The cold night breeze sailed across the porch as Elena confided in Damon.

"I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here…" she said and the realisation crashed over her as stronger than ever.

Damon said nothing, his eyes fell from her face as he heard her words and he swallowed. He looked as though he wanted to say something but thought better of it, shaking his head slightly and rolling his shoulders, he finally opened his mouth.

"You need to know this Elena…" he said, his face showing signs of guilt and Elena's stomach fluttered in anticipation.

"…Stefan didn't screw us over. He screwed us over but he had a good reason."

Elena shuffled her feet a bit. She was more than confused. "What…?"

"He saved Klaus…to save me… then he stole the coffins to get even."

"But Damon…" Elena said trying to understand "If he did it to save you…I, I don't…What does that even mean?"

Damon looked at her then "It means I'm an idiot. That I thought for one second…that I didn't have to feel guilty anymore."

"Wait, what…what do you have to feel guilty for?" Elena exhaled shaking her head

Damon moved to her, he moved so close into her personal space as he spoke, his eyes fixing on hers. "For wanting what I want." He confessed

Elena's eyes widened and her body was filled with a low creeping panic. She still loved the old Stefan, God knows she'd tried not too but you can't just stop loving someone…then again she thought… she was falling for Damon. This was the time to admit it finally to herself. It wasn't just sex she wanted from him it was so much more, he already gave her so much more than that. It was her growing feelings for him that always brought her back to him. She's told him last time in the throes of passion that he was hers but she'd never told him that she was his. Maybe now…

"Damon…" She breathed in a shaky voice

"I know." Damon said in a defeated voice "Trust me. I get it." Elena closed her eyes as he let himself down.

"Brother's girl and all." He said in an attempt to smile but the hurt and defeat was clear in his voice.

This was her time to tell him… but she didn't know exactly what. She really wasn't sure it was Love right now, but it was definitely heading that way…but she couldn't find the words so he turned and walked away and she felt like her breath had been knocked from her body.

"No." Damon suddenly came to a halt on the steps. "No, you know what?" he said turning quickly back and striding to her "If I'm going to feel guilty about something it's going to be for this."

That's when Damon kissed her and everything stopped. The confusion, the guilt, grief slipped away. His strong hands lightly held her neck and she knew this was him giving her the option to push him away this time. His lips were sweet and gentle and my god she was in love with him, she was. Elena's hand moved over his and her thumb gently stroked his hand letting him know that it did mean something.

And then his lips slowed and pulled back a little and she opened her mouth ready for them to connect again but he pulled back and her eyes shot open curiously and she saw him opening his slowly and a gentle expression framed his face as he smiled crookedly at her and said 'Goodnight'

And before she could form a coherent thought Damon was gone and she let out a breath she didn't realise she'd be holding.

Elena stood on in the dark, her fingers touching her lips. Damon had left her alone and it wasn't because he didn't love her enough to fight for her it was because he just loved her and he was letting her figure out how much. For the first time they'd shared a proper kiss, one that didn't lead to the usual complicated but world moving sex that they made. This was a kiss with the promise of a beginning- and with that in mind Elena stepped back inside her house and into the warmth.