This one-shot was written as a special request for MissDelena. I apologize for taking so long to get it written, but I hope it meets your expectations. :)

It's my take on the already perfect scene that happened between Damon and Elena in the season finale. The tiny twist in the middle is due to MissDelena's ingenious mind and I can't take credit for it. It was all her.

Also, this was my first attempt at the writing style and I have to admit it was a struggle. So many of you do it so beautifully and I wanted to try. So please be gentle when reviewing; I'm a first timer!

Other than that, I hope you like it!


She's not sure how her life inexplicably intertwined itself into his. All she knows is that it had.

It happened somewhere between the first time she caught sight of him, eyes narrowed and devilishly shining with cocky arrogance and hidden agendas, and the last time she had a fully coherent conversation with him, brows furrowed and eyes no longer vivid, but instead shadowed by remorse and compassion for so much more than those original agendas.

She knows the seeds had been planted long before she really knew him. Back when the only thing her mind could grasp onto was the fact that despite everything he was, he'd resisted taking her life when he so easily destroyed everyone else's.

She knows their vines had already started weaving intricately through one another way back when they established their understanding.

She knows they'd grown entirely too fast once she started understanding his very motives and actions in a way even his own flesh and blood couldn't.

She knows they'd taken on a life of their own when she heard the sharp crack of her brother's neck and swore that she hated him, although as much as she wanted to deep down in the lowest pit of everything that was rational, she never could bring herself to do so.

She knows they'd tangled beyond control when the always present pain that was etched across his features started transcribing onto her; the pain that was a result of her own personal need to keep her boundaries up because she could feel the strength of those very vines and it terrified the hell out of her.

She knows they'd become suffocating when the threat of Klaus presented itself forcing her to realize that somehow he'd managed to adjust himself near, if not to the very top, of her 'I'd die for' list.

She knows they'd interlocked completely when she saw the fear radiating from those blue eyes and his desperation surpassed everything appropriate and he forced his blood onto her, because while she battled to keep his name from the top of her list, he'd made it crystal clear that she'd always be at the top of his.

She knows they'd far surpassed anything she tried to grow with Stefan when her eyes opened for the first time after her death and all she could see was him; relief the main emotion present across his face and something warm inside of her chest she refused to accept.

And she knows those very vines and the way they've tangled themselves so elaborately into Damon's are the reason she's here. And the reason she'll be here until the very end.

She tries not to think about that end as she looks at him now. He appears so fragile with the back of his head rested against her chest and their bodies sprawled across his luxurious comforter. She knows he's in some state of sleep because for the first time today his face is relaxed.

He's been in and out of it ever since she got him back to the boarding house and every time his eyes close she feels herself falter from fear that they won't reopen again. She wants to wake him now, if only to assure herself that he's not gone, but at the moment he feels no pain and she can't bring herself to inflict anymore onto him.

So she tilts her head back to rest on his headboard and takes a deep breath. She does this because she just needs one sufficient gulp of air to keep her world from crashing down. She knows it will as soon as his sufferings over, but she pleads with herself to keep strong until that happens. After that she can fall to pieces and let herself go.

It's impossible to ignore the concept that when Damon fades a large part of her will as well. She always assumed that her life would end at some point and knew it would be because of a Salvatore, but figured it would be Stefan and she figured it would be for the promise of eternity, whether she really wanted it or not.

She knows better now.

She knows because the nagging pain, that's been consistently present in the pit of her stomach since her heart realized it felt for Damon and refused to acknowledge it, has now escalated. And it's not visible, but she's sure there's a circular saw blade, complete with jagged edges, rotating around tearing her to pieces slowly from the inside out.

She feels it because this promise of eternity, the one she never realized she wanted, is being taken away from her. And the concept is anything but numbing.

Damon moves slightly against her front and she sighs; complacent for the time being that they have a few more precious minutes left. His eyes then flutter open and she adjusts herself a little to his left so that she doesn't miss a second of the facial expressions that are sure to come out in their discussion. Each one is entirely too valuable to miss.

Sliding her hand across his chest, she feels a satisfying sense of relief when he has the strength to grab onto it. She knows it's because he's holding on for dear life and it doesn't surprise her when he attempts to make a joke about the matter.

"This is even more pitiful than I thought."

Every part of her wants to laugh because, even in this state, he's still there and it's such a comforting thing to embrace. But she doesn't. Instead she lowers her head to rest on top of his as a means of getting as close to him as possible. She's so afraid to lose him, so utterly petrified and as much as he needs her strength, she needs his as well. Even when he has so little to offer.

So she tightens her arm around him and feels a tremble rock through her body at the intimate contact. There's nothing quite like it, and it's her own desperation for that feeling to continue that wills her to encourage, "There's still hope."

There's not much, considering Klaus isn't exactly the type to hand out favors, but it's something they both need to hold onto. Holding onto Damon would have been enough under any other circumstance, but today it fell just shy of the mark.

He chooses to ignore her encouragement though and instead converts back to something similar to the previous discussion they'd had before he drifted into sleep; the one where he'd started making amends for all of the wrongdoings of his past.

"I've made a lot of choices that have gotten me here. I deserve this," he starts before the words break off and he swallows thickly. She feels herself fall into that dark black hole down his throat when he finishes, "I deserve to die."

And she knows he believes it. His eyes are closed and he's not shooting for any registration of compassion across her expression. He accepts that he hasn't always made the best decisions and understands that justice never fails to come full circle.

But she understands that justice isn't necessary when it comes to him. He's tortured himself enough for the actions he's made in the past and she's done nothing but encourage him to strike the whip across his flesh a little bit harder each time. She regrets that now.

He's suffered enough and he's tried so hard to fight that very side of his nature to make up for it. It's been a constant battle, one she's urged him to continue fighting in because he'd always fight. He'd always fight for her.

And she knows it's exhausted him, the same way her own internal fight against her feelings for him has exhausted her. So she adamantly refutes, "No," and shakes her head from side to side.

She then slides herself down to his level and attempts to penetrate into his eyes and make sure her statement actually hits its mark, only to find them closed. Still, she says it anyway. "You don't."

"I do, Elena, it's okay," he counters in a tone that clearly suggests he's accepted his fate. Too bad she's not ready to accept it with him, but she doesn't get the chance to oppose because she's too busy now trying not look at him. The image of him in his vulnerable state is just too much to witness and she feels herself slowly coming unraveled. She's barely holding it together when he admits, "Because if I would have chosen differently, I wouldn't have met you."

It's then that she realizes her eyes are focused on the section of his chest where his heart should have been beating. She's always been so sure in the past that he couldn't possibly have one, but knowing what she knows, hearing those words and how tenderly they left his lips, she senses it. It rests right beneath his soaked black button down and ghostly pale skin and she knows that if the organ could beat, it would beat for only her.

Its then that she finally lifts her eyes to meet his. They've opened slightly and she can see the blue resting beneath his lids. The color has taken on so many different meanings, each one resulting in another reaction on her part, and she finds herself lost in it all; in the color that's started to define so much more than it should.

"I'm sorry," he says weakly, which does little to detract from the strength of the statement, and she lets out a soft sigh.

The vampire beside her can be so arrogant and so infuriatingly stubborn, but she can't deny that he's always apologized for his actions. She knows how treasured those apologizes are because she's the only one that ever gets the luxury of receiving them and also what each one has cost him. If only she'd realized what it had each time instead of focusing on her anger.

"I've done so many things to hurt you," he continues forming a few remorseful lines to appear across his forehead and she begins to shake her head.

"It's okay," she reassures as best she can. She even manages to evoke a slight smile from her lips.

"I forgive you," she adds because she has and he deserves to know that truth. Maybe it won't fix everything, but it'll mean more to him than anything else she can offer.

His eyes are closed at this point as he absorbs what she's just given him. He takes a shallow breath and she can feel the agony in his voice as he declares softly, "I know you love Stefan and it'll always be Stefan."

There's acceptance in his statement instead of the mockery she's so accustomed to and it sucks the very life from her. Because she knows that while a part of her will always love Stefan, there is an equal or maybe even larger part of her that can't deny she loves him as well. But what did it matter now?

She does the only thing her body is capable of doing and sinks down onto the pillow beside him, responsively nuzzling into his side. His hand rubs soft circles against the back of hers and she can hardly brace the honesty that comes from him next.

"But I love you; you should know that," he proclaims softly and the tears threaten to breach over the brims of her lids because she knows it's not the first time he's told her, but he thinks she believes it is.

In reality she's known since the moment John's soul allowed her to re-walk this earth. Death brings a little perspective to any situation; unfortunately for her it hadn't just taken one death but two.

She'd woken with the memory he'd so selflessly erased, but at the time she hadn't seen the selflessness of it at all. Instead she'd foolishly ignored all of the words he'd spoken only to focus on the fact that he'd cheated her out of this memory.

But as soon as Stefan told her the news about Damon's heroic action to save Caroline, she'd given it another visit.

Lying next to him now, she knows just how much the vampire loves her. It's not the traditional cookie cutter love that's written on cards or expressed by flowers. It's the type of love that overrules all rational thinking and it's the reason behind all of his stupidly impulsive mistakes. It's the reason he fights so hard to keep himself from being the natural killer that he is and it's the reason he's willing to risk anyone and anything to protect her.

She doesn't even begin to fool herself into thinking that she understands this type of love because in order to do so she'd of had to endure the years of let downs he's survived through. She'd probably also have to end her life and reawake as the type of supernatural entity he is.

What she does understand is why he's done the things he's done and how much he's changed and doesn't see it. If anything, the memory proves at least that. She knows he doesn't believe that he deserves her, but after everything, she feels there's nothing this vampire doesn't deserve, well except the death that's right around the corner.

He's transitioned, whether he believes it or not. His actions have proven nothing but that over the past few months. He puts up quite the sarcastic barrier, but behind that is someone who cares; more deeply than he can reign in. Not just about her, but about the others he continues to jump in front of to save. It's how he got here after all.

But he cares about her most.

And it's crazy and unrequited and downright demanding now that she knows because it blurs the lines that she's so desperately tried to keep defined over the past two years. She loves Stefan, that she knows, but she can't help but love Damon as well. Despite everything in the past he's done to hurt her, she still loves him.

It's confusing and she doesn't know how to handle it. But then again, times run out and it no longer matters. So she does the only thing she can, she lets a tear slide down her cheek, locks her lids up tight to prevent the others from escaping, and shakes her head dejectedly.

"I do," she declares because God knows she does. She knows it too well; unfortunately it doesn't make a difference now. She can pray to that very God as much as she wants to keep him from leaving, but he still will. She knows that.

She feels his smile against her forehead and has to hold off a new wave of the liquid. It takes so little to please him and she's made it so hard for him to please her. He confirms this by commenting, "You should have met me in 1864. You would've liked me." His voice comes out in a way that attempts to turn the comment into a joke, but she can see right past his defense and straight to how much he really wishes she did.

So she looks up at him only to find his eyes have already re-shut, apparently too heavy to keep open and a clear indication of how very close they're getting to his end. She knows it's quickly approaching and she doesn't want him fading away without knowing the truth.

"I like you now," she confesses resulting in a flicker of his lids. They're fighting to stay open when she adds, "Just the way you are."

He makes some sort of weak grunt at her statement, indicating he understands exactly what she's saying. She doesn't just like him now in his vulnerable state, but him as the emotionally unstable vampire with the residing heart that doesn't know how to deal with the hurricane of emotions it pumps out. The one who screws up and defies the very statistics of wrong and right.

And then he stops fighting to open his eyes, clearly content in what he's gotten from their discussion. Hers linger on the features that have become as familiar as Stefan's and all she can sense is the ache she has to set her confession in stone; really solidify it so that he comprehends she's not just saying it because it's what he wants to hear.

She inches forward because he deserves this moment and frankly she can't resist. It's a game changer, this she knows, but he's already so lifeless and she'll regret it if she doesn't. Then she presses her lips against his. Electricity fires from the corners of her mouth, shooting along the edges and concentrating where they connect with his. She's knows it's because of their simple understanding that had long ago converted into a masterfully hidden undeniable connection.

She wants to pretend it's the same when she kisses Stefan, but she honestly can't. And when she pulls away after only a short second, she grants herself the recognition that there was something special about this kiss with Damon.

His eyes remained closed when he weakly speaks the words, "Thank you," with a slight tug on the corners of his lips; an attempt at a smirk to conceal how much the act had meant to him.

And she's not really sure why she only replies with, "You're welcome," but immediately after she knows she wants to say more. She feels the honesty of her feelings surging from within, ready to spill from her lips like warm liquid from a volcano. They're just passing over her tongue and breaching the edge of her mouth when the familiarity of her own voice sounds in her ears and breaks the moment.

Unfortunately, the voice isn't her own. It's too callous and jaded to be her own.

"Well it's me you should be thanking. I mean I'm the one who brought the cure," Katherine smugly suggests.

Impulsively she removes herself from the bed, embarrassment and irritation swirling together like a vicious twister she doesn't quite know how to withstand.

So she remains silent, off to the side, as Katherine makes her way to Damon. "I thought you were dead," the vamp remarks, disappointment only slightly altering the accusatory tone.

"I was," she answers back simply. She knows she's been caught, but only part of her feels ashamed about the action.

She vaguely hears the conversation happening between Damon and Katherine, but all she focuses on is the vile of blood in the wicked vamp's hand. It's poured into his mouth with the utmost care and she's caught off guard by the surprised look in his eye.

The look results in something she hasn't fully prepared herself for. It's not a look of love, which doesn't exactly astonish her because she knows Damon's feelings for her and the wicked vamp are on totally different stratospheres. Damon's love for Katherine was what drove him to become the haphazard mess of a vampire he was.

Whereas, the love he shares for her is what's made him attempt to conquer what he's become. It's a love he's never been offered in return, by anyone; a selfless love devoid of personal interest and completely unconditional.

No, it's not a look of love. It's a look of wonder because Katherine chose to repay her debt instead of running away cowardly at the first opportunity.

And she watches the exchange happen between the two vampires and realizes that Katherine never really had a choice. The malicious vamp feels for him and she's not sure how deeply rooted those feelings go, all she knows it that they're there.

She's insanely jealous over the concept and then becomes livid with herself because she knows the next words out of her mouth aren't really what she wants to say at all; it's more a means to get that bitch away from him.

"Where's Stefan?" she asks, surprised by how little the question really interests her at the present time.

And Katherine's no fool. Instantly seeing past her forced concern, the vamp's head is cocked to the side as the words skeptically leave their owner's mouth. "Are you sure you care?"

"Where is he?" she pushes again, just to prove she's not like the toxic person standing in front of her at all, although in the back of her mind there's a tiny voice swhispering the words 'of course you are.'

Katherine holds up the empty vile, hips sashaying back and forth in victory. "He's paying for this." Then the face becomes very serious in front of her as the vamp continues, "He gave himself over to Klaus. I wouldn't expect him anytime soon."

"What do you mean he gave himself over?" she questions, brows knitting together in the middle.

"He just sacrificed everything to save his brother; including you. It's a good thing you have Damon to keep you company," Katherine remarks with a quick shrug of the shoulders.

"Goodbye Elena," she vaguely hears in her mind because all she can think about is the fact that she's been here digging through her feelings for Damon while Stefan's been off sacrificing himself; whatever that means.

She also notices Katherine's figure twist around from the corner of her eye. The female quickly adds, "Oh, it's okay to love them both. I did," with a conniving, understanding smile. Then the empty vile's tossed lightly in her direction and the vamp disappears.

Her eyes are wide, looking down at the empty bottle, and she knows she should feel nothing but relief, but she also feels a heavy wave of nausea building within her stomach. Her eyes then drift towards the vampire she'd been ready to confess three very crucial words to and is irate when noticing they're still clawing at the back of her throat, eager to be released into the air.

He's staring at her now, but she doesn't exactly know what to say. They'd just shared a moment. They both know that; it's just a matter of how they choose to deal with the aftermath that follows. And Damon's the one to make the choice when he removes himself from the bed and makes his way over to her.

"Thank you. For everything," he says as his hand makes it way to rest just underneath of her jawline. The touch of his fingertips against her flesh is so gentle, tender. The features of his face are squished together, the same way they become when his guard isn't up; almost as if it pains him to be so raw and exposed.

She knows how precious and rare these moments are.

His face already registers the healing effects of Klaus' blood and she's overwhelmed by how relieved she is. She's no longer worried about how they're going to handle this mess she's thrown them into, because she's just so ecstatic he's made it out alive. And he's just so achingly beautiful when he's like this.

His expression changes at her silence. It's no longer soft as it reverts into harsh lines and chiseled edges. Then his lips separate and she knows he's about to disregard every ounce of sincerity of their moment, giving her a pass on the whole ordeal, but she can't let that happen. Not this time. Not after almost losing him.

What she's about to do is sure to lead to consequences down the road, but her finger lifts anyway and places itself against his mouth, abruptly stopping him.

"Just so you know, I meant it all," she says.

He's clearly impressed by her brunt honesty; she can read that reaction all over his face. But he's already reverted back to his typical self. The defenses are up as he nods his head and replies with a simple, deflective, "Sure."

"I wasn't lying," she clarifies with a slow shake of the head. But he's already by the closet replacing his saturated shirt with a clean one.

There's a flash of bare flesh and her eyes drift towards the ripples riding down his chest before they're covered by another black button down. He's not even looking at her when the sarcasm laces itself through his voice and he responds, "As much as I'd love to sit here and rehash all of the minute details of the last hour with you, I've got an idiotic brother that needs to be saved."

He's headed off to rescue Stefan and there's nothing she can do to stop him. He'd use blatant force if necessary if she chose to stand in his way. And although it's not right to want to save his life over her boyfriend's, she wants to stand in his way because she can't ignore what she's finally allowed herself to accept. She wants to, that doesn't means she's stupid enough to attempt a try.

So she waits until he's finished and motioning her out the door before reaching out her hand to interlock her fingers between his. She gives it a tight squeeze, kisses him softly on the cheek, before she pulls back and says, "You need to be careful."

He's instantly back to the vulnerable creature he was on the bed. His fingers reach up to glide feather soft across the skin of her cheek and she knows her consideration for his life has already meant more than he believes he deserves. But despite what he believes, she knows it's always going to be more. And she wants to offer that to him in case something devastating happens.

So she smiles, nothing but adoration glimmering across her stretched lips and plumped cheeks, and adds, "Because I love you too."

The words float through the air, drifting between the two. She knows their meaning doesn't come anywhere close to Damon's when she says it, but it's as close as she can possibly get. She'll work on catching up to his form of love later; maybe even forever.

And she's so sure that he's going to come back with some disbelieving snarky comeback to ruin the entire moment because it's inappropriate and the timings all wrong, but he surprises her when a smile; not a smirk, but an actual smile spreads across his lips.

"It's about damn time," he remarks with the smile still intact.

He allows her to revel in its beauty for about one quick second before that smile disappears and comes in contacts with her own lips.

She swears there's enough electricity this time to light up the entire country. Sparks are shooting in various directions around the room as the electric waves jolt through every underlying surface of her body. She feels the energy everywhere; yes, everywhere. She's even pretty sure bulbs are shattering amidst the various light fixtures in the room from the glory of it.

And she's surprised when they finally break apart that everything in the room is still the same; except it's not. Nothing's the same now and she's marveled by how easy that notion is to accept.

For the first time she doesn't want to control the interlocking vines of their lives. She doesn't want to tame them and they're no longer suffocating her. Instead their giving her life; one she's denied herself way too long.

She understands people will ultimately get hurt and others won't get it. They'll try to hack away the delicate interweaves they've created.

She's not sure if they can weave themselves together tight enough to withstand what the world attempts to throw their way, all she knows is that when she laces her fingers through his, she feels stronger, solidified, and she's ready to give it their best shot.

Because if anyone can survive the world; it's Damon. And she feels pretty secure that being intertwined with him is always how she was meant to be.


Please read and review. :)