Damon could feel his body trembling with rage as he watched Andie leave his room. This wasn't who he was. When he wanted something he took it, no matter what. He never let Stefan stand in his way before, but this time, it was different. It wasn't about Stefan, it was about Elena, and forcing her to be with him, would hurt her, and he couldn't bare to do that. But he couldn't do the rest of it either. He flung open his closet door, angrily tossing his duffel bag on his bed, only to pause. He had money. The faster he got out of this house, the better. He could buy new stuff, things that didn't smell like her, so he could get her out of his head. He grabbed his jacket and yanked his arms through the sleeves as he headed downstairs.
He froze at the tone of her voice, cursing himself for not being able to resist her. She had him wrapped around her finger and she knew it. "What?" he asked, turning to face her as he dug the keys out of the pocket. He so easily could be out the door and in his car before she knew what was happening. But something stopped him.
Elena frowned as she stared at him. "Please don't be mad," she said. He imagined he looked pretty angry and scary. His muscles were all twitching, ready for a fight, and Elena was bound to provoke him far enough.
"Little late for that Elena," he growled, his cold eyes watching her as she approached him. He was beyond mad. She had pushed too many of his buttons and so had Stefan. If he didn't get out of her he was going to hurt someone.
"I told you I needed another plan," she said. "I wasn't gunna let anything happen to Bonnie."
"Congratulations," he said, folding his arms. He wasn't going to let anything happen to anyone either. Did she think he was just looking out for her? He had to look out for Jeremy, and Judgy, and Stefan and Jenna. Had to make sure they were all safe so that Elena wouldn't worry. So Elena could sleep at night. Apparently that didn't mean anything.
"He has information Damon," she said desperately. "We need his help to kill Klaus."
"There is no 'we'," Damon said. "There is you, your new vampire body guard, and your shitty vampire boyfriend. You do not need me for this." He was sure under different circumstances he could see the logic in what she was trying to do, but this time it had just been too far.
The worry increased on her face and he could hear her heart start to race. "Where are you going?" she asked softly. And the moment of truth.
"I'm leaving," he said as he opened the door.
"When are you going to be home?" Home? That was a strange term, and one that didn't fit the messed up situation. It was just a building now that she had taken over and did whatever she wanted. Everyone he wanted to keep away from her was starting to get free passes. What the hell was the point then?
"I'm not," he said simply as he closed the door. As he walked down the porch steps he could hear her rip open the front door.
"What do you mean, you're not?" she asked, coming down the stairs. She really wanted to do this ring around?
"Just what I said," he said, keeping his eyes on his car, trying to keep his focus. He had to get out of Mystic Falls. He needed to get far away. Europe maybe. Somewhere where there was no Elena, no anything. Just Damon and whatever he wanted.
Her feet pounded the sidewalk as she caught up to him. "You can't leave," she said grabbing his arm. "We need you here."
"To do what?" He flared. "Drink myself into oblivion to keep from going insane? Everything I say or do, you think is wrong and you go behind everyone's back to do whatever you want to do." How far did she think she could push him before he snapped? He wasn't Stefan. He had to work extra hard to make sure he was going the right thing.
She stared up at him with wide eyes, but her hand didn't release his bicep. "What?" she whispered. "That isn't true."
He raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "Yes it is," he said. "You never listen to me, about anything I say."
"You are willing to sacrifice the people I love," she flared as her eyes filled with tears.
His heart ached at the site of her crying. He hated it. It ripped him apart knowing how much pain she was going through and there was nothing he could do. But this would help. Him not being here would take away some of her pain. "That's not what I said Elena," he said. "You are not going to save everyone. Someone is going to die through all of this, and there won't be anything you can do. I have gone above and beyond what I ever dreamed of to keep you safe, to keep everyone safe. And you know what I get? Stefan taunting me day in and day out, making me angry. Do you ever stop to think about what all this is doing to the rest of us?"
Tears slid down her cheeks. "I'm scared too Damon," she whispered.
She'd be a fool not to be scared. It was her life that was in peril. "It's different," he said softly. "Everything I do, have been doing, I've done for you, and in the end, it's not going to matter. If I keep you safe, keep everyone else safe, it's not going to matter. You respect Stefan because he lets you walk all over him and do what you want. He never tells you that you're wrong. I call you out on everything and I tell you the truth. I have never lied to you. I never sugar coat anything, and maybe I'm a little impulsive, but you look for every excuse to fight me."
Her heart skipped a beat as she tried to swallow past the lump in her throat. "Damon I know you've done a lot for me, and it means a lot," she said softly. "Please don't leave."
Damon sighed as her voice washed over him. "I'm not strong enough to do this Elena," he said shaking his head. "I can't do it anymore."
"But why?" she pleaded tugging on his arm. "Is it because I woke up Elijah?"
He couldn't believe that she was this blind to his feelings for her. Was she really that far in denial to realize what was right in front of her face? "Just let me leave," he said softly. "You know Stefan can see us."
"I don't care," she said immediately. "I'm not letting you leave."
"Why?" He asked angrily. "Why do you keep doing this to me?"
For a moment, she didn't answer him. She knew that what she said next was going to change her life. Damon was going to leave if she didn't give him an answer he desperately needed. "Damon…"
He really didn't want an answer. He knew she cared about him. He did know that. He knew they were friends on some level. But she was always going to love Stefan. He knew that too. He knew that like a kick to the stomach. He didn't need a reminder. "Just don't okay," he said, moving away from her. "Go back inside."
"No!" she said in a panic, taking a step toward him. "Damon please. I need you." Her voice was cracking, just like his heart. Why did he let her do this to him? Why couldn't he just walk away?
"Not anymore, you don't," he said sadly. "Elijah can keep you safe now. And don't forget St. Stefan."
"What are you guys doing?" Stefan asked from the porch. Perfect timing.
Elena glanced at Stefan as he came down the stairs then back at Damon who was continuing to his car. "Damon," she whispered once more, her feet taking a step toward him, away from Stefan. Away from everything she had known for the past year. But she couldn't lose Damon. "I love you." She could barely hear herself say it, but she knew both brothers did.
Damon froze, his back ram-rod straight as his hands curled into powerful fists. "You shouldn't say things you don't mean."
"She's not," Stefan said.
Damon spun on his heel to glare at Stefan. "Not an hour ago you were telling me how much I didn't have her," he growled. "You're the reason I'm in this mess Stefan."
"I was wrong," Stefan said folding his arms. "I'm sorry."
Elena heard Stefan go back into the house, but her eyes hadn't left Damon's face since her confession. Tears and all, she waited for his reaction. She waited for the world to implode at loving him. It wasn't the right time. So much was wrong, there was so much damage and hurt between them. Hurt that Damon had been keeping bottled up from her and she so desperately wanted to take away. They needed each other. She needed to be able to completely trust one person. She knew that one person was going to be Damon.