So "The Descent" promo really struck me, consequently prompting my first COMPLETED serial fic. While it is based off the promo, the focus is on Damon and Rose, so not everything from the promo is in this story. This puppy is nine chapters long, plus a short epilogue, and, like I said, already finished. I'll have it all posted by the airing (in the US) of "The Descent."

I'm seriously excited about this, guys, but I'm afraid it's lousy because, well, it's my first. So please be kind to a poor soul and review. Let me know what needs improving, if additional scenes are necessary, if my build-up is exciting, etc, etc. And short little "Liked it!" are always, always appreciated.

Disclaimer: I am now the proud owner of a poster with the Vampire Diaries logo on it (as well as Ian Sommerhalder's face), but that doesn't really mean anything in the scheme of things because I own nothing else.

Damon has to admit, as he's turning the lock on the door, that he's a little amazed at himself for doing what the teacher suggested. He takes a few pensive steps inside and chalks it up to a—very—latent human survival instinct.

Something is off.

The house feels occupied, and last he checked he was down a brother and subsequently a brother's girlfriend. Cautiously, he walks through his house, ready to run at the slightest indication that he should. When he sees Rose, uncomfortably comfortable in the desk chair, he relaxes into his predator's stance, feeling much more at home in this skin than prey's skin.

"Just can't stay away, can ya?"

"Well you don't answer your phone," she informs him, moving to make a plea he can see coming—he's just not sure for what, or for whom.

"What do you want?" He's purposefully callous, because clingy woman are easier to get rid of that way.

"I wanted to apologize."

Oh, he thinks, that plea. "Just admit it," he says condescendingly, actually owning the power he plays at in her presence, "you don't have anywhere else to go."

"I'm sorry," she starts, moving forward as he settles back, "about Elena. I wasn't thinking straight; I didn't know she had a death wish. But I called you, I tried to make it right, okay? I'm sorry, Damon." So many apologies all of the sudden, he remarks silently. "And I, I have nowhere else to go." Her chuckle wills him to find humor—and mercy—in her helplessness.

"There's nothing here for you, Rose," he tells her as he walks past her to the alcohol, the predatory stalk in his step.

She was stupid to expect a different answer, but she knows he's stupid to turn down an ally and she's about to say so "Well, then—" when shattered glass in the background distracts them both.


He goes all gentle—not because she saved his life with her scream-his-name-and-push-him-out-of-the-way move, but because of something else entirely—after the wolf is gone. The blood on her shoulder professes his guilt and he's not shrugging it off. She begins to sob, relieved, when the bite heals and somehow it's the natural thing to do to embrace her. And soothe her. And be grateful that she's alive.


When she'slying in a feverish delirium late that night, he sits bedside going over the moments just before the fatal werewolf's bite became reality again, searching for a clue as to a cure. Her words "I don't love men who love other women" come back to him with perfect clarity.

I don't love men who love other women.

Not a declaration that he is unlovable (or second best), not a reassurance of platonic concern, but an act of self-preservation that he recognizes as a mechanism he should have used.

Self-preservation is something he can understand in the abstract, respect in the practical, and pretend to employ while never really getting it done.

Rose whimpers and he leans forward, running his fingertips across her forehead and down over her temple. She turns toward his palm, gently pushing her nose into the easy give of his cold skin.

He wants her well.