AN: For those of you who are following my other story, Elena's anger, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm a bit stuck for the moment, so I'm hoping for a little more of your patience...

Anyway, I promised this fanfic a lot sooner, but I wanted to write a few chapters before posting... Well, I did that, but I'm still not sure where it's going, so feedback and ideas are always welcome!

The title 'Shadowdancing' refers to a dance, presented by casting shadows of dancers on a screen. I see it as something that's an image, a foreshadowing of what's real. If that makes any sense at all? Also when I googled it, it's apparently a song by one of the Gibb brothers: I didn't know it (and it's not really my kind of music), but the lyrics do seem somewhat appropriate here... ;)

Thanks to Shadowfaxangel for beta-ing and to Bibi for her suggestions!

Disclaimer: I do not own Damon, Elena, Stefan and the others, but they make fun playthings for my imagination!

Elena burst into the Salvatore house without knocking. She was so excited! She needed to talk to Stefan immediately. Surely she would be able to persuade him to do this! He simply couldn't refuse her. Caroline would be so jealous.

When she rushed into the parlour however, she stopped and looked around. Only Damon was there, reading a book that looked as though it might come apart in his hands. Without looking up, he said, "He's not here. He went out hunting."

Elena refused to come down from her cloud for Damon. She said in a playful tone, "Who says I'm looking for Stefan?"

Now Damon did look up from his book. He cocked an eyebrow and drawled, "You're always looking for Stefan when you make an appearance here. Why would today be any different?" He paused. "You're not seriously going to tell me you came here looking for me?"

He stood, carefully putting the book down, and smirked, "Of course, no one would blame you if you did come here to see me, since I'm definitely the better looking one, but you know I'm not one to brag…"

Elena shook her head in exasperation. He really was an inveterate flirt!

"So," Damon said, ambling closer to where she was standing, "What's going on? You look fit to burst with some news…" She shook her head because she was not going to tell him anything and be made a laughing stock, but he went on, "You might as well tell me now, since you know I'll find out eventually."

Irritated by his prodding, Elena pressed her lips together briefly, and then said, "No, Damon. I'm not telling you. It's none of your business."

"Oh, but I just adore making it my business. So come on, tell me already!" Damon coaxed. He was now standing so close to her that she had to look up to see his face. But she refused to back down. She was not at all intimidated by his nearness (although she had to admit it was really hot in here)!

Because she was a bit flustered, she was goaded into replying before really thinking about what she said, "Bite me, Damon. I'm not telling you anything." She snapped her mouth shut, realising her mistake too late…

Of course Damon wasn't going to let that one lie. He smiled wickedly, and leaned in close to her ear, whispering, "Mmm, Elena, is that an invitation? Because you know I would love to bite you! You just have to say the word… Oh, wait, you just did…"

Elena jumped back from him, her cheeks flaming, and looked at him crossly. Must he turn everything into an innuendo?

Amused by her predictable reaction, Damon laughed out loud now, and teased, "Oh, come on, Elena! You've been around vampires long enough by now! You know that if you say something like that, we're bound to take it literally!" Well, Stefan probably wouldn't take it literally if a human said something like that…

Elena tried to keep the indignant expression on her face, but he looked so amused and mischievous that she couldn't help but laugh too. It was actually quite funny, and it was her own fault: she did know better! She looked at him, and for a fleeting moment they found themselves in complete harmony, laughing together over the shared joke.

When they both stopped laughing, she found she couldn't look away from him. The laughter had faded from his eyes, but he kept looking at her, a strangely earnest look in his expressive blue eyes, one she didn't want to decipher while it secretly gave her a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

And of course Stefan had to choose that exact moment to walk into the room.

Instinctively, Elena put some more distance between Damon and herself, and immediately regretted her reflex. It was not like she had done anything wrong after all. But she knew Stefan would have noticed her furtive movement. And indeed, he was looking at her suspiciously. Then again, there was always something distrustful in his look whenever she was alone with Damon.

Naturally, Damon was better at dissembling than Elena; he leisurely turned to Stefan, as if nothing untoward had been going on (and nothing had of course! why did she have a guilty conscience?). He said, "Hello, little brother. How was the hunt?"

Stefan had apparently decided to ignore Damon. He went to embrace Elena instead, dropping a lingering kiss on her lips, obviously showing off for Damon's benefit. Elena felt a bit awkward: Stefan was never so much into public displays of affection as when Damon was present. It felt a bit like he was rubbing it in that Elena belonged to him, while Damon stood on the side-lines, and she found that didn't sit too well with her anymore.

Damon looked on mockingly, knowing very well what Stefan was doing. Staking his claim… but it only served to show Damon how insecure his little brother was about Elena, and that meant all was not lost yet! After all, Damon was known to be extremely stubborn, never giving up once he put his mind to something, just like his tenacious hunt for Katherine all those years had proven (even if it turned out to be a complete waste of time and effort, he added mentally).

Finally Stefan pulled away from Elena, and asked, "So, Elena, what are you doing here? You didn't tell me you were coming over, or I would've waited for you." The last was said with a reproachful look in Damon's direction, as if he'd known Elena was coming over and had neglected to share the information.

Damon just shrugged and turned away. He picked up his book again and dropped back onto the couch.

Stefan looked annoyed. He was thinking about asking Elena to come upstairs with him, so they could talk in private, but he knew all too well that if Damon wanted to hear them, he would be able to wherever they went. And Elena didn't seem to mind, so he left it at that.

Elena burst out, excitement clear in her voice, "Stefan, have you heard that the school is going to organise a dance competition? Caroline told me this afternoon. She wants to participate, but she's still trying to convince Matt! I told her that of course we would enter too!" She positively sparkled with joyful anticipation.

Stefan was quick to burst her bubble. "Elena, you know how I loathe doing things like that. I told you once that I would never do it again. I don't like these kinds of public displays for a lot of people..."

Elena's face fell. She had known indeed, but she had been sure she would be able to overcome his objections once he saw how much she wanted to do this. "But Stefan, you danced with me at the fifties dance thing at school, and you danced with me at several of the founders parties!"

"Yeah, but those were all just slow dances. I don't mind those. And the fifties thing was a one off, never-to-be-repeated. As I told you at the time. Or I'd have to be drunk, but I don't think you'd want me to be for a dance competition." Stefan said, trying to sound reasonable.

Elena looked down dejectedly, "You didn't even ask what kind of dance competition it's going to be…" she mumbled, "So how can you be sure you're not gonna like it? It might be fun."

Damon was disgusted enough to join the conversation. "Oh, go on, Stefan! Why don't you do it? Can't you see she really wants you to?"

Stefan whirled around. He had completely forgotten that Damon was still there and had undoubtedly been listening in. He snarled at Damon, "Don't you dare meddle between Elena and me, Damon! It's none of your business anyway."

Damon rolled his eyes in annoyance. His brother could be so dense sometimes! He looked at Elena, standing there forlornly, while she tried to hold back her tears at his brothers' callous refusal. And she had been so elated before. It hurt him to see her like this, the radiance that had been in her eyes earlier dimmed. It must really mean a lot to her to participate in this thing, couldn't Stefan see that?

Damon sighed, and tried again, "But Stefan, if it's that important to Elena, surely you can make an exception?"

Stefan felt like a deer stalked by a troop of wolves: they were pushing him in a direction he didn't want to go, and he was thrashing every which way to get away from them. He didn't want to do something like this: a public performance where he could be made a laughing stock was just not his thing. He hated to be put on display for any reason at all. Surely Elena would understand that if she gave it some thought? But then of course Damon had to interfere! He rounded on Damon, and barked, "If you think it's that important to Elena, why don't you oblige? Only I'm certain she will not want you to!"

Damon didn't answer immediately, but glanced over at Elena instead. When she looked at him, he lifted one eyebrow inquiringly, silently asking her what she wanted him to do. Their eyes held for an infinite moment, velvety brown meeting piercing blue.

Finally she nodded and said in a subdued voice, "Thank you, Damon. I think I will take you up on your offer…"

She turned around, and quickly walked out of the room, leaving Stefan stunned and Damon pensive…

AN: So, did you like it at all? Please let me know!