Title: You May Be The World
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV-verse)
Characters: Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert
Pairing: Damon/Elena (established)
Summary:The gaudy lapis lazuli says he is a daywalker; the simple gold band says he is hers.
Warning(s): Character death.
Word Count: 1357
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of L. J. Smith, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Also, there's a small portion of dialogue taken from 1x02 "The Night of the Comet." Obviously, that's not mine either.
Author's Note: The title is from a quote by Brandi Snyder ("To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.").
- o – o – o -
She goes quietly.
It's ironic, but fitting, considering how loud and chaotic her youth was.
It's just not how any of them ever imagined it would be. Even after decades of calm and simply living, a part of each of them was always waiting for the next threat, the next supernatural being to make a claim on her life. He always thought her final stand would be grand, something to close a long journey and an epic battle.
In her sleep, in their bed, in a little house half an hour outside Mystic Falls, is the last thing any of them would have expected.
He has always taken pride in a meticulous appearance; he has never denied his vanity. Eternal youth and beauty are a big part of his identity, and there was never anything more repugnant than being old or ugly.
His mouth quirks, a shadow of his infamous smirk, as he remembers when he walked into their bathroom and found her peering at the crown of her head in the mirror.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
She let out a quiet sigh and smoothed down the top of her hair self-consciously. "I found a grey hair."
He moved her hands out of the way to look for himself. "Where?" He squinted, wondering if his eyesight was somehow failing him. "I can't see it."
"Of course not!" She tugged herself out of his hands. "I pulled it out."
Looking at her now, at the quiet stillness of her face, he fully takes in the signs of age. Her hair is snow white, not a single trace left of the shiny mahogany it used to be. It's still long, though, and tied back in a neat braid. She could never bring herself to cut it, and he never would have let her.
Her face is heavily lined and the skin sags. But her eyes have never changed. He has seen them sparkle with laughter, shine with love, burn with anger. They have been wide with surprise, hooded with passion, lowered with vulnerabilty.
And despite all this, despite these physical changes, when he looks at her all he can see is the seventeen year old girl who spun around to bring herself within inches of his face.
"I'm Damon." He could hear the practised innocence in his voice. "Stefan's brother."
Her head tilted in confusion. "He didn't tell me he had a brother."
"Well, Stefan's not one to brag."
It was their first meeting, but he'd been watching her for weeks by that point. She looked like Katherine and Stefan liked her, so why wouldn't he watch her?
But, God, it still made him laugh, all these years later, to remember the look on his brother's face when Stefan had walked in and found him talking to the girl.
Maybe if the three of them had known then how things would go, how inexplicably tied together they'd all become, it all would have been different. Except not even Bonnie was gifted with precognition, and it was probably for the best.
If he'd known then how she'd change him, how he'd love her, there's no way he would have stayed. Knowing what he knows now, he can see that would have been the biggest tragedy of all.
"I can't believe you're actually going through with this."
He rolled his eyes. "Stefan, that's the third time you've said that in the last fifteen minutes. If you say it again, I'll rip your heart out. You might have noticed, it's kind of my thing." He smirked over at his brother and straightened a cuff.
"Look," he spun and faced his brother and Ric, "you've had six months to get used to this idea. Please, if you have any objections tell me now because if you hold out until the 'Speak now or forever hold your peace' line like we're in some kind of movie, I really will have to kill you."
Stefan shook his head. "There are no objections. You two are the most important people in my life and I want you to be happy. But…you can't tell me you ever saw yourself getting married. Getting engaged is one thing. Actually making it to the day of the ceremony and not running for the hills is something else. I'd have thought you'd at least be nervous."
He frowned, in genuine confusion for a change. "Why should I be nervous? It's her, Stefan. She's everything."
Everything. If someone asked him to describe her in one word, that's the one he'd choose. Not feisty, or strong, or independent, or passionate, or selfless, though she is still all of those things.
Everything. She is everything.
He found her in the bathtub, hair piled on top of her head, neck deep in bubbles.
"You've been melancholy all day," he said, arms folded over his chest. "You going to tell me what's wrong, or will I have to force it out of you?"
She sighed. "I turned 25 today."
He nodded slowly. "Yeah…I know."
"You were 25 when you died."
She fell silent, as if this explained everything, but he could hear in the tone of her voice that there was more. So he perched on the edge of the tub and waited.
"Lexi said that if you want to be with someone forever, you have to live forever." She swirled a hand through the water. "I want to be with you forever because I know I'm going to love you the rest of my life. But…eternity. It's a long time. I can't…I just…I can't, Damon. I'm so sorry."
There was an ache in his chest that he was sure was his heart breaking, but she sounded so distraught, on the verge of hysteria even, that he just cupped her cheeks in his hands and forced her gaze up to meet his. Her eyes were bright with tears.
"It's okay," he said, swallowing hard. "You don't have to turn if you don't want to."
"But I don't want you to think that I don't love you enough."
He shook his head. "I don't think that, I promise." It wasn't even a lie. "Don't cry. Please. You know how much I freak out when you do."
She leaned forward to burrow her head into his stomach and wrap her arms around his waist. She soaked his shirt but he didn't complain as she asked, "What are we going to do?"
He slid his arms around her shoulders, holding her to him as he pressed a firm kiss to the top of her head.
"We're going to live."
His left hand is heavy under the weight of two rings that symbolise everything he is. The gaudy lapis lazuli says he is a daywalker; the simple gold band says he is hers.
He pulls the lapis lazuli ring off, the first time he's removed it deliberately almost since he first put it on. Holding it up in front of his face, he considers it, traces the sweeping lines of the "D" with his eyes. Then he sets it in the palm of her hand and curls her soft fingers over it. Safe. Stefan will find it there; he'll know what it means.
The last thing he wants is for his final act to come off as melodramatic, like he's trying to be some kind of tragic hero. He's not. He just wants to be with her. For so long that's all he's wanted.
He stands, smoothes his fingers gently down her cheek, and then kisses her, once on her forehead, once on her month.
It is not "Goodbye."
It is "I love you. I'll see you soon."
He leaves their room, closing the door quietly behind him, and walks down the hall to the front door. He doesn't stop once, not even in the living room to take one last glance over the photos and ornaments that document their life together.
He doesn't need mere human mementoes, not when he can recall every moment in perfect clarity.
He strides right past it all, pulls open the front door, and steps into the dawn.
- o – o – o -
A/N2: Right, so yes, this is sad (maybe even slightly depressing). But the thing to remember is it's supposed to be a love story. I tried really hard to get the tone right, and choose the right words. But I'll only know how well I succeeded if you tell me. So please, if you're so inclined, let me know how you think I did. :) Thanks.
Oh, and also, some of you eagle-eyed readers may notice that the only characters named throughout this entire piece…are every character but Damon and Elena. That was done very deliberately. The idea is that they each identify themselves the greatest in relation to each other, only now that they've been separated, they've lost that which grounds and makes them, hence they have no identity and are nameless. I hope that makes sense. It's a difficult concept for me to explain. Let me know if you don't get it, though, and I'll try again. :)