A/N: Alternates between Damon & Bonnie's P.O.V. Post-ep for 2x18 "The Last Dance"…and part of my denial therapy for the finale. ;p

As always, much love to my readers/reviewers!

She's lying.

("I can do this Jeremy, I know I can. I'm strong enough.")

She is blatantly lying and she's good

(the boy wonder can't tell the difference)

But he knows.

He can smell the dishonesty, taste the omission, and it should be bitter but it is so, so sweet rolling off her tongue.


Just a word, an innocent raise of the brows and now she knows too.

("Is it true?")

And she doesn't hesitate, not with Damon and she knows he'll support her choice and somewhere in the last few weeks she has found solace in that, in him.

(They are more alike than different.)

And she won't acknowledge his methods but his reasoning,

("Are you still willing to do whatever it takes to kill him?")

His reasoning is as sound as Saint Stefan's.

(And she'd like to kick herself for calling him that but she can't argue his inclination for martyrdom and Damon enjoys her grudging recognition of his long-known reality; she sees it in the flash of his eyes, the gleam of a special smirk.)

He is with her.

("Your secret is safe with me.")

Truly with her and she steeps herself in the discomfort associated with caring.

("All that power, is there no way to increase your odds?" "Careful Damon, I might start to think you actually care." "Wouldn't want that.")

Lose the little vixen just when he was starting to enjoy her?

(Where's the fun in that?)

And dear Lord why is he the only one who trusts her when she says,

("I can do this.")

He never doubts, never falters,

Takes her at her word and pushes on, pushes forward.

(She is the plan. He trusts in this.)

His façade is thinning, slipping, and she can see him

("You know we could just get another match and cremate him." "Don't be disrespectful, not to him." "Fine, I'll bury him.")

There was no threat of death behind her words, no malice.

He answers with a smirk, a perturbed quirk of his mouth but he doesn't argue

(he can't quite muster it this time; he…respects this decision, assents to her will)

And Stefan sees it,

("Can you play nice, please?")

And Elena sees it,

("What are they up to?")
and Jeremy sees it,

("Who knows.")

And Alaric sees it because he and Damon are almost friends and he knows that glint in Damon's eye when the witch entertains his banter and rises to his bait.

(That's a challenge, a tease, a temptation if he's ever seen one. The Homicidal Vampire is hooked—getting his kicks from a Bennett. The irony is overwhelming.)

Respecting and obedient and he loves his family and Katherine ruined him, she ruined him, that bitch

("Screw you too, Emily.")

And he did it all for her, ruined himself, destroyed who he was, for her, all for someone who didn't love, couldn't love him, and never would.

("Cause I tried to save her. Emily was just my key to getting Katherine back before I knew what a nasty little bitch Katherine was.")

And Jeremy laughs but Bonnie wants to cry,

And she'd never see how delicate he was,

("I'll deal with the body.")

And if he was human he would've gagged on that word, refluxed bile and choked on regret.

(This body. Like she wasn't human, like she wasn't vibrant and powerful and alive just seconds before.)

how sweet, how gentle; she was dead and he'd had no reason to be and yet that ache—and he'd closed her eyes and swept her hair to the side and trailed his fingers down her (temporarily) dead face and he was sorry.

(And he meant it like every 'thank you' before and it wasn't grudging; he felt it and for the first time in a long time he wanted something better for someone who wasn't him, and he didn't have to fake it; she was dead after all.)

They were all soldiers in this war they never chose and they were all children

(and he was once too and she'd stolen that from him then just as Klaus robbed them now)

And it wasn't fair.

And who knew Damon Salvatore knew the definition of fair, cared about fairness, but he was doing a whole lot of caring lately and he blames the Little Witch for that too except now that he's found it again

(his humanity, his feelings; just glimpses here and there)

He's not sure he wants to give it back and he keeps up appearances

("I will always choose you.")

But Bonnie knows,

She sees the cracks in his marble soul;

Thin, shallow, but splintering, spreading

(like a new disease)

And he's tired of fighting it.

He saved her life.

He'd held the fragile threads of her existence in his palms and he could've cut them; extinguished that caramel glow forever

(but he hadn't)

He'd fostered them, reinforced them, nurtured and fanned the flame,

Kept her safe and brought her back

(and it felt good)

He felt responsible, accountable for the judgy thing and he wanted to hate it

(but he liked it, reveled in it; she was his, she belonged to him)

And the junior Gilbert could play pretend for as long as Damon could tolerate his childish, simpering affection but he would never possess her the way Damon had

(owned her spirit, body, and soul)

And he would never know what it felt like to truly know her

(not Surface!Bonnie, not Wind-Up Witch, but fathomless, dark, candid Bonnie who concedes death and darkness and danger instead of hiding from it like her other insipid friends; who embraces it, dances in the shadows, takes the dark in and uses it, lets it use her, fill her, make her stronger, better, more.)

She does not hide, she does not cower.

She stands

(and he stands with her)

And for the first time in a long time he can say what he means

("You still willing to do whatever it takes to kill him?")

what he feels

(and she doesn't get offended or appalled)

He hasn't been honest with someone in 145 years

(but he doesn't have to protect her, or pretend to be good)

She takes him as he is

(she takes him, period; no Elena eye-roll or Saint Stefan sigh-of-disgust)

And she doesn't pretend to approve but she accepts

All the feeling and emoting it was exhausting, draining;

He's purging years

(decades, centuries)

of repression, of denial;

she bleeds him dry, drains and drains and drains until he's empty

(no rage, no pain, no sadness)

And then she fills him up

(you give me miles and miles of mountains, and I, ask for the sea)

makes him whole again

(that's all I need)

But he's not ready

(what I give to you, is just what I'm going through, this is nothing new)

So he compensates and he overcompensates and he lies

("If it comes down to you and the witch again, I will gladly let Bonnie die.")

And he thinks Elena must be really jonesing for attention because it wasn't even a good lie this time and he's not there yet

(He can't say the witch is at the top of his list. He can't say he's 'over' his brother's girlfriend.)

But it's coming, he feels it

(the humanity he's been trying so hard to hide)

it's bubbling up to the surface,

lava under a long-dormant volcano,

burning away his delusions and obsessions and the residue of his 145 years on this planet as the walking undead.

And despite the fact that he has been able to maintain a façade of polite snark and limit himself to salacious yet witty banter thus far—

It's coming

(as inevitably as the Klaus showdown approaches)

someday soon no one will believe his lies and he knows he'll ruin her.

Sear away all that is good and leave bitter, charred remains

because that is all he knows how to do; that is what has been done to him.

(volcanoes melt you down)

And he will hate himself; detest his very being, his own existence,

She will be another voice in his head, telling him he can't, taunting, torturing,

(she'll be a scar now, I will still let her bleed, all over me)

Bonnie couldn't save them.

(her grandmother, Luka)

She couldn't save them and she has no one left to count on and that 'connection' with Jeremy—that's repentance for past sins.

(He'll be there and there are no variables, he will listen and she will save him.)

Damon couldn't have them.

(Katherine, Rose)

They wouldn't have him and he has no one to count on, no one to raise him up

(and this whole situation is one large time loop, mind fuck)

And that 'connection' with Elena—that's compensation for previous missed opportunities.

(She is controllable and there are no variables, her weak human heart will fall prey to his charms and he will be redeemed.)

And he's not being selfless

(he can't pull off the squinty brow)

Because really he's keeping Judgy around because she is amusing and entertaining and a power card he'd like to keep in his back pocket

(and not because he is finally more concerned with his life minus her rather than her life minus him)

And that is purely selfish reasoning and so it counts—he gets to keep his Master Douchebag card a little longer and all remains status quo in the world

(but like a new disease)

She festers under his skin, slips in and wears him down, grinds him raw until the fever boils his blood and everything aches,

(finding what I really need, is what makes me bleed)

He is infected.

(well Lord she's still too young to treat, she's still too young)

A/N: Music credit goes to Damien Rice's "Volcano".

Comments/reviews are welcome!