A/N: Here it is everyone! The last chapter! I'd be on board with doing a sequel, but I'll wait to hear back from you guys. Read the whole chapter, think about, and get back to me.
Thanks for taking the time to check it out, and please let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries, and I am using the characters without permission. Made for fun, not for profit!
It's an invigorating feeling, being both excited and apprehensive at once. The butterflies in my stomach reassured me of my continued existence as I tried to prepare what I would say if Damon was awake. My palms were sweating more with every step that I took towards his bedroom. I wondered why I was so nervous. It's not like anything big would happen, right?
"Come in." Damon's voice drifted through the heavy door as I lifted my hand to knock. I took a deep breath and turned the doorknob.
Once I pushed the door open, I caught a glimpse of him, still lying in his bed, looking much less pale, but still naked from the waist up. I rolled my eyes at his trademark smirk.
"You know, when you spend the night in a guy's bed, you don't really have to knock to come back in." He waggled his eyebrows, and I slapped his arm, sitting next to him.
"How are you feeling?" I was smiling, and it resounded in my voice.
"Positively chipper. You know, I think that everyone should get a hole punched through their body. It's a good feeling, I swear."
"Well," I leaned back against the pillows, "I know that you're okay, because the sarcasm is out in full force."
He had no answer to that, surprisingly, so he changed the subject. "Where's Stefan?"
I could feel my face drop, but I tried to force a smile. "He went out for a little bit."
Of course, Damon saw right through my façade. "Right… He just went out. And I'm supposed to believe that?"
"We got into a little argument, and he needed to blow off some steam."
"What did you argue about?" He tried to make it look like he didn't care, but it was a poor guise.
"Last night, I saw you right before you were… y'know." He nodded. "And I tried to get him to go and help you. Everyone else had a hold on the situation, so the extra minute that it would have taken wouldn't have made a difference to me. But he wouldn't listen to what I had to say, and we left." I took a shaky breath. "When I woke up, I thought that you were dead. And even though you aren't, I was still upset about the decision that he made. It… changed the way that I see him. So I told him, and we argued, and I guess that we broke up, and he left."
I wouldn't look at him when I finished my little story. I wanted to; I wanted to see his face. It would help me so much with my decision if I just knew how he felt about it.
"So," he paused and laughed a little, "You broke up with Stefan because of me?"
"No! Why do you guys keep saying that? I broke up with him because of his decision. Or my decision. He decided not to respect my decision!" Damon was still staring at me when I finally looked at him, a doubting look on his face.
And then something strange happened: I broke. It was like a dam in my brain suddenly fell apart, letting loose a flood of repressed thoughts.
"No," I whispered. "No. Because I'm in love with Stefan. I was in love with Stefan. You… You… You're my friend. And… And I'm not Katherine! I wouldn't do that!" I started sobbing inexplicably. "I wouldn't do that! That isn't me!"
As I continued to ramble, Damon surprised me: He simply reached around, put his arm around me, pulled me close, and held me.
When the tears eventually subsided, I turned my head to face Damon, only to find him much closer than I'd anticipated. When I inhaled, I could taste his breath. I couldn't think anymore. I was on auto-pilot. My body shifted itself closer to Damon's; my hand reached up to cup his cheek; my eyes closed; my heart beat one giant beat… And then, without any further action on my part, our lips met, and we kissed.
I went completely still. My heart thumped again; my lips moved against his; and I inadvertently let out a small sigh. I waited to see how far Damon would take this.
The answer? Far.
His free arm swung around and he gripped my waist. The arm around my shoulders tightened, trying to pull me closer. I submitted, rolling over and straddling his waist.
"Wait," I whispered against his mouth.
I opened my eyes. "Are you okay? I'm not hurting you, am I?"
Damon didn't answer; he simply chuckled a little and recaptured my lips. My hands pressed against his chest, nails digging into his skin. He slid his hands underneath my shirt, fingers splayed against my back, pressing me flush against him. A gasp escaped my lips as Damon moved to kiss down my neck, his teeth nipping at my pulse point. My fingers found their way into his hair before he started tugging at the hemline of my shirt. I lifted my arms, hissing when Damon's lips left my neck.
"Shut up!" I tried to make it sound petulant, but I was smiling too widely.
"Make me?" He leaned back into the pillows, and I trembled from the loss of contact.
As I moved to kiss his chest, something dripping on the sheet caught my eye. "Damon? Are you bleeding?"
His eyes were still on me as he slowly shook his head. "I thought you knew, Elena..."
The room spun, and I noticed that the slices on my arms had reopened. Blood was trickling across my abdomen, and I tried to focus on what Damon was saying.
His gaze held mine, and he spoke in a soft voice. "It doesn't stop until you die."
I was lying on the couch in the salon of the boarding house. I could smell the stale blood, my own blood, still on my t-shirt, and for a moment, I wondered how it had gotten there. Then I remembered what had happened in Damon's bed.
But when I looked around, I found that I was wearing the same clothes that I had worn to the sacrifice. It was dark out, not the afternoon as I had remembered it. Or had I remembered it?
My eyes focused on the two men in front of me; Stefan, sitting on the coffee table, staring at me. And Damon, sitting next to his brother, peering at me in sideways glances as he kept his gaze locked on the glass of bourbon clutched tightly in his hands.
"Stefan, Damon, what happened?"
Damon looked quickly at Stefan, who looked at me with sadness in his eyes as he spoke: "Klaus is destroyed. We won." He looked bitter as he said it, as though we hadn't won at all. "But you were…" He broke off, and looked down at his hands.
Then it hit me hard, like a freight train. None of it had happened; people had died; I hadn't argued with Stefan, or visited Damon. And something else occurred to me, making my breath catch in my throat, and my stomach feel like a bowling ball. I realized the choice that I would have to make: I could Drink, or Die.
The choice was mine, as I still lay dying.