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Damon and Elena

Two Hundred and Four

She doesn't disappear when she's eighteen, exactly.

She just…leaves.

She packs one bag filled with a couple of changes of clothes and a bunch of foolishly sentimental things, her diary included, and tells three people of her plans to catch the next train out of Mystic Falls to New York.

When Jeremy sees the packed bag and the clean, barely touched room she's leaving, he hugs her. He doesn't say goodbye or see you soon or any of the mundane things one would normally say to someone leaving for the great unknown, he just hugs her and gives her a casual salute before returning to his room and his art.

Jenna cries. She takes one look at the packed bag and the solemn look on her niece's face and her face crumples and tears start leaking out. She doesn't say much to her placate her aunt – what can she say, honestly? – but promises to call when she reaches where she's going. It's not enough for her aunt and she knows it but Jenna simply nods and scrubs furiously at her cheeks before heading upstairs to her own room to prepare for a date with Alaric.

Damon says nothing to her. He says absolutely nothing as she climbs into his Camaro. He doesn't say anything as he drives and he doesn't speak when he pays for her one way ticket to New York. He waits silently beside her for the train to come and when it pulls up and people start filing out of the carriage that's pulled up beside them, he still doesn't say anything.

It's only when the conductor lets out a call for last boarding does he pick up her bag and hand it to her. She swallows convulsively when she takes it and wishes for something, anything, to come out of his mouth.

Instead, he tilts her chin up and places the softest kiss she's ever received on her lips and then steps back.

She's not sure how she manages to get on the train, exactly. Tears blind her only a little as she shoves her bag into the luggage compartment and when she claims a seat by the window, they blind her a little more as he raises one hand in farewell and then disappears, using his preternatural speed to take him from her sight so quickly, she blinks and misses it.

As the train gathers speed, she wipes furiously at her cheeks and chooses to not look at her hometown speeding past her.

It's time, she knows, for her to leave Mystic Falls and everything that's happened there, in the past.

She tries to not think of her phone sitting on her bed and the thousands of calls and messages it's going to receive from her friends when they realize she's gone.

She doesn't think about Damon's farewell kiss.

It takes her only a month to really settle in New York.

She thinks for a normal person, it should have taken longer but she gave up on thinking of herself as normal when she fell in love with a vampire.

The apartment she's renting is tiny, so small she wonders how she doesn't feel claustrophobic whenever she spends too long in it. The kitchen, living room and dining room are all one room and her bedroom is barely big enough to fit a bed, so she settles for sleeping on a second hand mattress. The bathroom is so small; she can't understand how they managed to fit a toilet, a shower and a basin in it.

She loves it, though.

She knows she could have afforded something nicer and bigger – the inheritance that became rightfully hers when she turned eighteen is ample enough for it – but she likes the fact that it's small and that the window in her living area is cracked and that the aroma of coffee from the next door café seeps up into her room and wakes her, even on the days she wants to sleep in.

She even gets a job.

It's more of an accident really, that she lands a job at the diner down the street. The owner was having a bad day when she went in for coffee and in the confusion of a waitress quitting right in front of her and the mentioning of experience, she landed a job that paid pathetically but gave her a sense of purpose.

She knows she could have gone to college. Her final grades were enough to get her into a good school anywhere in New York and it was always part of the plan for her to go to college but she finds she just doesn't have the energy to become tangled up in what normal people her age where dealing with.

So she works at the diner down the street and comes home to her small apartment and she doesn't think about Mystic Falls, her friends or a soft first kiss that tasted of goodbye.

It takes her another month before she finds herself thinking of Mystic Falls with a tinge of longing.

She wants to say she's homesick but she thinks it's more wistfulness that has her thinking of her hometown when she sees a blond that looks so much like Caroline whirl through the doors of the diner and beg dramatically for a cup of their strongest coffee.

She serves the girl with a quiet smile and then calls to Mrs Hammond – the frustrated owner – that she's taking a break.

She steps outside into the cool alleyway next to the diner and takes a deep breath of crisp air and leans against the cold brick wall as she wonders how Caroline is.

How any of them are.

She thinks of her phone, sitting on her bed, in her old room and wonders how many times they called it before they realized she'd left it behind.

She wonders how long it has taken them all to realize that leaving was what she needed to do.

Even as she wonders it, she's sure that they still don't understand. She's sure that none of them understand why she'd wanted to drop off the face of the earth when she should have been celebrating the fact that she could breathe without the threat of death hanging over her head.

She supposes she shouldn't have expected them too.

She can remember when they were all so busy protecting her from Klaus and the sacrifice, she could have screamed at the top of her lungs and they wouldn't have heard. She can remember the way they'd expected her to shout with joy when Klaus lay dead at her feet and all she had wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep away what had happened.

She can even remember Stefan begging her to tell him what was wrong, months after she'd been saved and the way she'd refused because she knows he wouldn't have understood.

The thought of Stefan brings a sad smile to her lips but no crushing pain that makes her want to curl in a ball and cry.

She thinks that maybe that's what's sad. She knows that by the end, when she couldn't turn a corner without someone reminding her that today could be the last day she took a breath, her feelings for Stefan had faded and the security he'd provided her was why she had stayed.

She won't deny that what they'd had had been something beautiful or that they'd shared a deep bond but she knows that if she'd loved him the way she thought, leaving would never have crossed her mind because to leave him would be a pain too terrible to bear.

"Hey. Are you alright?"

She jerks a little at the voice and is surprised when she meets the curious blue eyes of the blond that had torn through the diner.

She nods. "Oh. Yes. Just taking a break."

The blond studies her and then shocks her even more by leaning against the wall next to her and pulling out a cigarette.


The blond lights the cigarette up and then continues to stand beside her.

It's her first real contact with anyone in months and she wonders why it makes her want to cry.

The blonds name turns out to be Alicia.

She's a dancer and a student and she sometimes talks so fast, her head spins as she tries to keep up.

But it doesn't matter because Alicia is the first friend she has who's completely untouched by anything supernatural.

It helps that she reminds her a little of Bonnie when she listens, a little of Caroline when she talks and a lot of Jenna when she tries to cook.

Still, even though Alicia reminds her of the people she left behind, she's reserved with her. She doesn't say much about her past and knows that her friend gets frustrated when she clams up completely about her love life but she's come to the decision that Alicia's better off not knowing about the tangled web she'd helped weave involving the two most beautiful brothers ever.

She thinks she's better off not thinking about it too, until Alicia does something that makes her laugh quietly and ache.

"I had a friend who drank bourbon the way you do." She says as she prepares a salad in her tiny kitchen and watches her friend down a glass of the caramel colored alcohol Damon had been so fond of.

Alicia raises an eyebrow. "Oh, really? Then I must meet them. Because the only person I know who drinks this the way I do is my Grandpa and he sips at it."

She sprinkles carrot into the salad and shakes her head.

"Damon sips it. Unless he's really feeling and then he downs an entire bottle in one sitting if he feels up to it."

"Damon, huh?" Alicia smirks and she freezes at what she's said. "Hot name for a hot guy?"

She almost laughs at Alicia's description of him because she knows that Damon would have smirked in agreement at it.

"Uh – "

"Oh, come on Elena. That's the first guy name you've mentioned since we met. You have to give me something!" Alicia cuts her off loudly and she thinks about hushing her but knows it would be useless because she usually doesn't listen.

"His name was Damon. I – he was a friend."

Alicia studies her and she grows uncomfortable under the disbelieving gaze because she isn't lying. Damon was a friend.

"I don't believe you."

She blinks. "What?"

"I don't believe you. The way you said his name, most people don't say friends names like that."

She doesn't reply because she knows what Alicia said is true. She knows that the way she'd said his name – wistfully, sadly – had given more away than a thousand words on the subject.

She knows, too, that most friends don't ache at the simple mention of a name from the past.

It takes her another two months before she really faces the ache that a simple thought of Damon has brought on.

Its three a.m. when she bursts into her apartment, only slightly unsteady on the heels Alicia had demanded she wear for their night out and with a vague memory of eyes nearly the exact shade of Damon's watching her as she danced.

She doesn't remember his name or his age – human age stopped mattering when she stopped caring about a one hundred and forty-five year age difference – or even the pick-up line he'd used on her at the bar.

What she does remember is the fact that he'd tasted wrong when she'd let him kiss her and that even though his eyes had nearly been the same color as Damon's, they hadn't been Damon's eyes.

It takes her only a moment to rummage through her clutch for the her phone that was used only to call Jenna occasionally, text Jeremy and maintain her friendship with Alicia and twenty seconds for her to punch in Damon's number halfway before she stops.

She can't call Damon.

There are so many reasons why she can't call him. So many reasons why it would be unfair for her to call him when she'd led him to believe she'd be gone for good. Starting with the dance they never completed when she was Stefan's and he could only watch and be close enough to touch but never take.

God, she can remember the looks he gave her so clearly. The ones she used mercilessly when she needed him to do something and the ones that she tucked away to remember when she was afraid she was going to lose him to Rose or, worse, Katherine.

She can remember the way he tried so hard to protect her and the way that sometimes, no matter what he did, he looked perpetually lonely and the only thing she'd ever wanted to do was ease his loneliness. She can remember balancing on the precipice of falling for him only to discover falling in love with Damon Salvatore was like tripping through air. Nothing and no-one was going to stop you from landing flat on your face.

She can even remember being unable to hate him even after he'd snapped Jeremy's neck. She remembers saying the words repeatedly, trying desperately to convince Stefan and herself that Damon had crossed a line when she'd known all along that she had played the largest part in snapping her brothers neck because she'd been so scared of that trip through thin air.

All her memories of Damon seem to start lining up, single file, waiting for her to look at them. Waiting for her to realize that falling in love with him hadn't been the hard part of it all because she'd barely been able to give it a thought with the safety Stefan had provided and the tension of the time they'd been living in.

No, falling in love with Damon hadn't been the hard part.

Realizing it after leaving with no intention to return, feeling it pour through her and turn the ache into something unbearable was the hardest part of it all.

Closing her eyes, she takes a deep breath and drops her phone and her clutch down by the door. Bending slowly, she manages to slide her feet out of her heels and leaves them by her discarded clutch.

With no thought to the impracticalities of the incredibly short dress she's wearing she makes a beeline for the second hand laptop that she'd bought herself a month ago.

Settling on the one arm chair she has, she waits impatiently for the computer to boot up. When the screen is clear, she opens a fresh document.

Staring at the blank white for only a moment, she lets her fingers rest on the keys and then tentatively, they start to move.

At three-seventeen in the morning, with the ache of losing a love she'd only just realized, she starts writing again.

She discovers that writing fiction is kind of like riding a bike.

Phrasing, grammar, realistic speech patterns and the development of both characters and plotlines, come back swiftly the more she delves into the thick of her plot.

She knows she's writing her life and her story but she's set it in another time, appreciating the irony of playing out her story in the nineteenth century when it all started.

The purpose of placing it in the nineteenth century is so that there are rules to the characters behaviours, there are rules on how to act in polite society and rules on how to act even in the most debauched circles.

It's to make sure her characters act accordingly and to help with the idea of breaking the social norm.

She knows to, as she gets deeper into the story, that her heroine isn't who she thought she was.

Serena is comfortable in her life as society's princess. Happy to flirt with the most illustrious of suitors and pay kindly attention to those considered beneath her notice. Serena enjoys reading and embroidery and the social gatherings that are demanded of her time as a debutante of Boston society. She's also the daughter of an indulgent father who would rather her choose a husband for love then for a business merger.

Serena is a wilful, spoiled, attractive – with deep mahogany hair, emerald green eyes and almost porcelain skin – and utterly charming girl who wants absolutely nothing to do with the pursuits of the dangerous Campbell brothers.

Serena considers Sebastian Campbell to be a little awkward and a little shy. Constantly hovering around her while being cautious with everything her does but still making her wary because she senses there's much more to him then the half-truths she feels he is feeding her.

Damien is a different matter. Serena is frightened of him both on an instinctive level that warns he is dangerous to her wellbeing and on a carnal one that warns to be swept into a man this dark, with a razor sharp smirk and cutting wit, would be nothing like being swept along on the nice calm waters she's preferred all her life.

So she pays kindly attention to Sebastian and is rude in every possible way without being direct, to Damien.

It only enhances their suits further and the more she finds herself wary of Sebastian, the less she is frightened of Damien until she discovers their secret.

When vampirism comes up in her story, she sits back with surprise.

She had no conscious thought of pulling vampirism into the plotline before she realizes it's the perfect hook for Serena.

Wilfully or not, her heroine becomes too fascinated with the possibilities Damien opens up to her when he reveals exactly what he and his brother is to her, to still be only frightened by the Campbell brothers.

When she finishes that chapter, with Serena staring at Damien like he's the most enthralling thing she has ever come across and Sebastian listening quietly from the hallway outside the library Damien had manoeuvred Serena into, she wonders if writing this is helping or hindering with the ache.

When she sits down after her shift at the diner and starts the next chapter with Sebastian confronting Damien in the library minutes after Serena's sent back to the party, she doesn't care because writing Damien's bringing Damon back to life in front of her own eyes.

She thinks reliving him is helping the ache more than hindering it.

Alicia discovers what she's up to when she leaves her alone in the apartment for all of ten minutes to get milk.

When she comes back brandishing the carton like a weapon, she stops short in her door way and stares at her friend who's hunched over her computer and totally immersed in the story she's created about her life.

"Alicia." She tries and gets no response. "Alicia!" The blond waves her hand distractedly. "Alicia!" Third time turns out to be the charm as the blonds head snaps up and her eyes light with excitement.

"Holy shit, Elena, you can write! When the hell did you start this?"

She puts the milk down on her kitchen bench and smiles wryly as she realizes her friends so caught up in the story, the fact that she's completely invaded something private has been forgotten.

"Like, a month ago. Maybe two." She pauses and then can't resist asking the question so many people need to know with something so personal. "So? Do you like it?"

Alicia stares at her in complete silence for a minute and it causes her to start fidgeting as the silence stretches.

Then, "are you kidding me? Elena, this shit is awesome! What the hell? Where did you come up with this idea? Please tell me Serena's smart enough to know that Damien's in love with her? What are you going to do about Sebastian? I mean, he's just drained that girl and – vampires? Where did you come up with this? It's better than Stephanie Myer!"

She has to laugh at her friends questions and steadily walks over to where her friends sitting with the computer open on her lap.

"Well, you're just going to have to wait until I've finished before you know what's going to happen, aren't you?" She says, gently tugging the computer away and saving the file as a precaution before putting the computer on stand-by.

Alicia stares at her. "You mean I have to wait until the end? How longs that going to be?"

She opens her mouth to reply and then closes because she suddenly realizes she has no ending. She hasn't thought about how it's all going to end and she realizes that's a problem because if she doesn't know how the story's going to end, how is she supposed to know when she's going to finish it?

"Soon. I'll finish it soon."

Alicia nods at her reply and then stands to go over and finish making her coffee. Before she reaches the kitchen though, the blond turns and eyes her cautiously before opening her mouth to speak.



"Maybe when you're done, you should send it to that Damon guy. Seems like something he might want to read if Serena's slowly developing feelings are anything to go by."

She stares at her friend and causes Alicia to shrug before the blond becomes busy with opening the milk.

Then she clears her throat. "Why would you think that I should send it to Damon?"

Alicia sighs at the question. "Seriously?"

She shrugs and nods, placing her computer on the armchair and folding her arms. Alicia eyes her for what feels like forever before she blows out a breath and takes a sip of coffee that's been cooled with milk.

"Look, I don't what happened to make you leave Misery Falls or whatever the place is called. But it's pretty obvious that Damien's real life counterpart is the Damon guy you've mentioned all of twice in the time I've known you and it's also pretty obvious that you've got some pretty tangled feelings for him that you're working through and never told him about otherwise you wouldn't be writing the story." Alicia pauses only long enough to take another sip of coffee before continuing. "And, bright idea, sending him the story might help you form an actual relationship with someone amongst the big city and bright lights, instead of contenting yourself with working at the diner and hanging out with me."

She lets the words sink in and then changes the subject completely.

Because it's disturbing and a little frightening that someone who doesn't know about her past and the part that Damon had played in it can see straight through the relationship she's building between Damien and Serena.

Still, Alicia manages to plant both an ending and an idea in her head that makes the ache pulse slightly turning the idea into something that could be a good suggestion.

She finishes the story after a gruelling double shift at the diner.

Serena had chosen wrong in her original ending.

She had gone for safety and security with Sebastian who could only provide her with half-truths and a life of the pretty glamour she had been so comfortable with.

It had originally ended with the two sitting in a parlour by a roaring fire in winter, a yawning chasm opening between them as Serena had stared out the window at the darkness she's been afraid to be swallowed by and Sebastian itching for the one thing he constantly denied himself.

Damien stood alone in his room, staring at the bed he'd shared one night with her heroine in and thinking that he'd only ever truly wanted one thing and still it had been denied to him.

It was only when she rereads it that she realizes the bittersweet moments she'd been aiming for in the final chapter sounded trite and unbearably wrong as the Sebastian longed for a love that would never come because he'd settled for something he'd only thought he wanted and Serena longed for the other brother and wished she'd chosen different a million times over.

So she leaves it and goes to work.

She goes to work and pours coffee and serves food and makes small talk with customers as she works around the people who come and go in the little diner down the street from her apartment.

It's only when she returns to her apartment that she goes back to rework the last two chapters.

It surprises her how quickly it comes to her and how easily the chapter finishes the story and she's smart enough to realize that the ending she's writing is what she wishes her ending had been.

Serena doesn't hesitate when Damien finally kills the female vampire that had threatened Boston society and the brothers demand she make a choice. She doesn't say anything to Sebastian as she turns and walks straight into the arms of the man who she knows will be hers forevermore.

The story ends in their bed chamber, rings glinting as Damien traces the column of Serena's throat in the promise of an eternity shared and Serena can only hope he'll always look at her the way she knows she looks at him, with an indisputable, deeply burning ball of love that she knows makes up the shared core of their life together.

It's funny that her heroine doesn't even spare a thought to Sebastian – who has chosen to go to a party and stand amongst the glamour and glitter and hope for someone for him – or that she doesn't second guess her choice or even wonder what could have happened had she walked into Sebastian's arms instead of Damien the night the female vampire had died.

Her heroine doesn't think at all about Sebastian as her husband tilts her chin upwards and places a soft kiss on her lips.

Her story ends with a gentle kiss that doesn't taste of goodbye or forthcoming tears but instead, tastes of forever and happiness with the right person for her character.

The right person, she thinks, not the inevitable one.

Except it wasn't her right person, it was Serena's.

Even though she figures that she's burned her bridge with the person she knows is her right person as opposed to the person she thinks is the right one, she hooks her computer up to a printer Alicia loaned her and hits print, anyway.

Because she knows that he at least deserves an explanation.

She Fed-Exes a bound copy of her story two days later to Mystic Falls.

She has one moment of solitary panic in the seconds before she hands the payment over to the attendant and almost begs the bored boy behind the counter to give it back so she can burn it and forget all about sending it to Damon, go back to the diner and serve coffee for the rest of her life.


The boys tone is bored and a little impatient and she hands over the money to pay for the parcel and prays she's doing the right thing.

If she's not, then she knows she'll probably live with regret for the rest of her life.

When Alicia reads the story a week later, the blond is practically bouncing off walls as soon as she's finished.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" She shrieks. "You are a goddess. A writing goddess. How the hell did you manage to make Damien be the perfect person for Serena even though he went all ape in the middle and tried to kill some of her friends? How the fuck do you make someone like him sympathetic and so freaking perfect for Serena? And how the hell did you manage to make him all vulnerable and lonely and kind of fragile without making him seem like a sissy who curls up under the covers and sucks him thumb when life knocks him on the ass?"

She laughs as Alicia bounces around her living area and adds a splash of milk to her tea before shrugging and stirring in the sugar.

"Because in this life, he'd wear all black and a leather jacket, drink alcohol like its water, seduce legions and legions of girls and do anything, absolutely anything to keep the woman he loves safe. Even if it means hurting and alienating her in the process." She replies softly. "That's what makes Damien so special. He would do anything for love, including letting her be with his brother if it meant she was happy. It takes someone very special to choose loneliness over being with someone they love and it takes someone even more special to choose it when he has to watch the only one for him with someone else he cares about very much."

Alicia's quiet only for a moment. "Is that Damon did for you? Let you be with someone else?"

She's not sure when she stopped speaking about Damien and started talking about Damon but knows Alicia needs to know the basics of it.

"Yes. It was his brother, Stefan. I – I met Stefan first and it was head over heels. Then Damon came along and acted like a self-serving psychopath who only wanted the woman he'd been in love with ages ago to leave with him. Somewhere, in the time we discovered the women didn't love him and Stefan and I started drifting, Damon and I – we became friends." She pauses as she remembers the friendship and the way he always managed to make her laugh. "Things happened and - "

A knock on the door interrupts her and she frowns because, apart from Alicia and maybe her boss, nobody comes to her apartment because she really doesn't want anyone to.

"Are you expecting someone?" Alicia asks curiously and she shakes her head as they knock on the door instead.

She stares at the door again, hope flaring as she remembers the package she sent a week and a half ago now and then she dampens it because for all she knows, when she stepped onto that train nearly eight months ago now, he slid into his Camaro and went in the opposite direction.

"You know what? It's probably a door to door thing. You know how my building has no doorman." She says, setting her tea down and heading over to the door.

"Yeah. You should do something about that. Like move into a better building. Seriously, I know you have the money for it!" Alicia calls, opening the fridge and searching for something to eat.

"Remind me why I let you know about that again?" She yells back as she opens the door.

She turns and the color drains from her face as she finds herself meeting the blue, blue gaze of Damon Salvatore.

For a moment, silence reigns between them and then he speaks.

"It takes you leaving without a word to anyone but three of us, eight months and two hundred and four A4 pages to tell me that you love me. This proves my theory that you, Elena Gilbert, are an emotional idiot."

She doesn't say anything as he talks and can only lean against her door, staring at him with something that feels suspiciously like tears in her eyes.

He raises an eyebrow at her when all she can seem to do is drink him in – all black leather and sharp good looks – and wonder how she managed to board the train in Mystic Falls eight months ago and leave him behind.

All it takes is the sound of the fridge door shutting and Alicia calling out something about how she needs to go grocery shopping for her to wake up enough to say something.

"Hello, Damon." She says, her voice wavering only slightly. She opens the door a little wider. "Won't you come in?"

When he brushes past her, she draws in one sharp breath and bites her lip.

Her eyes follow him and she realizes that the only thing she knows is that she needs to get Alicia out of her apartment, now.

It takes her thirty seconds to get Alicia out of her apartment. It takes her another thirty to lock her apartment properly.

It takes Damon less than thirty seconds to press her against the door and kiss the breath from her lungs.

It takes them the whole night to discover each other.

It's not until late the next morning – when she's sitting on her bench, swinging her bare legs and luxuriating in his shirt – that she feels brave enough to broach the topic of him coming, of her leaving, of the story and all that it implied.

She eyes him as he flips bacon and she sips the instant coffee he made her and thinks it's not such a surprise that the first thing they did when he showed up was spend the night discovering each other on her mattress.

She knows, like all the other things she knows about him, that he finds it so much easier to show her how he feels with the slide of his hand down her body and a kiss when he's making her fall apart or intertwining their fingers when she curls into him just before she's about to fall asleep.

But that doesn't mean that she doesn't need to hear the words he's been storing up or the opinions and thoughts that she knows he's contemplating now, even as he flips bacon.

Knowing he communicates through the physical when it's really important doesn't mean she doesn't need to hear that he loves her too.

So she decides, swallowing another mouthful of coffee, that she should just ask the blunt question because it's what she does often enough and believe the answer he gives her because he's never been anything but honest with her.

"Why'd you let me go at the train station?"

It's not the question she expects to ask but it comes out of her mouth long before she truly thinks through what she's going to ask him.

"You know why." He replies, flipping the burner off and turning to her. When he sees the look in her eye, he shrugs. "You needed to get out of Mystic Falls. I knew that. I also knew that you didn't tell me because you wanted me to stop you from leaving. You told me because you knew I wouldn't stop you from leaving and that I understood why you were doing what you were doing."

"And you didn't come after me for the same reason, right?" She surmises, tilting her head slightly as he shrugs again, his eyes uncharacteristically serious. "So why the kiss?"

He smirks a little at that. "Had to give you something to remember me by, didn't I?"

She shakes her head at his answer and smiles a little.

"What'd you tell the others?"

He rolls his eyes. "Nothing. Neither did Jenna or Jeremy, by the way. They both clammed up pretty quickly when they found your phone on your bed. I will say, I was highly amused by the shit storm that came when they all figured out you'd disappeared. It only took them three days before they finally figured out Sabrina could do the tracking spell on you and find you. I figured five but they're all smarter then they look."

"So, they've known where I am the entire time?" She asks, her eyes round at the willpower of her friends.

"No. I messed it up. Made Sabrina to lose concentration and then convinced Jeremy to convince her that you're fine. It only took them a month to realize maybe you didn't want to be found and they're still all questioning why." Damon's tone is patronizing and he's clearly thinking of them all with contempt and she has to smile.

Because it's so like Damon to be superior and she can just imagine him dropping cryptic hints whenever she was brought up in conversation.

"Do they know where you've gone?" She questions, raising her mug to take another sip of her coffee.

"Yep. Though it'll take Stefan a while before he actually looks at the return address on the package you sent me. So I imagine you've got about two, maybe three days before the bomb drops and they all try and figure out how to cram themselves into this shoebox." He picks up a slice of bacon and bites into it, watching her with measuring eyes as she nods.

She's silent for a moment before she bites her lip. "Did you like my story?"

Something twinkles in his eyes and she realizes its genuine amusement at her question before he puts a lid on it.

"I wanted to strangle you when I started reading it." He replies matter-of-factly and she blinks.

"W-what?" She stutters in pure shock.

"I wanted to strangle you." He repeats, finishing off the bacon and reaching for another slice. "It pissed me off enormously that you'd sent the love story of you and Stefan to me until I figured out it wasn't the epic love story of you and Stefan. It was about you and me. That pissed me off even more because as I said last night, it took you two hundred and four A4 pages to tell me that you loved me and you only had the decency to do it when I was another character. Then I got really pissed when Serena chose Damien and you'd chosen to let me buy you a train ticket to New York."

He folds his arms as soon as he finishes the other slice of bacon and leans back against the cupboards opposite her, she bites her lip as she watches the muscles in his arms to bunch and then has to look away.

Silence reigns between them and her minds gone blank so she has no clue how to break it and then she looks at him.

"But, what if this is just the next chapter in our story?" She finally breaks the silence and he eyes her curiously before pushing off the counter and taking a step towards her.

"You mean we're actually going to end up married and you're not going to think constantly of Stefan?"

She sighs a little at his question and then shakes her head.

"If you like. Or we could start with I love you and go from there?"

He freezes at her words, as if he hadn't expected her to say them and then he smirks. "You know, you really are an emotional idiot."

It makes her laugh and he takes the last few steps towards her, standing between her legs and coming eye to eye with her. Setting down her mug and reaching up, she frames his face and smiles softly at the feel of the stubble shadowing his jaw.

"I missed you. Really, really missed you." She whispers after a moment and something eases in him as she speaks.

"Good. I missed you, too."

She feels his hands slide high up the side of her thighs and her forehead drops to his as he begins to rub soothing circles on the smooth skin there.

As her eyes drift close in contentment, she thinks maybe she should go back and rewrite the last couple of pages so she can fully describe the completeness Serena felt standing in her bedroom with her husband titling her chin up to place a gentle kiss on her lips.

Just like the one Damon's placing on hers.

A/N: Wow. That was epic. I know its been a while but I've actually been working on several other stories, which will hopefully be up soon. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it because I actually had a lot of fun writing this one. Right up until the thirty seconds part. On an interesting note, too, I quite literally heard Damon saying the 'It took you...' sentence and thought, I might have to write that. So I do hope you guys enjoyed it! Oh, and Happy Easter!