Title: The Weight of Us (1/1)
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (tv show, not book)
Characters: Elena Gilbert, Damon Salvatore, & hints of Elena/Stefan
Spoilers: Through 2x10: The Sacrifice
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: Lying - to herself and to her family and friends - is an art. Takes place post-2x10: The Sacrifice - later that night.
A/N: I'm sick and running on little sleep. Hopefully that doesn't come through here. :)
This is a bit confused and angsty. If you're looking for happy and shiny, you won't find it here.
Con crit is always welcome. To lurkers and commenters alike, thank you.
There's a cold heart, buried beneath,
and warm blood, running deep.
Secrets - are mine to keep
protected by silent sleep...
I'm not ready, I'm not ready
for the weight of us, for the weight of us
for the weight of us, for the weight of all of us
~ Sanders Bohlke - The Weight of Us
The Weight of Us
The scalding water drums a steady beat against her body. Elena lets her head drop forward, chin to chest, mouth open in a silent scream; a lonely marionette with no one to pull its strings. In here, she can pretend the streams branching from her eyes and rolling over her cheeks to drip down down down, originate from the shower head.
She knows otherwise, of course. But then, she's gotten so much better at hiding inconvenient truths from even herself. (Lying - to herself and to her family and friends - is an art. When the time comes, maybe she'll list it as a special skill on her college applications. Surely the admissions committee would appreciate that.)
"No, Damon. I care about you. I do, but I love Stefan. It's always going to be Stefan-"
Liar liar, the world is on fire...
Damon, with eyes like winter's first frost.
Once upon a time her journal was the place where she let her secret truths breathe in the cleansing light of day.
Elena doesn't write in her journal anymore.
Sometimes she misses her parents, the people who raised her, not the sad, twisted man and woman who gave her their genes, so much she wants to burn every last picture of them. But that won't make her forget them, or turn her back into the normal teenage girl she was before she had to learn about blood, death, and all the things that go bump in the night.
Elena's hands don't shake as she stands in front of her bedroom mirror and combs her wet hair straight back, leaving the bones of her face in jagged relief.
"You and Katherine have a lot more in common than just your looks."
Maybe he'd been right.
She stares at her reflection until she no longer recognizes herself, her vision gone soft and Vaseline-blurry.
Who is this stranger wearing her skin?
When a dark shadow takes shape behind her, she doesn't even blink.
"Elena." He says it without an upward lilt at the end; it's a question all the same.
She ignores it, quietly setting down her brush before turning to face him.
"Do you not understand the concept of privacy?"
One black eyebrow wings upward, mirroring the lascivious curl of his lips. "Why, am I interrupting something private?"
Something about the way he says the last word brings blood rushing hot and insistent to the surface of her skin; conjures images of them earlier that day, when he'd burst in and ruined her plan to surrender herself to Klaus. He'd caught her punch like it was a lazy butterfly in his peripheral vision; all she'd been able to think about was his mouth.
She hates that she still reacts to him this way: after Caroline, and Bonnie, and Vicki, and Jeremy, and... It's just wrong. What kind of person is she if she can forgive him, want him, after all the monstrous things he's done? What kind of person is she if she wants them both? What if she can't choose?
Her skin feels tight and ill-fitting, itching just beneath the surface, where she can't reach. She wants to scream, she wants to fight.
"You know," she says, crossing her arms over her chest, "Stefan being in that tomb with Katherine doesn't change anything between us. You still don't have a chance with me." The words spill out, clumsy and inelegant, slicing through the air between them and coming to rest in an ugly heap at their feet.
Elena's eyes widen; Damon's shutter, and he flinches, the movement so small she wouldn't have noticed it if she didn't know him so well. She's hurt him, she realizes with a mix of wonder and remorse. Sometimes she forgets she has the power to do that. Maybe this is what it's like to be Katherine, to turn people into playthings to be manipulated by one's momentary whims.
A muscle in Damon's jaw contracts. Elena waits for the explosion. "I know," he finally replies, defying her expectations, his voice so quiet she has to strain to hear the words.
She wants to take it back. This isn't who she is- "Damon..." she pleads. Or at least it's not who she wants to be.
"I'm a big boy, Elena. I can handle the truth." (She's starting to think she can't.) The brittle smile on his lips doesn't reach the tundra in his eyes.
"I just wanted to make sure you were OK tonight. That's all." Then he raises both hands, palms out in a gesture of surrender, before he turns and vanishes, leaving her feeling cold - and even emptier than she'd been before he'd arrived.
Now who was the monster?