A/N: I'm not sure where this came from exactly, but it isn't part of 'Trust' or 'Winds of Change'. Spoilers for 'The Last Dance'. Please review.

Damon feels like he's always watching Jeremy walk away. He knows the slope of Jeremy's shoulders and broad expanse of his back too well. He's memorized the arch of the back of his neck, and there's a part of him—bigger than he cares to admit—that wants nothing more than to wrap his arms around Jeremy's middle and pull him back, holding him tightly and refusing to let go.

It was never supposed to be like this. For a long time, it was just mutual loneliness. And then suddenly Damon woke up one morning and watched Jeremy yank up his jeans and scramble into his t-shirt and walk out of Damon's room without a second glance. Damon's heart had twisted in his chest, and his normally absurdly luxurious bed had felt too big and empty and cold.

Damon isn't used to this. He always holds the control, keeps it close and doesn't let himself be the one who cares more. Or at all. He learned his lesson with Katherine, and then with Elena, and he won't go there a third time. Or he wouldn't, except for Jeremy fucking Gilbert. There's something about Jeremy that makes Damon's heart start hammering against his ribcage like it's trying to break out. And Damon doesn't understand it, because of all the humans he's ever encountered, it's not as if Jeremy really stands out from the crowd. He's just a small-town teenager. Anywhere else, any other time, Damon would have walked by without a second glance.

Damon wakes alone, as per usual. It's ridiculously pathetic, how much he hopes every time he falls asleep with Jeremy in his bed that the teenager will still be there when he wakes up. He never is. He's either gone or halfway out the door. He knows better by now (or he should) but that doesn't do anything for the wave of disappointment he always feels.

He fills his day easily: trading barbs with Stefan before he leaves for school, reading for most of the morning, meeting with the Founders Council for lunch, getting a drink (or three) with Ric after school lets out and returning to the boardinghouse around dinnertime. The bell rings at seven fifteen on the dot; as routines go it's not ideal or remotely enough, but it's theirs. Damon opens the door and Jeremy wastes no time. He pushes Damon against the wall for a kiss that's hard and desperate, all teeth and tongue.

Damon likes to think sometimes that when Jeremy kisses him like this that maybe he's searching for the same things Damon wants. He doesn't let himself linger on that thought, though, because he knows it's a foolish, pathetic hope.

Foreplay isn't something they do. Everything is just pure efficiency so they can get to the fucking, a few scrambling moments of togetherness, enough for Jeremy but always just short of what Damon wants (needs).

He drinks Jeremy's blood because he's there and it would be a waste and it's part of the deal. They lay next to each other, catching their breath, not touching or speaking because that requires an intimacy they don't have and never will have. So when Jeremy starts to slide away, Damon doesn't reach for him even though every molecule of his body wants to. He watches Jeremy dress, skin disappearing beneath layers of clothes and then he's walking out without a backward glance, his shoulders set in a determined line.

Jealousy comes naturally to Damon, watching Jeremy with Bonnie. Bonnie gets smiles and conversation and feelings, and Damon gets the leftovers: silences and desperate fucking. The vindictive part of him delights in knowing that Jeremy keeps coming back to him, regardless of whatever he has going on with Bonnie. Damon isn't naïve; he knows it won't last, but he's going to hold onto what he can for as long as he can. As far as he's concerned, stolen moments a few nights a week are better than nothing at all.

When he's the one to end it, he assumes it's the usual karma at work: the same force that won't let him have Katherine or Elena is keeping him from having Jeremy too, because for Damon Salvatore to be even remotely happy is asking too much. He doesn't really believe his punishment fits the crime (or the sum of all his crimes, for that matter) but he's biased, of course.

He closes the trunk on Bonnie's body, and he can hear Jeremy running towards him, calling his name.

"Damon! Hey, I got your message, I can't find anyone." It's strange, hearing Jeremy say his name and he wishes he knew how to change things between them. "Where's Elena? Where's Bonnie?"

"We need to have a little talk."

Jeremy frowns. Talking is a foreign concept for them. Damon gets into his car, waiting for Jeremy to walk around and climb into the passenger seat. He starts the engine, letting it idle while he tries to find words. He doesn't know what he wants to say first, and if he's honest with himself he doesn't actually want to say anything at all. He'd be perfectly content to let Jeremy believe Bonnie is permanently dead. He knows the lie won't hold up, of course, not for very long, and maybe it makes him a bad person but it means he would have Jeremy to himself for a week or two longer.

But he can't lie. He tells Jeremy Bonnie will be fine in an hour or so and explains the rest of his plan, staring at his hands on the steering wheel instead of Jeremy. They finish the drive in silence, and it isn't what Damon wants, but at least it's familiar.

When he finally does look at Jeremy, the teenager is obviously anxious, his bottom lip caught between his teeth. Damon aches to touch him; instead he clutches the steering wheel tighter.

The words tumble gracelessly out of his mouth, "We should probably stop…" he gestures vaguely between them. "This. Can't afford any distractions, now that big bad Klaus is around, possessing teachers and killing witches."

Jeremy flinches, and Damon refuses to wonder whether it can be attributed to his callous tone, his cheap shot about Bonnie or the fact that he's ending whatever they've been doing for the past few months.

"Yeah. Okay." Jeremy agrees, nodding and even though it was his idea, it still feels like a sucker punch to the gut when Jeremy doesn't argue.

There's nothing left for either of them to say or do, so Jeremy shoulders open his door and walks around to the trunk. Damon stays, figuring Jeremy would refuse his help anyway.

As Jeremy carries Bonnie towards the ruin, Damon turns the car around and starts heading home to another mess he needs to clean up. He doesn't look in the rearview mirror to watch Jeremy walk away from him again.