FINALE: PART III
Stefan and Damon were sitting in the living room of the boarding house, chatting quietly about the aftermath of Klaus' death and the subsequent events that had followed.
They were interrupted by a small thump, as Katherine appeared behind them. Damon looked up at to see the source of the noise, and noticed that she had a small duffel bag that she had dropped to the floor to signal her entrance. "Well," she announced brightly, "I'm off!"
Damon and Stefan exchanged incredulous glances before turning their attention back to Katherine. "Let me get this straight," Stefan began disbelievingly, "You're leaving?"
"My work here is done," she shrugged, "I see no point in staying in Mystic Falls."
Damon stretched backwards, downing his glass of scotch. "I'm assuming this means you have a new master plan?"
Katherine smirked, "What gives you that idea?"
He stood up with a faint smile, "You wouldn't be Katherine Pierce without one."
She only raised an eyebrow to acknowledge the sentiment, watching as Damon began climbing up the stairs. He paused halfway up and called over his shoulder, "Good riddance, Katherine. May I not see you for another 150 years."
Katherine grinned back response, "Goodbye Damon." She waited until he had reached the top of the stairs before smiling at Stefan. "Well?" she prompted expectantly, "Do I get a goodbye?"
Stefan narrowed his eyes at her, "What's the real reason you're leaving? You know you can't find the moonstone again…and even if you could, there's no way you'd ever get your hands on Elena again."
Katherine rolled her eyes, "Please. I'm not going to waste my time trying to find the moonstone just so I'd have to go through the trouble of finding a werewolf, witch, and the doppelganger again." She paused, "Besides, I know Elena is too well protected by all these witches from the Bennett family line." She heaved a sigh, "It's rather an inconvenience."
"And you expect me to believe that you've given up this moonstone business altogether?" Stefan asked skeptically, shaking his head. "I know you too well, Katherine. What's your plan?"
She considered him for a moment, before deciding to divulge. "The shaman that put the curse on the moonstone," she began, "He must have descendents somewhere. They are the only ones that can change the curse so that it doesn't require the blood of the doppelganger."
Stefan stood up slowly, "You're going to find his family? Where are they?"
"Well, I don't know yet," Katherine shrugged, a small smile on her lips. "But, hey, I've got a whole eternity to find them."
"So you're actually going to find a way to get rid of the sun and moon curse…without killing Elena?"
"Yes, that's what I said," Katherine said impatiently, "No need to sound so shocked, Stefan."
"I'm not shocked…just surprised."
Katherine walked towards him, her expression contemplative. She placed a hand on his chest, and gazed up at him soulfully. "Come with me," she whispered, her lips brushing his ear. "Why stay in Mystic Falls?" she pulled back so she could see his expression, "With me, you could have everything."
He didn't back away, but he shook his head slightly, "Katherine…"
At that moment, the door to the boarding house flew open revealing a tearful Caroline. "He left!" she sobbed, and Stefan stepped back from Katherine so he could guide Caroline onto the sofa. "He's gone!"
"Shh," he comforted, kneeling in front of her. "Who left? What are you talking about?"
"Tyler!" Caroline whispered, her sobs subsiding somewhat. "He left to go to Florida…everyone j-just keeps leaving me!" She buried her face into her hands, "It's me, isn't it? Everyone that I've ever l-loved has left!"
"No, it's not you," Stefan said gently, sliding onto the sofa next to her and wrapping his arm around her. She curled up next to him, keeping her face hidden in his shoulder. "Tyler stopped by this morning," he continued quietly, "And he told me what he was planning. He also told me that he loves you, Caroline. He's doing this for you."
"I know," Caroline said, her voice muffled, "But he still left." She lifted her face out of his shoulder suddenly, looking panicked. She glanced over at Katherine, her gaze landing on the duffel bag, before looking back at Stefan frantically. "W-wait, you're not leaving too, are you?"
Stefan wrapped his arms around her more securely, before placing a kiss on the top of her head. "No," he murmured, his gaze finding Katherine's. "Mystic Falls is my home. I'm not leaving."
Katherine sighed, reaching down to pick up her bag. She smiled at Stefan, and he caught the flash of regret in her eyes. "I guess you've made your decision."
"I have," he nodded once, gazing at her thoughtfully. "Goodbye Katherine."
She paused at the door, turning to look at him one last time. "I'll be back," she informed him with a smirk, "Because I love you, Stefan. Always have, always will."
Stefan merely raised an eyebrow, "Maybe next time you come back, you'll actually convince me of that."
"Oh believe me, I will," Katherine said confidently.
"How are you so sure?"
Katherine only winked at him before shutting the door behind her.
Stefan stared after her in confusion, but then he froze, hearing her voice ringing in his ears. 'Because you and I are endgame...'
"Is something wrong?" Caroline asked, looking up at him with a frown, "Stefan?"
"No," he said after a moment, and smiled down at Caroline, "Everything's fine."
Damon stood at the top of the stairs until Katherine and Stefan said their goodbyes. When he was satisfied that she was truly gone, he walked into his room—and saw Elena sitting cross-legged on his bed, waiting for him. He frowned at her before turning to shut his door. "How did you get in here?"
"Bonnie," Elena responded simply, "She's getting really good at her spells."
Damon leaned against the door, raising an eyebrow. "Are you telling me that the witch teleported you into my room?"
Elena flashed him a grin, "I thought you might like to know how it feels to have random people appear in your bedroom when you least expect it."
"Ah, so this is payback," Damon deduced, smirking at her. "Well, you won't see me complaining about finding a girl waiting in bed for me..." He laughed and ducked when she threw one of the pillows at him. He reached down to pick it up, but didn't throw it back. He could sense that underneath her good humor, there was a wall of seriousness brewing. He pulled the chair out from his desk on the other side of the room, and took a seat. "I assume you came here because you wanted to talk?"
Elena nodded, and took a deep breath. "Now that all this Klaus-Elijah-moonstone business is over, I've actually had some time to think." Damon nodded, waiting for her to continue. She spoke haltingly, clearly choosing her words carefully. "We've been through a lot, Damon." She twisted her hands in her lap, "You've done a lot of things."
"Agreed," Damon said, keeping his voice expressionless.
"I don't care what happened in the past," Elena said finally, meeting his gaze. "You and Stefan were both different people then, I get that. And I...know that you came to Mystic Falls for Katherine—"
"But I stayed for you," Damon couldn't help interrupting, and he saw her lips curve upwards slightly.
"I know," she said quietly, "You've done so much for me, for my friends, for the people I love..."
"When you tried to kill Jeremy, I t-thought I could never forgive you for that." Her voice shook then, "It scares me sometimes...that I did forgive you. If it was anyone else, I wouldn't have." She looked up at him, her hand absentmindedly tracing the pattern on his bedspread. "I know that you were hurting, and I know what I did to you. And I'm sorry."
"You already apologized," Damon pointed out, but Elena shook her head.
"I wanted you to hear it again. It's important for me that you know how much you mean to me." Damon looked up sharply at her tone, but she continued, "Because sometimes I feel like I'm the one that d-doesn't deserve you—"
Damon was at her side in a flash, "Don't ever say that again. I'm the one who's responsible for..." he shook his head, "There's too many things to list." He knelt on the floor beside the bed, and reached out take her hand within his own. "I can't be who you want me to be, Elena. That's just not who I am...I'm not the knight in shining armor who always saves the day. I'm usually the guy that people need to be saved from."
Elena slid her hand out of his grasp, and Damon stood up to leave. As he was walking towards the door, she spoke again, "You don't give yourself enough credit, Damon."
He turned around to face her, surprised to see her standing behind him. "What are you talking about?"
"In spite of everything that you do, you can't deny that you care, Damon." Elena walked towards him, placing a hand on his arm. "You care about this town, and you care about the people in it...even your brother. In fact, you care about him so much that you were willing to give up everything just so he could be happy..."
Damon didn't realize he was backing up until he felt the door behind him. Elena continued walking forward until they were inches apart from each other. She placed a hand on his face gently, "Your selflessness...it's why I love you."
He blinked, unable to believe the words actually coming out of her mouth. "I'm sorry," he said slowly, "But could you say that again?"
Elena grinned, her eyes bright. "I love you, Damon," she said clearly, and then she squealed as he suddenly grabbed her around the waist and propelled them into the air. She gasped out as her back landed against the bed, and Damon held himself above her, his gaze intense as he leaned forward and kissed her deeply.
Her eyelids fluttered in pleasure as he kissed a path down her neck before moving back to her lips. "I love you, too," he whispered, before kissing her again. Elena flushed prettily, resting her head against the pillow as she gazed up at him. "How come you decided to change your mind about me?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows as he nipped at her neck playfully.
Elena wrapped her arms around his neck thoughtfully before she reached up to kiss him. "Because you and I," she murmured against his lips, "were always endgame."
*thank you all so much for sticking with me for this story! it was a blast to write, and I'm so thankful for everyone's reviews and encouragement along the way :)
-as an explanation for the ending: one of the major themes repeated throughout this story was the idea of Katherine and Elena sharing a deeper connection and understanding. Both of them saying the same line ('endgame') to the Salvatore brother that they truly loved, was a symbol of their connection. Also, I tried to show that Caroline and Stefan had sort of a best-friend vibe going on, but that Katherine would always be after Stefan, because in a twisted way, she actually did love him.