Rated M: Because apparently I can't write a story without some adult language.

Although last night's episode might possibly have been my favorite out of both seasons, the moment where Damon forced his blood down Elena's throat left me with mixed feelings. Initially I was throwing my fist into the air and screaming, "Hell yeah," but as I watched the remainder of the episode I couldn't help but feel disappointed in his actions.

After the episode, I still had no idea which side of the fence I had settled on and that bothered the hell out of me. So I decided to write about it and see what came out of the experience. And apparently, disappointment is what I am feeling most strongly. Disappointment that once again Damon has taken a few steps back in earning Elena's love, which until this point, I fully thought should have been the other way around.

Don't get me wrong; part of me still feels like he did the right thing and I really doubt that I will ever hate his character for making this mistake. After all, someone needed to knock some sense into Elena and I do adore evil Damon more than the sap he has been at certain points during this season. I just needed to warn you that this therapy session did not produce something fluffy. There is no happy ending, but rest assured that I did not remove the possibility of one in the future.

Sorry for the long author's note, but I needed to explain why this one-shot had a vastly different tone from what I typically write.

Please enjoy!

As Damon gazed out of the window into the vast backyard of the Salvatore mansion, he felt like someone had switched the vibrate button into the on position. He was seething anger and every inch of him trembled in fury. If only there was a way to flip the switch off, but he knew it was as impossible as flipping the switch controlling his feelings towards Elena into the off position.

He let out a sigh as he heard her gentle footsteps ascending the stairway. His first instinct was to brush past her and head straight for the soothing liquor just begging for him downstairs. But at this point, he wasn't even sure the liquid would have the desired calming effect he was aiming for.

His second instinct was to head for the shower and settle into a compromising position Elena would never allow herself to take part in, but even his speed wouldn't allow him to reach the bath before she emerged into his room.

Truth was; Damon could come up with a million options to escape the conversation they were about to have, but the part of him that stubbornly wanted her to see things from his perspective kept him firmly in place.

He heard Elena's subtle intake of breath as she wavered in the doorway and Damon waited for her to begin.

"You disappeared." She said with a nonchalance that was the furthest from appropriate during a situation like this.

He kept his attention on the window; not really focusing on anything in particular. It was impossible to focus on anything but her when she was around, but at the moment he couldn't look at her. It was too much to face her directly. "I didn't want to hear anymore."

She took a few steps into the room and began to explain, "I need you to understand why I'm doing this."

He finally turned around. There she was; the epitome of life's perfect. Staring him straight in the face and completely behind the decision she was choosing to make. Normally, the mere vision of her had a soothing effect on his nerves, but at the moment it evoked nothing but more fury. It was like God himself had willed Elena to dangle herself in front of him one last time before he took her away.

Damon didn't want to throw his attitude at her, but he couldn't keep the edge from his voice as he spat back, "Why? It clearly doesn't matter what I think."

She cocked her head delicately to the side in a way he had become all too familiar with and assured, "I'll be fine, Damon. I'll drink the Elixir, Bonnie will kill Klaus. And then all of this will finally be over."

He lowered his head to her level and countered with the obvious kink in her less than well thought out plan. "If it works…"

Her chocolate orbs stared back at him as she stubbornly refuted, "It will work."

"You think it will work. You want it to work. Why am I the only one who's convinced it won't?" How was it possible that after surviving in their world for almost two years, she still had the capability of being this naive? Nothing ever went according to plan and vampires could not be trusted. Elena had witnessed this all first hand; and yet, even after all of the letdowns this supernatural world had thrown her way, she was still entrusting her faith in another vampire. It was ridiculous and extremely stupid.

She waited for him to continue because she could read him like a book. Always knew when he still had steam left to blow off in her direction. "There has to be another way." Because the way she was choosing was unacceptable.

"There isn't," she stated. But of course he already knew this was going to be her answer. The only other option was one that threatened the life of her friend she cared deeply about. It was one of the characteristics that irritated him the most and made his love for her deepen at the same time. Because he understood exactly how it felt to be willing to sacrifice yourself for those you love. Unfortunately, the only person he loved enough to sacrifice himself for was the one who desperately wanted to do so herself.

And it was this notion that irritated him the most because it made him feel helpless; something he was becoming all too familiar with in her presence. So he threw that irritation into his voice and stressed, "Then you're going to die Elena."

She shot him a weakly reassuring smile that made his heart fold in on itself. "And then I'll come back to life."

"That's not a risk I'm willing to take." Damon shook his head back and forth dismissively at her absurd notion that somehow that one less-than reassuring phrase could sway his opinion on the matter.

She took his hand in between hers and fire engulfed his porcelain skin. The sort of fire that can only spark from the touch of someone you care so deeply about that it consumes every inch of your being. A fire that spread entirely too quickly over all of his extremities and seeped straight into his chest. A fire that Elena obviously could not feel. "But I am," she said; quick and simple.

He looked down at her delicate hands wrapped around his and reveled in the way they molded perfectly around it. "It's my life, Damon. My choice," she urged.

It was just too much; the idea of her being taken from him, although she had never been his in the first place. He couldn't, he wouldn't let her do this. There was so much he wanted to tell her, so much that he needed to apologize for. But instead the only words he could muster up were, "I can't lose you."

She penetrated into him with those doe eyes of hers and part of him noticed that he could see his same desperation reflecting back at him; or perhaps that was just what he wanted to see. But she stood her ground and softly assured, "You won't."

And there they were, stuck in this moment they always found themselves in. The one Elena always removed herself from for the sake of his brother, and this time was no exception. She gave him one last weak smile before she turned to head out the door.

Damon knew the appropriate action was to let her walk right out of his door. She obviously wanted this and had faith in the success of Elijah's elixir. He should have continued his proper methods and remained selfless with her, but the threat of her no longer breathing was too overwhelming. He couldn't sit back and watch her throw her life away. The possibility of her never reawakening was too large a reality for that.

So he threw all of his better judgment aside and flashed to block her from exiting. Her eyes widened as she took in his fragile mental state. And they should have. Because she had seen this side of him many times before and it typically resulted in something extreme; something he usually regretted instantly afterwards.

He was sure this was going to be another one of those instances, but he was too desperate to stop himself. He couldn't trust her fate in the hands of someone else and he wouldn't let his sole reason for living in this pathetic world fade away. He needed her light; he needed her presence because without it… he would fade too.

He stared at her with eyes that revealed exactly how determined he was at ensuring her survival and declared, "There is another way."

She gazed back at him with a quizzical expression that made her nose scrunch up in such an adorable way that all of his limbs seemed to come unhinged. "What are you…"

But he didn't wait for her to finish. His demon surfaced and he pierced into his wrist before smashing it against her lips. She squirmed beneath him because she would always fight; even despite knowing her attempts were worthless. These were the characteristics he loved most about her; her fire and determination. They were qualities they shared and it made their interactions heated, but their connection powerful.

Damon waited until he heard Elena finally give in and swallow before he removed his wrist from her mouth. There were droplets of blood settled around the corners of her lips and the image was an unsettling reminder of the act he just executed. He had been selfish, something he swore to himself that he would never let his love for her be. But was love ever truly selfless?

The anger radiating from her face was a surefire sign that Elena believed so. She had to of known this feeling was the reason he had done what he had. There was no way in hell she could still consider his feelings for her strictly platonic after everything he had sacrificed for her.

But when she pulled back her hand and slapped it across the side of his face, an act that had practically become her signature move when they were together, Damon knew any progress he had at evoking mutual feelings from her had vanished.

She reached back and slapped him a second time as Damon stood there and took what he rightfully deserved. He had been forced into this life the same way he was forcing it onto the girl of his undying affection and as he had already assumed, he instantly regretted it. But still, what was done had already been done. There was no taking it back now.

"How could you?" She asked through heart shattering sobs. He hated seeing her this way; knowing that once again he had managed to force on her just an ounce of the pain she constantly, and perhaps unknowingly, supplied him.

He despised himself for his impulsively desperate behavior, but managed to once again redirect it towards her. "I just did what your boyfriend was too chicken shit to do on his own." Damon knew it wasn't fair, but he couldn't help the word vomit spilling from his mouth. "One of us needed to make sure you survived and don't worry, you can thank me later."

He flinched at his statement, already knowing it had been cruel, but the action was too quick for her mortal eyes to register.

Tears still spilled from the corners of those very eyes, each one like battery acid eating away at his un-beating heart. "You had no right taking that choice from me. I didn't want this life. I didn't want your life."

Of course she wouldn't want his life. Who the hell would ever want the soulless life he had managed to create for himself?

But while they were alike in so many ways, she was a completely different person than he was. She was loving and warm and everything magical that came from the good he would never be able to possess. And he begged these traits followed her through the transition, knowing full well they'd only manage to make it more difficult for her initially, because he was being selfish yet again.

He knew that with embracing these traits, Elena held the possibility of forgiveness when he had not. He still held disdain towards his brother even after all of these years and he willed that one day she would find the ability to forgive him. And it was time to prove that he was someone worth forgiving, although the larger part of him knew this wasn't the case.

He attempted to reach for her, but she swatted his hand away. And why shouldn't see? He didn't deserve to touch her after what he had just done. But despite everything, he needed her to understand that in no way would she turn out the way he had. Her eternal life would be something completely different. "I promise you won't have my life, Elena. You are nothing like me and we'll help you get through this."

She shook her head dismissively back and forth, making slashes across his chest with each motion, and replied, "You're right; I won't. I will be nothing like you. I will never make the mistakes you have and I will never force this life onto someone who didn't want it."

Tears were still trickling down her flushed cheeks and Damon wanted nothing more than to comfort the girl he had forced so much pain onto throughout the past two year. She deserved so much better than what he was able to offer, he had proven that many times beforehand. But there was nothing left to say and there was nothing he could do to refute that assessment. He had managed to once again push Elena further away from ever accepting him for who he really was; a confused monster with the desperation to be better. But apparently that desperation would never be enough.

So he lowered his gaze to the floor, once again ashamed of what his vampiric nature had urged him to do, and muttered, "I'm sorry. You didn't deserve that." Because she didn't. She would always deserve more than he was able to offer. "And I know that I don't deserve this, but I hope that someday you will be able to forgive me the same way that, for some reason, you've done so many times in the past."

He heard her slight scuff and the gentle whoosh as her head shook back and forth through the still air. "I hate you, Damon. And I'm not sure if I will ever be able to forgive you for this."

She then slid past him and made her way to the door before he latched his hand onto her shoulder. She didn't swat him away like he had been expecting, but instead refused to look at him, which felt much worse. Stefan had already insisted that Elena held no respect for him and if it wasn't the case before, he had certainly solidified it now. "Just one word of advice, Elena; and this is solely for your benefit, not mine. Forever is a long time to hold onto hate and it has the ability to destroy everything good in you. I'm proof of that. Don't let it destroy you the way it has done with me."

She finally lifted her gaze to meet his and whispered, "That's the side of you, Damon, that someday I might forgive. The part of you that isn't as destroyed as you believe it is." There was no reassuring smile, but he didn't deserve one. There was just the possibility of her future forgiveness lingering through the air as she headed through the door.

Damon watched her leave, wishing he held the capability to see the good Elena still saw in him. There was no reason why she should still have the faith in him that she did, but it was there. So instead of crumpling to the ground and falling to pieces like he wanted to, Damon swore to prove he was worth her faith.

It would be difficult after everything he had forced onto her. But forever was a very long time and just maybe long enough for even someone like him to change; for someone like him to become the type of vampire her future vampire-self deserved.

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