Summary: Crushed by the weight of the stress that comes with being a doppelganger, the inevitable happens and Elena breaks down. Luckily Damon is there to pick up the pieces.

~ Purple Teardrops ~

Elena comes up the stairs slowly, her hand sliding up and down the bar. She's tired (exhausted) and the feeling of sleep is so overpowering that she literally lets out a cry of relief when she sees her bed.

She doesn't know why she's so tired – she really doesn't. And as she takes off her heels and tosses them carelessly across her room, Elena thinks it's actually kind of ironic that she's feeling so drained. Stefan had taken her out tonight to dance – it was supposed to be fun (weird how that word's meaning had escaped her these past few weeks) – and yet, it couldn't have been less fun; she had been tense throughout the night and had even asked to leave early.

And not like ten or fifteen minutes early, but like an hour, hour and a half early. Stefan had looked at her like she'd grown another head.

Maybe I have, Elena muses as she shrugs out of her jacket. Or maybe she the fun had gotten sucked out of her, and she couldn't enjoy the most basic things in a normal teenager's life – things like going out dancing with your boyfriend and your friends and just letting loose. She doesn't know when or how the old Elena – the real Elena, she can't help but think – disappeared completely. The one that used to make the best out of the worst situations and who took pleasure in the simplest things.

She misses that Elena.

Her purse slides to the floor as she slumps onto the bed, her shoulders sagging in defeat. God, what was happening to her? This isn't her – this shadow of a being, devoid of any feelings and joie de vivre. She's merely the shell of the girl that she used to be - the girl with the wide brown eyes and excited smile.

Elena's eyes are burning her, and her vision's getting really blurry, but she senses the tear falling before it actually does.

She swipes at it angrily, but suddenly there are more tears spilling out of her eyes, an interminable rush it feels like they're going on forever and she just can't stop them. Elena looks at herself in the mirror, and the brunette with purple-streaked cheeks looking back at her isn't exactly what she expected.

God, she ruined her makeup too? Something like a choke – she isn't sure, it's so muffled – escapes her throat, and she reaches for the pillow just as a full-out sob escapes her.

Her shoulders are shaking, her fingers are trembling, and Elena suddenly thinks that she can't, she just can't with all this Katherine and Elijah and Klaus and doppelganger and you're the one he wants and he'll kill anyone you care about if you stand in his way crap. It's so much and too much, and she knows she's only nineteen, but God damn it, sometimes she feels like she's fucking eighty and she just can't deal with all of this now.


Her head whirls around so fast that an involuntary hiccup escapes her mouth and suddenly, she's staring into wide blue, blue eyes.

Damon's mouth is agape slightly, but Elena knows that that's the equivalent to a full-out gawk from all non-Damon individuals (basically everyone else).

"Elena?" Damon repeats, clearly destabilized if the way his blue eyes have become all kinds of light and dark are of any indication. He steps towards her cautiously, like he's afraid she'll burst (which, at the rate she's going, she probably will) but there's clearly worry traced along every plane of his painfully handsome face.

His arms come around to encircle her shoulders as he leans in front of her. She's still crying purple tears, and her vision's so blurry that she misses the way his blue eyes melt into soft concern. "Elena," he whispers. "What happened?"

To you is left unsaid, but it hangs hot and heavy in the air between them.

"It's just…I'm just," Elena sniffles, her resolve breaking as the full implication of being a doppelganger hits her again, and she throws her arms around Damon's neck desperately, her cries intensifying. "Damon I can't do this anymore. Elijah and Klaus and Katherine…I don't want to die but I don't want anyone to die for me either. God knows I'm not worth it -,"

"Hey now," he interrupts her softly, his hands coming up to cup her face tenderly. "It's okay to feel overwhelmed by all of this shit and feel a little hysterical, but I swear to God Elena, never say you aren't worth it because you are."

Just as she opens her mouth to protest, he presses a gentle finger on her lips. "I know that's not your point; I get your point. You think you can't do this because it's too much for you to handle, it's too much pressure and responsibility and I really can't agree with you more on that one." One of his fingers comes up just as another purple teardrop spills from her eyes. He catches it and flings it away, smoothing the streaks from her face slowly. He's looking at her with a mixture of adoration and admiration. "But listen to me – you're Elena. You can handle shit, you've handled everything we've thrown at you and you've come out of it always with the upper-hand. You're incredible Elena," he whispers. "But you're nineteen and God knows, you've handled yourself better than a thirty year old could have ever done."

Damon pauses to catch his breath a little, his hands and eyes roaming all over her face, worry and adoration and love all etched so openly on his features that it makes Elena's breathing hitch. "My point is that it's okay for you to break down, that it's expected. Because no one can come into this shit and come out of it sane without a break down or a thousand." His lips curve slightly into one of the most earnest smiles she's ever seen when she lets out a choked laugh. "But it's not okay for you to break down alone. You've got friends who'll do anything to help you and they're here for you. I'm here for you. Always."

"Damon," Elena whispers, and her throat's heavy all of the sudden and she feels something big and important swell up inside of her.

"You know I'll do anything for you," he murmurs, and Elena closes her eyes when she feels his mouth press against her forehead, the kiss sending a rush of warmth that she feels all the way to the tips of her toes. Her breathing shortens and becomes shallow when his lips come down to kiss her eyelashes, collecting the tears hanging there with his lips.

"Anything at all," Elena's mind becomes unnervingly blank when Damon drags his mouth down until he reaches her cheeks, pressing soft and warm kisses against each of them, his lips lingering on her feverish skin for a beat or two or ten longer than necessary.

Her hands are clutching his shirt tightly when she opens her eyes to stare into the deep, electric blue of Damon's. Her heart stutters for a second when she sees the purple stains on his lips, blood rushing to her cheeks as her breath catches in her throat. Slowly, she lifts trembling fingers to brush against his mouth, wiping the purple away.

Damon's eyes are dark as he watches her, his hand catching hers gently. "Elena, if you need something, anything, tell me, and I'll be there for you," he murmurs softly, his mouth coming up to kiss her purple-tinted fingertips. He looks into her eyes meaningfully as he brings up his hand to brush the strands of hair away from her face tenderly. "Nothing's worth your tears. Nothing."

Elena closes her eyes in a sigh and leans forward; she feels the air shift and something press against her lips briefly – almost like a touch (like a caress) – so quickly it feels like she's dreamed it.

But when her eyes open and land on the mirror, and she sees a small, barely visible speck of purple on the side of her mouth, she knows it wasn't a dream.

Author's Note: I think this has the potential of becoming a two or a three-shot, but it will depend on the number of reviews I get for this story. So, I actually got this concept from a Lady GaGa song; Paparazzi, the acoustic version, to be more precise, which I have been listening to non-stop since I stumbled upon it on Youtube a few days ago (don't judge). And there's a part that goes purple teardrops I cry it don't have a price… and yeah, the rest is history. :D

So drop a comment on this one (and tell me if you'd like to see this expanded) and please don't favorite without reviewing!

Much love!