AN: Set at the end of Homecoming.

Prompt: Elena, I won't hold you hostage, but I won't set you free.

She doesn't want to. God, she really doesn't want to. But her arms are starting to ache from holding herself together. From holding herself to him. And Damon is cracking into pieces in front of her. And somewhere out there is a friend who is hurting but can't talk to her, and a brother who needs her, and a girl in a red dress with a knife in her back. There are far too many people who need her right now, far too many people she has to help. She can't keep holding on to Stefan, not now, not yet.

She raises shaky hands, steadies Damon just like he's steadied her so many times, takes a breath,

"Then we'll let him go."

(If you love someone, let them go. If they really love you, they'll- she can't afford to finish that sentence.)