ever, before she took his ring, and with a determined stride, walked to her car.

She knew where she would find him.

Xoxoxoxoxoxo

Damon had heard the car coming to a stop nearby, but hadn't really thought anything about it.

It wasn't that unusual for a few drunken teenagers to use the last remnants of the old Salvatore house as a make-out place.

He just had to compel them to leave again – if they even made it to where he was leaning against one of the remaining stone pillars.

He frowned, though, as he could only hear one heartbeat.

As the footsteps came nearer, the wind carried a familiar scent with it, and he sighed. He should have known that he couldn't even do this without someone making it their business.

Still, it would be nice to have her as the last thing he would ever see. So he just stayed where he was, and waited.

Soon enough she had passed his pillar, and as she looked around to search for him, she saw him sitting there.

No words came across her lips; she just sighed, and sat down beside him.

From where she sat now, she could see that the sky already had started to lighten up. Momentarily she wondered what it was with those Salvatore brothers, that she had to talk them out of playing 'gone with the wind'. Literally, as he would burn to ashes, and be carried away by the wind.

"Did you know that you have kind of the worst timing in history?"

Damon looked at her out of his peripheral vision, and shot her a curious glance.

"Yeah? How's that?"

She contemplated a moment how to approach the subject –of how to best talk him out of this.

"Katherine called today. Said she tried to live like she used to, before she had to go into hiding – and that she couldn't do it anymore, because it's 'empty pleasure'."

He turned slightly – still not looking directly at her, but she knew she had his attention.

"Of course she talked to Stefan, and not me, but he still told me everything. And he had this longing, unsure, angry and beaten-up look on his face that usually had been reserved for times when he thought that you and I had become too close. Only this time, it was because of himself.

Katherine came calling, and he wanted nothing more than to go to her.

He told her to shove it were the sun doesn't shine – well, not in those words, because he's too much of a gentleman for that, but it was implied.

Problem is, he didn't really mean it, and she knew that. As did he, and I.

In the last few weeks, we had both been pretending that it wasn't the name of another we were whispering at night, not another face we were dreaming of.

We both wanted to do what was expected from us, even as it made us unhappy.

I just don't see why we're doing it anymore."

Sometime during her monologue, Damon had stopped to pretend that he wasn't interested, and was now staring her straight in the face, not really believing what he heard.

Because it sounded an awful lot like…

"You broke it off? The engagement?"

Instead of an answer, she showed him her hand, blank now but for a thing white circle were the ring had stopped the sun.

Then she reached into the pocket of her jeans and presented him with his ring.

He lifted his own hand up, but stopped short of taking it back.

She saw him hesitating and turned his head up with her free hand, so he would look at her again.

"Please, Damon. I know I'm really late, but I've been afraid. Don't ask me of what just… please, take it."

It weren't her words that made him take it back, but rather the expression in her eyes.

The expression that told him that it would probably end her too, if she had to watch him burn.

So he took it, and only moment later it was back where it belonged.

Letting out a sigh of relief, she leaned against the boulder, and they both watched as the sun crawled over the horizon.

"So… how did you know where to look for me?"

She smiled at that.

"Well… you wanted to burn in the sun, just as Stefan did. But at the same time, you always try to be the exact opposite of him. Stefan went to where your hearts stopped beating. So I thought you would go to the place where it last had been beating."

Damon looked at her incredulously. Sometimes, Elena knew him better than he himself, and it freaked him out. But as she caressed his cheek with the tips of her fingers, and finally turned his head towards hers – as she kissed him – he couldn't care less.

He wanted to protest as she pulled back after a while; but she smiled at him, and he momentarily forgot how to form words.

"I love you, Damon."

Simple, without great fanfare. It was the best thing he ever had heard.

What if… today would be the day I would be born again.

Xoxoxoxoxo

So, at this point: you have to thank my beta that Damon didn't burn, because I aimed for that, originally. But she helped me blow some steam off, and by the time I got to the end of this story, I was in a good enough mood to not only write a happy ending, but to also let Elena say 'I love you' which is a first for me!

Now, please let me know what you think… reviews are love, people!

So long,

Zora