The rhythmic sound of approaching footsteps broke Rose's line of thought, and she mustered up the strength to roll over in bed, so that she was facing the door. She had been reflecting on her impending fate. She had spent her whole life trying to elude death, trying to stay one step ahead of something that seemed like it was always going to catch her, despite her immortality. And now it was certain; she was in the process of dying. It wasn't quite how she anticipated it; she always pictured that if it happened, when it happened, it would be some swift matter that would resolve itself in moments. One of Klaus's cronies would finish her off when her guard was let down. And of course, Trevor was by her side in all of these imagined scenarios. He had died so recently, that after being with him for 400 years, she felt a gaping hole in her person. As the footsteps grew louder she opened her eyes and looked at the door, half expecting (and maybe half hoping) that it would be his familiar face that appeared.
Of course it wasn't though. Damon Salvatore leaned against the frame of the door, not quite ready to cross the threshold into the room of the dying woman. He rested his head on the Victorian wood paneling, his hands full with a glass of brandy and a cup. He hadn't stopped drinking since she had been bitten. "Hey," he muttered, as he finally stepped into the room. His lips formed into a small frown as he looked away from her and began to pour a glass of brandy.
"Hey yourself," she meekly replied, attempting to disarm him with a smile, but her lips refused the deception. She was lying naked in the bed, with a silk sheet laying over her legs. She had a terrible sensation wracking her body, much like a fever, but different at the same time. Her skin was still clammy and at a relatively normal temperature, but her internal temperature was continually rising, as if her blood was boiling. She was too hot to wear clothes, and they irritated the growing wound on her back. Besides, there was no-one besides Damon home, and she had already shown him everything there was to see.
He sat down on the bed next to her, and gently rubbed her thigh through the sheet with his right hand, while he lifted the cup up to his lips with the left. "I take it you're not feeling any better," he said with a hint of sarcasm, as he tilted his head to examine the wound on her back. It had gotten significantly worse since he first discovered it.
"I'm hanging in there," Rose sighed. "I knew- I knew this wasn't exactly the safest place for me to stay Damon, I signed up for the risk." Damon chuckled and said nothing, but continued the monotonous circular motion he was rubbing her leg in. "You didn't find her did you; the woman who bit me?"
"Nope, as a matter of fact, the bitch is nowhere to be found. And she better hope it stays that way, because it's a long time to the next full moon."
She braced herself for the exertion of what little strength she had left, then used her right arm to prop herself up. She arched her back so that her head leaned against the bed's backboard, but her eyes met Damon's. She didn't feel uncomfortable at all that her body was completely exposed. It hadn't changed in centuries, and she had grown quite used to it. She always got a slight tinge of satisfaction at watching women desperately, and vainly, try and preserve their youthful appearance in spite of unconquerable odds. The methods may have changed drastically over the years but the result was always the same; a futile battle where gravity and time always win. And for her? To maintain her slender form, her perky breasts, her wrinkle-free face she needed only one care product; blood.
"It's okay Damon, really. You don't need to beat yourself up over this. It was my choice to come back."
"Oh, I'm not the one that's gonna get beat up over this, I swear to God I-"
"Stop, please." She leaned forward and grabbed his hand. Their eyes met and she smiled, but this time it came naturally. "I've been running from death my whole life, and it finally caught up to me. Yeah, I would have liked some more time, time to help Elena escape the bastard that has made my life hell, time where I could settle down somewhere without the fear of having to look over my shoulder 'cuz of every little thing that goes bump I night. But mainly Damon, I would have liked to have gotten to know you a bit better. You're quite an intriguing person you know." Damon looked as if he was about to interrupt, but Rose shot him a warning glance that kept him quiet. "But it was a long time coming. I accepted this fate a very, very long time ago. I'm okay with it, I mean, no one lives for ever, right?" She looked at her legs and the silk purple blanket that had slid down to just cover her knees. "Not even the immortal." she added with a defeated sigh.
Damon shook his head bitterly, and downed the last gulp of the amber liquid in his cup before setting it down on the floor. "Look at me Rose." She did. "You don't know this is the end. I got- I got Alaric, with Jeremy helping if that means anything, researching if there is a cure right now. Caroline is over at Tyler's right now, trying to find if there is any information his damned uncle, who is proving to be a huge pain in my ass even after his death, has anything recorded about curing bites. Bonnie- well I told her to see what she could do to help but she didn't seem to want to help. I'm gonna go out and look for Jules again, and this time I'm going to find her."
Rose sniffled as two tears slid unattended down her cheek. "Please Damon, don't go again. I want, I would like you to be here with me, in case, you know, it's about to happen. I don't think I have much longer,"
"Rose?" He moved til he was seated next to her in the bed. He put an arm over her shoulder, and drew her body in close. She was even beginning to feel hot to the touch now; a unique but mortifying sensation for a vampire. "If I find a cure then it doesn't have to end now! I can work quick, I can fix this." She could tell he was acting a lot more confident than he felt.
"But why? Things happen that we can't control Damon. You may find this hard to believe, but the world is bigger than us. We only have so much control over things, no matter how much we might want to believe differently."
"Are you implying that I think I get to choose how things turned out for me? That I am living the life
I envisioned? I was in love with a woman for over a century who couldn't give a damn about me. Please, I'm well aware that life can be a bitch."
She latched onto his arm and nestled her head into his chest. "What I'm implying is that you don't need to change this, as much as you might want to. I know I would have liked to die with someone who truly loved me," she felt him tense up "but I can't make that happen. That's not entirely up to me. And I'm fine with that. At least I'm with a friend, someone who still cares enough about me to want to save me. So, will you promise to stay here with me, as friends? You have control over that much at least."
Damon unwrapped his arm from her, and for a moment she leaned against the backboard of the bed, looking at him through heavy eye-lids. He sped over to grab the bottle of brandy and two glasses, and sped quickly back to the bed where Rose sat, still awaiting his answer. He unscrewed the lid and filled both glasses up, offering one to her. She accepted and took a sip. "Yeah Rose. If that's what you want, then here I'll stay. After all, a good friend is hard to come by."
A sense of relief, followed by acceptance flooded her as she once again rested her head on his chest, closing her eyes. A good friend is hard to come by, huh? She thought as she felt his hand run idly through her hair. She had paid for the sins of her friends all her life. Trevor's betrayal had her on the run for centuries, and Damon had explained how his rash murder of Mason had lead to her attack. But mistakes or not, she stuck by the side of her friends til the end, because Damon was right, a good friend is hard to come by. She lifted the cup Damon poured to her lips one last time to take a sip of his favorite brandy. Her arm fell back down to her side, the grip on the glass relaxing. Finally, she could rest.
a/n: I am a sucker for tragic characters, and dammit if Rose isn't a tragic case. I am considering writing a bigger Rose/Damon centered story (if I get a good idea for one), and wrote this mainly to see if I could get them in character. So tell me what you think, feedback and constructive criticism much appreciated!