a/n: It seems I am not capable of writing decent fic for any fandom that's new to me. I however persist in writing. Freud probably has a complex for that. Also, I find it really interesting how insecure Stefan is, even though Elena always chooses him and seems to think there IS nothing to choose against. Especially in that part where Elena's gone to meet Katherine, and he thinks Caroline's refusing to tell him because she's with Damon. Happy New Year, everyone :)
Pairing: implied Damon/Elena. Stefan-centric
It's like a constant pounding at the back of his head. A rhythm of their names beating a hole into his skull. It's absurd, it's ridiculous, it's insane, but mostly, it's true.
It's somewhere in the beginning, or maybe they've already reached the middle and he wasn't paying attention, but she asks about Katherine a lot and he doesn't know why. Mostly it's little things, like how she used to talk and what she used to wear, and when he describes it, he can almost hear the sound of the bodice as it falls off, the rustle of skin against sheets, her laugh and her eyes and the whole world, his words heavy with all the things he doesn't say. Because he can't tell her everything, he won't.
But sometimes, she asks other things, like how Katherine looked like when she made love and there's a curious vulnerability in her voice, like she thinks she's not good enough to compare, like it actually fucking makes a difference to anything in the world how good Katherine was at love-making. And then he remembers she's seventeen and all she knows about love is probably from Cosmo quizzes. And then he remembers he's a hundred and sixty to her seventeen and it really, really sucks.
"She made Damon fall in love. She has to have been really good in bed. I bet that's Damon's definition of love, endless sex or something."
She says it softly, without inflection, like she couldn't care less and he knows it's because she's thinking it and trying not to think it. But then she adds in snarky little comments about Damon ever actually being able to love anything other than the mirror and it's ended before it even started. She doesn't look at him though, and all he can think of is how badly he wants her to look at him, goddammit, look at him.
She isn't in love with Damon. Most days, he knows that. Some days, he doesn't.
Damon enters the room when they're together a lot of times. It's so often that there's almost an established act for it, with each sequence in meticulous order adding to the whole comedy, or tragedy, or whatever their genre is really. It goes like this- they both tell him to get out and he looks at the sheet covering her indifferently and tells her he's seen it all before, and he stays, and that's curtain call. And sometimes he thinks he'll make the obvious point about how Damon's seen it all before and yet he's still always in their room, looking at her, but then this'll be real. And he needs it to not be real.
"Did Katherine ever do that?"
Her hands almost clamp over her mouth like she can't believe she actually said it. Thought it.
"Did what?" Damon looks at her, like he's asking for the sake of it. But the kicker is; he's not. It's Elena and he's not.
"Nothing," she says and sinks lower in the sheets.
"The three of us, together," he answers for her, because he knows. In the middle of Klaus and werewolves and all the things that'll never be normal for her again, he knows it's important. He probably knows why it's important, but he won't think it out, he can't think it out. He's not that brave.
"Why Elena," Damon switches on 'bastard' almost automatically, maybe he should look away though, his eyes aren't as good at it as his voice, "if you wanted a ménage à trios, all you had to do was ask, you needn't go to such lengths for it."
She rises up then, and maybe it means something that she's never uncomfortable around him, that she's never felt the need to cover up, hide beneath the sheets, but it's not a meaning he's planning on looking up in a dictionary any time soon, "god, you jerk."
She glares at his brother and all he can think is— he'll never have that. He has her body, and her life and her, but he'll never have the anger, the madness, the fire. And honestly, how pathetic is he that he can't be satisfied with everything else.
"No," Damon says abruptly, "no, we didn't. Ever."
And later, much later, when he's gone, she looks at him, tired, "I'm not Katherine."
He doesn't answer, because he doesn't even know what the question is. On some days it's too much effort to have his eyes wide shut and his heart on auto-pilot. Some days it's just not worth it.
There are times when he thinks he shouldn't notice, that he's not going to be that kind of a boyfriend. But he is, and he does notice, so well, there's that.
She kisses him a lot more when Damon's around. It's not planned, and he knows that because he knows her. It's instinctive, like she's trying to prove something to someone. Maybe him, maybe Damon, maybe herself, he doesn't know.
Sometimes it's for him. Because she can tell, it's not like he's been subtle about his issues with them. But mostly it's for Damon, he thinks. Mostly it's after Damon messes up spectacularly and then makes one of his cheap jokes at her expense and doesn't know when to back down. She kisses him hard then, in front of Damon because she thinks he needs to see she's with someone else, or maybe she just wants to hurt him. It feels different those times, like a taste of second hand fire, standing in front of the car, watching him watching them.
He turns away mostly, and Stefan thinks he knows that feeling, wanting her with every second breath that he doesn't need to take, but does. It's a very familiar feeling actually. It's the same feeling that's clawing its way through his throat. Maybe there's irony that he should be laughing at here, because seriously, who's winning here again?
He dreams about them and it's not Damon or Katherine manipulating him, it's just him and his twisted mind and the what ifs.
It doesn't start or end or anything actually. It's a bit like history repeating with Technicolor and surround sound. Katherine chose him. Elena's choosing him. But sometimes he watches her, twisting her necklace in her hand, carefully holding herself out of Damon's gravity, and he wants to tell her that she's trying too hard.
But he won't tell her, not today, not now, not at this moment. Maybe she'll figure it out on her own; someday she'll figure out that she's trying so hard to not be Katherine that she's almost not Elena.
Today he'll let her kiss him and prove whatever she wants to whomever she wants. Maybe tomorrow.