In which Caroline's a human and Elena's a vampire.

Title and lyrics from Mumford & Sons songs.


lend me your heart and i'll just let you fall.

And you lay careless your head on my chest, and don't even look at me looking my best.

–;

(seventeen)

His breath hits right against the pulse point on her neck, spreads over her cheek; his lips so soft against her skin. The pressure of the kiss is light – his lips melting into the fair skin of her neck – and all too intoxicating.

She almost claws at his skin, begs for more. Moan after moan escapes her mouth; her head tilted back, eyes closed, naked body pressed against his.

The way he handles her is delicate; his touches light as a feather. His hand is splayed out over her hip, rubbing gentle circles there. The other tangled in her too dark blonde hair, fingers brushing against the base of her neck.

When he enters her it's soft and slow; this amazing build up where she ends up pleading with him: please, please, Damon.

No one's ever held her like that; touched her like that; been that good. Granted he was only one of a selected few, but she doesn't think anything will ever measure up to that.

Or to the way he plays with her fingers afterward; holds her hand in the air, right in front of his face, traces the outline of her skin, kisses them gingerly.

–;

(twenty-two)

When she opens the door a brisk wind sweeps in and chills her almost to the bone. She hurries him into the cottage, closes the door tightly behind him, rubs her arms to gather warmth. She doesn't offer to take his coat, only tells him not to track snow onto her freshly polished floors.

She walks into the kitchen, leans against the counter with her coffee mug in her hands. Her hair's still the same length, falling perfectly blonde below her shoulders; pretty eyes, pretty face, pretty everything.

He walks in shortly after with his coat folded over in his arms. His hair barely falls against his forehead, still too dark; still too pretty blue eyes. He stands at the entryway to the kitchen, a couple feet away from her.

She sips at her coffee, plays with the hem of her shirt, looks at his face for a while. Tries to remember it for next time in case she forgets. She never does though.

"I can't stay long." He finally says. His voice still deep, still somber, still too much for her to handle if he keeps on.

She nods her head but has confusion arched on her brow. "You came all the way to London, but can't stay long?" She pushes herself away from the counter, sets her mug down, folds her arms over her chest, and walks a couple of steps closer to him.

He gives her a look that, she's sure, will break her heart soon enough. His eyes squint a little, his mouth in a hard line, posture never slouching, attention always granted. "I was in the neighborhood."

"You were in the neighborhood." She states it questioningly, walks until she's standing right in front of him. She can smell the faintest trace of the same cologne he's always worn.

He looks down at her; his voice low when he speaks, "Yeah, just passing through."

She smiles a little and the glint comes back in her eyes, the one that only comes around every so often, too rare. She blinks slowly a few times and when she looks back up at him, she's grabbing a hold of his hand in the process. "Come on", she says as she starts walking out of the kitchen.

He drops his coat on the back of the couch as they pass and sighs when he sees the smirk on her face as they walk towards her bedroom.

"God, you're so beautiful." His tone is mesmerizing and she laughs lightly when he comes up behind her, places his hands on her hips, and walks with her.

When she wakes up in the morning with only the sheet covering her, she's cold and alone.

He never was good at staying for too long.

–;

(nineteen)

She can't remember the last time she saw Elena. Or Bonnie. And there's a wave of sadness that overcomes her when she's least expecting it, always expecting them to walk through her door.

She doesn't even remember if they said goodbye to one other; only a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She remembers the smile on Elena's face and the look in Bonnie's eyes – they both said something like love you.

She knows they had to go. It was their time. Vampires and witches can't stay in one town for too long. But neither can humans and that's why Caroline left not too long after them.

She doesn't know where Elena ended up. She does know that Washington always seemed to fit her though, and Stefan looked good anywhere Elena was.

Bonnie, she knows, is off somewhere in a third world country doing whatever she always had plans for doing.

The only thing she's absolutely sure of is that they're off somewhere being vampires and witches and saving the world or living forever while she moves from place to place, never finding a home. Granted, she's never really had one.

–;

(sixteen)

Everything Caroline did, she did it best. She wanted to be captain of the cheerleading squad, so she had to be captain. She wanted to be student council president, so she became student council president. Emily Chambers threw the best sixteenth birthday party, Caroline's was spectacular.

She was the best, always first.

–;

(twenty-three)

She doesn't see him for a while. Last time, she thought she was going to have wrinkles by the next visit. No such luck though, she's still pretty as ever.

Not living in London, Sydney instead. Summer did always look best on her.

She comes home from the beach and her hair's tied up in a messy bun, sun kissed skin peeping out from beneath her shorts, legs that will not end, and a gasp on her lips that he'd like to save for later when she sees him.

He's reclining on her couch. His legs crossed at the ankles, thrown up on the back of the couch. His hands are behind his head, supporting it.

"Hey sexy." He has a smirk on his face, eyes looking something like the water outside.

"Damon." She breathes out and she can't help the small smile that won't let go of her lips. "What are you doing here?" She drops her back at the door, and pulls the hair tie from her hair.

"Came to see how you're doing." He looks her up and down; takes in her sun kissed skin and hair, the laugh lines around her mouth, the softness in her eyes. "How're you doing?"

She slips onto the spot at the end of the couch. He sits up on the couch, on the opposite end. "I'm fine. Beach's nice." She looks out one of the many windows in her living room, catches the sun glaring back at her, absently looks at his hand for confirmation that he's still wearing his ring.

"I always thought summer would look good on you." He sitting right beside her now. His faded blue jeans rubbing against the bare skin of her thigh. He nudges her for attention and when she looks at him he's smiling jokingly. "I've always looked good on you."

She gasps, and nudges him back. "Do you have to be so crass!" She rolls her eyes and he laughingly takes one of her hands in between both of his and smooths his fingers over her delicate ones.

"S'true though", he says while he's tracing shapes over her fingers. She's looking at him and it's with nothing but happiness.

She ignores his comment, "Happy you're here." She smiles at him and scrunches her nose when he turns, right in her face, to look at her.

"Yeah?" He pauses. "Me too." He kisses the apple of her cheek.

He doesn't stay long after that. He says something about getting back to his real life and as soon as he's said it he realizes it was most definitely the wrong thing to say. She doesn't let him kiss her on the lips before he leaves, but he manages to sneak a kiss on her cheek.

He looks sad when he leaves. She's always sad to see him go.

–;

(seventeen)

He doesn't stay long after they've had sex, never. She thinks maybe it's because he knows her mom's the sheriff and he's scared of her or something – she doesn't know.

All she knows is that her rooms exceptionally cold and empty when he's not in bed beside her.

And she can't even figure out why she's so attached to him.

(Maybe it's his eyes. Yeah, she thinks it has something to do with what he does with them.)

–;

(twenty)

She goes on a trip to South America in March. It's fall that time of year there and she thinks she's always looked good in fall, so why not?

She ends up in Buenos Aires. And she has to wear a cardigan whenever she goes out and it's such a pleasant break from the hot weather of California – so refreshing.

She doesn't speak any language but English and that only gets her so far. But it's okay because that's really only as far as she wants to get.

On her fifth night there she's at some elegant restaurant eating dinner by herself, halfway through her second glass of wine, when he comes up to her. He's polite and his accent is beautiful even when he's speaking broken English.

She knows he says something about her being beautiful. And that's not her being conceited, that's her taking a compliment from a handsome man because seldom does she ever get one.

He sits with her the rest of dinner and they stay until right before closing. They go dancing in some courtyard afterward and she would have said no but she's wearing this pretty dress and she really doesn't have anything else to do so she simply obliges.

While they're dancing, she rests her head against the crook of his neck. The heat from his skin makes her shiver from her head to her toes and she smiles a little. Maybe reminiscences about pastimes.

She doesn't let him take her back to her hotel and she only lets him kiss her on the cheek when she leaves. But she leaves smiling and that's a change from usual.

She doesn't see him again and when she wakes up in her big, comfy bed in the morning she can't even remember his name.

And that has a lot to do with the fact that Damon's leaning against the balcony door, shirtless, the slight breeze sweeping passed him and into the room.

She falls back against the pillows and doesn't even say anything. He knows she's awake and she'd ask how he got into her hotel room but she's pretty sure she already knows and frankly, she just doesn't care.

"Come to bed." Her voice is soft but he can hear it.

"It's past ten." He doesn't turn around from the balcony, stays looking out at all of the buildings, she can hear faint city traffic below them.

"So?" She questions, a smile hidden somewhere in her voice.

He turns around then, walks slowly back towards the bed, only stops when his legs hit against it. "So... we should go explore the city. Well, I should show you some places. I know you'll like them." He leans over on the bed beside her some, his hands bracing him against the mattress.

"Of course you've been here before." She rolls her eyes sweetly when she says it, the smile still on her lips, that glint in her eyes. Her hair frames her face perfectly and the light shining in the room is just perfect.

"I've been everywhere and back, darling." He leans over her more and kisses her straight on the mouth.

They stay in bed the rest of the day. He doesn't leave until two days later when she does. He sees her off at the airport and when she looks back, he's already walking the other way.

–;

(eleven)

She doesn't believe in love. Because if her mom really loved her she'd stay home from work sometimes, and if her dad really loved her he wouldn't have left in the first place.

She doesn't think she and love deserve one another.

–;

(twenty-four)

She doesn't realize it until he's gone, but she's always loved him, all along.

–;

(twenty-one)

She visits her mother in Mystic Falls one day in October. But that's the only time she's ever been back to Virginia. Or seen her mom.

She was never really good with death, especially her mother's; she doesn't know how she's been dodging it this long.

–;

(thirty)

Her house is warm and inviting when he shows up unexpectedly. She even has a white picket fence in the front yard. It's just like her to have all these things.

He tells her that when she opens her front door in heels and a nice dress. "Chicago, though, didn't see that one coming."

"What're you doing here?"

It's the first time she doesn't sound happy to see him. The glint from the ring on her left hand almost blinds him.

–;

(twenty-seven)

She marries a nice boy in the fall. His name is Matt and it's all twelve kinds of ironic that his name is that of the boy she always thought she was in love with first.

–;

(thirteen)

She shares cookies with Matt at lunch because she can see just how mad Elena is at him and Caroline doesn't even understand why. He says thank you and gives her his award winning smile and that's when she starts seeing white picket fences and eight kids with his last name.

Granted, they're only thirteen; but she thinks maybe real love does exist after all.

–;

(twenty-seven)

He's different than Matt though; dark hair, dark eyes, and she smiles whenever she sees him. Thinks about him often.

He's the best she's ever had and she means that. He's the best. And Caroline did always strive for that.

–;

(thirty)

"I- I came to see you." He manages to pull a smile out of his back pocket just in time. "See how you're doing." He's still standing in the doorway and this is all so different. She always invites him in, smiles, there's always a glint in her eyes that he's sure he's got something to do with.

She doesn't answer his question, just stares at him for five steamboats longer than she should.

He clears his throat, "You're married." He looks from her pretty porcelain face down to her left hand and he tries to smile when he looks back up at her.

Her voice is soft when she speaks, and there may be a tear in her throat, "I haven't seen you in years." There's tears welling up in her eyes and she tries to blink them back, slight wrinkles emerge when she does so.

"Yeah, well... I've, you know, been busy." He clears his throat again and he's never had this awkward time with her. It doesn't fit them well. He knows that, she's gotta know that.

She thinks seeing him again shouldn't bring back all of these memories and these good feelings and this terrible ache.

"I thought you'd forgotten about me." She sounds so sophisticated and he doesn't know how she pulls it off when she has tears in her eyes and looks so pale.

When she says it, his face goes blank. He looks to the ground and plays with the sleeve of his leather jacket. He looks back up at her with somber eyes, "Never, Care. Never."

–;

(eighteen)

He pushes her against the wall a little too hard and she tries not to wince into his mouth while he kisses the breath out of her.

Her blouse is unbuttoned and her nude laced bra is showing. His shirt is bunched around his neck, had only gotten as far as taking his arms out of it. His hands are on her neck, cupping her head in his hands. Her hands slide down his sides and sneak around to the small of his back. She moans into his mouth when he kneads one of her breasts.

"Damon," she says between kisses, "take me upstairs."

And that's probably the only time she has control.

–;

(twenty-three)

She wonders where he stays for the better part of the year. Because she only sees him every couple of months. She's sure he doesn't stay in Mystic Falls still; but then again he never was good at letting go of the past.

She wonders if he really does live another life entirely. She wonders if he has someone he goes home to, if he even really has a home. She wonders if he's lonely, always brooding; if he ever hears from Stefan or Elena.

She'd really like to know. Because the only place she's certain he doesn't stay is with her.

–;

(twenty-five)

She hears from Stefan once. The conversation is all rushed words and hushed whispers. She can still hear his tears.

She nearly drops the phone when he says, "She's gone, Care. She's gone."

Then she's crying and wishing she would have seen her before it happened.

–;

(twelve)

"Do you ever think you'll fall in love, Care?"

They're both lying on the grass, on their sides, facing each other; some of the grass tickling around their faces. Elena's white sundress meshes with Caroline's light blue one; tangled legs, not knowing where Elena stops and Caroline begins.

"Love is for foolish people, Elena."

Elena sighs. She looks down between them, her mouth slowly forming into a frown, then when she looks up beats later she's smiling.

"But we love each other. Does that make us foolish?" Caroline begins to laugh while Elena's speaking, and Elena barely finishes her question because of her own giggles.

"'Course not, silly." Her cheeks heat up as she waits to continue, "You're the only one I love."

Elena places a sweet kiss to the apple of Caroline's cheek. She moves to her ear and whispers, "You're my best friend, Care."

Caroline smiles, yeah, you too.

–;

(twenty-five)

She's supposed to die first. That's how it goes, that's how it's supposed to be. Elena isn't supposed to die before Caroline. She isn't supposed to die at all.

Elena's supposed to be long, lean, sweet, and beautiful for the rest of eternity. That's the way it was meant to be since she became a vampire. Elena was supposed to do everything she ever wanted for the rest of forever. And that's it.

Elena was supposed to live forever knowing Caroline loved her. Everyone loved her.

Stefan tells her she took the stake to the heart to save him. Always so fucking noble.

Elena had always said she'd die if it meant saving the people she loved.

–;

(twenty-five, october)

The cold air is brisk around her, the wind cutting into the skin on her legs revealed by her dress. She gathers her arms around herself, tries to keep heat. She ducks her head to her chest, can smell her own perfume, can feel the icy tears rolling all the way down her neck.

Bonnie's here and it's been so long – they don't even stand beside one another. She hears sniffles and sighs and she swears she can hear the rain coming.

Elena isn't buried in Mystic Falls. Everyone who's left in her life that she loved gathers in Washington at the edge of a forest where the trees are too tall, leaves crunch beneath your feet, and the smell of dandelions overpower every season.

There's a cliff with tumbling water beneath it, a rocky fall awaiting, the wind threatening to push you off. When they get there – Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie, Jeremy, and Alaric – Stefan stops, turns around to the others and says, "She loved it here."

And Caroline knows he can't find it in him to say we loved it here. Because whatever Elena wanted, he wanted. Whatever Elena loved, he loved. Wherever Elena wanted to be, Stefan couldn't think of anywhere else he'd rather be. She loved it on the edge of a cliff, with waters below, threatening to pull them down and so did Stefan.

Caroline understands why she loves it here. The brisk air bites at her skin, the water below them sounds reassuring even though she's sure it's not. Of course. She knows Elena must have looked gorgeous here.

They spread her ashes when the wind blows. It picks them up, sends them swirling through the air, away from the naked eye. Caroline misses a couple seconds of the scene because she's wiping the tears from her eyes.

–;

(twenty-five, november)

He stumbles in through her front door, his hand gripping the doorknob tight. She looks up from the couch, startled. With eyes wide, a scream almost passed her lips, and shaky hands, she still manages to calm herself down.

He closes the door behind him and then falls against it, knocking his head hard against the heavy wood.

His name barely slides out of her mouth passed all of the venom gathering there. Her teeth grind together and with fierce adrenaline she pushes herself off of the couch and towards him. "What are you doing?"

He opens his eyes, blurred blue staring down at her, and murmurs, "You should lock your door."

She can smell the bourbon on his breath and it reminds her of Mystic Falls and foolish seventeen year old girls.

"Get the fuck out, Damon." And even though she hates him for scaring her, hates him for never calling, hates him for just showing up – his sad eyes, soft lips, and wandering hands wash all of that away. She's just happy that he came.

His soft hands rub small circles on her wrist, up her forearms, and he grabs lightly onto her elbows. And even though she can smell the alcohol on his breath, he's always been good at handling it, she can't help but love the sound that comes out of his mouth, soft sweet and slow. "You want me to?" His breath hits somewhere close to her ear and immediately sends chill throughout her body. She squeezes her eyes shut and can't speak, shakes her head instead.

"Good," he whispers as he brings his lips to her forehead and kisses her softly there. "Good." And suddenly she's aware of how tense he feels against her.

She opens her eyes to look at him. Her eyes swim over his face – hard jaw, sad eyes, furrowed brow.

She gulps back a lump that's formed in her throat. She feels so bad. And it's like it's finally hit her, all over again. "Elena's dead."

Her eyes find his and she watches them widen and his mouth fall open slightly then snap back shut in a hard line. He licks his lips and averts his gaze to the wall beside them.

"Damon," she touches her fingers to his face lightly. And combing her fingers through his hair she says, "she's gone." He darts his eyes back to her face. God, they look so sad and heartbroken because she knows he loved Elena – she's not stupid.

His eyes glaze over with something that might be tears and while she still has her hand on his face, he presses his cheek into her palm a little more. His voice is still only anything less than a whisper, "I know." She feels tears welling up in her own eyes. "She can't be dead, Care."

It's the first night that they stay together without having sex. He just lays in bed with her, covers pulled tight around them, and she combs her fingers through his hair until they both fall asleep.

It'd be nice if it weren't for such sad reasons.

–;

(twenty-five, december)

"You weren't at the funeral." She clears her throat and continues, "Elena's funeral. Well, I mean I didn't see you there."

He looks up from his book with his brow knitted together. "It's 'cause I didn't go."

Later, when she's on her back and he's trailing kisses down her neck, the book jabs into her back and all she can think is Elena's dead. And she doesn't know if anyone will ever get over it.

–;

(twenty-six)

It's a hot day in July when the sun's beating down on her back and sweat's gathering on her forehead. She's running through a park in some town that she's decided she'll stay in.

He runs up beside her literally out of nowhere. "Hey Blondie."

She turns her head to the right and scoffs when she sees him. "It's been a while," she says smiling.

"Well you shouldn't move around so much. Stay in one place. I'm a little too to old to be chasing you around the world, you know." He says it with a smirk on his lips.

She rolls her eyes, "Whatever, Damon." And runs a little faster.

He beats her to her house and she doesn't even know how he knows where she lives. She doesn't ask though, just tells him where the alcohol is when they get inside and says she's taking a shower.

He ends up in there with her and the water's too cold against her back after a while so she jumps out quickly. He laughs and stands under the running water, looks too poetic for her to handle, so she drags him out of the bathroom and onto her bed.

She almost forgets he'll leave the next day. Only remembers when she has a bad dream in the middle of the night, wakes up, and sees him gathering his things quietly.

"So this is how you do it." He stops what he's doing, sighs, and turns around to her. "I thought you'd at least wait until dawn to leave. This, here, you leaving before the moon's at it's brightest, makes me feel a little cheap."

She's leaning up on her elbows, the sheet falling somewhere around her navel, her hair in pretty waves, framing her face. "Almost like you just want the sex." She says quieter than before. "Almost like you don't care." She closes her eyes and falls back against her pillows.

The bed dips beside her and she can feel the rough material of his jeans as he puts one leg between both of hers. He's hovering over her when she opens her eyes slowly.

"Care," he whispers. He moves some of her hair out of her face, tucks it gently behind her ear. He trails light kisses all over her face, never touching her lips. "It's not just about sex." His hand trails down her side, searching for her hand. He grabs it and brings it to his lips, gives it two soft kisses, "It's not."

She doesn't know what it is then. She doesn't ask though.

–;

(thirty-three)

Sometimes she hears from Stefan and he still sounds sad. He doesn't stay in one place for too long and he can't get the picture of Elena out of his mind for more than a few minutes at a time. He's the mirror image of what she's been all her life until Matt.

Her heart breaks for him. And she can't help but wonder if anyone's ever broke for her.

–;

(seventeen)

Sometimes she wonders if she's just another notch in Damon's bedpost, or whatever.

–;

(twenty-four)

Sometimes she still wonders that.

–;

(thirty-two)

He comes to see her again. Matt's not home, she can tell he doesn't want anything to do with that.

She smiles when she sees him this time. He still looks the same with the sun beating down on his dark hair.

She's sitting under a tree in the park, wearing a sundress, and she slides her hand out of the sun when he walks up because the ring's been gleaming in it all day. And she knowshe doesn't want to see that.

"Hey stranger." She says smiling up at him. She shields her eyes from the sun shining through the branches and turns to look at him as he sits down beside her.

"Hey Care." He gives her thigh a soft squeeze.

They talk about nothing in particular, never anything too important, never anything worth remembering. But she always does.

She always remembers his smile, his eyes, his never-ending ways of making her fall apart.

–;

(five)

Caroline reads a fairytale each night before going to bed. Her mother comes into her room, sits on the edge of her bed, and by way of nightlight she reads to Caroline.

Caroline always smiles at the good parts. And shies away from the parts that make her sad.

Sometimes she has good dreams that make her wake up smiling. And sometimes she has nightmares, one's that frighten her to the bone.

–;

(thirty-six)

She dies young and out of breath. Too many thoughts running through her mind, too many what ifs, too many regrets, never enough of what she's always wanted.

She wonders if she could have ever had all of him. 'Cause all she got was a little bit here and there and that never seemed to suffice. She wonders if stay would have done the trick.

–;

(twenty-five, november)

When they're lying there in the darkness, his head on her chest, her fingers smoothing over his hair – she's sure he's asleep. Every few minutes his grip around her waist tightens and he nestles his head closer against her torso.

She traces one finger over his features; over the corner of his mouth, down his sharp jaw, over the shell of his ear, down his neck, back up to his eyes where she flutters her finger over his eyelid.

She murmurs, "love you", so quietly in the night she's not sure he'd be able to hear it even if he were awake.

She suddenly realizes that's all they'll ever have – the moments in between, the one's that only they fall witness to.

That's all she'll ever get with Damon and she's not sure if that will be enough forever.

But it'll have to do for now.