Title: Speaking a Dead Language (1/1)
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (tv show, not book)
Characters: Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert
Rating: K
Words: 400
Spoilers: Through 2x8
Disclaimer:
The Vampire Diaries and its characters belong to the CW, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: His lips against her forehead are a benediction... A tag for the final Damon/Elena scene in 2x8.
A/N: This came out of my being sick and unable to sleep.

To lurkers and commenters alike, thank you.

Speaking a Dead Language

For a breathless moment Damon wavers, his resolve flickering like a flame kissed by an unexpected gust of wind. Elena's watching him with those eyes; those eyes that shadow his every waking and dreaming move. They search his face, and he swears they scythe through the thin veneer of all his mocking bravado and swagger - to see inside him, where he never thought he'd want to be seen. To be known.

What he sees in her face isn't disappointment. Not fear or revulsion, either. Shoulders slumped, he asks himself if he has to do this. Does he always have to be the one who loses? He isn't good; that's not who he is, and it's not what he does. Why can't he just take what he wants, and to hell with everyone else?

"I'm sorry. What I did was selfish. I didn't want to be alone. Guess I just needed my brother."

An apology. An admission he simply can't ignore. The memory straightens his spine and shoulders. Gives weight to his decision. He's spent 145 years trying to make his brother miserable; he won't do it now, or make his own feelings another burden for Elena to carry.

But this girl-woman has her slim fingers wrapped around the chambers of his dark heart. He needs her to know that.

And then he needs to wipe the memory from her mind, making her knowledge that he loves her nothing more than a puff of moist breath against a cold windowpane; visible for mere seconds before it fades into oblivion. A ghost.

It's time; he can't delay it any longer.

His lips against her forehead are a benediction, and he closes his eyes, trying to freeze the moment in his mind. As if memory could ever replace soft flesh and warm blood. "God, I wish you didn't have to forget this. But you do."

And then he looks into her eyes one last time. It's done.

The yawning emptiness in Damon's chest reminds him precisely why he spent so many years destroying, running, hiding. Caring, doing the right thing, it hurts.

As he leaves Elena's bedroom, he sees Stefan's face in his mind's eye. Whatever he's lost tonight, he's also regained something: his brother. He hopes it's enough.