DISCLAIMER: Don't own a thing. Trust me if I had *any* control Season 2 would be a very different place.
A/N: Well, this is it, folks. I'm actually a little sad to see this one end. This one really got to me. I don't know exactly why – it just hit me hard in the best way.
It is the happy ending I promised, and yeah, there's a teeny little sliver that's almost fluffy. But the truth is, that's one of the things about Damon and Elena that thrills me the most. They are so intense – so brutal and honest and gritty – but then there are these moments – like the sixties dance between them - where there is so much joy and playfulness. When I think of Damon and Elena together, I think of loads of fights, and lots of laughter.
I really hope this doesn't disappoint. I'm still trying to reply to all the reviews, because they are the reason I post. They are the reason I finish these stories and try to get them in decent enough shape to share. To all of you who take the time to leave a note – thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is your generosity that keeps me coming back every single time. I am deeply humbled and grateful.
So on that note…please review! I will dearly try to get back to you all.
((CHAPTER 4 - DAMON POV))
I should be in Cancun by now. Drinking something out of a coconut. Or maybe someone in a coconut bra.
Instead I'm busy chucking a bucket of cow blood into Stefan's cell. Do you have any idea what a pain in the ass it is to buy cow's blood? In Virginia?
He doesn't wake up this time, no doubt thanks to the killer cocktail of elephant tranquilizers I nailed him with this morning. A better brother would have talked him through it, let him blather on ad nauseam about how sorry he is or how he doesn't deserve to live. But frankly, after spending two days cleaning blood out of carpets and compelling half of Mystic Falls, I don't give a shit about Stefan's achy breaky heart.
I'm not even sure Elena cares at this point. Hell, that's not true. Elena would care about a cockroach if it looked pitiful enough, so of course she cares about her boyfriend.
Yeah, well, I'm not expecting Breakup version 3.0 to last any longer than the previous attempts.
I overheard their last break-up, too, and that one sounded a hell of a lot more convincing. This one was all cool and logical. All I'm-here-for-you-forever-but-we-both-know-things-have-changed. Last time there was sniffling and cracked voices and all that shit. Hell, that last time I found myself in tears wondering if there wasn't some way to fix the tragedy of it all.
I wouldn't have gotten my panties in such a knot back then if I'd realized they'd be back together by dinnertime.
Which is why I'm not fucking holding my breath now.
I close every door behind me on my way upstairs, turning on the stereo for good measure. I slept like shit last night and I'd really like a few hours where I don't have to listen to my resident meth-head moaning and groaning.
I pause at the door to my room, because there's a girl on my bed.
Well, not a girl.
Elena's cross-legged and staring at her hands in her lap. She's really getting to be a ballsy little shit. If she keeps showing up around my bed, I'm going to remind her what it's used for.
"Don't mind me. Just make yourself comfortable," I say, and she looks up at me.
But she doesn't say anything. Just holds my eyes in that irresistible way of hers. She really needs to patent that look and sell it at the state fair. Because, personally, I'm over it.
I mean, enough already. All the tension and the silence and the long, searching looks that go abso-fucking-lutely nowhere. I'm just too fucking tired for this anymore.
"Do you need something, Elena?" I ask, and she stands up.
I can see her weighing something in her mind. Her brows are puckered and her lips are pursed. She looks cute like this, but then, I'd probably think she looked adorable eating a dead squirrel she found on the side of the road.
She licks her lips and my stomach goes tight with something that I wouldn't call cute. The girl is my Achilles heel. All dark eyes, smooth skin, and good soul. And even as I'm telling myself to stand the fuck still, I start moving towards her.
She spooks her like a deer on the side of the road. Her face closes off and then she's rushing to get past me.
No, I don't think so. Not this time.
I grab her arm, because I'm done with this back and forth. Maybe she is, too, because she doesn't try again. She just looks back up at me. I can see four million fucking things going on in that pretty face and before I can interpret a single damn one of them, she grabs my face.
Just grabs me, hard, and pulls me down. And then, just like that, she's kissing me.
I process this for all of a nanosecond before I haul her in, molding every inch of her against me while I get my first taste of her. Fucking hell, she's sweet. Sweet and hot and kissing me like her damn life depends on every stroke of my tongue.
Hell, maybe that's true.
God knows mine does.
Either way, I've waited a lifetime for this moment. Several lifetimes. So yeah, my knees are buckling and my hands are shaking as they slide up the length of her spine. And I don't give a shit. All I care about now is feeling her arms wrapping around my neck, her lips pushing and pulling against me. I just want more of it. I want to spend a month kissing her, testing the curve of her waist, drinking in every little moan that slips out of her mouth and into mine.
Then it's over. She's backing away like I've turned green and grown horns, hand over her mouth. And I see the one thing that scares me the most in her eyes.
"Elena," I say, but she bolts.
Yeah, she'd better run.
This bullshit's going to end. Today.
She's faster than I gave her credit for. Her car's zipping down the drive by the time I hit the front door. I let her run. I'm pretty sure I know where she's going.
She wouldn't go home. Too obvious. Plus, Jeremy will ask questions and she'll have to act normal and after that kiss, I'm betting she won't be able to breathe right, let alone hold a rational conversation.
At any rate, this has been her safe place for a long time. The one place in her life that really doesn't have anything to do with Stefan or me. This is hers and hers alone.
I wait behind her car at the cemetery. The first time I saw her, really saw her, was here, leaned back against her parents' tombstone. It was the first time in Mystic Falls that I'd thought about something other than Katherine. For one split second, as she scratched away in her journal, I thought about my own mom. I remembered the small, winged cherub perched on her grave and the azalea that I planted beside it when I was nine.
I should have known then that Elena would change everything for me.
I lean against the tree by her car, until I hear her footsteps. I see her long before she sees me, and I see the slim flower in her hands, one she did not leave for her parents. It's a daisy. And fuck me standing if she's not plucking off the petals one by one in that age old he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not routine.
"You really need a flower to help you figure this out?" I ask by way of greeting.
She looks up, dropping the remnants. Her face is tense, her bottom lip pulled between her teeth.
"You know I love you," I admit, the truth burning my tongue like a log straight from the fire. "More than I thought I could. And a hell of a lot more than I should."
Ugh, listen to this. I sound like I should be wearing sandals and playing guitar in a coffee shop.
She doesn't say anything, but she tilts her head away a little, as if she can't quite look at me straight on after that. And maybe that's because she wants to hear it, or maybe it's because she wants to act like she didn't hear me. So we can go back to the world where we both pretend there is nothing going on here.
I'm sick to fucking death of that world.
Then purge, already, Dickless.
I brace myself and step closer. "Look, I'm going to make this as simple and painless as possible because to be straight with you, I've had it up to my eyebrows with the fucking drama. One way or another, we're getting this out. Right now."
"Alright," she says softly, and maybe I'm crazy, but I think she means it. Her eyes are clear.
For the first time in forever, mine are too.
"I'd be a shit choice for anyone, least of all you," I blurt out.
Maybe not the greatest start, but it's something.
"I'm not the good guy, Elena," I continue. "I'm not a hero. I will fuck up, I will lose my temper. I will make decisions you hate. I have and I will and there isn't a pep talk on this planet that's going to change it. I'm not him. I'll never be him."
She blinks up at me, her face betraying nothing.
So I go on, spewing out all this sentimental bullshit I'll probably in thirty seconds. "But I'm crazy in love with you, Elena. I can't change it. I can't leave. God knows I've tried to do both, but it never works."
Her cheeks bear the slightest pink stain, but nothing else. I shrug my shoulders. "I know it's pointless and hopeless. Hell, it's damn near killed me a dozen times, but none of that matters, because you are it for me."
The breeze picks up her hair and I watch it, trying to wait her out. I figure she has to say something.
I figure wrong.
Irritation flares through me. Apparently, I don't even need Bonnie for an aneurism. Just leave me with Elena Gilbert for fifteen minutes. Kablam!
"Did you even hear a word that I just said?" I ask very quietly.
"I heard you," she says, just as softly and with absolutely no inflection. No feeling whatsoever.
My head is going to explode. I'm not even fucking kidding, I can feel it happening – blood rushing – arteries bursting - any minute now I'm going to erupt.
"Well then," I grit out. "I'm real fucking glad I chased you down here. Now you can go home and add my name to the list of fucked-in-the-head assholes in the Elena-Gilbert-is-the-One fan club!"
"This isn't easy for me, Damon."
I throw up my hands at her. "You're right, Elena. I'm sure it's just hell for you being loved by someone like me."
She shakes her head, sending tears down her cheeks. "You're wrong. You're stupid. God, you have no idea!"
"I have no idea what?"
"What it's like to be loved by you! Can you imagine what it's like to know someone loves you like this? So much that it makes you feel weak and powerful at the same time. So much that it makes your bones hurt."
I hold my breath, afraid to think anything. Afraid to move. It's like seeing a butterfly emerge. Everything is fragile and breaking. One thing is dying. I feel the inevitability of it. And I'm poised here waiting to see if these fragile wings will beat – if this new thing will fly.
I take a step closer to her. It feels like crossing hallowed ground.
She swipes at her tears and squares her shoulders before going on. "You and me, Damon? Yeah, I feel it. I feel it every minute of every day. And it scares me to death."
You and me. That's the part I focus on. Hell, being scared to death happens every other Tuesday around here. The 'You and me' bit? That's new.
But before I do or say anything, she's reaching for me, her pretty, soft hand, brushing the inside of my wrist, fingers interlacing until our palms pull together. And fuck me if it's not the 1860's all over again. I swear, the feel of her hand against mine, it makes things inside me do cartwheels. All because she held my hand. I can't even make this shit up, it's that bad.
"What if it doesn't work?" she asks in a tiny voice.
"What if it does?" I ask, and my voice is just as small.
"What if I hurt you?"
I wince at the reminder. "Been there. Done that."
"What if you hurt me?"
"We've both got that t-shirt, too," I say, and the shadow of Jeremy's body slumping to the ground plays through my memory.
Then her face changes, sadness pinching every feature. "What about Stefan, Damon?"
"I don't want that t-shirt," I say, feeling my eyes flash.
She rolls her eyes, but inches closer to me nonetheless. "That's not what I mean. I mean, what if he can't handle it?"
"I guess we'll just have to kill him," I scoff.
She tilts her head, giving me that reproachful look with a prim little shake of her head. And being the masochist that I am, I eat it up, because I love that look. Then, I love damn near everything about this girl.
"Damon," she says, dragging out my name like the scolding it is.
"Elena," I say, in the same sing-song fashion. But then I take her other hand, and I'm not smirking anymore. Because I need to be sure. For once in my sorry ass life, I need to hear it.
"Are you saying what I think you're saying? Are you really choosing this? Us?"
She purses her lips then, tilting her head like she's mulling it over. But when I cup her face and pull her in, her face lights up.
It's like gazing into the damn sun, she is that warm and that open. I've spent months dreaming about what it would feel like to have her look at me like this. And every one of those fantasies paled against this moment.
I don't need her to tell me anything now. Her eyes are saying everything.
"Nevermind," I breathe, leaning down to kiss her.
Just before our lips brush, I see her smile. The ornery one that shows she's getting away with something. "You're not going to make me answer you?"
"You already did."