Blissfully, her mind was empty as she followed Rose up the staircase. Her hand grasped the iron railing, not to steady herself but spurned from the need to touch, to feel everything, for the last time. It was cool under her fingertips. Rose did not speak, still angry for allowing herself to be guilt tripped into helping Elena. She was grateful. Word's simply didn't matter at this point. Elena was resigned to her fate and anxious to see it through.

Rose stopped as they reached the top, wordlessly gesturing towards the large, ominous metal door that separated the loft from the outside. Elena took a step forward and knocked her knuckles against the door. For a moment, all was silent. Time seemed to be testing her, making her question her decision. Her stomach twisted and her throat fills with bile. Yet, the door stood unmoving, uncaring… the only barrier between her and the pursuit of her own death. For a moment she thinks that maybe this, this seemingly unmovable sign is an omen. Stop, go back. Do not pass go. You can be saved.

Rose's impatient hiss as she shoulders past Elena brings her sharply back to reality. She grabs the handle and tugs in one swift motion. Elena winces at the sound of steel protesting, screaming and grinding at it is made malleable by Rose's unfathomable strength. Moments later, the door is folded nearly in half and Rose once again gestures to Elena to take those first steps. She does and is filled with the intuition that wherever she is going, Rose will not follow her. Elena can feel the terror rolling off her in waves.

"I don't blame you." She whispers as she reaches for the handle. "I'm scared too."

A startled look passed over Rose's aristocratic features for a moment and then, the door swings shut drowning out the words rolling off her lips and enveloping Elena in darkness. She takes a breath and urges her feet to move. She knows it is hardwood because of the sound her boots make as they shuffle and tap across the floor. Her hands are out in front of her, feeling through the darkness and for a moment she almost laughs. How strange it is that she's concerned about suffering the indignity of clumsiness as she takes step on her very own death march. Finally, there is smooth wood beneath her fingertips and as she moves them down the length of the mahogany doo she feels the brass of handles. Elena grasped them and without a thought, ripped them open. She fights the urge to close her eyes, as she often did in those horror movies that Matt used to take her too. That childishness has no place here.

And then there is blue. Cerulean eyes made vibrant with white hot rage. He is not casually leaning against the tall brick pillars nor is his mouth upturned in a smirk at her obvious surprise. Instead he is standing stock still in the middle of an elaborate yet modernly furnished room, arms crossed against his chest and eyes blazing. Elena is reminded of a panther tensed, ready to spring, to tear her to shreds. Would Damon kill her to keep her from killing herself? Again, time seemed to stop and Elena struggled with her relief, choking down words. She wants to ask him to help her, to save her. Instead, she crosses her own arms and wraps her hands around her torso to keep from shaking.

He stepped forward, his stride slow but insistent. His hands are clenched, shaking for a moment and then as he reaches her, stands inches away from her and is still again. He does not speak, only glare. With Damon, a look has always been enough. Elena is reminded of Halloween and of Vicky, at her palpable rage as it clashed with Damon's ferocity, barely leashed and bubbling insistently against the surface. Again, she hopes to surprise him as she swings her arm back and wishes to connect with his skin, to punish him for being one step ahead of her. For making her reconsider even for a moment what is truly the only path.

He is ready, catching her tiny fist in his masculine hands, fingers digging into her flesh with the intent to wound. Elena knows that if she gets to free her hand from his grasp, if she can escape before he rears back and sinks his canines into her neck, that the imprints of Damon's fingertips will be bruised into her soft flesh.

Struggling to release herself from Damon's iron grip and unhinging gaze, she leans forward and asserts, "I don't want to be saved! "

Suddenly, the wind is gone from her. Her vision is black and her head is screaming, spine aching, back pressed against the bricks. On either side of her are Damon's arms, entrapping her, fists bloody and scarred as chunks of the pillar dust their feet. He is trembling.

"You selfish bitch. " He accuses through gnashing teeth and extended fangs. The words escape on a low growl that rumbles and shakes free from his heaving chest. Elena is paralyzed with fear, staring into those familiar eyes now gaunt and bruised, outlined in throbbing red veins. " You get your ass out that door before I throw you over my shoulder and carry you out myself. "

Instead, Elena places her palm flat to his chest, just above his heart. She pretends the shaking of his chest is the thundering of his heart against his ribs. She is trembling too now.

"I remember. " She whispers, her other arm grasping his left wrist for support because she is damn sure her knees are going to give at any moment. "Jenna's tea... " She pleads. Damon's eyes snap shut, still snarling, teeth still snapping. The closest to completely losing his composure as Elena has ever seen him. "Please let me go. I have to do this. Damon, please. "

She is begging him because she doesn't want to feel the way she knows she will when he opens those eyes. Her stomach is in knots and she feels as though at any moment she will die, simply die of the guilt of having wrecked this beautiful, feral creature. Of using his most unselfish act, the point where he is most vulnerable to make herself feel more valuable, more human and more loved.

When his eyes open, he is no more composed and Elena feels as though she is asphyxiating as an all too familiar tear slides down his porcelain face. The tension between them is a current, a circuit between the two, live and deadly. Even though it is impossible, she swears she can feel the pounding of her heart mirrored below his flesh, feel his need swimming through her veins, his urgency crawling under her skin. His hand snakes up lightning fast as he finds the base of her skull through blankets of silken hair and crushes his lips against hers. If she has to die, she wants to die like this, in this moment, with this absolutely electric sensation coursing through her limbs, his hands rough and unyielding against her skin. He is over the brink now, the tattered shreds of his self control lost as he wedges his knee between her legs and slips his tongue in between her teeth. Elena grinds herself against him, feeling as though she could never be close enough. Her hands are under his shirt, fingernails raking his back. She has the inexplicable urge to draw his blood.

Elena's shirt is in tatters, pieces clinging to her torso and limbs and the buttons from his are now mixed amongst the debris at their feet. He breaks free for a moment and presses his forehead to hers, brown eyes locked to blue as he growls. "You are mine. " Elena is fumbling with his belt, fingers shaking as he introduces his to her. Her back arches towards him, urging him to go deeper. Finally, they are without barriers, his pants caught around his ankles, pressed skin to skin. Her hands are pleading, stroking but yet again he is perfectly still, poised to thrust as she pulls away.

"Say it. " She demands, both hands cupping his face. She wants to feel the grit of his stubble against every part of her, like sandpaper rubbing her raw and starting anew.

He holds her gaze as he tells her he loves her and thrusts into her. He wants to break her, make her beg. He wants to give her something to live for. He grabs her wrists and holds them above her head as he withdraws. She is thrashing around, hair whipping around their shoulders, and becoming slick with their sweat. "Now you say it. " Damon whispers.

Her eyes snap open, her body flush with the blood rising to the surface. She tries to put her lips to his again, to quiet him but he is adamant. She wants nothing more than to feel him at her core, to feel his strength as hers for just a moment. "Damon, pleas-… " she begins but again he is snarling, unrelenting. " Say it, Elena. Say the fucking words. "

So she does, though they scare her more than his ferocity or the possibility of her death because they mean that she will have to fight to live. She says them because he deserves to hear them, because if she is willing to die she deserves to breath even a moment's life into the feelings she has stuffed down deep inside, forced to lay dormant inside her since the day she met him. As he drives into her again and she digs her heels into the back of his knees and her muscles contract around him, the words that mean that death is no longer an option escape her. "I love you, Damon. I'm yours. "