A/N: Herein lies the first part of Not Your Phantom. This story was requested by a good friend of mine, with the description: "To 'Jar of Hearts'; With Damon and Elena, from Damon's POV, and he's the monster." I have to admit, it's a little tricky with the POV, but I think I managed a pretty fair gymnastic feat with it.
Please review and let me know what you think! I'm really shaky about this, more nervous about it than any other story I've done.
Song lyrics belong to Christina Perri. Made for fun, not for profit!
(Set During The Return (2X01)
I know I can't take one more step towards you; 'Cause all that's waiting is regret.
It's been a hell of a day. Katherine's back and the chaos that she brings has already begun. And I know that I should hate her; I do hate her. But there's still a part of me that wishes that she would walk up and smile at me, like she did a hundred and forty five years ago.
I slam the door of the boarding house, trying to focus on the copious amounts of alcohol that I plan on imbibing, hoping to quell that particularly sentimental desire. I am no longer the lovesick fool that she left behind. I'm a monster.
My daily mask melts away with every step that I take toward what is now my sole comfort. It will eradicate all thoughts of her; it will purge her from my memory, for at least a few hours.
And right on cue, she's there, on the couch, as if she belonged there. As if she belonged with me.
I freeze. I know that I shouldn't react. I should leave; I should walk away from her and forget about everything. Haven't I already learned my lesson? Haven't I already suffered enough at her hands?
And don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore?
I'm surprised that there truly is a part of me that is unaffected by her presence. The mask is too easy to slide back on, shielding my most vulnerable and damaged self from her. It's a shock that strikes me, like lightning, right between my eyes.
Granted, the majority of my heart and mind is begging to walk into her arms and lose myself in her forever.
But I am no longer her Damon, her demon. I generally recoiled from the easy comparison between my name and my title, but this time, it was scarily accurate. It was what I had become, because of her. But I wouldn't lay my transgressions at her feet, waiting like a dog for her approval or disdain.
No, there was someone else who had taken that post. Someone who had slipped in so swiftly and silently; who, without accusation or aggression, had removed Katherine from the pedestal and taken up residence there.
I was no longer Katherine's demon; I was Elena's.
You lost the love I loved the most. And I learned to live half-alive. And now you want me one more time…
And while I no longer felt any fidelity for Katherine, she was, indeed, the one who had stoked this fire. She was the one that I had loved, and who I thought had loved me. She was the only one in my entire life who had ever made me feel like I belonged. And then she turned Stefan too; and then she was dead; and then she wasn't. But she was still gone.
And I had built a new life around that loss. I had constructed a mask to hide my deformities, the hideous traces left by her. I had learned to live without her next to me. I had carved myself a place amongst the monsters of the world; all the while carrying her with me, and living my life as we had planned. But it was only a half-life. I was alone.
And now, here she is, pressed up against me, speaking in the seductive tones that I remember from so long ago, and my mask is so close to fading away. Finally, after years of waiting, after all of the pain and abandonment, she is in my grasp. But she's right: Do I kiss her or kill her?
I make a vital mistake. I drop the mask. I walk into the trap.
I kiss her.
Who do you think you are? Running 'round, leaving scars; Collecting your jar of hearts; And tearing love apart.
And after she whispers those words, those hated words that I've heard all too often; after she reveals her undying love for Stefan, she's gone. And I am right back where I started.
But at least I have the head start. I know what she does now. And the bitterness sets in a century and a half sooner than before. The mask is back where it should be, and its familiarity soothes my tender scar tissue, reopened and bleeding.
Who does Katherine Pierce think that she is? Why won't she just end me? Why must she strike to burn, and not to kill?
You're gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul. So don't come back for me. Who do you think you are?
I see her now for what she truly is. And she won't fool me again. Her warmth has dissipated, and finally relinquished the hold that she had on my heart. I miss it.
I pour myself a drink, and another, and another. I try to find the warmth at the bottom of the bottle. Then, I remember.
I remember where the true warmth is. I remember where the light is. I remember that the light has a name.