Disclaimer: I don't own the Vampire Diaries.
Summary: One-shot. An act of vandalism turns into an act of kindness when Damon interferes. He's been good at reminding her why they used to be friends lately. Takes place after 2x06.
A/N: Pfff... I only finished 'Lockdown' yesterday and was actually thinking about an idea for a new story, but came up with this little thing instead. It's just a nice little scene between these two. I'm not sure when this exactly takes place, but it's somewhere in season two. Probably between 2x06 and 2x07. So after Stefan and Elena broke up, but before Masquerade. I think that's right. If not, work with me, please.
I hope you'll enjoy this!
An act of kindness
Elena wandered onto the cemetery with the familiar heavy feeling in her stomach she was used to getting every time she went here. She doubted it would ever go away. She passed the graves she'd passed a million times before, unaware of the fact she was clenching her fists with every step she got closer. It was a contradicting feeling, since in some way this was her favorite place to go, the spot where she felt the closest to her parents. And that's exactly why she hated it. Sometimes it was just easier to go on living and not think about them. And she had enough distractions in her life to make this possible, that was for sure. This made her feel guilty sometimes though. She knew that at some point her life would go on, simply because that's what the world expected of her, but she never thought it'd be this soon. In fact, for the longest time she hadn't believed it would ever happen. But since a dark stranger going by the name of Stefan Salvatore had walked into her life and everything that had happened because of it, going on with her life had become so much easier. But it wasn't just him. Adjusting to a life with just her aunt and her little brother had also been easier than expected. She'd always loved aunt Jenna and her crazy ways and it sure made for an interesting life. But sometimes she'd go to bed at night and after going over the events of that day, whether they'd been supernatural or surprisingly simplistic, her parents would pop in her head and for just a second the world would fall apart once again. It never lasted too long, but their memory would haunt her dreams on occasion and on the rare quiet days in her life, she'd find herself sobbing over their deaths and the unfairness of life. Again, this never lasted long. She wasn't one to dwell on the past and feel sorry for herself.
However, this morning she'd woken with a sudden urge to visit her parent's grave. She suspected the urge was caused by a dream she couldn't remember. It was also because she hadn't been there in a while. Her life had been too chaotic and eventful to find the time to. But now it felt right to go there. She had her diary in her bag like always when she came here and in some twisted way she was looking forward to sitting down on the cold ground in the empty cemetery and just write her thoughts and feelings down. She knew she'd be able to fill many, many pages with those.
Elena stopped dead in her tracks when she turned the corner to the little field in a clearing where her parent's grave was. For a second she thought her eyes were deceiving her, eventually actually praying they were. She was confronted with the biggest mess she'd ever encountered in her life. Headstones had been pushed over or actually smashed to bits and remains of flowers were scattered all over the clearing along with candles and the occasional stuffed animal. At first glance it appeared as if a very heavy storm had done the damage, but the empty beer cans and liquor bottles that stood out in the mess revealed otherwise. Mystic Falls' troubled youth obviously had a field day at this exact spot not too long ago.
She dropped her bag on the ground as she hurried over to the grave she'd come to visit. It was upsetting to see the damage they'd done. The headstone she'd picked out herself was broken into three almost identical pieces and they were almost neatly spread out over the grave. The flowers and her mother's favorite plant that Elena had only placed on the grave weeks ago, figuring that was the best place for the plant to be, had been torn to pieces, little bits of it scattered all of the grave and the ground around it. Elena dropped to her knees in shock and anger as she randomly grabbed things around her, piling them together on the grave. Of course it didn't fix anything. She took the first piece of the headstone in hand and tried to fit them together with the other two pieces as if solving a puzzle. She looked down in despair at the work she'd done, knowing it hadn't made anything better. Who'd do something like this? And why? Wasn't there anything sacred anymore? She realized she wasn't even upset over the materialistic damage that had been done, but she just felt incredibly angered at the thought that people had actually partied and been having a good time in this spot, not caring about the graves they were ruining, possibly even enjoying this fact. It was about the lack of respect and the indifferent attitude that tagged along with it.
"This is harsh." A voice then sounded behind her and Elena immediately turned around, startled.
She let out a sigh of relief when she saw it was just Damon, then grew annoyed by this fact.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, her tone harsher than intended.
Damon didn't reply as he took in the damage around him, visibly also disturbed by this. Elena lowered her gaze to his hand in which he was holding her bag. He noticed it when his eyes eventually rested on her and his hand reached out to her.
"Here." He offered. "Never a good idea to leave your bag unattended. Even in a cemetery where all the occupants are by definition dead."
She took the bag from him and slowly got to her feet, turning back to the grave.
"Who'd do something like this?" She voiced her thoughts.
"Human beings who don't deserve the title." Damon shrugged. "Even I'm disturbed. You don't bother the dead like this. They deserve a little respect."
Elena turned around to face him, noticing how he really did seem upset by what was surrounding him. It surprised her. She figured he couldn't care less.
"What am I going to do?" She asked, suddenly thinking somewhat rationally again. "That headstone cost a fortune! It can't be fixed and we don't have the money to replace it. I mean, do these things come with an insurance? And if so, how do I know I have one? And it'll take ages to get a new one made. I can't even think about leaving the grave like this for the next few weeks. They deserve better."
"Let's just calm down for a second." He told her, his eyes focused on her. "It's not as bad at it looks, okay? We'll figure something out."
"We?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I'll help out." He nodded.
Elena sighed, bringing her hand to her forehead. "Thanks, but no thanks, Damon."
"Yeah, this is really the time to be stubborn about allowing me into your life." He spoke sarcastically. "Get off your high horse. This isn't about you. All of these graves deserve to be fixed. I'll help."
She frowned. "When did you start caring about any of this?"
"I have a weak spot for the dead." He shrugged. "Considering I'm technically one of them."
"Funny." Elena shot back. "Considering you caused so many deaths. I'm sure at least one of these people here were killed by your bare hands. Or fangs. Whatever."
"The poetry between the hunter and the hunted. It's just nature." He shrugged it off. "And that's all in the past. I'm reformed, remember? No random killings in forever."
Elena shook her head as she wandered over to one of the few still standing headstones and sat down, her back resting against of it.
"I'd applaud you, but you got your facts wrong. Do my brother and Mason Lockwood ring a bell? To name a few?" She countered, giving him a look.
"I'm reformed, I didn't suddenly become a saint." Damon rationalized. "I'm still a vampire. There's no cure for that. But we're dwelling on technicalities. I'm serious. I want to help."
Elena didn't respond to that as her gaze wandered to the vandalized grave of her parents. She really felt like crying, but knew she wouldn't. Not in the presence of Damon. She took in a deep breath as she focused on him again.
"You haven't answered me yet. What are you doing here?"
Damon walked over to her. "Was out for a walk, decided to visit some old relatives. I get sentimental like that every now and then. I picked up on your scent, figured I'd come over and say hi."
"You didn't consider that I come here to be left alone?"
"Considered it." Damon nodded. "Then dismissed it. I know I'm good company."
She resisted the urge to object to this. He was actually on his best behavior at the moment and she knew she'd regret it if she brought out that other side of him. She wasn't in the mood to bicker or fight.
"You okay?" He asked.
"No." She responded truthfully. "I can't believe somebody would actually do this."
"I can figure out who did it. I can still pick up on their scents and track them down."
"And then what?"
"Scold them." Damon shrugged. "Or kill them. Whichever you prefer."
"As tempting as that sounds, I'd rather just report it to Sheriff Forbes. She'll handle it."
"I'm sure she will." He nodded. "I could take you there, if you like."
"I'll handle it." Elena nodded, then looking up at him. "But thanks."
Damon nodded again. A silence fell as Elena's gaze returned to the grave.
"I don't want to leave it like this." She finally admitted, not looking up at him.
"Then don't." Damon responded. "We'll clean it up. Make it look decent again."
Her head shot up at him. "Can we do that? Wouldn't we ruin the evidence or something?"
"You're actually pretending they're going to need evidence in order to figure out who did this? The loser stoner population of Mystic Falls with a history of hanging out in cemeteries is actually not that big."
"Will the police agree? They can't get them without evidence."
"But I can." He solved the problem.
"They don't have to die, Damon. I just want them punished for what they did."
"No bloodshed, promise. I'll just make sure they won't do it again. That's more than the righteous deputies of Mystic Falls can do."
Elena sighed, tempted to agree with him and take him up on that offer.
"I don't even know where to start." She stated, looking around the clearing.
"We'll start at the beginning." Damon shrugged. "Come on."
She looked up and saw how he was holding out his hand for her. She hesitated, looking him in the eye and instantly spotting the sincerity in them. Like some sort of reflex she placed her hand in his and he effortlessly pulled her to her feet.
"Let's get to work." He told her, a small smirk appearing on his face.
A little over an hour had passed when Elena looked around. They'd gotten rid of most of the mess. Of course they hadn't been able to repair the broken headstones, but Damon had used his vampire strength to level the ones that only had been pushed over. Elena had to admit the clearing looked half decent again without the mess surrounding the graves.
"Satisfied?" Damon asked as he stood next to her, also looking around.
She nodded slowly. "Pretty much."
She walked back over to her parent's grave and kneeled down in front of it, gathering the pieces of her mother's favorite plant. It was the last of the mess on the grave. It really hurt her that it was gone now.
"Sucks." She murmured to herself more than anything.
"What does?" Damon's confident voice asked as he showed up next to her.
Elena looked up, wondering if she should say anything, eventually deciding that there was no point in not telling it.
"It's silly, but this is what's left of my mom's favorite plant. Her mother gave it to her right after she married my dad. It sort of represented their union. You know, as long as the plant was growing and alive, so was their marriage. My mom was terrified the plant would die. So she was so proud that she managed to keep it alive after all these years. We never had the heart to tell her that it's pretty much the most low maintenance plant on the planet." She smiled. "A kid could keep it alive."
"What was it doing here?"
"I decided to place it on the grave a while back. Figured she would've liked to have it close. And I liked that idea too. Sort of proof that even though they're gone, the plant shows that they're still together and still happy. I guess I could just buy another one. I mean, it's a plant. It shouldn't have any sentimental value." Elena shrugged, but having trouble accepting this fact.
Damon frowned and she noticed how his gaze moved down to what was left of the plant in her hands. Then his hand reached out and he took a small bit of the plant in hand.
"See the root?" He asked her.
He gave her a look, raising an eyebrow. "With enough water and some nurturing, it might grow again."
Her eyes met his and the surprise was obvious in them. She hadn't considered that yet. Damon sat down on his knees next to Elena and started digging a small hole with his free hand. She watched him genuine fascination, a feeling of contentment taking over her. This made some of it okay again. If the plant would grow again, that'd mean the world to her. Damon handed her the root and Elena took a deep breath, before placing it in the hole that seemed to fit the small part of the plant perfectly. The two of them moved the dirt around and gently tugged in the plant. It was so small that it could easily be mistaken for some weed that needed to be removed, but she knew better.
"It's going to rain later. I don't think you need to water it." Damon broke the silence.
"So now we just keep our fingers crossed." Elena shrugged.
"I think it could work. Plants don't just die. They're stronger than they look."
She nodded slowly, before turning to him. "Thank you. That was really sweet of you. All of this was. I don't know what caused you to want to do this, but…"
"You might not be my friend, but I'm still yours." Damon shrugged. "That's not going to change."
She sighed as she looked at him and investigated his face. "You've been good at reminding me why we used to be friends lately."
"That's all I can do, right?" He shrugged once again. "But it wasn't just for you. I really do think the dead should get a chance to rest in peace."
"And that suits you." Elena smiled, getting to her feet. "In that really weird and contradicting way when I think about everything you've done."
"What can I say? I'm a complicated personality." Damon smirked, now also back on his feet.
Elena patted the dirt off her jeans, before looking back at him.
"You are." She nodded. "And it's impossible to make sense of."
"I'm working on it." He promised her.
Elena reached for her bag and swung it over her shoulder, a bold thought popping into her head. She decided to trust her instincts for once.
"Walk me back to my car?" She then found herself asking.
It was easy to pick up on the surprise that showed on his face. He quickly recovered though as he smiled at her.
A/N: Hm. What do you think? Was this even worth posting? I'm not sure. But hey, I wrote it, what's the point in keeping it saved on my computer, right? And I like it when Damon is sweet like this. ;-)
Well, opinions are, as always, very much appreciated!